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Is your pelvic floor too tight or too weak.

Have you ever wondered why you have consistent low back pain, constipation, or groin pain?

It may be due to your pelvic floor. 

Where is your pelivc floor?

The muscles BELOW the belt are your pelvic floor muscles.  Found in between your sitz bones, your tail bone, and your pubic bone. 

Your pelvic floor are the secret muscles that give us pleasure and pain.

They can be tight/short OR long/weak.

You have over 22 different pelvic floor muscles and you can engage them in about 10+ ways!

AND if your pelvic floor is tight, you DO NOT want to do kegels!!

You’ll want to massage and stretch your pelvic floor:) Yes, you read that correctly.

=====>So are your pelvic floor muscles short or long? Watch the video HERE.

Your pelvic floor muscles are short or tight if:

  • You feel like you cannot take a deep breath
  • You can’t release your abdominal area
  • Inserting a tampon, finger, or having sex is uncomfortable
  • You feel tense, all the time
  • You may have constipation
  • You may experience leaking

If you have these symptoms, seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist and consider a pelvic massage, deep breathing, and stretching to help guide you. 

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Your pelvic floor may be weak or long if:

  • You’re experience leaking
  • Your back, knees, and hips are weak or sore
  • You feel no connection to your core
  • You may have an abdominal separation
  • You possibly had a vaginal birth

If I’ve peaked your curiosity you can listen to the audio I created: 3 ways to engage our pelvic floor to prevent incontinence. {Please put headphones on or listen in the privacy of your home!!} Click here to listen>>>The 3 Pelvic Floor Exercises To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor.

When you’re pelvic floor is strong, yet flexible, you will have:

  • Less urgency to go pee
  • Less constipation
  • Better orgasms
  • Less low back/pelvic pain
  • Less knee pain
  • A stronger back

Curious to learn more? Check out my Pelvic Pow-HER course here

5 Home Remedies For The Flu

5 Home Remedies For The Flu

What if you could decrease your flu symptoms naturally? If you prefer to use natural remedies during the cold and flu season, read on.

Influenza, otherwise known as the flu, can be debilitating and cause great suffering for you and your family.  Botanicals and homepathic remedies can decrease your symptoms and ease the pain of the flu.

The first time I had the flu, I swore I had malaria.  I even drove myself to the ER, just for them to tell me it was the Flu. I called my mother at 5:00 am crying and begging her to help me.  Over the next three days, she helped me change the sheets four times and nursed me back to health.  I missed ten whole days of work and thought I was dying.  I took the medication that I knew at the time and slept the days away.  Little did I know there were an alternative way and natural remedies would ease my symptoms and decrease the pain the next time I had the flu.

In this post, you’ll discover the symptoms of the flu, when to call the doctor, the herbs, and homeopathy I use to shorten the duration of the flu and ease the achiness.

What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu

  • High fever of 102-104
  • Severe achiness-(in fact, it used to be called breakbone disease)
  • A sore throat
  • A cough
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lack of appetite

When to call the doctor for the flu

  • Signs of dehydration
  • High fever persisting (103.5 and over)
  • A severe headache
  • Stiff neck or pain in the back of the neck
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Fever for more than 4 days
  • A severe cough with chest pain and shortness of breath (could be pneumonia)

The achiness is usually what gives away the symptoms of the flu. If you feel like it may be something else, see a doctor right away.

In the United States, the flu usually hits between December and February. Adults 65 and older and children under 5 are at the greatest risk of developing flu-related illnesses.  {read more here}

I realize the Flu is not to be taken lightly.  If you are generally a healthy adult these remedies may be right for you.

