living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

Expecting Joy

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What a wonderful journey, you think! You go peek on the bathroom sink … it’s positive! A little blessing is on the way! You and your family are elated! You start dreaming and wearing a starry-eyed smile. It feels joyful.

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The next week, you wake up and run to the toilet. You are barely able to leave the bathroom until lunch time, and even after that, you make frequent visits, unable to keep your insides in their place. You try crackers, Sprite. You try special candies and Ginger Ale. Nothing works. You’re so, so sick. Every day. It doesn’t feel joyful.

You go to the doctor, and hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time. You cry tears of joy, and simply cannot believe the sweet miracle God has allowed to take place inside your own body. Then a few weeks later, you find out the gender of the baby. You are so excited, you go to the mall right away! You call your mom to tell her, and text your friends. As you browse the racks for the perfect “coming home” outfit, you read each reply that comes to your cell phone, and you smile. It feels joyful.

As the weeks go on, your hips feel like they are dislocated at times. It’s hard to breathe, and heartburn comes along with everything you eat. You start waddling at times, especially when you are tired. It doesn’t feel joyful.

But all these things are relatively simple to get through. These difficult parts can be endured if your spirits are high. But what if your spirits aren’t high?

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What if you don’t feel happy? What if you feel depressed? Even though all your dreams are growing (literally!) before your very eyes, but you just can’t be happy about it? Friend, I have been there!

My second and third pregnancies were filled with days where I wanted to stay in my bed. I would be mad at people I love, or I would be hurt because I felt they didn’t care about me. So, I would cry. And cry, and cry.

Our church building is very old and beautiful. It is not traditional in its style and shape. There is a door right off the side of the platform that leads into the basement. During my second pregnancy, I would stand outside that door until time for me to come in and play the piano. I would cry and cry, until I had to go into the auditorium, then I would wipe my tears, plaster on a fake smile and sit down to play the hymns of the faith. I was miserable.

My third pregnancy was no better. Probably 6 out of the 9 months were spent being miserable.

And I will admit, sometimes I would wallow in my emotions, letting them control how I acted and treated others. But sometimes, I would give it my best shot. I would try to reach out to others, being kind to them. I would try to keep my chin up. I would try to pray without ceasing. But there were times that even my best efforts left me miserable. And no one knew, except that I appeared to be no fun anymore, and I can imagine some people thought, “What a baby!”

Physically, I can hardly complain about my pregnancies, but emotionally, they have been extremely difficult. Now I am in my fourth pregnancy, at almost 31 weeks. I have just been dragged through life at such an amazing speed that I haven’t had time to feel my emotions! But life has slowed down, and the emotions are setting in. This past Sunday was spent upset. But I don’t have much farther to go, and I am still busy, so I’m praying God delivers me for 10 more weeks!

So I share my own experiences, in hopes that there is some sweet expectant mother out there who needs to hear that she is not alone.

Things you can’t do:

  • Blame yourself!

You can’t blame yourself! Your hormones are changing every single day, and it’s hard for your emotions to keep up with that. Even on days when I try my hardest to keep my eyes on the Lord – listening to godly music, playing with my kids, I can still be miserable inside, despite my best efforts!

  • Do nothing!

Although it’s not your fault, you still can’t sit back and let your emotions run your life. Get control!

Things you can do:

  1. Truly seek God every day. He doesn’t want you to be miserable. He wants us to have abundant life – that’s why He came. Ask God to help you keep your eyes off yourself, and help you to see the big picture. You are still a Christian that needs to live for the Savior. You are still a mother with other children to raise. You still have a husband you need to be a help meet to. You still have a job in life.
  2. Rest. Sometimes our bodies do need to rest, and that’s okay. As busy as your hormones and emotions are, your body is just as busy. A new life is being created inside you, and your body is tired. Make sure you are resting.
  3. Eat healthy foods. I am the first to admit that I will cram a chocolate cupcake in my mouth when I am upset. But I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so that’s not an option for me anymore. And in just the few days I’ve been eating healthier, I have felt so much better. And it’s one less thing that can get me down. So, take care of your body!
  4. Get reinforcements. About a year ago, a young lady in our church asked if we wanted more children. At the time, I didn’t know if we did or not, but I had previously told her about my depression during pregnancy. She said, “Well, if you do, I’ll pray that you won’t be so depressed.” And you know what, I believe God answered her prayer. It is still so encouraging know that someone prayed for me. Ask for help! If you have family nearby, ask for help with the house, or the kids one day a week. If you let someone know how you’re feeling, you will be surprised how many will be glad to help.
  5. Keep your mind busy! I think this is one of the most important things for me to do when I am depressed. If I don’t have a busy mind, it will most definitely drift to the dark places I don’t want to be. Play upbeat music. I have some Bible Truth for Kids CDs. Even though they are for children, I find that if I play these sweet Scripture songs, I can instantly NOT feel depressed anymore. And my children are hearing God’s Word sung to them.  Listen to your favorite old sermons. I have done this many times, remembering how the sermons affected my heart then, and then again as I replay them. Play an old “Andy Griffith” that will make you laugh. I have done this many times. It just keeps my mind busy.
  6. Don’t forsake God’s house. Even if the preacher is your husband and you got mad at him last night! {sigh} God has something to teach you from His Word. And the last two Sundays, precious souls have been saved. I would hate to miss that! Go to church!

 

If you have a friend who is expecting, and she seems to be withdrawing, there is something you can do!

  • Pray for her.
  • Reach out to her. If you have never experienced depression, even in its mildest form, you cannot possibly understand. So instead of judging what she should be doing to help herself, decide that you are going to help her. A small hand-written card, or a pan of brownies can go a long way. Send her a facebook message, letting her know you are praying for her. Offer to watch her children one afternoon so she can take a nap. Don’t be afraid to reach out. She feels like no one cares.

Sometimes depression in pregnancy can lead to post-partum depression. That has never been the case for me, thankfully. As soon as the baby is born, I feel like a happy, new woman! But if you are doing your best to seek the Lord’s help, and keep your mind busy, and you’re still struggling, please get professional help! If there’s nothing else you can do to help yourself, it’s okay to ask for someone else’s help!

I pray this will help someone! I struggled through two very depressing pregnancies! But at the very least, this too shall pass. You can expect joy! This may be a difficult time, but I promise it will end!

imagesCAZ9M9MM❤ Joy

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6 thoughts on “Expecting Joy

  1. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. And the sweet words of encouragement. Pregnancy is so full of ups and downs. I can’t say I know exactly what you’re going through, but I did have a pretty hard time for a few weeks after James was born and was very fearful of having another baby because of it. With Andrew’s arrival any day I am not looking forward to the emotions but, as you said, this too shall pass. Praying you find joy in the next 10 weeks 🙂

  2. I am not one to post comments, but I wanted to say I am glad to see this post. I just had my third baby in September and the emotional problems that you were referring to is exactly what I struggled with really bad in this last pregnancy. It is good to know that I wasn’t going crazy! I am also like a new woman when the baby is finally born! So, thank you for the post!

  3. Thank you for posting this. I was a terribly sick pregnant woman with both pregnancies ( we lost the second at 21 weeks) and we were on deputation for the second. I am already worried about trying again and trying to do the deputation thing while I am scared to death about losing a baby again. I will have to reference this often!

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. I will pray for you as the Lord brings you to my mind. There are SO many fears in pregnancy and birth, aren’t there? We have had two miscarriages, and thankfully they were both very early. While not easy at all, I didn’t have as much time to dream and get attached to that sweet little life. Hold tight to the little one you have in your arms, and let God’s Word be your comfort! {hugs!}

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