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Breastfeeding, Mommy Musings: Thoughts and Opinions, Twins/Toddler Tuesday

Hormones You Are Not My Friend: The Postpartum Return To Fertility

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For all you readers out there who are a bit squeamish about hormones and periods etc. I am going to warn you, you might want to skip this one.  For everyone else, read on..

When you are a teenager and you do something stupid (related to the opposite sex) people chuckle and say, “it’s teenage hormones”.

When you are a man and you check out a woman’s behind without even realize you are doing it, people say “it’s hormones” (testosterone).

When you are a woman and you are moody or irritable, everyone says “its hormones” (PMS).

But what about when you are a breastfeeding mother who’s body has just been through the rigorous adventure of pregnancy and childbirth and her body is trying to figure out what the heck is going on?  I ask because this is me, and no one gives me the nice excuse of hormones. Sure, right after the baby is born people expect your hormones to kick in as you become a loving mother and sacrifice sleep, showers, and crew neck t-shirts to care for your baby.

But then you have me.  I am six months out and my hormones are going crazy.  One day I am super happy, high as a kite, ready to take on the world.  The next day I want to cry because my coffee order is wrong, and I want to stay away from everyone.  I think if you read my blog daily you can even tell my the tone of some of my posts lately, one day happy, one day angry, one day sad…

Since I am nursing the chemical prolactin keeps Aunt Flo at bay, but that doesn’t stop my body from trying anyways.  So I am stuck going through what seems to be an eternity of going through all the phases but never actually cycling and you know what? It sucks! I need some closure here. People like normal. I don’t really know what that is, but I’d settle for predictable.

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And you know how it is. Even though you know in your head it’s your hormones, not you, it doesn’t matter. Like riding a bronco bull, you wish you had control, but the best you can do is hang on for dear life.

Being the scholar that I am, I of course tried to research this period of a woman’s life and what it was life before your first post partum period, but sadly there isn’t very much information on it.  Perhaps it’s is not significant for other women, or they are too busy to notice.  Not me.  I am very in tune with my body, and I am also a control freak.  It drives me absolutely bonkers that I have no control over what my body does, but it bothers me even more that I cannot at least explain it/ understand it.

Not only that, but if you look at anecdotal information there are several stories about people who became fertile almost right after birth etc. etc. and then several stories about people who did not get their periods back until after they weaned, or not until after a year, 16 months, 20 months etc.  How am I supposed to know what to expect such a wide variation?

So, I decided to do the only thing I could do.  Blog about it! LOL  This way, at least if there is someone out there going through something similar they will know they are not alone.  I also thought maybe some people might share their stories about their fertility returning (ie. when did it happen, did you have any symptoms etc.)
Anyone out there been through this and lived to tell the tale?
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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Discussion

26 thoughts on “Hormones You Are Not My Friend: The Postpartum Return To Fertility

  1. Im right there with you girl. Im 12months pp and not a drop since my 6 week pp bleed stopped nothing, completely nothing ! I also hate the not knowing. Everyone keeps telling me it will return when i wean.. im just waiting it out. Im not in any ruah for the period pains to return.

    Posted by journey2dfuture | September 2, 2013, 11:24 am
  2. I know how you are feeling all too well… and I am 21 months out! It is really tough not to be able to predict how you are going to feel when you get up in the morning. I don’t have any real advice for you, just hugs and love…

    Posted by momasteblog | September 2, 2013, 7:46 pm
    • Aww thanks! I think it helps to know I am not the only one. It seems like everyone else just goes back to normal so quickly. Look at all the celebs with back to back kids for example. 21 months, my hats off to you.

      Posted by Shannon | September 2, 2013, 9:33 pm
      • Darling, those celebs have cadres of people staffed to take care of not only their only whim, but also their children!! That said, I’m sure that there are plenty who struggle with mood, anxiety, and Post partum depression given that it just makes statistical sense, but probably don’t talk about it b/c they don’t want to ruin their rep. xo!