Home Remedies For The Flu

  • Tinctures for the flu
    • A tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract taken 2-3x day in a 1/4 cup of water. 
  • Choose these tinctures as a single or blend.
    • #1 Boneset Tincture/Extract {Eupatorium perfoliatum L.}-(herb pharm, moutainroseherbs.com)
      • The #1 recommended remedy for the flu. I’ve used both the tincture and homeopathy.  I prefer the homeopathic dose for quicker results. 
    • #2 Crampbark {Viburnum opulus}
      • As suggested, crampbark is used for cramps and aches in the body. 
    • #3 Jamaican dogwood {Piscidia piscipula}
      • As an analgesic, Jamaican dogwood can reduce pains in the body for cold and flu season and also works great for PMS.
    • #4 Elderberry Syrup-  In one study, Elderberry Syrup was used to treat 60 patients suffering from influenza.  “Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.”

Curious about dosing for tinctures? Download your freebie here.

 

Homeopathy For The Flu

Homeopathy is my preferred way to shorten the duration of the flu.  Keep in mind, your symptoms may increase for a moment and then they should improve within 20 minutes. Homeopathy can be tricky to use: read my post Everything You Need To Know About Homeopathy Here. 

Homeopathy is based on the person symptoms.  It is best to seek out a homeopath for the best results.

Boneset 30C (Eupatorium perfoliatum)- Best Remedy For The Flu

{click here for a quick link to Amazon}

  • How do you know if boneset is right for you?  Your symptoms would include:
    • Patient experiences a deep aching in the bones and even the eyeballs are sore. 
    • May feel totally wiped out and unable to exert the least effort. 
    • Is usually thirsty, especially as the chill begins to come on.
  • How do you take it?
    • Take Boneset 30c, wait 20 minutes take again and wait.. you should feel an improvement. 
    • You can use herbal remedies with homeopathy. 
    • Other homeopathic remedies are available as well if these symptoms do not match.

Teas For The Flu

Tea can be nourishing and hydrating when you are suffering from the flu.  The following herbs can help reduce a fever and fill the body with vitamins and minerals during the cold and flu season.

Try these teas as a single cup or blend daily.  Enjoy 3-4 cups if you’re able to sip on it.

  • Lemon Balm
  • Yarrow
  • Linden Flower
  • Elderflower
  • Catnip
  • Peppermint.

Conclusion

I agree the flu is not to be taken lightly.  If your symptoms do not improve in 4 days or you feel uneasy, please contact your doctor. To be prepared, purchase Boneset 30c in preparation for when the flu hits your home this winter.

Remember this post? Pin the picture to keep in your Pinterest page.

xoxo

Tara

Everything you need to know about homeopathy.

Everything you need to know about homeopathy.

Have you ever wondered if homeopathy actually works?

Maybe you’ve tried those little sugar tablets with no relief.

Or you already believe, they will not work.

My first experience using homeopathy is when I had the flu for the second time in my life.  I had a liquid form of boneset from a herbal course I enrolled in with Peeka Trenkle.  I took one dose of the boneset and immediately felt relief and then.. I ran out! The bottle was empty.  I couldn’t believe it, I rushed to Nature’s Pantry to discover they didn’t have any boneset in stock.  The shift in symptoms was so dramatic, I knew it was from the homeopathic remedy.

What is homeopathy anyway?

  • “Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of like cures like (similia similibus curentur), a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people.”
  • The remedies are so diluted that, based on chemistry, it is difficult to find any molecules of the original substance in the remedy YET, they are very mighty!
  • Safe enough for children and the elderly, yet potent enough you could create adverse effects if you do not know the principles.

What are homeopathic remedies made from?

  • Homeopathic medicine is made from minerals, plants, animals, poisons of animals, and bees and then diluted or successed {shaken.}

How is homeopathy made?

The first stage in preparing a homeopathic remedy is to create a tincture or “mother tincture” by diluting the material in vegetable alcohol. Then, the triturated mixture is repeatedly diluted and shaken or succussed for hours or days, depending on the potency or strength.  This process of diluting and succussing is called potentization. The potentized homeopathic medicine is then added to lactose tablets or pills.

How does homeopathy work?

