On October 4th, 2012, my first and only beautiful baby was born. Delivered and put on my chest to see my sweet girl for the first time, just to be pulled away quickly as things did not go as planned for me post-delivery. Later, I find out I was hemorrhaging and moments away from an emergency hysterectomy when my doctor got the bleeding to stop. I ended up getting four units of blood, felt great, and was in my new world with my incredible husband and healthy baby girl. All was well when we got home until, very quickly, it was not.
What I first believed was the typical rush of postpartum hormone ups and downs very quickly turned into debilitating anxiety and depression so deep, I did not want to hold my perfect angel of a newborn baby. I would look in the mirror and tell myself, “Sarah, you are fine. Your baby is perfect, and your husband is amazing.” But nothing could shake the anxiety and fear I was holding. Is this my new life? Will I feel this way forever?
I told my husband, my mother, and my doctor what I was feeling right away and started to get the help I needed. During this time, I clung so tightly to my faith in God and some days had to choose to believe it would get better even though, in the very back of my mind, I let the fear fester and grow. Healing from postpartum depression and anxiety is not fixed overnight. It takes time… time to heal, time (in my case) to let medicine take effect, time with my therapist and LOTS of time in prayer. My family jumped right in and I will forever have gratitude in my heart for their unwavering care, concern, and willingness to help.
I read the bible verse, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) multiple times a day. In a month’s time, I was coming out of the depression and diving right into my new role as a mother… AND loving it! I wish I could tell you the fear of depression and anxiety left me completely, however, I still have moments to this day where that time affects my life. Moments when I let fear give me doubt about my abilities as a mother. However, I reflect on what I have overcome and how the Lord has used that time in my life to help others in the midst of depression and anxiety. I turn the fear of my hardship into the power of helping others. I remember my God saying, “Do not be afraid” and I trust in His unfailing love. Even in my darkest days, I got to have hope in a brighter future because I know the love of God.
Love your neighbor, no exceptions… because you never know what kind of day they are having.
– Sarah Cohea, Edmond Campus Director of Youth Ministry