The Looming Future
R said she was afraid that after she gave birth to her twins, she would be seized by post-partum depression. She was afraid she'd turn into one of those mothers who hears the voice of the devil and butchers her babies in the bath tub.
I said, You can take drugs to prevent that.
I was surprised to find someone as neurotic as I am, already thinking of the worst-case scenario.
She said she wanted to take something now. I said, You can't take it now, it won't work. I said, You don't have the depression yet, it comes after birth and all the hormone upset. I said, You could take Prozac, maybe Buspar.
S, who was eating lunch with us, said, It takes those drugs a few weeks to kick in.
R said, Yes, that's what I'm afraid of. What do I do before they start working?
I said, You could take Ativan, Ativan works quickly.
She said, Yes, my brother's girlfriend takes it before she flies.
So perfect, I said. You see how fast it works.
She said, Can I still breastfeed?
Ah. I didn't know. But wouldn't anyone give up breastfeeding if they knew that otherwise they'd be crazy and harmful to others?
I pride myself on my medical knowledge, all gained through experience. One day I hope to be awarded an honorary medical degree, and then I will get me a pad of prescription blanks and go to town.
An old boyfriend said once, Oh, you'd be a great mother. How would he know? When he knew me I was not a very good adult. I was too needy and lump-in-my-throat frightened, and Prozac wasn't on the market yet. I was not patient or happy or satisfied and after six months he decided I wasn't marriage material either.
During my junior year abroad in Paris my sink detached itself from the wall, and when I saw it, I ran out the door. I didn't want to deal with it. I thought: If a sink makes me run away, what about children? They'd yell or scream or cry and I'd leave and never come back. I would not be responsible. I would be an improper mother. I take three calming drugs now just to get through the day. Some days I'm wearing the same T shirt I just slept in. I can't believe that parents used to trust me, as a teen-ager, to take care of their children when they were gone. Luckily, none of the plumbing broke under my watch.
I made an attempt to find out about Ativan and breastfeeding. I found this about other anti-anxiety medicines:
Question: What are the possible effects on an infant of taking Paxil and Xanax while breastfeeding?
Answer: Both are passed into milk, no clear idea of the long term effect, but, short term effects would be probably most marked with Xanax(sedation etc). If you need to take these drugs, I would consider formula or a wet nurse.
There don't seem to be any on Craig's List.