It snuck up on me like a common cold. First I thought it was nothing and now I know it’s something. A special thanks to A Cup Of Jo and this Huffington Post article for confirming my current reality: weaning can do weird things to the brain.
I first wrote about weaning in the beginning of December in this post. It was happening and although I was sad, we never got a chance to reach the end. A day after I wrote that post, Waylon caught a stomach bug and regressed back to nursing three times a day. For a week it was the only thing he could keep down, and while I should have been frustrated, my only emotion was relief.
Two months later and we begin again. I went away this weekend with my girlfriends and while it was great, it was also the longest Waylon and I have been apart and not nursed. So I thought: maybe I should just let this be the end. He’s strong, independent, completely fine without it, and if I start now–there will have never been a conscious “last time” for my sentimental spirit to endure. Maybe we can easily transition into being weaned! Maybe this is all it takes.
So far, I imagine this is what postpartum depression feels like; an inexplicable sadness combined with a dull ache in my chest. I walk around the house like someone died. Nothing interests me, all food tastes the same, my body is on autopilot. I try to explain it to my friends, but I can only choke back tears.
I tell you this not to evoke pity, but to examine the science. I was never a breastfeeding fanatic, nor did I plan to nurse this long, and yet this change feels strangely heartbreaking.
Unfortunately no one ever talks about depression after weaning. Before A Cup Of Jo’s blog post, I didn’t even know it existed. What a cruel joke; 19 months of feeding a baby only to be followed by sadness instead of celebration. I can’t even tell you why I’m sad, but only that I am sad. Something isn’t right. Something chemical. Something not chemical. There is a tenderness in my bones that needs healing.
I’m going to take that time to heal now.
As always, thank you for listening. It takes a village and you are part of that village.