For the past three years I have been on the exciting journey of motherhood, however if I’m honest with you it hasn't always been exciting, unfortunately for me walking with post natal depression was a reality after both children.
No one can actually prepare you for what you step into that moment baby arrives. I believe that’s because no one person is the same, we all see and cope with life in different ways. Each pregnancy, labor and child is different therefore how can you possibly be adequately prepared for what your about to face. Sure you can get physically prepared to a point because even physically no matter how fit you are it's still a huge shock! You can get all the right equipment needed, you can even organize extra help for when the time comes, but no one can predict how your going to respond or cope with the situation once those emotions go out of control!
Thankfully your body bounces back and you eventually learn the voice of your ‘mothers instincts,' this is the voice that will continue to guide you through all those amazing moments of parenting up ahead, as long as we don't allow those crazy emotions to take control.
Post natal depression even has an end! Although that was incomprehensible in the middle of that tornado! With all of that said what I found the hardest to regain was... ‘who am I?’
You maybe looking at this image and thinking 'Whoa! How can she think that having cute little babies and embarking on this fabulous journey of motherhood be a mess!!'
It wasn't my cuties or being a mum that I saw was a mess and it wasn't even my lack of housework, it was the way I saw and felt about who I was and my purpose in life that seemed like it was turning into a huge mess. So when I saw this image and took a brief look back to who I was then, this sums up the silent cry's of my heart at that time.
I didn’t realize that I had lost my mojo so to speak until recently, through a weekly small group I attend. We were asking personal questions that caused me to stop, step out of the duties of life for a moment (talking 1 min max here! you learn how to process quick with a toddler and a baby) and take a self evaluation on how I viewed myself. The question that stopped me in my tracks was 'Do you know who you are?'. Easy - I'm a mother! Hang on a minute, is that really who I am? ... I'm a wife! Nope that’s still not who I am, these are things I do for the people I love but the quality of these acts comes from who I am. Hold up just one more minute!
Who the heck am I!
It seems so long ago when I lived in a space where I confidently walked every day knowing who I was. What has happened to that girl? Unfortunately I then spent a week comparing who I was now to who I was then. The now me felt emotionally and spiritually worn, the confidence and the boldness I ran with seems like a distant dream. My voice which was once so powerful and sure was quieter than a mouse. Doubt about anything and everything was a constant reaction. This girl that I used to know seemed like she had stumbled upon an old, dark forest distracting her from where she was heading and was soon to be at a stand still wondering how on Earth she got there. This is when I released I was loosing myself.
Not to worry I didn’t camp out in this zone. Like I said before I have a toddler and a baby who are absolutely amazing and full of life! And although I have realized a few truths about where I was in myself, it was not to late to make a change. My oldest is a beautiful, determined, fearless little lady and when I look at her, motivation kicks in. This princess of mine needs to have a mother who is so sure of who she is, a mother who knows how to rest, to be still but also knows how to carry on running with all I've got. She needs a mother who is not afraid to take stock of where she is at and give her self a jump start. She needs a mighty woman of faith to follow and be inspired by!
Thankfully, I have discovered that when God shines a light on an area needing some attention; One, He does it when he knows you are ready for it. Two, He already has all the answers and tools before you and Three, He can turn it around in a matter of days if not hours when you are surrendered to the process. Praise the Lord that this journey was a quick smart 180 turn. I was asked the question, why is your identity important? I had an easy answer. When you know your identity, what your destined for that’s what keeps you grounded in the storm. Walking through post natal depression the second time was evidence of this answer. Even though the tornado of crazy was spinning out of control, it was those reminders, scriptures, pictures that showed me I can walk this, I can get to the other side.
Loosing yourself is such an easy thing to do when we loose focus. I can speak from an experience of having children because that’s my reality, but anyone can face this same realization and I think it happens when our circumstances become so overwhelming for what we think we can handle.
I don’t ever want to get to a point again where I felt I was loosing the essence of who I was, its not a happy place. So for me now that I have discovered this part of the journey I want to do all I can to keep the fire of who I am alive every single day.
Because I am a practical person, I wanted to share a few of the things I do to always remind myself of who I am regularly. Keep in mind that some of them do have a God focus as I walk a journey with Faith, but I still believe that those of you who don't will be encouraged.
1. Write down who you are. Scriptures or Quotes that empower you. Prayers that encourage you into a journal that you can easily refer back to.
2. Speak out in the tough moments reminders of who you are. Do it in the mirror. Learn how to give yourself a kick up the behind. Speaking these things out to yourself aloud, causes you to hear it again and immediately you'll notice a shift. Don't leave that mirror until you feel confident you can walk the day knowing who you are.
3. Pray Pray and Pray. Thank God for all he has done, doing and will do for you. Praise him for who he is to you.
4. Keep your eyes fixed on God. Making time for him even if its reading one verse, or saying simple prayers.
5. Make sure you are open and honest with friends that you trust and surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift. We are meant to do life with one another, not on our own.
6. Be planted in a church or regular group where you have the opportunity to serve others, fellowship and grow.
7. Don’t sweat the trip ups, deal with it and move on.
8. Laugh through the day.
This is how I see my life now. Walking along a clear path of purpose through this beautiful life I have been given, knowing who I am, being guided by the light of Christ who is always directing my feet.