Have you seen my marbles?
I have felt psychopathic exactly three times in my life. During each of these episodes, my world was gloomy; my behavior was wholly out of control; and I felt completely unlike my typically chipper and mostly stable self. I cried at random times, screamed at the people I love, and wondered why I had suddenly lost my cool. The answer always had something to do with my hormones.
The first time was years ago, several weeks into the first (and last) time I tried the Pill. I’ve always been the natural type. I’ve been a regular shopper at health foods stores since sometime around the 12th grade, and among other things, I’ve been avoiding hormones in meat and dairy products for years. The idea of taking birth control didn’t appeal to me ever, actually. Still, it seemed so much safer than other options when I really didn’t want to risk getting pregnant. When I heard horror stories about others’ weird reactions to taking it, I thought it could never happen to me—I was simply too “together”. With each week on the tiny pink tablets, I started to gradually derail. Yet, I wasn’t really sure what was going on. It wasn’t until the night that I threw a frozen dinner at my future husband’s head (thankfully, he ducked) that I connected the two: the Pill was making me mad. As soon as I stopped taking it, my sanity was restored.
My second experience in marble loss was just a year ago. Right after I gave birth, I was a complete mess! I know I can’t attribute it fully to the hormones—I mean, come on, my entire life was suddenly not my own anymore. But, still, I was so emotional! After the slightest thing, my floodgates would burst open. Streams of tears. Currents of cursing. I ate more ice cream and chocolate bars as meals that I would like to admit during that time. Sometime around my son’s one-month birthday, I became me again (well, me with the new mommy characteristics, of course).
My third somewhat psycho phase is happening as I type. This time, I’m trying my best to hold it together, and I’m doing a decent job…but I don’t feel like myself. This one, I attribute to weaning my son. Again, I’m sure it’s not the hormones alone…I’m a little sad that he’s growing up and moving on. However, I did a little research after the crazy started to set in, and I found out there are some major hormonal changes that coincide with weaning. I wish I had prepared myself a little better.
Only a few weeks ago, I wrote about my decision to wait to wean my son. I looked into the science behind it. I read others’ stories about extended breastfeeding. I put so much thought into it. As his first birthday came and went, I was even more sure that neither he nor I were ready to give it up…until he suddenly changed his mind. Without warning, sometime within a few days of turning one, he just lost interest in nursing. He wanted to crawl, stand, and explore his environment instead. He even cried when I put him on my lap when he was hungry. He wanted other food. After a few days of this, I decided that it was time to wean him from the daytime feedings. After all, that would mean I could give up pumping—and I’ve been dreaming about retiring my breast pump since the day I started using it. So, I stopped nursing him during the day and stopped pumping…and I’ve been on my period for almost two full weeks! (Mine usually last three days, tops.) And, it’s the heaviest I’ve had since I was a teenager. Not to mention, I’m feeling semi-psycho.
Just like so many other things with pregnancy and caring for a baby, no one cautioned me about this part. I don’t know if I would have listened if they had. Still, some forewarning would have been nice. Either way, like anything else, this too shall pass. And, I’ve bought enough somewhat healthy junk food to last me until it does. (In the meantime, my husband has hidden all the frozen meals.)
Thank goodness that babies are so cute and cuddly…and that in general, we, moms, naturally have so much love for our children. It reminds us that all of the other crap is worth it. Joyous, joyous motherhood.