Becoming a mom can be a huge adjustment. It can be stressful, scary, and lonely. Now I never got postpartum depression, but I definitely felt a big shift in my mental state after giving birth. I would feel elated and so full of gratitude for my baby one moment, then an overwhelming feeling of guilt, overwhelm, and isolation the next. Thoughts like,
“How can I be feeling this way when I have the most beautiful little angel in my arms?”
“How am I going to be a human again?”
“Why am I getting all worked up over something so simple?”
“Who am I now?”
You are not alone. It’s normal to feel an array of emotions. There is an immediate drop in estrogen and progesterone in a mother’s blood stream and these changes can cause new emotions one have never felt before. These hormones can cause a decrease in serotonin, hence the low feelings.
Your hormones are all out of wack sweet one, its okay. These emotions are normal (temporarily). Of course, if more severe feelings stay for longer than a few months, please consult a professional. Remember, I am just a mom sharing what has worked well for me.
You are still healing. Body and mind.
You might be sleep-deprived. Sleepless nights can take a toll on you. Perhaps pump during the day so dad can take the night time shift for the first few weeks. I always thought the advice of sleep when your baby sleeps, was silly; but that advice is golden. Listen to your body and rest. There is nothing more important than taking care of yourself when your baby is resting.
Being a mom is a piece of you, not all of you. The adjustment to being a mom, in addition with your other rolls will take time to fall into place. Yes, you will find you again. It will just be a different new and evolved part. It’s okay to let go of the past.
I have narrowed down on a list of essentials that got me through this time. I also use all of these tools now daily for my mental wellbeing.
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1. Get out in nature
Now if you don’t live somewhere you can easily get out in nature, then just get out of the house. We currently live in Vegas so the closest “brush with nature” would be a 30 min drive up to Mt. Charleston. This isn’t always so doable; however, I make it a point to get out of the house in someway every day. My husband and I both work from home and have a home gym, so sometimes it can feel like we don’t actually need to get out of the house. We need to. Mamma, you need to. Even if it just a grocery run or walk around the neighborhood, getting some fresh air, can make a world of difference.
2. Realize you can’t jump to happiness
No matter what your emotional state, you can’t jump to instant happiness. What you can do, is take tiny steps to feel better. You can’t get there when you are here. So, take it easy on yourself. Ask yourself, “What is something I can do right now to feel just a little better?” Sometimes it’s making yourself some tea or calling a friend. If it’s only moving the needle a little bit, consider it progress. You can either sit and stew over it, or you can take little baby steps to make you feel better.
3. Take care of you.
Ask for help. Asking for help can be hard. I remember considering hiring a babysitter. I felt like a failure. After a few trial and errors, we found the sweetest babysitter. I was, of course, nervous the first time. “Will she know his rhythm? What if he gets tired? Hungry?” I remember walking into the other room and not knowing what to do with myself.
My whole identity and day had been revolved around Grant’s every move. After asking myself, “What is something I can do right now to feel just a little better?”, the only thing that came to mind was to take a bath. At that very moment, I felt this huge weight of guilt. “What a waste of time, hiring a babysitter so I could take a bath?” Let me tell you this though, that bath was the most healing thing for my mind and body.
I have discovered that the more I take care of myself, the better I am as a mom. When you can ask for help and carve time out for yourself, you will show up fresh for your baby. You are actually doing yourself and your baby a favor to ask for help. It really does take a village. I know it might sound silly, but your baby can pick up on your emotions. If you are anxious, notice how your baby will be too. If you won’t take care of yourself for you, then do it for your baby.
Sleep/rest. I am sure you have heard time and time again as “parenting advice,” “Sleep with the baby sleeps.” When I first heard this after having Grant, we were right in the middle of moving states and I was still recovering. When Grant would nap, I would hurry and try to help pack and move boxes. I noticed when I gave into sleep, however, how much quicker I began to heal and feel better. Postpartum bleeding only started up again when I started pushing it too hard again. Rest mamma. There is a reason your baby sleeps so much the first few months of life. Take advantage of this gift. See this picture Shane captured a few days after Grant was born. We slept with each other almost every nap.
Movement. With resting being mentioned, you should also get your blood flowing. Take a walk, do some jumping jacks, or do some light stretching. Your body is aching for it. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you need to rest, rest. If you need to move, move.
Stress. Notice that feeling in your chest when it comes up. Don’t avoid it or run away. Welcome that feeling as exactly what it is, a feeling. Put your hand on your heart. What do you need most right at that moment? Also realize that postpartum anxiety is a real thing. It’s all natural and common to feel a rush of emotions, up or down, throughout your day.
Good nutritious food. When you are a new mom, cooking or eating nutritious food can feel like a challenge. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is cook. Comfort food always is easy to pick up. Shane and I, of course didn’t do much cooking after Grant arrived. However, one thing I did that helped was ask for help. I asked my mom, a friend, and mother in law (before labor), if they could divide up the days for a few weeks and bring Shane and I food. It was so enjoyable. Not only was it delicious and home cooked, but skipped the high sodium ridden meals. Not to mention, family and friends will love to come over and see the baby. You can relax and eat and they get to hold the baby. It’s a win win!
