So, you’ve spawned. Congrats! Now the fun begins! That little bundle of joy will cause you more pain and grief than you can even begin to comprehend… but that is ok, because that little crotch monster will be the absolute greatest thing that will ever happen to you. Promise.
But, you feel sad and weird. But why? Why do you feel so sad, so weird, so disconnected from everything? You created a happy, healthy little tiny you (under ideal circumstances.) but you kinda feel like life has caved in on you, and only you, and you are like that little blob in the vintage zoloft commercials that has the rain cloud hanging over its head throughout the whole spiel on why Zoloft is for you. Side note, they pretty much hit the nail on the head with their sad blob. That is literally what I felt like in the weeks, and months after having my youngest. I knew what postpartum depression was, I was warned about it, but for the first time I was experiencing it and I didn’t know why.. I didn’t have it after my first, so I just ignored it. That wasn’t smart.
In ignoring the problem, I started making really bad decisions with my health. You know, only wearing sweatpants, all day every day. Using the treadmill as a clothes rack for the clothes I wasn’t wearing, or the classic eat Fudge Rounds for Breakfast and Dinner. Not to mention the thinning hair, weird colored skin and brittle nails. All of this made me feel like the ultimate reject of the Ms. America pageant. I basically just gave up. I was happy with my kiddos. They were great but life just sucked and I hated it and I felt like a total failure because I couldn’t get my shit together and I didn’t even have the energy to put on cleanish yoga pants.
I actually gained weight post baby. Seriously. I ran all through my pregnancy and only managed to put on a little over 18 pounds. Which was a fucking miracle, considering I packed on more than 70 with my first. I worked hard to redefine my relationship with food, get healthy and have a healthy baby. I did that, and then within 3 days after having my second, you know the initial euphoria produced by endorphins? I just didn’t care about anything except making sure my baby sustained. It was weird, and kinda scary. I ran marathons while pregnant and now I barely had the energy to brush my hair. So I didn’t. Not gonna lie.
After a couple of months, I grew tired of feeling like a turd on someone’s shoe so I did some research. I didn’t want to go on medicine, including anti-depressants and in my crash course in using nutrition as a means of healing the body, a little sign of hope emerged.
Thyroid. I was fairly certain my thyroid was screwed.
I convinced myself to do what I could until my 6 week postpartum checkup, which entailed a 21 day sugar detox, paired with some sort of exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day. I thought it would help pull me out of the funk I was in and maybe even help me lose some of the baby weight. I knew I probably couldn’t fix my thyroid on my own, but any sort of attempt at being healthy could only help me at this point. I set small goals for myself and the more I did the better I felt. Still wasn’t 100% prior to my checkup, so I brought it up to my OBGYN.
Of course, everything checked out perfectly at my appointment. Perfect? Everything is perfect? I brought up everything to my doctor. Including the hopeless feeling, random bouts of uncontrollable crying, and not wanting to wear clean clothes. She just hugged me and said “welcome to the world of being a mother of two” offered to fill a script for Zoloft (you know, back to me being a whole sad blob) and sent me on my way.
I WAS NOT PERFECT OR HEALTHY. JESUS, WOMAN I’M WEARING DIRTY CLOTHES AND HAVEN’T SHOWERED IN A WEEK. YOU ARE THE DOCTOR. HELP ME!
As much as that diagnosis of perfect health hurt (really, strange I know but for the first time in my life I was praying that something would be wrong so they could fix it.) There wasn’t any indication on any of the tests conducted to indicate that my thyroid levels, hormones etc. were off balance. I just figured I was fucked and this was my life from now on. I kept that mentality for a few weeks. Took my Zoloft and did my thing. Wondering around half drugged by the anti-depressants and completely unhappy. There had to be someone out there that was experiencing this. I knew I couldn’t be alone. Everyone else I knew that went on meds for PPD became slap-happy ring leaders of the motherhood circus after a few weeks. Why was I such a special case of sad?
