I have a new item to add to the list of “Things That Happen Postpartum That No One Ever Talks About”. Seriously, there is an entire list of things that happen postpartum that simply do not get discussed by most people, most of the time. Since these things do not get discussed, they take you completely by surprise when they happen.
How do I know this? I am currently working my way through one of them, and I am just beginning to understand it. I wish that someone had given me the lowdown on postpartum periods at some point before mine snuck up on me and knocked me down hard.
Because of my previous experience with an uneventful return of menstrual periods after my first son was born, I was blissfully unaware of the possibility that this time around, things could be much, much different in a very bad way. Basically, it snuck up on me. Since I did not know that it was coming (i.e. that I was experiencing extreme PMS), I thought that I was hitting rock bottom emotionally, that I had been trying to do too much for too long, and that I had finally cracked.
It started last Thursday, after I discovered that our septic system had backed up into our basement. Fortunately, I was able to keep my wits about me for much of the day. That evening, as I caught sight of my kitchen sink, which was overflowing with dirty dishes that I could not wash without flooding the basement again, I started to cry. I wanted so badly to cook the nutritious meal that I had planned for that evening, but I could not bear to dirty another dish that I could not wash. Then, it occurred to me that I could order a pizza. I started going round and round in my head and making myself crazy by debating home made healthy dinner vs Al’s Pizza for almost a half hour. In the depths of my despair, I dialed the phone and ordered a pizza.
Over the next few days, my moods went up and down and all over the place. I thought that I was just going through a rough patch, that I was just overloaded with stress. I had no idea that I was in the throes of extreme PMS. Monday I woke up and realized that my period had returned. I breathed a sigh of relief – perhaps I was not losing my sanity, after all. Perhaps that was the reason that I had been a wreck since the middle of last week. Since my period is back, the PMS should go away, right?
Wrong. Monday and Tuesday were awful, mood – wise, and just as awful with food cravings and indulging those food cravings. Today, I decided to read what little information I could find online about postpartum menstrual cycles. Guess what I learned? One thing that I learned is that there’s not much information out there about the topic. Another thing that I learned is that they can be AWFUL. I really wish I had known about that so I could have anticipated it in advance and maybe even avoided the mood swings by taking preventative action. Supposedly, things like eating plenty of leafy green vegetables and cutting out caffeine and sugar can help women to avoid the extreme PMS symptoms that can accompany the return of the menstrual cycle postpartum. Who knew? Not this girl, obviously.