My Dirty Little Secret

I have a secret. It’s something big. Something that I haven’t wanted to admit to myself, let alone others. In fact I’m having a difficult time even talking about it now. There isn’t much of my life that I keep private. I am very open and honest with my life experiences.

One thing that I haven’t been completely honest with following Luke’s birth is my mental well being. To be completely honest with you, I have been struggling really bad. I expected to have emotional swings for a few weeks after I had Luke as my hormones regulated, you know… blues. I didn’t expect the mood swings and feelings to be as intense as they are…..or last as long as they have.

I took a postpartum depression quiz at the doctors office 2 weeks ago, which came back borderline. Because I was only 3 weeks out, my feelings were thought to be regulating hormones. Unfortunately as time goes on, my feelings haven’t gone away or eased up. If anything they are increasing with each new setback. I took the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale test again today, which measures the likelihood that a person is suffering from postpartum depression. A score between 10 and 12 indicates a possibility of depression, a score of 13 or more is indicative of suffering from some degree of postpartum depression. My score today was a 15.

I am struggling. I try to hide it from everyone because I am embarrassed and I don’t feel like anyone will understand or accept the way that I am feeling. I feel like my feelings are wrong. I struggle daily with feelings of extreme sadness and guilt. I worry constantly and am so afraid that something is going to  happen. I don’t feel like I am doing as good of a job being a mom as I thought I would, or that I could be.

I do alright when I’m around other people, but when I am alone I spend quite a bit of time crying. I find myself so incredibly sad for no apparent reason. I can’t figure out why I am so sad. I have this beautiful, amazing, perfect little boy who makes me so happy…..and yet I am sad. There is no reason for it. I feel so incredibly guilty too. I feel like all of his pretty minor issues in the grander scheme of things are my fault. The news from the lactation consultant of Luke’s lip and tongue ties nearly broke me. I feel like it’s my fault that he has them, it’s my fault that he is having problems breast feeding and my fault that he has to go have blood taken to make sure he doesn’t have any issues with his platelets. He’s too young to be having to do any of this stuff, and it’s all my fault.

Along the lines of the breast feeding issues, I feel completely worthless because my milk seems to be shit. When Luke does latch on and eat, he doesn’t seem to be satisfied. He definitely isn’t thriving on breast milk alone (lost over a pound in 3 days when I removed half of the formula supplementation and replaced it with breast milk) and it makes me feel like he doesn’t need me to survive. My supply is crap. I can only get 1-2 ounces pumped total through the whole day. I am eating like crazy and drinking so much more and yet I haven’t seen any increase in supply. I pump constantly too, to no avail. Today I was able to get an ounce and a half or so by hand expressing, but I bruised the shit out of my boobs in the process.

The issues go far beyond just being able to breast feed. Luke has problems with formula as well. The newborn and gentle ease formulas give him really bad gas and an upset tummy to the point that he wakes up shrieking in pain. We tried soy formula and he throws about half of it up after each meal. I’ve tried less formula to water, feeding less, feeding slower, frequent burps……soy doesn’t sit right with him either. So what am I supposed to do? My breast milk isn’t enough to sustain him, and the formula makes him sick. I am running out of options quickly and it is so stressful.

Out of all of this, I’m not confessing my dirty little secret to make anyone feel bad for me. I know deep down that I am doing an amazing job as Luke’s mommy. He is such a happy and loveable little guy who is thriving. He doesn’t really even know what all is going on and doesn’t think I’m a bad mommy because he gets breast milk and formula. He’s happy because he has a mommy who loves him with everything she is, gives him lots of snuggles and kisses and would do anything to make sure he is happy.

Some women go through this. It doesn’t make them a bad mommy or worthless. It’s okay to feel whatever way you do, but if you feel like something is wrong or you aren’t yourself it’s important not to hide your feelings from others. I am openly admitting that my mind and emotions are in disagreement right now. I am an amazing mommy, but my emotions tend to disagree when we get any undesirable news. Hopefully I can get back on track soon and start feeling better.


