Postpartum anxiety, something most moms don't talk about because it’s not recognized.
I have two girls, Layla and Hannah, and it was just recently that I realized what I had struggled with after Hannah was born, actually had a name.
Before I knew postpartum anxiety was a thing, I just labeled it as having anxious “what if” moments. You can read my story here.
I deal with anxiety from time to time still, it thankfully doesn’t consume my everyday life, and I have amazing natural tools to support my mind and body. I feel lucky to be aware of it.
I had recently been doing some personal development, digging deeper into who I am, my struggles and insecurities and how to learn and grow from them.
I am a true believer that in order to grow and be the better you, you need to be open to learning and growing. That staying where you are, in your struggles, insecurities and sadness, will not help you grow and thrive.
This personal growth kept leading me back to the feelings and struggles I had gone through after having Hannah. So I knew I had to dig a little deeper. Truly understand what it was that I had gone through, why it happened.
How utilizing the tools I used to overcome PPA actually worked and to help support other moms who are struggling.
So I started to research postpartum anxiety. These were a list of signs that fit me to a T
Feelings of dread-check
Lack of concentration-check
Changes in eating and sleeping patterns-check
Postpartum anxiety is a disorder that is a cousin to postpartum depression and according to the American Pregnancy Association it affects about 10 % of new moms. That is massive!
PPA tends to come on in the form of worry. Losing control and balance in your mind. Not feeling calm and always on edge. It’s not talked about often. Most moms don’t even realize that PPA is what they are struggling with and that it is actually a disorder that they can get support for.
For me, PPA started two months prior to having Hannah when my sister gave birth to her daughter. Her daughter had a comfort blanket and I would constantly worry about her suffocating with that thin blanket, to a point that I would have a full on panic attack over it. For some, PPA can start anywhere from birth to the baby’s first birthday.
When we think of anxiety in general, we know a few things that can trigger it. Things like lack of sleep, bad eating habits, caffeine, being indoors too long, drugs/alcohol...add in hormonal changes after having a baby and the constant need to be taking care of a newborn and we are hit with a big list of triggers.
Postpartum anxiety unfortunately doesn't just “go away” like the baby blues. Because a lot of moms don't recognize it as a disorder, they tend to not seek the help needed.
Always talk with your Dr if you feel PPA is something you are struggling with. I am not a Dr, just a mom sharing her experience, research and things that have personally help me along my journey.
I am a firm believer in natural remedies when it comes to our health and wellness. Self help is so important to learn about and helps you become more aware. So here are a few things I suggest trying alongside chatting with your Dr.
Go for a walk. Getting outside every day for at least 15 minutes is important. Breathing in fresh outside air helps increase the oxygen to your body. Oxygen affects serotonin (the happy hormone). Taking a deep breath in through your nose, holding for three seconds and releasing through pierced lips will help boost your body's oxygen which in turn improves the serotonin levels to make you feel happier. You can grab my free guide to grounding here.
Mindful Meditation. Taking the time to sit daily and practice meditation is phenomenal for your brain. It is actually shown to change the structure of your brain! Mindful meditation is something I've recently learned about and am fascinated with. The key is to practice daily, even if it's just for a couple of minutes.
Sit in the sun in the early mornings. The sun has amazing benefits in the early morning. Think about all the things that come to life as the sun comes up, the birds are chirping, the flowers open. When we sit in the early morning sun we ourselves are becoming charged.
Use essential oils. I am a big believer in the benefits of essential oils. They are what truly helped me get started on this journey of my struggles with postpartum anxiety and coming out the other end stronger. I use multiple essential oils that reduce the stress I'm feeling. When I inhale my oils, they calm my mind. They bring me to a sense of control, allow me to be present in the moment and release any worry I may be dealing with. To reassess the situation.
Take your supplements. Our food isn’t what it used to be, so taking supplements is important to stay healthy. For both our bodies and minds. When our body isn't properly nourished, we lose focus on things, we may not feel 100%. We may be holding onto some toxic build up in our body that we don't realize and its could be part of the reason for the anxiety to come on. I encourage you to dive a bit deeper on the gut/brain connection. Here is a fantastic book I recommend.
Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Eating healthy is so important for our mind. When we fill our bodies with junk, our mind is filled with that as well. You may experience headaches, feel foggy, gain weight which spirals you into more depression or anxiety.
All these things are so important to focus on. They help balance out our life and can help reduce the worry in our mind which in turn can lead to less anxiety. You can check out my free resource on finding balance here.
I encourage you, practice meditation daily, be consistent with your food, oils, supplements every day and get outside for some self care in the early morning sun and short walks.
If you're looking for more information and want to become part of a positive community, sharing experiences and natural options to support PPA, click below!
Have your lady parts ever literally felt like they were falling out of you during your period?
Friends, I am all about normalizing our periods. So if that's not something you care to read about then please, move on.
Let me paint a picture for you of what my period struggles have been through-out my life.
The pain, as I would describe to Matt would be like that of a really bad poop cramp you get that just won't go away. He would always say that's not possible, because to him, that pain was THE WORST.
I had struggled with this before kids where it felt like someone was literally stabbing my ovaries. It would leave me laid up in bed and unable to do much of anything.
I went on the birth control pill to help regulate my period and help with the cramping at the age of 15 but that seemed to bring up a whole host of problems.
One birth control pill made the pain worse than before, so my Dr switched to another pill but that one gave me intense yeast infections. Every single month.
I finally made the decision that the pill was not meant for me so I went off of it.
From there, I struggled with infrequent periods. They wouldn't come for 3+ months and when they finally did they would last 7-12 days.
My gyne thought I had a particular syndrome and that I could potentially be infertile because of all the issues I was having, so we started a ton of tests to figure out what was going on.
At the time, Matt and I weren't trying to get pregnant but we always said if it happened, it happened and that would be great. Shortly after, I got pregnant with Layla.
So what was happening? My guess, my hormones were completely out of balance.
Around a year after I had Layla, I got my period back. It was excruciating. Things got worse for me.
I would go through a super tampon and pad within hours. The pain was like knives jabbing into me... My vagina would literately throb and felt like it was going to fall out of me.
Shortly after my periods returned I got pregnant with Hannah, so I didn't endure that for long.
When Hannah was a month old I started using natural remedies for my postpartum stress. I hadn't been sleeping, my anxiety was way high and I was becoming more on edge. You can read more about that here.
I became part of this really amazing community of people on facebook that would share their wins and experiences with various things. It was so cool to be able to read some of these and get to try some out for myself and family.
Utilizing natural remedies has always been a part of me. So this totally fit into my life.
It made me feel empowered taking our families health into our own hands.
I had gotten my period back around the one year mark with Hannah as well. At this point, I was turning to natural remedies for most things. So looking for a natural option to help support my hormones and support my period made sense.
That community I mentioned I was a part of earlier, had been raving about a particular product and how it helped support their periods, support their hormones and more. (I recommend you read up on the benefits of wild yam with supporting hormones) so I grabbed the blend of essential oils that contained wild yam and started to use it. I had nothing to lose at this point!
I was faithful using it every day. Consistency is key. I used it every morning on my body. My period returned and guess what, it wasn't terrible!
Since incorporating natural, plant based, clean living into my life, my periods are spot on.
Every single month. My periods last for 5 days and I have little to no cramping. My flow is moderate to light and I do not dread that time of my cycle. I do not let it control my life anymore!
I'm so thankful for this community I became a part of. For if it hadn't been for them, I would still be sitting here, soaking up super tampons and pads and dreading that time of the month.
Finding balance can be hard in all aspects of our life.
Hormonal balance can be extra tricky.
You can learn more in this group where we talk about various ways to find balance in various aspects of our everyday life.
Raw, organic Cocoa powder or raw, organic cacao powder
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao powder, sifted if necessary
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- optional items: roasted nuts, wolfberries, cranberries, pinch of fine sea salt, coconut flakes, 4-6 drops of essential oil from the plus line. I personally like orange or peppermint
When using essential oils in your recipes, please make sure it is approved for internal use. I've found a company that has been approved by Health Canada for internal use and I trust the source.
Did you make this recipe? I'd love to hear how you made out and what toppings you picked! Feel free to share a picture on instagram and tag @haleylorman