I remember the deep and cold winter that followed the birth of my son. He was born during a snowy Colorado winter, and for reasons beyond my understanding that ice seemed to permeate more than just the exterior of my home. While I felt this incredible wonder and deep wild love for this little creature I also found myself plagued with dark and nightmare-ish thoughts. Thoughts so awful that to this day I dare not give them life through word or repetition.
These secret hidden away thoughts began crumbling my mind, body and soul. By day I nursed my new babe, snuggled in bed, kissed his feet, and sang him tone-deaf lullabies. By night I tossed in bed, body dripping with hormonal sweat, exhaustion trickling into dreams blurring the lines between reality and otherwise. As this winter wore on I weakened. I could no longer handle the infantile wails of my precious little one. I lay him in his bed, sat on the other side of his bedroom door and wept. I lost my appetite and desire to connect with the outside world.
Feigning for normalcy I played hostess-with-the-mostess anytime a friend would come over. I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t rest, I couldn’t be a peace with the dish in the sink, I couldn’t accept help when offered. I had to do it all, and all alone. As winter turned to spring outside my window I sunk into deeper darkness.
I couldn’t understand the source the dark thoughts haunting me. I was so happy and in love with my bright eyed angel, and yet so terrified by the darkness his birth had unleashed within myself. I had heard about postpartum depression and hormonal imbalance but even a trip to the pharmacy with script in hand didn’t lift the haze. It was a some fifteen months, a move over the Rockies and a career shift that slowly began to heal me.
I filled up with new and exciting things and somehow there wasn’t that quiet space to be attacked available, I moved on without seeing the bigger picture. Four years later, I nurse another new baby. I kiss her head under the light of the moon. And when exhaustion strikes I realize something that was just outside my understanding the first go around, this battle is so much more than just of the flesh, it is of the mind as well. When I find those thoughts sneaking in, when fear or worse wants to take over I call out and verbally ask God to purify my mind. I remind myself that we are not to be given to a spirit of fear, that God will renew my mind. This fresh understanding frees me.
No longer do I have to slink away, hiding guilt. I can embrace my utter lack of perfection, I can ignore the dishes in the sink, I can relax when a friend comes to call, and I can thwart darkness with light. When thoughts sneak up with the intention of damaging I rebuke them, in silence I’m screaming “get behind me Satan”. I approach it like a war cry, never giving life to the darkness but stomping it out as if it were hot coals. And I repeat, Lord renew my mind, renew my mind.
Romans 12:2 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.