An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Bump watch begins

The bump at 12 weeks:

12 weeks

Before you get all skritchy and start yelling that this is not at a bump by any stretch of the imagination, let’s compare this to the bump at 15 weeks from my pregnancy with Leta:

15 weeks with Leta

Could someone please tell the woman in that photo to put some sunscreen on?

Also, some of you have suggested that I might be pregnant with twins, and believe me when I tell you that I lived with the nightmare of that possibility for ten and a half weeks. And no, I’m not going to apologize for referring to it as a nightmare, I’m sure your twins are lovely people. But I am not the type of person who can handle that type of chaos and readily admit that you are a better person than I am. We had the doctor check for twins during my sonogram, and she promises me that there was only one swimming around in there. Look:

I asked her if the sneaky twin could be hiding somewhere in a corner? Maybe it had dressed itself in an invisibility cloak? And she was all YOU’RE SO SILLY! And I was all, hmm, I don’t think “silly” is the clinical term for it, do yourself a favor and REFRAIN FROM GOOGLING MY NAME.

Now, on to a burning question that’s sort of sitting out there making a few people uncomfortable or at least a little more curious than they are used to being: I am still taking Prozac. Last year when I found out I was pregnant (the one that ended in miscarriage) we found the phone number for the doctor who treated me for postpartum depression in the hospital in 2004 and left a desperate message. He does not treat anyone outside of the hospital but was generous enough to return our call and answer our questions about medication during pregnancy, and his advice was to remain on Prozac (although he did suggest that I stop taking Neurontin and Valium). Prozac has a half-life so long that even if I had stopped taking it when I found out I was pregnant it would have remained in my system for several weeks. He’s been treating postpartum depression for over 30 years and has seen hundreds of pregnant women who have continued taking Prozac go on to have perfectly healthy babies. My OBGYN agrees with him.

I do not know about any other medications, and if you have questions or concerns about your own you should call your doctor. I do know that I feel good about this decision, and so far things are really good. Am I physically miserable? Absolutely, but I’m really hopeful and coping like I should be. And this time I know exactly what signs and symptoms to look for in my mood and what tools I can turn to. I feel so much more prepared, like I know I’m about to jump into a pond full of crocodiles, and this time instead of throwing in my naked body head first I’m climbing into an armored Humvee that will be slowly lowered into the water, machine guns first.

Will people accuse me of putting my baby in danger by continuing to take Prozac? I expect that email or comment to hit within minutes. This wouldn’t be the Internet without those lovely little cutie pies. Smooches! The reason I bring this up is because someone is out there right now trying to make the decision about whether or not to stay on her medication, and even if her doctor is telling her that she needs to, that it’s perfectly okay, she knows that if she does she’ll have to listen to some dickwad condemn her for trying to kill her baby. I want that woman to know that I am surrounded by those dickwads, they have my email address, my mailing address, their own websites where they go on and on about how sad it’s going to be for my children to grow up with such a crazy mother (Hi, guys! Thanks for the traffic!), that I shouldn’t be allowed to have another baby. IT’S ALL BEEN SAID ABOUT ME. All of it, the same things over and over again. I want you to know that all of those people are dealing with their own issues, it has absolutely nothing to do with you, and that I’m willing stand up for me and for you and say, hey, thanks for your concern, but I’m perfectly capable of making decisions for me and my baby.

  • I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but once more for good measure — Prozac has been around so long and studied so extensively that most doctors agree that, even though there are no *formal* studies, it is safe for the baby.

    Or safer than letting the woman carrying said baby go down the spiral into utter despair.

    My two cents, worth probably less, but still. 🙂

  • Kim

    Mama Heather,

    Honey you do whatever you need to do to keep you healthy and happy…the baby will be fine and happy and healthy.

  • Amy

    So I was thrilled to be reading such positive comments, and then I saw the one that called Leta an ugly baby. I was (sort of surprisingly) shocked and enraged and even went rooting through the archives to confirm that her bright eyes and gorgeous smile were there from day one. CONFIRMED. Leta has been stunning from the beginning, and I think the sib is lucky to have such a spunky older sister! Much love from cyber-land, thanks for reminding me that sane people do live in Utah. I spent the first 18 years of my life there, and am still recovering… hahaha.. true, though.

  • I took Prozac when I was pregnant with my daughter (she’s a week younger than Leta). She turned out fine. My doc pointed out that, out of all the SSRIs, Prozac’s the one that has a generation of adults whose mothers took it while pregnant. The studies have been good.It’s a hell of a lot better than The Crazy!

