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Inked: Part 4

Picture of Rowan is courtesy of Sarah Budd over at Sarah Grace Photography

Part 4 begins three weeks after Rowan was born. 

All of the family that came to visit had left. Thanksgiving came and went. Erik left for a conference he had to attend in Reno.

And this is where I lost control.

I had been experiencing pretty negative feelings leading up to this point, but it all came to a head one night while Erik was gone. In the weeks prior to my breaking point, I felt suffocated by guilt. I felt like a failure as a mother. As a wife. I don't know why or how it all started, and doctors say there's no rhyme or reason to it, it just happens to some women. But the guilt, pressure and feeling like I was out of control of my emotions had finally caught up to me. For as long as I live, I'll never forget that dark night.

I had finally achieved sleep with Rowan... he was quiet in his Moses basket in our bedroom. I'm not sure of the thought process that led to that moment, but I remember sitting on my bathroom floor with about 30 different pain pills in my hand, ready to take them all in a single swallow. I was crying uncontrollably. I couldn't handle the feelings anymore. I felt so guilty for feeling the way I did. I wanted everything to end. I had somehow convinced myself that Erik and Rowan would be better off without me around.

I'm now convinced that the Lord rescued me in that moment. Somehow, I snapped out of the black vortex of guilt and stared intently at the pills in my hand. My mouth dropped open. What was I doing?! What was I thinking?! I dropped the pills. They scattered all over the cold tiles on the floor. I cried some more.

Erik came home a couple of days later. We were in our room, getting ready for bed. I picked up the bottles of pain medication off our bathroom counter and handed them to him. I said, "It's probably best if you take these." Immediately thinking about his family's history with addiction, he asked me "Are you having a problem with these?" I responded, "Not the kind of problem you're thinking about." I started to cry. "I had them all in my hand the other night. I was ready to take them. I'm not safe around them." He held me... much tighter than usual. He spent the rest of that night holding me, making sure I was always at arm's-reach.

I called a therapist & my doctor the next morning.

My diagnosis was obvious. Severe postpartum depression. At least the black vortex from hell now had a name to it.

There's not much to say except that I battled for three long, painful and excruciating months.

Erik, like the incredible pillar of strength that he is, took all of the abuse in stride. I would say horrible things when I was in my vortex. I would lash out. I would cry. I was inconsolable. I was stricken and paralyzed with guilt. But we pressed on and we did it together. Most of the time, I needed to be pushed and pulled. Before long, I was able to detach myself from the PPD. I could speak about it objectively in the moments I was feeling normal. I put defenses in place to help me avoid bad moments. I had a support system... a small and intimate one, but worth their weight in gold.

I battled hard. I worked through a lot in my therapy sessions. I talked about the depression, even though I never wanted to. My friends were relentless in their care and concern. It took a lot of love, a lot of understanding, and an overflow of God's faithfulness to get me through the darkest time of my life.

My darker moments of anger and guilt became less and less with each small step I made towards recovery. Slowly, but very surely, I was starting to gain back what was lost in the darkness: Hope.

Hope and reassurance started to return with every shuffle, with every gentle push from Erik, with every loving pull from my friends.

Then, it was right before Valentine's Day. My therapist said, "You have made a full and remarkable recovery."

I shared the news with my closest friends. One of them asked me how I felt. I said "Free. Healed. Rescued."

She replied. "Praise God. Amen."

Amen, indeed.

NOTE: I am not a therapist or physician. But if you would like to talk about postpartum depression, I am always happy to offer encouragement and share more about my own experience.


  1. Wow. This is an incredible, and probably incredibly hard, story to share. Thank you for sharing and hopefully your struggles will bring you and other women in this position strength and hope.

  2. wow - thanks for sharing. i'm so glad you had such a great support group around you.

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  4. Thank you for being real and vulnerable. God is faithful and I'm encouraged.

  5. Oh my gosh. . .I am crying for you as I read this. I two suffered from PPD although not as badly as you did. I didn't have the courage to even speak about it until my SECOND pregnancy. But it is posts like this one that, if read by someone who needs it, will literally change lives. So awesome. . .thank you for sharing!!!