Besides the seasonal depression bouts, I have been blessed with an even keeled mind and overall confidence with myself. I also have the tools, thanks to being a therapist, to see any mental illness issues arising and be very self-aware when things are going astray. With that said, I am in no way free of mental illness problems.
Having children has changed me in so many good ways, but it has also changed me in some not so great ways. I want to talk to you mamas (and dads) out there about my experience in the hopes that this might ring true for some of you.
Figuring Out What’s Best for ME
My Experience After My First Born
With my first-born Maddie, what I didn’t realize in the moment, is that I experienced some Pregnancy OCD, which to be honest I had no idea that was a thing. In OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) people experience Compulsions (for example, washing hands x amount of times before leaving the house) and then people can also experience Obsessions (which is anxiety heightened). My experience was more with Obsessions rather than Compulsions, but these Obsessions (thoughts) consumed my time and energy and I didn’t even realize it at first.
We were living in Dallas and suddenly I would have these intrusive thoughts that my husband was going to be murdered. Now I justified these thoughts because we weren’t living in a great area, so I tried shaking these thoughts but I just couldn’t, but I still didn’t seek any help from my doctor.
After I had Maddie, I felt a lot of overwhelm. Nursing was difficult for me and I felt panic every time she woke for a night feeding, which made me feel even more overwhelmed and inadequate. I felt that I was not only failing as mom, but I was failing as a therapist because I couldn’t shake these thoughts and my experience with Postpartum Depression.
I felt like I shouldn’t be able to get depressed because of my therapy background.
I finally talked to my doctor about it, got the prescription filled, but I never took it. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need it, that I don’t need to rely on medication, and I ended up muddling my way through it.
In between having Maddie and getting pregnant with my second child Paisley, I learned A LOT and grew from that first experience. I realized there’s no shame in depression, and that I didn’t have to muddle through my life.
When I got pregnant the second time I started in therapy because I knew my OCD and Postpartum Depression were coming.
5 days after Paisley was born, I recognized that I was having negative and intrusive thoughts again, so I started taking Zoloft. Now I know everyone’s experience with medication is going to be different, but for me the results were almost instant.
The next day I felt so much better and I felt like my old self again! I was on Zoloft for about 6 months after Paisley was born and then I felt like I could be off it again.
My Current Experience
In between my second and third child I learned even more. I recognized these negative and intrusive thoughts even faster and as soon as I did, I started taking Zoloft again. A couple months after London was born, I went off Zoloft again.
However, the past couple of months I haven’t been anxious or depressed, but I’ve recognized that I am not myself. I was way grumpier, I was getting annoyed with my kids and frustrated with my husband, and that’s just not me! So, I decided to go on Zoloft again, not just for my benefit, but for my family as well.
I Don’t Have to Fight This On My Own
What I’ve learned through my pregnancies is that I don’t have to fight through this. I can fight through it and I don’t have to “rely” on medication, but I realized that I don’t want to focus my energy on that. I’d rather focus my energy on my kids, my husband, and my career, and if Zoloft can help me with that then I am all for it.
This is just my experience with OCD and Postpartum Depression, and I know this isn’t what everyone goes through and not everyone wants to be on medication. That’s totally fine and normal! My hope is that you all take away the concept that you don’t have to muddle through whatever you are going through! Talk to your doctor or your therapist and see what helps YOU the most.