The Procreative Urge
Sheila Hageman
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Walking through Central Park I can't help but think of babies. Moms and nannies push infants in strollers with a happy gleam in their eyes. I feel a silent moan ooze from my empty womb as my biological clock ticks. I get this baby urge every month or so, and it lasts from one hour up to one week. My desire to be a mother is becoming ever stronger as I near my thirtieth birthday.

There are many things for me to consider first. Although I've learned to handle my depression pretty well -- it is only with the help of my therapy sessions, Prozac and Wellbutrin. I've been on the meds for like two years now and they have helped me tremendously. But now that I'm thinking of becoming a mom -- I face the reality of having to go off medications to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

My rational side noses in and reminds me that I'm jumping the gun. I need to graduate college before I have a baby. My husband and I need to save money. We need to move out of the city. We need, we need, we need.

Yes, I realize it is not the perfect time for my husband and I to have a child yet. I know we would like to have the conditions just right, but I also know that we could end up waiting forever for the "perfect" conditions. I feel emotionally ready to have that new life inside of me, growing, feeding within me. Then I question my motives. Is the baby urge just the desire to be impregnated with some kind of new life? An urge to be filled with new possibility and potential? Perhaps it is an impulse to be filled with new creative power, a new story, or a new article?

No, I know it is more than that. I want someone to depend on me. I am ready to love and support another life.

With my desire to get pregnant one day in mind, my doctor and I decided to try lowering my dosage to see how I would react. My depression came back fast and strong. The old suicidal thoughts told me that any stress or challenge should cause me to just give up and die. It was back to regular dosage for me. I had to face the fact that maybe I'd never be able to go off medication. What about when my husband and I try to get pregnant?

There are no proven side effects on an unborn baby from the meds I'm taking, but why take a chance? My psychiatrist feels it's best to go off my meds a month before trying to get pregnant and stay off them for at least the first trimester of pregnancy. Will I be able to stop medication and still feel okay?

My doctor thinks that the excitement of getting pregnant should be enough to keep me from feeling too depressed or hopeless. That sounds reasonable, but then other questions form in my mind. What if I get pregnant before I'm ready -- when I'm still on Prozac? What then? I always thought I could put off thinking about such matters, but what happens if the future turns out to be sooner than later? How will I face it? Will I be strong enough? Will I ever not need to medicate?

And then the deeper questions surface. Will I be a good mother? Will I pass on my illness to our children? I know I'll be a good mom, but...wait, how can I know?

In session, I explore my questions. I realize that I'm obsessing again about my need for perfection. I've obsessed about my body, my beauty and my intellect. Now I'm obsessing about being the "perfect" mom. I've learned to face my desire to be the best in other areas of my life, and this awareness of my obsessiveness helps me to get past it. I will get past this, too. It's good I'm facing a potential problem before it even occurs. There is no perfect mother. Just mothers doing their best and loving their children all that they can.

I do my practice now. Prepare myself. I am loving myself and accepting myself as much as possible. I will continue to grow in love and allow myself to be human. And I will be a wonderful mother. Not perfect, but very loving and forgiving -- as I have learned to be towards myself. And truthful at all times. And attentive. For my children, and God willing, for myself.

Ah. There it is again. The baby urge. The warmth flowing through my body and mind and soul. For now, I quench the feeling by writing, by giving birth to new stories and new ideas.

I give birth every day. I am nurtured and give nurturance. Today, I express my creative urges with words, letting them flow onto paper as leaves tumble through wheels of strollers in the park. Tomorrow, it may be my own womb that hums ands rolls and gurgles. It will gurgle out loud one day. Until then, I write. I type my words upon computer keys and quiet my urge to be the mother of new things.
Discontinuing or changing your medication during pregnancy, or at any time is an individual issue, which should be discussed between you and your doctor.
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