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Ashton Fudge

My Battle with Postpartum Depression

When I was younger I would hear others talk about dealing with anxiety/depression and I really thought they were making it up. I thought there is no way you can just feel that way and be in such a dark place. I was quick to judge but I had no right to because little did I know I would end up dealing with it myself.

Grayton’s pregnancy & birthing experience were very traumatic, not only physically but also emotionally. I had no clue what to expect as a first time mom & how to deal with all the emotions that came flooding in. Nobody wants to talk about or prepare others for these thoughts and feelings. So I'm here to share my experience & let you know in any situation you are not alone. God is with you in the lowest and worst times in your life.

After Grayton was born I had some issues with postpartum but I threw myself back into work and tried to push it all aside. That time it worked. When Grayton was 8 months old, Benton and I found out we had another baby on the way. Once Maxton arrived it became very evident at 7 days old that he had terrible belly issues and cried almost every hour he was awake. Three months later we finally found out he had a dairy & soy allergy. Those 3 months were so so hard. Nobody could care for him except me because he cried uncontrollably. Finally, once we switched to a special formula we dealt with severe reflux issues (to the point we have to call 911 one night and take a ride to the hospital). Max was holding everything down too much & was screaming again non-stop with belly issues. After several medications we finally got it under control.

When going through these rough months I felt so alone! When I talked to friends, nobody was dealing with these thoughts & feelings. I felt I had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to! My mom saw that I was not in a good place and suggested I start taking magnesium to try to help. She was not pushy, but I was in such denial that I truly thought I was okay. I was just ungrateful for this baby and felt like the worst, undeserving mother ever. When I knew there were women that were begging and pleading to God daily to have their miracle baby.

Then I hit rock bottom. My family was at our house, Maxton was screaming like always and all of a sudden, it’s like someone flipped a switch in me! Thoughts of rage and anger consumed me! I got in the car and the only thought on my mind was to crash my car because my family would be better off without me. I finally calmed myself down and made it to the church parking lot where I sat in the car by myself. Sobbing, I finally got the courage to call my mom. I said mom I am not okay and I need help. I had never had thoughts of taking my life before and I was so scared. She was very supportive and agreed that I needed to make an appointment with my doctor and possibly start some medicine.

I felt like such a failure! I had failed my husband, my children and the mom I thought I would be. After starting medicine I switched several brands and dosages to combat feeling like a zombie with no emotions. After being on it for two years I felt that I was never going to be able to escape this medicine and be the old Ashton that I once knew.

Through research and encouragement from my Aunt Denise, I decided to make an appointment with a hormone specialist. After extensive blood work she said no wonder you are dealing with postpartum issues! But I am here to let you know that I am going to help you. I told her my main goal was to come off the antidepressant and in September 2020 I can proudly say I'd done it! I believe God gives us everything we need on this earth to care for us, and this includes doctors and the intelligence to figure things out. It is okay when we need medication. It doesn’t mean we are a failure, it just means we need some help. And hopefully we won't need the medicine all our lives.

During the rough times I always fall away from God. Thoughts and worries start to consume me. I’m still a work in progress, but I know the only way to overcome is to be reading and praying daily. During these times I struggle because I feel so distant from Him, but He is always there right beside me. I see now one good thing that will come out of my struggle. God has taken the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life and He is turning it into an opportunity to help others, a new ministry in my life. For me to be able to share and support others that are going through similar situations is turning out to be a blessing, more than it would have thought. So I'm here for you ... if you are struggling like I did. There is hope. There is help!

Now that I’ve poured my heart out, I invite you, if you don't have a church home, to try Trinity! This entire time I have not stopped attending church and serving. So as others have said before, we are not a church of perfect people. We are a church of imperfect people seeking forgiveness and living God’s will for our own lives! You are more than welcome to join me, because I fall short every day - but I try to learn from each mistake I make!

With much love,
Ashton Jo