The Pain Isn't For No Reason
Interview with Kylie Peterson
October 20, 2021
His plans are good even when what doesnt feel right or ok.
Trust in his promises.
He has compassion for those who are hurting.
Little bit about you, your family, what everyday life looks like for you.
I’m Kylie and ive been married to my husband James for 11 years. We have two sons- Byron who is about to turn 7 and Cove who is 2 and we also have a daughter Indiana who was born sleeping in 2017. My days at the moment look like homeschooling Byron during lockdown and wrangling Cove and I also run an online homewares business with my mum and sister.
Without you even delving into detail, I’m assuming the last few years have been big and hard ones for you. Would you mind sharing what’s been going on for you?
Yeh so I guess I feel like my life changed 7 years ago when I had Byron.
I had no idea what to expect becoming a mum for the first time but I guess I assumed things would fall into place. My pregnancy and labour with Byron was rough to say the least. There was definitely no glowing during the pregnancy unless you count the constant nausea sweats and I didn’t have the calm water birth id been doing courses on and preparing for. My cervix certainly didn’t open like a flower.So I think I was already walking into motherhood with my expectations being so different to the reality I experienced. I suffered with post Natal depression and anxiety after Byron. I felt worried about him all the time, I was religious about scheduling and routines and counting the hours of sleep I was getting, I felt exhausted and overwhelmed, and I began thinking that Byron would be better cared for by someone else and that I was a burden to those around me. Id been seeing a counsellor and a psychologist but when Byron was 18 months old I knew that something had to change so I started on some antidepressants and goodness they changed my life. God in his goodness helped me through with that medication and I am so thankful that it is an option!
For the next year I just focussed on getting well and then I felt like I was in a place to try for another child. We fell pregnant with Indie very quickly so we were thrilled. At our 12 week scan with her we found out that something wasn’t right so we were sent to RPA for further scans and tests and it was discovered that our girl had turners Syndrome. So Turners syndrome only affects girls and it is where their second x chromosome is missing. Only 1% of these girls are born alive. Discovering all of this was very surreal and heart breaking.There was no way of knowing if she would make it to term and so we just had to keep entrusting her life to Gods hands and know that he had already planned out all her days. We had fortnightly scans at RPA to see how she was going. In my heart I feel God prepared me quite early on for the fact that she would be born sleeping but it wasn’t until our final scan that James said to me that he felt that it would be best for her if God called her home given how unwell she was and 5 days later she passed away. I think this timing was all Gods mercy. I delivered Indie at 25 weeks and we got to spend some time with her. I definitely didn’t think my motherhood journey would include such heart ache but I can see how God drew me to himself through her short life.
Then 12 months later I fell pregnant with Cove. Given everything that happened with Indie I found this pregnancy really anxiety inducing. I had never been crippled with anxiety before but id say that was my hardest time mentally. I needed someone with me all the time during the first 3 months, I needed medication to help lower my anxiety, I was so worried about there being something wrong with this baby and I felt guilty about being on medication while pregnant. It was just an exhausting cycle and I felt very unlike myself. Cove was born healthy and well in June of 2019 and God in his mercy provided me with a really healing birth and the following months with Cove was beautiful. I didn’t suffer with PND or anxiety, I truly experienced the joy that came with motherhood that so many people had spoken of that id never had previously.
Motherhoods already difficult enough, and then going through unimaginable grief and heart ache on top of that. Wow. Has this affected your relationship with God in any way?
My journey with Indie definitely came with ups and downs. At the beginning I was really grieved and questioned why God would allow this to be happening to my baby. I went through times of anger, sadness and confusion. But after the initial heart ache God truly filled me with a sense of peace that could only have come from him. James and I clung to God so much during our time with indie. We would pray together over her everynight, we would pray for healing and for peace and for comfort if he chose to call her home. We felt deeply loved by God and his people and felt so carried and supported throughout.
