25 Oct Postnatal Depletion
I started this page when my Florence was 6months old with the idea that I will focus on baby food/nutrition only, but as you may have seen over the last few months, my content has been veering towards focusing on postpartum and the mothers health (don’t worry for everyone following me for baby food ideas, its definitely still my priority and more to come very soon!), but I suppose I wanted to share my shift in direction – and it comes from personal experience.
With my son Flynn (now nearly 4) I lived in a constant sleep deprived state, but I was mentally fine and physically coped too, and I think something that really helped at this stage was my husband, Flynn and I moved to Bali for 4 months when he was 11 months old for an extended holiday. That holiday in retrospect allowed me to find myself again, I got back into health, exercise, I had my husband always there to support me and lend extra hands, I practiced a lot of self care (hello daily massages), we had no place to be and no-one to see and it was lovely.
Flash forward to Florence, she was a beautiful and easy baby, she would sleep a lot (sometimes all night!), fed beautifully and was so calm and content… I breezed through the ‘postpartum’ and felt really on top of everything. I threw myself back into the gym 6 days a week, was eating well and felt amazing (which is when I started this page)!
She then hit 6 months and things started to decline, predominantly her sleep. Hitting sleep deprivation when your baby turns 6 months is HARD, as now that amazing hormone rush of oxytocin and prolactin that gets you through those first few months has really decreased, and dealing with sleep deprivation is now so much harder. Also as a result of her now sleeping shockingly, she was cranky and overtired all day, whingey and not content. She was waking my son through the night so he was also cranky.. and well, you can imagine my mood.
By 12 months she was still sleeping terribly (usually up between 4-8 times a night) and I would say this is when ‘postnatal depletion’ hit me hard.. really hard. I felt CONSTANTLY tired, I would wake tired, cranky and on edge. I felt constantly wired, short tempered, forgetful, hazy, hard to hold a conversation and on the verge of tears daily, I felt physically sick in my stomach from adrenal stress. I kept telling my husband (who was working more than normal) that I wasn’t coping, but it kept being shrugged off as externally, I was. I started to not want to go out and see my friends (very unlike me) and just wanted to be alone (also very unlike me). Its funny isn’t it, that by 12 months old people no longer offer help because we should have it in the bag by now shouldn’t we?!
Thankfully, I could identify that my life was starting to veer towards a place I didn’t want it to go. I knew what I needed, to find myself again, to take time for self care, and I needed sleep! I sat down with my husband and really explained (without screaming it at him) that I’m not coping and he listened and started to be home more, I utilised my support systems for babysitting occasionally, I calmed down on the gym (I think too much strenuous exercise was putting me into adrenal fatigue), and I started to use adaptogens, increased my nutrients, take my supplements and focus on my diet again.
2 months later I still feel like im recovering, my brains still foggy, im still a bit wired but im coping, and I feel mentally well again.
I wanted to share my story because instagram can put a facade on peoples lives, and I could seem like it have things together, but I didn’t. I also wanted to share because if you have felt similar, id love for you to come to our workshop (see previous post). It doesn’t matter how old your baby is, postnatal depletion can hit for 7 years after having a baby! Id love to talk to you and hopefully help you through this time, nutritionally, physically and emotionally!
Inspiring, supportive and nourishing all in one Boob to Food is an amazing resource and online community for mothers and their families, created by mama and author Luka McCabe.