That We Might Have Joy: Rachel's Story

It was my husband’s birthday, and I was anxious, excited anxious. I just took a home pregnancy test, and it was positive! What a great birthday present! We were excited to bring a second baby into our home. Then, at 9 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound. There was the baby, where it should be, but no heartbeat. The doctors, techs, and nurses were all kind and tried to help me stay positive. Maybe I wasn’t as far along as I thought. We scheduled a follow up in 1 week to see. But, in my heart, I knew. Within that week, I miscarried.

I have dealt with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder off and on throughout my life. I have had counseling and medication, when it was necessary. I had also miscarried before having my son. And, based on those experiences, I knew I was at risk for postpartum depression. I did what I could to prepare-- set up a support network, communicated with my doctor, etc. But, the darkness came just the same. I didn’t reach suicidal thoughts, but I was out of control and heading that way. I checked into a psychiatric hospital for help.  I had so many miracles-- exactly the right doctors, therapists, nurses, behavioral techs, and chaplains. I saw that God had prepared the way for me. I could finally admit my anger toward God for taking my baby, while at the same time accepting that He has a plan in all this. I finally found a medication that let me sleep. But the greatest miracle of all was still to come.

I worked with a therapist outside of the hospital for several weeks after my discharge. I had studied the Atonement of our Savior, and I knew that miracles happened, but somehow, I made myself an exception. With the help of my therapist, I slowly realized that I was hiding behind my pain and anger and not allowing the Savior to take them from me. I was defining my whole self, my life, by that pain. This is not the whole reason I was depressed. The chemical imbalance was still very real. So, please don’t mistake my confession as the whole reason for my depression. Of course, the Savior can correct those chemical balances too. But, I needed all the mental health help as well as the spiritual healing. I finally figured out how to let go and give my burden to the Savior. I finally decided that I wanted to define myself and my life the way the Savior does. There are no words to adequately describe the feelings that entered my heart. The pain, the anger, the sadness, and despair- all gone! In an instant! Replaced with a pure joy and peace. I finally realized that I didn’t do anything to “deserve” what was happening to me. I wasn’t beyond saving. I hadn’t somehow disqualified myself from the Savior’s love. Instead, He had been there, pleading with me to let Him help. And He did help me. And He still does. I still need medication and may even need to continue professional counseling occasionally. I still sorrow at the loss of my precious baby. I still have bad days. But, my Savior is here! And I have a peace and joy that is constant throughout those hard times.

I continue to find joy by remembering that Jesus loves me, is pleased with me, and wants me to succeed. I find joy by remembering what He thinks of me, as a daughter of my Heavenly Father who is worth it! I wish I was better with words to be able to illustrate how real this is. That you really can feel sorrow and have joy at the same time. Finding joy through trials is different from finding joy in them. I find joy through them as I turn to my Savior and allow His loving and helping presence into my heart.

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