Struggles and Support: May 2024 Everyday Faith Calendar

April 19, 2024 Adele Werner

May isn’t just the month of Mother’s Day; it is also Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. Before I became a mother, I thought that the conversation surrounding maternal mental health simply wasn’t all that different from everyday normal mental health conversations. I’m not sure there was any way to prepare me for the shift that would take place immediately after giving birth. I’ve started to tell others that I see God’s faithfulness so clearly in labor, delivery, and postpartum—but what I don’t often say is exactly why.

God in Physical Health

In Genesis 3:16, God says to Eve (and all women) that He would “multiply your pain in childbearing” as a result of her disobedience. I think any woman who has been pregnant will understand that curse. Both of my children’s births have included pain and suffering of some sort, whether it was a 48-hour labor or an emergency C-section and NICU stay. But in those moments, I could clearly see that God had placed us not only in the right place at the right time but also with the right people.

Isaiah 25:1 says, “O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt You; I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” For my most recent daughter, I was already at the hospital when I passed out. Through this, we discovered that I needed to deliver her that day. Not only that but our close friend was already scheduled to work in the hospital that night. When my daughter was rushed to the NICU following delivery, my husband felt comfortable going with her because I was not alone—my friend was there! That was clearly not the way we had planned it, so we are so grateful and quite honestly in awe of how God orchestrated that.

God in Mental Health

It is estimated that one in ten women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. One recent study claims that the rate is actually one in seven women.1 Either way, I am one of those women.

I always knew that having a child would drastically change me, but I thought that meant I would joyfully lose sleep and control over how I spend my time. What I didn’t account for was how it would actually feel—especially with the hormonal shifts amplifying every emotion. The day we brought our firstborn daughter home from the hospital, I felt like the floor had dropped out from under me. I had this new, perfect baby who needed me all the time, but I had gone through so much since labor had started that Monday. By the time we left the hospital on Thursday, her second day of life, I had slept maybe twelve hours total over those days. I needed to sleep—but as soon as I would try to, I’d feel my fight-or-flight instincts kick in. Instead of falling into peace the way sleep normally feels, it felt like I was falling into panic. When I would wake up from napping, I would shake and shake. I was being pulled from a nightmare into immediately being needed. It felt so painful. The thought of having another night of no sleep was too much for me to handle. I just wanted the pain to end. I was at a complete breaking point. It’s the lowest I’ve ever felt.

I praise God that the Holy Spirit nudged me to tell my husband and to get professional help for the anxiety and depression I was experiencingAdding a baby to your family is a big life change, and I wasn’t prepared for how it would affect my mental health. While I was aware of postpartum depression, I wasn’t aware of how quickly and intensely it could come on.

My husband and I had to figure out the best ways for him to support me. We’d prepared for how he could do this during labor and delivery, but not for postpartum. Some of the actionable ways this occurred were dictated by the things the newborn needed. Baby hungry/thirsty? Mama probably needed water or a snack as well. This was a big one for me; it took a while for my appetite to return. My husband took over meals and made sure I got to eat them warm. He would take a fussy baby or would make sure I fed her before dinner. He took the baby as often as he could to let me shower, rest, or run an errand. And I didn’t always have to ask him; he would often remind me to. It wasn’t easy for him to watch me go through this; he was adjusting as well. I thank God for providing my husband with patience and stability during this time.

I’ll never forget about how God worked through our local church to support my family during this time. Many churchgoers lament the lack of young families in church, and many non-churchgoing young families lament the lack of a village to help them through their parenthood journey. My prayer is that, as the church, we would come up with creative solutions to this, that we would be the village for these young families, sacrificing some time and material goods for the sake of loving others. From having people to stay with us through the night until my mom could make it to us to so much food we could barely fit it all in our fridge. From teaching us tried and true parenting tips to loads of dirty laundry that were suddenly clean. I look back and see how God worked, and I am in awe at how He held me through it all.

God in the Conversation

Scripture shows us that God cares about our sorrow. Psalm 56:8 states, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” In this verse, we see God described as honoring our mental health in a tender and intimate way. He sees our struggle, He holds it, and He doesn’t ask us to hide it away by ourselves. In fact, Jesus Christ suffered intensely on the cross for our mental health struggle. He has victory over it as the risen King. And Jesus will return to make all things right. Our hope through hard things is in that.

It took me a while to not feel guilty for my mental health struggles. If I’m being honest, I still have days where this guilt rears its head and tells me I have failed my family. And God, who is faithful and just, sees me and is with me. In motherhood and fatherhood, the pressure to give your children better than the best you can is heavy, and the devil likes to remind you how you’re failing at being the perfect parent. God sees your heavy load. In Isaiah 43:2, His Holy Word reminds us that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.”

He is with us. He sees our struggle and honors it. Rest in that.


Scripture: ESV®.

With this month’s Everyday Faith Calendar, dig into verses where we see God honoring our sorrows and His tenderness in holding us.

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