"My body just doesn't feel the same since having a baby."
"My brain just isn't working like it used to."
"Will I ever feel energetic again?"
"Will my concentration and ability to focus ever come back?"
These are only some of the comments and questions moms often ask me during coaching calls or on the playground (after they find out what I do;)).
And, I so get it: after a while, when you are ready to come out of the infant cocoon where you've been nesting with your little one, you just want to feel like yourself again.
Yet, so many mothers just don't know where to start and feel helpless -and even hopeless- as to when and how they will ever reclaim a sense of self, physically and mentally.
I also find that in most mom groups that I am part of, there is this sense of defeat... that, as moms, we just have to accept that we feel exhausted, drained, depleted, and lost. While there is some truth to that (unless you're blessed with one of those magical children who sleep really well from the start), I also think that there is a difference between feeling tired and being utterly exhausted, physically in bad shape (or even in pain) and basically braindead.
Here is what I wish all women knew about the importance of nutrient repletion after pregnancy:
Pregnancy, birth and the postpartum months (or let's be honest, sometimes years) are a very demanding time for a woman's body.
Particularly pregnancy and breastfeeding are known to deplete a woman's body in nutrients because Mother Nature's absolute priority during pregnancy and breastfeeding is to make sure that all the best, most vital nutrients are being delivered to your baby for optimal development.
In addition, blood-loss during birth, recovery from any surgical procedures involved in your birth as well as sleep deprivation and stress during the newborn stage are adding to the devastating nutritional deficiencies so many women are facing without even knowing that nutrient repletion is something that exists, not to mention, something that they should pay attention to.
That's why it is so important for mothers to consciously replenish their lost nutritional and energetic reserves during the postpartum period.
Optimally, you obviously would want to never let your nutrient levels drop too low in the first place, so for those of you who are thinking of getting pregnant or are currently pregnant, make sure you're taking a high quality prenatal vitamin.
Ideally you'd want to start taking a high quality prenatal six months before conception, all through pregnancy and nursing and for a minimum of two months after you wean. Plus, you want to make sure that you are consuming plenty of the foods I list below.
What is super interesting about the list of nutrients that mothers are commonly depleted in after pregnancy and birth is that this list is very similar to the nutrients that are also found to be deficient in women who are faced with postpartum depression or anxiety as well as women suffering from postpartum thyroiditis. I will write more on those topics in the future.
Here is a list of the nutrients I am talking about. Plus, some food sources to help you replenish your nutrient reserve so you can start to feel like yourself again. Low energy and mommy-brain don't have to be a life sentence.
beans (esp. black eyed peas), lentils, spinach, asparagus, lettuce (like romaine), avocado
shellfish, liver, fish, crab, red meat, and eggs
kale, collard greens, sardines, broccoli, watercress, bok choy, figs, canned salmon, white beans, yogurt or kefir, raw milk (assuming you are not lactose intolerant)
clams, liver, seeds and nuts, beef, lamb, beans, whole grains, dark leafy greens (spinach), dark chocolate and raw cocoa
* keep in mind that iron absorption is aided by Vit C and inhibited by calcium & caffeine
brazil nuts, seafood, fish, seeds, pork, beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, crimini mushrooms
Spinach, nuts (cashews, pecans), seeds (flax, poppy, sesame, pumpkin & squash), beans (chickpeas), mushrooms, beef, lamb, green peas, dates, eggs, crab
salmon, mackerel, tuna (small amounts), herring, trout, sardines, fish roe, avocado, spirulina, olives, walnuts and other nuts and seeds, coconut oil and coconut butter, butter
Always stick to as much organic, non-GMO produce, grass-fed, hormone & antibiotic free animal products and wild, low toxin fish as possible.
In the comments below, let me know: Do feel like yourself -physically or mentally- after having had a baby? Or do you feel like you've just been "off?" How is your focus and concentration? How's your energy? Do you feel good again in your body?