I’m Not a Bad Mom Because I Take Medication

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This post was syndicated on BlogHer Thursday, April 28!

photo (78)

OK, its confession time.

I take antidepressants.

I took them when I was pregnant with Ronin.

I took them when I pumped breastmilk for him for 13 months.

I took them when I was pregnant with Ellie.

And I’m still taking them while I continue to breastfeed her at 14+ months.

I believe this DOES NOT make me a bad mom.

Some of you might think me bad for taking “drugs” that could possibly affect my babies. It wasn’t an easy choice for me either, I assure you. But I’ve taken meds for over 12 years for what psychiatrists have diagnosed as major depression with anxiety.

Before first trying to get pregnant about 5 years ago, I even tried to VERY SLOWLY wean off of my meds, hoping I could handle not taking them for my future children’s sake. And let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.

Just ask my wonderful, loving, uber supportive and kind husband John (and NO I’m not being sarcastic, he is all those things and more.) John has seen me at my worst and still sees me as the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Seriously, ask him.

Another confession.

Sometimes I don’t know why he loves me as much as he does.

My depression is a huge struggle for him too. I hate that, but yes I’ve said it.   My mental health truly affects those nearest and dearest to me. It affects how much I get done each day around the house. It affects whether or not we even get out of the house. It affects our sex life. It affects John’s stress level and happiness.

And right there lies the reason that taking meds does not make me a bad mom. In fact, I would venture to say that my willingness to be treated actually makes me a good mom.

Happy mom = Happy baby, right?

Another confession.

My mental health has taken a nose dive of late and I’ve just started the process of changing my antidepressants.

If you’re unaware, it can be common for medication to work for a time and then decrease in effectiveness. It’s all a really big chemistry experiment to find the right balance for every individual.

I’m not looking forward to the switch because even though in the long term, I will hopefully begin to feel better, for the next few weeks or month I might not be feeling so hot. But hey, didn’t I just say my mental health had taken a nose dive? So what’s a few more weeks to maybe find some relief.

I’m working with my psychiatrist-as always-to switch drugs appropriately. Wean off of one, build up on another. It’s what must be done for the sake of my children, my husband, me.

My kids need the mom (Me) with ultra patience. The social mom who loves to connect with friends, and go on play dates. The mom who can get the laundry done, groceries ordered, and dinner on the table. She’s the me who consciously chose to attachment parent, co-sleep with my kids, breastfeed, babywear and never cry it out. The me who takes the challenging parenting route and can not only handle it, but thrive on it.

They do not need this sad, exhausted (yet unable to sleep) mama who’s having difficulty concentrating or focusing on the important things at home. So I admitted all of this to my psychiatrist and husband, and we’re making the med change.

I am a good mom because even though I take medication, I can admit I’m not perfect and ask for help.

Please don’t judge me. And please don’t judge yourself if you’re also struggling.

You are not alone.

Please note, I am not a doctor or medical professional. The preceding is my personal opinion and is not intended as medical advice. If you are struggling please see a doctor immediately.

 

About Cristi Comes

Mom. Wife. Writer. Advocate for mental health, suicide prevention, self care, self image and style. Technology and social media lover. Board of Directors, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Washington State Chapter. Warrior Mom Editorial Leadership Team Postpartum Progress.

Comments

  1. Cristi…YOU ARE A GREAT MOM. I know how it feels to be judged for needing medication. It is not the others’ fault. They do not understand what it is like. I know as a society we are often over medicated, and it was SO hard for me to admit I NEEDED to be on anti-depressants. I went off them after about 3 months because I was convinced I didn’t NEED them. And thankfully a friend convinced me to go back on them when the world fell apart. But Happy Mom = Happy kids!!! And our kiddos DESERVE a happy Mom.

    I am so thankful you recognized the need to change medications, to make adjustments for your own sake. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others, which is so difficult for us as Moms to do.

