Two and a half years ago, I gave birth to my second baby. She was everything I wanted after experiencing a miscarriage with my first pregnancy and having a healthy, curly-headed baby boy just a couple of years earlier. I just knew I was going to kick this newfound motherhood of two’s butt because I thought myself to be a remarkable person, womxn, and mother.
The first few weeks weren’t too bad. My husband was home. My mom and aunt were almost always around, ready to help with the toddler as I got to know the baby and tried to quell her insatiable appetite. It was nice to have help, and it was aggravating to realize I could not do it all. In fact, I was terrified of the idea of being home alone with both kids alone. Who do I tend to first if they both start crying at the same time? Will the toddler think I love him less because I don’t go to him first? How will that affect our relationship? I had so many questions! But I guess I figured it out.
After 8 weeks, I returned to work, was pumping, was traveling for work, and even went to Florida with the kids. On the surface, everything looked good. I held up well. But deep inside, I could tell something was wrong. The FOMO (fear of missing out) was so real as I scrolled through social media. My hatred for Saturdays grew intense (My husband works most Saturdays making Saturdays Mom day – all day). I grew more irritable and was really short with my little guy. I felt like I was losing it.
Five months postpartum, I sought help. I called my job’s Employee Assistance Program and was connected with a therapist. The therapist had me reach out to my OB to start on an antidepressant. It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do – to admit to myself and my husband that I wasn’t okay, that I was falling apart inside even though the façade I’d created said otherwise.
That was in May of 2019. Back then, I had hoped that I could wean myself off them after about a year, but then the pandemic hit with no end in sight, and I was advised to continue. I recently heard a statistic, “Adherence rates for most medications are about 50%.” Meaning only about half of people take their meds as prescribed. Let’s be honest. I would not consider myself one of those folx. I’ve never been good about taking medication consistently, but this info made me take a hard look at myself. I needed to do better – to make sure I take care of myself, take the 30 seconds to go to the kitchen, grab a pill and a glass of water, and guzzle both down before going to bed. Why? Because when I do, I feel better. I am gracious to myself and others. I can pause before I react, which means the world for my relationships with the people I love most.
I don’t plan to be on these things forever, but in the meantime, I have to remind myself, “Take your meds, Mom.”