When it comes to postpartum, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Having a new baby is like having your house catch on fire. You’ve got to focus all your efforts on having it not burn down ~ and in doing so you learn how to care less about the details. Little things like bills in the mailbox, laundry on the floor, dishes in the sink. In the crisis that is new motherhood, everything that’s not important will just have to wait.
In doing this, there’s one, huge mistake many new moms make.
Postpartum self-care is not a minor detail. It is literally the water pouring through the firehose to put out the fire.
A friend and new mom recently contacted me after reading my story about postpartum depression and confessed she believes she’s still feeling depleted and overwhelmed, three years postpartum. I sent her this wonderful article and this list of holistic self-rescue.
Holistic Postpartum ~ An Ounce of Prevention
Caution – this list is not a substitute for treatment. Once a woman is clinically depressed, she will require professional treatment in order to feel better. There’s no shame in getting help!
Mamas need other mamas. Mamas to vent to, mamas to cry with, mamas to tell secrets to and laugh at each other’s kids with. Someone to tell the truth to. To be accepted just the way you are.
As a brand new mom you might not have a single other mom friend who lives nearby. Finding mama friends is like going on a series of blind dates. It can be awkward. Keep trying.
I recommend for my new mamas to attend local La Leche League meetings, whether they are having issues breastfeeding or not. There is nothing more therapeutic than being in a supportive environment of other moms with babies the same age as yours.
You never know, you might meet your BFF for life.
Daily Sun and Physical Movement
Spend at least 30 minutes outside per day, regardless of the weather. Here in Texas we routinely have 100 days of 100 degree weather. No excuses ~ we still get outside in the early morning hours, or a couple hours before the sun sets.
Putting your baby in a carrier and taking a long walk does wonders, too. I find it takes at least 2 miles before my mind starts to relax and my mood to lift.
Yoga, Meditation and Prayer
Physical alignment, enhanced strength and peace of mind ~ yoga fulfills it all.
I’m such a fan of home yoga. It can be done on the floor of your living room while your babies crawl and play. My daughter loves doing yoga with mama. ❤️ I recommend taking a week of classes outside the home to get an introduction on postures and alignment, then investing in some DVDs for yoga at home.
Meditation and prayer have completely transformed my life. Where to get started? Deepak Chopra hosts meditation challenges several times a year. Also consider joining a meditation or prayer group for women once a week. To know someone has you in their prayers and in their hearts is an incredibly healing thing.
I’ve found frankincense and lavender to be transformative in terms of enhancing calm and adaptability to stress. For restful sleep I use lavender and cedarwood.
I recommend finding a local class where you can sample oils and learn their safe uses while breastfeeding.
There is amazing research about acupuncture as treatment for postpartum depression and anxiety. Most major cities have at least one community acupuncture clinic where treatment is offered on a sliding scale. Visit People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture to find a clinic near you.
Medication and Therapy
Anti-depressants and therapy are holistic? They can be. You can combine medication, therapy, light and love to lift you out of a funk and prevent yourself from falling deeper. There’s no shame in needing help … the only true regret I have is not asking for help sooner.
I Say Postpartum, You Say Doula
Investing in postpartum doula care can dramatically enhance your experience of postpartum, and motherhood there-after. Postpartum doula support typically costs $40 per hour in most locations, and is offered in several-hour packages. For most of us that seems prohibitively expensive.
But think of it this way … If you can invest in your well-being in the short-term, your long-term health, wealth and emotional well-being will flourish.
Read more about my services, including postpartum blessings and care, here.
Watching my clients grow through their journeys as mothers blows me away. But it is also my absolute joy to watch them become mentors and supporters of other new mothers. My candle lights yours, yours lights another’s, and soon the whole world is a little brighter.