Becoming a Warrior Mother

I haven't written in a while, but tonight, I felt the urge. :) I've enjoyed listening to the LDS General Conference this weekend (check it out here if you want), and have been very lifted and inspired by many of the messages shared. Two messages particularly, about mothers and women, really spoke to me and lifted me up, the first being by Elder Jeffrey R Holland, Behold Thy Mother, and the second by President Russell M Nelson, A Plea To My Sisters.

It's no big secret to anybody that knows me, or has read my blog in the past 18 months, that the past year and a half has been difficult for me as a mother and a human being. Having children has been one of the most rewarding, terrifying, exhilarating, frustrating, wonderful things of my life. I think most parents will say this.

I have spent these past 18 months sifting my way through postpartum depression, but I feel and know that I have done it always with faith and perseverance. In the beginning, it was for the sake of my sons. And then it became for the sake of myself, in order to become the mother I am continuing to become not only for them, but for me.

I know I have written about my postpartum journey quite a bit on here, and some people may be sick of it, but it is the truth, it is MY truth, and I'm not afraid to speak the truth. It is strange to look back on the past 18 months with so many mixed emotions. When I think of everything that has gone on within myself, and even outside myself these past 18 months, I have emotions of extreme sadness, complete loneliness, regret, anger, frustration, and heart breaking sorrow. But then I also have emotions of healing, comfort, release, acceptance, gratitude, joy, and peace.

I appreciated that many of the speakers this weekend noted that life is hard. That all of us will go through trials, many of them, if we are lucky enough to live a long life. And that is okay, because this is what life is about, growing, changing, progressing. And we cannot do any of this if we do not experience times of trial, whatever they may be and however severe.

When my first son was born, I feel like I had an instant connection with him, mostly because I knew who he was before he ever came here (long story). I knew who he was, I knew what his name should be, without a doubt. I knew he would be tender-hearted and would have an old soul. I knew I loved him more than anything. We were little soul mates. Things were still difficult after he was born. I realize now I had Postpartum Anxiety after his birth and extreme insomnia (which goes with the anxiety). But for the most part, I was in new mother heaven. He was my buddy, we did everything together, went everywhere together. He will always be so special to me, because he made me a mother.

When my second son was born, none of these things happened for me, because of the postpartum depression, which I obviously did not ask or expect to happen. My hormones decided it would be awesome to go postal and do their own thing. I remember I would stare at Willem and think he was so handsome, so cute, so precious and sweet ... and then nothing else. There was no connection to him, not like I had with Jack. I had no idea who he was. I felt like a failure, like I had let this innocent little baby boy down. Willem came into this world on his own terms and has done everything that way. But he also came into my life with a very serene, calm and yet also energetic, joyous spirit. God KNEW that I needed this boy and that having him would change my life, drastically. He knew I needed to be so completely broken, in order to begin to be shaped into something totally different and better. I just didn't know that, yet.

Sometimes I feel robbed and cheated out of the first 8 1/2 months of his life. I loved him so much and did everything within my personal power to care for him and love him. It was one of the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. Unless you have experienced it, I will never be able to fully explain what it was like trying to love and take care of a newborn and a 2 1/2 year old in the midst of the deepest, darkest time of my life. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that God and my own personal angels helped get me out of bed every single day and do my best to try to put the storm that was raging in my brain and my body at bay so I could care for my little guys.

With the help of medication, talking often with a therapist that dealt with Postpartum Depression, talking to my sister and sister-in-law often, and the absolute love of my enduring husband, I made it through. I sit here writing this tonight, a year and half after it all began, almost done weaning myself off of my medication now, with a heart and mind that are both at peace. The storms that have raged so violently in both of them have ceased. And I know it has been most importantly my Savior, Jesus Christ and his Atonement that has been the cornerstone that has really pulled me through, and has given and continues to daily give me the peace and guidance I seek.

This is why Elder Holland's and Elder Nelson's talks spoke to me so personally this weekend. This quote specifically from Elder Holland touched me:
Courtesy of -

As I rocked my beautiful, sweet Willem baby to sleep tonight, because he doesn't feel good, I sat in the dark in his room, holding him, pondering the messages I have heard this weekend and how they have and will affect my life. I realized that I DO have a special connection with Willem, and always will. While Jack made me a mother, Willem is the one that has made me a Warrior Mother (a term used for mothers who have recovered from Postpartum Depression), has made me begin to really become the mother and person I feel I am meant and want to be.

Now when I look back on the past 18 months, I can see it through the eyes of this quote. I was doing better than I thought I was. I did believe in God and I did believe in myself, and my ability, through Him and professional help and personal support, to recover. I am at peace.

* If you know anyone that is struggling or has struggled with Postpartum Depression, please, please do not ignore it. Get them support and help immediately.
Here is a link to Postpartum Support International, a site that helped me greatly.


Camille Hammond said…
Thanks for sharing Suzie! Love you!

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