You found the hidden text! Did you know... One single drop of a mother's colostrum has nearly 1 million white blood cells in it! True amazing power we hold as human mothers to heal. "Every Drop Counts!" - Summer

Mental Illness. Women. Medications. Those words alone drudge up all sorts of feelings. Put them together, and they have more. Add women to the mix, and you have sweet proverbial triplets. I am still not sure what I think about these words, particularly “illness”. But I have the clinical label attached to my file. And as I’ve learned, not unlike many of my ‘sisters’ in life.


 

“Women are all crazy”fullsizeoutput_5f44

“Its your hormones”

“Is your period about to start”

“You just had a baby”

“You must be on your period”

“Pregnancy brain”

“Mommy brain”

“Women are so emotional”

“Are you always crying”

“Something is wrong with me”

“I don’t know why I’m crying”

“I just feel all mixed up inside”

“It feels like a monster has taken over my body”


 

So here we go…Sometimes you can do everything possible the “natural way”, and you still need extra help. Health comes in many shapes and sizes. As moms, we all know how hard it is and how we can feel pulled in so many directions yet still feel we have more to do. 

These things: pregnancy, birth, motherhood, feeding our babies, other children, staying home, working away from home, in the home or part-time and HORMONES, all are NOT easy. They are all big life transitions. And that’s not a full list. 

Medications are not always the right answer, and one certainly does not fit all. But sometimes, medication can be part of the solution. It’s not shameful. It’s not bad. It does not define you. It does not make you less than. 

Looking back, I now know that I suffered from PPD 17 years ago that presented as anxiety.  This was before PPA was really recognized. I thought what I was feeling was normal. I struggled.  Compulsions.  Stress. Obsessions. Constant anxiety. And I had no clue. 

Bring us to today.  I am 42, peri-menopausal, and anxiety has taken a nice big grip of me again. Around 40 I started noticing things changing. How I responded to things, simple things became a big deal, how much…actually  how little I could accomplish compared to years before, and how I was no longer a great multi-task master! Unexplained anxiety about who knows what! Trouble sleeping, night sweats, and an ever changing mood at the tip of a hat. 

I would describe it as constantly feeling like I had 10 boiling pots of water on only 4 burners. And it was an endless feeling. 

Helloooo depression and anxiety! I was doing everything you’re “supposed” to do. Exercise, eat well, get outside, surround yourself with loved ones and talk therapy. For me, add to that my phenomenal  acupuncturist and yoga. And tick-tock, tick-tock, nothing was better. 

Welcome to the stage…prescription medications. And I will say begrudgingly for this “done naturally” and scared girl. 

And as many of you know, that fine science of your body chemistry and medication can be a mystery to solve and find the perfect match. Let me just say…that process can suck a big, fat, dirty-nailed-toe!!!! 

But when the mystery is solved and you find the fit…whooooosh! Welcome back to the stage…ME! The balanced, silly, relaxed and grateful me! Love having her around! 

I recognize that I am in a different point in my motherhood journey as many of you, yet still hormones have a heavy impact on all of us women. We are all doing the hard work of being great women and mothers. We all need support and understanding and our gaggle of friends to lift us up. Most importantly, we have to help rid this  stigma that surrounds women, motherhood, depression and anxiety. Medications are not a sign of weakness. Taking them does not need to be a secret. 

Let’s honor ourselves, all of us. If these  are things you have always struggled with, maybe even pre-motherhood, haven’t ever experienced, currently are navigating or maybe you’ve got it figured out, I love you! 

YOU love you! Love yourself enough to do something, even being outside your comfort zone. When you aren’t you, everyone around you is affected. Your family, your children, your partner and your friends, they all want the best and need the best you! 

Because the alternative of constant suffering, is not an option. 

You are a powerful woman. You matter. You are and can still be you! Rid the stigma!

Stigma only has power if we give it fuel. Well today, stigma’s tank is empty and I’m not filling that gal back up. 

 

Summer J Friedmann, IBCLC

October, 8th, 2019