Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Paying the Price

Hormones are weird. Seriously. I am fighting acne... still. I think I was doomed to a life time of acne when my sister told me at 11, when I first started having 'bad' acne enough to see my 1st dermatologist, that it was good that I had acne now because I was "getting it out of the way early". Huh. SO I have been getting it out of the way for the last 24+ years. That rocks.

The worst part about pregnancy the first time around was the ACNE. My gawd. Cooking a baby boy for me was toxic in the acne department. I was covered in it at 31. I could not wear enough make up to cover it all up. One of things I was most nervous about when I got pregnant the 2nd time was the acne which truthfully 'awww poor Christina', right!? But really people the acne I had with Matthew made my freaking skin ACHE all day every day and not just on my face, I had it on my neck and back and chest and scalp and seriously? TMI.

So imagine my surprise when I got pregnant the 2nd time around and I barely had any acne! I kind of suspected from the get go that I was cooking a girl baby and not a boy because of my levels of acne the 2nd time around.

As of late, as in the past three months or so, I have noticed an uptick in my acne levels. To the point where I have it 'really bad' in my book. All the time. I cannot get in control of it. If it is not on my chin or forehead, it is sprouting up on my neck or back. And it is brutal - painful and long lasting and did I mention painful? I have done just about everything with little result in it getting better. Some of it might be stress induced but mostly I know it is hormonal.

We (being Marisa and I) are getting close to the 12 month mark with regards to nursing. I will probably only pump a month or two more. I am at a precipice in terms of nursing. I will keep going as long as Marisa wants to nurse. I know with Matthew we dropped to about 2-3 times by month 13 of nursing and by 15 months or so we were down to two, one in the morning and one in the evening. It would ebb and flow from there. I plan to nurse as long as I can just like I did with Matthew.

I was thinking today about how before I even had Marisa last year I can remember thinking "how am I going to breast feed again?" and "how I am going to breast feed as long as I did with Matthew?" The interesting thing with breast feeding this time - it was SO much easier than last time. It was like riding a bike easy. I found I still loved the experience as much as I did with Matthew. It has not been the drag I thought it would be.

I am now fired up to nurse well into Marisa's 2nd year of life. I am going to let Marisa choose the course just like I did with Matthew. I never actually had to wean per say with Matthew because he just self weaned finally. It was a fine way to end the process and I was not near as sad as I thought I would be. I was happy, he was happy. I hope this process is as relaxed with Marisa as it was with Matthew.

The thing I dread in the coming months is the 'hormone fest' that I will endure by nursing longer. In hind sight, by nursing well into Matthew's 2nd year of life, I whacked my hormones right out. I struggled with weight loss, I justified a terrible diet and I was "acne prone". Not to mention the worst part of it all, I was one moody gal (**eh hem understatement**). I could never seem to get it right in terms of my moods and I struggled with how to deal with people/emotions/life in general.

I remember clearly the feeling in the weeks after I stopped nursing with Matthew. It was like seeing through a window that had been dirty & cloudy and someone finally cleaned the window. I felt normal again. My period finally returned around 18 months and my acne normalized. My moods and personality quirks seemed to be easier to control. I lost weight and I was motivated to care more about myself.

I am trying to fight the good fight on this front with Marisa. I am trying to care more for myself or else it is going to be a long year of being "off". I understand this is a choice on my part. I know what I am doing to myself by letting her continue to nurse. But I am struggling a lot right now. Emotionally, it has been a long ass two years. I am tired a lot from work stress and being up half the night.

I feel a lot of self imposed pressure to get back into shape and not let myself peer through that cloudy glass for too long and yet I am not winning the battle. At best most days I am looking through a tiny corner of the glass that is clear. A better way to put it: I feel like shit almost all of the time in almost all departments and nothing seems to make this better.

The emotions often run high and raw. It is a weird place to be for me and yet I know that down the road in the coming months I will slowly be looking through a cleaner window. I just wish I had a better grasp on my hormones. Funny thing is if I think back to those early years of having acne and feeling off all the time, I remember thinking the same thing - though not as well defined in terms of the words I am using today.

Please do not misunderstand me here. I know if I stopped nursing at 12 months or at some point after Marisa starts drinking whole milk I would feel better. I am not asking anyone to cry me a river. I am just saying that I am not ready to stop and I am willing to deal with how I am feeling right now for Marisa. I am willing to give up feeling GREAT so I can keep nursing until Marisa is done.

It is just hard and giving it air to breath, saying it - that is cathartic to me. I know now (what I never knew or realized when I was nursing Matthew) that this is not forever. That today does not define tomorrow. My hormones will get back to where they need to be and my acne will return to its normal irritating state. I will be motivated to get back in shape eventually.

I will be me again eventually but some days (most?) I feel not so great, not myself. That it is what it is but I still need to say it from time to time. That being not myself is okay and I can live with that but that it is still hard and scary to think that in 3 or 5 or 10 months from now I may still be this way. Mostly, I am just saying hormones are weird.
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