Hydration. Hydration is everything. I am sure you have heard it but when you saturate your cells and organs in hydration, they function to their highest level. Water will help you heal more quickly, have more breastmilk, be clear headed, help you get back to you pre-pregnancy weight, keep you regular, and give you energy. Drink up!!
Breath. We all need to breathe more. Never underestimate the power of a deep long breath. Your muscles will relax, your blood pressure lowers, endorphins are released, and anxiety and stress falls away when you breath deeply. Breathing exercises will also help your lymphatic system to function at an optimal level, which means you can cleanse your body of toxins that have built up in your system.
Getting in the proper nutrition, especially after birth, is everything. After you have your baby, you are depleted of so much.
One thing I did and recommend is placenta encapsulation.
Placenta encapsulation has been used to alleviate anxiety and fatigue and replace lost iron and nutrients in postpartum women, among other benefits. Here are just a few :
-Restoration of iron levels in the blood
-Increase in milk production
-Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant
-Increase in CRH, a stress-reducing hormone
-Decrease in postpartum depression levels
Another thing I recently began introducing is NuLeaf Naturals CBD Oil
I have tried a few brands now and prefer this brand. When I first wake up, I put about 5-8 drops under my tongue. I can absolutely see a difference. I even see a difference in headaches. Usually after I cry, I get a huge head ache. Now if I have a sad day or situation come up and it causes me to cry, I don’t get a headache! It’s a miracle.
I used moderate amounts of this powerful CBD oil during the last stages of pregnancy, and postpartum, every night as an essential supplement. During pregnancy, it was a savior for my nausea. Postpartum, it can help reduce inflammation not only on your lady parts, but also your breasts as milk begins to come in. It also works wonders on settling postpartum sadness, hormonal anxiety, and promotes restful sleep (when you can get it, that is…) Now that Grant is a little older and sleep regressions seems to be happening on the reg, I take a little NuLeaf CBD oil before bed.
I reached out to the company and got a promo code for you guys! Use CBD20 to save 20% off you order.
Here are a few other postpartum supplements I recommend and am still taking today:
Its so important that you flood your body with minerals during and after pregnancy. This mineral supplement is by far my favorite because its absolutely delicious! Its sugar and caffeine free but gives you that boost you need from nursing and taking care of your baby all day. It has 70+ trace minerals combined with Himalayan-sourced shilajit and a blend of 7 crucial micro and macro minerals. If you have no idea how amazing shilajit is for you (I didn’t either) then check out this study.
We all know the importance of gut health. I can serve our mood, weight loss, mental clarity, and over all health. Researchers have found that 70% of your body’s immune cells live in your digestive tract. So its a MUST to take a good probiotic that actually works. Sadly many companies make a probiotic and over populate it so that it can get through the digestive tract. However, without proper encapsulation of the cells, most will die before reaching the gut. This probiotic has that part handled. It is formulated with a guaranteed 5 billion cells that utilize revolutionary encapsulation technology. The result is a probiotic product that ensures more good bacteria reach their target alive. In fact, the good bacteria are so effective, they require 80% fewer strains and colonize up to 5 times better than typical uncoated strains. My favorite part is that its like an adult pixie stick, sugar free, and tastes amazing! Use promo code SMILE to save $10.
This stuff!!! I have always been a fan of Theanine and have felt a difference in mood and focus. This one in particular works almost immediately. As I write this, this morning, I woke up exhausted, and frankly, pissed. I tried this out for the first time and within ten minutes I felt a rush of peace, happiness, and energy. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t tried it before. Its on amazon (see link above)
I notice such a dramatic shift in my health when I am taking Green Qi regularly. Most companies just have a few green superfoods, but this one is packed AND is actually bioavailable (which means your body can absorb all its nutrients). I throw it in my smoothies every day and double up on it when I feel a little sickness coming on. I attribute my healthy breastmilk to this powder. I love it!!
If you have ever been pregnant, you know the struggle is real when it comes to number 2. Progesterone also plays a part in constipation and this supplement works wonders. Its sweetened with stevia, gluten free, has pre- and probiotics, makes you feel less hungry, and improves your digestive tract. This is another favorite ingredient to thrown in my smoothies. Its gives it a yummy citrus taste.
5. Listen to positive books
When I am low, the first thing I do is saturate my brain in something positive.
Here are some of my favorite go-tos:
Lastly, let your mantras be:
“This too shall pass”
“I am a good mother”
“My body is powerful and beautiful! Look at the gorgeous baby I created”
“I will have honest conversations with my partner regarding my feelings about my body and sex”
“All I have is this moment”
“I am showing up for someone who needs me”
“My baby and I are growing and learning every day”
Don’t bottle your body and emotions up. Talk them out or journal them. Understand that sometimes your husband won’t get it. He might think you are just overwhelmed and take your emotions personally. Be easy on those around you who “don’t get it” and be easy on yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this post on postpartum and mental health essentials.
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