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Anxious and unhappy

(18 Posts)
SpeckledFrog2014 Mon 29-Jun-15 16:37:01

I don't know where to turn to about this and I can't afford private sessions, I've already looked into it, I don't want my family to know if I see anyone either, so would have to take my baby with me as I can't leave her in childcare. I just need to speak to someone anonymously. Apologies for the long post to come.

It all started the first weekend in December when I felt pressured to stop breastfeeding. I really struggled with the pain in my body as I had horrendously cracked nipples and a gaping episiotomy that wouldn't heal and was often crying all day. My baby also had colic like symptoms and terrible wind. My husband had told me he wished that we had never our baby on the day I stopped breastfeeding and it took me a very long time to trust him again with her and when I bring it up he turns it around as though I am doing so to criticise him. I will never forgive him for saying it, but I would like to talk about it to try to understand his feelings and just to tell him how much it still hurts me. He does suffer from anxieties which have been diagnosed as inherited and learnt behaviours from his mentally ill father. I am still feeling terrible about the entire experience and feel very lonely and of course am reminded about it every time I give my baby a bottle. Also recently I had a dream about feeling very negatively at Christmas as the day I stopped breast feeding was the day we went on our usual family outing to get our Christmas tree and have a family meal. I also had a terrible night Christmas Eve and went on to cook dinner for five adults Christmas Day. I am really worried I will associate all my bad feelings with Christmas and be unhappy during this period. Currently I don't know how I can face the Christmas tree and family meal day this year.

I can't identify what I am feeling terrible towards whether it is the giving up breast feeding or that I am struggling with forgiveness or I am being irrational. I have suffered with depression in the past, over six years ago, however the NHS refused to treat me which resulted in me sleeping excessively and ending up taking pain killers as it manifested physically in the form of abdominal pains, so I have no faith in the NHS. I have no bad feelings towards my baby at all and have an excellent bond with her. I do already babywear and cosleep so do not have emotional connection problems with her. Any positive words would help

IceBeing Tue 30-Jun-15 13:48:09

I didn't want to read and run but I have an interview starting.

I am very sorry to hear you are feeling this way - I would be happy to talk to you anonymously about your situation and help in any way I can.

I will post an actual response as soon as I can.

MonstrousRatbag Tue 30-Jun-15 14:09:11

I remember reading on here that giving up breast-feeding can cause depression and having a light bulb go on. I wish I'd known that earlier! This is what I found on the Kelly.Mom website:

It’s not unusual to feel tearful, sad or mildly depressed after weaning; some mothers also experience irritability, anxiety, or mood swings. These feelings are usually short-term and should go away in a few weeks, but some mothers experience more severe symptoms that require treatment. If you’re experiencing feelings that are affecting your quality of life for more than a couple of weeks, it would be a good idea to seek outside help.

What causes these mood changes?

There is very little research on the subject, but it’s hypothesized that hormonal changes are a primary cause of mood changes during and after weaning. One of the changes that occurs with weaning is a drop in prolactin and oxytocin levels. Prolactin, a hormone that is required for milk production, also brings with it a feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation. Oxytocin, the hormone that is required for milk ejection (let-down), is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” It makes sense that a sudden decrease in these hormones could have an effect on a weaning mother’s emotions.

Are some mothers more likely to experience depression due to weaning?

The faster the weaning process the more abrupt the shift in hormone levels, and the more likely that you will experience adverse effects. Dropping no more than one feeding per week is gentler on both mother and baby. Mothers who are forced to wean before they are ready (or for reasons beyond their control) and mothers with a history of depression are also more likely to experience depression after weaning.

Your post sounded so familiar to me, in the dark days when I gave up breastfeeding DS (at 4 months) and then had to wean dd (at 6 months) when I went back to work. Really, it is hard so please do try not to make it harder by punishing yourself. You tried, and breastfeeding is not the be-all and end-all of being a good mother. We all know breastfeeding is optimal, but bottle-feeding is fine. It must be, because the majority of people born between about 1955 and 1985 were bottle fed, and we all seem to managing. I'm an absolute goddess, personally, so clearly bottle fed babies are capable of growing up fine. I won't say 'forgive yourself', because there's nothing to forgive, but let it go. It is at most a small stumble on the 20-year journey of bringing up this child, and as you say you've got an excellent bond with her, it is not a stumble that is going to matter in the long run.

