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Is there such a thing as during-toddlerhood depression??

919 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  gilnikche
I've resisted posting, because I hardly ever get up the energy to respond after my first post. But I need some help, mamas...

I have two kids. I look back now and see the same patterns this second time around that I had with my first. With my 1st I was pretty much depressed from about when she was 16 months until she was around 3 1/2. Well, my ds is 2 now, and I am in a dark place. I just do not handle toddlerhood well. Sure, they are cute and interesting, but sooo exhausting. I haven't had a full night's sleep in 6 years, for crying out loud. I've been nursing almost as long. I want my body back. Ds' nursing style is so aggravating to me. I can't stand the constant limits-testing. Ds bites me all the time. Today he bit his sister and actually removed skin through her dress. When I talk to him about it, or remove him or whatever idea of the day I have, he always laughs. And folks, he's the "good" kid. Dd is very sensitive. When she is hungry she becomes insane. She gets mad, violent, and tearful. She is almost 6. We have had innumerable talks about listening to her body. She is just not in there. I've gotten her into gymnastics classes (can only afford them because they are $25/month, and then my mom pays for them sometimes) to try and help her be more aware. Her fits still happen once, sometimes twice a day. She is a picky eater on top of that. I am going crazy.

My dh is a pilot. He works 12 hours a day, sometimes as long as 14. Despite what people think of pilots, we do not make much money. Only the major airline pilots do. Right now we're doing okay (finally got out of the cycle of overdraft fees this month...I hope), but earlier this year we were living on unemployment. There have been times when I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to feed my kids. It's always worked out, but it's so damn stressful. We have one car, so if I want to go anywhere we have to get the kids up and ready and take dh to work, and then make them stay up later than usual to pick him up. We live in an apartment, so getting outside stresses me out, because it is so hard to convince ds to stay on the sidewalk. I am an introvert and my dd is an extrovert, so neither of our needs are met, or if they are they are hers. When my ds gets up in the middle of the night, I am the one who gets up with him, because I am afraid that if my dh doesn't have enough sleep he will crash his plane. Dh doesn't help much, and then if he does he ends up yelling at the kids and making them cry and I have to step in and make everyone feel better.

My kids whine all the time and I yell at them a lot. I fantasize about crashing the car in some magical way that will injure only me, and then only enough to get a 2 week vacation in the hospital (which we wouldn't be able to pay for anyway. no medical insurance. Both kids need dental work, dd's is very extensive). I have managed not to hit the kids, but oh, I feel like it sometimes, so much that it's all I can do to stop myself. I hate my life. I've thought of killing myself, but I don't want to hurt my family that badly. We recently moved here and I have no friends or family here. We're probably going to move again at the end of the summer, which will be the last move for a few years at least. But I can't wait that long to feel better. I would love to go back to work, just to feel like an adult, but I can't afford daycare.

I have noticed that my depression is cyclical. It gets much, much worse during the week after I ovulate. After my period I feel better. And I've recently started taking magnesium & calcium citrate, and I have some old b-vitamins and folic acid that I've been taking, too. Last month I was depressed the entire month, and went a week where I cried for most of every day. When I started the magnesium it was almost magical, but now I'm at my post-ovulatory low again.

I have so many things I don't understand. I don't know where to start. I don't know what I want. Well, except some sleep and a vacation. I don't understand what is happening to me. I can't afford a therapist or medication. I can't get on the medicaid waiting list because we'll be moving before I even make it on there. I would leave in a heartbeat, except that I know that I would damage my family so badly that if I ever felt better I could not come back. How can you forgive a mom who abandons you?? But how can you forgive a mom who can barely take care of you, either?? I just have to share these thoughts and hope that I feel better.

love to all of you.
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Hun...I am so so sorry you are going through all of this. Sounds like you might have depression that is focused around your periods. I have PMDD...basically a really bad form of PMS. The week I am ovulating until after my period I take Welburtin and Effexor. It helps me so much. I realized it was not me that was causing all these problems, it was my period.

I know you were saying you don't have insurance, so I am not sure how that would work, but it really sounds like you need something to help you out around your periods. One other thing I have tried and love is PMS Escape. It is a vitamin fulled drink. It works awesome!!!
Cloudspinning - I am so sorry you are having such a rough time!! Where are you located?? Is there a corresponding Tribe here on mothering that you could join to meet some nearby folks, and maybe get a break?? Also look for the one that you will be moving to...

I hope you can get a break soon so you can hang in there until you move and are able to get on medical assistance....

Sorry I don't have any other advice....
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I wonder if your dd's moods are caused by low blood sugar. When my blood sugar gets really low I turn into a monster until I can get food in me.

Are there any other moms in the apartment building? I think if you could get out and go to a park or something it may help the kids with their whining and such. If ds won't stay on the sidewalk(and most 2 yo's won't) can you buy or make a pouch or other carrier to hold him as you walk to where you need to go?

