The pills were yellow. Bright yellow. Sunshine in a bottle perched on top of the stove alongside the salt and pepper shakers.
A few weeks before I was due to give birth to my second son, I had the prescription filled. The spot on the stove was intentional. I wanted to see them. I needed to know they were there, patiently waiting for me to decide if and when I needed them. Their mere presence gave me comfort.
They were the same pills that brought me out of the darkness of postpartum anxiety and depression the first time. When I couldn’t fall asleep because my mind wouldn’t stop spinning. When every decision and task was an overwhelming obstacle I just couldn’t face.
When I completely fell apart and lost myself, it was those yellow pills that brought me back.
That was five years ago and since then I’ve talked to a lot of moms going through similar struggles in the weeks, months, even years after giving birth. I’m often asked about my decision to take an antidepressant – mostly from mothers who are grappling with the decision themselves.
By the time I realized I needed help, things were bad. I was desperate and more terrified about what would happen if I didn’t take the pills than if I did. Yes, part of me felt like a failure for not being able to just fix it myself but I had to push that aside. It wasn’t about me anymore. My family needed me, and I owed it to my son and my husband to get healthy.
Do I think everyone mother experiencing postpartum depression should do the same? Of course not. It’s an extremely personal decision. But I encourage every mom to consider all her options and make the choice that is right for her, whatever that may be.
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