Plant Therapy for Postpartum Peace of Mind

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This week it is a pleasure to feature words and wisdom by Joanne Ameya Cohen, who devotes her life to empowering, educating and healing women during all phases of life, including the childbearing season. She uses many incredible tools, including her vast knowledge as a Certified Women’s Herbalist and Flower Essence Therapist. Here Joanne shares her perspective on the postpartum crisis and offers her prescription for herbal wisdom. {Insert sigh of relief}

The statistics are quite alarming. One in seven women experience postpartum depression. Because of this, there is a lot of focus on preventing postpartum depression. But, what I see in my private practice is actually more postpartum anxiety.

Postpartum anxiety is rampant amongst mothers.  And yet, we don’t hear about it very often.

Being a new mother brings lots of change. On one hand your heart opens. And on the other hand, there is quite a bit of overwhelm.

Questions arise in your mind. Self-judgement swirls.

“Is my baby eating enough?”

“Is my baby sleeping well?”

“Is my partner feeling left out?”
“Am I doing this whole thing right?”

All of this creates overwhelm. Overwhelm creates anxiety.

Some women experience this as a constant looping of thoughts in their mind.  Some women experience a foreboding presence as the sun sets for the day. Some women experience a low level stress.

All of the above are uncomfortable.

So, why are people not talking about this?

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Sheer, utter exhaustion: Kate + T, 2011

There is a way in our society in which we normalize everything.  If one or more people are experiencing something similar, then it becomes the “norm”.

And so it becomes an acceptable way of being or living.

You know how many times I have heard, “Well, it’s just part of motherhood.  I am sure it will pass.”

Often, it doesn’t pass. In fact, it gets worse.

Normalizing does not benefit anyone.

You have to know that you are meant to feel GOOD.  That you don’t have to feel anxious.  You don’t have to feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to feel alone. You don’t have to feel misunderstood.

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Just because your mom, your aunt, your sister, your friends, your colleagues put up with a crappy few months or few years of motherhood, doesn’t mean you have to.

And honestly, all you have to do is put yourself first.  Know that your overall emotional health is the foundation to your baby and family thriving.

In my practice, I use herbal medicine and flower essence therapy to help anxiety decrease or disappear altogether. Most of my clients can’t believe how long they dealt with feeling lousy once they experience the swiftness and effectiveness of botanical medicines.

Herbal medicine can address the hormonal and physiological response while flower essences focus on emotional healing.

Joanne’s Top 5 Favorite Flower Essences and Herbs

All of these suggestions are safe for breastfeeding.

 MOTHERWORT

Motherwort provides calm and upliftment for Mothers.  She is fantastic on those days when you just want to slam your bedroom door, fall on to your bed because everything feels irritating and fills you with anxiety. She is amazing for when the filter disappears and you find yourself in reaction and anger.

She can be used for months or taken as needed in tincture form.

You can learn more by watching my WomanRising TV.

AVOID:

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CHAMOMILE

I love suggesting this herb because it is so easy to find.  Walk into any store or restaurant and you will find chamomile.

When I think of new mothers or even mothers in the first 1-2 years of postpartum, I always imagine their nervous systems. Sleepless nights, living based on the demands of another, stress in relationship, etc. and I imagine that their nerves are frayed and fried.

Chamomile soothes the nervous system. Its like a healing balm for your nervous system.

You can drink a cup of chamomile tea before sleep or drink 3 cups throughout the day.

nettles NETTLE

Hands down, Nettle is the ultimate tonic for our bodies.  It is full of trace minerals and vitamins so it is well suited to fill in anywhere there is depletion. And, as beautiful as pregnancy, birth and postpartum are, they can deplete a woman significantly.

Nettle also is an amazing adaptogen which means that it helps your body deal with stress.  Most mothers in postpartum are experiencing either low level chronic or acute stress in daily life.  Nettle will nourish your adrenals and bring more vitality to your system.

You can drink as a tea (which I love) or take in tincture form if that is easier for you.

Borage Flower

BORAGE FLOWER ESSENCE

This is quite possibly my most favorite flower essence.  This flower is the herb of courage.  And we all know how much courage it takes to show up everyday and be the kind of mother and woman you desire.

Borage is uplifting so it can be helpful when there are heavier emotions like anxiety and depression sneaking in.

Take 3 drops 3 times per day. You will notice a change within a few days.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Flower2

 ELM FLOWER ESSENCE

This essence is for overwhelm. Overwhelm of daily tasks – cooking, cleaning, making time for yourself or your spiritual practice, creating intimate space with your partner, seeing friends, working, etc. The list in itself can be daunting. Elm can dramatically shift this feeling within a few days. A must-have in your medicine chest.

Take 3 drops 3 times per day.

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Of course all of these herbs and flower essences work best when you take them once symptoms are just beginning. But for the majority of us, we ignore changes in our moods so we often don’t start on herbal protocols until our quality of life is being affected.

Seeking help does not make you less than.  It actually makes you a courageous and powerful mother.

Promise that if you are feeling any anxiety, whether big or small, that you will incorporate the above suggestions.

We need flourishing mamas all over the world.

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Joanne Ameya Cohen combines her expertise as a Certified Women’s Herbalist, a Certified Flower Essence Therapist, a Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner, PSYCH-K facilitator, Counselor, and Shamanic Practitioner to facilitate hormonal and reproductive health for women from the inside out.

Also working as a Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Midwife Assistant, Joanne has supported hundreds of women in their most profound and intimate life-changing moments. She has humbly held space for women to face their fears, worries, anxieties, and joys in order for them to birth themselves as Mothers.

Joanne has been “Schooled” in the ways of Woman over the last 14 years in private practice and humbly teaches all she has learned. Read, learn and subscribe at www.joanneameyacohen.com and follow her at the Awakened Feminine.

*Note: Please notify your health care provider asap if you are concerned you might be experiencing postpartum depression. As always, notify your provider when beginning any herbal regimen.

 PLEASE READ:

What Saved Me: Postpartum and the Baby Blues

Postpartum Herbal Essentials

How to Love a New Mother

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