Hello! I’m Anne-Marie Lindsey, age 29, stay-at-home mom to Walter, born in October, 2012. My family began as just two, me and my husband, Nathan. Here we are on our New York City Hall wedding day on March 20, 2009:
Here is our much-loved, much-wanted son, Walter James, cozy in the hospital on his first day, earthside:
I used to be an academic, walking a slow, slow path towards a PhD in English lit. When that path hit a brick wall called Unhappy, I realized that caring for children, always my part-time job, was destined to become a career. Here I am, working with little ones! I love my life; it’s not perfect, but it’s mine. Making that life better is my project–our project, really, since I am married to the best friend I could ever have. (You have my permission to gag.)
I started this blog because I couldn’t find much to read on the subject of pregnancy planning with anxiety and depression. I have spent the past six years in intensive psychotherapy and finding just the right combination of medicine to help me feel calm (relatively). Anxiety is my big demon; I have lost jobs, relationships, my grad school GPA and more to panic and anxiety attacks. When my anxiety really spirals out of control, depression takes over my mind. I work hard at taking responsibility for my treatment, now. But when I went looking for advice about how to go about planning a pregnancy, I just didn’t find much. I found volumes of advice about what to do if you find yourself pregnant and depressed, anxious, medicated, you name it. But anxiety is particularly common in women, so I just can’t be the only woman who wants to know–what do I do if I have anxiety already! I’m sharing what I found out here, so that other women will find just a little bit more information and advice. If the lady in the grocery store can give me advice about having a kid, then I might as well write about the decision on the internet. All I know for sure, after years of research and countless meetings with quite a few experts, is that nothing is certain. No one can tell a woman whether or not she will react well to pregnancy or terribly. We do not know if commonly prescribed anti-anxiety/antidepressant medication truly does increase risks for birth defects during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. We do know that untreated mental health issues harm entire families. The choices are difficult, but they must be made, for the health of families, even the health of a fetus. No one should have to suffer in silence.
I am finally a MAMA! I’m now using this blog to keep track of what’s helpful and what’s not as I journey through pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. I hope that other women with anxiety can benefit from my record of my experience! I get email from readers pretty often, and it really keeps me going. We are all in this together. I am lucky that, despite a really high risk for postpartum anxiety and/or depression, I have had an extremely smooth pregnancy and journey through motherhood. It’s been hard, no question. I have taken medication (Effexor and Klonopin) throughout my pregnancy and while breastfeeding my little guy. Despite fears that the meds would be risky, everyone is perfectly healthy.
About the title: When Jane Austen was still a teenager, she wrote a hilarious epistolary novel called Love and Friendship. In this quote, Laura describes the (slow) death of her friend both from grief and because she has fainted one too many times:
“My beloved Laura (said she to me a few Hours before she died) take warning from my unhappy End and avoid the imprudent conduct which had occasioned it…. Beware of fainting- fits…. Though at the time they may be refreshing and agreable yet beleive me they will in the end, if too often repeated and at improper seasons, prove destructive to your Constitution. . . My fate will teach you this. . I die a Martyr to my greif for the loss of Augustus. . One fatal swoon has cost me my Life. . Beware of swoons Dear Laura…. A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernicious; it is an exercise to the Body and if not too violent, is I dare say conducive to Health in its consequences—Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint—” These were the last words she ever addressed to me.
I chose the title Do Not Faint because it reminds me to keep my sense of humor. Sometimes, I “run mad” for good, fun reasons. And when my anxiety does get the better of me, that’s ok, as long as I don’t completely lose myself (faint). Dear readers, my fate will teach you this!
One last baby picture, as a gift to anyone who has actually read this entire page: