• Emily

Bathtub Epiphanies: Dealing with Postpartum Depression

It's a Friday night, and as a mom of two under two, I (of course) have no plans. After putting both kiddos to bed, felt completely and utterly exhausted, as usual. At dinner, Jimmy and I got into a spat, so I hadn't really spoken to him since. I'm just tired. Tired of life, in some ways... tired of the arguments, tired of the mundane, tired of being tired. You know, mom tired.

I digress... I came downstairs after tucking both boys in and found that Jimmy was in the basement playing darts. That's fine, I still didn't really want to talk to him anyway. I needed some space. I decided to take a bath. The last time I took a bath was when I was pregnant with Skyler, and the time before that I was postpartum from Jameson, and before that, pregnant with Jameson. So it's safe to say, I don't take baths very often - every 9 months or so, apparently.

I left my phone on my bedside table, grabbed a book, and headed upstairs to our spare room that has a tub. I turned on the water to the hottest temp, grabbed a couple of lavender bath bombs and some Epsom salt, and sat on the edge of the tub waiting for it to fill up. After some time, the bath didn't seem to be filling up very quickly, so I decided to just go ahead and get in (because patience is clearly not one of my virtues). I sat in the inch-deep water as it continued to pour out steaming hot water on my feet. Time kept passing, and my patience did not improve, so I threw in the bath bombs and Epsom salt, with only a few inches of water. At some point, I realized that the heat on my feet had subsided. I wasn't sure if my feet had gone numb from the high temp water, but then I realized that the hot water had simply run out and it was pouring lukewarm water into my less-than-full tub. Because the one bath that Mom wants to take in a year, of COURSE the hot water runs out! Of course.

I turned the water off and laid back in the tub - the water splashing up against the sides of my legs and body, not even enough to submerge my ankles. I stared at the ceiling for a while, thinking. Or maybe not thinking. I'm not even sure what my brain is was doing at this point.

After some time, I rolled over and laid on my stomach in the tub (since there wasn't much water, I wanted both sides of my body to get what little benefit I could get from the heat, lavender, and Epsom salts!). I folded my arms up under my chin to prop my head out of the water. It was just deep enough to cover my chin and mouth. I stayed very still. The air from my nose was rippling the surface of the water lightly. I stared straight ahead at the water's edge which was slowly pulsing against the porcelain tub.

I guess I was thinking because I started thinking about how this mostly empty bathtub is kind of like a metaphor for me these days. What I mean by that is, it feels like my internal "love cup" is quite empty... I'm not pouring love into myself and I don't feel like I'm getting love poured into me by others, and I'm giving every ounce of love and energy that I do have to my children. I feel like this empty person with little to no love to give... no wonder Jimmy and I argue. I've got nothing left in the metaphorical gas tank.

Then I went to a much darker place and thought, "If I fell asleep in this tub and didn't wake up, how long would it take for Jimmy to come to find me? Would he even miss me? Would he be happy that he doesn't have to deal with me anymore?"

I realized what I was thinking, and I know it was not good. Is this what postpartum depression feels like? Or maybe just regular depression? Clearly, I'm not in a good place mentally right now. My mind isn't like this every moment of every day, but it definitely visits this dark, scary place every now and then.

I knew I had to flip the switch to keep my thoughts from going down the black hole of terrible thoughts, so instead, my subconscious said: "OK God. I'm here. Talk to me. Say something, anything." And then I closed my eyes and my mind went silent. I tried to listen to hear what God would say to me. More than anything, I wanted some deep, ominous voice to appear in my head with some epiphanous words of wisdom. But instead, I heard nothing. At least, not in that angelic voice kind of way.

After a minute, I realized that if I didn't open my eyes and get out of the tub, I might actually fall asleep here - face down - and not wake up. So I did. I got out of my sad tub, wrapped myself in a towel, grabbed the book that I didn't even open, and went back downstairs.

Instead of getting into bed and aimlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook (which is what I normally would do at a time like this), I opened up my laptop and started writing this blog post. I haven't written a post in quite some time. Back in college, I had a blog that I kept up with consistently, and it was a great outlet for me to get my thoughts down on paper and to work through emotions I was having. I've been wanting and meaning to get back into blogging consistently for years, but I just haven't done it.

But it's a new year now. It's 2021 (Lord, please let this year be better than the last). Maybe this will be the year that I pick up writing again. Maybe writing will help me deal with my emotions and help me get back to a better emotional state. Just maybe...

And, I have to wonder, maybe God did "speak" to me in the tub tonight. Not in the vocal way that I was hoping or that you see in movies, but in a way that gave me the inkling in my mind to get up and move forward, and the nudge I needed to start writing this tonight. Was that you, God? If so, thank you.

I pray that you continue to speak to me and give me the ability to hear what it is you're saying. Give me the eyes to see you, the ears to hear you, and the heart to feel you, Lord. Help me learn to be better at spending time with you, listening to you, and trusting in you, Lord.


Verse of the Day

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalms 139:13-14

(source: YouVersion Bible App)

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