    You are an inspiration and every time I read your posts, I’m amazed by your strength, compassion, and honesty. What you are doing is so important. And I’m so glad you have someone in your life to support you when you can’t support yourself. Don’t know if you have heard it, but there is a Rascal Flats song called I Won’t Let Go. It sound like a great song for you and John (if you can handle country). <3

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      HI Holly, I’m so glad you’ve continued to find support from your friends and husband. You are a great mom too. Thank you so much for reading my blog. Your comments here really mean a lot. No judgements here but that’s always a worry, isn’t it? I was feeling quite vulnerable about this one, but knew I needed to push through and post it. Thank you!

  2. Cristi…YOU ARE A GREAT MOM. I know how it feels to be judged for needing medication. It is not the others’ fault. They do not understand what it is like. I know as a society we are often over medicated, and it was SO hard for me to admit I NEEDED to be on anti-depressants. I went off them after about 3 months because I was convinced I didn’t NEED them. And thankfully a friend convinced me to go back on them when the world fell apart. But Happy Mom = Happy kids!!! And our kiddos DESERVE a happy Mom.

    I am so thankful you recognized the need to change medications, to make adjustments for your own sake. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others, which is so difficult for us as Moms to do.

    You are an inspiration and every time I read your posts, I’m amazed by your strength, compassion, and honesty. What you are doing is so important. And I’m so glad you have someone in your life to support you when you can’t support yourself. Don’t know if you have heard it, but there is a Rascal Flats song called I Won’t Let Go. It sound like a great song for you and John (if you can handle country). <3

  3. I agree with Holly, 100%! You are a GREAT MOM. Taking the medication you needed then & now makes you a great Mom. Your both great Mom for doing what you need to do to take care of you.

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      Thank you Shawna, that’s really what it’s all about. Being the best we can be for our children. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.

  4. I agree with Holly, 100%! You are a GREAT MOM. Taking the medication you needed then & now makes you a great Mom. Your both great Mom for doing what you need to do to take care of you.

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      Thank you Shawna, that’s really what it’s all about. Being the best we can be for our children. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.

  5. This is such a powerful post and I admire your strength and bravery for posting it. I’ve been struggling with “coming out” on my recent relationship with antidepressants. I HATE that there’s such a stigma around it especially with pregnant/breasfeeding moms. It has made me a better mom to my second child; one that looks back and WISHES I knew enough to ask for help the first time. Unfortunately, there are no do-overs.

    I hope you get the help you need and start to feel like the real you soon.

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      Lyndsay, Thank you for reading and for commenting. You’re right there is a total stigma and in fact I struggled internally with posting this on my personal FB page today knowing I probably would be judged. But I know that if it could help someone by reading it, its important. I’m so glad you go help. NO matter when it happens, its a good thing. I wish you luck in deciding to reveal your meds in your current relationship. My advice, if he can’t handle it, he’s not the supportive partner you want/need. But that’s me coming from a VERY supportive husband. hugs.

  6. This is such a powerful post and I admire your strength and bravery for posting it. I’ve been struggling with “coming out” on my recent relationship with antidepressants. I HATE that there’s such a stigma around it especially with pregnant/breasfeeding moms. It has made me a better mom to my second child; one that looks back and WISHES I knew enough to ask for help the first time. Unfortunately, there are no do-overs.

    I hope you get the help you need and start to feel like the real you soon.

  7. Girl, I thank God everyday for my husband’s medications. They make him a happier person (and a better husband and father). Many people will feel better having read this post. Love and hugs to you and your family. :)

  8. Girl, I thank God everyday for my husband’s medications. They make him a happier person (and a better husband and father). Many people will feel better having read this post. Love and hugs to you and your family. :)

  9. MamaRobinJ
    Twitter: FarewellStrangr
    says:

    I avoided meds for a LONG time, and in large part because I was nursing. I went for a while trying to wean off so I could get pregnant again. It’s just not going to happen. So if we decide to have another baby, I will probably stay on meds all the way through. I have to, and I’m more comfortable now that it’s an okay choice to make.