    For panic and anxiety, I was given prescription-strength antihistamines. Much safer than Valium, Klonopin, and the other assorted drugs I crumble into my coffee every morning.

  • First off – big ‘ol virtual group hug to all the love in this room!

    Second, I have a legitimate question that I hope you can answer. Did you remain on the same dosage as before you conceived, or did you doctor recommend you lower it (if applicable)? I’m newly pregnant myself and have been taking lexapro for a few years. I was on the maximum dosage but decreased it to about half once I learned I was pregnant. Since then I have been such a huge bitch that I don’t even like to be around myself. I know there is a hormonal aspect to my moods, but the lexapro has to be a factor. I’ll have another convo with my shrink but I’m just curious as to the consensus. I hate feeling this way and miss the old apathetic version of myself.

    ReCaptcha: highly joyful. This is both right and wrong on so many levels!

  • I kept on my anti-depressants as well, during my pregnancy. Worst side effect? Craving ice cream by the metric ton.

    Best of luck to you and your lovely bump.

  • Anonymous

    You know, if not for antidepressants, I’m not sure I would have made it through this year. This is my first major depressive episode, but I tell you something: if it’s better for me to stay on the Lex whenever I’m pregnant, I will. I want to be there for my baby, in a sane, healthy, strong-enough-for-first-child sort of way.

    What I mean to say is, thank you.

  • It’s weird that you posted your first “bump watch” picture today — when I was going through your archives and seeing Leta’s “bump watch” pictures.

    Your belly is perfectly adorable. I had the slightest hint of a bump for the first six months of pregnancy and then out of nowhere, BAM baby moved in.

    I’m glad that you are standing up for yourself and for the many mothers out there that are going through the same or similar situation. It’ll be fun to watch your pregnancy progress.

  • Heather – first, congratulations!! I am so happy for you and your family!

    second, thank you so much for the cute bump watch picture!! I wish I didn’t have a 30-week bump, as I am not even pregnant!! And THANK YOU so much for your candidness and information on medications and pregnancy. My sister-in-law were JUST wondering this, it’s nice to have someone to relate to.

    HUGS from Oregon!

    lemon drop studio

  • Anonymous

    Every time I leave a comment here (which isn’t that often, admittedly), someone comes and leaves a mean, hurtful comment on my autistic son’s blog. So I am DONE commenting but I just want to say good luck with your pregnancy. AND you have some strange, mean readers! But you already knew that I guess.

  • I like the bump. I have one, too. But, sadly… no baby.

  • You know what I call women who can get through a pregnancy without medication? LUCKY. I can’t relate at all. My son and I might both not have survived if I hadn’t taken meds while pregnant. And I would have survived the migraines, but pregnancy was decidedly less miserable with prescription headache medicine than without.

    You know what I call a baby who gets gestated inside a medication-riddled womb–but then is born into a loving home with running water, electricity, and access to health care? LUCKY.

  • Bless you and your baby bump. By the time I was as far along as you I could have fit sextuplets in my bump. You are lookin’ fine, girl!

    Here’s to no more morning sickness soon. Sending all good karma.

  • Hey I have a bump too! But mine is from pizza and not from Jon sticking his dick in me, alas. I mean thank God!

  • THAT’S A BABY BUMP? I’m bigger after a soft taco night in front of the TV!
    As for the meds/critics- unless they have M.D. after their name, fuck ’em! (and if they DO have M.D after their name, let them know that you’re no longer taking on any new doctors,it’ll be familiar territory for them.)

  • We have a saying around my work…


    Fuck ’em.

    It involves a really funny story about a vegetarian who had been a vegetarian for about 20 years and one day a friend of mine was having lunch with him. During said lunch he was eating chicken, so my friend was like “What are you doing? You’re a vegetarian!”
    And he goes “I woke up this morning and thought…chickens, fuck ’em.”

    So now we say that all the time. It’s what I would say to anyone that disagrees with the choices that you make for your own body and child. 🙂

  • Melissa

    I know 2 people that stayed on prozac, and for good reason. They had the crazy too. They had wonderful pregnancies, and no PPD.

    Unfortunately one of them went off after she stopped breastfeeding and I have been getting the crazy calls about how her kids are her life, she hates her husband, she is starting to feel uncomfortable etc. All in the middle of the night. SHE needs to get back on.

    I DO agree with the valium because its a benzo, but good luck on the withdrawals. I am on benzos myself, and I CERTAINLY feel the withdrawals when I am even a little late taking them. Not pregnant<<< = But I cant take the anti-d's either because they have the opposite effect for some reason. I go from the crazy to suicidal (SERIOUSLY). No worries on the baby though!

