My Testimony Part 8: Baby blues

I have struggled on and off with depression since my mother first got sick when I was 6.  For much of elementary school I neither laughed nor cried. 

It mostly took the form of a deep emptiness.  A deep dark ache that had no energy for tears.  Self-loathing was most assuredly part of it but it was the same kind of depression my father lived with.

Most of my fears from those times were about incompetency.  I was afraid that I would fail.  Some of it was body image related, but really that was about being acceptable.  Other people could be overweight or imperfect and be beautiful, but I was such a weak person that only a perfect outside could compensate.

After the first baby was born, the depression went to another level of self-hatred.  I hated all things feminine.

My faith tradition had motherhood as the ultimate of femininity.  So, the highest calling of a woman was to have children.   And I had a girl child.  What was the point?  Eventually a male child would be born who could do something else, I guess. 

These thoughts and other irrational woman-hating ideas plagued me.  (Add this to not getting more than 4 hours of sleep in a row for nearly a year!  Maybe the two are related.)

It was the worst on Sunday mornings.  As we biked to church I would be filled with such a loathing of my female self that I wished I would get hit by a truck to remove my blight from the world.  I honestly believed the world would be better off without women in general and me in particular.

My husband thought that my reluctance to go to church was just spiritual warfare and a demonic attack to keep me from god.  I think it was my entire self reacting to the messages of subtle misogyny that were preached nearly every Sunday.

One Sunday, on Mother’s Day ironically, I made it to church and could not walk in.  I lay on the floor in the bathroom writhing in pain.

“God, help my despicable self” I gritted out, as I had done countless times. 

My husband, concerned, came in and announced we would just go home.  We got back outside and the cloud of oppression lifted slightly.  Maybe that was my answer 🙂

This went on until winter when I started taking EMPower Plus, saw a life coach, started looking for work and decided to go back to school.  I also stopped reading the bible.  Things got so much better!

7 thoughts on “My Testimony Part 8: Baby blues

  1. Ahab says:

    It’s despicable how some faith traditions encourage self-hatred in believers. I’m glad you don’t think that way about yourself anymore.

  2. Quester says:

    Realizing that I am not a wretched sinner deserving of eternal torment, but for the grace of an innocent saviour who I caused to suffer and die with my constant failings, lifted a huge burden from me. It’s been so odd trying to view life as someone who actually may be worth living after decades of my successes being God’s and my failures being innumerable and worthy of damnation.

    • prairienymph says:

      It is a strange concept – being worthy not because of what someone else did to make up for your horrible sin of just existing. Being worthy because you … what? are?
      At least you were only responsible for your thought crimes. I was partly responsible for the thought crimes of most of the males around me as part of my constant failings :p

      It is a relief to find them not to be crimes at all.

  3. ... Zoe ~ says:

    Another post I can relate to.

  4. The more I read about other women’s experiences the more I realize how hurtful religion is to women, the more I hate religion.

    My former faith also ingrained the false idea that the “ultimate femininity” is wifehood/motherhood. I thought there was something wrong with me because I could never relate to that idea or look forward to fulfilling those roles, and they felt so limiting. Like Ahab said it is despicable.

    • prairienymph says:

      One of the worst parts was that I was held up as an example to other young women. I wanted to scream at them! I was not staying at home because I felt fulfilled and Christ-like, I was staying at home because I had no marketable skills. I had a small child right away, not because it is my duty to procreate vs finishing school, but because birth control isn’t always effective. I was being used to uphold the same values that I was beginning to rebel against.

      And we are taught that if we don’t love keeping a house clean, wiping dirty bums, being up half the night and supporting our husband’s career to the detriment of our own- we are failures as women. Do you think that was ever used on slaves? If you don’t find fulfillment as a slave, you aren’t a person being fed a lie, but a terrible slave – try harder.

      Of course, there are wonderful things about spending time with children and supporting a spouse’s career. Its the idea that it is your entire reason for being, and you should gladly accept the vulnerability that comes with that role, that I’m against.

  5. I’m on your side, PN.

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