Postpartum depression is a serious issue for mothers to be aware of after birth. Mothers with extreme breastfeeding issues are at increased risk for mood swings or depression. PPD is therefore often discussed on the MOBI forum, where we urge mothers to seek medical help and therapy as soon as possible. Many of our mothers have had experience with different medications and therapies.
A Mother Recounts Things her Therapist said that Helped her: Words of Encouragement
"All the problems I've had with breastfeeding have made me more than just "blue" and so I knew I needed some extra help.When I was describing our problems to a wonderful Lic. Clinical Social Worker I said, "Will gets about half of what he needs from me, the other half has to be formula".
She gently reminded me that Will is actually getting EVERYTHING he needs from me - he is getting the very best I have to give him and every ounce of my energy, experience as a human, emotions. She suggested that I should think a little more about what I need going forward (positive support, outlet for frustration, etc.)."
A Mother Encourages that Time Heals
"I had some serious PPD, too, and fearing for my baby's life and not being able to breastfeed were a VERY big part of my depression.
Your baby is only a few months old. I want to tell you that time heals. As your baby gets older, and you watch him grow and thrive, and as he starts to get more interactive and as he amazes you with his development, it will start to put your mind at ease. That he's OK and won't die, that he's doing well on formula, that you're doing a good job as a mother.
Hang in there! I know *exactly* what you mean about wanting a "do-over", but you're wise to recognize that you need to focus on this baby (and taking care of yourself!) for now."
A Mother Feeling Blue at Nine Months
"It's interesting, I never experienced any form of PPD with either baby until now - it's true that I have been feeling a bit blue over the past month (Chenoa is almost 10 months). In fact I asked my husband the other day if being depressed felt like someone was injecting melancholy into you like a chemical, because that's what it's felt like (yeah I know it sounds weird). Not all the time, just occasionally.
This is a time of mixed feelings, because there's excitement at the baby moving towards toddlerhood, and the realization that the wonderful, special baby stage is almost over."
A Mother Dealing with Too High Supply and the Onset of PPD... and the Response of Another Mother
"I'm trying to keep myself from getting into my bed and staying there for a couple of days...trying to rally a little to keep me from descending into a total depression...but it really stinks...and I'm pissed...and I'm sad...and I feel incompetent at meeting my baby's most basic needs. I'm tired of it not working out....I'm tired of everything being *so hard*...I miss my family...I miss being back in the world...I only enjoyed Annie for the first time while nursing this week and now it's back to feeling frustrated with her. It's worse now I feel cut out and unnecessary to her care and upbringing...clearly I'm not needed...clearly I'm not meant to have this special relationship."
Another Mother’s Response:
"Nothing is wrong with you! BIG HUG!!!! I'm so sorry that you're feeling so bad and I know what it is like to just want things to be easier. I struggled with PPD and had some pretty dark moments - a primal scream in the woods would have been good, but I settled for screaming in the shower. When I took the LCSW's advice and started writing down what I was feeling, the only thing I could write at first was RAGE RAGE RAGE. Sounds like you are feeling something similar.
I managed to find a good support group that I attended every other week for a few months (and I just went back about a month ago because I was feeling a little relapse coming on). Not sure if you have one of these in your community but if you do it might be something to look into.
Also, if Annie was 5 weeks early and is now just a little over 6 weeks old, she may just come around to nursing well soon - I know I've heard that early babies sometimes "get it" around their original due dates."
A Mother's Reflection on Therapy for PPD and what she is Learning for Herself
"The second session I had with her [a Licensed Clinical Social Worker] was very intense and brought out all sorts of issues that I'm sure lots of the women on this list can appreciate - the power of the need to nourish our babies (nutrition plus love and comfort), how it mirrors in many ways our own needs to be nourished, and how births bring all sorts of family issues - things that may have been buried for many years - up to the surface. And how this is so challenging when you are sleep deprived, and hormonal, and struggling to learn how to be a mom to a newborn, and dealing with in-laws/parents/friends who may not know how to support you -- the way you really need to be supported -- to deal with everything.
Since that session I have thought more about her words and what kind of Mom I really want to be for Will. And I realized that the most important thing I want to give him is complete acceptance and support of who he really is and who he wants to be, and freedom from the weight of my expectations about who I think he should/could be. I see the futility in trying to apply my professional mentality (research, plan, execute, problem solve, wrap up, move on to next challenge - just a regular Miss Fix-it) to motherhood, and to accept that I can't control everything and not everything goes as planned and imperfection is OK."
A Mother Deciding to Stop Trying to Put her Child to the Breast after Therapy
"Well, after a very rough day yesterday and after getting professional help, I've decided to "throw in the towel" on putting my child to the breast. The pain in my nipples was too much, when coupled with the fatigue, etc. and I dipped sharply into a very deep, scary depression. It's the pain that is pushing me over the edge. I couldn't even hold my baby to my front while carrying her. This is very hard. I keep thinking that we were so close to figuring out our b/f problems. Finally, I had to conclude that it is better for my daughter to be formula-fed if necessary and have a mother, than to have been breastfed without a mother.
Even through all of this, the birth community here continues to tell me that if "I wanted to do it, I could do it." How insulting, after all the work and pain that my daughter and I have been through. I can't believe the things people have told me to scare me into nursing. They claim that they have endured the pain and many of them have their nursing horror stories, but I doubt if they really understand. I don't think that if any of them had had this kind of scare they would be doubting my decision.
Our babies and families love us for who we are, not for what we do. We can still formula-feed our babies and be wonderful mothers - "good enough" mothers. We can't do it all perfectly. As mothers, we are not expendable or replaceable - and our worth is not just in our breasts and the milk that they produce."
A Mother Talks about Sugar Addiction and PPD, and Breaking the Habit
"Hilary I love that you recommended Potatoes Not Prozac! I think she makes some tweaks to her recommendations in a later book (The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program I think it is called) but I found this program during my difficult postpartum searching for some answers on why I couldn't kick the sugar habit. I'm quite certain sugar was a major factor in my PPD. I haven't followed the program religiously but found it very helpful in combination with some other things."