OK, so I started writing this blog post because I was feeling irrelevant and generally like ass. I felt like all I do on a daily basis is a waste of time and nobody gives a crap because all I’m doing is taking care of P and being a boring stay at home mother – so who cares?!
I told M (le partner) about how I felt, because he’s awesome and listens to me and stuff. I’ve just been feeling…off. I’m still getting stuff done, working out, etc, but something was different. I’ve been anxious and on-edge, quick to snap, libido was gone, I have CRAZY ACNE like I’m 13 again and 3 days ago I came down with this crazy-looking rash.
Obviously, M noticed! So I figured my period was coming, but when I checked my calendar (hell-to-the-yes I track!) I realized I was still 2 weeks off. I don’t normally get super irritable from PMS anyway. Today just reached a boiling point and I was teary-eyed and trying to figure out why exactly I felt so awful.
The culimnation of my thoughts of lethary and despair, sadness, are also symptoms of postpartum depression, which is something that’s unfortunately common for many women from birth to up to 4 years postpartum. What I’m talking about is specific to being post-breastfeeding.
I weaned P 6ish months ago and I think what’s going on is my body is *finally* returning to its pre-pregnancy state. BlissinMamma wrote a post about EXACTLY what I’m going through, and even listed symptoms of this hormonal change when she was dealing with it.
I checked off 11 of the 15 symptoms she listed – even the canker sore!
It really threw me for a whirl. Why in the hell would it take my body so long to return to its regularly-scheduled programming after weaning? I mean, good lord, get on with it – ya know?!
I found another article by Priscilla Stevens, a seasoned mother of 6, who wrote about post-weaning depression and strategies for coping. It was really useful and included things like getting regular exercise, meditation, regulating sleep times and NOT turning to food for comfort – which has been a full-on problem for me before. Some time ago for me, comfort-eating morphed into binge eating, but I managed to pull myself back out of the cyclical hole – but the last few weeks I’ve caught myself munching for no reason and when I’m not hungry.
(I’ll add: I know some people can just nosh freely and it’s no big, but since I have a genuine binge eating problem, I keep track of what I eat and use positive affirmations to maintain a healthy view/relationship with food.)
I had my yearly appointment with my gyno last week and I asked her if it’s possible that I could still be going through postpartum-related hormonal changes – obviously this is before everything came to a boil and I was laying on the floor whimpering during P’s nap time. She said (I’m paraphrasing) “Absolutely! People underestimate how long it actually takes to recover from childbirth. It’s not just physical recovery, there’s a mental and hormonal component that isn’t discussed enough.” Have I mentioned I love her? She rules. And she showed up 5 minutes before I pushed P out but that’s a funny story for another day.
So after all this, I’m still rashy and pimply and waiting for that canker sore to bugger off, but I feel calmer and more at ease because though this is incredibly friggin annoying it is also common and hopefully with time it will sort itself out. I think if it doesn’t, I’ll obviously seek outside help starting with my doctor, and go from there.
For this post, I also read this very reassuring article from JStor regarding stay-at-home motherhood: How the Internet Makes Women’s Work Visible
How was your, or your partner’s, post-weaning experience?