Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Episode #66: Understanding Baby ‘Colic’ and Postnatal Depletion

Help for Postnatal Depletion in Mothers
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Help for Baby Colic by Helping Mothers!

Show Notes:

In this captivating interview, we delve into the world of postnatal depletion and its impact on exhausted mothers with renowned expert Christiane Panesar. Join us as we explore the fascinating link between baby ‘colic’, gut health, and mental well-being. Christiane shares her wealth of knowledge, providing invaluable insights and practical strategies to help mothers conquer fatigue, support their babies’ gut health, and reclaim their own vitality. Discover the hidden connections between a mother’s well-being, her baby’s health, and the path to postnatal recovery. This episode is a must-listen for any mother looking to break free from exhaustion, embrace self-care, and thrive in all areas of life.

Please note, all information provided during this interview is for entertainment purposes only and should not replace the advice of your doctor and therapist.

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Music Used:

“LazyDay” by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.


Meet Today’s Guest:

Christiane Panesar specializes in helping exhausted mothers conquer fatigue (while helping their babies sleep) so that they can ditch the Postnatal Depletion and become the mother, the business woman, and the lover they know to be. She created Postnatal Depletion Recovery to support mothers who have been putting themselves last for far too long, so that they can make the shift from Zombie to Goddess IN WEEKS, not decades. In fact, her clients now have plenty of energy for family, business AND themselves even if they are juggling being a mom and a business owner, have a baby with ‘colic’ or eczema, or are pregnant.




Episode #66: Understanding Baby ‘Colic’ and Postnatal Depletion

Help for Baby Colic by Helping Mothers!

(Recorded May 1, 2023)

Full Transcript of Interview:

Tonya: Our guest today is Christiane Panesar. Christiane specializes in helping exhausted mothers conquer fatigue while helping their babies sleep so that they can ditch the postnatal depletion and become the mother, the businesswoman and the lover.

They know they can be Christiane. That’s a, that’s a lot of information there. Can you tell us a little bit more about who you are and, and a little bit of, of what you do?

Christiane: Definitely. First of all, thanks for having me, Tonya. And, um, Yeah. How I came to this topic was, uh, really through my own story and my own children.

Um, after I overcame my, my own health challenges, I found it Heart-Food Holistic cuz I wanted to help others. But when I became a mother for the first time, I hit like a totally new wall of difficulties that I didn’t expect. Well, I really, and you probably, you might know what I’m talking about. Well, I really tried to prepare myself for, for pregnancy, healthy pregnancy, healthy childbirth, and postpartum.

I had like no idea really what postpartum meant because nobody really shared with me, um, about their difficulties in postpartum before. So I, I really just expected I’d be back up my up on my feet after a few days. Um, But what I didn’t know was that I would encounter this extreme, extreme sleep deprivation.

Um, you might be able to relate, like I was sleeping on average about three hours at night. And the problem was that baby would just not sleep like she was up till almost four or 5:00 AM every day. And we went through like a typical case of what people would call baby colic. Um, and then the thing was when she finally slept, then I couldn’t sleep anymore because I was just in this extreme hypervigilance where I could not shut down anymore.

I was so worked up, I was so worried about her. Um, and I really felt like I was going insane at that time and felt really ashamed that I was going through this and that I. Couldn’t handle things better. And I had just like the wrong expectations of everything as well. And I just didn’t know what was going on with me, what I was doing wrong, why she wasn’t sleeping.

And I also didn’t expect this kind of change in me, like from feeling like really capable to all of a sudden not being able to do like a healthy snack for myself anymore. And the weird thing was that I could take care of baby without a problem, but I could just not take care of myself anymore. I had like no sense of self care, anything like that.

And I didn’t know why I was feeling so depleted, although I ate what was generally deemed as healthy. And I was already a nutritional consultant at that time, but not even nutrition school taught me how to help my baby and myself. So then I. The day my midwife popped by to see how I was doing. I could see on her face how I was doing, reflected back, like she was just so shocked to see this transformation in me.

And she added the words postpartum depression. And it really shocked me in a good way because I was like, oh my God, like this is what might be going on with me. I’m not crazy. There’s actually some explanation for what I’m going through. And I think this is really important for moms to hear because so many moms are being sent home by the doctor with just anxiety pills and reflex meds for baby.

And the recommendation to just wait it out and. That really igni ignited a spark in me when I, when I heard that possible diagnosis of depression, and I went through like a few low points. Um, when and when I really realized how bad things were. Like one, uh, one time, which I share a lot with, with my moms, um, is where I was breaking down on the ground with my baby in my arm and I was crying and my husband came rushing and, and he said, what’s wrong with the baby?

And I was like, oh, the baby is okay. I’m not okay. And I started yelling at him and it was really good for me to, to actually speak it out loud that I’m not okay and I need help. And I could see like, while this self-sacrifice, um, being so selfless is very noble, um, as moms, but I could see it was really going in a actually dangerous way.

And it, it wasn’t like that I couldn’t take care of my baby anymore, but it was just going in a direction of just the thought of, oh my God, if I’m not. Doing well, she won’t be doing well. And I really, just like a lightweight went on in me. And, um, so I started to look into this and I found out that there’s actually more than just postpartum depression.

There’s something that’s called postnatal depletion, and that’s a syndrome that affects one out of two mothers. It’s estimated. And baby colic actually affects one out of four babies. And that’s just the official numbers. And I, I strongly believe that the unofficial numbers are much higher than that. And because I know it’s a hard thing for moms to realize and to talk about.

So for me, I just couldn’t accept this. Well just wait it out. This is just normal. I couldn’t just keep on watching my baby suffer and not do anything about it to help her. So something in me also didn’t believe that it was true, that there’s nothing I could do about it. So I wanted to turn things around and, um, This postnatal depletion to, to stop this postpartum depression.

And it was a journey. But fast forward, I found out how to help my baby with a colic and sleep, which made all the difference for her and for us. And I found out how to help myself get over postnatal depletion, where I used my postnatal depletion recovery system, which I’m now helping moms with. And postnatal depletion is just something we have to take care of.

Like I, I just had this strong urge to, after my own experience, to share this with moms and, and tell moms, okay, you don’t have to wait it out. You don’t have to suck it up. You can, you don’t need to wait for things to get worse, but you can actually overcome this and in way less time than, than I needed to overcome this.

Wow. You know, you think about, um, especially because my target audience or families with special needs children, we find it easy sometimes to fight for our children. But you’re right to recognize a need in ourselves so that we can be that stronger advocate for our children. It’s important. And that starts from those early, early days when we’re, we are all exhausted.

No one can go through that stage and not be exhausted it. Um, so it hits all of us at different ways. So I’m, I’m looking forward to hearing more about this as, as, as we talk more,

and that’s can be such a good motivation. You’re totally right, Tony. Um, because often we might not speak up for ourselves or ask for help for ourselves, but when it’s about our baby, like then, then we do.

And I wasn’t really good at this before, became a mother to ask for help, and I’m still not the best at it, but I did it because it wasn’t just for my own sake, but for, for my children.

Right, right. Well, we’re gonna talk more, but this season I’ve been asking each of my guests to prepare a little game that we’re gonna play and it’s called Two Truths and a Lie.

If you have not been listening or are not familiar with the game, the guest is sharing three. Facts or pseudo facts about themselves. And it’s our job as listeners to decide which two we think are true and which one is a lie. And we’ll be posting these on Instagram and Twitter, and we’ll an we’ll post the answer a week after this episode releases.

So if you wanna try to post your guess out, um, go to those platforms, or you can put it in the notes on the, the YouTube video and check back a week later to see the answer. So, Christiane, what are your two truths and a lie that you’d like to share with us?

So number one, I live on an acreage in Canada.

So make sure that, that you try to see if you can guess, guess what the answers are here and we will post the final answer in, in a week after this is posted.

But for the reason that we’re on the, the call today, we wanted to talk some more about what we can learn on how to help both the babies and our moms. And um, so I know a lot of our parents that are listening may have older children, but sometimes they have larger families and they may be back through the stage again.

And if not, they can at least help those neighbors and, and family members who are going into the stage of life that we’re talking about. So, Christiane, what are some of the common misconceptions about baby colic? I know what I’ve kind of heard, but what have, what else is out there that, that parents may have heard about or been told when they had their children who may have had colic?

So first of all, colic is a term that people, especially doctors use when they actually don’t know why the baby is crying. So a common definition of colic is when a baby’s crying lasts for more than three hours a day happens for more than three days a week, and occurs for more than three weeks.

So that’s, that’s the definition of colic. It’s, it’s being defined by the length of a baby’s crying. So it’s a total misconception that this is just about the hours of the baby’s crying about, um, right, that it’s normal, that it’s harmless, cuz it’s, that’s what people are being told and that it goes away on its own.

So these are all misconceptions cuz what most often happens is that things rather grow into even bigger problems, which can show in other symptoms such as eczema, ear infections, food sensitivities, or behavior problems slash mental health problems. So a big problem here is really the normalization of colic, which leads to that we’re not listening to our children’s symptoms anymore cuz they’re being told it’s just normal and we should just wait it out.

Um, and often the only solution a doctor has to offer is, um, symptoms, suppressing meds, suppressing the healthy stomach acid and to wait it out, which is really not a good idea because we actually don’t get to why the baby’s actually crying. Like, what is the root cause? Um, it’s all just being put under the same umbrella.

And if we, if we shut down digestion by suppressing our healthy stomach acid, you can imagine that that’s not a good idea, especially if we do it like for a long period of time. And that’s where so many problems can come from. So we really need to ask the question, why is the baby crying and what is the baby communicating to us?

