This post was syndicated on BlogHer Thursday, April 28!
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.
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?
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.