Hi Swistle! So, as you're, like, the ONLY person I have ever met who has copped to having a tough time emotionally after weaning, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. These post-weaning hormones are kicking my ASS, see, and I just...I dunno. I guess I kinda want to feel like I am not just plain old garden-variety crazy, and that I will go back to feeling like a normal effing person again.
How long did the post-weaning funk last for you? And what did it feel like? I don't really think I have full-on PPD or anything - I don't feel depressed, per se, I am mostly just being suuuuuper hard on myself and feeling sad about the baby getting older, not "needing" me anymore, etc. I plan to call my midwife group this afternoon & see if there's someone I can talk to/if they have any suggestions for natural remedies or things I can do. I don't really want someone to slap a prescription in my hand, just because 1) I think (hope) this is temporary and don't want to bring medication into the picture, and 2) honestly, I don't think it's terrible enough to warrant medication...but it is bothersome enough to make me feel kind of low-grade miserable most of the time.
I guess what I'm looking for from you is what you pretty much already said in your comment on the blog: that you went through this too. I know you, uh, ALREADY SAID THAT TO ME, but...you know. I just felt like I had to get it out there to someone else besides Brad, who gets more and more concerned every time I burst into random tears.
Thanks for reading this hormonal rambling.
Dude! Totally, you are not alone: weaning was, I'd say, my WORST hormone time, worse than pregnancy, worse than postpartum. I would sit limply in a chair, tears leaking silently from my eyes as I imagined my baby a WRINKLED OLD MAN ALONE IN A NURSING HOME.
My second baby's weaning was the most memorably awful. He was 11.5 months old when I wanted to go to my grandmother's funeral (a several-day trip, altogether). I brought a pump with me to keep the milk going and figured I'd just pick it up again when I got home. And when I got home, Paul said William had done totally fine without nursing while I was gone, and that we shouldn't start him in the habit again only to break him of it so soon and possibly with more trouble since maybe it'd helped that I hadn't been home. Well, and that made sense to me, I guessed, and he looked like such a big kid sitting in his high chair eating a quesadilla and drinking milk out of a cup, so...okay.
Well, WHOA. I then spent a couple of weeks feeling like I'd made THE BIGGEST AND MOST IRREVOCABLE MISTAKE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. Why oh why had I weaned him? Maybe I could start him nursing again? Maybe it wasn't too late? I cried and cried and cried over it, which was weird because one year was roughly how long I'd planned to nurse him and here we were at one year, and he was fine with it and taking milk from a cup so WHY WAS THIS SUCH A BIG DEAL? It just WAS a big deal, that's all. It was a HUGE DEAL and it was ALL MY/PAUL'S FAULT and EVERYONE'S LIFE WAS RUINED.
Ooo, look, I journaled it. Okay, so he was weaned at 11.5 months. One week and one day later: "I'm so sad about weaning. I can't pinpoint why, so I assume it's hormonal. I feel like he weaned too early, like it wasn't the way it should have been. I feel more and more upset about it. Even though he's doing fine and doesn't seem to miss it. Even though he's nearly a year old anyway. Even though lots of babies wean way before one year. Even though it makes sense to take advantage of the accidental 'clean break' and not start up and have to wean all over again. Nevertheless, I feel heavy and tired with sadness. I have that feeling of things not being worth doing, things not being fun, nothing in particular to look forward to. I don't even particularly LIKE nursing, so I don't know what's the matter with me. I wish I HAD nursed him when I got home, and I wish everything was back the way it was planned."
At 1 week and 3 days: "Still feeling down. I feel tired, like I can't handle anything. I'm irritable and intolerant. Series of normal little incidents seem like they require massive solutions, such as confining both children and going into another room to lie down. When the sink is full of dishes, it seems like a good plan to carry them all outside and leave them there, or maybe THROW them out there. I'm sleeping soundly, waking with difficulty, tired by 8:00 in the morning, ready for bed at 8:00 in the evening."
At 1 week and 4 days: "I don't know what's the matter with me; it's like I've lost my mind. I'm on the edge of fury all the time; I spent all yesterday and all morning so far today losing it over every little thing. EVERYTHING drives me crazy in about 2 seconds. It seems way out of hand."
At 2 weeks: "I'm feeling better now. Less sad, less angry, but still with Moods."
At 2 weeks 1 day: "I don't feel as sad anymore but I'm still struggling with being too easily frustrated and angered."
At 2 weeks 2 days: "VERY crabby and teary. Feelings of not being able to cope, of never getting anything done, of always having children HANGING on me. Yelling. Still leaking."
After that I don't see any more mentions of it, though I do still see mentions of being overwhelmed and discouraged, but I think that went more with the Toddler And Baby situation than with the Weaning.
By the time I weaned the twins, and later Henry, I had a pretty good idea of what worked for me: weaning verrrrrry slowly, one feeding at a time, and not taking out another feeding until we (meaning me and the baby, not taking Paul's input anymore) felt ready. (I WANTED weaning to be a decision We The Parents would make together, but that turned out not to work for me, and I didn't want a repeat of the time I was angry at and resentful of Paul over the William Weaning Fiasco.)
I did still have hormone issues with the weaning, but not NEARLY as bad. I remember distinctly when I weaned the twins they were only nursing once every day or two, and I suddenly felt ready to be done, but even then I didn't make any Big Final Decisions, I just offered a cup of milk if I didn't feel like nursing (and nursed if the baby didn't want the cup and continued to want to nurse), and nursed if I did feel like it.
I just looked it up in my journal and I don't see any mention of weaning-related sadness. On the other hand, I got pregnant with Henry almost the very day I weaned the twins for good, so that may have affected the hormone situation JUST A BIT. Oh, in fact, that was around the time I started this blog, so if you want you can read what I wrote about weaning and the pregnancy announcement two weeks later, and then what I wrote when I was weaning THAT baby (Henry).
Oh, but I'm getting distracted. Those of you who breastfed and had Weaning Sadness (and/or Weaning Crazies), can you reassure Gayle that she's not alone?