  • I am 15 weeks pregnant with my first child and taking Zoloft for anxiety. My doc said it was cool and I am so much better than I used to be that I don’t even want to try going off of it. Good for you for putting the word out. Most of my friends know I’m on it but I kind of want to write it on my blog now. BTW, I put a picture of my dog up with a pregnancy test on his snout to announce I was pregnant too!

  • Screw the haters

    I have to admit that I cried for a while when I found out you were pregnant again. I want a second very very baly and it’s looking more and more like that’s not in the cards for us. It seems like all the women at my office are knocked up and now you! Despite being more than a little jealous, I couldn’t be happier for you. I’m glad that another couple has a very wanted and loved baby coming into their lives.

    Happy parents raise happy children. Whatever you need to do get yourself there in a healthy way- you need not explain to anyone.

  • Aw, what a cute bump! I was fully in maternity clothes by 10 weeks with my second pregnancy. And we were so relieved to see only one little bean on the ultrasound!

    I took my antidepressant all throughout my pregnancy and everything was fine. You have to do what you have to do to keep yourself happy and sane, and if anyone tells you that you’re wrong for taking the meds that your doctor said to keep taking, I would like to invite them to experience depression and see what they would do in that situation (I like comment 129). Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    I really really hate to add a slightly different note to the barrage of positivity, but it is very weird to a European reader such as myself to read about all these drugs. Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft – antidepressants are very rarely prescribed to anybody in a national health service before you get sectioned and not necessarily if you do. I had a nervous breakdown five years ago during which I was perpetually suicidal and was never once offered drugs and I am glad that I was forced to rehabilitate without developing a substance dependence. Oh, and since we’re not ‘customers’ who pay our doctor’s wages you can’t just shop around until you find a doc who will. I just think it’s worth bearing in mind that this is not the way that the whole world is – most people out there are not medically treated in this way and it might be a little dangerous to presume it’s totally normal and high-fiveable. Blah, by all means ignore me – it’s honestly just a bit odd.

  • tlh

    YOU ROCK, that’s it, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!! don’t let anyone get u down about taking med.’s. taking prozac keeps u heathly and a healthy mom makes a healthy baby. sounds so corny but i wish i had a cool friend just like u. xoxo

  • Anonymous

    Heather, I’ve worried about having a baby because I fear going off of the Cymbalta that controls my IBS. I’m so happy to hear that it may be okay … and congrats to you for taking care of yourself.

  • You have to do what is safe for you and that sweet baby. I’m glad you’re able to stay on that. I know what you’re going through. I struggled with the decision to stay on my Zoloft and my asthma medicine while pregnant. My doctors all said that a healthy and happy mom is much better than the alternative if I went off the medicines.

    I’m really thrilled for all of you about the new baby. I can’t wait to see photos.

    I know you’ve heard it all before about what to do about morning sickness, so the only thing I’ll say about that is that Preggy Pops were my lifesaver. I had horrible morning/day/night sickness and they were the only thing that could help me not puke all damn day. I don’t know if you’ve tried them or not, but they’re not expensive and hell, if they help you, they’re well worth it.

    Take care of yourself.

  • I think that it is totally up to you and your family to make the decisions on how to manage your pregnancy or anything else for that matter, and what ever the decision is, it will be a wonderful decision because its what makes you feel right. And it’s no one else’s opinion that matters.

    thanks for helping people feel ok with having different opinions than others.

  • chris

    Thank you for, once again, putting yourself out there and saying what a lot of people may not be comfortable hearing. The subject of staying on happy pills while pregnant has been weighing heavily on my mind for months, and your post makes me feel so much better about choosing the path that’s safest for me. In other words, staying on the damn meds. Seriously, thank you. Also? You look amazing!

  • sarah

    I have 5 year old twins – you would have been fine – though it has taken a decent dose of celexa to maintain my sanity! Literally.

    Thanks for your post. You’ve validated my postpartum depression and subsequent depression (and of course I was probably depressed pre-kids) once again. Thank you doesn’t feel like enough, but thank you anyway.

  • Krista

    Wow. Awful morning sickness, well all day sickness. Check. Debilitating PPD. Check. You and I have tons in common Mrs. Armstrong. I agree wholeheartedly with your decision to remain on Prozac. Not that you need my approval. LOL 🙂 I felt incredible after delivering my second daughter because I remained on my meds as well. It’s an absolute necessity.

    The bump is SO cute! Good to see there’s only one swimming around in there. Hmmmmm, maybe the second is wearing an invisibility cloak OR better yet maybe there are THREE! J/K. Enjoy your pregnancy! You look wonderful!!!!

