Dear mamas, you who are creating babies still in your body, and you who are growing those already born, please be encouraged by these words.
Wherever you are on your motherhood journey, it is important to know that you are allowed to feel what you are feeling – in your body and your mind. A common trend I have seen lately is people (women especially) offering a disclaimer to their troubles: “I’m so tired…but I know that I have it better than so many other people,” “I can’t stop crying and I don’t know why…but there are so many people who are sick and actually have a reason to cry,” “I feel…but…” You have a right to feel, without having to downplay these feelings just because other people also have their own legitimate feelings. You are going through so much right now, and regardless of what is happening around you, you need to find healing and stabilization. Healing comes after the need is identified. So let yourself see your physical and mental needs and allow yourself to heal.
Common advice for postpartum mama includes such tips as “sleep when your baby sleeps” and “ask for help.” These sound lovely, but what if you have more than one child or run a business or are in school or are quarantined and unable to ask people to bring you food or clean your house? What are some very real and easy ways that you can help yourself heal in mind and body at home even during chaos?
Legs Up the Wall
Lay flat on the floor with your legs up a wall! While it is harder to do during pregnancy it is still possible – just prop your hips with a pillow so that you are laying tilted to the left rather than flat on your back. In addition to just feeling fantastic, this position is said to reduce stress. It is a position of vulnerability. If you willingly enter into this position, your body will understand that you are only doing so because your environment is safe, and it will start to relax, causing lowering of cortisol, your main stress hormone. Anxiety levels reduce, and your body will be able to put more effort to healing rather than being in fight or flight mode.
Healthy fats are needed for physical and mental healing. Without healthy fats, our brains are unable to function, we have lack of energy, increased stress levels, unbalanced hormones and an inability to heal properly. Healthy fats include quality animal fats (Butter, tallow, lard, eggs, cream, etc.) as well as coconut cream/oil and olive oil. Using these liberally will supply your body with the increased need for fats that it has during this time in your motherhood. One of my favorite snacks right now when I’m ravenously nursing in the middle of the night is chia seed pudding. I always have some in the fridge – 2 cups of cream (dairy or coconut), ⅓ cup of chia seeds, shake it up and refrigerate overnight. Serve in small helpings with honey, berries, or almond butter for a quick, easy, nourishing pick-me-up.
This is obvious but often overlooked. Health should not be over complicated. It is easy to grab a cup of tea or coffee after a sleepless night, or snack when you have a craving, but water is usually what you actually need. If you are feeling depleted, exhausted, sad, uncomfortable, having back pain or headaches or thirsty, DRINK! Your body needs water for everything – give your body what it needs! Everyone needs a different amount of water depending on their stage in life. A good general rule of thumb is to drink a base of 8 full glasses of water per day. Then listen to your body. Your body is smart. It will let you know if it needs more, just listen and don’t ignore the signs.
Bonus: Watch a Sad Movie
This may sound sappy and maybe it is not for everyone. But sometimes, crying is what you need. Crying is healing. It is a way for your body to release, detox and refresh. You may feel uncomfortable just sitting and crying for “no reason,” so put on a sad movie and cry freely. Let your body release. Trust me, it is freeing.
You are doing a wonderful job, mama. Your body was made to do what it is doing right now. You are resilient and beautiful.
Yoga Body & Mind Handbook by Jasmine Takeshita
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Water For Health, For Healing, For Life by F. Batmanghelidj