I want to talk about a topic that is often stigmatized and shrouded in silence: deteriorating maternal mental health and medicated motherhood. As a society, we have come a long way in destigmatizing mental health issues, but there is still much work to be done, especially when it comes to supporting mothers who may need medication to manage their mental health challenges.
Motherhood is a journey that is both beautiful and demanding, filled with joyous moments and overwhelming responsibilities. It is a time when a woman’s emotions can soar to unimaginable heights, but it can also bring on the weight of anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles. Yet, the expectation for mothers to be selfless superheroes can make it challenging for them to acknowledge their own vulnerabilities and seek the help they may desperately need.
And when mothers finally do say they need help, they’re often met with guilt and shame.
How do I know? Because that was me. I was a mother suffering through detrimental PPA and PPD who didn’t seek help for far too long due to sheer fear of how others would view me as an inadequate mother.
The impact of mental health on mothers cannot be underestimated. Many factors contribute to the emotional rollercoaster that mothers may experience, such as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, societal pressures, and the adjustment to a new identity, especially if you went from working full-time to staying home. For some mothers, this journey can be particularly difficult, leading to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or even hopelessness.
Choosing to take medication is not a sign of weakness or failure as a mother; rather, it is a brave and responsible decision to prioritize one’s mental well-being, ultimately benefiting both the mother and her family.
Imagine a mother who, through medication, finds relief from the grip of anxiety. Picture her waking up with renewed energy, ready to embrace the day and engage wholeheartedly with her child. She can now take on each day with open eyes instead of barely dragging herself out of bed each day. Medication can provide a stable foundation that enables mothers to be fully present and emotionally available for their families and that shouldn’t be viewed negatively.
To all the mothers out there facing mental health challenges, know that you are not alone. You are strong, resilient, and worthy of care and support. Remember that your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. Seeking help, including medication if necessary, is a powerful act of self-love and an investment in the well-being of your family. (It is crucial for mothers to work closely with healthcare professionals to find the right approach tailored to their needs — medication alone will not help you.)
When we support medicated motherhood, it creates an environment where mothers feel comfortable seeking help without fear of judgment. It means showing understanding and compassion rather than reinforcing stereotypes or perpetuating outdated beliefs.