As for the NHS, things have got better more recently, so i really think it would be worth going to your GP for some help. I did that last year after a close bereavement and got CBT with an absolutely lovely therapist and then a mindfulness course that was very good. Have a look-some services are self-referring so you may not need to go to your GP at all.

Ask your husband if you two can talk sometime, non-judgmentally, about how you both feel. I think this might be best left for a little while though, until after you've had a bit of time to grapple with your own feelings.

IceBeing Tue 30-Jun-15 15:14:46

I wonder if you are having problems processing what your husband said or your decision to stop breast feeding?

The brain works in a way that means suddenly hearing seeing or feeling something unexpected, that doesn't fit with your preconceived notions of the way the world works, can cause problems.

In this case, what your husband said was possibly completely incompatible with your world view, which included him in a normal parenting role, and not as someone who regretted the birth of your baby.

It is certainly unusual to be remembering with pain and distress something someone said more than 6 months ago - which suggests that your brain has essentially had an allergic reaction to the event and possibly set up a loop of distress with reference to it.

It would also be unusual to have such a sense of feeling terrible about stopping breast feeding 6 months after the fact. Again, maybe you have developed some trauma around this event.

People have experiences all the time that they are unprepared for and some fraction of those experiences leave a deeper mark that can cause depression or even PTSD.

One form of resolution that can sometimes be found, is to work out how to fit the new information inside alongside the old.

IF it was your husbands comment that is still burning you then is it possible to understand how your husband could still be the person you thought he was AND have said this to you?

Is it possible to love a baby and want them in your life and still have regrets? Is having a new baby the experience that it is often made out to be? All sweetness and light and love at first sight? Is distress and regret maybe a normal reaction to the huge upheaval of having a newborn...even though it isn't something people generally feel they can talk about?

If it is the breast feeding, then is it possible to understand how you could be the person you always thought you were AND have stopped the breast feeding at that time? Is it possible to make such a decision in the best interests of your child? (btw the answer to that YES) Is it okay to change your decision because the reality of BFing isn't what you had imagined it would be? Is it true to say that different people experience BFing differently and that it is very much harder and less rewarding for some than for others?

Or...I could be totally off base with all of this....

Do keep chatting in any way that feel useful to you!

SpeckledFrog2014 Thu 02-Jul-15 10:46:34

Thank you for your replies smile
I did stop bf very abruptly, I fed until 11:30 that morning and never again. My parents didn't want me to continue and they had already bought bottles and a steriliser and it was the same morning that my husband he said what he did. I almost left that day with my baby and remember standing over my baby just weeping whilst she was being bottle fed. Then I got dressed and left to go on our outing and just behaved like I had before I had even had a baby, I didn't talk to anyone about my feelings and wept in private. I felt that I should be fine and go back to how I had always been as bf was the problem. I am from a matriarchal family and am now the head of a mini one, so feel pressured to hold everything together and with my husband's anxiety issues I feel I have to be strong for the family.
I also had a very rough start with bf where I received shocking postnatal care which resulted in me trying to bf from the instructions in the welcome pack at the hospital. I was also made to feel like a nuisance on the ward as I had a big bleed after and couldn't stand up without bleeding everywhere. I could hardly walk to the bathroom as I was in pain and the midwives berated me for sitting in the chair by the bed instead of walking around, but for me that was a big achievement to move from the bed to the chair. I left hospital with cracked and bleeding nipples as well as the pain. My recovery then went on to be very slow and still suffer with pain from my episiotomy scar.
I do feel really disconnected from my husband and I am not sure how he would react even to me bringing up my feelings. Recently he has been quick to snap at me and sometimes I make comments or ask him to do something or to watch out if something is going to fall in a gentle way and he still takes it the wrong way. He is currently going for a new job and I don't want to bring anything up with him until he is through that process as I do not want to hold him back by making him feel bad. On the flip side he also apologises profusely if he feels he has put me out, for example I had to collect him from work yesterday which is the other side of the city in the closest next county, so about 50 minutes away before I had to attend a training session by our house. I wanted to collect him as the trains were not running and he wouldn't have got home before I needed to leave and my baby is absolutely inconsolable when left with anyone but her father and I had to leave my training a fortnight ago as he was stuck in the city because of the trains again. However he was still apologising about putting me out after I came back from my training almost three hours later.
It is helping writing about how I feel as I haven't spoken to anyone else. I feel I can't talk to my parents as although we don't have a bad relation we don't have a very close relationship as I was brought up to be independent from a young age. Something I really don't want for my child(ren). This has made it difficult for me to allow myself to show weakness in front of anyone so there is a lot of pent up emotion.

