A Mother’s Heart Gripped by Darkness

Olivia Brinker

In high school, I was that girl who cared about nothing more than finding a man, getting married, and having babies (a lot of babies). I thought I was built for it. I was sure that being a wife and mother would just come naturally to me, that my husband would love me well, and I would raise, literally, perfect kids.

Only one thing has come naturally and almost perfectly for me and that was my physical ability to ‘house’ and deliver three beautiful babies. The rest seems like my worst nightmare.

I want to talk about the reality that I, and so many others, hadn’t planned for when starting the journey of motherhood.

My third baby, my longed for baby boy, was placed in my arms after an incredible delivery. His sisters, a sensitive 3 year old and a spunky 18 month old, were on their way to meet the one who would complete our family. I was anxious. Still, after already having two toddlers, I expected perfection. This would very quickly spiral into one of the darkest periods of my life.

I wasn’t happy. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my sweet baby and his sisters, but it seemed like everything they did made me burn with anger. The girls would come to my bedside asking for breakfast and my head wouldn’t even be off the pillow before my harsh words would start spewing towards their sweet, undeserving faces. I hated myself, but I didn’t know how to stop it.

I knew and heard so many stories of women with postpartum depression, but to say I was struggling with it felt like another excuse for my behavior.

I hit rock bottom hard when my 3 year old started crying over everything and losing her independent spirit, my 18 month old was biting and scratching and angry, and my baby screamed all day long. I couldn’t breathe, my head ached, and my ability to see anything good in my surroundings had completely disappeared.

It took my husband calling me ugly to realize how right he was. I had to do something to save my family. None of them deserved this. Even though I knew he wouldn’t fully understand, I needed to talk to my husband, to completely tear down my wall of pride and let him see my almost blackened heart. If he didn’t know the extent of my feelings, how could he walk through it with me?

Once I had the support of my husband, I was able to see clearly that even he couldn’t make my dark world brighter. The Lord, who I had leaned on for all of my seemingly small trials, was waiting for me to once again give Him control. I started praying big, specific prayers. I needed peace in the morning, when I didn’t want to get out of bed and feed my kids. I needed patience when all three of them desired my attention and I honestly didn’t want to give it to any of them. But mostly, I needed grace when my need to take control quickly ruined each passing day.

Here is the great thing about our Father though: when I have no patience, He still does. As long as my desperate prayers are lifted up, He continues to work in my heart.

I can’t say I have it all together. There is still a lot of darkness in my days, but my ability to see the light is becoming easier. Every once in a while I can even love on my baby and give my girls attention all at the same time! Being a mom is so hard but it comes with so much joy. Journey with me in choosing to let go and let God heal. I firmly believe it will get better.

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