I Had To Stay Medicated Throughout My Pregnancy

by Elisabeth Lighty
Originally Published: 
A gestational surrogate sitting on the bench while holding her stomach in a sunny park

I thought if I wanted to have a baby, I had to get off of my meds. So when we were getting ready to try to conceive, I did. And it was a disaster.

I spent pretty much my entire pregnancy battling panic, extreme anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and epic amounts of worry.

I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill worry.

I’m talking about waking up very early in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep because of obsessive thoughts and panic.

I’m talking about not wanting to get out of bed because I dreaded going through another day with my brain.

I’m talking about being unable to shut off my thoughts.

I’m talking about serious, serious anxiety.

I tried to find something, anything, that would help with my symptoms but not harm my baby. I felt like such a failure. I felt so broken. Ashamed.

I did go back on meds around the start of my second trimester. A nearly minuscule dose that didn’t even touch the anxiety. I was so afraid to increase my dosage.

But I did increase it.

And increase it.

And increase it.

I went up enough that by the end of my pregnancy, I felt a little bit calm. A little bit happy. A little bit more like myself.

If I could choose my own story, I would choose not to have anxiety.

I would choose not to have a history of depression.

I would choose to be a woman who nevereverever had to think about meds, who nevereverever felt like I had to choose between my mental health and my baby’s health.

But in this story, my story, I don’t get to choose.

I’m not thrilled that this is my reality. If there was an herb or homeopathic or essential oil or supplement or yoga or meditation or therapy or anything other than meds that would work for me, believe me, I would use it. But nothing else works for me.

This experience taught me that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. There are always risks and benefits to weigh.

And ultimately, only I can decide what is best for me and my family.

So I support you, no matter what you choose. Because I know that only you know what you need, and only you know what’s best for you and your baby.

I support you if you choose an epidural.

I support you if you choose a cesarean birth.

I support you if you do nothing on your birth plan or everything on your birth plan.

I support you no matter where you birth, how you birth, or who attends your birth.

I support you no matter what diapers you use, how you approach parenting, or how you feed your baby.

I support you because I can never know all of the things that have made you exactly who you are in this moment, all of the things that led you to make whatever choice you are making.

And so I trust you. Even if you need to take meds when you’re pregnant.

(I talked to my care providers about my choice to take medication during pregnancy. Make sure you do, too.)

Related post: The Day I Brought My Kids To My Psychiatrist Appointment

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