Brutiful Life

I should have been prepared. I’ve experienced it before, but it caught me off-guard and did a number on my heart.

When Levi was born, it took me six months to admit I needed help. Postpartum depression had a vise grip on me and I couldn’t look up long enough to see the beauty in my baby, my marriage, my friendships, my life. Reeling from the inexperience of being a mother, trying desperately to find new footing with Matt as we navigated through exhaustion and unmet expectations, and feeling like I was coming apart and nothing or no one would be able to put me back together.

It was brutal.

And it took time to heal. Time to wade through what was truth and what was a lie. Time to learn who Levi was and fall in love with him. Time to learn to communicate with Matt all over again as our normal had shifted. But, healing came. Thankfully, blessedly, like taking a deep breath of fresh air, healing.

Three additional children later, and then…

Amelia. Our sweet, beautiful, completely unexpected baby #5. The pregnancy I did not want. The change in our life I was not anticipating.

It took roughly five months for me to begin to feel joy and excitement over her life and what a baby would bring to our family. Five months of crying out and imploring God for help because I simply didn’t think I could handle it.

A birth that didn’t go as I had hoped, and Amelia Eve arrived. The feelings were there. I loved her immediately. I cried tears of relief and joy that she was here. Things were good. We were adjusting. It was okay. I was okay.

Until I wasn’t. Again.

And just like with what I experienced before, the whispered lies kept coming.

“You don’t love her. You didn’t want her. You know you didn’t. What kind of mother are you?”

“You’re failing. You’re being a terrible wife. A terrible mom.”

The worst one?

“You are alone.”

Because we had been down this road before, Matt knew something wasn’t right. That I was not myself.

“You’re checking out on us, Erin. You need to talk to me. Please keep talking to me. I know it’s hard. I can’t help you if I don’t know how you’re feeling.”

Although everything within me did not want to keep talking, I did. I didn’t allow myself an excuse not to.

But there were times when it was obvious to others as well that I was struggling. Shutting down.

And they love me enough to reach out and speak truth to me even when I don’t want to hear it. And they, without knowing it, showed me they were willing to fight for me when I couldn’t fight for myself.

And I think, sometimes, this is what friendship is about. Showing up when it’s hard, when it’s messy, when you don’t want to. Because you love someone. Because they matter.

These beautiful hearts did that. They breathed Jesus into my heart and helped me start the ascent out of the deeps I was in. They showed me I wasn’t, and am not, alone.

I still have moments of dark. Glennon Doyle Melton calls these times in life brutiful. As in we have moments, seasons, times of hard, hard things, but there is beauty in it. Because of God. Because of friends. Because of what the hard things bring. I think this has been one of those times. A brutiful time, indeed. I am thankful for those who have been light and beauty during this time more than I can express. Because of them, the light is shining in the dark brighter than it was before.

By the grace of God and my identity in Him, I am okay. By the love of my husband, I am okay.

And by the love of my cherished friends, I am okay.

**When I experienced my first bout of PPD, I put myself in the care of an amazing counselor. Being aware and catching the signs early this time has helped me and Matt tremendously as we navigated this latest bout with the tips and tools I received from my counselor. I do not take my mental and emotional health lightly, and if you are experiencing feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety, etc., please reach out to a professional to help you through it. You don’t have to do it alone.**

Blessings and love,
Erin

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4 thoughts on “Brutiful Life

  1. I went through it with Connor and I just started coming out on the other side a couple of months ago when I finally got help. I’m learning to love my precious gift from God; feeling unconditional love for the first time for him. I also dealt with a form of postnatal psychosis. I’m just going to put this out there because I want you to understand that you’re not alone; you’re never alone. I thought my sweet boy was possessed, I believed it. I also thought that he was going to grow up to become a serial killer and endure the death penalty. Again, I believed it. It was the darkest period of my life. I look back in disbelief. I look at my angel and thank Jesus everyday that I am healed. I’m on a very mild dose of lexapro for now coming close to weaning. I’m rational again and Jesus gave me an amazing doctor and support system in friends and in Chris. By the grace of God, I am better than ok, I am healed! I love you and I appreciate you sharing. I know how hard it is; this is my first time publicly sharing. Only God and Chris know the depth of how bad it was. 💞

    • Oh, Alicia….I am so sorry you experienced this and to such a degree. But I am so glad you are coming out on the other side and that you were able to find someone to help you (aside from Chris, of course). I think you are so strong and brave to be open and vulnerable enough to share this. What an amazing thing to feel the love of Christ so deeply and so newly…I’m so happy for you that you know now just how much He loves you and how free you are in Him. You are amazing, my friend, and I love you so much. Connor is blessed to have you as a momma; one thing I had to learn after my experience with Levi was that even when I was in the depths of that darkness, I DID love him, even when I thought I didn’t. If I hadn’t truly loved him, I wouldn’t have taken care of him, spent time with him, and seen to his needs. You showed Connor love without even realizing it and getting help also showed him love. Thanks for sharing and being so brave…one day, Connor will rise up and call you blessed (a promise from Proverbs). Without a doubt. Love you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty! I love you and am thankful to have you in mylife, though the miles between us are many…thank you for putting into words the struggle that many of us (myself included) have experienced after the birth of our babies. I love the term brutiful. This summer has been brutiful for our friends. When my friend, Beth, lost her husband suddenly in June, I wasn’t sure how to be there for her. None of us were. It has been terrible and beautiful all at the same time. Navigating these waters with a friend in our thirties is something I never thought I would have to do. But, I have seen such beauty from ashes already. It has reminded me of those days of postpartum…such conflicting emotions. Beauty and pain, all at the same time…

    • I love you, Heidi. I wish we were closer so we could do more of life together. I remember seeing the news about Beth’s husband…I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this has been for her, her children, and all of you who love them so much. I’m sorry you also experienced the same feelings…it is so hard to come through, but I know Libby is such a loved and cherished little girl and I know just how amazing of a momma you are to her. Praying for Beth and you all has you continue to navigate through this time with her. Love you.

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