6 Months Without Zoloft

July 17, 2015

As most of you know by now, I’ve taken almost no medication this pregnancy.

In fact, besides prenatals and extra vitamins/minerals recommended by the HHV-6 Foundation, the only thing I’ve taken is about six Tylenol at times I had a severe migraine so bad I was vomiting, and hip pain that made me unable to sleep/walk. Mostly I’ve tried to balance my anxiety and pain with keeping busy, going to therapy, talking to Sam, and essential oils.

6 Months Without Zoloft

That might sound all sales markety – but it’s true. They’ve been a life saver.

I’m not telling you this for head pats or so I can twirl my hair and be all, “Soooo I just had the most natural, med free pregnancy EVAH.” In fact, if I didn’t know about ciHHV-6 I’d have taken about anything for the vomiting/pain this time. While this fourth pregnancy has been much easier on me then the past three, it’s still been so hard to go through and then be reminded I can’t take anything because what if it’s the one thing…

And you know what? Some of the things I thought that about, were the one thing with Kaden. They have been known to cause a (re)activation.

That feels both a bit validating and crushing. To think that maybe, just maybe if I hadn’t taken all I had with Kaden – and then I have to stop because I honestly thought what I’d done in collaboration with my doctors was the remedy for more loss. We didn’t know, and now we do.

Besides nausea meds, the one that’s affected me the most is Zoloft. I’d been on it since June of 2012, and then switched to Lexapro about 27 weeks into my pregnancy with Kaden. Mostly because I felt my anxiety was out of control about losing him. I’d actually started tapering down a few months before I became pregnant with Charlotte – so once I realized I was pregnant, I stopped at the low dose and never took another.

For a few months, I thought, “Look at me! I’m doing this without my anxiety meds! I’m a bit of a mess but who wouldn’t be at this point? I am coping, I am doing it.”


Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.42.24 PM
From Instagram: “Nearly 25 weeks. I don’t talk about the anxiety as much as I did when pregnant with Kaden, but it’s always there. And not being on Zoloft – well, it’s been a hard 6 months mentally. I don’t know if there’s anything this time around that hasn’t crossed my mind. When you lose babies in second tri, then make it full term to have another torn from you at three weeks – after 8 months of reassurance – it messes with your head.”

I am going back on Zoloft after this pregnancy. If at all possible, I’ll wait until she’s done breastfeeding, but if postpartum hits me hard, I know not to mess around with that.

If something happens again with Charlotte (and that is so hard to type) then I’ll go back on immediately.

For anyone thinking, “But why? Why have that mentality of ‘I need meds’ when you might not?”

Because honestly, six months off Zoloft and I see and hear the difference in myself. I know part of it is hormones and stress, but a lot of the old stuff I really hated is back – a short temper. Constant worrying. Always feeling like the world is going to end if everything doesn’t go according to plan. There’s more that I don’t feel like getting into, but you can read the old post when I started it here. Re-reading it is like a red flag being waved in my brain, with the words, “SHE’S BAAAAAACK” on it.

Mostly though, I’m not ashamed of admitting I need to be on meds again. I have had three years of therapy every.single.week (and for the past 4 months twice a week). I have worked my buns off to learn coping skills, to change my thought and behavior patterns. I’ve dealt with a ton of stuff – some of it twice – I never wanted to face even once. I’ve put in my time for things that really weren’t ever going to be solved with Zoloft – long-term anyway.

Anyway, lately I’ve gotten a lot of emails about my old Zoloft post and I felt compelled to write this, to let someone reading out there know that yes, I made it this pregnancy without my anxiety meds and no, it hasn’t been easy or pretty at times. While I might feel differently after she’s born, I can’t see myself never being on something again. That may bother someone reading – but I know myself and I know what I’ve been through and still struggle with, and I’m ok with being on them.


  • Erika Raelyn Covarrubias

    July 26, 2015 at 12:05 am

    I wouldn't think anyone should blame you whatsoever for taking meds. You do what you need to do. We all do. Nothing should get in the way of your peace of mind (or as close to it as you can get). I'm wishing the happiest of thoughts and wishes for you this pregnancy. You are such an amazing person from what I have read and deserve the best.

    Best wishes


  • Claire Barton Brock

    July 25, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Diana, no shame, no blame. I need it to cope. When my Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia stopped helping all my symptoms we added Wellbutrin. It is not great so prob going to try something new.

