Let There Be Light

I cannot begin to express my thanks to all of you who took the time to comment on my last post – all of you helped me see that I am not alone, crazy or ungrateful because of these thoughts that I’ve been having.  Once again, the IF community has been a source of get comfort and support. Thank you, thank you.

Since Rex* was born, I have been seeing my therapist and taking Zoloft, since it is approved for nursing mothers.  But, the sadness, the feelings, all of it was still there.  So, I dug a little deeper after I made that post.  I began to read accounts of other women who have suffered PPD and found myself nodding vigorously at the thoughts that other women were having.  It felt so good to hear other women vocalizing what I had been thinking and to know that those thoughts are classic manifestations of PPD.  I finally realized the extent to which I having problems and I began to look for ways to help myself feel better.

One of the first things I did was wean myself off of pumping.  Rex has been having formula from day one, but I was also breastfeeding.  Once it became clear that he was a grazer and I would likely spend up to 12 hours a day with him attached to my boob (2, 3, even 4 would be fine, but not 12 – that would really send me off the edge), I switched to pumping so that he could still get all of the benefits but I would be tethered to a machine for 20 minutes and not to a baby for hours on end.  I realized that one of the big factors that was causing me problems was the feeling that my body still wasn’t mine – it belonged to Rex since I found out I was pregnant and it was still his even after he was born.  Stopping pumping let me get control of my body again letting me eat, drink, etc. whatever I wanted and it felt so good.  Rex got a good four weeks straight of breast milk which under the circumstances was the best I could do.

I also have talked with my OB and she has turned out to be a great resource for help and support.  I had my 5-week post-partum visit with her last Wednesday and she prescribed me progesterone cream to help and ordered blood work to test my thyroid and Vitamin D levels.  Both could be a potential aggravating factor.  The results should be in next week.

Perhaps the greatest help she gave me, though, was to tell me that I needed to go back to work sooner than I had planned.  And she is absolutely right.  I need that intellectual pursuit right now to help me feel more normal – because that is what is most difficult for me about this whole process. I don’t feel like myself yet.  But, getting back into things I did and enjoyed before I had Rex has really been helping me get back to that feeling of normal.  I really think that going back to work will help move this along. Rex will head into daycare at a wonderful facility on site at Mr. X’s office.  He will be well taken care of and I will be able to have the time and distraction that I need to be a better mother to him.

I don’t know when I will be free of my PPD, but I’m taking it one day at a time.  Still.

* Rex is the name I have chosen for our little one on this blog.  He truly is king in our household.

10 thoughts on “Let There Be Light

  1. So sorry you are having such a rough time right now. But it sounds like you are doing all the right things to deal with it. Hopefully you will emerge into the light soon. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I am so glad you’ve taken steps forward & were able to recognize PPD in yourself. I am pretty sure I had PPD after B.B.’s birth, but because I could still function I didn’t think I needed/deserved help. Looking back, I wish I would have said something to someone….anyone.

    I’m also glad you were able to give Rex (love his name) breast milk for as long as you could. That’s a wonderful gift to give your child even when it feels like such an overwhelming chore. I’m also glad you are confident enough in yourself to know when it’s best for you to stop. It makes me sad to see mothers struggle with the decision to ween even when it’s for their own sanity. 🙂

  3. You are lucky to have a perceptive doctor – the suggestion that you should return to work is unusual, but, I think, lifesaving for many. Also, nursing and pumping is completely time consuming, and releasing yourself from that tether must be a huge relief. It works for some, but not for all.

    I hope this helps to dispel the PPD.

  4. Glad you are getting good support. I think the only people that don’t suffer some sort of depression after birth are those with full time nannies, great extended family support or those used to very little sleep to begin with. Sleep deprivation is the absolute kicker for mental health. Add in the years of frustration and disappointment we former infertiles suffer in getting to the baby stage and its a wonder we ever crack smile at all in the first 3 months post partum.

    Well done for breastfeeding little Rex as long as you did – its such a wonderful thing for your baby. Its so hard in those early days – it does get much, much easier though (otherwise none of us would do it) and is great for lazy mamma’s like me who can’t be arsed with all that bottle prep and sterilisation malarkey.

  5. I’m so proud of you for stepping out there and talking about your issues and getting help. I am also glad that you were able to nurse for as long as you did! I’m glad too that you recognize the need for you to be at work. Those two things are HUGE to realize and so many women feel guilty for how things work out, and the choices they make, even though they end up being so much more beneficial to the family…

    And you know what? All Rex will remember is that he was loved and adored from his earliest memories…and in the end that’s all you’ll remember too…these issues will recede and fade into memories blurred by time…

  6. I second Farmwife’s and Kork’s comments. As for the Zoloft, it is saving my life too. Because the only way I could get into the reproductive mental health clinic near where I live was to have my doctor say I had PPD issues when I really had PTSD issues, I wasn’t thrilled to be given a label that I didn’t want. But then I found out Zoloft is for both. It took several weeks to figure out the right dosage for me and the right time of day to take it, but it all came together eventually. When I came back to my hometown for surgery to fix the birth injury, I stopped taking it for silly reasons. After two weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to cry and feel again, but after the third week when I began having “woe is me, why do I keep taking up air” thoughts, i realized it really had been helping more than the downsides it had been giving me. So I’m taking it again and grateful that there is something to help keep me from being so melancholy and enthusiastic about throwing lavish pity parties for myself. =) My doc says once I wean she would be interested in having me try another medicine that is newer if I’m up for it. We’ll see. Aren’t you glad there are lovely things to help you feel yourself again?!

    And your baby is deliciously beautiful. Those lips, pudgy hands, oh my……

  7. I’m very proud of you, Mrs X. It takes wisdom to acknowledge that everything is not as rosy as one thought it was going to be, and courage to seek out the help that one may need to get through such a difficult time. I’m glad that you were able to recognise the signs of PPD, and that you are getting the support that you need.

    Thinking of you and hoping that you feel back to your old self very soon.

  8. So glad you have good support and that you’ve been so proactive in pursuing it. The sooner the better with PPD (same with any D, of course, but let’s hear it for getting new mothers ALL the help with this they need right NOW). Sorry you have to deal with it at all. Sending feel-better-soon vibes your way.

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