  • gretchie

    Ya know, I wear regular clothes bigger than your maternity clothes!! If you’re carrying twins, I’m carrying a four year old child.

    People love to judge and criticize. Here’s what I think: I think your children will get to spend far more quality time with you if you take prozac right now. Also, kids find the visitors ward of the psychiatric hospital kinda creepy, so you are indeed doing them a big favor. While I’m at it being opinionated, I also think maternity clothes should be for you know, maternal types. That includes women whose children were already born. Why can’t we continue to be proud of our bulging bellies after child birth???? That was the one nice thing about pregnancy, I could wear clothes that accentuated my belly. Yay!!

    Have a fun pregnancy. Enjoy what you can of it!!

  • Anna Hj

    Yay! Babies!
    I wish you all the best, and when it comes out I’ll have a pair of booties knitted for he/she/creature. I still have some time to learn socks… =)

  • Peggy

    I don’t know – looks to me like you ate twelve meals yesterday!
    JK! Love it!

  • MP

    I did go off my meds when pregnant and whoa boy was that a bad idea. By 7 months I was begging for it back and pretty far gone.

    OH, and I puked for 40 weeks. Morning, afternoon and evening sickness. I tried every remedy. The only thing that worked was unisom 3 times a day. (Yes, I know – no Zoloft but I’ll pop Unisom by the fistful.) But guess what, if you take a sleeping pill 3 times a day you sleep NON STOP. So that didn’t last so long with the job and responsibilities and all and back came the puking.

  • I’m so happy to see the bump! You look beautiful.

    Not that it matters, but I think your decision to remain on Prozac is a very wise one. If your doctors say it won’t harm the baby, then that’s what matters. I’m sure your stable mood is much healthier than if you were depressed and anxious during the pregnancy.

    I’m 20 and I’ve been dealing with depression for 5 years and your blog has made me realize that it is nothing to be embarrassed about. I’ve stopped being hesitant to share my story with others with similar problems, and I feel much happier.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have recently experienced someone close to my family and loved ones who committed suicide the day before Thanksgiving. It came out of nowhere. As someone who has been on anti-depressants off and on for years, please people, get help when you need it. At least fifty people’s lives will never be the same because someone was too proud to get help when he needed it.

    You have no idea how cunning and baffling depression is, and how it can convince you that life is worse than it really is.

    Thank you Heather, for all that you have done to make everyone aware, that depression is something to take very seriously.

  • Sue

    Hells yeah! Nicely put.

    I appreciate that you’re doing the 2nd-baby-after-PPD thing because I’m secretly hoping I can do it too, without ending up divorced and on the street corner shooting heroin into my eyeballs because they took my first child away.

    So… keep writing! The reproductive future of others MAY DEPEND ON YOU.

    Oh yeah, no pressure or noffin’. 😀

  • W00t good news and a great excuse to eat your way through the holidays;) Enjoy those cookies!

  • Beth

    Congratulations on the pregnancy! I took and still take a low dose chemo for Crohn’s while pregnant with my lab produced twins. I also couldn’t breastfeed because of it but it keeps me from being really sick so screw the people who don’t understand. Oh and what bump???

  • Christina

    f’um – because those that would have the nerve to make such terrible comments obviously fall into two categories. Idiots and super idiots. Whom have probably never suffered from depression or watched a loved one suffer from depression. Much less the audacity of those that don’t even have children but alas’ feel that they have expert opinions to offer up on the subject…

  • Amanda

    Yay for you and your bump! What everyone has said about showing earlier with your second pregnancy is exactly what I experienced, as well. I have three daughters, and with my third, I was ready for the maternity pants at about 8 weeks.

    As for the meds, you are so right to trust your doctors. I have experienced depression on and off since I was in college (I’m 33 now), and never got it treated until my last pregnancy. You know, I didn’t really know what was wrong, I thought I could handle it myself, I didn’t want people to know I was crazy, etc., etc. After my middle daughter was born (she’s a few months younger than Leta), the PPD was really bad. When I got pregnant the last time, things were worse than ever before. I would wake up in the morning crying. After telling my OBGYN, having her refer me to my general practitioner, having him refer me to counselors who weren’t covered by my insurance, and a wait of a couple of weeks, I was finally prescribed Zoloft, and oh. my. god. it made such a difference. By the third day, I started to feel like I could actually function again. Throughout the pregnancy, though, I worried about the effects on the baby, in spite of the assurances of my doctors. I can happily report that she is healthy, happy, and altogether wonderful, with no developmental delays. She will turn a year old this Sunday, and I will be giving thanks for the Zoloft. Maybe I should’ve made that the theme of the party. 😉

  • Lisa

    Really love your masthead.

