Love Me Some Research
I’m one of those people who spends hours and hours researching something before I try it, then more hours researching the research before believing. After having the twins and them spending two weeks in NICU (a horrid experience I’ll post about later), it became clear when they were about a month old that I was having some serious postpartum issues.
[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on the links, I make a tiny amount of money by referring your business to that company. You don’t pay any more for the product or service; my kid gets to continue her gymnastics classes. Win-win. Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy the post enough to subscribe and read more!]
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
I ended up coming to the conclusion that I – their own mother – was not to be trusted alone with them. Dad and I were planning to move in together at that point, but at the time thought we would be selling his house and purchasing a bigger one first. Things have since changed and we are not all (mostly happily) living together, but that’s another story.
Anyway! I couldn’t be alone with my own children for fear of what I may (or may not) do to them. The four of us – myself, my 4-year-old, and the twins – moved to my mom’s house 70 miles away.
When Modern Medicine Fails You
Without getting into too many boring details, my insurance was terrible and basically my OB/GYN refused to see me because of a mis-billing situation which I stand by was his office’s fault. Long story short, I started investigating, researching, and learning about natural ways to combat my ever-worsening postpartum depression/anxiety.
The very first step in getting yourself better is to Acknowledge the fact that there is a problem, Accept that you need help, and Act or move forward with helping yourself and allowing others to help you.
The following are five ways I’ve found to lessen the impact of PPD on my life, and a short explanation of why/how each helps (from my own personal experience; note, I am NOT a doctor or other medical professional):
1.) Vitamin Balance
Have your doctor run a CBC panel to see if any of your essential vitamins and minerals are basically “out of whack.” This is important: Ask for a copy of the report once the results come in. Even if your doctor says your levels are all fine, insist on seeing the report yourself. Since you likely don’t know what your levels were before, it’s of no use to say they’re all “normal” because normal is a range of numbers. If you notice that there are a few that, although technically within the suggested range, are on the lower end or borderline deficient, you might consider a supplement.
Vitamins D and B (all of the Bs) are usually the ones that get depleted during pregnancy and childbirth so pay special attention to those. I prefer to have mine on at least the upper 50% of the range to ensure it’s not affecting my mood.
2.) Essential Oils
Many endless hours of research taught me quite a few things about myself, my body, my emotions, and how much of that is influenced by outside factors such as stress and hormones.
Out of desperation one day, I instant messaged a friend on Facebook to inquire about her knowledge of essential oils since I had noticed her posting about Young Living essential oils once or twice. She convinced me that surely the oils would help and even borrowed/lent the items I needed instead of making me wait for my order to arrive in the mail.
I have to say, I was quite skeptical when I first reached out to her, desperate for anything that would make me stop hating myself and reaching near suicidal/homicidal tendencies before “snapping out of it” and taking a step back, to look at myself in complete horror in the mirror.
But y’all – I kid you not – this stuff works. I mean, it’s not a miracle cure or anything, but I can tell a noticeable difference in my moods when I apply/diffuse the oils and when I don’t. And for what it’s worth, Dad and Maw agree.
Suggested oils (in order of my personal preference): Progessence Plus, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Grounding, Lavender, Bergamot, Orange, Roman Chamomile
3.) Reduce Chemical Exposure
Another factor I learned that has a huge impact on our moods and general “aura” are all of the chemicals that we don’t even know are present in everything we touch – quite literally everything.
So once again through a friend on Facebook, I learned about Norwex, a company that sells chemical-free cleaning supplies. And I have fallen 1000% completely and hopelessly in love with this company. They have a rag called EnviroCloth that clean 99% of germs (the same as all those toxic chemicals you buy every month) that can be put in the washer (only necessary after heavy use) and reused for up to 5-7 years.
The best part? There are two best parts, actually. First, the rags contain micro silver, which essentially keeps the rag from getting moldy and smelly in between washes. And second, most importantly, all you need to use with this cloth is water! No chemicals! No cleaning supplies! Just a rag and water!!
So now I’m not only doing something that’s better for me and my family by warding off overexposure to chemicals; but I’m helping the environment because the cloths are made from 70% recycled materials; AND I’m also saving us money because I purchased 2 cloths for $17.99 that will last at least 5 years and will never have to buy cleaning supplies again. So I’m thinking massage and pedicure with the saved $$$, right!?
4.) Join a Gym
Okay, so with three kids of my own, one “step”, a live-in, a household to care for, and a full-time job, I don’t really have the time (or energy for that matter) to be dragging my lazy self to the gym every day. But remember, I was angry, depressed, hopeless, and essentially desperate. So I did turn to exercise, along with the other things mentioned above.
Yoga is the bomb. That’s all I have to say about that. If you absolutely cannot get away or afford an actual gym membership, look up a few yoga videos on YouTube. Do them. Yes, I know you’re dead tired at the end of the night and don’t there’s any way you can possibly keep your eyes open for 30 more seconds, much less 30 more minutes. But I promise you, yoga will change your life. And it’s great for all mobility levels, which is a huge plus for the never-exercised-a-day-in-my-life mama.
Suggestion: Join a gym with childcare and go just to take a shower without interruption. And there will be absolutely no #momguilt over this indulgence!!!
5.) Talk About It
I cannot stress this one enough. Tell your spouse/significant other. Tell your mom. Tell you family. Tell your doctor. Tell your employer (or employees as the case may be). Tell your coworkers. Tell the stranger you meet at the grocery store. Share with the other moms at the park. Tell anyone and everyone. Talking helps.
And then join a support group, whether online or in person, so that you can talk to people who understand, who have been there or are there currently, who empathize instead of sympathize, so you can vent without being judge. Talking is good; venting is better. Sometimes I just need to say out loud the things that are swirling around in my head and then cry about it for a little while. It helps so very much.
More to Come
I will do more in-depth posts addressing each of the 5 natural PPD remedies in the coming months, but for now, I hope this is a good start for you. I hope to see you all in the support group linked in number 5 above.
May your kids sleep well and your soul begin healing!