My name is Catherine and I'm a health reporter with The Huffington Post. I've posted here once before and got wonderful responses; I'm now hoping to get more voices for another story I'm working on looking at depression and weaning.
I'm trying to get a handle on how much of a problem this is, both for moms who wean voluntarily and those who don't, and would love to connect with people who experienced some form of depression around weaning. What did it feel like for you? Was it expected? What did you do to cope? Do you feel like there is enough information out there on this?
If any of you have had this experience and would be willing to talk, I am happy to speak on the phone or via e-mail -- it shouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes.
Many thanks for any help you're able to provide, and thank you for letting me post here.
My daughter passed away last Wednesday at 11 weeks, 3 days old. She fought a tough battle with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome), a CHD in which the left side of the heart is missing or extremely small. She survived the Norwood Stage I surgery with Sano modification, as well as several complications including chylothorax, a staph infection, and feeding issues requiring a G-J tube placement. Katie was in the hospital 9 and a half weeks before she was able to come home and ended up having to be readmitted two weeks later, passing that night. Due to the chylothorax, she was unable to have breast milk for 6-8 weeks and even then there was a possibility of the chylothorax reoccurring. I pumped and saved my milk, hoping that one day she would be able to have it. We waited eight weeks and then introduced skimmed breast milk into her diet. The plan was to gradually reintroduce the breast milk until she was on nothing but whole breast milk. We never got the chance. She was on the skimmed breast milk for 10 days, when she had to be readmitted to the hospital for unrelated issues. I am now being faced with the neccesity of weaning myself off of the pump while also dealing with the death of my daughter.
What did it feel like for you?
There are several different feelings that I am having about weaning from the pump. I have pumped for Katie for so long, that it still kind of makes me feel close to her even though she is gone. I am sad about weaning because it is a connection to her that I am reluctant to give up. I also feel sad and frustrated that she will not get to have the milk, milk that could have protected her from whatever illness finally ended up taking her from us. I feel cheated that she never, ever got the chance to nurse and now I have to get rid of my milk. I am worried that I will feel like less of a mother when my milk is gone along with my daughter.
Was it expected?
I know that in my situation, this question means something a little different than how it was intended. Her death seemed very sudden to me since she looked perfectly healthy right up until the morning of her death. Thus, having to wean from the pump so soon was definitely not expected, even though she had an increased risk of death. I expected to pump for her for a long time to come - a couple years even because of the immunological factors in breast milk. While I would normally only want to BF for a year before weaning, for her I was willing to give her immune system any sort of boost that I could for as long as I could because of her heart issues.
What did you do to cope?
Right now I am in the process of applying to donate my milk. I have a deep freeze chest that is full of it that I was hoping she would be able to use soon. I also plan to donate what I pump while I am in the process of weaning. At least babies somewhere will be helped by the milk.
Do you feel like there is enough information out there on this?
I don't know. What is enough? Right now the way I am dealing with this is by reading forums here and on the LLL website. Most of the weaning posts I have found are not about weaning from the pump after an infant death. But would I want them to be? There are posts about losing children and there are posts about weaning children and right now I am reading both.
Are you the person who put Paige's Full name out in the Huffington Post Causing her to be goggeable in regards to said article?!!
It sure does seem to be the same author.