  10. I pumped with my first while on meds.
    I Breast fed my second one while on meds.
    It was the responsible thing to do. the alternative was too dangerous. I lost my mom to PPD and was not going to have my kids loose their mom. Two generations of suicide was too much. Meds, therapy, learning all kinds of coping skills, if it could help me, I went for it. and it did! thank God. and everything you said here is proof that you are a good mom. so inspired by you. thank you.

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      Thank you Yael. You are also inspiring! I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Suicide is devastating, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you being your mom. I am very very glad that you did what you had to do for the health of yourself and your children. Take care, and thank you for reading and commenting. It means a lot.

  11. I pumped with my first while on meds.
    I Breast fed my second one while on meds.
    It was the responsible thing to do. the alternative was too dangerous. I lost my mom to PPD and was not going to have my kids loose their mom. Two generations of suicide was too much. Meds, therapy, learning all kinds of coping skills, if it could help me, I went for it. and it did! thank God. and everything you said here is proof that you are a good mom. so inspired by you. thank you.

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      Thank you Yael. You are also inspiring! I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Suicide is devastating, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you being your mom. I am very very glad that you did what you had to do for the health of yourself and your children. Take care, and thank you for reading and commenting. It means a lot.

  12. It’s nice to see moms admit their struggles and support others who may be afraid to get help. I began therapy last year, and finally agreed to try Cymbalta about 6 months ago. I was unhappy to face each day. Nothing made me smile anymore. Once I finally focused on myself and my own needs, the sun came out again.

    I “graduated” from therapy and am currently trying to get off the Cymbalta. Wish me luck!
    BalancingMama (Julie) recently posted..Fight Fear GuiltMy Profile

    • Cristi Comes
      Twitter: Motherunadorned
      says:

      Oh Julie, Cymbalta withdrawal isn’t fun. Been there. Please go slow slow slow. You are not alone. I’m so happy you graduated therapy!!

  13. You are not a bad mom, and your writing so transparently about your struggle and thought processes is brave and beautiful!! off to go sparkle you at blogher!
    Frelle recently posted..Chick FightMy Profile

  14. You are not a bad mom, and your writing so transparently about your struggle and thought processes is brave and beautiful!! off to go sparkle you at blogher!
    Frelle recently posted..Chick FightMy Profile

  15. Thank you. You have no idea how much reading this has helped me. I was diagnosed with Bipoar Type II Disorder 6 years ago and without my medications I probably wouldn’t be here. I certainly wouldn’t have the life I have and love.
    My husband and I have decided to start a family and I’ve been- at least as far as my mental health goes-terrified. My psychiatrist and I have had long talks about going off my medications. I’ve been so worried. I’ve read so many things that say that bipolar women shouldn’t even bother having children. That women who take medication during their pregnancies are reckless and clearly don’t care about the welfare of their babies.
    This made me feel better. Made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And, it made me feel like I could totally do this.
    Again, thank you.

  16. Thank you. You have no idea how much reading this has helped me. I was diagnosed with Bipoar Type II Disorder 6 years ago and without my medications I probably wouldn’t be here. I certainly wouldn’t have the life I have and love.
    My husband and I have decided to start a family and I’ve been- at least as far as my mental health goes-terrified. My psychiatrist and I have had long talks about going off my medications. I’ve been so worried. I’ve read so many things that say that bipolar women shouldn’t even bother having children. That women who take medication during their pregnancies are reckless and clearly don’t care about the welfare of their babies.
    This made me feel better. Made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And, it made me feel like I could totally do this.
    Again, thank you.

  17. I think it makes you an awesome mom. I too am on meds, and was on meds while BFing. I need them, to be a good mom, wife…person.

