I AM A MEDICATED MOMMY! Yes, I take antidepressants. No, I am not ashamed. Not even a little bit. And if you do too, you shouldn’t be ashamed either.
Let’s start at the beginning. On day six of being a new mom, I was overcome with crippling anxiety and non-stop tears. I had no desire to ever leave my bed again. All I wanted to do was sleep and go back to the hospital where people would take care of me and I didn’t have to be responsible for the well-being of another human. Why did I become a mom? I believed I had made a terrible mistake. Obviously something was very wrong.
After a diagnosis of postpartum depression followed by three rounds of different anti-anxiety medicine and two rounds of antidepressants, my therapist and psychiatrist finally found the right drug cocktail to help me. Yes, I felt frustrated while trying to find the right medication and it took some time, but I also found relief once I did. It was the first step to getting better, something I never believed would be possible while in the dark hole of postpartum depression. It was worth hanging in there for. My baby, husband and I were worth hanging in there for.
My son is now almost four years old and while I have weaned off the anxiety meds I still take the antidepressants every morning. I will most likely take them for the rest of my life and I’m okay with that. And I’m cool with you knowing that about me. I’m proud of my journey–of the year long fight I put up against the postpartum depression–of my transformation into the fierce, courageous, compassionate, honest woman and mom whose words you are reading right now and isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability.
I realize that treatment for depression and anxiety are not one size fits all. What worked and continues to work for me might not be right for you. The important thing is to make sure you advocate for yourself. I am not a medical professional. I am a postpartum depression survivor who chose to accept her diagnosis, ask for help, and get the appropriate treatment.
Postpartum depression as well as all postpartum mood disorders are very real, very common, and they go untreated way too often. If you had the flu or another type of illness, you would treat those wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t deny yourself the proper care. These disorders are illnesses too. And they are always temporary with professional treatment. I realize that medication isn’t for everyone, but it’s also not the devil either. If medication can help you get better, at least consider it while exploring all the options out there.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t ask to get sick. You are not a failure or a horrible mother. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Taking medication does not make you weak or any less of a mother. In fact, acknowledging you are struggling and accepting help makes you strong.
So let me shout this again. I AM A MEDICATED MOMMY AND I AM NOT ASHAMED! I do what I need to do to stay healthy and happy for my family and for myself. And that makes me a warrior mom.