My friend Jaime of http://jamesandjax.com has posted several times about her journey through weaning – her latest being this post http://jamesandjax.com/2012/06/26/the-pwr-post-weaning-report/. We have chatted back and forth since we weaned at around the same time within literally a few weeks of each other. I officially weaned Skeeter on Memorial Day. I was surprised to realize how much weaning could affect my mood. But wait Jenny, isn’t nursing all regulated by hormones? Exactly. So the body cycles through yet another hormonal drop. No wonder I feel like I have had PMS 24/7. Anxiety makes me irritable and impatient, so I am a real peach to be around. Plus I was having middle of the night insomnia, so I was not getting enough sleep. This was clearly a recipe for one grumpy, impatient, and out of sorts mama.
I was also anxious about losing the close relationship and bond that I had with Skeeter. I had to work really hard to rebuild my relationship with both girls after I felt so out of touch with them in the midst of my postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression. As I feared, Skeeter has become very much a daddy’s girl. He is the one who puts her to bed at night. I was starting to feel jealous, but I realized that Munch has had lots of Daddy time while I was nursing Skeeter. This now gives her the attention that she craves from me. To my absolute surprise and delight, Skeeter will call for me just before she’s rocked to sleep for a big hug and kiss. So she hasn’t completely forgotten about Mama. When she’s hurt, she needs the reassuring closeness of snuggles to help her feel all better.
I need to practice self-care for myself and realize that I need the physical connection just as much as my girls do. I am working on giving more hugs and kisses to satisfy my need for physical connection. Nursing can be so intense, but nursing Skeeter was the one constant that worked very well for me as I struggled through postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone; it had the ability to calm me down in moments. It was wonderful to have that time to just sit and maybe read while Skeeter nursed. Now I am resisting the urge to feel like I need to do something all the time. I am trying to be more deliberate about giving myself downtime. I am unwinding this ball of yarn that is my anxiety and pulling it out piece by piece to separate it into: work anxiety, weaning anxiety, and unresolved grief. I am hoping to find the patterns and talk about my triggers to help manage this anxiety.