The Infinitesimal Dose
  • The more a remedy is diluted and succussed (vigorously shaken), the stronger it becomes a cure. For example, 1M is stronger than 6c.  Always begin with 6 or 30c, unless working with a professional homeopath. 
  • One theory is the succession creates an electrochemical pattern which is stored in the dilutant and spreads like a liquid crystal through the body’s own water. 
  • A second thought is the dilution process triggers an electromagnetic imprinting which directly affects the electromagnetic field of the body.
  • You can purchase homeopathic tablets as 6, 9, 12, 24 or 30 c or x.  I feel comfortable with purchasing 6c or 30c tablets for acute remedies.

How do you take homeopathy?

  • Tip a tablet into the lid of the bottle and tip into your mouth without touching it
  • Or tip-in on the palm of the person taking the remedy; try not to touch the remedy if you are giving it to someone.
  • Never put back any tablets that have fallen out
    • Try not to eat, drink or brush teeth for 10-20 minutes before or after taking a remedy
    • You should feel a shift occur if it is negative in any way STOP and reassess. 
    • You may have an increase in symptoms and then it will resolve. If you are not seeing results don’t repeat. There should be a beginning, middle, and end to your symptoms.

Homeopathy medicine acts as a catalyst, the remedy stimulating the body’s own vital force to heal itself.

Do you use homeopathy with your family? Download my free cheat sheet to mark your symptoms BEFORE choosing a homeopathic remedy.  By marking your symptoms and choosing the right remedy, you will have more success.

How to give homeopathy to children?

  • For Babies; Crush the tablet between two spoons and tipped dry on to the tongue. Or alternatively, dilute the small sugar pill in water and/or bottle. {clean any item with hot water so the next person doesn’t get the remedy}
    • Dilute in water and use a syringe to insert into their mouth
    • Dilute in milk, water or juice in a sippy cup
    • Place on a spoon to eat
    • Toddlers can put in their mouth with a spoon

Things that interfere with homeopathy?

    • Camphor (used as an ingredient in many cosmetics and salves, such as Tiger Balm, Blistex, Vick’s Vapor rub, Noxzema, Chapstick, Karmex, Sea Breeze, some shaving creams, liniments, and many other products which have a similar odor is a universal antidote and should be avoided.
    • Electric Blankets.
    • Certain Holistic therapies, such as acupuncture, craniosacral manipulation, polarity therapy, e.t.c. should not be used simultaneously with homeopathy.
    • Strong odors in the mouth or the environment at the time of taking the remedy can inactivate the homeopathic medicine. That’s why we recommend taking the remedy at least 30 minutes before or 1 hour after eating, drinking (water is allowed), chewing gum, brushing your teeth, and smoking.
    • Major dental work
    • Excessive, and in some cases even moderate consumption of coffee and stimulants
    • Street drugs, including marijuana

Tips for Homeopathic Dosing

      • Prescribe according to the urgency and unique symptoms- download your free cheat sheet
      • Use one remedy at a time
      • Avoid combined remedies
      • Stop if you see improvement
      • Start again if the same symptom returns; repeat as needed
      • If you have given 3-6 doses and have had no response, stop and reassess
      • Change the remedy if the symptoms change and/or get worse
      • Always seek professional help if your symptoms recur or do not improve
Homeopathy is really complex; use the Homeopathic Principles to guide you.
      • Law Of Similars-
          • “Let like be cured with like”
          • Any substance that makes you ill can also cure you.
          • By symptoms, the homeopathy means those changes that are felt by the patient or observer which may be associated with the disease.
      • The Single Remedy
          • The classical homeopathy gives one remedy at a time to gauge its effect more precisely than would be possible if two or more remedies were given together.
      • The Law of Cure
        • As someone becomes well, symptoms move from the innermost organs of the body to the outer organs
        • Cure moves from within to without
        • Cure takes place from above to below
      • Minimal Dose
        • Less is more, wait and see. 
        • How little can I use and still produce a result?

Have you used homeopathy? Did it work for you? Tell us your story in the comments below!

xoxo

Tara

P.S. Pin the image to save for later when you need it.


