I don’t think there was anything more that needed to be said. I was suffering big time. I was completely out of my mind. My OB/GYN was more than supportive. In fact, she was one of the main forces encouraging me. Still, I felt massive guilt in accepting that prescription. Once I had it filled, I would be taking those pills. There would be no turning back. This was my last chance of finishing this pregnancy with a glimmer of hope. Or, dare I say it, maybe even with a little bit of happiness?
I didn’t think it would ever come to this. Who does? I was about five months into my pregnancy and barely functional. My anxiety was so high that I had left my career. The ringing in my ears was pretty much constant at this point. It had a clinical name, tinnitus, but all I knew was that I felt like I was being tortured. Seeing a psychiatrist was probably the best thing I did for myself. He was the one that gave me a formal diagnosis: post traumatic stress disorder. The ear ringing was neurological and with the help of antidepressants, it would cease. I wasn’t so sure, but I was totally out of options at this point.
According to my doctor, my post traumatic stress was completely understandable. Although I was excited about the birth of my baby girl, I was also grieving. This was not my first pregnancy. The year before, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. His name was Liam Jude. Liam died at nine days due to a congenital heart defect.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I was taking a chance. I felt a lot of pressure from family and friends to be pregnant again. Could they be right? Would a new baby provide me with the joy and comfort I most desperately needed?
Suffering a loss is never easy, but child loss is particularly heart wrenching. I really didn’t think I was going to get through it. During my first pregnancy I abstained from everything; I wouldn’t even take a pain reliever. I wondered if I was letting my new baby down, but we both needed to stay healthy.
By mid-pregnancy, I started experiencing terrible migraines. My blood pressure was slowly yet surely rising. I failed my first glucose test, which was a shock considering I passed it with flying colors in my first pregnancy.
The grief, anxiety, and depression were most certainly taking a toll. It wasn’t just me that all the stress was affecting. I had a baby in there. I had to think about her, too.
Recently, actress Amanda Seyfried went public with the news that she took antidepressants during her pregnancy. In an article she repeated a mantra that has been in my head for eight years now: “Happy mommy equals happy baby.”
I don’t speak much about my use of medication during my second pregnancy. I’ve never written about it. Even with such a low dosage, I never wanted to be judged for making that decision.
I do think about it from time to time. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t take that step. I also think about how it may have affected my daughter. My beautiful girl is now seven years old. She is lively, smart, and beautiful. In spite of my high blood pressure during the pregnancy, I carried her to 39 weeks. I was able to stick it out. I was definitely a calmer and happier person as she entered the world. Although I was still somewhat depressed, I was much more prepared and confident in my ability to take care of her. I knew it would somehow be okay.
My own experience served as a wake-up call. I found myself less likely to judge others for their actions, especially mothers. There's enough negativity. You really never know what someone may be dealing with. Whether it's breastfeeding, co-sleeping, or helicopter parenting, I tend to keep my mouth shut nowadays. We are all unique and that is what makes motherhood so beautiful.
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