Interesting. Now, my, my experience, my second child, my son was diagnosed with colic and it was the case that you’re talking about where changing the formula, it, it was all digestive issues. That was what we were told, that it was just a matter of maybe he couldn’t tolerate one type of milk, he had to have a different type.

Um, and it was just pretty much grin and bear it until he got past that stage. And, um, and it was a long, a long period of time with, with a lot and on my side, a lot of checking on him to make sure that he was dry, um, fed, you know, safe wherever he was, nothing was wrapped around his fingers causing any pain and just letting him cry it out.

Um, and that’s, that’s what we were told to do. So exactly how you’ve described it is, is the way that we were told to address it. I spent lots of hours washing dishes in the kitchen so that the water would help. Soothe my nerves while I’m trying not to hear it quite as loud in the, in the, the background.

So, um, yeah, so speaking of that, having them cry it out and, you know, checking on those safety things that you wanna check on first, how can a mother differentiate between that normal crying that all babies are gonna go through, cuz that’s their first way of communicating and colic type of crying?

Yeah, good question. Um, first of all, I wanna say here that it’s really important that mothers actually trust their gut instinct. Like if they feel there’s something you’re not quite right with baby, please investigate. Like, even if others, even health practitioners say it’s normal because like you are the expert of your baby. And by the way, you’re also the expert of your own body. So it’s, it’s, it’s really important to, to trust that. And second, um, not every crying is the same. Like if it’s a sudden intense crying, for example, and baby hasn’t been startled or anything like that, it can be a hint of that there’s a baby’s experiencing pain.

Or if baby’s just inconsolable for the longest time and not even milk or rocking and nothing works, like that’s, that’s another sign that there’s something not quite right. Um, and what we call colic often comes together with other symptoms other than crying. Crying is also just a symptom really, such as other symptoms could be like a tight tummy or a gas, or when baby does what looks like baby crunches, like just crunching together or baby making fists or arching back or any, any redness on the skin or what we call diaper rash.

It’s. Not, not necessarily from diapers. Quite often it’s, it’s not just from the diapers, um, eczema and these kinds of things. And also if there’s any odd stool or any hard stool, for example, constipation. So those are also other symptoms. So to see, okay, there’s, there’s something going on. And, but again, it’s not about determining if it’s colic or not because colic isn’t a disease like what we call colic.

It’s really just a symptom as well. Um, but it is about listening, um, to our children’s messages. And if it’s unusual crying or other unusual behavior and other symptoms I, I just mentioned. So, so colic is just a symptom and that like crying is attributed, attributed to something unknown. So that’s how it’s basically defined.

So what we need to do is really find out what is that unknown, what is the root cause, and um, it’s really worth investigating for. For parents. Like it’s even if you find, okay, it was just something harmless or it’s just actually that, but why, why risk that baby, um, has disadvantaged for the rest of her life because we overlooked something.

And, and I heard that story like quite often that moms have been told, oh, this is normal. And then they found out like a year and a half later that, that it wasn’t. It’s really important for moms to not, uh, follow this “wait it out” advice and “it’s just normal.”

And I wanna give an example of, um, uh, somebody named Lynn who was given that advice and she was, uh, going through depletion and baby colic and really tried to help her baby, but just could not find out what it is. And doctor said, well just, just wait it out. Um, It’ll go away. So she really tried to be a hero and tried to push through and tried to push past her depletion.

And she even kept on working out with a personal trainer and tried to be so healthy, but she felt like crying when working out. And when her son was already a year and a half old, she found out that there actually was a real reason for her babies endless crying in a year and a half of sleepless nights.

But by then it was too late for, for Lynn, cuz she’d reached her breaking point and she ended up with adrenal fatigue and an autoimmune condition that she’s still dealing with eight years later. So mom’s really like don’t just, uh, settle with this is normal. You’re a mom now, and your baby’s crying is normal.

Like if your gut’s telling you there’s something not quite right, um, follow that and just look into it. In the worst case you find out, okay, actually we are okay. But in the best case, like you find something and you actually are able to take care of it.

So think, thinking back again for my son. So we’ve always talked about how he was such an intense baby and part of it was a lot of what you described describes my son, um, to the point where we could pick him up underneath his armpit.

And hold him, and he, his body would be so tight that he was just ramrod straight. It’s just, he was just so bunched up. Um, with, with tenseness. And that was during this time that we were told that he had colic. Um, so it makes sense. He also had had the, the eczema and, um, you know, and, and very sensitive skin.

Yeah. So I’m sure a lot of these things are there. So for a young parent that’s listening to this, so you’re telling them to investigate, where are they going to investigate? Are they going to the doctor that told them it was colic? Or how do they know where to start with this?

Yeah, so I definitely, um, like check connections.

