When I first started out as a birth blogger five-and-a-half years ago, I villainized epidurals and felt driven to encourage more women to try giving birth without them. As I’ve learned and grown, I’ve come to recognize that epidurals can be very useful and sometimes necessary. Someone I love spent many hours trying to push out a (large) persistently posterior baby without drugs, but after she had a brief rest with an epidural and a bit of Pitocin, baby quickly turned and came sliding out. Sometimes drugs are just the right thing.
Sometimes the very things we once felt certain we would never need or embrace can become right for us under new circumstances.
I suppose all of this is on my mind because I’ve been humbled by my own need for medical intervention. I wasn’t sure if, when, or how I wanted to proclaim to the world that I’m taking medication for my anxiety/depression, but here I am saying it now. I spent months trying to avoid drugs, believing I was strong enough to get better on my own, researching and trying a wide variety of natural remedies, but it wasn’t enough.
Did the drugs make it all go away? No. At least not yet. If there were some kind of epidural for anxiety/depression, I would most definitely be asking for that big fat needle to be placed in my back pronto. I want more than anything in the world to feel consistently “myself” again, to be able to enjoy caring for my family the way I used to, to feel a desire to do the things I used to love to do, to stop being afraid and overwhelmed and desperate.
Tomorrow marks my fifth week. The first few weeks on the meds were rough to put it lightly. Rough. I do think the medication has begun to tame the beasts, and I’m crossing my fingers that I will continue to see more improvement with time. I’m also crossing my fingers that this intervention is temporary. I’d really prefer to be calm and happy without medical assistance.
But I am making progress. Little by little, I’m making progress.
This past weekend, I did something I wasn’t sure I was going to be capable of doing. A month ago, I was so incapacitated by my illnesses that it seemed highly unlikely that I would be able to go to California for my friend’s wedding on September 1. I continued to hope I would be well enough, but I just wasn’t sure. Even the day before the wedding, I was still not sure I could handle the trip. But then I did.
I did it. And I genuinely smiled. And I felt calm and joyful. Happy day.
And then later in the day I did something else I wasn’t sure I would be able to do. For the past several months, babies and pregnant women have made me feel anxious. I have had no desire to hold even the cutest tiny babies or ever bear one of my own again. For someone who has been passionate about pregnancy, birth, and babies for the past decade, this is strange and foreign and disturbing. Nonetheless, it’s been my reality.
But this past weekend I held my new baby niece.
I did it. And I smiled. And I felt calm and joyful (and really grateful that someone else was her momma).
Here’s hoping for more smiles and joy to come.
Please only comment if you have encouraging words to share. Thank you!