Monday, September 13, 2010

Harder Stuff

Somewhere in the latter weeks of August, I snapped. Not in the way that required a padded room and a straight jacket, but rather in the way that this mumma's reserve of patience had depleted. Ember had morphed into a high needs baby, waking every hour of the night and the only thing that brought calm was our bed and my breast. Four consecutive nights of this made me a pretty sore zombie.

During the days in between, I seriously lacked ambition and energy. Crap was piling up on any and all flat surfaces; the laundry hamper overflowed of clothes waiting to be folded and put away and my little HMCS Ember left a wake of clutter everywhere she went. As she still does.

To add insult to injury, I was suffering through a painful breast infection and it felt like I was nursing a sabretooth.

Honestly, I started to feel like I was drowning. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get control and I was so tired. The worst part is that I began to take it out on Ember. During the night when she was so very demanding, I'd snap and swear at her.

I'm so ashamed to type that and I cry now thinking about my behaviour. It's my job to take care of Ember's needs and you know, I flat out lost my cool. However, I didn't feel like I had an even keel at the time. It only occurred to me on night 5 that I may be suffering from postpartum depression. The next day, I called a girlfriend to talk frankly about what I was experiencing. We discussed motherhood very honestly and I started to feel less and less like the worst mother ever.

That same day, I started on St. John's Wort and omegas to help boost my mood. (If that didn't work, I'd make an appointment with my doctor and talk about a different course of action.) Additionally, hubby and I sat down for a heart to heart and I let him know how I was feeling. I hadn't been 100% honest with myself, let alone my husband.

Between owning my feelings and the St. John Wort, I started to feel better. Even though Ember continued to be Miss Demanding, I handled it much better and comforted her rather than perpetuating the problem by stressing out.

Nowadays, I feel fantastic and much more like myself. I don't look back on my actions with any pride however I've learned from my experience. I was so busy trying to maintain this facade of an easy breezy mummy that I forgot to be authentic and fair to myself. Not to mention Ember who deserved so much better than she was getting from me. I'm learning to breathe through tough moments and say "I need five minutes".

Being on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week is trying and it's reasonable to take a few moments to yourself to just breathe and re-focus.

Did you experience something similar? Did postpartum or fatigue sneak up on you? Have you had an outer body experience when you were behaving a certain way that made you take note?


  1. What mom hasn't been there, done that?! Bravo for being open and honest. More mothers need to come together on these issues, we can't always be supermom's! And depression, especially postpartum, or even just the "baby blues" shouldn't have a stigma. our bodies go through a huge wave of constant change during the whole process and even there after - especially breastfeeding and weaning. no one warned me about the severe depression that hits when you stop breastfeeding and your hormones return, or at least that it did in my case! Hang in there, you're a great mum!

  2. Oh Katie, thank you!! You could make a girl cry! You know, the hormones that come with nursing have really caught me off guard. Everyone talks about the pregnancy hormonal roller coaster but nadda regarding breastfeeding. The more I talk about it with other women, the more I realize I'm not even close to alone in my experience. Thank you again!!