Friday, June 12, 2009

Weaners BEWARE.

This last year has been a really good one for me, physically and emotionally. I’ve been more happy and more healthy, more often.
Strangely, over the last month and a half to two months I’ve been way “off”. Things just haven’t been right, and they’ve been slowly and progressively getting worse.
At first I blamed it on all the projects we’ve been working on and just being exhausted from that. Then, I thought maybe it had to do with school being out and having all the kids home all the time; added to the already exhaustness of too many projects. When preschool ended, a week or two before elementary school got out, I also stopped exercising as often because I couldn’t go walking while Ati was in school; just had too many babies at home. So, being overworked, over kidded, and under exercised made a good excuse for a recipe of depression; sort of.
Then, the last two weeks have been extremely hard, to the point of me wondering “what’s the point?” of anything. I‘ve been so tired, so down, and soo unmotivated.
I started a new form of birth control about 2 weeks ago; Nuvaring. It’s hormonal, which I hate, but my doctor recommended it because it’s a lower dose of hormones and supposedly women who have trouble finding the right kind of pill do really well with the ring. So, I was excited to try it out. Well, almost immediately after starting it was when things got really low for me. I could hardly get out of bed, really moody all day: angry, sad, frustrated, anxious.
Of course, after several days of things not “letting up” I began to question and research and then blame the ring for my “depression”. Except, it didn’t make complete sense because this had already begun building (although I was unaware at the time), even before starting the new hormones. I only last night realized that it had been building, and until that sudden realization was completely blaming the birth control for my “issues”. I was still being optimistic, however, and decided I would give it a month or two to let my body adjust to the change. I realized it would probably, hopefully, only be temporary and that I would be ok after a while. Unfortunately I have read many horror stories of women who put up with depression for years, being on hormonal birth control, and finally had to quit the hormones to regain any amount of mental stability. So, with that in the back of my mind, ive been optimistic but also skeptical and doubting. I’ve had a terrible time going back and forth, trying to figure out what I want to do for birth control. If my body can’t handle the hormones there are very few other options. SUCH a difficult decision to make.
Well, with all that said, interestingly enough, I had a realization last night. When john and I were talking about it, he mentioned that he can tell when I’m not doing well because of “what we have for dinner”. That’s when I thought back and realized we’ve eaten a whole lot of macaroni lately! Ramen, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and take out. Those have all been the main focus of our menu for quite some time now. Over the last month and a half, or so, I’ve put effort (and only minimal at that) into dinner maybe 2-3 times. That’s how I know it’s not (just) the birth control.
So, my little, slightly defective brain started dusting off some cobwebs and put a few things together. One major factor that I forgot to factor because I didn’t realize it was so MAJOR: I’ve been gradually weaning Malachi (from breastfeeding, of course)! The last month and a half has been the most dramatic. I went from 4-5 feedings a day to just 2, to just one, and then finally, the day before I started the new birth control was my very last time. So! There it is! Weaning can cause similar effects to PPD (post partum depression). I did a lot of reading about it since that realization, and have found that it is actually quite common, and totally makes sense! When you’re breastfeeding your body produces large amounts of oxytocin, a chemical/hormone that causes your body to relax and feel calm (among other things). Even a gradual weaning will cause lower levels of oxytocin, and various hormonal changes in the body. A breastfeeding body is still a breastfeeding body, no matter how often or little you are nursing.
Coincidentally, I: 1. Completely weaned, 2. Started a brand new form of hormone, and 3. Started my period (for the first time in over 2 years)… all on the Exact Same Day. Talk about hormone overload!
Happily, now that I’ve sufficiently self diagnosed my condition I can now go on my way to recovery from my hormone addiction/imbalance. It’s funny how just realizing what the problem is can make a huge world of difference. Today, I already feel so much better. More energy, optimism, and motivation (still irritable and emotional, but we can’t ask for everything, can we?). Of course, it’ll probably take a while to get back to feeling “right”, but I’m at least on the way. And then there are still those “other” issues, like kids being home from school; just the thought of that is exhausting.
In conclusion, as I say “Weaners BEWARE”. You may experience an unusual and unexplained amount of tiredness, sad feelings, unmotivation, pointlessness, and just all around “not rightness” (not to mention increased amounts of time on the internet, doing pointless, obsessive, and never ending research). But, it’s ok, and it’s (probably) normal, and it will (probably) go away.

*It all adds up:

With this being my 4th baby, I was wondering why I’ve never realized this in the past. Well, I believe I have. After Tad was born, I only nursed him for around 10 days, so any depression was blamed on normal PPD. Ati nursed for 1 year, but just after she turned a year we moved. During the weaning process I blamed it on being exhausted from moving, and other life things. But, at that exact time I was really depressed, unmotivated, and so so tired, all the time. I remember once I finally started to exercise and actually feel better was when I got pregnant with Eli. Then, Eli nursed for a year, but I was actually pregnant with Malachi when I decided to wean him. So, I of course blamed any and all issues at that time on the new pregnancy.
There you have it, case solved! Yay, now let’s all eat cake!


Erin and Family said...

thank you for sharing that!!! it is a good thing to know! i didn't know that weaning can cause all those side effects! here's to you feeling better hopefully quickly!

hoschouerhousekeeper said...

I never had a period while nursing and so when I weaned I blamed all my CRAZY on PMS cuz, of course, that's when my period started up again. So, for about 7 years I was either pregnant, nursing or coming out of the weaning. NOW, we've been trying for another baby for almost 5 years (ever since weaning Luci) and NOTHING!!! Talk about depressing! Of course, I've been taking PAxIL for years and that keeps me somewhat sane. Wait......what were we talking about?