Anyone who is a mum, completely understands those endless nights that role over into days of breastfeeding, nappies and sleep deprivation.
Those first weeks are tough, but it’s backed by science, it’s the perfect recipe for a serious emotional roller-coaster more medically known as Post Natal Depression, but are we prepared or aware of what comes next?
If you were lucky enough to escape Post-natal depression, you may not be so lucky to escape Post Natal Depletion; a non-scientific description and modern term used for the mums who no longer are breastfeeding or recovering from the birthing process but a term used more broadly for the parents who are struggling with the physical and mental side effects, caused by the ongoing stressors and strains of modern day life, including parenting.
I see many women in clinic depleted by modern motherhood and it’s simply because as a society, we don’t stop; the expectations grow, the lists don’t end, the emails continue to flood your inbox, social media platforms become addictive as it’s a way to immerse ourselves into something other than that load of washing waiting to be hung out, yet the ongoing demands of parenting continue.
Most women never truly recover from pregnancy nutritionally, a time when our nutrient levels are drawn upon exponentially and quite often many women start pregnancy with nutrient and mineral deficiencies. Mothering the mother is something we forget to do, as we are immersed in anything and everything to do with our children, the household and strict work deadlines.
Symptoms of depletion often include:
A feeling of overwhelm
Not feeling like yourself
Wired but Tired
Poor memory (baby brain)
Fatigue between 1 – 4pm
Feeling a need to find yourself again
Tiredness even after sleeping 8 hours
Prevention is always better than cure and in a perfect world, pre conception care is vital for prevention. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 months or five years since you gave birth, if you can recognise the signs you are depleted, you can support, reverse and improve your current list of symptoms, it just takes time, the right support and kindness to yourself.
So, what can you do to help yourself?
Start firstly by downloading a guided meditation app such as headspace or join the rest of us and download The Calm app which was voted the most downloaded app globally for 2018.
More often than not, nutrients, minerals and herbs are required as many women are already deplete, so I’ve compiled a small list of what commonly I would use in clinic.
Here are my top 5 ways to support and reverse symptoms of depletion:
Magnesium powder – I find a powder much more effective than a tablet and results are far greater with powders. 300 -600mg daily of elemental magnesium is perfect for fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and even PMS
Vitamin C – great to support the nervous system, adrenal gland and a compromised immune system if you are a little run down and getting sick
Essential Fatty Acids – an essential for healthy moods, depression and hormones.
Herbal Teas & Formulas –Withania, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Liquorice and Passionflower are all herb with properties to heal and reduce symptoms of adrenal depletion.
Activated B6 – also known as P-5-P supports healthy hormones and production of progesterone (our calming hormone). 20mg of activated B6 is a recommended daily dose.
Having some blood tests completed may be the best way to rule out other nutrient deficiencies and determine if you have other drivers behind your symptoms such as an underactive thyroid.
Interpretation of pathology is different depending on your practitioner. As a functional medicine practitioner, I often see silent drivers of disease hidden in pathology work, unnoticed until the disease is present in the person.
Next visit to your doctor, it might be worth asking for the following:
Full Blood Count
The ongoing expectations of motherhood and the demands of a modern day lifestyle creates enormous pressure that is unsustainable for most, so I find a combination of supplements, meditation and support from a great network of family and friends to be invaluable for treatment of adrenal depletion.