Like for example, when they just ate something and then after that they’re like altered, like they’re, they’re crying or they’re cranky, or there’s okay, all of a sudden the skin’s flushing or something like that. Um, and to, to actually take note like yourself, because every baby is different. So they’re, there’s also not just like one.

One or two things you do for colic for everybody. Like it doesn’t work like that. It’s, it’s about symptoms and looking at or keep the connection where it’s coming from. And if you have a good doctor that can actually, you know, help you with that, that would be great. But unfortunately, most doctors are simply not trained in that.

Um, not even pediatricians unfortunately. So it’s something, it’s something we do in like a thorough assessment. It’s something I do with my clients, um, with mom and baby and we gotta look at mom and baby together. Like, they’re like, um, really intertwined. And um, also like, we do like a lot of, uh, like working over a period of time to work with the body’s feedback.

Cuz we’ve really gotta see, okay, how does, how does that body work? How does that body likes this? Like, how did this work? And if it doesn’t work, we gotta fine tune and adjust. So yeah.

I like, I like the point that you made about, um, keeping notes and just kind of recording what’s happening. Cuz then you’ll start to see patterns with it and um, and so I, I, I wish I had had you when, when, when my son was small cuz it would’ve been easier, I think to at least just to know that some of those concerns that we had and, you know, was it a feeding issue?

Was it, was it an allergy of some sort, you know, the, the eczema that was already showing up. Things like that, you know, where is that happening and not being able to really know beyond just being told this was just a normal phase. So I, I think this is, this is great information that you’re providing here.

And I wish I could give you like a quick answer here, but it could be like, many, many things like food, food issues can be, can be one problem. Especially because baby is so, has such a brand new system, right? Like it can’t just handle. Things, how, how we can as adults. Um, and like foods can be one thing, but it’s not necessarily always the cause.

Like it could just be one trigger of something else going on in the gut. Like it could be like microbes, for example, or they could be even toxins in, in the body easily from, from food, from sprayed food comes through the breast milk, from things from formula, things in our environment. Um, so like there’s unfortunately not like one, one quick answer, but, but just to really actually start asking questions and looking at it and what’s actually going on, instead of just labeling it is, oh, this is just colic.

We just have to wait months and it’s gonna get better instead of actually like investigating, if that makes sense.

Right. No, I, I, I, I really like, like that this is being shared. The, um, now you talked a little bit about your connection. With getting started with this, but what inspired you to focus on the link between baby colic and gut health and mental health? The three of those together?

Yeah. Definitely my experience with my, with my own, um, daughter, especially with the first, first one, I have two daughters. Um, the first one is four now, the other one is two. But with my first daughter, um, uh, when she went through colic, like she was just inconsolable. And it, it came to a point, like people always told me, oh, it’s gonna get better.

It’s gonna get better. And like, I tried to do all the things right. We got the, we got the family bed, the big, we bought the big mattress, the king mattress. We bought this swiveled sleep. So she would be as close as possible to me if I ever wanna put her in her own bed. We bought like the whatever, four moms, uh, electric swing that would swing her at night.

Like nothing worked, nothing. And she woke up like, like it got worse and worse till to a point where she woke up every 45 minutes to nurse.. And she just needed that comfort. And it just, Drove me crazy. Like I really wanted to do that for her, but I just could not. But right when we actually started asking questions and looked into her gut health and started taking care of things, she was a totally different child.

Like she was calm, happy. She actually slept, she slept for like at first three hours at a time, which was unheard of before then, five hours at a time. So it was like so obvious that connection between her emotional and mental wellbeing and um, actually that what we call colic or, uh, gut health and actually taking care of the problem.

And then again, when she was two and a half, she developed an eczema, um, starting on her private parts. And it, uh, it looked really bad, like it was like a burn and it really hurted her and bothered her. And then it was in her beautiful face, and then eventually it moved to the whole body and. Again, I could have just brushed it off as, oh, it’s a normal two year old terrible tooth.

Um, just going through these emotions cuz it came with like extreme, extreme emotions and it was like, like not that she was never upset before or never had a meltdown before or after, but it just a sudden just changed to this extremeness and when, when the rash came. So I was like, okay, there, there must be some connection.

Um, but we could have just been like, well this is normal. Uh, they must grow out of eczema. That’s what people say and we’ll just slap on some steroids. Um, but we actually like, like I actually felt like there was something for me to listen to, something to do. And we actually took care of it by number one by adjusting her nutrition.

Um, and again, that’s very individual because you know what was right for her might not be right for another baby. So we had to work a lot with the feedback, uh, for her. Then number two, actually cleansing her, her system gently, and number three, also taking care of emotional and energetic factors.

And again, after that she was like a totally different child. So it was just so interesting and obvious that connection, but I actually was already interested in that topic, like when it was about my own, um, health and the connection to my mental health, and it was just, again, so obvious. And also from working with clients, um, for over 10 years.