    Love the outer calm you exude as well, especially since I feel the inner storm brewing. Hang in there. Oh, and thanks for rearing good citizens in your part of the country.

  • Aww, look at the bump! Mine did that at 12 weeks too. My OB also assured me that there was in fact only ONE.

    I’m type II Bipolar, so functioning in society without meds is a gamble for me.

    I stayed on Zoloft and Abilify for my first trimester, but I dropped the Lorazipam (it’s a Cat. D) For my second trimester I dropped both of them because I was still afraid. I was okay for a couple months, but I went back on the Zoloft for the last trimester, and we’ll be reassessing the Abilify on a need vs. breasfeeding basis.

    James has thus far grown big and strong and healthy, passed all his screens with flying colors.

    And FYI: you’re the reason I didn’t cold-turkey everything the second I got a + Thank you. I don’t think I could have made it this far without my meds, even as sketchy as I was about them. Post-partum scares the hell out of me and every time I think “Oh but, I should be able to do it alone!” I just remind myself about what happened to you and swallow the damn pill.

  • love hating dooce

    oh lord- so youve decided to spawn again!?! geez– isnt one funny looking kid enuff? i dont get it. your husband is so adorable- and youre so ugly-why would he pick you? i truly dont get it. nor do i get the african american lips your kids got. but i gotta admit- its fun reading about what you write cause it makes us all feel better that we’re not you! we actually feel bad for you that you need all this attention that you gotta write about all these things in your life. doesnt jon pay enough attention to you? truly we dont get it. we say we do. we congratulate you and say that we think youre all cool and stuff. but we laugh behind your back. and not with you…

  • Anonymous

    Heather, kudos to you for this post. As a a fellow mom who had PPD after her 1st baby and chose to stay on Prozac for pregnancy #2 (against the “advice” of “experts” such as in-laws and people on the street), I think you are doing other women in this position a great service by “coming out” about your decision. I now have a healthy, happy 2 year old son and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank god I made the decision to stay on Prozac during that pregnancy. My doctors who supervised me closely during the pregnancy feel the same way and wish more women would be comfortable making this decision. Someone named Lydia above wrote “Prozac and pregnancy don’t sound like a good combination.” Until you have been in this position yourself, until you have done the research and spoken to the best doctors, you can not say such a thing. Most moms who have taken Prozac during pregnancy- myself included- would confirm that, in fact, untreated depression and pregnancy don’t go well together. They have healthy and happy children to prove they made the right choice.

    Again, Heather, congratulations and all the best for a smooth and easy pregnancy.

  • ks

    You know what, sometimes you’ve just got to do what you have to do. And if Prozac keeps you from being all crazy and allows you to have an actual life and be a wife and mother and sane, then keep taking it. The docs say it’s fine and everyone else who feels they need to tell you what to do can kiss my fat ass (which I’m sure is much fatter and at least as white as yours).

    And as to the bump, I’m three years past my second child and your 12 week bump is much smaller than my three years post partum bump. I’ve looked perpetually 4-5 months pregnant and I can’t make it go away. It isn’t even remotely fair.

    Good luck with all this, though.

  • H-
    Congrats, and don’t you just love the delete key? So easy to get rid of the P.I.T.A.’s.

  • you still look skinny to me, which i’m intensely jealous about because i was huge with both my pregnancies, and pretty early on, too.

    i wish you all the best and hope the morning sickness is near an end.

  • not supergirl

    For what it’s worth, I’m one more person who is with you. I needed to stay on a-d med through my second pregnancy. I did it, and I’m not sorry. Did I second guess myself? Why yes, yes I did. In fact, I frequently wondered if Nora’s colic was a direct result. But, I can assure you that I was a much better mother for it all. So, if we’re talking just about the baby (who is this awesome 5 year-old now, by the way), it was in her best interests. And if we’re talking about me – which I am! – then yep, correct decision for me.

  • Laura

    Thank you for being so open with us. I only had PPD that I am now over, but knowing that you will be open with us regarding your issues with depression makes me very happy and hopeful. I’m debating having another child at all, it was that bad, and seeing you go through this again really makes me think that I can as well. Some people may cause you grief regarding your choices, but I consider myself very lucky that you still put yourself out there for the rest of us.

  • re bump: awwww!
    re prozac: fuck the haters!
    that is all, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

  • Peggy

    You look so pretty even if you feel like crap! Do whatever the Dr. says. It your business and no one elses. Well, except for Jon.

    Good luck, best wishes and everything good to you!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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