Sunday, February 1, 2015

4 Ways to Avoid Depression after Miscarriage

When I was a child I started struggling with depression and anxiety.  I fought depression for more than twenty years before receiving healing from the Lord a couple years ago.  When Faith died I knew I couldn't go back in that pit of fear and sadness.  I knew I would grieve and have sad times but the hopeless, helpless sadness of depression was not where I needed to go.

I couldn't go back to that place because I knew God wanted better for me....couldn't because my husband and six year old daughter deserved better from me....couldn't because I wouldn't be able to honor the memory of my baby girl with my life if I wasn't living my life.

So I knew I needed to take steps to prevent falling into anxiety and depression if I was going to make it to the other side of the devastation I was feeling.  I did 4 things to help myself walk through the grief I was feeling.

1.  I walked

I had spent four months pregnant, sick and exhausted followed by an emotionally exhausting second half of December.  My body was worn out and out of shape.  I wasn't physically fit before pregnancy either.  So I started small, but I walked.  You can read about my walking here.

2. I showed up

It would've been really easy to avoid events.  People expected it and were surprised when I came to things.  I didn't miss a Sunday at church after Faith died.  It was difficult and I've shed tears every Sunday at church but they were healing tears because God was healing my heart.  I continued to attend my Sunday night bible study.  I found things to get me out of the house each day.  I planned a brunch for the women at church.  I offered to co-lead a women's bible study on Thursday mornings.  Today I started working in the Toddler room and carried on conversations with two different parents about the babies they were still expecting, due about the same time I was.  Showing up is HARD and emotionally exhausting, especially at first.  But it is worth it.

3. I talked about my baby

I talk to everyone about my baby.  I shared her hand and foot prints, showed pictures of her hands and feet, shared about how beautiful she was, talked about the ultrasound where Faith waved and smiled at us, and shared with others things that made me sad.  Faith is a part of my husband and I, the second child in our family.  We never brought her home but we will never forget her.  To honor her place in our family, we speak about her to others and keep her memory alive.

4. I clung to God

This is the most important thing I've done to avoid depression and anxiety.  I've been reading my bible daily.  I've spent hours and hours in prayer.  Two different bible studies with two different books to read each week...journaling pages and pages of notes about scripture.  If I hadn't clung to God the first three things would never have been successful in helping.  I need God so I can get out the door and walk.  I need God so I can show up to events.  I need God to talk to others about my baby.  I need God so I don't spend all day, every day curled up in bed sleeping and crying.

There have been days I've slept in after struggling with grief in the night.  There are times when I cry on my husband's shoulder.  I don't understand why this happened.  I do know that God is carrying me through this and that I've got to cling to Him and keep on walking, talking, and showing up.  My life and my family depend on it.

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