Motherhood can be life changing to say the least. You have your moments of happiness and excitement. You can feel proud and accomplished but there is another side of motherhood that many woman can and have experienced. Motherhood can leave some women feeling overwhelmed, not just by going through labor and delivery or breastfeeding, but by everything that comes with being a parent. This is known as postnatal depletion. Did you even know this was a thing or it even had a name? Yeah, me either until a few years ago.
During pregnancy, there is so much support given to women. There is nine months worth of doctors visits, books to help you prepare, everyone seems to ooohhhh and ahhhhh over the growing belly. There's all the attention in the world. Then the baby comes and it seems as though the mom disappears into the background. More often than not the focus is more on the baby and not on the mother and what she needs. The truth is a new mothers need just as much, if not more, support. Women grow babies, birth them, nourish them, take on household duties, work, I could go on and on. Doing this over time can drain you. Add another child(ren) to the mix and you can guarantee it. So what signs can you look for if you think you're going through postnatal depletion?
Feeling lost or not like yourself
Not able to concentrate
Current medical conditions intensify
Losing interest in sex
Brittle hair and hair loss
These are a few of the symptoms that could indicate you're dealing with postnatal depletion. I'm sure you're wondering if there is something specific that causes this to happen? Is there something that leads to postnatal depletion? Why yes, yes there is. Pregnancy can take its toll and leave the mother depleted. When a baby is growing in the womb, all the nutrients that are needed will be taken from the mother. Essentials like Zinc, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and fatty acids such as DHA. During this time the mother is also being reprogrammed in a sense. The mother is being programmed to be tuned into her baby which causes other parts of the brain to weaken. I can definitely say this is true for myself.
I remember before I became a mother I could sleep through anything. These days you can't get me to sleep through the night even though my girls do. I'm so used to waking up, checking on them, and making sure that they are okay. Any slight sound my eyes are popping open! So imagine what losing essential vitamins in your body and being reprogrammed can do to you? Many mothers in the United States don't have the benefit of true healing after they deliver. Many women overseas in places like Japan, India, and Europe really take the postpartum period serious. They focus on rest and healing. They take about 40 days to several months to really sit still while other women in the family take care of them. Mothers are given the opportunity to focus on healing their body while bonding with their babies. However, many of us have other obligations such as other children and no family or support near. We also have to get back to work to continue to support ourselves and our families. So what can you do to start the healing process?
1. Get your Omega 3's
Omega 3 fatty acid helps improve your mental focus, which is
needed as you enter life as a mom. It's also been shown to reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Eating foods like salmon and eggs can help with this. You can also eat foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds. These fats have been known to improve energy and increase brain function. It's sometimes hard for women to get the DHA needed in their diet so taking a DHA supplement daily is an option as well.
Staying hydrated is very important no matter what phase of life you are in. It's even more important after you have a baby. After delivery, your body will flush out extra fluids. Your body is also building up and producing milk for your baby (even if you decide not to breastfeed the milk will still come). If you can, be sure to drink water every time you feed your baby, weather you're feeding from the breast or feeding from the bottle. It's recommended that mothers that are in their postpartum stage drink 8 to 16 cups of water a day. Give yourself the hydration your body needs. You don't want to become dehydrated. As someone who has been in the hospital for it, it's not fun! So remember, drink up!
3. Exercise and Rest
I know, people get tired of hearing this one but, seriously it makes a world of difference. I'm not saying you need to go to the gym and work out seven days a week for six hours. What I am saying is doing light exercises such at going for walks, doing yoga, or stretching can make a world of difference. Now I'm not as consistent as I could be but I do notice a difference in myself after I've done a workout. I feel better and more focused. I feel energetic and to take on the task of motherhood. With that being said, make sure you rest. I get it,as a new mom and even moms who have been doing this for a while, it can be difficult to get the rest you need. However, it's very important that you find a way to rest.
Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed, have thoughts of harming yourself and/or others, losing interest in relationships you once had or just not feeling like yourself, please reach out and contact someone for help and support. Many women, about 20% have been known to develop postpartum depression after deliver. Please pay attention to yourself and how you're feeling. Do not hesitate to get help if needed.
Do any of you feel like you have postnatal depletion? Do you know someone who's been affected by this? Please share your stories. Until next time. Send you peace, love, and light!
Tiffany Underwood Certified Health Coach