by Kimberly Froeschner
**Before we begin, let me state that this post is intended to let other women who may be going through the same thing know that they are not alone. Perhaps someone will read it and recognize herself in it. We all love our children and want what's best for them, but sometimes that means doing what's best for Mom as well.**
I remember when I was a carefree Singleton listening to the Rolling Stones song "Mother's Little Helper" and picturing a frazzled old house frau with curlers in her hair wearing a housecoat with a glass of vodka in her hand. In my mind it was only this type of woman who would take Valium, and then, only because she was a whiny person who just couldn't make it through the day on her own.
That said, when my child was about 18 months, something happened. I started having back pains and chest pains and went (more than once) to the doctor, Urgent Care and even the ER. I think I've had every test you can think of, from wearing a heart monitor for several weeks to being tested for celiac disease. In the end I was told "anxiety" was the verdict. I fought this idea for a long time, even to the point of thinking my doctor was trying to "gaslight" me into being "crazy." I was sure that any anxiety I had was a result of the pains I was having and the doctor was sure I was having pains from the anxiety. Chicken or egg? Who knows.
Now, I'm a high-stress person - always have been - but I function just fine under my normal stress load. Normal suddenly became not only my usual job and life stress, but a child on top of that. I won't make any excuses that my child is any more difficult than any other normal child because she isn't. I'm not sure what happened, but something inside me just went haywire. A good friend thinks perhaps I'm having delayed post-partum. (I don't think I'd classify it that way, but I see her point.) I think perhaps in my mind I am still the woman who can do it all - and control it all - and when you add a small person into that mix that I'm totally responsible for, but can not control 100%, I think my brain starts melting. (Perhaps that's my OCD coming out.)
Don't get me wrong. I love, adore and enjoy my child to the fullest extent and my husband does help. I have infinite patience when required. However, with all the stress I am feeling, I think I'm internalizing a bit much and now I have a giant ball of stress and anxiety to deal with. I have tried a few of the current prescriptions on the market...Product Z gave me an enormous panic attack the likes of which you have never seen. Fortunately I tried this product years ago to see if it would make my very minor OCD disappear completely, which it did not. With a child in the picture now, Product Z is entirely off the table. I am reluctant to try most any prescription drug for any symptom because I am always concerned about how it may affect me and I want to make sure that I am crisp and clear when it comes to caring for my child.
With this recent diagnosis, the first thing I was given was Product K. This seemed to have a minor effect in that the chest pain was diminished somewhat, but it certainly wasn't the miracle I hoped it could be. Product X came next. This was pretty good, but limited in the amount I could take. I don't intend to be on medication for the rest of my life and this stuff could lead down a path I prefer to avoid. Finally, I called and asked for Product L. I took this for about 3 months and wasn't sure I could tell any difference. I was making a mental effort to de-stress as best I could otherwise and therefore, didn't really notice if it was the drug or my own efforts, so I stopped taking it. It was a bit expensive.
About two weeks ago, the pains and anxious feelings returned and I realized that perhaps I really did need to be on something for a bit longer until I could get over this hump. I've taken Product K again and it seems to at least take the edge off, but I'm wondering more and more if perhaps I should find a longer-term, daily prescription. Or maybe I need a vacation - alone - for a few days. But Super-Mom in me says no to that. I'd miss my child too much and who can take care of her like me? Yeah, I know how that sounds. Perhaps I just need to realize that I may be Super-Mom, but I'm also just me and I can only do the best that I can do and I have to give myself a break.
I know I'm not the only one that's overwhelmed out there. Speak up ladies and maybe in talking about it we can all feel a little better.