My daughter turned two years old in January. This is the family life I always wanted but it’s impossible to deny the toll motherhood has taken on my health. I still, even two years later, do not feel the strength I did pre-pregnancy.
I have suffered from extreme hypermobility all my life, feeling pain and stiffness in my joints. However, it was always manageable and never prevented me from doing day-to-day activities. My condition has worsened, dramatically, since pregnancy due to the additional relaxin that is added to your body during pregancy.
I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl at 37 weeks, after spending weeks in the hospital. My birthing plan was not what I had anticipated. I lost a lot of blood and I was exhausted. However, I thought this was normal and to be expected. I mean childbirth is the most exhausting process ever and combine that with the trauma of everything - of course, I was going to feel drained!
I was aware of postnatal depletion before I had my daughter, but made the optimistic assumption that as long as I took care of myself, I would manage to avoid it.
Since giving birth, I can definitely say that my energy levels have not returned. I am constantly fatigued and suffer from the dreaded brain fog, affecting my memory and concentration. My balance is affected. I am sometimes shaky on my feet. The texture of my hair has changed. It's coarser and I have days when it looks remarkably like straw. My nails break often. My hormones are still unpredictable but thankfully, I am calmer than I was during pregnancy! My libido is much lower. It's difficult to feel sexy when you feel so well...gross.
Learning more about postantal depletion is helpful me to make meaningful steps in my own recovery and by sharing my own experiences, hopefully help other families along the way. Pilates, osteopathy and meditation have been helping me both physically and also mentally.
I hope it helps some mothers who feel a sense of shame that they are not the effortlessly functioning “wonder mums” that society has told us we all need to be. Some will struggle to work, look as they did pre-pregnancy and some will simply find it possible to remember where they parked the car. We are not the same as before and that needs to be recognised.
Bubba and Me is a strong advocate of self-care for the parents. I am a great believer that taking care of yourself will make you a better parent: stronger, more patient, more aware and more present. I didn’t realise that I should be taking my own advice, even more seriously than I had been.
I finished reading Dr. Oscar Serrallach’s “The Postnatal Depletion Cure: A Complete Guide to Rebuilding Your Health and Reclaiming Your Energy for Mothers of Newborns, Toddlers, and Young Children.” The book recommends focusing on “the four pillars of health: sleep, purpose, activity and nutrition.” His focus on postnatal well-being is an area where Western society often fails its mothers. Our focus is all about our baby, but to truly care for our children properly, we need to look after ourselves.
Bubba & Me is opening in Tunbridge Wells in April/May 2022 and will be home to not only our shop, but also a cafe and a large events space. We will be working with experts and specialists to cover a range of different parenting topics and classes.
I’ll pass on anything I find useful on my own path to recovery, because putting yourself first sometimes does not mean putting bubba second. It’s vital to making you the best parent you can be.
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