It, it’s just like a very obvious thing and there are lots and lots of, um, studies on that as well. So yeah, I basically got interested in it because of my, my own story. Um, and, and it’s good we went through this because now I can, I can help others, um, with that. So it’s all good for something.

Well, the way that you’re explaining it, I can see how they all go together because even if it’s just the eczema and nothing else, that’s painful.

Where she, where she had it especially. And so you can only take so much irritation before it starts wearing away your patience as an adult. Even if you have an area that’s that’s uncomfortable, your, your patience is shorter. Your temporary is shorter. Yeah. And so thinking of a two year old even more so, you would see, see those little outbursts and things too.

When I introduced you, I mentioned the term postnatal depletion and you’ve mentioned that as well, many of our new mother mother’s experience exhaustion, but what sets postnatal depletion apart from exhaustion?

Yeah. Um, so postnatal depletion is a syndrome that includes exhaustion, but it’s not limited to it. And it has to do with the depletion from pregnancy, uh, childbirth and postpartum. And so many moms, they’re already depleted as they enter pregnancy. Then they create this baby human, um, from her own resources, even if she doesn’t have enough.

And nature always favors the baby. Like the placenta actually shoves the nutrients to the baby, even if mom is depleted. And it’s a wonderful mechanism because any mom would want that. But it comes at the cost of the mother who’s very often being left depleted. And, um, then childbirth is just this major transcendental and taxing life event, uh, of a woman.

And then when she would actually need to rest and recover, then she’s taking care of her baby pretty much 24 7. And there’s just not enough support for moms in our modern society. And moms often think they should do, do it alone and. It really doesn’t have to be just one or the other. Like we can actually take care of mom and of baby, so we don’t have to completely sacrifice for baby.

And it’s, it’s also not really good for baby, like mom needs to be taken care of too. And baby’s health is also dependent on mom’s health as we, as we, um, touched upon. So just the, the depletion is something that actually happens physically. It’s a real thing. Um, so for example, a mother’s brain actually shrinks 5% to 8% during pregnancy.

So this is something we need to take care of and, and nourish and replete. And it’s also a postal depletion is also a thing that affects mothers, um, mentally and emotionally. So it happens on, on several levels and affects really all spheres of a mother’s life. So it’s not just exhaustion, although that’s a big part of it and it’s very common.

It’s not just to new mothers, but all mothers. And often it affects mothers even later. Like sometimes it’s the first child that really takes it out of us. But often it’s that things are being compounded as, um, the, the more children we have. And, um, it’s, yeah, it’s very common and it, it can last for a long time.

So this advisor, or just wait it out, it’s gonna be over after, whatever, three months or six months. It’s in most cases, like this can last like five to 10 years if we’re not taking care of it properly. And also it can turn into, into other problems. Again, it’s just all. Symptoms, like the body’s messages of telling us there’s something going on.

And if we’re not taking care of the body of the person, then the body’s gonna give us louder and louder messages till we take care. And this is a book by Dr. Gabor Mate, um, which, which I studied under as well. Um, it’s called When the Body Says No, so like till we’re actually listening to our body saying, no, okay, you haven’t had enough.

You gotta take care of yourself. And eventually the body will say no for us. And so many moms end up with adrenal fatigue and autoimmune conditions and it’s just very, very common with moms. And the longer we wait, the more difficult it is to repair.

Wow. Wow. Yeah, cuz I’ve, you’re the first person I’ve talked to that I’ve ever heard that, that term before. So that’s why I was, I was wondering how, yeah. How recent is it since they’ve, they’ve been talking about this. Is it, is it really recent?

Very recent, yeah. Just in the last few years. Although it’s not a new thing. Although I believe it’s more common in modern society than it used to be. But even like we, we talked to just like, uh, grandma lately, and her, um, aunt was like also being put in a mental institution during postpartum.

She just could not handle it. It was, it was too much. So it’s, it’s not a new thing. But I think, um, just with the, the modern medical system and how society is just not supporting moms, I think that’s actually, um, more and more common. But it, but the term is a new term and only, only slowly the medical world is actually putting attention to this.

So they are, there are, um, health expert doctors that, that are like treating this, but it’s like, it’s, it’s very hard to find. So that’s why I really, uh, wanted to specialize on this because like, I, it took me a long time to find help and I had to pull it together from so many different angles.

Yeah. Well, cuz, cuz you hear, um, postpartum depression when you mention that that’s, that’s something that at least in my lifetime has been tossed around. You hear you hear of that quite often, but this is not the same thing. Um, exactly. It sounds like that could be part of this, but not exactly the full piece.