    Thank you for being so brave.
    amber recently posted..Small Moments- Big MemoriesMy Profile

  18. Asking for the help you need makes you the best kind of mom.
    wendy @ mama one to three recently posted..Telling the TaleMy Profile

  19. AMEN is all I can say.

  20. this? is beyond awesome. Amen, amen & amen!
    Grace @ arms wide open recently posted..well rested.My Profile

  21. Cristi Comes
    Twitter: Motherunadorned
    says:

    Oh Julie, Cymbalta withdrawal isn’t fun. Been there. Please go slow slow slow. You are not alone. I’m so happy you graduated therapy!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] in mid-April I started my antidepressant medication change and wrote about it here on the blog. I also at that time, noticed a necklace in West Byron Studio that really struck me. I call it my [...]

  2. [...] in mid-April I started my antidepressant medication change and wrote about it here on the blog. I also at that time, noticed a necklace in West Byron Studio that really struck me. I call it my [...]

  3. [...] mid-April I wrote the post “I’m not a bad mom because I take medication” at the start of a much-needed antidepressant med change. The post incredibly was syndicated [...]

  4. [...] reasons we haven’t gotten there yet.I thought about another previous post I wrote in April “I’m Not A Bad Mom Because I Take Medication.” That post was syndicated on BlogHer, read by thousands, and really seemed to strike a cord.We can [...]

  5. [...] reasons we haven’t gotten there yet.I thought about another previous post I wrote in April “I’m Not A Bad Mom Because I Take Medication.” That post was syndicated on BlogHer, read by thousands, and really seemed to strike a cord.We can [...]

  6. [...] HomeAdoptionBFingBizFertilityGiveawaysMental HealthParentingPreemiesPregnancySuicideI’m Not a Bad Mom Because My Kid isn’t Potty-Trained Posted by Cristi Comes 0 commentsAll righty! Today I’m kicking off the new Motherhood Unadorned Thursday Series “I’m Not a Bad Mom (or Dad) Because…” with my own post about my non-potty-trained-kiddo. I’m really excited about this series because with it I’m inviting guest posts each week! I’ve already gotten one for today from @BruceSallan and two lined up next week from fellow #PPDChat moms. If you’re interested in submitting for this ongoing series, please email cristi@ellieadorn.com. Also, if you haven’t already don’t forget to check out my original “I’m Not A Bad Mom Because I Take Medication” ————————————————————————————————————————————-Holy crap, I am SICK of diapers.I’ve been diapering bums for almost four years.Yes, Ronin is less than two months away from four and is still not potty trained … AT ALL. Like I said the other day when Robin @FarewellStrangr mentioned her (potty trained) 3-year-old and poop, my brain went straight to how horrible my parenting skills must be to have him still in diapers.But I know I’m not a bad mom.I’m a good mom. I love my boy and he loves me.He’s very much like me actually. Anxious. Shy. Cautious. Sweet.I believe his diaper to him is a safety net of sorts. And not for pee. For his anxiety. On days that I’ve tried to push it and force him diaperless I see intense panic. Not necessarily manipulation.I don’t want his bodily functions to become a real issue. I want him to be ready. I want him to want to be a big boy. I want him to see potty training as his own accomplishment, and not a constant failure.I was in Florida last month and talked to the mom of a friend of mine. Let’s call her Joyce, because that’s her name. Anyway, she’s raised two grown daughters and has five grandkids, among other qualifications like nurse. And to hear her say “It’ll happen when he’s ready” was a breath of fresh air.No advice on how to *make* him want to do it. No, have you tried this or that. Just it’ll happen when he’s ready.I want him to be ready. I really REALLY do. But I love him with a fierceness of a mama bear, and I want to not only guide my cub to success but help protect him from unnecessary anxiety. I KNOW anxiety. And I believe forcing him to potty train is just that, unnecessary pressure to do something he WILL do in his own good time.Do I feel like a bad mom sometimes when all of his buddies and younger cousin are running off to pee and poop on the pot with no issues? Yes, I do. But that’s just my own mama guilt that I’ve created for myself. I need to let that go and OWN my parenting beauty.Hi, I’m Cristi. I’m a good mom. And my almost four year old is still in diapers.//LinkWithinCodeStart var linkwithin_site_id = 664507; var linkwithin_div_class = "linkwithin_hook"; //LinkWithinCodeEnd wpa2a.script_load(); Filed in Diapering, Mental Health, Parenting, Potty Training 0 comments No comments yet. Be the first to leave a comment !Leave a Comment Name Email Website [...]

