Wednesday, June 4, 2014

what I wasn't expecting

A picture from our weekend because Mia fell asleep on me and hello? I was in heaven!
A few years ago I went through an awful experience when I stopped taking birth control. My hormones went crazy which resulted in hard core acne on my face and back, and a bout of depression. I touched on my experience a couple times on this here blog, but it's not something I like to remember. I was horrified by my ugliness, the pain of the acne was incredible and so surprising (my heart goes out to those who suffer with acne even more so now that I understand it's not only emotionally painful, but the physical pain can be unbearable!), and I pretty much hated myself. Once my dermatologist got my hormones and skin back on track I *think* I've made the connection that whatever hormone causes my acne, also causes me to feel depressed (I thought I just suffered from seasonal depression, but I've never experienced it since!)
Fast forward to getting pregnant with Mia. I was 99.9% ecstatic and .1% terrified of what I'd experience after she was born. I'd heard what a roller coaster it was for the hormones to get back in order and I was positive I would get PPD and have the worst time (mentally) after she was born. Aside from the normal 2 weeks of crazy after she was born, I felt totally normal! A couple weeks ago I shared my story when we stopped nursing. It was great and super easy and I was expecting that to be the end. I was surprised to find out I was wrong.
As my body has been adjusting and finding its way back to "normal" these past few months, I experience a break out on my face once a month. Let me tell ya, it's just so much fun having zits as an adult, not! Well, when I stopped nursing I started to break out and I chalked it up to my excuse every month. But my skin never got better. After two weeks I made an appointment with my dermatologist (I had wanted to get in to see if he could help with my scarring from a little bit of pregnancy acne I experienced. My skin is just so great...) I had been feeling pretty low mentally, but I didn't realize how dark I was getting, if you know what I mean. When I saw my Dr, I told him I knew I was in there too early because my hormones hadn't adjusted yet, but I was mortified and starting to be really embarrassed with my skin (that was the depression talking, because my skin was nowhere near as bad as it was a few years ago). He told me I was absolutely doing the right thing and he gave me meds to help regulate my hormones and to fix my skin. It took another week for me to feel like myself again, but it was one of the longest weeks of my life.
Mia is such a bright spot in my life, and she helped me during those weeks of depression more than she will ever know. She made me feel SO happy and I experienced a lot of joy with her. I have an amazing husband and friends who also made me forget how crappy I was feeling... but when I was left alone to my thoughts, I just wasn't happy. If I heard bad news, or something as simple as plans being cancelled (which happens all the time) I was distraught and couldn't pull my head out of the misery I was feeling. I wanted to cry allllll the time. Thankfully I understood what was happening since I had experienced this before, but as much as I told myself "it's just the hormones, it's really not that devastating, wait until the meds kick in" etc, I still couldn't shake the dark feelings away. I couldn't make myself feel better even though I knew it was ridiculous to be feeling like that. I remember one morning at the gym, I arrived before my friends so I went straight to the treadmill, blasted my music and ran as fast as I could, just praying that the endorphins would kick in.... because it totally works like that, right? :) I started crying because I was so overwhelmed with the depression and I wasn't feeling better, AND I was mad that I couldn't stop myself from crying at the gym (ha!) I felt like I was loosing myself to the depression, and it was my body's fault, my hormones fault!
I've heard that nursing acts as a form birth control so I shouldn't be surprised with how my body reacted, but it's such a foreign feeling for me to be depressed. Sure, I have my low moments just like anyone else! But this was more than "a moment" and it was a lot more intense. Luckily I caught on really early to what was happening and got it taken care of, but apparently there is a lot more going on with the body when you stop nursing, besides your body stopping making milk. I'm probably one of a kind with this type of reaction, but just in case I'm not, I wanted to share my story. I have a hard time admitting when I need help, but getting help asap was the best decision I could have made!

26 comments:

Jessica said...

Weaning for me was worse than my entire pregnancy. I was depressed, nauseous and just felt off for a good number of weeks. Luckily, it all faded away on it's own, but I had never heard of it happening so it took my by surprise.

Jamie Danielle said...

I never dealt with depression until I started taking birth control.
I do remember having anxiety a little, but who doesn't have that somewhat when they're in school?
However, BC changed my whole world (for the bad)
Now hubs & I are talking about kids, my mind goes straight to wondering "What am I going to be like coming off of BF?"
Man it's hard being a woman!!!!

Kimberly said...

You always hear about the "baby blues" after having a baby, but I didn't expect them to be so awful! After having Olivia and Axel I got this intense sadness for about two weeks (off an on for two weeks really) and then I'm pretty much good after that. But those two weeks! So rough. When I quit nursing Axel I was worried about the same. But it was weird because I got depression before we were completely weaned. I guess we had dropped enough feedings in a short enough time that I got depressed even though we were still nursing in the morning. Well once we dropped the morning feeding everything was pretty much back to normal and that was it.

Why does having babies have to make us so crazy!?!?! I'm so glad you're feeling better. It's so hard.

P!nky said...

Awww sweet friend, hugs to you!!!! You are beautiful!!!!

Shaunacey Bonneville said...

thank you for sharing this. I got pregnant right after going off birth control but as I'm nearing the end of breastfeeding (she still bfs in the am) I can feel my body changing. I also remember right after I had Annabelle I was all over the place. I'm sure lack of sleep plays a role as well.
Oh the joys!
So glad you're feeling better and that it's making sense!

Hilary said...

