Reply To: stay at home mom feeling depressed

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Dear Rachel,

I think you have gotten some invaluable advice on this website and I wanted to take the time to share a little of my story as well.

First, I have 4 kids from 15-8 and they have been the biggest blessing and also the biggest sacrifice of my life. Motherhood has not been an easy journy for me, but by the grace of God alone I have been able to stay home with them most of their lives and for the most part raise them in the Catholic faith. Just in the last two to three years have I been able to see the fruits of that sacrifice. To look into a teenagers eyes and see Christ look back is just about the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed, espesially in today’s culture of death. Not phyisical death, but spiritual death, the death that happens when our hearts and souls are allowed to be separated from the love of our God and Father. When you choose to stay home with your children you are making the choice to ensure that they will grow in faith according to your faith….Monkey see, Monkey do! We teach our kids through example, if we want them to grow into apostles winning souls for Christ, we also must be apostles winning souls for Christ! This is not particularly easy and of course requires personal sacrifice, but well worth the rewards….Eternal Life!

When my fourth child was not quite two I struggled with depression, my husband wasn’t able to take any time off work, and I had four small children, three still at home. I quickly became overwhelmed and totaly stressed out, mostly becasue we had fallen away from the church and were not participating! I was put on a variety of medications which only seemed to make things worse. I firmly believe that when we start overmedicating ourselves we are not able to allow God’s healing Grace into our hearts. I’m not being critical of medication, there are specific uses for them, just warning against over use. Particularly with depression many times medications only treat the symptoms and mask the underlying issues. Do not stop taking your medications now however. This issue at this point needs to be prayerfuly discerned and only with the help of your Dr.

About NFP…I used various types of contraceptives through out our marriage until finally we decided to have a tubal ligation after we had our fourth. By the end of each of my pregnancys I always just “knew” if there would be another, and the last one was no exception. I “knew” there were to be more which scared the bejeebers out of me! I was so overwhelmed and just knew that one more would push me right over the edge. So I pushed aside the guilt and everthing I knew about church teaching on this issue and had the TL telling myself I knew better than God….AS IF!!! For a while I was able to tell myself and of course my friends and family who all said enough is enough that I was relieved. It didn’t take long though for me to start regreting my decision. I think in part it was responsible for my depression at the time. Now my entire family mourns the loss of our fertility. All of our kids want another sibling and my husband and I definately feel the absence of God in that part of our relationship. Having a large family allows each member to grow in generosity making it easier as the children grow to understand what it means to sacrifice for God and that it is a blessing and sign of our love for Him to make personal sacrifice. After all that’s what He calls us to do, sacrifice our own sense of “self” for Him and what he wants for us. It isn’t easy sometimes to have faith that He does know what is best for us and that through Him all things are possible and He will always provide for us the things we need to continue in our journey with Him. Sometimes He does give us just a bit more than we can handle on our own to remind us of just how much we need Him, but in the end he sees us through if we open our hearts and trust Him with our lives. It sounds to me like He is really working on your heart and I find that in my own life my biggest “growth spurts” happen during times of personal turmoil. Call it growing pains I guess. Just know that this is a season of your life, take the time to listen to God and learn what He is trying to teach you. I know that through His Grace you will be closer to Him at the end of this season and more ready when the next season gets here! You will be in my prayers!