We are going to have a religious discussion now, so everyone get ready. If you don't think you can be ready, don't read any further. And before I start I want you to BE VERY CLEAR that I welcome and embrace anyone and everyone who comes to this site, regardless of your ideology. I do not judge you because of what you believe or don't believe. OK, here goes …

Lately I've had more than a few experiences speaking with Christian women suffering from perinatal mood disorders. It saddens me that many of them believe it is a spiritual failing on their part that led to their illness. Some are taught this at an early age, others are told by people they trust when they're right in the middle of suffering. I am aware of one case where a woman actually committed suicide after being told by those closest to her that she was sick because she wasn't "right with God". Well here is what I know for certainPPD is not a punishment from GOD.

I was reminded of this issue by reading a post just now entitled "What I Wish I'd Been Told" by a young Christian woman identified as "rocknrollmandie." Here is part of her courageous post:

I grew up in a denomination that taught (to my understanding) that any mental illness can be traced to unrepented sin in one's life. This not only left me wondering what I had done wrong whenever I experienced depression or anxiety, but it unfortunately caused me to wrongly judge those who struggled with similar issues. I also grew up under the impression that medicating a mental illness was unnecessary and only covered up the issue.

She goes on to discuss her experience with postpartum depression, and at the end she asks whether others feel guilty for having emotional struggles.

I have avoided discussing my personal faith on this site because I never want to give an impression of exclusion of others. But I want you to know I am a Christian who has been through PPD and gotten better with medication. I know that PPD is NOT a spiritual failing. Does anyone really imagine that if Jesus were here sitting across the table from us he would say "It's your own fault for not praying hard enough"? In my mind, I felt the God I believe in put His arms around me and tell me it would be OK, that I needed to believe I would get better, and that my recovery could include spiritual counseling and/or therapy and/or medication. Whatever it took to get better and be the kind of mom He wanted me to be. I think that whatever higher power you believe in would do the same.

The only kind of people who can say these illnesses aren't real are the people who've never had them.

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