The true story of Cheryl Buchanan
She was taking the antidepressant Citalopram when she fell pregnant. As soon as her pregnancy was confirmed, she visited her doctor for advice on whether to continue taking the drug.
Cheryl’s doctor not only instructed her to continue taking the drug, but issued notes to the same effect to the hospital midwives monitoring her case.
At the 12 week scan, Cheryl received the devastating news that her baby was experiencing a number of defects. The 20 week scan revealed multiplying problems. Cheryl was aware her baby hadn’t ‘kicked’ in the way common with ‘normal’ babies. She discovered the baby was paralysed and would only survive, if at all, connected to various life-support systems.
The consultant told Cheryl that any life the baby would have would be one of constant pain and suffering, but the promise of life – any life – was still enough to keep her hope alive. At 23 weeks, her daughter was born. She had already given up the struggle for survival the previous day.
Cheryl later discovered that others had had similar experiences as a result of taking antidepressants during pregnancy. Far from being defeated by her experience, she emerged with a determination to right some of the wrongs that affected her:
“I will not be a hypocrite and blindly continue taking a medication I don’t need. I’m not ‘depressed’. I’m sad, of course, and extremely angry, but these emotions are what make me human, and I have a right to feel sad at the loss of my child and everything that has come along with it.
“I also have a right to be angry, knowing that, had psychiatry and big pharma not wormed their way into my life at such a young age, I would not be in this position just now.
“But I cannot change the past; only use what has happened to me to try to help others.
“I think that’s what my daughter would have wanted.”
Thank you Cheryl for agreeing to share your story.