  • ashwhiz

    July 20, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for this post! I have terrible anxiety too, and heard a lot of judgmental comments about taking medication while trying to conceive or when I was pregnant. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I switched to Zoloft actually, and ended up having severe anxiety/panic attacks where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I went back on a lower dose of Lexapro, that I had been on for years, and was fine. I decided to get off all antidepressants/antianxiety meds at 20 weeks because it can affect lung development. Well my son was born at 32 weeks and had a small, partially detached placenta. I can’t help but wonder if my anxiety led to those problems. It is a very hard place to be, wondering if the medication or lack of medication is worse! I really feel for you. Do what is right for you!

    1. ashwhiz

      July 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Also, your old Zoloft post is exactly how I feel about being on meds! It has made me the person I always wanted to be! I used to be so short with my friends and family, and now I feel like I can enjoy life! Thanks again!

  • Lisa Read Painter

    July 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I am a counselor and I get angry when people act like taking antidepressants is a copout. These are the same people who daily take medicine for diabetes, hypertension, etc. I don't understand why mental illness is viewed so differently. You know yourself and you also have a therapist who knows you. If the Zoloft helps keep the anxiety in control, then I think you're wise to go back on it once your daughter is born.

    Btw, what is helping with the migraines? I'm always looking for better ways to manage my own.

  • akellie

    July 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    You’re upright and putting one foot in front of the other. You’re growing a tiny human while caring for another. I don’t think anyone, not even you, can expect more of yourself than that. I went back on Zoloft less than a week after my youngest was born at my husband’s insistence (I was in a very dark place). The baby nursed for three years and now, at the age of 6, he’s probably the most well-adjusted and contented person in our family.

    I want to echo the recommendation for placenta encapsulation. A friend actually does that- dehydrates placentas for new mothers- and after talking to her, I wish I’d done it after my babies were born. Most mammals eat their placenta, if you read up on it, there’s a lot of merit to the practice.

    Hugs. So many hugs.

  • Rébecca

    July 18, 2015 at 11:53 am

    You know, I came accross this post about dealing with anxiety with a B-vitamin complex : http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/04/postpartum-anxiety-how-i-am-coping/
    Just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to try it.

  • Ashley

    July 18, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Had to be off anxiety medicine while pregnant too! It can get very difficult. There were days I had to keep telling myself this too shall pass pretty much the whole day. Anxiety is exhausting. Even after pregnancy I do everything healthy to deal with it and it still lingers. Praying for you!

  • Sarah Kline

    July 18, 2015 at 4:29 am

    Kind of random: it sounds like you're seeing a CBT therapist. As a therapist in training, do you think you'll ever make the switch to a therapist with a different approach?

  • Roz

    July 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Just a comment of support here. Part of the reason I went off my 10 mg of Lexapro a few years ago was buying into the judgment that we’re not our “real” selves when we’re on medication. After a few months off of Lexapro, not only was the old anxiety back as strong as ever, but I was getting paranoid, insecure, and overly emotional, and I worried about everything. It took doing that to realize that my “real” self was me on the medication. I have no side effects from it and it doesn’t numb my ability to feel sadness, anxiety, joy, and so on, it just prevents my anxiety from getting to an unmanageable level. I have a family history of anxiety and, like you, I’m well-educated and I know that I’m behaving disproportionately to what’s actually going on. I know all the coping skills, too. I eat a well-balanced diet and I exercise. But no matter what I do, the anxiety is still overwhelming without medication.

    So do what you need to do for your mental well-being and for the well-being of your new baby, and don’t pay attention to the negative opinions of others. You don’t need to justify your actions to them. Best of luck!

  • Ali Cepeda Martinez

    July 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Oh Diana… Your post about depression and Zoloft was the turning point in my life after our sweet Caleb went to Heaven. I will be forever grateful that you made me realize I wasn't alone and that I needed to seek help. Thank you for always sharing your heart and speaking words of validation and honesty that have helped grieving mamas everywhere. I am praying with all of my heart for you, Charlotte, Bella, and Sam. Your beautiful family is loved by so many prayer warriors and we will continue to lift y'all up.

  • Rachael

    July 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Hi, totally a suggest, no judgement at all here. If you haven’t looked into placenta encapsulation you might want to, I know SO many people who it changed their postpartum lives. I wish SO bad I had done it with both my kids, especially my 1st when my depression was the worst. Hope that helps 🙂

    1. Chantal

      July 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I was going to say the same thing! With my daughter, I got some bad PPA/OCD and PPD, and this time I did the placenta encapsulation… so far, so good. I’ve actually felt quite normal and amazing since his birth three weeks ago. To a point where I’m thinking something HAS to be wrong, because why do I feel good? I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for the past 15 years, so having this difference feels weird. But I’m happy about it.

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