Like I would say postpartum depression is actually part of postnatal depletion. Um, and, and like when I, when I went through this, I was so glad to find out about this because I was like, well, either it’s postpartum depression or not. So either we’re right, okay, or we’re totally depressed, postpartum, depressed, but that there’s actually, there’s so many stages in between that moms can be like a little bit depleted.

It can be severely depleted. It can, it can address more those on those levels. For this mom and for another mom, it’s more. Different levels and expresses itself in different ways. So, um, right. Yeah. It’s really good for moms to see, okay, there’s actually a real thing going on with me. It’s the real health condition and, and there’s something I can do about this, and there’s help.

So I don’t just have to have to, um, suck it up as a mom because this is what it’s like being a mom. And that’s what moms have been told, unfortunately.

Right. Well, I’m thinking too of how many, how many moms I know. Um, I mean, I even had with, with my first, um, toxemia going into, to the delivery. So for the last month, my body was fighting its own health with trying to carry my child at the same time.

So now I’m trying to care for her, internally, trying to care for myself. So I didn’t hit the delivery stage at the optimum health level that it could have been. You know? And how many others have had, have had medical issues that they’re facing that may. Have jeopardized the pregnancy, so they’re having to go on bedrest, things like that.

So they’re already going in depleted before they even go to the delivery itself. And then, um, and then the, as you say, you know, you’ve, you’ve pretty much, you’re the baby’s here surprise. You’re, you’re taking care of this baby 24 hours a day now, and there’s, there’s no time to even think about yourself anymore.

So it’s, it’s, it’s not surprising that this is a, but I’m glad that modern day medicine at least is recognizing that there’s something there. And I’m thinking of how much stronger our moms can be now by having the opportunity to be able to address these needs and to not feel bad about saying, I need help.

I need, you know, I’m, I’m not feeling Right right now. Something needs to, to change. To make me a better mom.

Yeah. I think it’s really something we need to spread the word and, and the awareness. Um, cuz most moms still feel guilty to actually take care of just their basic needs even. And, um, Actually, like, take some time to, to take care of the body and, and, um, what’s often just recommended is just like a standard diet for mothers and Okay, jump right back into exercise.

But, um, actually we gotta, we gotta take care of this syndrome. We’re gotta take care of the PO body and, and replenish everything a mom on, on all those levels. And not just nutrition, but it, it’s something that’s yeah, that’s not well known. And, and I’m feeling very passionate about, um, spreading this because it made like all the difference in my life.

And now in the women I’m, I’m working with just, just knowing this.

The other thing I’m thinking of too is how many, just because my kids are older now, you know, you, you meet other moms who are younger and you, you always wanna give them advice or, or just share, um, things that, that you learned on your journey, um, is kind, kind of what, what Water Prairie is all about as far as trying to help, help share our journeys with each other.

But the, um, but how many moms I meet who are young. And are at the stage where their child’s not sleeping through the night yet. And, and whenever you ask, you know, are you finding ways to, to rest whenever your child is sleeping? They always say, you know, no, the house needs to be cleaned. I need to do this.

That’s my time for me to do the things that I want to do. And I understand that, but I don’t know if they recognize that their body needs that rest so that they can’t, you know, it’s such a short time. The things that they wanna do will be there in a few months whenever their child is sleeping through the night, and they can get a good night’s sleep too.

But it as hard as, especially a first time mom, because you know, you still wanna do things, you still want to be able to, to, to talk on the phone with your friend or to, to have somebody over when, when it’s just you. But you’re doing that at the expense of taking care of yourself too during that time.

Yeah. And it’s something so common. And I definitely did that with my first daughter, not anymore with my second. I, I learned something I knew better, but I think there’s the subconscious pressure that we put on ourselves. So that’s maybe also expected from, from society to, to bounce back as soon as possible.

Right. Well, first of all, there is fully no bouncing back. Like everything’s different after birth. Like we are different. We’re like, went through like a major initiation and we’re not meant to be how we were before birth. This subconscious pressure of like, okay, I, I gotta get back on my food feet as much as, uh, like as soon as possible and all of that.

So, um, and, and that’s, we’re being told and that we’re being taught. So, um, I think it’s really important to, to share that with moms because I, I remember, I, I could not even accept that from a friend who actually came over and said, well, I’ll, I’ll be with your baby for an hour. You take a nap and just why?

Sleep? Could just not do it. At the time, I, I, first of all, I was too worried about baby and I just felt so responsible and so guilty for lying down. And I could have, I could have not slept anyways, so the second baby I could. So

yeah, I, I was the same way it was with the first, it was like, I, I wanted that companionship with my friend, so I didn’t want to go sleep because I wanted to visit with her too.

So it, you know, and that’s part of it too, cuz you’ve been in isolation for a little while so you’re ready for, for friendships, but, um, can be, have them come beneficial too. Yeah, it can. It can, but you need both. You do need your rest too. So we talked a little bit about, uh, the mental health side of it.

