I don't know if anyone else knew this and I'm just the only one in the dark about completely logical things that can happen to one's body during the transition from pumping to not pumping. But being totally oblivious, I was once again hit upside the head with the two-by-four reality called Motherhood.
After putting myself through the emotional torture debating whether or not to stop pumping, then stopping and really feeling okay about it (relieved, actually), something happened that I did not expect. I found myself barely treading water in the deep end of the Post Partum Depression pool again. It was sudden, unforgiving and powerful.
One afternoon, I was thinking "Wow, today I really feel like ME. I feel...NORMAL." Then at breakfast the next morning, I was completely losing my shit, seething at G. between gritted teeth, throwing a glass across the room hoping it would shatter and being even more pissed off when it bounced off the living room carpet unbroken. I needed glass shards flying through the air to express my uncontrollable anger because I could not find the words and even as I tried, they stopped in my tightly clenched throat, mangling with an unreleased scream. Needless to say, it was awful not only for me, but for G. who didn't understand what was going on. I had just started my period so tried to attribute it to PMS, but it was so out of control that I wasn't sure.
The only thing I could do was try to get through the day and put in calls to my practitioners for help. My naturopath called me back, and we had a good talk about what it could be. Yes, it could be PMS but more likely, it was the hormone readjustments occurring since I stopped pumping. It wasn't in my head - it was physical. Because I had stopped pumping, she was able to recommend something called Women's Phase I from Vitanica to help with the turbo-PMS-like symptoms.
She also commented that she was glad I had stopped pumping because she could finally really treat ME and not have to worry about what I might pass through breast milk to NG. She had never made a judgment call on whether or not I pumped. She had only told me how beneficial it was but also was concerned about my mental and physical health.
I started on the additional herbs, but I was still going crazy. A few days later, unable to reach her, I tried my reproductive endocrinologist who suggested going back on progesterone from Day 10 of my cycle to Day 2 of my next one. She thought my "brain needed to be reset" to get back on track with producing the right amount of the right hormones. She said usually she recommends going on Zoloft for 3 months, but she acknowledged that I wanted to try to stick to the "natural route."
I'm still wanting to speak with my naturopath to make sure this is the way to go. I have to say that since I've been on my trip to Oregon - since I left Alaska for our trip - I have felt better. Not 100%, not back to the place where I was feeling like ME, but definitely better than before. Could be the Women's Phase I kicking in a bit. Could be the hormones naturally evening out post-pumping.
I just wish I had known, though of, been told, anticipated that the changes in my hormones from putting a kabosh to the pumping would possibly have such an effect on me. Maybe I could have done some preventative stuff so it didn't take an angry outburst with a glass thrown across the room to catch our attention.
I'm wondering if anyone out there who has stopped breastfeeding or pumping has also experienced freaky hormonal mood swings. Or is it something that happens only if you've already been struggling with hormone induced anger and anxiety?