My three year old loves for me to lay in bed with her at night while we say prayers- and for a little bit longer after that. I love snuggling with her. It’s such a good way to end our day, especially when these days are often filled with so much correction and coaching and discipline. Her love language is quality time, so just three minutes snuggling fills her tank up like nothing else.
One night when she didn’t want me to leave quite yet, she gave me the line, “But I’ll be alone,” with a pouty little lower lip protruding out.
Me: No, you’re not alone. You know God is here with you too. Always!
A: If He’s always here, then when am I alone?
Me: Exactly! You’re NEVER, EVER alone. Isn’t that wonderful?
Fast-forward 15 minutes: I’m scrolling through Instagram on the couch while hubby’s watching a football game. I love seeing all my friends’ pictures. Dogs, babies, vacations, and their stories. If you follow me on Insta you know I love Instastories. For some reason I felt the nudge to type into the search box (something I never do unless I’m looking for a person) #momlife. And my jaw dropped open when I saw the pictures that popped up on my phone!
First of all, girls, put on some clothes. The entire world does not need to have access to what you look like in a bra and panties, and I assure you that’s not #momlife. I’m laughing as I type this- #momlife is wearing your nursing bra well past the days of nursing and buying panties in a pack of 4 from Target. Speaking of nursing, I’m all for breastfeeding, I nursed my babies well past a year and nursed in public, but for real, if you’re going to post yourself nursing on instagram, you can do it in a modest way that will actually encourage and promote acceptance of breastfeeding rather than mostly just show us how full your girls are these days.
Did I digress…?
Anyway, once I moved past that little eye opener, I noticed how perfect all those photos looked. I scrolled myself down through all the little squares of images to find one picture that looked like someone had actually taken it themselves and not been professionally photographed. I eventually found one and the instagramer appeared to live in Spain.
Well the comparison game started to try to sneak its way into my worn-out-mama-mind. All these scantily clad mamas had perfect bodies, perfect skin, and apparently the world’s most incredible dry shampoo because my hair only looks that good in the few hours in between when my stylist does it, and I wash it that night.
Little known fact, the comparison game has a name, and it’s called Shame.
And Shame has a super power: she makes you feel alone.
And alone is a very scary place.
I’ve felt it. You’ve felt it, I’m sure. It’s one of the most paralyzing feelings I’ve ever experienced. When you feel like there is no one like you, no one on your team, no one who understands, no one who cares, or no one you can trust.
I’ve never completely opened up about how alone I felt in the darkest days of my journey through postpartum depression. And, spoiler alert, I’m not going to in this post. But Shame yelled at me every day. She told me lie after lie after lie. She even twisted Scripture to make me feel even more defeated… even more alone. She also used well-offered words from Believers to belittle me and my feelings.
A very dear friend of mine who also struggles with postpartum depression said it so perfectly to me the other day, “Lindz, gosh, if I could change it I would.”
These were the same words I’d said over and over again at the beginning of my journey. I just couldn’t get out of it. Nothing was working. All of the *right* things weren’t boosting me out of the drowning waters I was sinking farther and farther into.
And then this amazing thing happened when I started sharing how I felt with other, safe, people… I realized I wasn’t alone.
This is probably the best place to interject that I never felt like God had forsaken me. I never felt the absence of His presence. But I felt alone in my struggle, shameful to be in that struggle, and Shame reinforced the whole mess of it to me every day.
When I came to realize that this wasn’t an isolated-Lindsay experience, that other God-fearing, Jesus-loving, Holy Spirit-filled women had walked an identical journey, Shame lost her grip.
Her name is Shame, and she’s an enemy’s weapon.
I thought I’d shook her, and there, as I sat on the couch with my husband that night, she tried to work her way back in through a medium that I am currently seeking to reach women through. Not for likes or follows, but so women will know they’re not alone. So they can call out Shame when she speaks and send that little demoness back to Hell where she belongs.
He didn’t die for us so we could live in her shadow. He died for us so we could live.
You’re not alone sweet friend, and it’s going to get better. I’m going to share a lot more about Shame here, so if this topic or the topic of postpartum depression or mental health is of any interest to you, be sure to follow the blog via email (there’s a nifty box up to the right you can put your email address into) for updates when new posts are up.
Until next time,