Post-partum. I just never imagined the toll. The hormones, the blues, the anxiety, fatigue, hair loss, and the demands. Having a baby is miraculous & beautiful. But it is also challenging & draining. Every mother out there is indeed a superhero.
I had a “that won’t happen to me” mentality when it came to post partum difficulties and blues. I thought, “I’ve waited so long for a baby, I’ll be so happy to have her…. post partum depression won’t be an issue for me”. So when the blues hit me in the face like a ton of bricks at 6 weeks PP, I blamed Down syndrome. I convinced myself I was sad because Indy had Down syndrome, not because my hormones were running wild. I can see very clearly now that I was suffering from the baby blues, like so many mothers do, because my body had just undergone a drastic change in physiology. This was more than being sad about Down syndrome.
The severity of baby blues and anxiety I experienced was pretty intense. I feel very lucky to have overcome it fairly well (with a lot of help!). So I wanted to share the things I did to support my body in its fragile, post-partum state, so that maybe it can help you. I will also discuss PP hair loss and how I have my best hair ever, even after PP loss.
Giving birth is an experience unlike any other, and requires a lot of adrenaline. That adrenaline may stick around for a few weeks and mothers will feel great during this time. Your adrenal glands (which produce adrenaline) will then need a little break, or get tired. If your adrenal glands get tired, you get tired! More than you already were from feeding your newborn through the night. Supporting the adrenal glands was crucial for me, not only to support my system physically but also emotionally. There is also a lot of evidence that adrenal exhaustion is a big player in PP hair loss. To support my adrenals I did the following:
1. Nutrients. I ate a piece of fruit every couple hours while I was awake, and ate a huge salad every day. I still am eating more fruits & veggies than ever, super foods like wild blueberries, papaya, greens, and have felt SO good. The sugar in fruit gives your adrenal glands fuel to keep going. And if you are breastfeeding this is so beneficial for you & baby.
2. Rest. I stopped exercising for 4 months so I could rest my body. I slept whenever I could. I took Epsom salt baths often to relax my mind and body, and increase my magnesium levels.
3. Supplements. Vitamin C, B12, and zinc are the most beneficial nutrients for your adrenals and immune system. I take this B12 spray Organic B12 Vitamin 3-4 times a day. I take 1,000mg of vitamin C Ester-C & Flavonoids twice a day, and 30mg of zinc Raw Zinc Whole Food Supplement twice a day in addition to this prenatal Raw Prenatal
4. Joy & relaxation. Finding and feeling joy nourishes the soul… and your adrenals! Relaxation is key to restoring the adrenal glands. Try to find 20 minutes a day where you can deep breathe, meditate, take a bath, read, whatever relaxation is to you.
The blues & hair loss. I made the decision to encapsulate my placenta and I can honestly say, it was the BEST decision. Benefits include an increase in milk supply, a decrease in PP depression, stabilizing of hormones, a return of the uterus to normal size faster, and shorter PP bleeding. For me, my placenta capsules got me through the baby blues, minimized my hair loss, improved my energy, and calmed my anxiety. I took them twice a day until I ran out (several months). One day in particular I was feeling very anxious and depressed. I could not stop crying, & was talking to a friend telling her I couldn’t do this mom thing. I realized I had not taken my placenta capsule that day, so I went and took it. 45 minutes later I was smiling and laughing with B, and adoring Indy. I texted my friend and told her I really loved being a mom. It was a complete 180 from what I was feeling just 45 minutes prior. This type of thing happened over and over. I swear up and down by the miracle of placenta encapsulation! And of course, I got a few foot & face zonebalance treatments to balance my body and lift my spirits, which I also swear by (as you know).
All the aforementioned really minimized my PP hair loss. In addition I treat(ed) it very kind. I put coconut on the ends, let it air dry, and most days wore/wear it in a loose ponytail. Very little styling (what mom has time for that anyways?!) and gave it a break until the hair loss subsided.
Like I said, I feel very lucky to have conquered my post-partum period rather quickly. Being a mom is such an incredible gift. That period of depression was so disheartening, because I yearned so much to enjoy my beautiful newborn but couldn’t get my mind to coincide with my heart. Physiology is real, and the affect will be different for every woman. We need to be patient with ourselves and use the tools available to overcome the challenges of this beautiful, post-partum time- so we can enjoy our tiny miracles. I’m sure enjoying mine. Much love mama’s.