Books I love

    • Kruzel; The homeopathic emergency guide
    • Castro, Amanda: Homeopathy for pregnancy, birth, and your baby’s first year
    • Panos: Homeopathic medicine at home
5 Myths Of Postpartum Exercise Recovery

5 Myths Of Postpartum Exercise Recovery

I didn’t do a sit-up for over four years because of my diastasis recti, an abdominal separation due to my twin pregnancy. Confused and sleep deprived, I also drank Guinness to improve my milk supply and paid little attention to my diet for the first year.
 
But eventually, I was able to heal my core and improve my digestion through corrective exercises and a nutritional diet.
 
Let me explain…
We have this perception that we need to be tone and fit in our pre-pregnancy clothes six weeks after birth. What we are not honoring, is the healing process a new momma needs to go through.
 

Here are the 5 Myths of Postpartum Exercise Recovery.

#5 It Takes 6-Weeks To Recover From Birth

 
Your body went through one of the biggest transformations in your life. Eight weeks postpartum, you may still be sore and sleep deprived. If you had a c-section, episiotomy or diastasis recti you have endured an injury that may need up to two years to recover.
 
Click here for Your body after baby to see if what you are experiencing is normal. 
 
 

#4 You can go back to your previous exercise routine

We are so quick to jump into our previous exercise routine without realizing we need post-rehabilitative exercises to heal our wounds. 

Sign you may need pelvic floor rehabilitation are:

  • leaking, ongoing back, pelvis, groin or abdominal pain
  • Pressure or bulging in your vagina or rectum and bulging of your abdomen during ANY exercise
  • Difficulty doing any of your everyday activities because of pain, leakage, pressure or any other symptom that concerns you

#3 You shouldn’t do crunches with diastasis recti {DRA}

Postpartum gurus may tell you not to do crunches if you have a diastasis recti. Following this advice, I skipped flexion {a.k.a. crunches} for over three years afraid I would increase the split!  Guess what, this guru was wrong.

Postpartum Exercise

 
Diane Lee, physiotherapist shares how women can have a gap and still transfer load through the body without pain. It’s about your function movement and transfer of load in your body so you don’t have more biomechanics and injuries.  
You can do crunches with an abdominal separation IF you know how to engage your pelvic floor first and you re-learn how to transfer load through your body. 
Not sure if you have a separation? Click here to watch my YouTube Video.

#2 A little leaking is ok

 
The pelvic floor is very resilient, but one sign it is not functioning properly; is when you have leaked. Leaking a little bit is a sign of pelvic floor weakness. This weakness in your “inner unit”, can create a dysfunction in how you transfer load through your body.
 
You may also have trouble breathing, low back pain, hip pain or a weak core in response to your pelvic floor tone.
 
In a large postpartum study of prevalence for urinary incontinence (UI), Wilson et al (2002) found that 45% of women experienced UI at 7 years postpartum and that 27% who were initially incontinent in the early postpartum period regained their continence while 31% who were continent became incontinent.

#1 Kegels are enough

Kegels are small contractions of your pelvic floor muscles, suggested during pregnancy and postpartum to decrease incontinence.

The reason Kegels may not work is:

a) your pelvic floor could be too tight, needing a release
b) you’re performing the pelvic exercises incorrectly
c) your body alignment could be off
d) you need a full body workout
 
There are over ten different ways to contract your pelvic floor. Squeezing and lifting these muscles are not enough to gain the full effect of your pelvic floor strength.

Conclusion

In conclusion, allow your body 1-2 years to recover from pregnancy. Seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist if you have any pain, leaking, bulging or pressure in your pelvic floor.  Your body will heal, 
 
Are you ready for a postpartum plan? Click here to learn about Pelvic Pow-HER.
10 Things I would have done differently postpartum

10 Things I would have done differently postpartum

I cried when we left the hospital.

I was so afraid to go home with two babies and get back to real life where I had to cook, clean and care for two little ones. I was right to be afraid.

Our postpartum time was filled with so much chaos, crying and sleep deprivation.

We opened two businesses and had twins in the same year. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone.

