Thursday 28 June 2012

Yes, it sucks!

Over the past few weeks, I drastically went from breastfeeding Alice a gazillion times a day to once in the morning when I'm half passed out sleeping and once during our night ritual when I'm half passed out tired.

Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy so I expected that new transition to have a positive impact. The truth is, weaning Alice introduced the exact opposite.

I went to my family doctor to get a paper to see a dermatologist but I left with a serious warning concerning a possible post-partum depression.  Feelings of failure as a mom, insomnia, poor appetite, fatigue, complete lack of interest in social get the picture.

Post-partum depression and weaning, aka booby blues, is more common than what you may think and can happen even up to 2-3 years after childbirth for women who were breastfeeding their toddlers. Hormones are powerful little bitches.

Strangely enough, even if there is nothing to be ashamed of, I didn't talk about it to any mom friends in my entourage. I realized that I can be comfortable talking about projectile baby poop and fancy stroller characteristics with "new" mom friends but when it came to serious non judgmental business I instinctively went to my good old friends. Even more strange, none of them have kids!

(note: there is nothing wrong with my mom friends....this is just how things went!)

They say that acceptance is the first step. Well, that first step made me feel even more crappy. Funny how depression has a bad reputation. It is so easy to find a multitude of excuses (Not possible, it must be the weather! Not possible, it must be Alice who is more active! Not possible, it must be the new bed mattress! Not possible, it must be food that we cooked!) but when you stop to think about it you realize that what your doctor said made a hell lot of sense.

My doctor asked me to keep a "journal" with everything that could be post-partum depression related (mood, appetite, insomnia, etc.) and to call him if things were getting out of control.

Having a potential booby blues (aka a silly name for a serious situation) is pretty bad but luckily this situation generally gets better as the hormones levels stabilize (planning to breastfeed twice a day for a few more months...if possible).

Still, it sucks!


Shannah said...

Hugs Clo!
I used art to help me get through this. It was important to document my experience and grief (just like you have here).
Lots of warm healing wishes your way and boo to those stinky hormones.

taryn said...

Thanks for sharing this. Luke is going to be in daycare in a month or so and I'm trying to start slowly weaning him (with little success, he loves his boobs). I guess I need to prepare myself for all the possible outcomes so it's helpful to read other experiences. I hope that you start feeling better soon, you are a great mama :)

indigorchid said...

Aww.. I feel for you. I salute you for being this open about this - perhaps sharing will be some sort of help? In the end, nobody chooses depression. I wish you the very best for stabilizing those hormones!

anneemall said...

Sorry to read about this. But when you're aware of it, it means you're already on the way up. Best wishes.

courtney said...

It really does suck. (Pun intended?) But it will get better. I went through this with Arlo at 18 months, and it was tough. Be patient and be kind to yourself! xox

Vivian Doan said...

You know, being a mom is really hard - you reminded me that breast feeding is draining. I had forgotten really since breast feeding was always such a huge challenge. I'm having a rough patch too, with my little one being one and not yet in daycare and me working at the same time... It is important to be open and honest about how you feel. I do it in my own blog all the time and it helps me so so much. I find blogging cathartic. Thanks for sharing.

Ali said...

Hang tight and repeat 'this too shall pass'.

190.arch said...

A big hug and, as Ali already said, "this too shall pass".
I didn't experience this booby blues, instead I did baby blues very firsts months of being a mom, I was completely overwhelmed.
I breastfed Emma until she was 10 months, after this it was like welcoming my body back.
Take care.

oscarlucinda said...

Oh Claudia, hoping it will pass quickly for you...but in the meantime, yes, am sure it would suck. Thank you for talking about it though x

kt said...


Alice's mum

Amy Jo said...

I had no idea that my hormones would cause me to "crash" when my son weaned at 20 months. It was truly horrible and went on and on until, out of desperation, I asked for help. My physician, rather than prescribing an antidepressant (I had a bad experience with one years ago), recommended that I take amino acid supplements that would help boost my serotonin and endorphin levels. Wow. I felt much better in a short time. Please do take care.

Esme said...

After weaning three babies now, I can brace myself against the horrible hormone tsunami that hits. One of my good friends even began getting awful panic attacks at the time of weaning. Your body is used to getting oxytocin all day long...and then it doesnt. That must contribute to the feelings too! After about 6 weeks, Im always feeling a lot better. Make a concentrated effort to do things that make you feel good and get lots of sleep. Youll get through it!

kristi said...

Hello, dear sweet Claudia,
When I weaned my daughter at 10 months to just two daily feedings and one at night, I definitely felt my self-esteem plummet. I wouldn't say that I dealt with depression...but surely I wasn't feeling sparkley and shiny. I hope that you take good, loving care of yourself during this time.
I don't know if you read the blog Cup of Jo?
She posted a very insightful post on her weaning depression here:
Sometimes it just helps to know that you aren't the only one going through it.

Wishing you all the best!