Overcoming Postpartum Depression

Overcoming Postpartum Depression – by Christa Ashworth

My Story of overcoming postpartum depression:

I was really looking forward to being a mom.  I had my first baby when I was 27 years old, and I felt like I could conquer the world.  I had been able to do almost everything I had put my mind to up until this point in my life, so when I experienced struggle after struggle with my newborn, I started to fall apart.  A few weeks after my daughter was born, I could feel myself slipping into some cloud of darkness.  I was experiencing all the new mom things like not sleeping, not showering and not having a moment to call my own – but also an underweight infant who had breastfeeding problems.  And my hormones must have been in total revolt against me.  I wanted to curl up into a ball on my bathroom floor and never see the world again.

I have walked with the Lord and called Jesus my Savior from childhood.  He and I had a vibrant relationship and I served in every church I attended throughout my life.  But this depression that had taken up residence in me seemed to overshadow everything.  I didn’t realize I was depressed for a long time; I just knew I hated my life, I was so overwhelmed with my baby and I couldn’t stand my husband.  Nothing made me feel better.

My Doctor’s Advice for Overcoming Postpartum Depression

I told my doctor how things were going when I went to my six-week checkup after delivery, and she nonchalantly wrote me a prescription for an anti-anxiety/antidepressant drug and sent me home with some samples.  I was a little offended that she thought I was so far gone that I needed medication…  But I decided it couldn’t hurt anything or make it worse for me than things already were, so I tried the samples for a couple of weeks.  I never could see any change in how I felt over that time and I decided not to fill the prescription. (Little did I know that it takes longer than a couple of weeks for the medication to really kick in and start helping…)

Fast-forward through months of frustration, tears, marriage problems, colicky baby and hating life.  That brought me to another breaking point.  I had gotten worse – hard mood swings, crying most of the time and not able to do anything but make sure my baby was alive and cared for.  My husband kept asking me to fill the prescription or get help from someone, so I caved and started taking Lexapro regularly.  Honestly, I thank God for that!  I don’t know why I resisted it so much – other than the fact that I was not in my right mind.  The antidepressants helped level me out so that I could function.  I was able to get myself together and take care of our home.  I was able to look at my husband and have a civil conversation, and that was a huge improvement over what we had been doing.  I felt almost like a normal human being again!

But, after a year of being on the medication, I sensed a familiar darkness creeping in on me again.  I told my husband about it and he very gently asked if I would consider having someone at our church pray for me about it.  I looked at him as if he were an idiot and said something like, “No!  It’s just a medication problem.  I just need to change what I’m taking.”  He dropped the conversation for a few weeks.

Then, Round 147 of our conversation about how I’m not doing very well…he gently asked me again if I would consider letting someone pray for me about it.  Out of sheer frustration, I said yes, and we made plans to go forward for prayer at the very next church service we could.

That particular church service took an unexpected turn: instead of opening the altar at the end for ministry, the visiting pastor told us all to get in small groups and pray for each other’s needs.  I could feel the hairs bristle on the back of my neck.  I wasn’t about to lay out my deepest struggles for these unfamiliar people to get involved in!  Well, almost everyone in the circle had asked for prayer about something, and it was finally my turn to speak.  In a split second, I decided to go for it and I simply said, “I have been struggling with depression and I would like prayer for that.”  At that moment, I felt those sweet people’s hands touching my shoulders and my back, and prayers like incense started rising to heaven.  I cannot recall what anyone actually said, but I vividly remember what happened inside me.  As they prayed, it felt like a giant iron claw was being pulled out of my heart.  I felt a heaviness lift off of me, and I could feel the void where those talons had dug into me – and then the love of God came flooding in, filling up those places.  I really thought I was floating off the floor after that!  I could see differently—with my physical eyes—like someone had turned on brighter lights all of a sudden.  I kept doing an internal systems-check to see if the old familiar darkness would suddenly re-engage.  But it did not!  I experienced freedom that night like I had never known it before.

I almost couldn’t believe it—but it was so real.  My husband saw an instant change in me, too.  Over the following days and weeks, I got better and better, and my cheerful personality came back in full force.  I was laughing again and I was able to love my husband and my daughter without the unwanted visitor of depression in the way.  I learned how to use praise as a weapon to fight off any little creepers of that old darkness and how to stay in the light.  I learned that depression is a multi-layered thing and it affects you in spirit, soul and body.  I had to fight it on all three levels and let the Lord come in and do His work in me so I could live in freedom.  I had to care for my body by resting, eating healthy food and staying active.  I had to care for my soul by filling it with Scripture, by bowing in worship and dancing in praise to God.  And I had to care for my spirit by intentionally staying connected to the Holy Spirit at all costs.

I am happy to report that today, I am the most joyful I have ever been in my life.  That battle of overcoming postpartum depression was almost 15 years ago, and it seems like a distant memory.  God is so good, and He has used that experience in my life to take me to an amazing place with Him.  I pray that wherever you are today, you will open up and let Him shine His light into your darkness.



3 replies
  1. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I so appreciate your willingness to share. Why do we feel like a failure if we need medication for depression? We wouldn’t feel that way if we had cancer. When I moved to Sugar Land a few years ago, I battled depression. I, too, was resistant to medication, but finally caved. The Lord also delivered me!

  2. La Shai Hamilton
    La Shai Hamilton says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your illustrations of your life. I could just picture a hurting Crista, but Praise God for the alive and well Crista that knows how to speak life over herself and has become such a cheerleader for others. Your story shines light on such a challenging subject in many people’s lives. Thank you! I love you
    La Shai


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  1. […] there for her when she reached her darkest hours in the grips of postpartum depression. Lisa knows what it means to feel tired and lost and hopeless, and with Restore, she seeks to show women how God sees all they do, from diaper changing to […]

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