~Philippians 4:8-9 ~
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I struggled with PPD with both of my pregnancies. I was not a Christian when I was pregnant with my son but I was with my daughter. I was so scared that I would have PPD again and I didn't want to go through it. I had sworn after Kevin I would never have another child but God had other plans.
All during my pregnancy my dear friends prayed for me specifically to be guarded against another bout of PPD. Well, God did not protect me from that burden. With Kevin there was anger and hurt and disconnection from him. With Abby I suffered from intense fear that something would happen to her. Hour after hour my brain worked against me, conjuring image after image of all the horrible things that could happen. I would just sit in a chair and hold her and sob over all the things I was thinking. I was very overwhelmed with grief that I had to now share her with the big wide world, even my husband and son. She had been only mine for nine months. Now we would lose our special bond. I actually grieved over this.
My amazing hubby was such a wonderful rock through it all, very understanding and encouraging, but he just couldn't make it better. I tried medication but I just felt like I couldn't feel God. One of my dearest friends told me that he felt that maybe the medication was hindering my ability to hear God's voice since it was repressing my emotions. I went off the medication and after a bit I felt more connected to God but no better regarding the PPD. (special note: medication did not work for me in my situation. If you need medication and it is effective for you, please take it.)I think I did a pretty good job of hiding how bad it was from most of my friends but God saw it all.
During one particularly difficult day I went to see a friend who gave me a book based on this scripture. I never finished the book, but this scripture burned itself into my mind. How true these words were! I had been allowing these thoughts to tie me down in fear and uncertainty. Here was the hope that Jesus brought me...and the hope I had lost sight of. I started repeating this verse over and over and over...and over. Whenever things would pop up in my brain, I would imagine that it was a direct attack against me and would think (or sometimes say or shout) Phillipians 4:8! "This is NOT from God...I choose to believe that God has only GOOD for me!"
There was no immediate fix. I had to trust God to carry me through this fight when I just couldn't see the way anymore. I had to daily, and sometimes hourly, choose to follow God's words of light instead of drowning in the darkness of my own thoughts.
It has now been 10 months since Abby was born. I am about as close to "normal" as I will ever get. For this situation I have found that "the God of peace will be with me". Even though the PPD is fading into my past, I still use this verse on a weekly basis. All too often I tend toward the less positive view, even though I have been described as "outgoing and cheerful". So when those less-than-lovely thoughts come up, I remind myself of what I SHOULD be thinking about.