Anxiety Medication Helps Me Survive As A Working Mom, And This Is Why

by Katie Malone
Originally Published: 
A mom doing her job tasks on a laptop while, at the same table, her daughter is working on her homew...
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For me, working motherhood is better when I’m on drugs.I ‘m not talking about the kind of drugs that make you high, but instead the kind that keep you sane.

I am a better mother, wife, and employee when I’m on Zoloft.

I’ve always been an anxious person. When I was a teenager, I remember my parents suggesting I try some kind of anxiety medication to take the edge off. At that time I scoffed at their suggestion. And then I went to college and realized that many, if not most, of my friends had as much anxiety as I did.

Into my adulthood, my anxiety ebbed and flowed.

So it should have come as no surprise to me that after I had my first daughter at the age of 29, I began to have some postpartum anxiety.

But somehow it snuck up on me. See, it wasn’t the normal PPD or PPA that the hospital brochures describe. I never even had the “baby blues.” Honestly, motherhood was a huge blessing to me and caring for my newborn came easier to me than I expected. She was a dream baby and the first few months, although exhausting, were a breeze.

Then I had to go back to work. And postpartum anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks.

I cried myself to sleep almost every night of my last two weeks of maternity leave. When I finally went back to work, I was an emotional and mental mess. I had baby brain. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere except for at home with my husband and our new baby. Even going out to dinner with friends was an exhausting chore. Every minute I didn’t spend with my daughter, I felt crushing guilt.

And when she got sick, it was like the world was ending. And, spoiler alert, babies get sick a lot. So I was breaking down quite a bit.

Around my daughter’s first birthday, my anxiety spiraled out of control. My husband and I had a special trip planned for just the two of us when our daughter would be 13 months old. When she got sick with a stomach bug around her 1st birthday, I flat out told my husband I wasn’t going to go on our trip. We fought for days. I lost my mind. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving our daughter for a few days/nights.

I ended up going on the trip and everything was fine, but I still had the nagging anxiety.

Finally, around 18 months, I started to feel like myself again.

That’s when I finally realized that all of my worry, my guilt, my freak outs, had been postpartum anxiety. It was really normal, but it could have been helped.

So when I got pregnant with our second daughter about six months later — a pregnancy that proved to be high risk and very emotional — I vowed that I would stop my own insanity.

Around 8 weeks postpartum on my second go-round, I began taking a low dose of Zoloft. And I am so thankful I did that for myself and my sanity.

Since having my second daughter, I have rarely had any helpless thoughts or bouts of “not feeling like myself.”

When my second daughter was around a year old, I tried to wean myself off Zoloft and immediately regretted it. Most of all, my work suffered because I found I was more irritable, less willing to help co-workers, and more stressed about petty things.

At that point, my husband said to me, “Why bother? If it makes you feel better, than it’s worth it.”

Listen, I don’t love the fact that I have to take a pill of my life, but I understand that it makes me a more patient mother, a more loving wife and a less stressed co-worker.

I understand that at this point in my life, it might be necessary to help keep me feeling “normal.”

Motherhood is hard. Working full-time and trying to grow a career is stressful. Put those two things together, and add trying to be a loving, supportive wife, and it can be a recipe for a breakdown — with or without anxiety.

So my point is, don’t wait until it’s too late. Take a lesson from me, if you need help, ask for it. Because everyone deserves to live a happy, (somewhat) sane life — even working mothers.

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