Thank you for sharing!! I had a really hard time with postpartum anxiety and a little bit of depression. It is honestly, the WORST feeling when you KNOW it's your hormones, but you still can't shake the feeling. I also get really bad acne every time my hormones change (starting or stopping birth control mostly). Do you mind telling me what medicine your doctor gave you to regulate the hormones? I'm afraid I'll have the same issue when I stop breast feeding and I'd love to have some knowledge under my belt beforehand!

Danielle said...

I had a really similar experience on birth control. It was miserable. It's funny to think that I was ever on birth control in the first place, because now I'm on fertility drugs that do the same thing :). Luckily that's only for a few days a month though. I will never go on birth control again. Anything hormonal that can go wrong WILL in my body, and I get sick/cranky due to progesterone shifts like you wouldn't imagine. I'm glad you had the good sense to keep your eyes open for the changes- better to nip it in the bud and take the help that's available so you can keep being your best self!

Jessie said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you! Glad you knew it was hormonal and were able to get some help. Here's to a wonderful summer!

Ashley @ ThisUnscriptedLife said...

Lots and lots of hugs!!!! I had a few days of the baby blues when I had my son but after Emily was born it was SO much worse. I cried ALL the time for weeks. I was really lucky that I had my husband to help me through it. It never got so bad that I had PPD, and I'm thankful for that but I was definitely walking the line between PPD and baby blues. Talking to my doctor helped a lot too. I struggle with acne as well. I had terrible acne as a teenager and took accutane. It was like magic. Then I had my son and i was back to fighting it again. It comes and goes but I'm now at the pint where I'm like HEY I'm 29! This shouldn't be an issue anymore!!! I'm making a dermatologist appointment. It has to stop.

Amanda English said...

CYBER **HUG**

Katie said...

thank you for sharing this. I am nervous about stopping nursing for the hormonal change. it's crazy how much your body goes through with pregnancy and nursing and everything. I was on medicine for fertility treatments for two years before getting pregnant and I am so ready for my body to be regulated, but am nervous about getting there. I hope your body adjusts soon and am sure recognizing and being honest with how you're feeling and knowing that a lot of it is out of your control helps. Thanks for sharing!

Schnelle said...

I am going through exactly this right now as I type this. I'm actually in the process of creating a post about weaning and I can tell you that I'm on the same crazy roller coaster ride from hell. Ever since I started cutting back and weaning it's been crazy and my period returned immediately along with all of the acne. You are so not alone. Thank you for putting this out there and making me feel not so alone.

Sara {Rhapsody and Chaos} said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry Courtney. I had major postpartum depression -- and I am absolutely dreading weaning for this reason (well, and so many others, tbh). I'm glad you're getting the help you need and I hope you continue to feel better, mama!

Ashley @ Words About Waverly said...

So sorry to hear this, Courtney. I think you are absolutely beautiful & an amazing mama!!!! Good for you for knowing when to ask for help! :)

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing your story! While I didn't experience the same thing, I can sympathize. Glad that you recognized it and got to the doctors. Good for you!

Jess Beer said...

So sorry to hear this but glad you got help! Hope you're feeling better now and sending my love!

Jamie said...

So glad youre getting help!

KelseyB said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this. I feel like many women don't think about all the hormonal changes, and how it can be completely normal in the process. I know i didn't think about it. After three pregnancies, and nursing I am still surprised at how my body reacts. I never had any kind of depression, or baby blues. But I did get major anxiety after the pregnancy hormones wore off. I hope you are feeling better!! Keep your head up mama!!

Christina Schergen said...

hormones...funny you should mentions those to a lady who is 26 weeks pregnant...pregnancy hormones are NOT my friend lol. I did not nurse...but this was a great post and totally make sense!

Cayla said...

This was beautiful, AND so informative for me! I stopped taking BC a few months ago, and since then have had horrible back/chest acne and didn't even think to contribute it to the change in hormones. Now I'll know what to bring up to the dr. :)

Laura Joyce Leavitt said...

I'm so glad you shared this Courtney. I had no idea how hard it was you and I'm so sorry for that! You are always so happy and cheerful I can't picture you being depressed. It honestly can happen with anyone and you are totally not alone in your thoughts and feelings. Love you!

Greta said...

Sorry you had to go through that. :( As someone who deals with chronic depression I know the feeling you describe well, and also know how crazy your body can act after ceasing to breastfeed. For me it was hair loss, night sweats, and now if I even *think* about going in the sunshine I get really dark pigmentation on my face, particularly right above my lips, therefore looking like a mustache. (None of which happened while breastfeeding/prior to kiddos!) The body is amazing -- and tricky! You never know what challenge you will get! :) Keeps us humble, right?

Elizabeth {Chasin' Mason} said...

I'm so sorry you went through that...twice. I can't say that I experienced the same due to weening since I wasn't able to breast feed and had to formula feed but I do think I might have had some sort of it in the very beginning when Mason was born. He had silent reflux but we didn't find that out until a month in and he would just cry and cry. My husband would be at work and I wouldn't know what to do. At one point I just put him in his swing, crying, and I just cried too. So hard. Sometimes you just need to let it out. You are an amazing mama and I can tell just through your words how much you love Mia and how much she loves you. I'm glad you asked for help and are feeling better! xo

yours truly dear said...

I didn't know that about you crying at the gym! I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, depression sucksss. :( Please know I'm always here for you! Even if you want to complain about stupid stuff, or just have a cry fest haha. I'm really awesome at those ;)

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I had the worst acne ever when I went off BC. It was all over my back and my chest. I had to get a cream for it.

Ech and Will said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I had no idea that could happen.

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