Last night, after writing my blog post, doing my few dishes, and heading off to bed, I read a little bit in the book “The Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning.” I read about how depression and anxiety can happen while weaning, especially sudden weaning, as hormones shift and rebalance. I’m not weaning Baby J, but her nursing has cut back so much recently that as far as my body is concerned, it probably seems like I am weaning. That was good to read, and made me feel a little better. Wish I could have dropped off to sleep right away, but anxiety is a KILLER of sleep. I was just about to drop off at 12:30am when, you guessed it, Baby J woke up. Sigh. But I did manage to fall asleep afterwards, thank you God.
This morning, after breakfast, I decided I was Going To Go For A Walk. I put the baby down for her morning nap, put on comfortable clothes, left Lyd happily in front of the boob tube, watching her morning dose of PBS Kids, and JJ ensconsed in front of his laptop, practically drooling with excitement over the fact that Issues, Etc. was going to be back on the air in a few hours. (Feel free to read more about that over on his blog.) I ventured out … alone.
I started off wearing my hooded sweatshirt over my T-shirt, but as the minutes wore on and as I briskly stepped up and down the hills in our neighborhood, I tied the sweatshirt around my waist. It was foggy and overcast when I left the house at 9:45am, but as I walked along the fog burned off. Blue skies revealed themselves, something we haven’t seen in a while what with all the smoke in the air from the California wildfires. There was not even a hint of smoke in the air this morning however — what a relief! So not only did I get a good shot of serotonin to the brain, I got to soak up some Vitamin D as well. I felt a lot better when I got home at 10:30 after my walk. The problems aren’t obviously gone, but I felt better.
I got home and called my good friend, J, who like me, has a baby girl and has dealt with anxiety issues in the past. I asked her, “Did your anxiety get worse after you stopped nursing the baby?” She said “Absolutely yes.” Like I said earlier, I haven’t stopped nursing Baby J, but she’s nursing so much less over the past two weeks or so. What a relief to hear! At least I’m not crazy. I’ve always knows that my hormones are super-sensitive, and apparently this is just one more indication of that.
I felt reasonably good for most of the day. It helped that the latest issue of Mothering magazine arrived and had some interesting articles.
In the later afternoon was the swimming class that I had been feeling so nervous about. Turns out, I was nervous about the wrong thing. Swimming with Baby J went just fine; she loved it, just like I knew she would. However, Lyd had a new teacher for her class, a BOY teacher, and oh was she distraught. Even before we started swimming lessons two weeks ago, her biggest fear (I have NO idea why!) was that she would have a boy teacher. So, when she saw her beloved Teacher Jenna doing lifeguard duty, and a boy teacher in the pool with her classmates, she flipped out, wouldn’t go anywhere near the pool, and sobbed uncontrollably. I talked to the head gal and asked (very nicely) why the switch; she explained that they have to rotate people around. I said that I teach classes for little children, and I know that it is very hard on little kids to switch teachers mid-stream (which is absolutely true). So perhaps next time they might want to take that into consideration when they do the necessary teacher rotations. I was very nice about it, although I did say that I was disappointed to see a different teacher. Anyway, what’s done is done. So now poor Lyd, after practically counting down the hours until swimming class all day, is sitting on her towel by the side of the pool, sobbing pitifully. I asked her if it was okay if Baby J and I took our swimming class, and she said Yes. But there was no way she was going near her pool.
I was pretty shook up, and not sure where to go from here. After talking to some other people, I decided to make as little deal about this as possible. I am going to see if I can get my money back on the classes. If I can, I’m just going to withdraw. It’s not worth running the risk of making her scared of the water, and frankly, if I take her to the pool myself, I can accomplish the same thing as a swimming class. If I can’t withdraw, then she can just sit on the side of the pool during class in her swimming suit, and watch her classmates have class. It’s not punitive, I’m not punishing her, it’s just he logical consequences of her actions. I’ll see if I can create some kind of talisman that I can give her to wear that would remind her to be brave. We’ve done that with other situations before, and it helps. The other night Lyd really wanted someone to sleep with her, so I took one of her lesser-used teddy bears, “poured all my love and hugs and kisses onto it” as it were, and gave it to Lyd to sleep with. She clutched that teddy bear tightly, and was okay to sleep alone after that. Perhaps I can find a similar talisman that I can do the same with and that she can take into the pool with her.
But for now, I have to post this and get going. Lyd and I have a free dentist visit today; one of the moms in my music class last session was a dentist, and offered Lyd and me a free checkup and cleaning. But, sigh, Lyd is terrified about having the dentist “count her teeth.” What’s with my child and her fears? I just work through them when I have to and avoid them when I don’t, knowing that she’ll grow out of them sooner or later. Wish me luck…