  7. [...] HomeAdoptionBFingBizFertilityGiveawaysMental HealthParentingPreemiesPregnancySuicideI’m Not a Bad Mom Because My Kid isn’t Potty-Trained Posted by Cristi Comes 0 commentsAll righty! Today I’m kicking off the new Motherhood Unadorned Thursday Series “I’m Not a Bad Mom (or Dad) Because…” with my own post about my non-potty-trained-kiddo. I’m really excited about this series because with it I’m inviting guest posts each week! I’ve already gotten one for today from @BruceSallan and two lined up next week from fellow #PPDChat moms. If you’re interested in submitting for this ongoing series, please email cristi@ellieadorn.com. Also, if you haven’t already don’t forget to check out my original “I’m Not A Bad Mom Because I Take Medication” ————————————————————————————————————————————-Holy crap, I am SICK of diapers.I’ve been diapering bums for almost four years.Yes, Ronin is less than two months away from four and is still not potty trained … AT ALL. Like I said the other day when Robin @FarewellStrangr mentioned her (potty trained) 3-year-old and poop, my brain went straight to how horrible my parenting skills must be to have him still in diapers.But I know I’m not a bad mom.I’m a good mom. I love my boy and he loves me.He’s very much like me actually. Anxious. Shy. Cautious. Sweet.I believe his diaper to him is a safety net of sorts. And not for pee. For his anxiety. On days that I’ve tried to push it and force him diaperless I see intense panic. Not necessarily manipulation.I don’t want his bodily functions to become a real issue. I want him to be ready. I want him to want to be a big boy. I want him to see potty training as his own accomplishment, and not a constant failure.I was in Florida last month and talked to the mom of a friend of mine. Let’s call her Joyce, because that’s her name. Anyway, she’s raised two grown daughters and has five grandkids, among other qualifications like nurse. And to hear her say “It’ll happen when he’s ready” was a breath of fresh air.No advice on how to *make* him want to do it. No, have you tried this or that. Just it’ll happen when he’s ready.I want him to be ready. I really REALLY do. But I love him with a fierceness of a mama bear, and I want to not only guide my cub to success but help protect him from unnecessary anxiety. I KNOW anxiety. And I believe forcing him to potty train is just that, unnecessary pressure to do something he WILL do in his own good time.Do I feel like a bad mom sometimes when all of his buddies and younger cousin are running off to pee and poop on the pot with no issues? Yes, I do. But that’s just my own mama guilt that I’ve created for myself. I need to let that go and OWN my parenting beauty.Hi, I’m Cristi. I’m a good mom. And my almost four year old is still in diapers.//LinkWithinCodeStart var linkwithin_site_id = 664507; var linkwithin_div_class = "linkwithin_hook"; //LinkWithinCodeEnd wpa2a.script_load(); Filed in Diapering, Mental Health, Parenting, Potty Training 0 comments No comments yet. Be the first to leave a comment !Leave a Comment Name Email Website [...]

  8. [...] The sisterhood that I am celebrating now is not only female friendship, feminist support or mothers sharing knowledge with peers; the sisterhood I have discovered is both specific and huge: I have (awkwardly) named them the Mental Health Moms. Within the “Mommy Blogger” category, there is a group of women who bravely and publicly tell horror stories, name their diagnoses, admit to feeling fear and shame and just plain put themselves out there. I met them through Cristi Comes, guest poster here, and writer at Motherhood Unadorned, BlogHer, and other places, when I read her post “I’m Not a Bad Mom Because I Take Medication.” [...]

  9. [...] Cristi Comes, Motherhood Unadorned,  I’m Not A Bad Mom Because I Take Medication (this post started her awesome “I’m Not A Bad Mom” [...]

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