“Being a mother has been so much harder than I imagined. I have been in tears many times over the past few weeks and in the evening I have been very depressed. The only thing that helps is knowing that God is with me and He is teaching me through this process.”
This was a text I received from a new mom and her pain-filled words took me back several years. We were living in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, with our firstborn. My husband drove our only vehicle into the city for morning classes, followed by afternoon and evening responsibilities at the church where he served as pastor.
I was home alone all day, with no vehicle, no family or friends close by . . . alone with a crying baby. And it was hard.
At the time I felt like I would never experience a restful night again, a relaxing moment, or even have the energy to accomplish cooking an entire meal. I felt like my daughter’s all day crying jags were proof that I was a failure as a mom. I’d like to say that I drew closer to Christ during those months, but actually I spiraled into a pit of depression for awhile. I didn’t get dressed most days and felt like I’d never live a “normal” life again.
But today, those days seem like someone else’s life.
If you’re struggling as a new mom, here are a few things to consider:
- Check out Health Issues: If you’re experiencing bouts of depression and extremely low energy levels, talk to your doctor. You may need extra iron or vitamins. When my daughter was six weeks old, I found out I was extremely anemic and that played a huge role in feeling like I couldn’t cope with the load of a new baby.
- Ask for Help: Invite a mom over who is further along than you are. Share your heart, express your concerns, and ask for advice. Don’t let it become a negative gripe session, but use this time to get some beneficial input.
- Environment: Let the sun shine in! Set a goal of one fun activity per day—nothing big or strenuous—something as simple as taking the baby for a stroll in the sun. Don’t stay in bed with the shades drawn and the lights off. Expose yourself to lots of light for a brighter disposition.
- Take Charge: Tackle at least one project each day so you don’t get overwhelmed by an enormous work load. Set yourself small goals. Try to minimize clutter as you go.
- Laugh: Find a source of laughter—perhaps it’s a good-humored friend who knows you need regular doses of comic relief. Choose to laugh rather than give into self-pity when you’re battling for your sanity.
- Grab onto one word: Find a good daily devotional and read it while nursing or doing an early morning feeding (even if your eyes are half shut) and look for one word you can cling to that day. Scribble down the word (or verse) and keep it in your pocket to refer to throughout the day.
- Cry out: Talk to Jesus. Let Him know you’re struggling. Let Him hear how you feel and ask Him to help you see tangible evidence of His care (it is there—sometimes we’re just too wiped to see it).
- Worship: Fill your house with praise. Play lots of uplifting music. Check out my favorite worship CD (it’s a lullaby journey through Scripture).
In my mind’s eye, I can see myself rocking and walking with a crying baby who wouldn’t give it up . . . that mom who thought she’d never get a moment’s rest or live a “normal” life again. And you know what . . . at about six months it all changed. That little one found out she actually liked sleeping. She took on a precious personality. She became the joy of our lives.
Hang in there new mom—it’s challenging but worth it!
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