Fighting PPD After Weaning

[Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from a Warrior Mom who found hope here on the site and wants to share her story to offer struggling moms the same thing. We love our Warrior Moms who give back in this way! -Jenna]

Fighting PPD After Weaning

Hello ladies. My name is Jen, I’m 30 and from Ohio and I have recently experienced postpartum depression after weaning my son after one year of breastfeeding.

I hope my story gives hope to all my sisters who feel like they are barely holding on. I do want you to know that it does get better and you will feel like yourself again. I promise. Postpartum Progress helped me a lot. I would read and reread the stories of all the women who posted their stories. It helped me so much to know that I was not alone.

Here’s my story:

I noticed that I didn’t feel quite right when I was in labor and delivery before I had our son. I had my epidural and all of a sudden my mood dropped off. I told the nurse and my mom looked at her and asked if that normal. The nurse shook her head no.

I brushed it off thinking it was the drugs. I had Lucas. We spent two nights in the hospital, and by the second day, I thought I was going to lose it. I was anxious; I needed out of the hospital. I felt this way until my milk came in. When it did, I was calm.

I stopped breastfeeding in August 2015. In July, I noticed that I didn’t feel quite myself. I felt aggravated, on the brink of having a panic attack many times. By November I started to spiral into what seemed like a deep dark hole that I felt bound and determined to get out of by myself.

I do want to mention that I developed OCD when I was about 12. I had controlled it well up until this point in my life with prayer, exercise, and staying very active.

By December, I knew that I could not do it on my own. I experienced panic attacks that seemed to last all day. I couldn’t concentrate. I wasn’t sleeping very well, and I was barely eating. My husband was worried about me, but did not understand depression/anxiety/OCD. He felt that it was all in my head and that I needed to snap out of it.

I had to go to the doctor; just knew I had to. So I went.

I wrote my whole story down so I wouldn’t forget anything (because my short-term memory was horrible) and just sobbed in his office. I felt like a failure. Here I was in a doctor’s office telling him my deepest. darkest. thoughts. The thoughts that I was sure he was going call child protective services over as soon as I left his office. He didn’t. Thank the good Lord.

He gave me a prescription an SSRI. My husband and I talked about the appointment, and he saw the prescription. We had one of the biggest fights that we had ever had. He felt like anti-depressants should be the last resort. I decided not to take the meds and try counseling, a natural doctor with supplements and calming oils instead. The counseling seriously helped. I strongly recommend it, especially if you do not have someone at home who can listen and tell you that you’re not crazy.

By January, I was down 15 pounds. I was thinking about hurting myself, hurting others; I didn’t want to do this, but I could not stop thinking about it. My brain would not shut off. I had racing thoughts that would not quit. I thought I was seeing things. I thought I was hearing things. My mind would go from memory to memory, on things I haven’t thought of in years. I felt like I was in a dream.

I thought for sure I was going insane and at any moment I was going to lose it. I could not get my thoughts in a positive place; I could not snap out of it. I was not sleeping and if I could fall asleep I was up four or five times a night. I would wake up shaking with anxiety. The lack of sleep exacerbated the anxiety.

At this point, I had the blessing of my husband to start taking the anti-depressants. Of course, it was not a quick fix, it took five to kick in to where I felt a little better. I am thankful that the SSRI the doctor first prescribed worked because sometimes you have to try many medications to get the right fit. I seriously did not have time for that. I was at the point where I wanted to die.

I did go back to the doctor when I started taking the anti-depressant because I had to get something to sleep. My husband went to the doctor with me. He had to; I couldn’t drive. That was the turning point for him. The doctor was very calm and answered all of my husband’s questions. From that day forward, he was so supportive. We actually grew closer through the storm.

So, let’s talk about the anti-depressant: Yes, I had side effects at first. Dull headaches, dry mouth, nauseated. I would wake up in the morning drenched with sweat. In February, I started reading more about the gut/brain connection and decided to give up gluten and dairy; that helped a lot. I am still on the anti-depressant, but I have absolutely no side effects.

When I eat gluten or dairy I can tell, my anxiety does escalate and I have night sweats. I would like to start weaning myself from the meds because my husband and I would like to have another baby, but at this point I’m too scared to be in the dark place I once was. I’m loving life again and I do not want to compromise that.

Ladies, there is hope. Please hold on and reach out for help.

~Jennifer Reed

About Jenna Hatfield

Jenna Hatfield is the Online Awareness & Engagement Manager for Postpartum Progress. She is an editor and award-winning writer, having won a SWPA Media & Mental Health Awards in 2012, among others. She is an everyday mom to two boys and a birth mother involved in a fully open adoption with her daughter. She makes her home in Ohio.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer McBride says:

    I have battled post partum depression for almost 2 years. I wish more women knew this information I am about to share. Post partum depression has a scientific link – copper toxicity. I suffered through hell not knowing what was wrong with me. People told me they thought I was a monster , etc. Upon meeting with a holistic doctor he politely told me post partum depression is linked to copper toxicity. Excess copper levels cause so many issues. Low zinc contributes also. I discovered I had a blood disorder called pyroluria which made my copper toxicity even worse because my body doesnt handle b6 and zinc correctly. Please spread this information. It is NOT just in our heads. It has a pathophysiological reason. Please please please share this information. I have no clue where on this website to share this information but it is very vital we spread this information. I started taking basic supplements this is after doing the whole antidepressants , anti anxiety meds etc. Please let us share this information. Here is an article explaining it – http://nutritionalbalancing.org/center/htma/science/articles/copper-toxicity.php#p-02
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-postpartum-depression-idUSCOL96756220070209

    The next doctor that tells me and any other women it isnt preventable and we need an antidepressant or counseling I will slap them.

    I am not trying to sell anything just want more women to know. I live in the south where you are shunned if you have any signs of post partum depression ( relative to the culture of this area). I struggled and went through hell all the while missing such important moments with my son. Please share this information. Not only can post partum depression be easily treated quite cheaply it also can be PREVENTED!
    Imagine the lives that can be saved!

    • Hi Jennifer!

      Thanks for leaving this comment. A friend of mine recently alerted me to this possibility. I too have high free copper and my copper zinc ratio is completely off as well. Have you had success with your supplements and if so, how long did it take you to feel better? any troubles weaning off drugs (assuming that’s what you did)? Please let me know.

  2. I have the same exact story jen. Except the ssris seem to make it worse for me. So i had to stop taking them. Have you started your period after weaning jen? How long did it take for your period to show? I am 6 weeks out from completely weaning and still no period. Im not pregnant. Husbands fixed and you have to have sex to get pregnant. Ha!

    • Yes, I started my period probably 8 mos after my son was born. Hang in there! Have you tried any diet changes?