As most mothers do, our conversations turned towards our children, the ones we have the pleasure of raising, and the ones that God brought home before we had a chance to meet them. She talked, in detail, about her first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage. She talked about her emotions, her expectations, her disappointments, and how her husband reacted (immediately and then again a few months later). We talked about how women handle miscarriages so differently, and I told her how much we had wanted to be there for her and her husband, but wasn't sure if we were needed.
I talked about my post-postpartum depression. I talked about how incredibly scary it was for me, how I didn't know how to handle my emotions, and how the other women in my life either didn't know how to handle my incessant crying because they didn't experience post-postpartum depression or how they fumbled their way through trying to help me. She expressed her regret in not knowing about my depression and how far it pushed me to want to have nothing to do with my newborn. She kept saying, "If only I knew, Jana. I'm so sorry you had to go through that."
What we both came to realize is that women just do not talk about these things. It almost seems to be a secret that most women experience, but are too afraid to discuss. We women are designed to be social. We don't hesitate to talk about our children, our husbands, recipes, creative ideas, etc, but we stop short when it comes to talking about the "deep" stuff. Women are so very emotional. We are supposed to be! So why is it when it comes to miscarriages, postpartum depression, or dealing with losing a child later in life we clam up? Why aren't we talking about how we feel? Why aren't we banding together to form a support group around our female friends? Why is it we make ourselves scarce when our lady friends go through such tough issues?
That was not a rhetorical question. I mean it. Why?
I know one thing that Joe and I learned from my experiences was to be supportive to women who have just had a baby. Joe takes it upon himself (aren't I lucky?!) to talk to the husbands. He encourages them to be encouraging to their wives, even if the wives seem fine. I have heard him ask his guy friends "How is _____ doing? Emotionally? Just make sure you make yourself available for her emotionally." On my side, I have decided to make sure I check on the emotional well-being of my new-mom (whether it's the 1st or 8th child) friends. I let them know if they need to talk or cry over, well, whatever, they can. And that they are not alone.
What have you learned? What are your experiences? If you have been lucky enough to go to full-term and not experience any postpartum anything, what else have you experienced that you would hate other women to go through? What have you learned from your experiences?
I challenge you to share your experiences, whether it is here, with a friend, or a fellow sister. Women need each other. We shouldn't go through struggles alone. Never.