Sunday, January 26, 2014

Part Three: When A Good Christian Doctor Saved Our Marriage

I sat trembling in the doctors' office. We had only been in America two months, and seven weeks of that had been traveling to raise support for our move to Cambodia. I could barely keep myself from weeping. My marriage was over. I was an unfit mother. My body and my emotions were out of control. How would I even pay for this doctor's visit?!

That past weekend I had told Chris I wanted out of our marriage. I could see my "craziness" was making it impossible for us to get along. The dark circles under his eyes and the way he had stopped smiling when I walked into the room were proof enough to me I couldn't keep dragging him through this with me. I loved him too much to make him deal with me. I was bringing the girls to tears daily with my angry outbursts, and my apathy toward being their mother grew with each passing day. Chris would treat them so much better than I ever could. My precious ones deserved so much better. 

Chris cried. I had expected him to be relieved. Then, he drove off into the night coming back only after I had cried myself to sleep.

In the waiting room, my name was finally called, and the white haired doctor welcomed me into his office. Through my tears, I told him I needed my Mirena IUD removed - that it was causing too much pain that I could not handle with my depression. He asked me if I was a Christian. He gently told me the truth about hormonal birth control and how often he sees those on it in mental states such as my own. For the first time, I had hope things could be different. Maybe there was a reason I was feeling and acting this way...maybe this wasn't the real me. The honest doctor, in a fatherly way, told me to never get on hormonal birth control again.

When I went to pay, the nurse said the doctor would not charge me. I cried tears of joy. My physical pain was already subsiding. It was like my body had heaved a big sigh of relief as soon as the device was out. Having now researched prenatal/antenatal depression, my struggles with birth control and the similarity of my symptoms both while pregnant and while on birth control should have been HUGE red flags. I was and am the perfect candidate for depression while pregnant.

I prayed for four days before I approached Chris. My emotions had leveled out. My hair had stopped falling out. The bleeding had subsided.* But the damage to our marriage had been done, and there was nothing I could do to take the word "divorce" back. My Chris believes any relationship can be salvaged. His stick-it-out and work-through-it-without-ever-considering-giving-up attitude has carried him through countless relationships, many of which I thought were doomed. My decision to give up, no matter how out of my mind I had been, had cut him to his core, and the hurt he felt was immense.

By God's grace, we started to rebuild. Though time to time Chris' mistrust of my committment to him surfaced, he, in great love and forgiveness, fought it.

In Cambodia in 2009, we fought culture shock together, fought for our marriage and family together. Then, with great joy, we saw a little heartbeat on an ultrasound. Our son was on the way, but our happiness quickly deteriorated as I fell into the deep pit of depression once again.

See the Introduction, Part One, and Part Two.

*A little research into Mirena will show you that many using hormonal birth control experience these symptoms and more.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story, it take courage to do this. My son is suffering from depression and it's been a hard road for to keep him moving forward. We have good days and bad days and not knowing when a bad day is coming can be very stressful. I am a Christian woman and place my trust in the Lord 100%, however my husband is not a believer and nor is my son and that makes it tougher.

  2. Joluise, Thank you for your perspective. As hard as this has been on me, I often feel the ones who suffer the most are those caring for the depressed!

  3. Oh!!! How many times can I say "me, too"!?!?! Our first six months of marriage were dark, dark, dark, all because I was taking birth control pills. As soon as we figured it out, I stopped, and the depression was gone. But in that time we set up patterns of dealing with each other that still haunt us now. :-(

  4. Yes! Those patterns are so hard to break and even recognize at times! Do you have member care counseling in UK?

    1. We're not with a foreign mission that would provide that.