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Who I Became in the Pit: Finding Hope in the Darkness of Postpartum Depression

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The baby's cries woke me from my sleep.

I slowly opened my eyes and I tried to deny where I was.

It was cold and dark, and I was all alone. The fog was closing in all around me, my chest was tight and I could hardly breath, let alone see anything in front of me. I knew I needed to get up and try to feel my way around, but all I could think was how badly I wanted to lay there and close my eyes again. I just wanted to stay curled up on the floor because I didn’t know how to get out. And I was too afraid to try.

So, there I laid at the bottom of the pit.

I had been sliding down the walls of the pit for weeks. It was a slippery slope, and the more I slid, the more out of touch with reality I became. At first, I didn’t really notice what was happening or that the light was slowly fading around me. That was the thing. I didn’t end up at the bottom overnight. It was a slow fade, one that I had ignored for far too long.

What is wrong with me, why do I feel like this? I hadn’t really felt anything in far too long.

I stood up and tried to feel my way around the pit. I looked up and could only see shadows, there was no light. I could hear the cries of my baby and the laughter of my children echoing down the halls of the trenches. I knew I was supposed to run towards them, but instead I stumbled in the other direction. I tried to scream but nothing came out.

What kind of a mother doesn’t want to take care of her kids? I thought to myself as I reached my hands out into the darkness for the walls. I tried to find something, anything, to cling onto so I could climb and make my way out of the pit. Every time I thought I found something solid to hang onto, it would break off and I would find myself back on the floor of the pit once more. Voices raced through my mind, reminding me of the failure I was convinced I was.

Defeated.

Unworthy.

Scared.

Alone.

Ashamed.

Over and over again I tried to climb up out of the pit.

And over and over again I fell down onto the cold ground. And with each fall, I sunk deeper and deeper into the darkness that was consuming my mind and crippling my heart. But then one day, as I lay on that cold and lonely floor, something happened.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get out of here? Where is my joy? I cried out into the darkness.

I beat the floor and screamed trying to release the agony and loneliness that was paralyzing my heart; that’s when I felt something on the ground. And it was the something that changed everything.

It was small, only about the size of a mustard seed. But it was warm and familiar, and it glowed so dimly in the darkness. My lip quivered and my heart raced. I knew what it was.

Hope.

I sat down on my knees and cradled it in the palm of my hand, I was so afraid I would blot it out. I knew it was precious, and I had to protect it, so I put my little seed of Hope in my pocket and decided it was time to get up out of the pit.

The climb started out slow; there wasn’t much to hold onto. But with each step I took, I reached down and held onto my seed of Hope and was reminded that it would give me strength. The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and I continued to climb; each day it got a little easier to breathe. The voices of my children grew a little louder each day and as the light at the top of the pit grew a bit brighter, my eyes began to adjust to the light. And each time that I started slipping back down, I would reach into my pocket and pull out my seed of Hope — and every time I did, it was a little bigger than the last time I had felt it.

Hope was rising in me.

Victorious.

Worthy.

Courageous.

Seen.

Loved.

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The voices of darkness were slowly being replaced by the voices of Truth — who I truly was. The chaos was turning to calm, the darkness was fleeing before my eyes, and my soul was being restored, moment by moment, piece by piece.

The light was getting brighter; I could tell I was getting closer to the top of the pit. My heart was racing with a familiar excitement that I hadn’t felt in so long. That’s when I saw them.

Hands.

Three sets of tiny, chubby hands.

Reaching out as far as they could.

For me.

For their Mommy.

I clambered up the last few feet of the wall as fast as I could and grabbed onto their little hands as I pulled myself up over the edge of the pit. There was a familiar warmth shining on my face — it seemed like forever since I had felt the sun. Yet there it was; shining on me, shining on my babies.

“Mommy!” My babies squealed as they fell into my arms. “We knew you’d come back,” my daughter smiled as she cupped my face in her hands. As I sat there and held my babies, I reached back down into my pocket to pull out my seed of Hope, only to find it gone.

But it wasn’t really gone, was it? Because standing there with my children and looking back on just how far I had come and how dark the pain was, I realized that I had become something beautiful in the pit — something beautiful that could only come from something broken. My suffering in the pit had given way to perseverance; perseverance, to character; and character, to...

Hope.

I had emerged from the pit a beacon of hope. And hope will always drive out darkness, even in the deepest pit.

If you are walking through postpartum depression or anxiety, visit From Blacktop to Dirt Road. You can also find more encouragement from Lauren on Facebook.

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