March 27, 2007

Riptides of emotion are drowning me

Is it the winter blahs? the baby blues? a touch of post-partum depression? or just being completely overwhelmed by trying to juggle my life?

I don't know -- but there is something seriously wrong with me. I've started this post a dozen times and each time I opted not to write it..... wasn't really sure what the reception would be and I'm in no frame of mind to argue with anonymous nit-wits (this means you so keep your rude comments to yourself bucko), but I write what's on my mind, so here it goes.

I'm a basket-case -- half the time..... the rest of the time, I'm just a very tired version of my old self. I'm not an excessively emotional person.... but these days I cry (I mean uncontrollable blubbering, crying and sobbing) over the littlest things... or nothing at all. Poor Mr Big Dubya doesn't know what to do with me.... he asks "Are you okay?" and I snap at him for asking that question too often. But, if he goes a few hours without asking.... well then I yell at him for not caring enough about me -- oh yeah, I'm a real treat to be around these days.
Our neighbor stopped by last week -- she has an 8 month old and was very candid with us about suffering post-partum depression after his very difficult birth. She described her experience and swears that a prescription was what saved her and enabled her to enjoy the first few months of motherhood rather than getting lost in a deep state of depression (Tom Cruise fans.... zip it -- I don't want to hear it). Listening to her made me wonder if maybe I have a mild case of post-partum depression myself. The Big Dubya jumped on the happy-pill-bus immediately, encouraging me to get to the doctor's office for an RX -- I'm not sure I'm there yet, but...... we'll see.
I used to wonder if Post Partum was a real thing? Of course I don't mean the Andrea Yates brand of the affliction, I just mean the plain-old-ordinary-run-of-the-mill baby blues -- I don't wonder anymore.
In my case p.p.d. might not be the problem at all -- it may just be that I've just got a lot of shit going on at the moment -- two babies under two, a house (currently under renovation), a full-time job in a demanding field.... and with my family living so far away, my only support system is my husband. Add all that to the fact that I've been breastfeeding my daughter and am now facing some serious supply issues...... which, as irrational as it may sound, makes me feel like I'm failing her..... maybe I'm just suffering from good-old-fashioned exhaustion.
So earlier this week, I broke down and called the lactation consultant. I'd been hesitant to do this because I just assumed that she was going to tell me that I need to pump more, work less and make sure my baby never, ever gets formula. Some of these people (which I am convinced is a cult) make you feel like feeding your baby formula is the equivalent of child abuse and that if you don't breast-feed 100% you are a slacker.
I was wrong -- she was so kind and understanding and reasonable -- she told me to stop beating myself up, and more importantly stop stressing --- the stress was probably doing more harm to my milk supply than anything else. She said that setting my alarm to pump in the middle of the night in an effort to increase my supply and meet the baby's demand was CRAZY (yes, this is what I was doing) -- staying asleep and getting some much needed rest would do more.
I felt so much better after our conversation -- breastfeeding mothers are awesome, but they can be so judgemental -- especially if breastfeeding wasn't a struggle for them. They often don't understand and just assume that you either stop or supplement with formula because you are lazy or not committed -- this is not always true. Sometimes (like in my case) you need to supplement with formula because your baby isn't gaining enough weight with breast milk alone (who knew my milk was skim?) sometimes you just can't pump enough to keep up with their demand. The consultant told me about a woman who was literally starving her baby because the la leche league told her formula was unacceptable. I guess like with everything else, a little common sense goes a long way.
Anyway, I haven't turned to the happy pills yet, but......


Sue said...

If mama's not happy, nobody's happy! It is hard, and you're right in the middle of it with two little ones, throw in the fact that you don't have family close and let's just say, been there, done that and have the t-shirt (although I only have one kid - which is probably the reason there is only one!)

If there is anything (and I really mean this - sincerely) I or Darren can do, please let us know!!

Peter said...

We have three children and as the Dad let me say "All Hail The Happy Pills". They make a difference and you can be discreet.

Jackie said...

I can completely sympathize. My youngest is 3 months old and breastfeeding was not easy with either of my kids. After the first one I had several meltdowns and in retrospect probably had PPD but wasn't willing to admit it. This time around there hasn't been near the number of melt downs but there's still the worry that life has dealt me more than I can handle. I take it day by day and try to give the old man plenty of warning if I think I'm headed for a meltdown.

Hang in there. It's nice to read that I'm not the only one who feels the way I do.

Above Average Joe said...

Mrs Joe turned to formula as well with both our two. She might have snuck a few happy pills as well, but I'm not sure.

Mamacita Tina said...

I think I was experiencing depression after Laurel was born, but never sought help. My husband couldn't get over the things I would snap at him. Thank goodness he forgave me. If I were to have another baby, I'm definitely asking for help.

Breastfeeding Ian was cake. With Laurel, not so easy. Bleeding, pain, supply issues. We do the best we can with what we've got. A little breast milk is better than none. Hang in there.

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