Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ghost World

I haven't blogged much about this because it's such a personal issue (as if breastfeeding isn't?). That said, I kind of feel like I need to mention this, even though I feel much better today.

Beginning at about four weeks post partum, I started having some serious emotional issues. Emotional as in I couldn't stop crying and felt crazed. I felt as if my world were caving in. The baby was fine. He was great. A sweet and gentle little soul who was, and still is, really, easy breezy. We had no trouble with sibling issues, although Brendan did suffer a stomach virus the second or third week of Beckett's life.

Eventually, when I had my melt down and ended up so sick a few weeks ago, my doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety medicine. It seems to be working or did. However the last several days I've been very emotional again. Yesterday, I felt as if my body were an empty shell and I (my soul or being) was floating outside of it, watching all that was going on, but not really feeling anything at times. When I did feel as if I were present, all I could do was cry. I was also very anxious and stressed out. Brendan wanted to climb on me while I was working on my computer and I had to tell him to get off of me because having anyone touch me made me feel like crawling out of my skin.

I know that when a baby is weaning your hormones can get out of whack again. I wonder if Beckett's little nursing strike initiated that process.

Speaking of which, we saw his pediatrician yesterday. She is one of the leading breastfeeding advocates in our area (won't give out formula samples or coupons, etc.) and she thinks it's time for me to give it up. She told me that she thinks I need to stop for my own sanity, that the hormonal changes caused by breastfeeding are not good for me and that I just need to make the decision to wean and get through the difficult emotional phase that accompanies it.

I don't know how I feel about that. Maybe that's why I feel so empty.


A. said...

If you want to keep breastfeeding, you can do it. It seems to me that breastfeeding is/was "feeding" you emotionally (as well it should at this stage), too, in addition to nourishing Beckett. Obviously you can wean, and it sounds like your pediatrician will get you through that process. And that is nice to know that she will be with you through it. But sometimes one of the things that actually helps post-partum women through those emotional first months (heck, even up through the first year) is to nurse. Being able to nurse one's baby, especially when other things are going well or right with one's body can be extremely comforting, too. And it can help combat post-partum mood swings because it is a constant (lord knows it is a constant, as those babies seem to always want to eat!), and you can see the fruits of your labors as your baby grows and thrives. I hate to think that a pediatrician would encourage you to wean, especially before 6 months. However, only you are inside your head and only you know how much mental strain you are under. Sane and happy mommies make for happy babies. What makes you happy? Continuing to nurse? Stopping nursing? Only you can answer that. Whichever you choose, you can find support and help with whatever direction you go.

A. said...

one other thought, prompted by your doctor's comment about the difficult emotional phase of weaning. weaning is only a difficult and negative emotional experience if you do it before you and/or the baby is ready. weaning can be a positive and happy emotional experience if you do it when you and your child want to. sure, weaning can be melancholy or wistful, like when you watch your child walk into kindergarten for the first time, but you know that they are just growing up and moving to the next stage of things in life. but if you wean before you want to, you may wind up feeling rather empty and unfinished, which can actually add to a feeling of post-partum sadness. whatever you do, make sure you are at peace with it. I'm a little bit worried about you; in an "I really do care about you" way.

Keziah said...

I only ever deal with adults in the hospital and am not yet a mother so I can't offer any advice, just my prayers during a very difficult time.

I'm visiting today through the Blog Party but I look forward to reading more in the future.