Mommy-lead weaning 

So I pulled the plug yesterday. No more nursing or pumping (except on a very minimal basis so that I don’t die). I feel like shit; like the worst mother ever in the history of mothers (which I know isn’t true but that’s what it FEELS like, okay?)

The truth is I’m not doing well at all mentally/emotionally and any benefit I might have been getting from trying different meds to improve my situation (thus allowing me to be a more present and capable parent) were completely nullified by my constant anxiety that the meds were hurting my babies.

I know many meds are safe (I took Zoloft throughout my pregnancy) but my team and I are looking to some less well-studied alternatives to try to fix my broken brain and I just wasn’t comfortable. So I had to choose. 

And I chose the meds, and (hopefully) getting better, and being a better mom, and giving formula to my babies. So that we can all thrive together.

Right now it feels like an unbelievably selfish, painful, awful, irresponsible choice. I can only hope that will change with time.

Pumping Sucks

I fully appreciate that pumping allowed me to provide breast milk to my first child even after returning to work.  And, in the case of my third child, pumping has allowed me to give him breast milk  even though he is too damn lazy to work for his food (kid got a taste of the bottle early on and never looked back). That said. Pumping still totally sucks.

The crew at our first pumping session of the day; lazy third child on the left.

Pumping is uncomfortable, if not down right painful by the four or fifth round of the day. It involves zero baby cuddles. You can’t text or check Instagram if you accidentally leave your phone across the room. Sometimes nothing comes out or not as much as you were expecting, giving you one more thing to feel like a shitty parent about. Because that list needs to be any longer, right?

Let’s face it. I’m a human dairy cow. And not even a very good one most days.

With my first child, I pushed myself to nurse and pump through his first birthday. This time around, I’m just taking it day by day. I’d play the twin card but it’s not even that. It’s mostly just that I’m finally starting to feel comfortable making decisions about my family from a place of equality rather than martyrdom. 

I will happily sacrifice my sleep, immune system, back, shoulders, belly, and more for the sake of my babies. But I will not sacrifice my sense of self or my belief that I am entitled to be happy, too. It’s a tricky tight rope to walk but I think my balance is getting better.

Crazy pills

There’s no question that having three kids age three and under is a recipe for crazy making. However, my predisposition to OCD, anxiety, and depression has made having twins particularly debilitating. Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I love them so much I want to attack every tiny piece of dust that dares enter my home, sterilize every toy, nipple or finger that might possibly enter their mouths, and invent some sort of breathable yet germ retaining suit for my three year old to wear at all times. Needless to say, things have been a little rough around here the past three months. Luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo, so when the crazy crying cleaning meanies arrived I knew enough to know I needed help. Lots and lots of help.

With my first son, I honestly didn’t realize how crazy I had become for nearly six months. And then, when I very kind and perceptive friend pointed out that maybe I had become a teeny bit wacko about all things parenting, I was so ashamed. It took me weeks to work up the nerve to tell my husband and then my therapist. I was devastated at the thought of going back on my antidepressants; sure that meant I would have to stop nursing and BREAST IS BEST, RIGHT?! How could I choose my own mental health over THE BREAST!

Thankfully I have an incredibly supportive husband and a great team of mental health professionals who got me back on my meds and made me feel comfortable enough to continue nursing (which I did until my son was one and then stopped immediately and had a big party with lots of booze and burning of nursing tanks).

Fast forward three years to my six week ultra-sound where we meet Baby A and . . . wait for it . . . Baby B. I gasped. I cried. I told my husband we needed a bigger house. And, on the way home in the car, I told him I was no-way-jose going off of my meds for this pregnancy. He agreed that was best, as did my OB.

The pregnancy went well (I mean, I puked every day for eight weeks and there was a cane involved and I had to start working from home at 30 weeks because I couldn’t walk from my parking garage to the building even with said cane for assistant but overall we did great). I carried to 38 weeks. Vaginal birth for both babes. I am a twin baby mama rockstar! And I continued to feel like one right up until three weeks postpartum, when my hormones did a nose dive and suddenly I couldn’t get off the floor. Not even in the bed, I was on the floor.

I told my husband and my mom that day. I called my therapist immediately. We upped my meds that night. Then we upped them some more. And I’m back in therapy.

Of course, I’m nervous about the breastfeeding impact of the meds and am doing everything possible to minimize exposure (BREAST IS BEST!). If it comes down to it though, I will stop nursing. I will stop because getting my shit together enough to be present and engaged in my life is not only important for my twins and my three-year old and my marriage but also for ME. I count, too. And I feel a whole lot better when I take my medication.

I’m also trying something new this time by talking about it, with my friends, my family, and even you, stranger that you are. I think talking helps. Talking about it makes it feel less shameful. It’s not a secret. I’m not broken or bad or failing at parenting or life. It’s just the way things are for me (and for a lot of other moms too).

It is what it is and we do what we can.