Have you tried any relaxation techniques to help you with the kids?
cloudspinning, I am sorry you're having such a rough time. I send you cyber-hugs. I suffered my PPD breakdown when my DD was 19 months old. That age range was hell for me and I just couldn't hold it together any longer. So yes, absolutely there is such a thing as during-toddlerhood depression. In fact, in my case I think it was because I was so STRONG that I didn't break down till then. My assessment of my situation I that I fought and fought and held it together...followed by an even bigger crash than if I'd fallen apart earlier on, ironically.

I know this is not acceptable by "AP" standards but I just want to say that you CAN wean your 2 year old anytime you want. Definitely consider nightweaning if you have not done that - it really does help most kids sleep through the night. I hated nursing for almost a full year before I got the courage to wean my daughter at 28 months. It hurt EVERY time I nursed and I just loathed the whole experience, yet I thought I was a "bad" mommy if I didn't do it. Guess what?! I ended up acting like a bad mommy BECAUSE I did something that I loathed.

If you don't want to wean then that is fine, too! I don't want to imply it's the "answer." I just wanted to say the above stuff because NO one in the AP and LLL world ever told me I could wean my daughter and still be a good mom. I did wean her before she would have chosen, but instead of being less of a mom because of it, I am more of a mom for knowing that I couldn't keep doing something that made me so unhappy and took a toll on my mental and physical well-being.

I hope you can find a way to have more restful time for yourself. The benefits of being all alone while reading a library book - fiction - are immense. Grabbing a coffee at Starbucks and then running to the fabric store just to browse without children hanging off your appendages is amazing. And at least for me, sleep is THE magic elixir.

Take care, and please let us know how it is going.

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Thank you all so much, it means a lot to me to have such caring replies. I've been up and down a lot in the past two days. I've had a couple talks with my dh, and he's going to take the kids for at least a few hours this Tuesday (only has one day off this week
). I'm fantasizing about what I will do!

ILuvMyBaby, do you know why it seems to happen around ovulation? Which hormones are the cause? I'll be looking for PMS escape. We have a small natural-foods store here, and a Fred Meyer. Hopefully one of them will have it. Do you know of any other supplements I could try?

Quaniliaz, I'm in Juneau, Alaska. I know of one other MDC mama here, but she is pregnant (with morning sickness!) and has no earthside children yet. We've gotten together, but since my kids still don't have any other kids to play with it's not as relaxing as it would be if they had playmates, kwim? I've been making a few friends, but it's slow going, and I try not to seem too desperate. If we move (which is about 85% going to happen), it will be to the Caribbean...I keep intending to post in the Tribal area, but as of yet no one has ever posted there...well, one person who used to live in Puerto Rico, but the island we'll be going to is Dominica (different from the Dominican Republic), which is pretty far from PR. I'm completely clueless as to what it is really like there, all I've found are tourist-based sites. All I know is that it's breathtakingly beautiful and the people "love children". It's adding to my stress, because I'm excited but scared and don't really know what to expect.

CarrieMF, it's definitely low blood sugar for my dd. She has excellent focus, and has a difficult time breaking away from things for something she considers eating. Even if I bring her a snack, set it right next to her, touch her and tell her it is there, she still ignores it. It can get frustrating. I just try and work through it, reminding her of the connection between the hunger and her mood. Sometimes I just want to whack her on the head with her sippy cup, though. sigh. There are some other moms in the building, but they all work during the day. I left my Maya Wrap in storage, but my ds is, he gets it from me. He refuses to be held when he doesn't want to be held, and he will bite and kick and scream for a very long time. I think it will get better when he learns to talk a bit more; I'm already telling him to say that he's angry instead of hurting me. He's always been more interested in the physical rather than the verbal. I haven't tried any relaxation techniques (other than using Rescue Remedy, which seems to help me some but not the kids). Can you recommend some?

EllasMama, thanks for the hugs. You know, when you said this: "My assessment of my situation I that I fought and fought and held it together...followed by an even bigger crash than if I'd fallen apart earlier on, ironically." it really struck a chord with me. I never even considered that it might be PPD, but once I thought about it, I realized I have been feeling really worn out and sad since he was born, just kept attributing it to other things. It was a lightbulb moment. And honestly, I have been considering weaning him for a while. I feel terrible saying it, but this time nursing has not been the wonderful experience it was the first time. He is just so active and rough. I feel sad about it, but ready to be done. I think he would be okay with it. Did you read anything to help you figure out how to go about it? I read LLL's "Weaning Gradually With Love", but it was ages ago, and it seemed to focus on how important it was to let them wean themselves.
Which I wholeheartedly believed in before ds! (dd self-weaned at 3 1/2)

Earlier this morning I had checked in on MDC to see if there were any responses, and I left the window open when I went to a different site. Dh was going to shut down the computer a bit later and saw my post and read it! I was nervous when he told me, but he was so sweet and we talked even more about what is going on. I feel so much better that he knows how I'm really feeling. I have a tendency to hold back because I don't want to burden people.