IceBeing Thu 02-Jul-15 16:12:54

I wonder if it might help to write about your whole birth experience? Maybe talking it through on here might start to help you to see what the issues have been and how they have (and continue) to affect you?

For instance having a bleed is just horrible. It leaves you suddenly weak and immobile and potentially not coping in the way you imagined you would when the baby arrived. That can be deeply unsettling for strong women who are used to making things happen the way they want them/imagine them.

The fact that midwives go around actually trying to make you feel shit about not being able to get out of bed is designed to maximize the negative impact. There aren't any other situations in which HCPs go to someone just out of surgery, in pain, and having lost a huge amount of blood and attempt to chivey them into moving, walking, getting up. It is simply incomprehensible to me that it is considered normal practise post childbirth!

I would gladly hear your story in whatever level of detail you wish to give it....

IceBeing Fri 03-Jul-15 09:26:12

The other thing I meant to say is that it sounds like your DH is a decent type who has potentially also suffered some serious misalignment of reality and expectation. He obviously does care, but is near the edge and so responds inappropriately to minor things....

It took my DH a long time to get over witnessing my suffering during and post child birth. We are still trying to understand how to live with what happened.

SpeckledFrog2014 Fri 03-Jul-15 10:43:29

I think you're right about my husband, his emotions are all over the place and I think he could potentially feel the same way.
I had a very easy labour that was quick and not very painful, but then had an episiotomy moments before my daughter was born. My GP has speculated a nerve was cut through. The consultant had to be called to stitch me up as my tear was beyond the skill of my midwife, later it was all described by another midwife as looking like a donkey's hind leg. I was fine for quite sometime after giving birth, but I remember telling the midwife that I want to bf, but the care seemed to stop following being stitched up and only started about an hour later where I told my husband to take our baby as I my ears started ringing and my vision was going white. Then I fainted and the emergency button was pushed, which frightened my husband as the room suddenly filled up with people, the next thing I remember was a more senior midwife shaking me awake and them messing about having difficulty putting in a drip. I have terrible veins and had an awful experience with my blood being taken whilst I was pregnant.
My pulse was racing and my blood pressure really low, I had my baby early hours of the morning and could still not sit without feeling faint by the evening. I don't remember bf until I got to the ward. Looking back I honestly think they should have transfused me and I struggled well into the next day and midwives and doctors kept coming and going just to check the machine on the ward. They also tried to put another bag of fluid in me but it wouldn't go and instead my hand swelled up and ultimately I got myself up and took myself down to the ward midwives station and asked them to remove the cannula. Also in my notes a doctors had come to see me and she had written she had done so at 8pm however the midwife who had checked the machine recorded the actual time the doctor saw me to cover herself, which was 5:30am the day after I have given birth. The doctor said she would return to see me again which she never did and I went home in the evening. I hated staying there and would have discharged us citing the behaviour of the hcps if they had tried to make us stay.
I was already in pieces with very sore bleeding nipples after I had fed a couple of times on the ward and at midnight I couldn't get my baby latched on so buzzed for the midwife to come and help and she threw five syringes on the bed and told me to hand express and I didn't see her again until the next morning. It took me over an hour to get my baby latched on myself as I didn't know how to hand express and couldn't understand how to do it from the ward welcome pack. Various midwives and counsellors came to see me about bf, but they all contradicted each other so I didn't know who to believe. I felt really alone as my husband had gone home to sleep and the other three women in my bay were all bottle feeding.
The same night I was discharged I couldn't get my baby to latch on and was painfully engorged. I kept calling the hospital I had given birth at and they didn't want me to come in and told me to formula feed instead. I ended up trying a local hospital and they had me in straight away and were disgusted about the way I had been treated. I regret not going to that hospital now and the only reason why I went to the one I did was because it is a very large women's hospital so thought their care would be top notch. The following night I had a big clot and had to go in to the hospital I had given birth at to be checked. I waited from 9pm to 1:30am to be checked, which was was awful because of the pain.
I went on to live a virtually reclusive life upstairs for the next four weeks struggling with feeding and pain in moving. I used to have to hold onto our towel rail to sit down onto the toilet. The house was uncared for in that time and I can't remember eating much of anything in the way of a hot meal as my husband cannot cook.

