I gave birth to my fourth baby in June of 2016.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was not ready for becoming a mother again .
I had and have some very tumultuous feelings about being a Mom of four. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I adore my baby girl. She really is a doll. I just never thought that I would be a mother of an infant again. This- combined with a few other factors- attributed to my battle against postpartum depression (PPD). Primarily, mine manifested itself in the form of anxiety, but it may also look like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder to others.
According to Postpartum Support International 15 to 20% of women will suffer from postpartum depression.
That’s a significant number and I don’t believe PPD is given enough attention, nor are there enough resources provided. I had an absolutely terrible experience throughout this journey trying to find a therapist to treat or talk through these feelings with. In searching, I didn’t find one who actually dealt specifically with postpartum depression. Also adding the hurdle of insurance- and who accepted what was another frustration. Eventually, after three months of frustration, I gave up my search. I recommend that any woman who believes they are struggling with PPD seek professional help.
Breastfeeding has helped and hurt my journey through postpartum depression.
During my anxious and keyed up moments, sitting down to nurse my MJ became my refuge. Getting still, the release of oxytocin, and her satisfied smile do wonders to calm me and give me a mood boost. Nourishing her at my breast has been vital to keeping me connected to her, life, and motherhood.
On the flip side; when MJ has me on boobie island, it puts me out of my mind with frustration. All those thoughts about how I didn’t want another baby come flooding back. I get upset thinking of all of the things I planned at this time in my life. Plans which now need to wait, or take an insane amount of time to complete. I tell myself that with each passing day she grows older. She will not always need me so much. This too shall pass. This is sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day.
Journaling has been the other outlet to get me through this time.
I spend time exploring what I’m feeling and asking a lot of questions. Writing in my journal helped me to figure out some of my triggers and why they bother me. I have been a mother since I was seventeen years old.
I have literally given my entire adult life to my children.
I figured out that I was ready to spread my wings a bit more. Be selfish. I’ve burned myself out by over giving of myself. I haven’t taken a vacation. Ever. I now know that I should have worked harder earlier on to find a healthy balance. But being a young mother I felt like I had to prove that I was an excellent mother. I know for a fact the illusion of “good mothering” is what gets some of us so caught up in the whirlwind and before we know it we are all anxious, sad, and empty.
Our children need us.
However, we also need us. I am learning how to become my own superhero first. The better I get at focusing on myself, the less anxious and sad I feel. I am a work in progress. If you take nothing else from this post; know that you are to alone. Get some help, grab a journal, and keep nursing that baby!
Some great info about full term breastfeeding or “extended breastfeeding” http://www.llli.org/ba/feb01.html
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