        Posted by momasteblog | September 3, 2013, 8:55 am
      • No no sorry I wasn’t clear. I meant that they have the ability to get pregnant so close together. I wanted my kids close together but I couldn’t get pregnant because my period wouldn’t come back. Then you see people like tori spelling pregnant only two months after giving birth. It used to make me so upset, but I have let that go now.

        Posted by Shannon | September 3, 2013, 11:34 am
      • Oops sorry!!

        Posted by momasteblog | September 3, 2013, 11:47 am
      • LOL no worries, you made a good point none the less 🙂

        Posted by Shannon | September 3, 2013, 12:49 pm
  3. I’m happy you wrote about this! I’m still waiting on my period; 9 months in breastfeeding seems to be working its magic in keeping Aunt Flo at bay. I wish there was some way to know exactly when my cycle will come back. Alas, I expect I’ll just have to wait it out…

    Posted by mommytrainingwheels | September 2, 2013, 8:24 pm
  4. Aunt Flo for me returned around two months after, so I had 2 weeks after the 6 weeks in the beginning. I breastfed until just before my DS turned 1 year old. AF was regular, more so then before pregnancy. I was envious of all the women without AF while breastfeeding. Was too tired to notice my symptoms really, lol. Hope all you ladies get the hormones in check so you can relax and feel yourselves again. 🙂

    Posted by Sarah | September 2, 2013, 8:52 pm
    • Wow! You are so lucky. I think not having AF is great until you realize you want to ttc again (not referring to myself, I am good right now) and you can’t because you have no period. Then others get theirs right away and are disappointed. Oh life. LOL

      Posted by Shannon | September 2, 2013, 9:37 pm
  5. With my first daughter (now 4 1/2), I did not get my period until she was completely weaned from breastfeeding at 14 months old, despite taking the mini pill starting at a few months postpartum. I have PCOS and have very little symptoms along with my periods, and my return to fertility was on par with my pre-pregnancy experience in that way. My second daughter is now almost 5 months old, and despite exclusive breastfeeding and no birth control this time, I got my period back around 4 months postpartum. I have had two cycles already, and other than a small dip in pumped supply (I work part time and noticed my pumping goes from about 10 oz per day to 8 oz in the days before my period starts), I still have easy cycles with few symptoms. I have struggled a bit with feeling like a breastfeeding failure, though. I don’t understand why my period returned so soon this time, but I am determined not to let it affect my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. So far so good.

    Posted by Samantha | September 3, 2013, 12:24 am
    • You are definitely not a breastfeeding failure! You did 14 more ths already and are working and pumping which is something I don’t think I could do. You are my hero for getting your period back so soon. Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck with the kiddos 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | September 5, 2013, 1:19 am
  6. Mine came back when my daughter was about 10 or 11 months old – she hadn’t weaned yet. I knew it was coming for about a month before because I was a bit crampy, bloated, sore boobs etc. so it didn’t surprise me. Now that you’ve introduced solids you can expect it at any time.

    Posted by melbournemummy | September 3, 2013, 7:05 am
  7. With both pregnancies even though I was nursing, I got my cycle back right away. Ugh. I don’t remember much about my first post partum experience but for my second, it was about the 6 month mark that my best friend suggested I seek treatment for ppd. I wasn’t depressed so it seemed crazy. But I was all over the place. Highs and lows. Insomnia. Anxiety. Crying over spilled milk (literally). Those kinds of things. Almost 2 years post partum now and I still catch myself falling in again. (And its been 9 months since I nursed.) The woman thing is HARD 😦

    Posted by Heather C | September 6, 2013, 8:38 am
    • So true! I am lucky to have never suffered from post partum depression, in fact I have pretty much been on a high since the girls were born. I think because they were special rainbow babies so my experience differed from other people’s. I do remember being a bit depressed the first time because when winter came I was trapped at home alone with the baby and it was cold and dark. Now I have him for company and the girls were born in January so timing worked great.

      Posted by Shannon | September 6, 2013, 10:33 am
  8. I am so relieved to read that I’m not the only one going through this. I’m a mom of three and 8 months post partum. Hugs to you and me and anyone else riding the post pregnancy hormonal roller coaster.

    Posted by Discombobulated Mom | December 13, 2013, 10:52 pm

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