It was my second day back at work, virtually, and I set up a couple of catch ups with some colleagues that I am friendly with. One of them has shared that one of my other colleague friends was out on leave… Indefinitely. This colleague had given birth in June last year, and I had spoken with her quite a bit when she came back to work. She had been doing really well then and had a very easy breast-feeding journey… Which she acknowledged she was so lucky to have. She had been in the process of weaning off of nursing and pumping, and it appears that the hormonal changes of weaning really affected her negatively. She had gone through some emotional downward spirals and needed to take time off from work. My colleague told me that it was doubtful that she was going to return. I was completely shocked.
She had had a really smooth pregnancy, a precipitous labor, meaning that end to end, her labor was less than three hours, and her breast-feeding journey was immediately successful. So this news of her experiencing postpartum anxiety was completely unexpected. I felt really terrible when I heard this and immediately reached out to her to see how she was doing.
Unfortunately, I know based on what I have read that postpartum depression and anxiety are not just confined to the first few months after birth. Postpartum depression can actually affect mothers nine months, 12 months, even 18 months later due to hormonal changes, not to mention shifts in lifestyle, meaning a return to work, bringing a child to daycare, a mother’s changing body and weight, etc. It’s hard to know when and how it could potentially affect you. So far, my postpartum journey has been relatively smooth, and the only real negatives, other than the rocky breast-feeding journey (that I didn’t realize was rocky until I found out my baby wasn’t gaining weight…) and my slightly unhealthy obsession with pumping and increasing my milk supply, was the effect on my elbows and wrists, as well as my new mommy thumb condition. I have been decreasing the motions that cause the pain as much as possible as well as doing exercises to help relieve the pain. I definitely don’t feel as terrible as I did in February. And although I am back to work, as my work friend’s situation has shown me, my postpartum journey is still not over. Hopefully, things will continue looking up for me.