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Why Are So Many Moms on Psych Meds?

Stephanie Rausser

Lisa Belkin of Motherlode sheds light on an honest and intriguing post from anonymous blogger Elmo’s Mama today. A stay-at-home mom of three boys, she wonders why so many moms are turning to prescription drugs like Xanax and Zoloft to help them cope with being a parent.

She writes:

That summer, the summer that my baby was turning one year old and my older children were four and six, I decided that wasn't good enough. Even though I was "appropriately" stressed, in my opinion, what with three crazy boys and a household to run and summer's unstructured days swirling around my head, I was struggling. I yelled. A lot. Maybe I wasn't unjustified in my yelling, but all the same, it made me miserable. I felt like my shoulders were hung up on a clothes hanger every single day from the moment I woke up until the moment my children were in bed. Once they were there, asleep or at least safe in their beds and crib, not falling down staircases or eating or stuffing Legos up their noses or pummeling each other, I slumped. Visibly, physically, emotionally slumped. I was exhausted, and I was anxious. The anxiety made me a miserable person and a miserable mother.

The medication helped me. It gave me a pause button. I didn't yell as much, but I could still yell if I needed to yell. I didn't cry as much, but I could still cry. I felt like a stronger, more competent mother and wife. I felt like I could survive. I didn't slump at the end of the day. I felt more capable.

I confess that I myself have often wondered if some anti-anxiety meds are in order. (I’ve also long joked that I need to cultivate a speed habit in order to have enough pep to actually do everything that needs doing, but I digress.) I am crazy about my kids, yet I have been horrified at how easily I can fly off the handle some days when the noise, the never-ending need for Mommy, and the general banging-your-head-against-a-wall-sensation that is raising irrational little people becomes too much.

I only have two children, and I get adequate adult time by working full time. I feel like I should be able to handle it all without feeling so overwhelmed—women had done it since the dawn of time after all—and yet I confess that I have definitely wondered if a little pill couldn’t help me just go with the chaotic flow.

Have you ever taken anti-anxiety or depression meds to help you be a better parent? Did it work? Why do you think so many moms today turn to psych meds?