Untangling the web, saved from the brink
Kayon Webb-Ashman was brought up in the Brethren church. At university, she got involved with an organisation that espoused values and perspectives that conflicted with those of her Christian upbringing. It was a time of great confusion and searching for answers that were not forthcoming.
She left university in her early 20s, full of promise for herself and ready to take on the world of work. But, she got into a relationship and, by the time she knew it, she was pregnant. Of course, disappointment came into the picture. However, she got some support from her church. “I received a lot of love and support during that time,” she shared.
But, just as these negative emotions had waned, she got pregnant again. She was very disappointed with herself, even though she knows that children are a blessing. And, unbeknownst to everybody around her, she was tossed into the grip of a more intense disappointment, depression if you will, only that she did not know it was depression.
“Coming out of college, I’m working class now, I’m going to church, I’m back in my community, back at the same church I grew up in. I’m married now, I had a daughter, a son was coming. Then, I found myself in ... didn’t even know what it was. I know now it was depression, but I didn’t understand it,” she shared.
“My first child, yes, I am pregnant, oh God. It’s scary, I am 21, but then, quickly it’s fine, my baby is fine. I’m fine, I’m all right. The second one was, no, there is too much that I wanted to do. I remember having a conversation with God, and I asked, ‘Couldn’t you just take it back?” And she said she was very serious. “Jus tek it back,” she told God.
That was not what she had bargained for, and she was now overcome by a feeling of inadequacy and lack of accomplishment. She was also mindful of what people might be saying about her, and that was a major factor, that they might be “slaughtering her”. And then the resentment, the resentment for her husband set in.
He had absolutely no idea of the emotional whirlpool that Webb-Ashman was swirling in, despite her somewhat cold attitude towards him. She was asking him in her mind, “Could I not see you today? Could you not be here? Because, as far as I am concerned, you did this to me.” Thus, the marriage and the baby to come meant absolutely nothing to her. Yet, she was not praying, reaching out to God, or anyone else.
Work and other situations also got her upset. “Bawling” came easily. “Mi just a bawl, tun fool,” she said, but she also shared that there was no reason for her going into that emotional turmoil. “I don’t know what [happened]. It was just an emotional spiral that I didn’t understand,” she said. And, in retrospect, she also said, “I believe, though, that I had to go through that phase because God wanted to show me that He was talking to me.”
She was still going to church, worshipping and praising God, looking and sounding happy. Yet, she was dying inside, and really wanted to die. A plethora of emotions was now consuming her. At one point, she was told she was losing the child, but that was not the case. She felt guilty and regretful for asking God to take back the child, who was born healthy. Yet, she was thinking of the easiest way to exit this dimension of human life.
One Sunday, she did not go to church with her husband. She stayed home exploring the possible ways of jumping into the deep end. Her son, who was about one year old, was taking too long to go to sleep, despite the things she was doing to get him to. When her husband returned, she gave the child to him and locked herself in the bathroom.
There, she looked into the mirror and said, “I don’t know why you are living.”
“I am a having a whole meltdown in there,” she told Family and Religion. Her husband apparently heard the sound of the melting and knocked on the door. She did not respond or open the door. He eventually kicked it in and entered. He then went for their son and brought him to hug her while she was crying uncontrollably and in a fury. She kept pushing him away, as she did not want the son to see her in that state.
“He (the husband) was just standing there looking shocked. I can remember the look on his face. And he began to pray … I literally felt myself becoming lighter. I was still crying, but I felt a burden lifting … And it was the best worship experience I ever had. It was the closest I ever felt to God since I received Him at age 10,” she shared.
In retrospect, Webb-Ashman believes God used the baby that she did not want to save her. “Really and truly, God was positioning me to rely more on Him, to get closer to Him …. He put me down to get back up, and sometimes that is very necessary. As a young Christian, I believe I was taking my Christianity for granted,” she stated.
Whatever it was is now water under the bridge, and the couple is expecting their third child.