Five years later, we survived the fevers, the crying, the sleep training, the potty training and feeding them with only one experience of Mario choking on ice.

So, I’d love to share with you what I would do differently if I were to raise twins all over again.

#1 Ask for Help

I found it very hard to ask for help. I was a strong, independent woman and didn’t realize it’s ok to ask for help. Although friends and family are very busy, they want to help. I’m forever grateful to those who made us meals, held a baby for just a moment and ran after baby a, while I ran in the other direction for baby b. Thank you.

#2 Take supplements

I was so against supplements before giving birth. I wanted everything natural and thought I could get my vitamins and minerals from my food. I suffered from digestion problems, so taking anything scared me as I didn’t know enough. I feared taking anything at all that it may disrupt my digestion more. What I know now, is I lost a lot of blood giving birth, and it’s a traumatic, stressful event, the body needs more support. Postpartum women need iron, vitamins, digestive enzymes, EFA’s and probiotics to restore their gastrointestinal flora. Next time I would take supplements, especially magnesium to release the stress and tension!

Essential fatty acid supplementation (1-3 g/day combined EPA and DHA) and adequate cold water fish consumption during pregnancy and during the postpartum period may prevent or alleviate postpartum depression. ¹

#3 Improve my diet

The first six weeks were all about survival. Whatever you made me, I ate it. I woke up to coffee and had wine to wind down at night. The excessive caffeine contributed to my insomnia and created a terrible daily routine of anxiety. Next time, I would wake up with hot water and lemon and eat oatmeal to aid my digestion. I’d skip the caffeine, chocolate, and coffee.

#4 Skip the wine & beer

I found myself drinking Guinness as it was supposed to increase my milk supply. I would have a glass of wine or a drink to take the pain away in the evening. My body ached from sleeping just two hours most nights, and I was numbing the pain with alcohol. It didn’t help. It created anxiety and insomnia that lasted months. I’d skip the alcohol and drink herbal teas of chamomile, lavender, and stinging nettles.

#5 Take adaptogens sooner

Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help you adapt to stress. At the time of my children’s birth in 2013, I studied herbs for over six years but what I was not taking was adaptogens; like Ashwagandha or Reishi mushrooms. These herbs help the body modulate stress, reduce anxiety and ease insomnia. Ashwagandha, motherwort, and nettles are considered a L1 in the risk category for lactation risk.² For a list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding see Kelly Mom’s website. 

#6 Meet with a pelvic floor physical therapist

My six-week postpartum visit to the doctor was a disappointment. I asked her if I had a diastasis recti or a prolapse. She insisted everything was “fine.” I didn’t feel fine. It turns out I did have both. Meeting with a pelvic floor physiotherapist would have confirmed my biggest worries and eased some anxiety about my body. Locally, we love Dr. Ashely Hocutt. See her website here.

#7 Had my thyroid checked

Your thyroid can become hyperthyroid two to four months after birth and then hypothyroid for two to eight weeks. I treated my self for hyperthyroid with botanicals, but I would have loved to have a proper diagnosis. Dr. Aviva Romm discuss’s your postpartum thyroid here. 

#8 Waited to go back to work

In most cultures, the new mom is encouraged to rest for forty days. The family helps with food and caring for the newborn. The mom is invited to sleep and relax. Again, this was not my experience. The worries of the new business, the stress of not sleeping and the never-ending crying of babies was exhausting. If I were to do it again, I would have planned better to be able to step away from my business and ask for help.

#9 Moved in with my parents

I joke about this, but it’s the truth. Raising twins is hard. Very hard. Living with family would have helped immensely. End of story.

#10 Hire a postpartum doula

Postpartum doulas are known as the “must haves” accessory for new moms. They help new moms with the caring of the child so that would we can trust our inner momma instincts. They also may help with light housekeeping and meal preparation. I breastfed both of my kids for three weeks, and then I looked in the mirror and thought, I am never going to get out of the house if this doesn’t change. That night at 3:00 am I ordered formula and The Baby Whisperer on my phone. The next day Mario ate 5oz. of formula and slept seven hours! I would have loved for someone to tell me it’s ok to give your kids formula! Katherine Whiteside runs a free infant support group at the local libraries.  Sign up for the Linda’s Ladies breastfeeding support group for postpartum questions and support.

