Postpartum anxiety

It’s not really something new moms like to talk about. That nagging feeling after the baby is born, the fear of the unknown, the anxiety over the huge task that lies before you… motherhood. Amid the joy of that precious, sweet-smelling newborn is a shadow of what-ifs. I’m not a professional, but I am a mom of four and I have experienced this anxiety to one degree or another with all four of my babies. The worst by far being with my first. And having delivered baby four a little under 2 weeks ago I find myself battling the same thoughts and emotions so I thought I would share with you just that, how I battle.

I remind myself of Gospel truths

When Monkey was born my fear manifested itself in the form of worrying about her safety. And when I say worry I mean 24/7 debilitating, tearful anxiety. I worried about SIDS, about abduction, about my own failures and faults and how those would affect her adversely. I worried about nursing, about sleep deprivation (hers and mine), about pacifiers, about ceiling fans… I never said the issues were grounded in logic, most are not when worry takes its full grip.

By the grace of God someone gave me the book Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartin. I can’t really remember the specifics of the chapters I read, but what I came away with was this…

She is not mine, she is Yours. You made her and You love her more than I ever can. You have the power to protect her. You have the power to take her. These things lie with You, not with me. I am just here as Your instrument in raising her to love You and honor You. You are sovereign over life and death, health and illness, thriving and failure to thrive. It’s about You, centered on You. Not me.

With this realization came an overwhelming sense of peace. I didn’t have to be perfect. Her success did not ultimately lie in my success. What a relief.

Read the Bible daily

While we know the gospel, it is much more difficult to remind ourselves of the gospel unless we keep reading the gospel. Easier said than done, trust me, I know. Sitting down to a 30 minute devotional amid the delightfully loud noises of childhood proves problematic. But I do have something that is working for me now. I have the Bible on my iPhone, so I can read it in the dark. I am nursing my new one every 2-3 hours at this point, so there are at least three 20 minute periods of time each day when I am the only one awake in the entire house. Now, I might not recommend mediating on scripture exclusively at 3:30 in the morning, you might not come away with many coherent insights. I take the last feeding of the day, or the first feeding of the day and use that time to dig into the Word. It is more refreshing than all that water you should be drinking, more invigorating than the coffee you are craving, and more life-giving than social networking.

Pick a verse for each child… now memorize it

It wasn’t until shortly after the Little Dude arrived that my mentor shared with me the verses she had been praying over her children for most of their lives. It was amazing to hear the accounts of how God had intervened in their lives in critical times, all relating to the verse that had been laid on a mother’s heart so many years ago. Even if it is more than a verse {Bear has an entire chapter!} Take the time to try to memorize it, even if that just means praying it over them every day, eventually it will be written on your heart and accessible at a moments notice, no matter where you are. Because I am fairly certain that as mothers we will battle varying degrees of worry for our children for their entire lives. What better arsenal against this sin than the word of God on your lips?

I’m linking up over at GraceLaced today. Come meet Ruth, she is inspiring!

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3 thoughts on “Postpartum anxiety

  1. Love this post, Elizabeth. I dealt with post-partum depression for about 3 months with Oliver, and then te anxiety started. I too foun great comfort in prayer and remembering that I was not in control (thank goodness!) and that He is. After about 5 months I was finally able to fully enjoy my little man! It is a struggle, but I’m so thankful that we have Christ to help us through!

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