Postpartum Perfection

Worse PMS symptoms
Teeth grinding/clenching
Digestive issues
Sleep problems
For months, I’ve been trying to treat these problems individually. Then, I had a realization that they are all caused by depression.
My midwives had talked to me about how you don’t really realize you’re depressed until you aren’t. You will look back and think, “Oh, yeah, I really was feeling bad”. And that happened. 

About 6 months postpartum, a little cloud lifted. I started feeling better. But I wasn’t over my depression. I thought I was, because I did feel better.However, once I stopped breastfeeding I felt completely back to normal. I didn’t realize how much the stress of my supply issues was affecting me. (And, ironically stress can lead to a lower supply)

So, I decided I would stop breastfeeding. By time she was 10 months I completely stopped any breastfeeding and she was fully on formula. She went from 15 to 18 pounds in one month. Her doctor was very happy with the improvement. Surprised, even.

For the first 9 months of her life, Esther was not gaining like she should. She had breastfeeding jaundice for weeks. We finally got that under control with supplementing. She gained a little. But she was struggling to stay on the chart. I was conflicted on whether she was just going to be a small girl because the curve on her growth chart was still going up (even if just a little). I tried supplements. I tried drinking more water. None of those things were working for me.

She had weight check appointments, and when she went in at 9 months she hadn’t gained anything. I considered trying to pump after every nursing session to get my supply up. But, when you have three other kids (and depression you don’t know about) it is a lot to try to do all that. So, I decided it was time to stop forcing it. We had a good (?) run, but it was really important to get her gaining more steadily.

As soon as I stopped breastfeeding I had that feeling again of a cloud being lifted. Holding on to this idea that I would be failing if I stopped breastfeeding had been weighing me down. It really helped with my decision to know that I was removing such a big stress. I don’t feel any guilt at all that she has been on formula for the last two months. 
I’m having to teach myself to allow these so-called failures. Especially when the circumstances are out of my control. It’s so easy to think, this is how things are supposed to be done, so it should be attainable. Sometimes things don’t work out how we envision them. And that’s fine.

Happy girls!