Running on Empty has become the unfortunate badge of Modern Motherhood in our fast paced society. This state has become so common it has earned the term Post-Natal Depletion, and can last up to 7 years after the babies are born! Common symptoms include sleep disturbances, insecurity and self doubt, isolation, vulnerability, brain fog, lethargy and a sense of unworthiness and not being able to cope.
Our modern lifestyles are the main culprit behind this epidemic. Many women begin pregnancy in a depleted state with the pressure of a demanding career or social schedule. Not allowing the time for a proper recovery after birth compounds the problem. On top of that, many new mothers lack family and societal support after the baby is born. This absence of multigenerational support, which has been part of culture since ancient times, contributes to the necessity to be and do everything. In addition, our food has become nutrient poor and we live in a toxic environment filled with pollution and heavy metals. The ongoing and prolonged stress of these factors has a negative effect on our hormones, immune function and overall health.
On top of everything else, a new mother’s brain transforms into what has been compared to a software upgrade. The reprogramming produces a state of hypervigilance, or baby radar. This is necessary to keep the baby safe and alive, however, it can be the mother’s downfall if her needs are not supported.
What follows is a plan to restore vitality to break through the fog and get back on your feet. The first step is to see a Functional Doctor with a holistic practice to get a comprehensive nutritional analysis. Often we are insufficient in macro and micro nutrients such as Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D Zinc, Magnesium and Copper. DHA is vital in repairing the nervous system and the brain and can be found in supplements or fish. Choose fresh, whole food and stay hydrated. Finding an exercise program that you enjoy combined with a healthy diet helps to bring hormones back in balance and promotes better quality sleep. Turn off your computer, tablet and phone at least one hour before going to bed. Try instead an herbal bath with magnesium salt to relax and unwind before bedtime. Journaling, restorative yoga or reading an actual book help to decompress from the events of day.
Connect with your community to support your emotional health and well being. This is the time to enlist in the aid of a counselor, therapist or life coach. A Mother’s Group can be a lifesaver and is the modern day equivalent of family and neighbors. Be open to receiving and giving help to others. This forms the foundation for future generations to look for inspiration. Motherhood is a heroine’s journey, but it is not meant to be done alone. Armed with this information it is up to us to take the necessary steps to support and nourish the mothers in our lives, as well as ourselves. Doing this will create a new paradigm so our daughters can flourish and Motherhood can reclaim the sacred spot it once held in our culture.