So, and, and I think there’s, there’s extremes that everyone can understand of how a mother’s mental health can impact the baby’s health. But I don’t think what you’re talking about is, is the extremes of mental health. I think you’re talking about. Just the mother’s basic mental health and how that can affect the, the baby.

Can you explain that a little bit more for me?

So it can be, it can be, um, extreme or can be, can be not extreme really. Um, but, um, babies really sense the mother’s energy and state, and if the mother is not doing well, then the baby definitely gets affected by it, like, more than, than we think.

So even if the mother doesn’t want that, of course. And of course it’s really trying to protect her baby. It, it can still happen. For example, when a mother is just being sad and depressed, even if he’s trying to hide it, the baby will notice that and will definitely influence the baby’s nervous system because the nervous systems are so tied together.

Like, like they were just one, like till baby came out. Like they were one for the longest time. And so they’re still kind of, A little bit like one and, and definitely also when their mother is stressed or, or angry. And that’s also, that’s for both of the parents. It will affect the baby because the vi environment we’re in affects us.

And even, even still, when we’re in the womb, it, it does, it does affect us and children easily take on the parents’ burdens, um, to a degree. And it’s very well known how our emotions affect our physical and mental health. And they can even have a stronger effect on us than, than the kind of diet we we eat.

And same with babies. And I’m aware of that. This is a highly sensitive topic and I don’t wanna scare any parent here. And I just wanted to mention here that, that really none of us had a perfect childhood and some difficulties also good for our evolution. However, there is help and there are things we can do to help the mother and therefore the child and vice versa.

So we really don’t have to settle here, but just, just waiting it out and sucking it up basically. And, uh, we really need to take care of mom and baby. In tandem together. So quite often I see that, oh, like they say, oh, baby has colic, and now maybe we’ll cut out these, whatever, five foods and, and that’s it.

Instead of actually looking at, okay, what’s going on for the mom? Or is she breastfeeding? Or, um, what’s going on energetically? Or vice versa, like, oh, mom having a hard time, um, with anxiety or with sleep, for example. Then we’ll just give her some, some anxiety pills or sleeping pills instead of taking care of, oh, well, if the baby’s crying all night, like, no wonder the mom has like anxiety and can’t sleep.

So we really gotta look at this, this unit together, mama and baby. Um, that’s something I’ve, I’ve learned to really treat, treat both of them together. And it’s, yeah, as, as we just touched upon earlier, it’s so important that a mother really takes time for herself. And I know this can be the most difficult thing for moms.

It has been for me and still some is. However, it’s just so crucial, not just for the mom, but for everyone in the family. Because like the mother is just like one of the most important parts in the family. And that happened to be, um, this person or that person. But it doesn’t mean that person is now, I don’t know better or get something special.

But it’s just like that’s how the family unit work works. The mother needs this kind of a care and that will affect everybody. And if the mother’s doing better, then she can also take care better of, of everybody. Um, but what’s quite common is that moms just wait till they break down, until they really allow to take care of themselves and.

Even just like a couple of minutes of, of hiding in the bathroom to do like a short reset and reconnect with ourselves of like, what’s actually going on? Like what, what am I feeling? Um, can be super helpful because, um, we’re being, we’re being told to just bottle things up and push through.

But we’re never like actually looking at what’s going on or when the kids are sleeping, um, or playing. If the kid, um, doesn’t have naps anymore. You can also like lie down next to your child and actually, um, close your eyes if you know they’re, they’re safe, um, for us as much as possible and, and just like actually rest rather than trying to catch up on the laundry.

Um, and it’s really good for a child also to see when the mother takes care of herself. Like that’s how they, how they learn that. And a mother that actually. Has some boundaries like, like children really need that from us. They don’t want us to destroy ourselves for them. And that’s what we often think.

And they will, they will learn to do the same in life if they see us actually taking care of ourselves. And, um, There are techniques we can do that are more powerful even than naps that only take a few minutes, cuz I know mothers don’t have time. They’re being interrupted all the time. So there are things that mothers can do that are actually many more times recharging.

So taking care of the nervous system to which everything else is tied to in the body is just like so crucial. Um, and an important aspect of what we need to do to help mothers balance the nervous system and give them practical tools so they can do this on their own. So, um, for the sake of baby and Mom, because it’s so tied together, the, the most, two most important things for moms I recommend here is really to take time for themselves and do whatever works best for you to improve your state, whatever you need to do.

And, and that can be even a few minutes here and there, like even a few minutes stretching here and there. For example, even if you don’t make it to the hour and a half yoga class, that it’s something I really had to learn that it’s not all or nothing and we just have to be a more creative, um, Like just to change the energy in the body.

Um, and, and that’ll also help help our children. And then number two is, is to get support. We all need someone to talk to and someone that can help us get back up on our feet when, when things are overbearing. And I know this can be a real challenge for moms to, to ask for help and do something for ourselves.

