Overcoming perfectionism in motherhood
“As a perfectionist, I resisted anxiety medication for many years. I felt taking it would mean I couldn’t handle things properly on my own. As a licensed social worker, I was well aware of anxiety disorders and the benefits medication can provide. I was also nonjudgmental and compassionate towards people who did take meds. Yet I didn’t want to be one of them, reflecting a deep internal stigma I didn’t want to admit I held. During a particularly tough time, I finally tried medication, which I found helpful but then weaned myself off with the help of therapy as I anticipated wanting to try and get pregnant soon.
And then I learned more. When I spoke to my OB, she encouraged me to be open-minded about the support I might need, given my history of generalized anxiety disorder and depressive episodes. I met with a reproductive psychiatrist who suggested a new medication and, most importantly, educated me. This doctor, along with my OB, taught me that while there are risks to any meds, the benefits can far outweigh them. They helped me overcome biases I didn’t realize I had. They showed me that with the right support, I didn’t have to deal with these stressors alone. Medication, talk therapy, and social supports are all tools that we can use to feel better — that we deserve to use to feel better, if they are needed.
The medication I was prescribed just before becoming pregnant changed my life. It helped balance me and made me a better person. I stayed on it through both pregnancies, while pumping, and through my kids’ toddlerhood. I still take it today, nearly seven years later. And I still get the support I need from mental health and other providers in various forms. I am open about my experiences and want to help de-stigmatize asking for help — so much so that I decided to dedicate my career to helping women and new moms with anxiety issues.
You don’t have to suffer. You are not alone.”