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Fall is in the Air

September 20, 2018

The following article was published in “First Things” for First Presbyterian Church.

 

It is that time of year.  All of the indicators that summer is ending and that fall is quickly approaching are upon us.  School is beginning, football is here, the church’s fall activities are getting ready to start, and we even see some slight weather changes on the horizon.  The changing seasons of the year are part of life.  It has been said that life as a whole consists of numerous seasons.  I personally am in one of those changing seasons.  The kids have been launched, an empty nest, and downsizing of the large family home.

All change has a certain amount of stress associated with it.  Sending the kids back to school is stressful.  Adjusting to an empty nest and parenting adult children is stressful.  This human life is always changing.  Adjusting to those changes requires navigating and managing the stress well.  One common reason that people seek help at the counseling center is because they are having trouble with the stress of change.

I was recently thinking about God and change.  The bible tells us two things about God and change.  First of all, God never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever ().  At the same time, God is doing new things in me, you, and all of his creation (, ).  It occurred to me that in all of the changes in my life (some natural and some supernatural) that God is the same.  He is always for me, He always loves me, He always seek relationship with me, He always is sovereign over my life, and He is always there.  It is these truths about God not changing that can help me navigate the changes in life.

In the work we do at The Christian Counseling Center, we help people to apply these biblical truths as they navigate the changes in their lives.  The work of the Christian Counseling Center is always available to you and also exists as an outreach to the city.  Check out our website, www.christiancounseling.ws, for more information.

 

Tom Barbian, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Dr. Barbian

Dr. Tom Barbian, LPC

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“It will be the happiest time in your life.”

“You will feel nothing but unconditional love.”

“Don’t worry, being a mother will just come naturally.”

These are very common phrases that moms-to-be often hear as they near the birth of their baby. Although these comments are meant as encouragement, they inadvertently create a set of expectations about what motherhood and those first few months postpartum should look like and feel like. For some postpartum women, these phrases may ring true. For many others, these phrases feel unfamiliar and seem more like some standard to which their own experience falls vastly short. These new mothers gaze at their baby through unwelcome tears, wondering what went wrong.
The postpartum period comes with challenges that threaten to overwhelm even the most prepared, supported and experienced mothers.

There are emotional challenges as women often struggle through a broad range of feelings, such as confusion, uncertainty, joy, fulfillment, pain, longing, guilt and sadness. There are physical challenges, such as learning to care for an infant while managing sleep deprivation and healing from childbirth. Relationally, there are role adjustments and identity changes. And there are spiritual challenges, as mothers wrestle with managing fear and faith.

Add to this a major depressive episode, and life can begin to feel very unbearable, indeed. What is the struggle like for a woman with PPD? She feels anxious, irritable and sad almost all day, everyday. She is plagued with guilt. Guilt that says to her, “You aren’t a good enough mother.” She is so tired it hurts, yet she is unable to sleep when given the opportunity. Her thoughts are scattered, random, and she can’t focus. Except on the scary thoughts. She can’t get those unwelcome, intrusive thoughts out of her head. She isn’t able to manage her day-to-day responsibilities anymore. More guilt. She feels hopeless and helpless, and has even thought that her baby and family might be better off without her.

If this sounds like you, know that you are not crazy. You are not abnormal. You are not alone in feeling this way. And if you are feeling this way, it is important to reach out for help. It’s ok to reach out for help. There are people-trained counselors- who know what this is and know how help you feel better. There is a path to healing, and we want to walk alongside you as you begin to reclaim your life, your motherhood, and yourself.

Rebecca is a Licensed Professional Counselor/Intern (LPCI) at the Christian Counseling Center. Her areas of interest include women’s issues, emotional regulation, and mothers dealing with perinatal and postpartum depression. She is married with one daughter and a perfect day for her would include the beach, coffee, baking, a nice outdoor jog, and watching movies.