That's it. We're done. Marlowe has been successfully weaned. "Successfully"... right well... really, that sucked. If I'm going to be honest on this blog of mine, then I'm going to tell you: I've been miserable the past month. Yes a whole month plus: miserable. Before and right after I had Marlowe I was so incredibly worried about postpartum depression. I knew if anyone was at risk to sink into a deep dark place, it was me. Alone, scared, no sleep, raising a baby... yeah, well, (you know the story) I got past those scary postpartum months with no depression and (what I think is) minimal side effects. Sure, occasionally I wanted to cry (things were tough at times), and I felt incredibly depressed every time I nursed her... what's the name of the "calming hormone" released while breast-feeding? Oxytocin? Increasing that hormone sucked for me. Every time I fed her, I felt like a depressed crying zombie. In tears, so sad, and so confused by something I never heard about. Well, over time my body (hormones) normalized a bit more, and nursing didn't affect my mood as much, it just: took up a lot of time (remember, I've got a kid that nursed 15+ times a day), hurt my body and breasts (kicking, pinching, summersaults, jazz hands), and left me a slave to my baby (no sleep, no long outings, pumping, etc). Wow, I'm scaring new, pregnant moms, huh? I swear most babies aren't nursing overeating, pain inducing, gymnasts. Yeah, well despite my nursing depression and everything else, breast-feeding was totally (totally) worth it. Here we are at 15 months and my baby has been 100% formula free, loaded with breast milk nutrients, incredibly healthy, and the best eater in all the land. (Go team!)
Weaning was incredibly difficult.... for me. Even offering one less feeding a day affected my body and mood. I felt the shift when we cut out night feedings. And I felt an even bigger (HUGE) shift when we went down to one feeding a day. I was slowly, but instantly, sad all the time. And you know what I did? I kept playing it off. I played the tough guy, kept patting myself on the back, and telling myself how great I was doing. I wanted so badly do believe I was going to fight through my hormones, like I had before, and come out with a weaned baby, no side effects, and most importantly: no depression. Pft. FAIL. There were a few days that we managed to skip our morning feedings and by 3 pm, I thought I was going to die. No, thats an exaggeration. But really? I felt like I had been drugged. I can't even begin to tell you how easily my body is affected by hormones. You know how everyone thinks pregnant woman are crazy and hormonal? I felt the most normal I had felt in years, while being pregnant, and off the pill. The last week of weaning was the worst. THE WORST. At every moment of the day I felt like I had the worst hangover of my life and would go back and forth with the idea up throwing up everywhere, all while having the sharpest stinging headache I had ever felt. All the while, I kept telling myself "well these side effects are the pits, but at least I'm not emotional". Heh, liar.
So yeah, I was sad. Not every second or minute, but probably almost everyday: I would have long moments of sadness and tears (I am not a crier). Marlowe made me laugh and smile (a lot) and my friends (when I saw them) usually made me happy, but still, I felt depressed. I was saddened by the fact that Alex was/is never around and the "family" I so desperately wanted felt again: like it was just Marlowe and I. I wanted (needed) the situation to get better and each day it didn't, I got more sad. And instead of just accepting that this is just the way this family will have to be, I closed off. I pushed away family, I pulled more away from friends, and I closed out Alex. Instead of telling anyone about my internal struggles with breast-feeding and weaning, I found it easier to disperse the blame to other areas in my life. This obviously didn't go very well. I pride myself so much in being honest and straightforward and yet, I found myself in my own form of dishonesty, with denial. Bah. Worst part is? My pride kept me from really realizing this. I didn't feel supported or understood, but then again, why would I if no one knew how I was really feeling? Once I accepted the fact that I wasn't as strong as I wanted to believe and my hormones were indeed creating a depression, I felt better. Admitting there is a problem is the first step, right?
So yeah, Marlowe is officially off the boob and has been for a little over a week. My body is slowly starting to normalize and my mood is slowly starting to shift back to a setting of normalcy. Marlowe is doing fantastic. She has adjusted better than I could have imagined. And everything else? Well, it still sometimes sucks. There are problems or issues that will be constant. Alex still works too much. I would still like some more family time. I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything else around me, while raising a small child, a baby. And of course, I still don't get a moment break to myself... but that is life. At least now that I have admitted to myself that my hormones, did in fact get the best of me, I feel better and I'm ready to (keep) moving forward. Things will never be perfect, ever. But, the good news is: I've got a good head on my shoulders, and a good grasp on reality, my emotions, and my body. I just need to always be honest with myself and sometimes tell myself: "Hey tough guy, it's okay to be weak. Stop being stubborn, hormones are rough, and go ask for a hug."
The best news?
The transition from breast-feeding to not, has not only brought a bit more room and freedom for Marlowe and I, but has also created a better, more comfortable (and snuggly) bond between us. Our uncomfortable (for me) nursing times has turned into the best sleeping cuddle sessions a mom could want.
And honestly, part of me liked not being on the internet. Not blogging, not reading other blogs, not responding to emails... or even opening my email... it's been nice. It's 10:43 pm and my plan was to read and respond to my overabundance of emails tonight.... it didn't happen. I'm behind, and not going to let it bother me. I have my large sponsor space set up until May... other than that, I'm slacking. Next month? More focus.