10 Easy Tips to Get Over Postnatal Depletion
It’s night time, the stars are high, and the world is silent; you are exhausted, you can’t even keep your eyes open, and you don’t remember the last time that you slept for more than 3 hours. And there you are, breastfeeding your beautiful baby, dreaming of the day you will be able to sleep until 11am, while feeling guilty because you should only be grateful for having the opportunity of being a mother.
You are tired, sore, exhausted, and when morning comes along, you feel even worse than when you went to sleep; you reach for the first cup of tea or coffee of the day. You know coffee is not the best option when breastfeeding, but right now you feel like ripping apart the book about conscious parenting. You have had enough, and it’s just the beginning of the day, knowing there won’t be a restorative night at the end of it.
I did paint a very gloomy picture of motherhood, but some women go through that, I went through that, so I might as well open up a conversation on how to find the energy to power through these first months.
Postnatal depletion is painful; fatigue and lack of energy are very real, and there are some amazing techniques that can be used at any stage to speed up the recovering process. According to TCM, if a recovering mother gets physically cold and does not receive the correct care or food during this vulnerable time, then she may enter into a profound state of qi and blood deficiency, which will lead her to a depleted state (Serrallach 2018).
And the question is, how can I rebuild my energy when I’m THAT depleted?
Legs Up the wall. Please bear with me; putting your legs up the wall is not a joke, it is in fact the ultimate restorative yoga posture. It is extremely beneficial for your circulation and heart function (let’s fight off those postpartum varicose veins), it helps balancing your energy, takes the pressure off your sore back and torso while stretching out arm strings and calves. To top it off, it can be very calming and relaxing. Perfect when needing 5 minutes pick-me-up, or some help to alt your monkey mind before sleep time.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments can be shockingly effective for lack of energy and general exhaustion; it helps speed up your body’s healing process by unblocking your meridians and allowing your qi to flow freely again. Especially in the beginning, frequent treatments are required, but it is a wonderful tool to replenish your body and support your organs.
Nourishment. Choose easy digestible and warm foods, drink large quantities of liquids such as filtered water and herbal teas to rehydrate and warm the body. Go organic whenever you can, make breakfast and lunch the main meals, and enjoy a light dinner to avoid feeling overly full when it’s sleeping time. With the help of a nutritionist, invest in the right supplement for your body, and trust the process.
Meditation and belly breathing are the quickest ways to calm your mind, to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system, and to bring an instantaneous feeling of calm and relaxation. It gives also the body a chance to regenerate and rest. Millions of books have written about the tremendous benefits of meditation, which is a practice that has been used for many, many moons. If you are unfamiliar with it, you can start by downloading a free application such as Insight Timer and use one of their free guided meditation. Start with 10 minutes a day for the first week, and enjoy the benefits of it. You won’t regret it.
Support. I have discussed it thoroughly on this post. Bottom line, ask for support so you can rest that extra hour. You are going to be such a better mum because of it. No guilt attached.
Early Bedtime. If you are tired, what’s the point in staying up late so you can watch that movie on Netflix? I do understand you need some time with your partner, or to simply obliterate your neurons in front of the screen; you can still choose to go to bed early at least 2–3 nights a week; it will make a ginormous difference in the long run.
Say no to visitors. We are social creatures and we are afraid to miss out. Yet, this isn’t the right time to entertain. If you decide to have friends over, make sure they bring food and drinks, and let them know in advance you won’t have the time to clean the house as you have more important things to do, such as resting. Picnics are also good options, so you can sit down close to Mother Earth, and enjoy the sunshine and a good dose of vitamin D. Stress-free.
Take time IN. Instead of asking permission to take time off, choose to take time IN for yourself, and do whatever you want to feel that sparkle of joy. We don’t need to burn the candle on both ends before allowing ourselves to do whatever it takes to make us feel better. Take 15 minutes a day for your mental sanity, have a long shower when someone can take care of the little one, aim to have a least 1 great meal a day and cut down the caffeine and the alcohol as much as you can.
It will be over soon. This is a very hard message to trust when you are in the thick of it, but this phase will be over soon. You will one day miss having your little one latched on your breast, you will miss the cuddles, and the safety of having your bear so close to you. Every chapter of motherhood comes with its own set of challenges, which is why it’s very important to change our mindset and allow us to feel the feeling while moving forward and enjoy the moment.