I really struggled thinking about giving up breastfeeding. When it was the middle of the night and Violet wouldn’t settle unless I was feeding her, I just gave in so I could get some sleep but I knew that I had to stop sooner rather than later otherwise it would just get harder.
I knew I had done so well already to make it to 15 months. I went back to work when Violet was 10 months old so to juggle both was quite the achievement.
Glenn and I weren’t together at the time but we decided together, as Violet’s parents, that Glenn would come over one evening and I would go upstairs to bed and he would get her to sleep with no breastfeeding. I could hear her crying but it soon settled down and she drifted off to sleep but then the night time feed came along and I shot up but sooner realised that I wasn’t to go through as Violet would sniff the milk out and I would give in! So Glenn went through and rocked her to sleep and I couldn’t believe it, it worked! We did this for about 3 days. And every night got easier. She adapted so well. My boobies however, did not. I don’t know what is worse, the milk coming in or the milk going out. Holy hell, the pain was unbearable. I want to express just so I could get rid of my double Gs but knew it would only make the torture worse.
After about a week my emotions were everywhere. My hormones were all over the bloody place. I thought I would feel better after breastfeeding. Be able to go out for a few drinks, go out for longer than a few hours, the possibilities were endless..or so that’s what I thought. When in reality, my life took a turn for the worse. My mind was full of terrible things. I felt like there was a dark cloud over me. I could feel something sitting on my shoulders, the weight of it pushed me down into a hole and I couldn’t get out of it. I couldn’t look forward to anything. I didn’t feel anything but sadness. I tried to hide it but everyone around me could see something wasn’t right and in the end I cracked.
I stayed with my Mum whilst the medication the Doctor gave me began to work and Violet stayed with Glenn. The anxiety of taking the medication was a whole story of its own. I saw Vi everyday but one day when I was really bad I didn’t want to touch her. It broke my heart and tore me apart. She was the one thing in the whole world that I cared and loved most about and I couldn’t even pick her up. (But when in CBT the therapist told me that that is why I was having those feelings. Strange, I know!) Why am I like this? What is wrong with me? Am I a bad person? Why is this happening to me? My head was full to the brim of terrible thoughts that I thought I was going to collapse. I didn’t see a way out. I couldn’t see me ever getting better. I stopped eating, I stopped taking care of myself, I stopped everything.
The guilt that I felt from being away from Violet was horrific. I cried all the time. Really, I needed to get away. Take care of myself. Think about me and getting better as I would be no good to Violet in the state I was in.
I look back now and can’t believe I ever got to that stage without telling anybody but I think I was so scared about telling someone that the fear stopped me. I could picture Violet being taken away from me. Everyone would think I had gone ‘mad’ and disown me. When really, I should of spoke out sooner. I didn’t realise other people had experienced this. I wasn’t alone. I’m not alone. People listened when I told them. Sure I could see the confusion in their faces that happy Livvy (who was always laughing and happy) was suffering with mental health issues but they soon understood and my friends and family supported me fully through my recovery. They were fantastic. I can’t thank them enough for getting me through that difficult time in my life. And the CBT that I had was brilliant. I truly believe this was key to my recovery.
As writing this brings back lots of bad memories I will have to dip into it bit by bit and as I feel ready to.
I would encourage anybody who had any feelings or thoughts to talk to someone, you will be so surprised at how many people have experienced the same – Promise.