This is news? That was my first reaction to a "news" report about how more and more moms are popping pills to help them deal with stress. "Many moms are turning to medications such as anti-depressants and sleeping aids."
You don't say! And then??
Motherhood is, hands-down, one of the most high-stress jobs in existence. As a result, moms have been self-medicating since the dawn of time. During the Victorian era, laudanum (an alcoholic tincture of opium) served as a tranquilizer, sleeping pill, and menstrual cramp remedy. Opium was used in ancient Greece to "chase away sorrow" while women in ancient Egypt smeared poppy juice on their nipples to "quiet" crying children.
Many moms are turning to medication to deal with stress, yeah. Um, where have YOU been?
It was 1966 when The Rolling Stones released "Mother's Little Helper," an ode to Valium. (Well, what did you think they were singing about??) The lyrics are pretty straightforward, not to mention as relevant today as they were in the '60s:
"Kids are different today"
I hear ev'ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she's not really ill
There's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old
"Men just aren't the same today"
I hear ev'ry mother say
They just don't appreciate that you get tired
They're so hard to satisfy, You can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight
Things haven't changed much, have they?
The challenges of motherhood aren't limited to modern times or class or culture or whether a mom works or stays at home. Nor are the challenges of being human. Yes, circumstances can affect our stress levels -- a lot. But the truth is, being a mom is painful at times. Pain sucks. When we're in pain, we do what we can to relieve it.
Why everyone deals differently with pain, I don't know. But judging a mom because she needs a Xanax to get through a bad day is ignorant and arrogant. What's the difference between a Tylenol PM and a couple of glasses of wine? Better to take an antidepressant than drown your sorrows in fast food. And I mean that literally: The adverse effects of an SSRI are negligible compared to the adverse effects of an extra 30 pounds.
It really, really bothers me that people STILL feel the need to call mothers out simply because they need help. As if that was a symptom -- or cause -- of a failing society.
If that's the case, we've been going down since ancient Greece. Seems like one hell of a slow descent, so no need to panic.
Do you feel judged as a mom for using antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds?
Image via Lucario(F)/Flickr