IceBeing Fri 03-Jul-15 13:43:52

I am so sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience and such terrible care.

How is it that HCP's forget we are actual people with such apparent ease? If you aren't actually bleeding all over their floor then you must be fine right?

Have you made a formal complaint about your care? I know it can feel like a waste of time or low down your priorities....but I recently complained about bad care (not to do with childbirth or anything this serious) and it helped me sort my feelings and realise that, yes, I genuinely did deserve better.

I am gutted and furious for you that you had such abysmally poor BF support.

Hand expressing is not fantastic fun but it is easily learnt and taught if the teacher has a) actually done it before, b) is interested in teaching.

I didn't learn it till my DD was 1.5 yo on a peer supporting course and it was actually surprisingly handy for keeping down engorgement and supply up when I had to go away for weeks at a time with work.

You haven't said how long post birth you had to stop the BF? Was that the four weeks you mentioned? A whole month of pain, uncertainty, anaemia, and feeling like you weren't coping is a seriously nasty experience to have to deal with.

There is something uniquely horrible about being in pain such that every movement needed to actually sustain your child becomes a misery.

Never let anyone tell you it is 'normal' or to 'just get over it' or to minimize the experience in any way. In particular if anyone suggests that women have been giving birth for all of human history so it can't be that big a deal, please punch them soundly on the nose. Women have been dying, and being maimed mentally and physically in childbirth for all of human history...it doesn't make it right! It is only now we are starting (STARTING) to begin to demand better for ourselves.

SpeckledFrog2014 Fri 03-Jul-15 16:52:45

I have just actually sent them some feedback and suspect I will be asked to contact PALS which I will do. I am feeling better about it all now though, I have stopped crying every time I start typing. I think just writing about it all has helped. Thank you so much for your messages smile
I did only bf for four weeks. The lady that saw me at the second hospital told me how to hand express and it was very useful in the end as i often used it to focus my baby on milk rather than just screaming that she's hungry and uncomfortable.
In my village I am surrounded by bf women, I'm the odd one for ff, so that has been hard as I kept telling myself they all went through it too. Although I think the immobility I had is probably not normal and the fact I'm still not right and I honestly don't know how I will even be able to make another baby to start with when we're ready for another!
Thank you for all your help again, I feel so much better just getting it off my chest

IceBeing Fri 03-Jul-15 18:07:36

Firstly there is no 'only 4 weeks' there is 'all of 4 whole weeks which were difficult and stressful'.

Secondly all the other BF mums did NOT go through that at all. I had maybe 2 days of slight pain when BFing, no blisters, certainly no bleeding, no mastitis, no problems latching, nothing. In 3 years total BFing I had maybe 5 days when things were uncomfortable and I mean like vaguely uncomfortable....

So I would never think to assume you had the same experience as I did, and you shouldn't assume everyone else somehow magically coped with the same things you experienced only better!