We were quite open with sharing Indies journey with our family and church family and we just saw the work of Jesus through their support of us. We were enveloped in prayer and shown so much love. So in the end I feel like my whole journey with Indie drew me closer to God and helped me to depend more fully on him.
And then during my pregnancy with Cove, God absolutely got me to cling to him through his word. I had verses right next to my bed that I would meditate on, I had Christian music playing constantly. My family and friends would send me scripture passages and songs of encouragement. A friend made me a “hope and happiness journal” with all different passages from Gods word to remind me of his truths and his love for me and I quite literally carried that with me everywhere. I wrote down my fears and my prayers in there aswell. So when I felt like I couldn’t do anything because of my anxiety, God used his word to comfort me and reassure me that he was in control and that he would never leave me
And what about yourself? What have you learnt?
Oh goodness so many things. I thought I knew myself before my motherhood journey began but I was so wrong. I know everyone says it but I didn’t realise how selfish I was prior to having kids. And it went back further than even when I first became a mum back to when james I were dating and I shared that I didn’t have the desire to become a mum. i thought kids were quite inconvenient. I was challenged on this and for me personally I realised that all of my reasons for not having kids was for my own comfort and satisfaction and so god started convicting me and changing my heart until I got to the point where I decided I would have children – God willing.
I think my struggle with Post Natal Depression opened my eyes to mental health. I guess I hadnt suffered with it before and so I had a lack of understanding and sometimes even compassion for those whole struggled with it and so I think God used that time (and still does use it ) to show me the real struggle that it can be and to teach me compassion and understanding for those who go through it! He taught me that no one but him fully understands what you go through and how you feel and so he is truly the only source of comfort and peace when your world feels very dark. I think he also taught me that we don’t in our pride have to pretend that we have everything all together and our lives ticking along well. That is okay to struggle, its okay to ask for help and its okay to be vulnerable. I am sinful and I mess up, I fail my kids, I get anxious and angry, I fight with my husband, I need help from others, I cant do it alone nor was I designed to. I think God has helped me to see my pride and to keep fighting against my desire to have my life and my kids lives sorted for the sake of appearances but to instead rely on God and trust him in the mess. And this is a daily battle that I work through. And that this isn’t just for my sake but also to help others who struggle with similar things too and to be able to comfort them the way I have been comforted.
I think indies diagnosis really showed me that im not in control of my kids and their lives. I cant keep them safe from everything and that I need to trust that the days God has ordained for each of my children is his perfect plan. Because whether they are in your womb or in your arms, their lives are completely in his hands. One thing I really had to think through during my pregnancy with Indie was the reality of the resurrection. I was literally faced daily with life and death not knowing what her future held. Did I believe that if Indie passed away that she would be resurrected to be with her saviour forever? Did I believe that she would be given a new heavenly body? I think previously I knew this in my head but I had to come to a place where I believed it in my heart. Knowing this promised from God and believing it was such a great comfort to me. I knew she would be free from harm and protected for eternity. I knew she was loved, I knew she would be fully restored and i now long for heaven more since having her.
Can you see growth in all that you’ve gone through?
Perhaps not enough compassion/understanding/empathy.
Was this answered above?
In what ways has being a Christian changed this experience for you? How do you think having God in your life changes the experience of having PND or loosing your child? (eg purpose in pain, refinement, hope, peace, comfort, heaven focused).
I think knowing that god ordains everything for a purpose, every season of suffering, every trial, every heartache, every struggle means that it isn’t all for nothing. That my tears aren’t wasted and that the pain isn’t for no reason. I look back now and know God was using my PND in ways I couldn’t see at the time – things like building my compassion for those who suffer with mental illness or showing me that its okay to cry to God and express all of the emotions im feeling to him. Or that through the heart ache of losing a child it brings the reality of eternal life into perspective, it revealed Gods ability to bring comfort and peace knowing that I was still loved throughout and Indie was loved and that we were never forsaken. Every struggle has ultimately drawn me to God, whether that be falling on my knees and admitting I need his help or just collapsing at his feet and allowing him to hold me in my brokenness and speak truths into my heart. He showed me that he is truly the only one who can make sense of the sorrow and give me peace when im trusting in his plans. I think my experience with Cove was really healing – he was a blessing from God and he healed many motherhood wounds id been carrying around which is truly the work of a gracious and loving God who comforts and binds up the broken hearted.