I continued with my strict diet and exercise routine. I even began running again. It wasn’t enjoyable but it forced me to shower and put on clean clothes after. My husband was SO EFFING GRATEFUL. Plus, it was now early spring and the babies loved riding in the stroller as I ran. I started seeing a chiropractor and she suggested I see this therapist in my hometown that uses a holistic approach as much as possible. I got the contact info and immediately made an appointment.
I got in quickly because they took what I was experiencing as a serious issue. I was instructed to come in 30 minutes early for testing. She said “I can look at you and tell you right off the bat that you have a trifecta of underlying problems going on. But don’t worry, they are an easy fix.” I just kinda turned up my nose. I had one doctor run tests and tell me I was perfect, and this lady looked at me and was like “you are fucked, mama.”
But, she was right. The OBGYN only did ONE type of thyroid testing. They also didn’t check my vitamin D and B levels. As it turns out vitamin B deficiency is one of the most common causes for depression and anxiety. I was deficient. Severely deficient. And to top that off, my thyroid WASN’T functioning properly. I was also told that in her experience, most women are in full blown adrenal failure by time their children turn two because most people take the exhausting, lack of willpower, anxiety etc. as being “motherhood.” You know, exactly what my OBGYN told me. A simple blood test before a mother and baby are discharged from the hospital could put an end to this cycle.
She told me to stay on the Zoloft for the remainder of the month, and started me on b12 injections twice a month with a low dosage of syntheroid to pull me out of my impending adrenal failure. I also began seeing her as a therapist to get a grip on handing all of the shitty things 2015 was throwing at me. She never once threw unnecessary pharmaceuticals in my face. Told me that after I ran my course on Zoloft and my body reached its threshold with the B12, diet could take it from there and I may even be able to come off of the syntheroid.
And she was right.
I look back at sad me, sitting in a paper gown nursing my baby while waiting to be seen by my OBGYN and I literally cry. I was so scared that I couldn’t be helped. What I had to go through to get my sanity back was unreal. My OBGYN is an amazing doctor for a pregnant lady. She respected my desire for an intervention free birth and let me labor on my own and didn’t keep me on a schedule that fit HER calendar. However, she wasn’t a very good post baby doctor, though. But, with that being said she did her job, and her tests saw nothing wrong. I didn’t die and my baby was healthy. I won’t bash her or complain. I do agree with my therapist that a blood test to check for deficiencies for new mothers is A MUST. Do people seriously not know what your body goes through to grow a human? My god they cram vitamins down your throat from the get go. It just doesn’t make any sense that they don’t check and make sure you have everything you need in your system prior to leaving! You know, before the real fun begins… like feeding the thing!
It seems that I had to jump through a lot of hoops to take control of my health. I hate that I had to go through it, but in sharing my story several of my other friends got checked for vitamin deficiencies and in most cases, they were also deficient. They weren’t feeling quite as bad as I was, but still had many of the same symptoms. In a way I am kinda glad it happened. It really kickstarted my part time career in health. I am working on my own NTP Certification on top of becoming a yoga instructor.
My youngest is now 8 months old. I am back to feeling almost 100%, I still struggle with anxiety but that is because I have a ridiculously stressful job and it consumes me at times. But I’m learning to deal with it through leadership coaching and therapy. I’m only slightly crazy these days.
I am now back to running almost everyday on top of yoga and I am proud to say that my diet has never been better. My treadmill is used all the time for its intended purpose and my clothes are back in the closet. Oh and I still wear the yoga pants but they are clean. I still don’t brush my hair though. Fuck that. Takes too long.
Point is,they tell you that postpartum depression exists. What to look for, etc. But they rarely ever tell you about WHY it can happen. Hormones only play a small role. It isn’t fair to suffer through it, and masking the underlying cause with anti-depressants isn’t the answer. If you are currently experiencing this, please look into seeing a physician that can offer specific thyroid testing. Motherhood can be really, really fun, promise!
Here is a link to the 21 Day Sugar Detox.
Here is a link about the paleo diet, and how it can help ease endocrine stress/fatigue
Food CAN heal. 🙂