I am glad you are feeling a little better. I feel pretty compelled to tell people my story (as you can probably tell from this thread!). Every time it is easier, less painful and I feel a bit more whole again.

Maybe a possible place to start with your DH is to ask him what his story is? Ask him how he is feeling rather than trying to tell him how you feel. I know it might seem backwards but there is healing in listening and comforting others too.

SpeckledFrog2014 Thu 09-Jul-15 15:55:40

It does help just sharing.
I did mention to my husband that I have been uncomfortable around the thought of collecting our Christmas tree as he was talking about the day and he seemed to close down. My impression of his feelings towards that day was that it was a turning point to a happier life and stopping bf was the best thing to do and any hardships could be put behind us as it was all over. That all being said his preliminary job interview went really well so we may be moving away and although it is like running away I will be able to avoid it all. But should I try to avoid it or should I tell my family straight out that the day holds too many negative memories for me and something that should be fun is feeling like my execution date?
How my husband has been the last couple of days in other areas in his life shows he needs some more work on his mental health as it is back to square one. It's a very difficult time though with him going for this new job. I think after it's over then would be the best time to bring it up and certainly before Christmas. I don't want to have a breakdown when I actually get there which I feel I will at the moment.

IceBeing Sat 11-Jul-15 23:29:49

Sorry - I missed you'd replied.

I hope you are feeling a little better than when you first posted?

Oh dear it really sounds like your husband isn't ready to confront this or talk about it.

He is probably totally terrified about the whole thing. There is a certain amount to be said for a new environment giving you the chance to feel better.

However it is possible that, as you expect, things will become problematic if the underlying trauma/cause of the depression isn't treated.

Have you had any more thoughts on your feeling surrounding that time? Have you been able to isolate what was so triggering about the experience?

SpeckledFrog2014 Mon 13-Jul-15 10:18:52

Don't worry I haven't been able t post much anyway. I honestly don't know what sets off the bad feelings. Maybe it is the build up of emotion with no outlet that causes the problem. I feel like there's a lot of turmoil below the just getting on with it.
I am becoming more and more disconnected from my husband and just feel like he's some stranger I am living with and I don't want it to be like that as we have only been married a couple of years. I am wondering whether he feels the same too, but I don't want to ipaet him before his job interview, but it's that thing on waiting for the right time, which never comes!

IceBeing Mon 13-Jul-15 14:01:53

Dh and I have had the same thing....really long gaps of time where we are coexisting but basically not interacting.

We are trying camping as a solution which is every bit as nuts as it sounds.

But at least we spend some time all snuggled up in the same tent as a family...

I should warn you that the conversation that starts 'I feel like we are drifting apart' is fraught with danger....we really struggled to know how bad the other one thought it was...I was thinking this isn't ideal...but I am so stressed I don't know how much I can change things...and for a while he sounded like he was thinking of actually leaving..he thought I was saying something similar..but eventually, once we had calmed down, we found we weren't too far away in relationship space...we both wanted to make it work and both felt it was hard.

I think it begins and ends with spending time together, and talking - even if it isn't about the big stuff. Just talking....and listening.

Which is of course dead easy with a baby around the place!

MonstrousRatbag Tue 14-Jul-15 12:22:51

I know whay you mean IceBeing. I think sometimes it is better to tell your spouse what you want rather than what you fear. Like, I miss you, I feel as though we haven't really connected for a while. Can we have one night a week that's just for us? etc

SpeckledFrog2014 Wed 15-Jul-15 13:13:23

We sat down yesterday and had a little chat about frivolous things, which has made me realise we're not as distant as I thought smile he hears about his job today whether he's going for the next interview too.

I completely understand the camping thing, just getting away is good, even for the day as you feel as you're sharing your feelings, even just of fun, which is something we've been struggling with.

Honestly I can't express how much it has helped just been able to talk about everything thing. Thank you so much both for listening

IceBeing Fri 17-Jul-15 12:51:53

No problem at all!

I think chatting about the little things is massively important in a relationship...it definitely helps re build the framework so that you can begin to tackle the bigger things without immediately going nuclear.

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