If you are in the “thick of it” and your babies are young.  Don’t worry, it will get easier.

I hope some of these tips help you survive the chaos of raising little ones.

xoxo

Tara

¹Romm, Aiva; Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health

²Hale, Thomas; Medications and mothers milk 2017

Why I added adaptogens when I had postpartum depression

Why I added adaptogens when I had postpartum depression

The clock reads 2 am.

A baby cries.

I startle awake, jack-knifing out of bed to run to the twins bedroom. Exhausted and overwhelmed once again.

This time, it’s Eva who needs her pacifier, a quick pat to soothe her back to sleep. I go through the motions, barely awake and yet totally wired. It is the 24th time I’ve woken since I fell asleep at 9 pm.

I fall back into bed, knowing it will be Mario’s turn to stir me soon. They are seven months old; what I don’t yet know is that this cyclical insomnia will continue until they are two years old.

Even after the babies finally began to sleep better; after I survived the teething period, I continue to wake every few hours. My brain hears babies crying all the time now, even when they are both fast asleep in their cribs.

Months of broken sleep leave me chronically anxious and depressed. My heart races when I arrive at daycare to pick them up in the afternoon, and again, when I’m awake in the early morning, trying to find one moment of peace, alone.

I didn’t have those months of postpartum bliss, snuggling two beautiful babies. When I was pregnant, I pictured myself rocking them to sleep each night and pushing them in the double stroller for our daily walks.

But the demands of caring for two tiny creatures around the clock were never-ending. I was always exhausted but also struggling with anxiety and insomnia. I woke up to two cups of coffee daily and tried to wind down with a glass of wine each night, but it felt like I never really woke up or relaxed.

And as my twins entered toddlerhood and I continued to struggle, I began to wonder: Will I always feel like this?

I thought I must not be up to the task of motherhood — let alone twin motherhood! — the way I expected I would be. In fact, I reached out to a handful of practitioners searching for help.

Some practitioners told me, I needed a longer svasana, or I need to pay $400 of dollars for a visit, but no one said, maybe you have postpartum depression (PPD), how can I help you?

Surviving my own PPD has inspired me to help others. If you’re struggling in the first year or two of having a baby and wondering if there’s a way to feel better, I hope you’ll keep reading.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a potentially devastating mood disorder thought to affect approximately 15% but as many as 28% of new mothers, with an estimated 400,000 women suffering from this condition annually. ¹

And all too often, these women are dismissed, told they just have the “baby blues” and sent away with a pat on the back and maybe, a prescription. Few doctors have the time to sit down with their postpartum patients and ask the hard questions: What are you worrying about? How are you sleeping? Do you have someone who can help you with the baby?

And they are even less likely to make the kind of lifestyle recommendations that can make a big difference, whether that’s straightforward diet tweaks or botanical supplements.

You can have postpartum depression even if you’re getting out of bed every day and functioning fine on paper. It’s important to understand that while of course, new babies are tiring, that never-lifting fog of exhaustion and anxiety is not healthy. You don’t have to live that way.

When does Postpartum Depression start?

PPD can come on gradually anytime in the first year; you may notice symptoms as early as two weeks postpartum; however, it can occur at any time in the first year and may last up to a year or longer.

I particularly noticed insomnia began after I stopped breastfeeding the twins. The months of sleep deprivation led to anxiety, stress, and depression.

Why does postpartum depression occur?

There are lots of theories. One theory is the hormones shift that rapidly occur during the postpartum period, which can trigger a cascade of neurochemical effects. Thyroid function can go from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid in a matter of months.

Why is autoimmune thyroid disease so common after birth?