50 thoughts on “My Dirty Little Secret

  1. have you talked with your doctor about how you’re feeling? please do, it’s great that you recognize it and admit to it – so many women are in denial until they are experiencing severe depression. also, i would suggest talking with the pediatrician – there are hypoallergenic formulas that i would recommend as the next step. don’t beat yourself up about milk supply – in fact i would ask yourself honestly whether it is worth continuing to struggle with the latching/pumping or if once you find a formula that agrees with him, whether it’s best to stop. breastmilk is wonderful, but a mother who’s somewhat well-rested is even better!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a doctors appointment tomorrow so I’ll talk to them about the feelings then.

      I need to talk to someone about the formula as well. I don’t know if it’s normal baby stuff or not and don’t quite know what to do next. I’m not ready to give up completely on breast feeding. At least not until we get the ties fixed and see if that helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re right. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You have identified that you are having these feelings and you and your doctor can deal with this. You ARE a good mom. Good moms make sure to take care of themselves and their babies. I’m sorry that things have been so rough. I had so much trouble with breastfeeding too (for various reasons) and now we are just on formula. Emerson eventually settled with Enfamil Alimentum because it’s hypoallergenic. The gentlease and soy didn’t work for her either. Don’t give up yet. I know it is SO hard to see your little one having tummy issues, but you will find something that works. Many, many hugs to you! I’m glad you are speaking your truth and hope you will seek the help you need! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so brave for sharing how you feel. I wasn’t able to really acknowledge mine until the time had passed. Please see the Dr if you feel like it’s going to spin out of control. I can see that you are very self aware so that is great. As for the forumula, do you have goats milk formula over there? We used that for my dairy intolerant baby with a lot of success. You ARE doing a great job and I know you know that but I also know what you mean about the times when you are alone. Keep talking yourself down and please see the Dr if you need to. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Like the others said, you’re so brave to recognize what’s going on. I also have to agree that a well rested and at peace mama is the best thing for your little guy. With my first, we had to go the hypoallergenic formula route–enfamil nutramigen–and it was a game changer for my daughter. She went from being the fussiest and in pain little girl, to the calmest and at ease baby. Hopefully your pediatrician can guide you with some choices. Our ped said the gentle formulas are no better than regular if your baby is having issues. Lots of love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there,
        No she didn’t have trouble with the taste. We changed right around 6 weeks and then she was on it til 18 months (when she finally outgrew the milk protein allergy.) Although it was expensive, I’d never have done any differently. She’s five years old now and has never been sick. We go to the doctor once a year on her yearly checkup. She’s also tested as HGT so all those “threats” about formula just never came to fruition with her.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Also, with my newest baby, I can only make enough for half breast milk and I am using an organic, non GMO formula from Europe called Hipp. When I tried the newborn enfamil at first, she writhed in pain and never pooped. With Hipp, she’s had no issues. Plus she goes back and forth between breastmilk and formula with no issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are several women on my bmb who use “human milk for human babies” to get donated BM to supplement with! Just in case that’s something you’d consider. I’m so sorry you’re having such a rough time 😦 you ARE doing a good job momma. Luke is lucky to have you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry your struggling. It’s tough to be a momma. Our bodies just went through so much, and now we are responsible for a completely helpless baby! Have you had your thyroid checked? I too had issues with crappy milk, and just found out that my thyroid is extremely overactive right now. I don’t think they can do anything for it, but it’s nice to have an explanation at least. Hope you feel better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First of all, I’m sorry that you’re having all these feelings. You went through so much during your pregnancy that it just feels like it should have been smooth sailing for you after Luke’s birth. Secondly, have you asked your pediatrician about Luke’s problem with formula possibly being acid reflux? It may not be and you may have already discussed it. Some babies are just pukers. My nephew projectile puked after every bottle when he was a baby and he is now a robust, healthy 17 yr old boy. Sometimes, it’s just what babies do and there’s nothing you can do about it (and it most certainly is not your fault!). I hope you are able to get some help so that you can start feeling better and really be able to enjoy these early months with Luke. Take care of yourself, Mama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t had a chance yet. I was thinking reflux but it only happens with the soy formula and not the regular formula or breast milk. I was reading online about milk protein allergies and that soy isn’t tolerated as well in those cases. I’m going to talk to the lc next week.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Figuring out that you’re having a problem is the first step, and it’s a big one. I would talk to your Dr about how you’re feeling. I’ve struggled with depression most of my life, and it’s not always easy to deal with on your own. Perhaps he can get you in touch with a counselor who can help you out?
    As for the breast feeding…try not to be so hard on yourself about that. My mom had the same issue when my sister was born: she just didn’t produce enough milk, and my sister actually ended up getting sick from it. She didn’t even try with me, I was a straight formula baby. And we both turned out just fine. Not everyone has success breast feeding, and that’s okay. I would talk to his ped. about the issues and see if they can point you in the direction of a formula that may sit better with his little belly. You’re right, he doesn’t know what’s going on at this age, so the sooner you can get all these little things figured out, the better. And just because he doesn’t seem satisfied from your milk, doesn’t mean he can survive without you…he can’t! You’re his mommy, and you’re a fabulous one at that, and he definitely needs you in his life!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing. I feel like PP Depression, like miscarriage and pregnancy loss, is a huge pink elephant that most people don’t talk about. But, I can say with complete compassion and love that there are folks out there who are willing to and would love to help you get through this. No one doubts that you’re a great mom, it’s evident that you are. And it’s okay tons say that it’s tough.

