A few weeks ago, Stir staff writer Jacqueline Burt dove into the moms-on-meds debate when she wrote "5 Ways Medication Can Make You a Better Mom." Well today she got to tell her story on Anderson Live. With her was a mom with a very different perspective on moms on meds, and also parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba.
I got to watch the show from the audience, and I've gotta say, the woman sitting next to me wasn't having any of this moms-on-meds business. But she seems like the exception. Overall, I think most of us moms get it: Modern parenting is stressful, and some of us need that extra help. But are we reaching too quickly for meds and by-passing other ways to cope with that stress?
Dr. Borba pointed out that it's important that we model positive, healthy coping strategies for our kids. So even if you're using meds to keep your moods stable, that should be just one among a few different tools you use. We also need to learn what our "hot spots" are so we can plan what to do when we get stressed. Here are some of Dr. Borba's tips. And she recommends we all do relaxing activities -- with our families.
I know a lot of moms who've had to deal with chemical imbalances -- even before they had kids. We all know how pregnancy and childbirth can upset those brain chemicals even more. And then you add the stress of modern life on top of that? As Jacque and others put it, you need the meds just so you can feel "normal." Or as another mom put it, you can't parent if you're having a panic attack. So the more I listen, the clearer it seems to me that there are women out there who definitely need their meds.
And then there's the rest of us. When I first separated from my husband, I had a checkup with my doctor. She ran me through a whole battery of questions to see how I was handling this crisis and figure out if I needed to be on something. And her conclusion? No meds for me! She prescribed cardio three to four times a week and some therapy. That was my first line of defense ... and it turns out, it was all I needed. I'm glad she made that call.
Anyway, who says we moms who aren't on meds are such shining examples of stress management, anyway? Sure, I've got my spin classes, but I like to self-medicate with a little red wine, too. And the biggest difference between that red wine and Xanax is that at least with Xanax, you're under a doctor's supervision. Definitely something for me to think about!
How do you cope with stress? Do you have more than one tool for managing your moods?