“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. A “you can do it” when things are tough.” - Richard M DeVos “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”
- Nelson Mandela About 3 years ago, I fell into the deepest pit I could imagine. It all began when I was a little girl really, when all I would do is dream about growing up and becoming a wife and a mommy. Sure, I had dreams of being a veterinarian and a baseball player, but being a mom was my #1 wish. My mom is one of eleven children, and though I have an older brother, he is much much older and I often felt like an only child because he was not always around. I desperately yearned for siblings who were close to me and because of this I knew that when I grew up I wanted to have a big family.
When Rick and I got married, we would talk about having kids and I remember telling him how badly I wanted at least 4 - and I wanted to have one baby every year! To say that I had no clue what I was talking about is an understatement. Looking back at that, I can only laugh at my silly innocent self. I had no idea how difficult having and raising babies was. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why women had postpartum depression when the “happiest event of their lives” had just taken place. I had no clue the toll pregnancy and childbirth could take on your body and mind. Fast forward to 2017, we had two amazing daughters and our youngest was almost 3. Despite having difficulties (insomnia, anxiety, etc) after giving birth to them, my heart longed for another baby. Hubby wasn’t thrilled at the prospect but we continued to pray (and I continued to nag). I felt strongly that God was telling me we were going to be pregnant in February of 2018 and of course I was very excited! Unfortunately, when that time came, it wasn’t at all like I had imagined. Very early on in my pregnancy I began having insomnia, intense anxiety, and panic attacks every night. I began to believe the lie that I wasn’t cut out to be a mama and that I didn’t enjoy it at all and what was I doing having another baby? The beginning of my pregnancy was the beginning of a nightmarish journey through severe prenatal depression and anxiety. I was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward that Easter, and then again a couple months later, and then again a couple months after that. It is so difficult to put into words all that went on during this time. I was in a constant state of panic, telling myself that I did not want my baby and couldn’t care for her. In turn this made me more depressed, because how could I say that I didn’t want my own baby and did not want to take care of my beautiful daughters? How could the amazing family I had prayed for since I was a little girl and finally had be slipping through my hands? I was going to lose everything I had wanted for so long and I couldn’t understand why. I truly believed my life as I knew it was over. I was mad. Mad at God. I had no hope, because the worst and defining characteristic of anxiety and depression is the complete lack of it. So in my darkest time, the hope, and the one thing (God) that should have been carrying me through it all, was non-existent. How could God let me go through this and why wasn’t He healing me? Would I feel like this for the rest of my life, and what did my future hold? It all felt like a very cruel joke to me. The beautiful and ironic twist to it all is that here I sit 3 years later, and all I can see looking back at that time is HOPE. When I think of the darkness, the misery and the pain, I see blinding, infinite, undeniable hope. I was mad at God, but He was not mad at me and He was not giving up on me. He was providing in very tangible ways. If I had to give the one overriding thing that got me through this difficult journey, it was absolutely hope from the people God put in my path every step of the way. From my amazing husband and family, to the very first hospital visit where random patients told me that my child was a very specific gift from God, to my amazing friend who had God tell her the name of our baby (Eden) and that when I gave birth I would be healed, to friends who provided child care and meals and PRAYERS and visits, to sweet and amazing mamas who I met along the way who had suffered just as I had who wouldn’t cease cheering me on and telling me that I was going to get better. You see, sometimes you aren’t the one who has hope. Sometimes it’s others who have to lend it to you. Sometimes they need to speak it to you every day, sometimes on the hour or minute, because each breath you take depends on it. God knew that I couldn’t bare to come close enough to Him for the hope I needed and He knew I didn’t have it inside of me. However, He knew that there were specific people who could give it to me. They were literally the fuel that kept me fighting and the oxygen that kept my blood pumping, because deep down I knew I had to get back to everything I had ever wanted and dreamed of my entire life. For that I am thankful beyond words every day. It is true that I began to heal as soon as Eden was born, and to this day she is a balm to our souls. She makes us laugh and smile (and sometimes want to pull our hair out) and we can’t imagine our lives without her. She has completed our family. When I look back at that dark time in my life, I don’t have remorse or regret because I only see the beauty in how God provided throughout it all, SO MUCH HOPE!
- Cori Maffett