Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience between mother and child.
I felt lucky to do this, as I know it’s not something everyone is able to do.
I was amazed that my body knew how to make milk and nourish my kids.
It wasn’t easy, by any means.
There was pain at the start.
I had complications and I struggled with increasing my milk supply the second time around.
The biggest obstacle I didn’t see coming was at the end of breastfeeding my second child.
Weaning him was unexpectedly hard and my emotions felt like they were out of my control.
I was depressed, and it came on quickly.
I felt sad, tired and I struggled to be positive about anything.
I gave all my energy to my son and it felt as if there was nothing left for me.
I felt empty.
He seemed ready, but I wasn’t.
It felt harder on me than it was on him.
I wasn’t done with all the cuddles, gazes, connection of skin to skin.
I tried to hold on, but he was abruptly done.
One day he just didn’t need my milk anymore.
It felt as though he was saying he didn’t need me.
He got up from the chair and didn’t come back to sit with me again.
The rocking chair became an occasional place for reading and chatting,
but not for nursing.
I wish I had known I could feel this way.
I didn’t know this could happen.
My doctor told me my hormones were shifting during weaning,
She said “oxytocin and prolactin drops and estrogen goes up.”
She shared that women can become depressed.
I learned this when it was already happening to me.
I wish I had known before.
So know this, if you are in this feeling now. It’s so hard.
I’ve felt it too.
You can get help. Support really helps.
The sadness that comes over you when you realize your baby isn’t a baby anymore.
They have all they need and you are finished with nursing.
It’s ok to let yourself feel sad.
You are grieving the ending of one phase as you enter the next one.
Just know you worked hard, you did a good job,
and there will be more beautiful moments ahead.
There are also others that feel the way you do.
I’ve been there too.
You are not alone.
Here are a few ways I coped with depression while weaning:
- I reached out to friends who were fellow breastfeeding moms, my mom, and my husband. They helped by offering empathy and listening to me share my feelings.
- I found time to do things that made me feel good in the process of weaning, such as taking a hike with a friend, doing yoga, meditating, journaling, and calling someone to talk. There will be difficult days when you feel disconnected from your baby when they no longer need you as much. That is normal.
Lisa McCarty is a Writer, a Women’s Health Advocate, an IVF Mom of Two, and a Publicist. She shares her experience to help other women feel less alone and more supported. She also believes it’s important for women to advocate for themselves, to talk with their doctors about these types of struggles with mental health, and to get help when they need it.
postpartum, postpartum health, postpartum depression, baby blues, breastfeeding, wellness