By Caitlin from Confessions of a Northern Belle
My Battle With Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can occur anytime in a women’s life after she has a baby. Feelings of anxiety, worthlessness, stress, anger, and sadness may appear slowly, or all at once. Read about how mommy Caitlin of Confessions of a Northern Belle made it through postpartum depression after weaning her little one.
Having dealt with anxiety for a number of years in my life, I always knew there was a chance I could end up with postpartum depression after having a child. By the time my daughter was 16 months old, I felt confident that I’d escaped any possible encounters with postpartum depression. But then…I began weaning my daughter from breastfeeding, and the PPD monster reared its ugly head. The postpartum depression after weaning seemed to come out of nowhere: the feelings of anger, unhappiness, and unexplained sadness. The change in my emotions was uncontrollable, but I was completely conscious of the fact that I felt my mind spiraling into a sense of insanity which made everything worse. I couldn’t stop what I was feeling. I cried for a week straight over absolutely nothing. I snapped at my family and friends for no reason whatsoever. I felt lethargic and wanted to stay home from work, hiding in my dark bedroom from the world.
I knew there was a reason why I was feeling like a stranger in my own body and it had to be the drop in hormones as I was weaning my daughter from breastfeeding. No one had warned me that weaning a baby could be so hard on myself. I knew my daughter might not like the change in where she received her food, but I didn’t know my body wouldn’t like the change too.
Since I knew I was quickly falling down a rabbit hole, I reached out to my doctor for advice. He suggested an anti-depressant, but I did not want to go on medication. I needed a way to find the light in a world of increasing darkness that didn’t involve a tiny pill taken once a day. I have done that before – taken medicine to cope with a hormonal imbalance – and it was a temporary fix that required constant maintenance. I turned instead to essential oils and exercise. I used my blog as an outlet for my racing thoughts and I quickly realized I was not alone. There were so many women out in the world who felt, at some point in their life, just like I was feeling. Some of these women were people whom I talk to every day, and they had not told anyone about their experiences with postpartum depression after weaning. My confessions helped a friend acknowledge her own current battle with PPD, and my transparency with my troubles eased her feelings of aloneness.
Postpartum depression can occur anytime in a women’s life after she has a baby. Feelings of anxiety, worthlessness, stress, anger, and sadness may appear slowly or all at once. In my case, the postpartum depression snuck up on me. While weaning my daughter, I first dropped one pumping session at work a day. A week later, I dropped an evening nursing session. Two weeks later, I dropped all pumping sessions at work. After a month and a half of weaning, I woke up one morning feeling like I was being swallowed whole by a dark cloud of doom.
I truly believe I made it through my bout of postpartum depression after weaning so quickly because I was educated in the disorder. My doctor had warned me of the symptoms after having my daughter, and when a friend went through a few months of postpartum, I read up on it. There are many different ways to treat postpartum depression that include counseling and medication. I opted for a more homeopathic route by turning to exercise and essential oils. I also reached out to my friends, family, and blog network for support. Postpartum depression should never be treated alone.
It’s crazy to think that at a time in my life when I believed everything was just right, the walls could come tumbling around me. But by reaching out to others, and taking an active stance against the PPD monster, I won. I came out on top.
Caitlin is a native New Englander who calls Georgia her home with her husband, baby daughter Annabelle, and cat. She is a teacher who loves to dance, read, and garden. Read about her pregnancy, postpartum life, and more at Confessions of a Northern Belle.