After a week or two recovering from surgery, I went to the doctor for my follow up appointment. He gave me some exercises to increase my range of motion. This didn’t do much. By the end of August, I was in physical therapy. I went three hours a day, doing exercises that ranged from light duty to the extremely difficult. One of the PTs would try to force my arm down on a massage table, hoping make it straighter. I can still imagine the pain. She asked me, “Is this better or worse than labor?” (She is dating and has no children.) “Worse. When you’re in labor, you actually get breaks,” I replied.
When A1 was 10 weeks old, I made the decision to return to work. As a new parent, I thought that this would be the easiest thing to do, since this was the norm for me. It was a circus. I was jiggling a new baby, a new office to which I was assigned, and all the complications of a stiff, broken arm. I managed the best I could.
Nurses, BabyCenter contributors, and other researchers talk about the baby blues. Before then, it was nothing more than a comic strip to me. I felt emotional at the beginning. I’d cry, I’d be frustrated, but I still loved spending time with the baby. Unfortunately, there were a few key things I missed in the fine line between the baby blues and PPD.
It was September. Daddy J had a meeting to attend at 6:30. I was terrified to be left alone with A1. What if I had her and something happened, like not being able to handle her all by myself? I also kept having visions of her falling and fears of tripping over things. I still fear trip hazards sometimes. I cried and begged him to stay.
I was pumping at work, and because there was no place for me to pump in the building, I had to pump in the car. The bathroom was offered as an option, but that really isn’t a favorable one for a variety of reasons.
Child care was handled by my in-laws. This worked out well. The quality of care was good, but there was one thing that had gone awry: A1’s sleeping schedule. My little baby who slept through the night at four weeks was now up at three in the morning when I had to be up at 7.
I worked 50 miles from home, so I had a 100 mile drive total. On Wednesdays. My AIL, who is very kind, watched A1. She lived in the opposite direction from the interstate, so I had to drive all the way to her house, then drive 20-30 more miles to get on I-80. I tried to get to the office on time. I had a flexible schedule, but felt like I couldn’t juggle all the balls. I didn’t understand how other mothers did it, and how it must be so easy for them. It wasn’t fair. I cried in my car many, many times.
One day, I got a call from my OB’s office. It was the head nurse. I figured this had something to do with my postpartum appointment or my annual Pap smear. She informed me that my husband had called. He was concerned about me, and it sounded from his description of all my mood swings, anger, sadness, and PTSD that I might have postpartum depression.
I told her I was stressed out from new parenthood and dealing with my job. I reassured her and attempted to reassure myself that everything would be ok. I was on the highway when I spoke to her, so I headed home. I called Daddy J and was less than thrilled. I was embarrassed, so I yelled at him. He said there was no shame in asking for help. Sadly, I’ve had so many experiences in my life where I was shamed for doing that. It is never easy, and I always felt that asking for help was like waving a white flag. I can’t do it. I give up. Here, you do it. Not true.
The next day, I was pretty weepy and upset. When I got to work after an hour in the car, I sat there and cried. I just wanted to go home. I was tired. I wanted to just lay in bed. BabyCenter has an assessment for PPD. I took the test. I answered “yes” to everything. The results said it was highly likely I had PPD. I called the nurse again and talked to her. She gave me the pep talk I needed. She said there was hope, and I would get through it. She prescribed me an anti-depressant to help with the chemical and hormonal imbalances I had. I told my boss and one of my supervisors. I took a leave of absence from work. It was hard, but it was necessary.
Some of my family members were very supportive. My aunt and uncle are always positive, and expressed their concern/empathy. Daddy J was very supportive. My best friend, J, and her husband, L, were there for me. There were a few people who simply didn’t understand the manifestations of mental illness or PPD itself. “Are you like those women on TV?” One family member asked.
Some of my ILs weren’t very empathetic. One of them had PPD when both of her children were born, yet she chose to join the small group of people who ganged up on me. This included the younger woman who BFed for a short time.
This woman texted Daddy J and was typing in Stream of Consciousness stance. She insisted that my PPD was caused by breastfeeding and that I should stop. She told him that my medication (Zoloft is a class C med, so it is safe for BFing) isn’t good for the baby, and we should get her some formula. She also thought that I would “End up wrecking the car and killing u both”. (Yes, she uses text speak, and yes, that is a direct quote).
Meanwhile, at four months, A1 was starting to refuse the breast. She would nurse for a few minutes, and the detach after screaming and fussing at the breast. She lost several ounces of weight. We went to the pediatrician, and she determined it was reflux. She recommended Similac Alimentum, which costs $9.14 a quart. We were also told to thicken her milk with oatmeal. I initially mixed EBM with formula, but when A1 was 8 months, I started EFFing her, because it was easier for me.