Can you see how God has refined you to be more like Jesus through your journey with motherhood so far?
Answered above or need further explanation?
What are the gospel truths that you’ve clung to or that have carried you through the last few years?
I meditated on the psalms a lot. I saw that the psalmist was real and transparent with god. He would cry out to God. He bared his soul, he voiced his struggles, his doubts, his fears and anxieties and was met by a loving, gracious, merciful and comforting God.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all”
I clung to the promise that god hears my prayers, that he cares deeply for me, that he is compassionate and is grieved by the brokenness of this world that in turn causes his people sorrow and that in all things he works for my good.
On my wall during my pregnancy I had this passage from lamentations
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
Its encouraging to know that his compassion never falls short, and I clung to the fact that he gives us everything we need for each day – which is so comforting when you go to bed and think, I cant do it again tomorrow – theres nothing left, but God says that he will provide anew every thing you need the next morning.
What’s your biggest take home from all of it?
God sees my hurts and my brokenness and is compassionate and that whilst suffering is horrible, its actually the way God drew me to himself, revealed his mercy and comfort and then in turn allows me to comfort those around me
Lots of what you’ve chatted through, like pride or selfishness, is a common experience in motherhood, it might just play out differently. What encouragement would you offer to the mum struggling with these things?
Id say there is freedom that comes from accepting that motherhood can be hard and messy and heart breaking but that God meets us in those places and loves us
God uses motherhood to humble us and to remind us that we are all sinful, that we all need Jesus Christ
And id say share your struggles with someone you trust so that they can encourage you keep your eyes fixed on eternity where you will be free from sin and the reality of a perfect eternity without these struggles. we were created to bear each others burdens and so allow others in. Let the village in. I would say let your guard down and let people in.
And would you have any hope that you could offer? Especially thinking of the mum who is walking the hard road of PND or facing, or have faced, the death of their child…
That’s a big question and I think it varies depending on where you’re at in that hard season.
Broadly I would say immerse yourself in the word of God. Stick his promises up near your bed so they are the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning. Put reminders everywhere that
God chose you and loves you
that he can be trusted
that he is in control
that he wont ever leave or forsake you
that he is good even when it feels hard
that he will comfort you
that he will sustain you
that he understands your sorrow and
that he will make all things new and bring this sorrow and suffering to an end.
Be real with God, share every emotion, every hurt, every struggle – cry out to him as your heavenly Father. He promises to hear and he promises to answer.
I would say let people around you know where you are at so that they can encourage you and pray with and for you, accept the help, accept the meal, be vulnerable. Whilst it can be hard to admit you’re struggling, you’re actually blessing those around you by giving them the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to you practically and emotionally.
Would you mind finishing up the show by praying for these mums? And all mums in general, but particularly these women?
We thank you that you are always good, that you are merciful and compassionate, that you comfort us, protect us and restore us. We thank you that you are always there, that you hear our cries and you answer our prayers. We thank you that you are in control of all things and we thank you that you have plans and purposes for each of our lives. We thank you for Jesus. We thank you that you sent him to take the punishment for our sin. We thank you that you raised him to life and conquered death and that we have a sure and living hope, knowing that one day we too will be raised to dwell with you for eternity. Thank you that eternity awaits us which is free from sin, suffering, grief, and pain. Please Father guard our hearts from doubting your goodness when motherhood feels hard, please keep our hearts soft to you and your word when we are hurting, please give us strength as we face suffering, please give us comfort when we are full of sorrow, please give us confidence to trust you in all things knowing that you love us and that you work for our good. I pray that in your mercy you will meet every woman listening to this and reassure her of your promises and you’re your deep care for her. In Jesus precious name we pray. Amen