When the normal immunologic changes that kept you from rejecting your baby as an alien being while she or he was in your uterus start to revert back to normal after birth, they can play some nasty little tricks on your own body tissue leading to autoimmune disease that targets the thyroid, especially in women who are already genetically susceptible.- Aviva Romm

A second theory is sleep deprivation

“Some research suggests that in the first year postpartum, the average sleep debt of Mothers is 700 hours.” ~ Dr. Oscar Serrallach M.D.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding can all leave your body depleted, as the baby takes the nourishment she needs. Postpartum women often have inadequate levels of essential fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, and protein, all of which have been associated with PPD. ³

Iron is one of the most critical nutrients to replenish post-childbirth, especially if blood tests showed anemia during your pregnancy. The immense loss of blood during childbirth can dramatically deplete your iron stores and eat a healthy diet or take your prenatal vitamins may not be enough to make up the difference.

This is worrisome because anemia triggers the kind of fatigue commonly associated with depression.

And the lack of social and emotional support that most American mothers face also plays a critical role. The support from family members during the postpartum period allows for the greatest care of mother and baby, it places importance on bonding the new baby with the community.²

How does postpartum depression feel?

It is as if you are living outside of your world, looking in and you cannot recognize the woman you see. You may experience any or all of these:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Despair
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to cope or function with daily life
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Irrational concern for the baby’s well-being
  • Joylessness
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Memory loss
  •  Poor concentration
  • Sadness
  • Thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby ·

Note: You should report all of these symptoms to your doctor, especially if you’re struggling with thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby. The vast majority of women with PPD will not harm their babies. But the fear that you might can be petrifying and all-consuming. Professional help is available. NYC health lists.

How can I manage postpartum depression?

There is no single magic solution. Postpartum depression is a multifactorial problem requiring attention on all different levels. Personal I’ve found a healthy diet, rest, self-care, art therapy, and adaptogens helped pull me out of postpartum depression.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help us adapt to stress.  Herbs like Panax Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Astragalus, Licorice, and Rhodiola can reduce adrenal fatigue or this burnout we experience from sleep deprivation.

Essentially, the HPA Axis (or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis ) is how our brain and body communicate with each other — and when we’re stressed out, it sets in motion a series of hormonal and neuroendocrine responses that control our body’s primary alert system, known as the “fight or flight” response.

When you’re in fight or flight, you may experience increased heart rate, increase blood pressure, a sudden need to pee or dilated pupils. Sounds smells, and colors may all become more vivid because all of our senses go on high alert as well.

The problem is that many of us live in a chronic state of fight or flight, especially in the postpartum years when you’re being woken up at all times of the night, or constantly having to jump up every time a baby cries.

Over time, this can lead to dysfunction. The HPA Axis loses its ability to shut off and leaves us in fight or flight mode all day long. If you’re struggling with PPD, you’re probably stuck in this mode as well.

A category of herbs called adaptogens can help regulate this stress response. In traditional medicine systems, these are also known as “tonics” and their purpose is to help restore adrenal health, ease anxieties and reduce cortisol levels.

My favorite adaptogen to use with postpartum breastfeedding moms is Ashwagandha, known as the “strength of stallions” as it strengthens the immune system, reduces cortisol levels and balances thyroid hormones. (It’s considered a Level 1 category, in the herb/risk during lactation categories and considered safe to take when you’re breastfeeding.)

If you’re not breastfeeding ginseng (Panax ginseng), St. John’s wort, Schisandra and Kava Kava may help as well.

If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, know that you are not alone. Diet, community support, and botanicals can help begin to nourish your body in conjunction with therapy and possibly medication.

The first and hardest step is to ask for help.

Your friends your loved ones and your community want to help you, all you have to do is ask.

xoxo

Tara

My health consultations focus on diet, self-care techniques and botanicals to help restore your adrenals, reduce anxiety, insomnia and depression.

¹ Romm, Aviva; Botanical Medicine For Women’s Health. Pg. 418

² Adrews, Dr. Lia; 7 Times A woman; Ancients wisdom on health and beautify for every stage of your life

³Romm, Aviva Jill; The Natural Pregnancy Book

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