    I don’t think you need to be strong or brave, but just to be-acknowledging your feelings and struggles and then work towards finding care, comfort, support and help to make the struggles lighter.

    Sending you so much love and support.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh gosh. So much I want to say.
    First, well done for being honest about your feelings. That’s a brave thing right there so be proud. I too had pp depression after my first boy. He suffered with reflux (undiagnosed for SIX months) and it was so hard. He just cried and screamed and I had to hear “your milk is bad.” “He’s hungry” comments all the time. The issue was that he was allergic to cows milk and it was in my breast milk because I was eating cheese and drinking milk. As soon as we figured that out we then started to improve. But it was six months down the line and I was beat.
    I was grateful for the happy pills and was not on them for long
    The hormones and the lack of sleep meant I just plummeted.
    As for the lip and tongue tie. Alex had that. My second child. What a nightmare. And in England it was undiagnosed so I was just feeding poorly, had bad milk etc
    Luckily we moved here and I didn’t sink into another depression
    But! You know what we all forget? What an amazing job we are doing. X

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I understand how you might feel embarrassed to talk about these things. After all we all tried so hard to have children and now you feel ashamed to talk about this. But truthfully you are a wonderful mother. Many moms go through this. I feel like it might be harder for you to cope with these feelings because of the infertility. Because you wanted this sooo bad.

    You have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It is okay to be feeling the way you. It is okay to cry. I wish I could be there to hug you and tell you, you are doing a wonderful job and it is okay to have these feelings to your face.
    Sending you a big hug. I hope that your hormones level out and the postpartum depression goes away quickly. Please don’t be ashamed.


  13. Oh hun! My heart aches for you! Please know that everything you are thinking, feeling and experiencing is normal. This happened to my cousin and she had to take some depression meds for about 6months after birth to help with it. There is no shame in it at all!! Also, you are doing amazing and don’t let the devil whisper to you those lies and you believe them for a second. You are doing great! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jessica- GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR! This is nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about. SO many other mother’s suffer with postpartum depression. You are certainly not alone in this just like you weren’t alone in your fertility struggles. I struggle with depression (not related to fertility) and from experience I can tell you that the best thing you can do for yourself is to get help. Please don’t wait! It is only going to get worse the longer you wait. If your doctor wants to put you on an antidepressant ask them to put you on Wellbutrin. That has the lowest risk to both pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding. I also did some other reading in some of the books I have in my library and the one I found said that sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) were the best antidepressants to use. I would think based on the information below that any of these should be safe.

