How do I feel?
What a loaded question. A question that I’ve been asked a million times since giving birth. I understand why people ask it; they care. They want to help, if there is a problem, if they can. They are in my presence and it’s a good/common/acceptable conversation starter. It’s a question that I enjoy answering. I don’t answer it with much grace (but then again I don’t answer or say anything with grace) but I always try to answer it honestly and when I do I either get some insight or sympathy from the question asker and that has helped me heal.
Physically I felt awesome since about week three. Mentally? That answer changes frequently. Or at least it did when I first gave birth. No one really prepared me for the roller-coaster effect that pushing a baby out of my body could cause. I should have done a little research in preparation. I’d heard of postpartum depression but all I thought it included was constant crying in sadness and the desire to hurt the baby. Turns out there is more to it than that.
I was lucky though. I didn’t get sad. I never, not once, had any desire to hurt my baby. I don’t think I could have handled that and I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I did however have several other symptoms that took me by huge surprise. Irritability was my main problem and that lead to anger.
It was weird and I thought I was going CRAZY!! Not because of the symptoms I listed above really, but because those symptoms would take turns with all the happy. One moment I would be crying from complete and overwhelming joy and the next moment I would be irritated and angry for no reason whatsoever. It was exhausting. It was unpredictable and unavoidable. As happy as I was, that stupid irritability showed up and I couldn’t reason or will it away.
I took it out on my husband because he was the only one around besides the baby. The baby was always perfect. It was never her fault so it had to be his. Anything and everything he did, even when it was exactly what I wanted him to do, would annoy me and make me angry. I could see myself doing this, being this way. I knew it wasn’t justified but yet I did it – over and over again. I felt so bad. I wanted to stop. But I couldn’t. It was awful.
Two weeks ago I stopped breastfeeding. I ran out of milk and it was the best/only choice I could make. The day after that I went on a ten day trip to AZ to show off my daughter to family. A few days into my trip I noticed that I hadn’t had a CRAZY episode. I was feeling like myself again. I wasn’t angry for no reason anymore. It was great!! So refreshing.
When it was time to come home I kind of worried. I didn’t want to turn crazy again. But you know what? I didn’t! And when I was talking to a friend about it I realized it must not have been the trip at all. I’m almost 100% convenience I went normal because I stopped breastfeeding. What a blessing in disguise that turned out to be!