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…..baby 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.