Are you a breastfeeding mom or were you at one time, a breastfeeding mom who found breastfeeding so damn hard you felt like giving up? I had an incredibly difficult time coupled with postpartum anxiety. Postpartum issues and breastfeeding difficulties are more common than you might think. In fact, in my experience, more common than not. I hope my story helps you.
Most women I’ve talked with had some type of hardship surrounding their breastfeeding experience. Many have such a sucky (no pun intended) time they just give up. For better or worse, I persevered.
Both of my pregnancies were great but I suffered postpartum anxiety after my first. I’m far removed from that point in my life but I remember it like it was yesterday. Perhaps you had a similar experience and will relate to my story. One thing I know for sure, if you did or if you are currently, you are not alone.
As tough as it was, I never lost sight of the fact that I was blessed with a healthy, thriving, fun baby who allowed me to experience a love I never knew existed.
That little newborn turned 18 in July. Last week, we moved him into his college dorm. The cliché time flies.. nothing could be more true. Seems like yesterday he was my stubborn but sweet high energy toddler running me ragged, cracking me up and giving me the best cuddles in the world.
I wanted to share my own difficult breastfeeding and postpartum story for years but it’s not easy for me to open up and be vulnerable – not to use a totally overused term but I’m not the emotional type. I feel strong emotions but sharing them is out of my comfort zone. I’m the type that gets angry rather than cries but my anger is swift and fades fast, I take after my dad in that way.
This was not the case after my first son was born, emotions were heightened. I was weepy, sad, confused, irritable, guilt-ridden, lonely… an emotional sleep deprived wreck.
We hear about postpartum depression but postpartum anxiety is more common than you might think. The 4th trimester is real. I didn’t realize this at the time but that is what I was going through – 4th trimester struggles. I felt very alone and inadequate.
There simply weren’t enough resources for new moms. Fortunately today there are many. If I knew then what I know now things would be different. Now that I’m a wellness coach that focuses very heavily on self-care with my clients and myself I would’ve told that new mom, you need to take care of yourself and seek help.
If you’re going through that or ever do in the future please make your well-being a priority. Believe me, I know how difficult it is when you have a newborn, you barely have time to shower but practicing a little self-care each day will help you. The fact that self-care is a non-negotiable for our well-being is the reason I created my free Virtual Self-Care Retreat. If you’d like help fitting in some easy self-care, you can sign up here.
I’m not good at asking for help which was a big part of the problem. But I didn’t have much choice, at the time my mom was very ill with rheumatoid arthritis and my mother-in-law did not live nearby. I had left my well-paying network TV job at CBS so money was tight.
I distinctly remember thinking I am going to write about this one day because I cannot possibly be the only mom going through this. Facebook didn’t exist and blogs weren’t nearly what they are now. I thought I’d do it sooner but all things happen at the right time. I share my story because since then I’ve met many women who have been in the same exact boat. If you have a similar experience, I want you to know you are not alone or crazy like I thought I was.
20% of women in the U.S. suffer from anxiety and mood disorders before or after pregnancy and it can last up to 3 years postpartum. A national survey conducted by Every Mother Counts, Seleni Institute, Peanut, Motherly and Maven, revealed that the majority of women reported experiencing both depression and anxiety.
I shared my story two years ago in this video…
It was of utmost importance to me to be able to feed my baby the almighty breastmilk to give him the zillions of immune boosting health benefits, particularly being such a wellness advocate. And frankly, I figured it would be easier than having to make bottles and drag them along and certainly cheaper, breastmilk is free.
For a list of top toxins to avoid to welcome baby into a healthy home and pass fewer toxins through your breast milk click here.
In the video, a live stream I did in my private Facebook group (you are welcome to join), I share that I unknowingly nearly starved my son for the first few days. He latched on just fine so I had no idea no milk was coming out. I did everything possible including hiring a lactation consultant.
I also talk about the circus it was and the rigors I went through weighing him, nursing him, weighing him again to see what measly little milk I might’ve given him… then making a bottle to supplement after which I had to pump to try to encourage my mammary glands to start making milk on their own and hopefully increase milk production.
The whole process was so freaking long by the time I was done feeding him it was practically time to feed him again! Plus, I was really bad at breastfeeding. I could not do it in public discreetly, boobs everywhere. I now realize why wet nurses were popular at a point in time.
I share my best advice to new moms and reveal how I finally, after months of screwed up sleep patterns, got him to sleep through the night and become a good napper.
I literally thought I would never be able to leave the house. I was almost delirious. The sleep deprivation was brutal. That coupled with the postpartum anxiety I was experiencing and lack of support made me so damn irritable.
If I was going through this today I would reach out to Mindy Werth of Aunty Mindy. She is a kind, loving and knowledgable Family Consultant specializing in: Fertility & Pre-Natal, Birth & Postpartum, Infant Feeding & Family Development, Gentle Sleep Guide. If you are having any type of postpartum difficulties or just want some help, you can find her on Instagram @auntymindyconsultant
I’ll cover many wellness issues including topics like this that are important for moms on my new podcast launching September 1st: Clean beauty Scene with Kelly Bonanno. Subscribe on Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast or any other podcast app.