Getting on Birth Control and How it’s Affected my Mood So Far – My Postpartum Journal Pt. 3
Since the birth of my daughter in late November 2020, I’ve been trying to take a few minutes every few days (or at least once a week) to journal and write out what I’m feeling. When I became a mom for the first time with my son two plus years ago, it was imperative and so helpful for me to read other mothers’ postpartum journeys and feel like I wasn’t so alone. My goal in sharing my thoughts and feelings during this period is to hopefully do the same thing for other new mamas. Below is an excerpt that I wrote down this morning. Thanks for reading and please share with any new moms that may need to hear they aren’t alone!
These past few days I’ve started to feel a little more “off” than before. I feel exhausted, depleted, and almost angry at the end of the day for no reason. I don’t exactly know why – yes I have a 7.5 week old, but she’s now sleeping longer stretches than she ever has, she’s starting to smile at me (which always helps!) and she’s becoming a bit more predictable in the sense that I understand her cues and know what to expect. She is a total delight! Shep has completely adjusted and is also a delight, so I’m not complaining there. The past two nights though, and a few evenings before that, right around 5pm, I start feeling weepy, overwhelmed, and that familiar feeling of pressure building up before the Olympics of bedtime begins.
About a week a half ago I had my 6 week postpartum appointment. All went smoothly. All did NOT go smoothly at Shep’s 6 week appointment (I had to actually go at 8 weeks to give my body more time to heal, and even after that I was still not healing the way I was supposed to. If this has happened to you, you may know what came next (it’s TMI) but it was painful and further traumatizing.)
Anyway – that was not this appointment! Everything looked good according to my OB — I was healed, and the discussion turned to what type of birth control method I’d prefer. I did not necessarily want to go on birth control but I also don’t want to get pregnant. I’ve always been on the pill (pre-kids) – but after baby and while you’re nursing, they only recommend you go on the “mini pill” or progesterone only pill – so that it doesn’t affect your milk supply. I expressed my concerns regarding my postpartum anxiety from the last pregnancy and told her that I was worried it would affect my mood (which up until that point had been pretty darn good!) I am not a doctor, but to me, it seems like adding estrogen helps my body and moods – because the anxiety went away when I became pregnant (and had seemed to level out after I delivered.) I worried giving myself more progesterone and not more estrogen would not be good. My doctor basically told me I could do a non-hormonal IUD or we could try the mini pill and see how it went and change if needed. (She also said maybe I had the baby blues the last time – which is 100% not accurate but that’s a story for another time.) I don’t know why I decided on the latter- maybe because I feel more knowledgeable and comfortable with the pill vs an IUD and it’s what I’m used to, but I did end up choosing the pill. Now- a week later – I am worried it’s doing what I feared – which is making me moody, anxious, sad, all the bad stuff I don’t want to feel.
As of right now, my game plan is to stay on the pill for at least a month and see how it goes. I’m trying to keep track of my moods and all the other factors at play – but if I don’t feel better in a few weeks I think I’ll be switching over.
It’s frustrating – being a woman sometimes. Why do we have to deal with all this – on top of normal postpartum stuff? Why do I have to obsess over methods of birth control, my hormones, and try and navigate all of this myself? I am trying to be better this time about communicating my feelings to my husband to stay ahead of it. Each time I’ve felt off this week – I’ve been on the verge of tears and tell him how I’m feeling. It does help it say it out loud and have him help me sort of game plan how to get out of the feeling. He tells me to go take a nap, a walk, asks me if I need to get out of the house, etc. Like I always say, having some sort of support system is crucial. Writing it down, for me, is also really helpful. Just knowing you’re not alone can be the difference between feeling like a crazy person and feeling like what you’re experiencing is normal. Not feeling crazy goes a long way.
Anyways…we’ll see how it goes 🙂 if you have any thoughts or knowledge on this stuff, feel free to leave me a comment below!
PSA – Again, I am not a doctor, but I’d say if you’re feeling off – talk to your partner, your doctor, your best friend…whomever you can. It may make you feel better in that moment and they can also help decide if things start to get to a point that you need outside assistance.
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