    “Can I take bupropion while breastfeeding?
    Please talk to your doctor if you need to take bupropion while breastfeeding. Bupropion is found in breast milk. A mother taking the recommended dosage of bupropion passes only a small amount of the drug to an infant. Breastfeeding while taking bupropion should not be harmful for most babies. Bupropion can bring on seizures in individuals prone to them. There is a report of one baby exposed to bupropion through breast milk who then had seizures. The seizures stopped when the mother stopped taking bupropion. The small amount of bupropion passed through breast milk may have more impact on premature infants or babies with other complications. More studies are needed to better focus on this area.
    In some women, bupropion can reduce the amount of milk their bodies make. If you notice this, please tell your doctor.”


  15. You love and care about Luke immensely which already means you’re doing a good job. None of the setbacks are your fault. I have was able to breastfeed from the very beginning and still became depressed once I brought the baby home. I felt like crying all the time and didn’t know why. Happens to many women for different reasons from what I hear. We don’t know each other, but I admire the fact that you keep pushing through your struggles! I’m rooting for you! Hope everything gets better from here on out.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You know when you’re flying somewhere and the flight attendant says that if there’s an emergency put the mask on you first then on your child? You need to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, so you can take care of your baby. About the milk supply… Every woman wants to nurse their baby but its more important that your baby has a healthy momma even if she gives him formula. Dont feel bad about what you cannot change, its not like youre doing ssomething bad to feel guilty about. If anything, the way you feel only shows how good of a mom you are because you want to be there for him so much and it shows. Just take sometime to look at him and focus on the positives… how beautiful and perfect he is, how amazing it feels to hod him against your chest, how connected you feel when he stares into your eyes. Hope you feel better soon! 🙂 Hugs


  17. You are not alone and You are an amazing mother. I don’t know if you read my blog on post partum anxiety but I couldn’t sleep out of fear and made
    Myself sick over every little hiccup my son had. I only share my situation so you know what you’re feeling is common for a lot of women and it is nothing to be ashamed of or keep a secret over. It took talking to a therapist and some Wellbutrin and two weeks later I felt like myself again. Balanced and much more in control. I had such guilt over my inability to breast feed but at the end of the day, he’s doing great with formula. It took us a while to find the right one as well (we had gas and poop strike!) but finally settled on similac sensitive. And if I’m honest, I’m glad to not have my boobs strapped to a pump all day. My son started screaming and arching around 5/6 weeks and it eventually turned out to be horrible reflux…if your son has similar issues you may want to discuss reflux with your pediatrician. I thought it was the formula but it was really had reflux. I hope you will share your feelings with a doctor to get yourself some support. I can’t stress enough how much I empathize and how you are so not alone. This isn’t a dirty secret: it’s real raw motherhood and you’re doing a wonderful job.


  18. I’m a little late to the party. I read this after you posted and wanted to follow up tho 😉. I’m so glad you are saying it, putting it out there. The women in my family tend to have ppd fir about 2-3 months after giving birth and this helps me to know what to expect so you’re doing a great service by sharing.

    I also think us if/Ivf gals put another level of pressure on ourselves to be excellent, non mistake and 150% confident mothers, after all, didn’t we wait and pine and shouldn’t that mean we never have a moment if regret, annoyance, being tired, frustrated, angry, not enjoying it. But of course we’re going to feel all those things – we just get an extra layer of guilt on top.

    For what it’s worth I think you are doing a great job as Luke’s mama. Hands down, no caveats, no buts – you are a great mother to Luke.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: 2015 in review | Eventual Momma

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