My name is Courtney DeFeo and I am medicated. Wow. I finally hit “publish.”
Oh, Lord. Please cover this blog post. Go before me. Know my heart and my desire. I do not want to stir up drama – I want to encourage moms. I want to be transparent in the hopes of reaching even just one mom at home by the edge her bed crying. Lord, I pray that you will be all we need. I pray that you will give us discernment and clarity and wisdom when we are scared. Give me the words. Give me the courage to proceed with another scary confession on my heart.
I am litearlly trembling because this is dangerous territory. I am not a doctor or a nurse or a counselor. I’m just a mom that has walked the road a couple of times and sat with MANY moms that have faced this same tough decision.
Before I had Larson, I never dreamed I would need an anti-depressant for anything in my life. I dropped the bomb the other day in comment here that I took Zoloft. I just want to be so real with you guys and never let you think I just kicked my heels and prayed and snapped out of hard times and it’s just that easy.
And, for some folks – it is. Some choose to walk through the toughest times as a team. They fight like hell with God and rise above it on amazing strength together. Before I had Larson, I was not against medication at all. I just didn’t it because I haven’t had a history of anxiety or depression. I had baby blues, hormone fits, exhaustion, crying episodes and the normal insanity the first time around.
I had ups and downs and loving it and hating it. I had frustration and pure joy. I had total anger and total elation. However, I never felt my situation was more than I could handle – or I should say – more than I could handle with God and my husband.
However, I should say Ella was a little cherub. You know the one… would sit perfectly in the bathtub, eat dinner at restaurant without getting up, obey like she was made for it kind of girl. I thought I was MOM OF THE YEAR… oh, I had I no idea. God thought I needed an extra large serving of humility – so I had Larson. Clearly, I had nothing to do with the cherub child. Both were a true gift from above.
So, then came the screaming and reflux and adjusting to two kids. All of you with 4 to 14 kids – stop laughing. This is my reality. I have a low tolerance to stress. I know you’re thinking two is easy. Swallow that momentarily and keep tracking.
For six months, I cried almost every day. I wanted to be so good at two. I wanted her to stop screaming. On page 15 of Unglued, I explained it to Lysa like this, “I come unglued when I feel out of control because my kids are screaming or fighting or whining or negotiating and won’t listen. I like silence, calm, obedience and control. When it’s not going ‘my way,’ I come unglued and freak out and it goes quiet. And then the regret comes.”
See, I didn’t have anger issues until I had two kids. I didn’t really “need” God every day until I had two kids – one of them with a health issue. I could control my way through life until this phase hit me. I literally came unglued.
I was good at faking it until those closest to me made eye contact with me. Then, I would burst into tears. Even, my sweet Brenda (dining room hostess at my favorite Chick-fil-A), she knew. I burst out into tears with her. I was not OK. I was in over my head. I couldn’t think past each tiny issue to just keep moving. My friend Ashley (AMAZING REFLUX expert and warrior for moms – please contact her reflux moms) came over to save me.
I knew other people who had turned to medication. I resisted. I didn’t need that. I didn’t want that. I could power through on my own. This would pass. Then months passed and I was still fighting each day. Coming unglued by 9:00 am and literally hating my day-to-day and waiting for my help to come in (Daddy) by 6:00 pm. That’s a long day of misery and not a way to live.
My mom was tender and never pushy, but brave. She encouraged me to talk to someone. To get back to me. She knew how much I loved motherhood at some point. How much JOY I had felt in the past. She knew I didn’t have to live life every day like that – and that reflux was actually nothing. There were kids fighting serious diseases, moms fighting loss, single moms and much worse. I could actually get up and do this. I was miserable and the thought of admitting that and feeling that almost ate me alive.
So, I reached out to my precious OB for medical counsel and asked questions and cried of course. She was amazing and tender yet clinical about it. She assessed the situation. Oh, and did I mention my migraines that I always have were horrific? Due to the stress – they were 2 per week or more during this time. I also reached out to my neurologist about the situation. They both said (in 3 flat seconds) – YES! There is really no reason you should not get on something immediately. For your health, for your family – for your migraine situation and more – this is the very next step. Your life will change in 4 weeks or sooner.
At the same time, I contacted my mentor. I had a hunch what the doctor would say, but I needed a Godly person to remove the guilt and the shame. She didn’t say “go for it at this minute” but prayed with me and gave me so much wisdom and confidence that either way it was OK. She had confidence I could do it without and she gave me hope and encouragement that if I did – I was a great mom and Godly woman just the same. It was really in my hands and between me/God – no one else.
So, Ron/I decided I needed to try it and get our family back in order. He was truthful about my presence and our family environment. My life did change in 4 weeks.
I was able to raise my head above the tiny crisis and live normally. I could breathe. I was rational again. I wasn’t crying every day. I was joyful again. There were some side effects that stunk. However, I was me again! I wasn’t striving for a perfect, happy environment. I just wanted ME, the mom who could face days of challenges with a rational mind and even a joking spirit. The mom who could grab that screaming baby up and carry on. Keep playing, keep running errands and keep being me.
That was three years ago and it also helped my headaches tremendously. A year or so later, Larson was so much better and I was handling things much better. I was ready to come down some or totally off? (So, I thought. One totally off season proved otherwise.) My neurologist switched me to a very low dose and type that would help keep the headaches at bay. I’d prefer to be on nothing and I want to try going off of that. However, I am scared. I’m scared what it will do to my head. I’m scared I’ll be a snappier mommy. I want to do the work in me and with God to have self-control.
I know FOR SURE, that I needed that medication to pass through those months after Larson. I hope I don’t need it again, but I would do it again. I want to lean on God and do the hard work it takes to grow and respond to life in its toughest times.
There are some of you that literally are about to explode with anger at me because you don’t believe in this – please refrain from hating me for sharing my journey. I am not trying to advocate the world get medicated. I wish no one needed it and I believe there are MANY alternatives to explore first – less busyness, exercise, diet change, getting help with kids, etc.
I just want to open a discussion that the Christian world is afraid to discuss. It’s taboo you know.
In my opinion, this can help you decide.
1) Medical advice – turn to a doctor or psychiatrist that understands you and your body and what you are facing.
2) Godly counsel – whether professional or an older, wiser woman – get someone’s advice or perspective that can speak TRUTH even if it hurts. She may say, “No, I think you have 4 times the amount of work on your plate than is doable. That’s the issue. Not needing medication.” We have to ask for feedback even when it might be tough to get.
3) Those We Are Affecting – We need to also ask our spouse, our parents, our friends – those closest to us. They know. They see our interactions and can help us understand if we are acting different.
My prayer is that this will give you courage just to open up and tell one person how you are really feeling about your situation. My hope is that if you’re ANTI medication, this might encourage not to judge too quickly. Please know this was scarier than you know to share and I just feel led that at least one girl needs this today.
My precious best bud Katie wrote this the other day and I know so many of you are there right now:
“These baby birthing years are tough. I am seriously hopeful that I will get back to being ME, the one I kinda think got lost about 6 years ago. I get a little glimpse of her from time to time. I like her. I miss her. And I look forward to when she comes back around more often.”
Isn’t that just beautiful?
I don’t believe it takes medicine in every situation to find you again, but just don’t stuff your feelings too long. Grab a friend, a doctor, your mom and cry your eyes out. You owe to yourself to find out what’s normal, what’s “baby blues”, what’s “postpartum” and more. Someone else can really help you walk through this. God is there and he uses others to carry you too.
What’s on your heart?
Do you think this is a taboo topic in Christian circles?
Have you fought through this dilemma before?
Please feel free to share with anyone that needs this. I am not ashamed of it anymore.