I've also had the idea of looking into going to visit my parents for a week or so. Since dh is a pilot we can get low priced tickets and maybe my mom can pay for them. Just to break the summer up a bit. And I even thought dd might be able to go to camp there (she's going to go to Girl Scout camp here, but it's not until Aug 17!).

Thank you all again for listening, and I'll try and keep you updated.

love to all of you again.
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cloudspinning, I read "How Weaning Happens" but pretty much, I just followed a path of limiting nursing more and more over time until finally I told her we weren't going to nurse anymore after a certain date. I never thought I would do the following, but felt I wanted to do something, so we bought her a special toy to commemorate the occasion of her becoming a "big" girl. She didn't really understand but bought in to getting a new toy! It was a dollhouse. We talked it up a lot, and a couple times when she asked to nurse I reminded her how we'd gotten the dollhouse to celebrate the end of her nursing. I guess I felt like that way she had something as a replacement to concentrate on.

Take care,


I found this contact info for the Juneau LLL leader for you:

[email protected]

Perhaps she could help you find other moms in your area?

I wanted to address this line in your original post

I can't afford a therapist or medication.
Are you certain that there is no way? Are there any clinics that charge on a sliding scale?

You have to stop putting yourself last. Since your hubby is more aware now; can he help find one?
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Originally Posted by cloudspinning
Earlier this morning I had checked in on MDC to see if there were any responses, and I left the window open when I went to a different site. Dh was going to shut down the computer a bit later and saw my post and read it!
Oh my!
: Hey--maybe it was a happy accident, though, if he realizes how bad things are for you. That is great that he handled it well.

I also have a 2 year old & my older one just turned 6 (today, actually), so I know how hard it is for you. My DH works normal hours, and is home at 6 pm. He has 1 night a week that he doesn't get home til 10, and I can't imagine if every night were like that. Bless your heart.

The no-sleep thing is the key for me. If I sleep, I am tolerable. If I don't get sleep, I am
I've been feeling pretty bad & can really relate to lots of your post.

My 2 year old is still nursing, too, and I have mixed feelings about it. (I love nursing, but the days that he is on-on-on-on, I get a little exasperated). I take it day by day. The thing with nursing, though, and especially "extended" nursing--is that if it isn't mutally desired, it isn't such a great thing, ya know? If mom begins to resent it, feel "used", whatever--it is time to consider stopping or cutting back. Hope I don't get flamed for that, bc. I am a HUGE bf. advocate & don't believe in any time limits, so long as the nursing is MUTUALLY desired.

Thinking of you
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Hi everyone,
I've been feeling fine since I got my period. And I've been thinking about it and having all kinds of strange revelations. I can be happy and great and know that I have all the same problems--no rl friends here, extreme poverty, kids that are not perfect(just to clarify, I don't want them to be perfect, I love them no matter what, but when I'm depressed I can't deal with negotiation and drama), me being imperfect--when I'm not in that 2 weeks between ovulation and my period. It doesn't fit with my idea of depression. I always assumed it was when everything was going to heck and you couldn't deal with it anymore. Which is what I feel like when I'm depressed, but then they only thing that changes is my period/hormones. It's confusing, because then I wonder if I'm making up this correlation, you know? Maybe I'm forcing it into a pattern so I feel like I have a reason to express it? Did that make sense? Well, I'm trying not to, but I'm feeling scared now, because I've been having ewcm and know I'm gonna ovulate! I don't want to do this again this month. I like being relaxed and a "no-big-deal" kind of person. If I resolve some of the issues, will it even help? My dh is working an extra day this week to make some money, but that means another day alone after I ovulate! Should I try and cram some me time into our one day together? I hate overthinking things!!! I'm going to go grocery shopping soon, hopefully I can find some of the PMS Escape that ILuvMyBaby mentioned. I can't stand not knowing why I feel the way I do, is it something I can fix by talking and getting help with the kids, or is the only solution hormonal or chemical? Which route should I take? Well, really the only solution I *can* take is the talk/help route, since I can't afford medicine. And then I feel like I'm the queen of indecisive, because I realize I should do things that feel right (like weaning, or at least, night weaning), but when I think of doing it it exhausts me.
Okay, I need to go pick dh up and dd is not dressed and ds is covered in yogurt...and it's almost 9pm, and it's not stressing me out. if I was in depression I'm sure I'd be crying now. Feeling very confused. If you are depressed and confused, please feel free to share, too.

love to all
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ok, just reread that, and it makes very little sense. Hooray if you understand it!
Actually I understood it. Hmmm, wonder what that says about me, eh?

Have you considered keeping a journal? It is amazing how much you can find out just by writing stuff down.
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