Growing up, I remember knowing girls who were the definition of PMS. I was always a relatively upbeat, happy person, so the moody ones always stood out to me. I never quite understood how someone could be so cranky just because it was their “time of the month”.
I hadn’t really experienced these hormonal symptoms until I went on “the pill” for the first time. It was horrible! I felt like a monster. I would feel sad for no reason and get irritable at the smallest of things. The worst part was that it was uncontrollable. There was absolutely nothing I could do to not feel that way. This would go on and off as I tried out different pills and then realized I just could not be on birth control.
Not being on birth control kept my mood stable for the most part, however, I ended up realizing that on top of the not being able to tolerate birth control, I struggled with mild anxiety, which generally goes hand in hand with depression as well. It was not until I met my husband, that I really realized that I have been living with anxiety.
Soon after getting my anxiety under control, I became pregnant! Yes, the most amazing chapter of my life began! Of course, with the pregnancy, came a whole new level of hormonal fluctuation….
Naturally, there was the horrible first trimester, full of morning sickness, weakness and fatigue. I must say I was quite a mess the first trimester. My body did not handle the intense surge of hormones very well. When I wasn’t feeling like I was going to vomit, I was sleeping and that was how my days persisted. Once the second and third trimesters came, my body had finally adapted to the changes and I was feeling pretty darn good! Pregnancy did not feel too bad at all. The only thing I could complain about was the struggle to get comfortable enough to sleep at night and the waiting, oh the waiting.
The waiting came to an end, and my beautiful baby boy arrived. He entered the world and everything was perfect. Literally everything. Not only was I ecstatic to finally hold my sweet bundle of joy, but hormonally, I was thriving! Now this was quite a surprise to me because I heard tons about postpartum depression prior to having him. I know and have heard of so many people who have experienced it and it seemed to be more common than not. Now with my history of anxiety, I figured my chances of experiencing the “baby blues” were higher. This theory proved to be wrong. Four months went by, of feeling the absolute best I have ever felt. I was full of energy, even on absolutely no sleep. I was happy all of the time. The muscle aches and migraines I used to experience were non existent!
Yes, whatever was going on inside my body, whatever hormones were present, or not present, high or low, were certainly working in my favour. About three or four months went by of feeling like this, and I started thinking this was how I was going to feel from now on. But of course it was too good to be true…. there, snuck up, the first migraine since the first trimester of pregnancy. Then along came the joint pain too. Ugh! I was so disappointed. I went to my doctor to see if there was anything I could do to continue feeling how I felt the first few months postpartum. He ultimately said that there was nothing he could do. He said the female hormones are pretty much impossible to test and pinpoint, as they are constantly in fluctuation.
So for the passed 4 months I have gone on feeling not the greatest I have ever felt, but not the worst either. During those 4 months, exclusively breastfeeding seemed to keep the symptoms I use to experience pre-pregnancy at bay. I assume this is because while you breastfeed, estrogen levels are lower than usual and it keeps your body from proceeding to its usual cycle.
My son is now 8 months and has cut down on breastfeeding significantly. I have noticed the effect on my hormones and slowly see myself getting back to where I was at before getting pregnant. My joint pain, and other pre-pregnancy symptoms have been coming back. It wasn’t until last night that I really came to this realization! It was the first night in a very long time that I felt uncontrollably emotional. My husband seemed concerned. He felt as if I was acting this way because of ill feelings toward him, when I really didn’t feel that way! I reassured him that it had nothing to do with him, it was out of my control. My hormones were just getting the best of me. I told him what I needed from him, and he helped me. I then, in the first time in ages, for no particular reason, began to ball. It felt so good! I let it all out and then I felt better.
This all goes to show how large of a roll our hormones play in our functionality and the emotions we portray. I have realized that sometimes I need to just take a step back and ask myself if this is how I am really feeling or if there is something bigger, internally going on and how can I help my self. Ah we are complex beings!