Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reflections on Post Partum Hormones

The other day at La Leche League, a mom with a 2 week old baby quickly left after it started crying.
"She didn't have to leave, all babies cry!" someone said after the meeting ended.
"Yeah, but remember what it felt like when your brand new baby cried?" I said (you know me, always having some bossy opinion). "Like, your entire body heated up and you couldn't think of anything except solving the problem? Like, your brain went haywire because the hormones were coursing through your body? That's probably how she felt, and just needed to leave."

Man, thinking back to those days... I'm glad I don't feel things that intensely any more. I think I had a relatively easy time in those first few weeks, because I had a lot of help from my husband and then my mom. But it was still a hard time. Your body feels horrible, and you're so tired... I remember how strong those hormones felt. I would cry because my pelvis hurt and I was sick of asking for help, and I would cry because I didn't want to put my baby in daycare (when he was weeks old, I was obsessing about what was coming up in 9-10 months- it's not quite rational, but you can't fight that feeling).

I honestly don't remember too much about those first weeks, and I'm kinda glad about that. I do recall being up at 3 am with the baby, and reading breastfeeding books, and feeling like I was in Navy SEAL boot camp, and feeling like I was doing a pretty good job, and that I had overall a really easy baby. I felt like I understood him from the start and could meet his needs, and that felt wonderful.

I do remember (just remembered, actually) lying awake at night imagining who I could kill if it meant saving my baby. I determined that I would shoot any adult, but not any kid. Because I wouldn't want to take away someone else's baby. Was that rational thinking? Not really. It wasn't likely that a crazy killer was going to capture me and say, "Either kill your husband or your baby," or, "Kill this stranger, or your baby," but that's what kept me up. I also instructed my husband that if it came down to a choice between saving me or the baby, he'd better save the baby. I guess I wanted to make sure I had all my bases covered. It was scary having something that I would totally die for, and I guess I was getting used to that. (My husband didn't appear to share my urgency in planning for these hypothetical events, which I found very annoying.)

Fortunately, those hormone surges go away, although you still get the nice rush of breastfeeding hormones that totally relax you when you feed the baby. Now that's a good drug, totally legal, no prescription needed.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I used to have recurring nightmares (as far back as I can remember until sometime during high school when they stopped) about having to choose between I loved. The most common one was having to choose between my mom and myself. I would always tell the bad guy that I was willing to die, but then my mom would intervene and wouldn't let me. Not a nice dream.

Hope it doesn't start up again when we have kids. =P