She started to fill out a little around seven months. She is still thin, but I’ve come to terms with it. She is in good health, and weighs about 24 lbs. I give her Pediasure once a day to ensure she gets proper nutrition and gains weight. She was in the 5th percentile for the longest time, but now is in the 19th. She’s 34″, so she is definitely growing.
This person started to and still does compete with me over her daughter’s stats. She wears a 3T. She wants 4T-5T clothes. Her daughter was 5 pounds at birth, so she’s tried to fatten her up.
A1 was eight months old when I became pregnant with A2. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do all of this with two kids. As you can see, I figured that out.
Fast forward to now. A1 is two, and eats all table food. A2 is eight months old, and is still nursing. She gets solids, too, but she still loves her booby milks.
I attended a baby shower with my ILS the other day. This woman cornered me after nursing A2. “So, how much longer are you going to breastfeed?” “Until she’s ready,” I said. She rolled her eyes and sighed like a snotty seventh grade girl. I added that if she decided she wanted to stop next week, and that was her choice, it was fine with me. “Well, she isn’t going to tell you,” came the condescending reply, as if to say I was stupid and uninformed. “Those teeth are going to hurt when they come in all the way. If it were me, I’d go [for] eight months and be done.”
Wow, I didn’t know she was the go-to for breastfeeding advice. You know, since she gave it a whole five minutes—I mean, three days. She also has been busting my invisible balls about using a “walker” (she calls the Exersaucer a walker, too). She mentioned it when I saw her at a church function last month, and she said, in that mean tone, “So J, did you get out that walker yet?” “No, it’s still in the basement.”
That, on top of all the other stupid things she does and says, really irritated me. So, instead of getting anxious and angry, I empowered myself by posting this:
EBF eight months today! We just tried the upright position, which was a success! #proudbfingmama #nurslings
Those are my actual hashtags. She thought I posted “Happy F’ing Mama.” I’m glad her literacy skills are on par with first graders
This post apparently offended her. This is her conversation with Daddy J, verbatim:
J put something up about Brest feeding on her Facebook, gross:/
–Gross? How is me feeding my daughter “gross”? I’m sorry you have such a backward interpretation of something that is very acceptable.
Yes I know but she doesn’t have to post it and write happy F-ing momma! Like that is appropriate…. What the hell is that about? That isn’t something u say or post to people u really don’t know. U know if I posted I took a really good shit today, it looked big and brown and left streak marks in the toilet u think people want to know that and read that? No it’s gross yet people have been shitting since the beginning of time..
—This was in response to my husband saying that it wasn’t gross and I was proud of my accomplishment. He also added that women have BF’d since the beginning of time, hence the lovely defecation comparison. I’d rather hear about a women nursing and cuddling her baby than that incongruent description of hers any day of the week. What she said is gross.
Sorry I was just disturbed by her post and I wanted to tell u
Lots of ppl Brest feed but u don’t see them writing about it. It’s not aomething ppl talk about.
—People don’t talk about breastfeeding? Where the hell has she been? What about the La Leche League? I Eat At Mom’s? Eats on Feets (BM donation)? The Leaky Boob? The list goes on and on. No one writes about it, eh? Well, I just did, so get over it.
That’s disgusting. People need to grow up a bit. Sorry, just cu other do does it make it right? Sorry I am just telling u that what she wrote, happy fing momma isn’t appropriate and no one wants to hear about breast feeding. That is great she can do it, we don’t need it posted
—Yes, I am so immature for being a proud mother who chose to be a SAHM, sacrificing my career to be with my kids while this woman still pawns her daughter off on her own family, because she is too busy working from 7:30 am-7:30 pm by choice. Skip the damn coaching, come home, and see your daughter. Oh, and quit dropping her off on weekends. You said you miss her? Humph! Then come home and spend that valuable tim. Disgusting? I’ll tell you what’s disgusting—YOU ARE! Regardless of how we feed our kids, we should be building other moms up and silently agreeing to disagree, not putting others down or picking fights in an effort to bolster one’s insecurity. I am not doing anything wrong by nursing my daughter, and I’m sorry you didn’t have the experience I’m having. Perhaps if you would use the perseverance that got you to the finish line in one of your high school races, you might succeed next time. After all, I made this commitment to EBF. I took time to drink water, rest, and eat healthy. I put my kids on a schedule to ensure we are all healthy and happy. You didn’t, and you don’t, but that is fine.
I support every woman’s right to choose whether she breastfeeds for formula feeds. Do you?