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Thread: Staying strong through the dark days...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    138

    Default Staying strong through the dark days...

    I started a thread a few days ago that I erased, although I know several of you read it and I really appreciate the support. Basically, when I have my period, or it's approaching, I feel miserable breastfeeding.

    It's not just a matter of disliking BFing. It's like I feel it's disgusted and sick and perverted. I have no idea why I have these feelings, as I know that BFing is none of those things. I found myself, this last time, supressing the urge to vomit. I feel angry. Then, my period stopped yesterday and it all went away. BFing is still not my favorite thing in the world, but it's manageable.

    I've noted the pattern of nursing difficulties coinciding with my period before, but for some reason every time it rolls around, I still kind of forget about it. It's like I can't see anything else in front of me but the unhappiness. Someone suggested it might be DMER, but I don't really think that's what this is.

    I want, desperately, to make it to at least a year with BFing. I don't want her to have to have formula if I can avoid it. I hate the idea of facing the bad nursing times every month when my period rolls around, but I've also remembered that she's a week from being 9 months old. That's three more cycles until she's a year. Cycles are around 4 days each, so that's 12 days of this. I feel like I can make it, if I have support. I feel like I've invested so much in BFing that I don't want to quit now when we're so close. I'm three-quarters of the way there.

    I feel like I can make it through these next three cycles if I just have some support. Some reminders that this is temporary and it will be over. If I can just make it to a year, I'll feel like I've at least met the minimum goal.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,944

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    It's temporary. You're going to make it. You are doing an amazing thing by persevering. And it's okay to have the feelings you're having- I have had similar feelings when nursing my toddlers, once they were around 2.5+ years old.

    One thing you might want to look into is reading Penny Simkin's book "When Survivors Give Birth," which is about the impact of sexual assault and molestation on women as they go through pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. I am not trying to imply that sexual assault is the reason YOU have those feelings of revulsion and upset- I think they are just normal for some women!- but I'm suggesting the book because it has strategies for dealing with intrusive thoughts and that anger/fear/panic response you can experience when that feeling of disgust is overwhelming you.

    Another thing you might want to do is look into hormonal contraception. If the moods you are experiencing are rooted in your hormonal cycles, maybe taking something like the mini-pill would be a way to damp down on those huge fluctuations?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    I feel so my sympathy for you. Do you have a history of postpartum depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder? (PMDD?) I ask because while many women have similar symptoms as you describe, I detect real agony and suffering in your post, and wonder if there is some deeper biochemical stuff going on. On the one hand, breaking it down to 12 days left is wise and strengthening, I'm sure. On the otherhand, I worry about you, and how much suffering those 12 days will bring you. Have you talked to your health care provider about this? Are there other symptoms of deperssion/anxiety that aren't related to breast feeding? I'm just asking because if you need help, you deserve it, for yourself and your child.

    Hugs friend. I'm rooting for you.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    Mommal,

    I will look into that book. It sounds like it could be helpful.

    I actually had given some thought to hormonal BC. I'm due for a pap smear soon, I can ask about it then. Would the hormones from the BC be ok for the breastmilk?

    Blue,

    I have had PPD, and sought help for it just before we moved last month. Most of the symptoms seem to have subsided, but I am going to look for someone to talk to here just to make sure it stays in check. I haven't yet found health care providers here, or a therapist, but I am working on it. There's been so much to do, like finding a pediatrician, and we're not even unpacked yet. I don't believe I've had issues with PMDD in the past. I had PMS symptoms as a teenager, mostly cramps and moodiness. I was on the pill for many years starting in college and didn't have any PMS symptoms. Then, I went off of it several years before TTC and I never had anything approaching even regular PMS. My periods were complete non-events for the most part. Once we started TTC, I did start to experience some symptoms with my period (cramps, sore nipples, moodiness), but just chalked that up to frustrations with not getting pregnant. These new period-related symptoms are brand new to me. I guess i'm not clear on the difference between PMDD and regular PMS, as PMDD kind of became a thing after I'd started the pill and thus was kind of a non-issue for me.


    Before I sought help for the PPD, it manifested primarily as constant worry that something really bad would happen to her. I kept reading all the tragic baby and young child stories because it was like I had to know all the dangers out there. I just kept replaying them in my head and imagining them happening to her. One of the things that my therapist advised me to do, which I've followed, was to stop reading the stories. Don't click on the l ink, change the channel, etc. I've done that and it's gotten a lot better. It was hard when the Connecticut school shooting happened because there was so much coverage, but I was careful not to read anything that got into details, just the basics of what happened. I feel much much better in that regard.

    Before I moved, I did talk to my therapist about breastfeeding while dealing with PPD. She gave me the standard line: Do what works for you, yada yada, lots of babies get formula and they're fine. I don't know what else she can tell me. I understand where she's coming from, and I understand that advice. When I'm dealing with it, I'm always one phone call away from telling my husband to pick up a case of formula on his way home from work. But then when it passes, I think "Is it really as bad as all that?"

    I guess that's what I'm trying to answer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    my heart goes out to you. i think we all have had horrible feelings about nursing at some point, in whatever way and for whatever reason. it isn't easy, and for some women it doesn't feel natural. i think you are doing something amazing, to continue as far as you have. i really think you can do it, and i think it can get easier for you just because you recognize it and are aware. this can prepare you.
    i am on the birth control shot right now, and have been since juniper was 6 weeks old. i still haven't had a period after giving birth. my milk supply is FAR from bothered by it. i am a milk making machine. my hormones are feeling pretty stable 98% of the time, except during the occasional nursing strike/teething/flu/whatever baby decides to throw at me, but i wonder if it could really help you level out. who knows, maybe you'll make it PAST a year. i look forward to having the nursing thing in my arsenal, now that i know how brilliantly it works to put baby to sleep, comfort her, make her teething feel better, settle her stomach, etc.
    i think you should talk to your doctor. and i've read someone's comment before in a thread that said "don't quit nursing on a bad day, decide on a GOOD day if you are to quit".
    and yes, whatever you decide is YOUR decision, and you should be proud no matter what your decision is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,944

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tallmadre View Post
    I actually had given some thought to hormonal BC. I'm due for a pap smear soon, I can ask about it then. Would the hormones from the BC be ok for the breastmilk?
    The big risk with hormonal contraception is that it will negatively impact your milk supply. Certain types of hormonal contraception are more likely than others to cause problems. Hormonal contraception that contains both estrogen and progestin (like the combination pill, e.g. Ortho-tricyclen and its generic competitors, the patch, the vaginal ring) is the most likely to impact supply, but there's at least anecdotal evidence that even the "safe for breastfeeding" progestin-only mini-pill can have a negative effect in some women. I would definitely talk to your doctor or midwife about whether or not the mini-pill would be likely to help with your mood, because if it can, that would probably be a good method to try. It's unlikely to hurt your supply, but if it does and you decide that milk supply takes priority over any possible benefits from the pill, you can simply stop taking it and expect a rapid rebound of milk supply.

    The one thing I would encourage you not to do is to choose a hormonal method that's difficult or impossible to reverse. That would mean staying away from things like implantable and injectable contraceptives.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    Thanks for the feedback. I would have responded earlier, but my life has been fairly insane.

    I talked this over with my husband and he's definitely on board with supporting me, but in his words, he's not really sure what he can do to support me. And I'm not either. I think he's afraid if he tries to say something nice and soothing, that I'll bite his head off. Any ideas?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,944

    Default Re: Staying strong through the dark days...

    I found it really helpful to give my DH a script. He had to say "You are a wonderful mommy, and you are doing so well, and whatever you need to do is okay and for the best."
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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