Feature Friday: Allie S

I am lucky enough to be able to serve with Allie in the YW’s in our ward. She has such a light about her and her bubbliness is contagious.
Allie was born and raised in Ogden, UT. She’s the middle child of 5. She graduated in Family Life at BYU and married her high school crush in the Salt Lake Temple! She’s now the mother of two, Lydia and Benson. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and does a little photography & videography on the side. She also loves cleaning, shopping, and playing tennis! Allie is also my visiting teacher and she mentioned to me that she had postpartum depression and anxiety. She agreed to share her story when I asked her if she would be willing and so here it is.

THE SCARIEST THING I’VE DONE…

Here I am 3 weeks into one of the scariest things I’ve done. The experience I had after having my first baby scared me so much I thought I would never attempt it again, but somehow I mustered up the courage and here, 3 weeks in to this (is it bad to label this stage as crappy!?) newborn stage and I’m still a little scared to death. Luckily, this time hasn’t been as bad postpartum depression-wise, but the anxiety has still crept in and been a little nasty. Again I wonder why time seems to glide along when life is easy and going as planned, but when hard times hit it seems as though time stands soooo still despite your desire of it to speed along?? I’ve once again felt a little “stuck” in a place I really don’t like and become obsessed with the future (6 weeks when I feel more “normal” and he smiles for real or 4 months when he is capable of sleeping through the night, etc. etc.) and when things will be good again. I’m trying to simply pass time, yet enjoy and be “present” but at the same time “present” kind of hurts. Thankfully, Lydia has been my daily distraction and such a joy to me, which is a little ironic given she was the reason causing my pain just 3 years ago. But, I’m also reminded how my favorite stage in her is being wished away to get Benson to the stage I want (is having my cake and eating it too too much to ask!?) I’m so grateful for modern medicine and formula, which I owe a lot of my sanity this go-round to, not to mention my very supportive family and husband. I’ve pondered a lot on God’s plan for our lives–it seems though the one thing he is trying to teach us through trials, is letting go of control. I think I’ve always thought of control as a positive attribute since it associates with organization and planning well, but the more I’ve pondered I realize control isn’t a Godly attribute even though God is in control. Controlling was part of Lucifer’s plan and our desire to control everything in our lives comes from the natural man, not our divine nature. So, here I carry on…trying to give up my control and trust in a Heavenly Father who has a perfect plan for my life.

This is Allie’s experience after having her first baby:

July 4, 2014—I can still remember the tender feelings I had so keenly. That Independence Day was different than any other 4th of July Holiday. The feelings were surreal, everything was so new and it kind of felt like a dream. You were born that morning at 1:17am and between our yawns of exhaustion we laughed that the one day I did not want you to come on (my thoughts were why combine your celebrations when you can have two full days of it!?), you made your appearance, a whole week late at that! Instead of hustling around all day trying to take full advantage of every festivities going on (the 4th of July has always been a favorite holiday!), we walked down the quiet hospital maternal floor that night to a set of large windows and watched fireworks from all over the area as we ate dinner. The view was amazing (sorry we had to leave you back at the nursery!) and the night seemed perfect.

Now, a couple months later, the name “Independence Day” has never hit more home. That day, every American celebrated our nation’s independence. Now, we will forever celebrate it as your very own Independence Day and entrance into our lives. In retrospect, the name Independence is exactly what was gained, not just for our nation, but for me particularly. It seemed not long after we left the hospital and walked in the door of our home, that…

the feelings came.

Feelings I had never felt before (or at least that intense). The only way to describe it was the feeling of being stuck. Stuck in a situation I couldn’t escape. Stuck in feelings I couldn’t seem to overcome. Feelings of sadness, depression, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, and the most overwhelming, anxiety, took over and I felt my freedom had been stripped right from me. Yet, I still felt stuck because there was no way of getting out of it, only going directly through it (as much as I wanted (oh please forgive me in my unhealthy mind!), I knew putting you up for adoption was not going to happen (your Dad just wouldn’t let me! thankfully!), and though I look back and laugh, it was real at the moment). I had frantically tried anything and everything I could to simply get back to my normal happy self, but despite my attempts, it just seemed like “Allie wasn’t home” and still, I just felt…

stuck.

I was trying to keep a balance between allowing myself some room since it could be the post-partum hormones and also a little nudge to force myself to adjust since it could be just me (I do NOT do good with change). Either way, it was how I felt and I couldn’t seem to get out on top. Day after day was an unbearable battle. Prayer, family, and the Lord’s tender mercies saved me, literally (and I will forever be grateful for them). Some days that little 10-minute feeling of hope was the only light I seemed to see. I remember my sister making the comment, not by mere coincidence,

“Allie, what if she is your freedom?”

And one day (August 11, 2014), the freedom finally came! The freedom from the hell I had been stuck in for nearly 5 weeks. The freedom from an over-anxious mind that wouldn’t stop thinking and simply just feel. The freedom of looking into your eyes and seeing worlds without end. It didn’t seem like I did anything different, but I was just able to keep on top instead of drowned in the emotions that consumed me. It came and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the miracle He provided me this summer and…

the freedom he gave me with you.

So, Independence Day it is and I couldn’t be happier! Heavenly Father works in wondrous ways and I’ll forever be grateful for Him, my Savior, my family and friends, and that amazing, patient, unconditionally-loving Dad of your, well ours.

After much thought and pondering, I have felt that perhaps I experienced what I did for others; and, even more, close to home…

perhaps you.

I hurt for you to think you may ever have to experience it, but then again I remember the big picture and know that through such difficulty comes strength and testimonies beyond our own.

In my case, some may label it as “Post-Partum Depression” and blame it on hormones. Others do not believe in such and may consider it a difficulty adjusting. I have realized, whatever it is truly is does not matter. You feel it and it is real. If it is something you will draw closer to God with, can we not consider it a divine design in our creation, whether hormone- or personality-induced. You will spend more time arguing with yourself about what it is than ever come to a conclusion. It could be both (as I do not discount hormones and adjustment difficulties definitely play big parts in our life experiences). But, I do know that…

it is real.

Just as you can’t change the weather, you cannot always change the way you feel. But…

you are entitled to peace.

And remember that, it will save you as it did for me. You keep trying. You keep your head up for “better days to come” because…

they come.

“Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come”).

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