The Hardest Thing I've Felt Called to Share
It was a Tuesday, I believe; for some reason I remember Tuesdays were often my worst days. I felt defeated. Soul weary. Completely empty. I nursed my baby boy, swaddled him, and laid him down for his morning nap. In the dark, with only white noise & his sweet, steady breathing in the background I knelt beside his crib and prayed. "God where are you? You say you love me and are always here, but you're not. I'm so done and don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to be here anymore."
Ending my life would be easy. And clean. I'd worked it out - no messes left behind. Timed just right, my son wouldn't be alone long before my husband got home with our daughter. My kids were so little, they'd never remember. And well, Keith deserved so much more in a wife anyway.
The darkness I sat in felt completely appropriate - the little embers left in me steadily dwindling down. I closed my eyes and immediately saw a vision of mountains and received strong, clear words in my heart: "Hold on." In an instant it was as if a fog began to lift, and I realized what was happening. I don't want to die. What was I thinking? How did I get here? In that moment, I didn't recognize myself. I was horrified and frozen in fear.
I ran to my phone and called my best friend, and praise God, she answered almost immediately. Normally we might wait for a quiet moment at the end of the day to catch up, so it was nothing to let a call go through with the intention to call back later. But on this particular mid-morning, she picked right up. I was sobbing uncontrollably and she said, "Oh pal. I don't know what to do. But I'm going to pray for you." And I wish I could remember what she said. Though I don't remember all the words, she fervently petitioned the Lord on my behalf. What I remember most, as I sit here tearfully trying to type it out, was that little fire that was about to go out began to flicker again.
I went months without thinking about that day, or truthfully, trying to block it out. I never had another thought of taking my life. To be honest, I still don't like thinking or talking about it, but feel led to share it now. So here we are - why I really came into birth work.
That November, when our kids were 2 and 8 months old, we moved to Birmingham from Tuscaloosa. It was a quick and unexpected move, and honestly we chose a home without much inspection or exploration of the area. I'd had them home by myself for a month while Keith lived in a hotel starting his new job, and we were just ready to be together as a family. And of course when you move, you have to take about a dozen or more trips to town for all the things you forgot or didn't realize you needed to set up your new home.
On my first solo trip to town, it was such a beautiful fall day. The sky was clear and the leaves still a palette of vibrant red, orange, & yellow. I rounded the curve out of our new neighborhood onto the main highway to make the short trip down the little mountain we live on. And as I viewed the panorama of foothills before me, I was reminded of the vision of mountains on that dark day months before, and heard in my spirit, "Remember when I said, 'Hold on?' This is the place where everything you've experienced will be used. This is the place where you will serve." In that moment, the feelings of fear and shame I carried over that day changed to peace and freedom. I laughed coming down that hill, and cried a little, too. I still didn't know what "serving" was supposed to look like, but if God was willing to pick me up off that floor in the dark, I trusted Him to make a way here, too.
one of my favorite songs "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle that was released the year after Meyer was born
Within the year, I began getting more inquiries about doula services and took on a few clients. A year after that, in 2020, I began to struggle keeping up with both my desk job and serving families in our community. And by 2021, I prayerfully left my design job for good to go all-in serving mothers prenatally and through postpartum. Now nearly 5 years after that gloomy Tuesday, I've been afforded the opportunity to directly serve hundreds of families both in person and virtually. All glory to God - because I can confidently share with you that I am not operating by my own talents or in my own strength.
And as much as I wouldn't want to go through all of that heartache again, I don't despise the experience. That is the place where I had nothing left; I reached the absolute end of myself. People use the term "rock bottom", but it was more like under the rocks at the bottom. I think that's where I had to be in order to be open to all that came next. God picked me up, dusted me off, put a vision in my heart, and through it all has reached thousands. I won't always get it right, but I do pray that I can always be a light - a vessel of His deep love, offering even glimmers of hope to fellow believers and non-believers alike.
Motherhood is beautiful. Dark. Joyful. Devastating. The greatest blessing and deepest challenge. And we were never meant to walk in any season alone. I realize that's why I am here, doing what I do. I've been blessed with the highest highs and lowest lows so that I can empathize with fellow moms - to help celebrate the good and hold space for the hard. Doulas are for every mom, every birth, every motherhood experience. I am so humbled and honored to be called to this assignment.
"Doulas are for every mom, every birth, every motherhood experience."
I was never given a definitive diagnosis of what I experienced. Some would say that it was an extreme case of postpartum depression because there were no hallucinations and psychosis is just so rare, while others would say that the manic mood swings from sincerely loving my life to planning to end it without remorse were, in fact, signs of postpartum psychosis. The thing is, I don't need a diagnosis; I just know that if it can happen to me, without the people close to me recognizing the severity, there are women around me likely suffering alone, too. I was often too afraid to talk about my experience because I felt like the people I loved would look at me differently. Or someone would take away my babies. Or families would never trust me to serve them. But I now recognize what I thought disqualified me, has really just qualified me all the more.
For more on PMADs, visit the Postpartum Support International website
If you or someone you love is presenting signs of PMADs, please share these resources.
-PSI HelpLine: 800-944-4773 -National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 833-943-5746 -National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
"I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 116:1-9
"I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done." Psalm 118:17
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