Spend money for ourselves. And, and I’ve been there and I, and I found, um, really only when I opened up to other moms and I was vulnerable with, um, the challenges I was going through. All of a sudden they opened up to me. And, and, and almost everybody had a very similar story that, and I didn’t even think that of, of that person.

Like, you don’t always see that from the outside, but then when, when you become vulnerable, all of a sudden others are vulnerable too. And you see how many people are dealing with this. And, um, going a little bit off topic here, but, um, wanted to.

No, you’re, you’re fine. This is good. Okay.

I just wanted to say just, um, really wanna remind moms that it was difficult for you to take time or spend money for yourself to get help. It’s, it’s not just about you because your wellbeing, um, is the wellbeing of your baby and the rest of your family. And when you thrive, your family thrives too.

What are some common symptoms that mothers experience with postnatal depletion?

Yeah. So, um, the most obvious one would be severe fatigue. And when you wonder, okay, what does that mean? So if in the last two weeks you would rate your fatigue, um, on a scale from one to 10, 10 being, let’s say zombie, like super, super fatigue, uh, if you would rate your fatigue from a six to 10 over the last two weeks.

Also, if you’re tired, even after a good night’s sleep, that’s definitely a symptom. Um, brain fog, aka baby brain or mom brain. Mm-hmm. And if you’re forgetful, you just can’t think, um, hypervigilance coupled with unease or anxiety if you just can’t relax. And yet some constant alert, um, a sense of guilt or shame around the role of being a mother.

So if you feel like you’re doing everything wrong, you feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. Um, that’s also quite common is loss of self-esteem. So when you felt like you were capable, confident, and ambitious before you had baby, and then everything changed and you’d turn into this anxious, unmotivated, unsocial person that just wants to hide at home.

So that’s what mom’s quite often experienced as well. Um, another symptom would be when they’re feeling overwhelmed and are unable to cope, and they’re like either losing it or tuning out on a regular basis. Uh, also aches and pains in the body that are, um, new that have haven’t been there before. Baby, uh, digestive issues that have worse since, since baby.

Um, and also health conditions, new health conditions that showed up in pregnancy or postpartum. And another symptom would be a loss of libido and also if, if it’s has been a while, if it’s been like one, three or five years since your last childbirth and you’re still feeling like you’ve never recovered.

So, It’s sometimes a little bit hard to pinpoint postnatal depletion cuz it’s a syndrome, not a disease. But I have a postnatal depletion test. Um, and I can share later where, where people can find that some moms can just take that online and, and check.

Excellent, excellent. Um, so before we wrap this up, what are some, um, some advice or some tips that you would give to new mothers who are struggling with exhaustion and postnatal depletion?

Yeah. Um, so one thing is, uh, nutrition. Just to really look at nutrition and not follow any general nutrition advice that’s from the internet. And also to not just kind of go into dieting or looking at calories and just looking at calories. Um, And yeah, we, we do need more calories when we breastfeed, but it’s really, um, about the quality of the nutrients.

So, um, we wanna get nutrient dense foods that are easy to digest, cuz digestion really suffers in, um, pregnancy and, uh, through childbirth like hormones. Also really throw that out of balance and, and also high fat meals, so don’t skim out on, on fats. So pressure cooked meals would be really great for depleted mothers.

Um, and, and to really to not follow any one size fits all approach, but again, to listen to your body of, of what you need. So, for example, if you don’t feel like eating any cold foods from the fridge, that makes a lot of sense because it’s really good to have warming foods that support digestion at that time.

Um, and what happens is that moms just often like follow these fad diets, which are not suited for recovering and depleted mothers, and they’re definitely also not tailored to the individual. So, um, now looking at, looking at exercise, um, what I wanna see here is like similar advice to, um, not follow, like just the standard exercise regime of, okay, the doctor said after six weeks you’re good to go.

That doesn’t mean like, okay, now you can do everything you did before because, um, you, you’re not really good to go because the tissues are still healing and, um, tissues are very, very soft still from the hormones. So, um, Exercise is important, but it’s important to not do anything that’s too much because it can be really harmful if it’s, if it’s too early or too intense.

And so many mothers are struggling with, um, diastasis recti, which is separation of the abdominal wall or pelvic floor issues. So we really gotta, um, even look into specific, um, exercises for that. So again, listen to your body. And also what I wanna say here is for moms to really pay attention to the emotional state because it’s not just postnatal depletion isn’t just on the level of nutrition, but it’s really about, um, Like it’s, it’s on seven levels.

Um, so one of it is really emotional, energetic, so we gotta look at, for example, at birth traumas, possibilities of, of birth trauma, which is quite common. Or traumas often come up for moms, um, their own traumas from childhood or something once they have their own babies. It’s very interesting and you wanna check in how well you handle stress, for example.

And if you don’t handle stress well, it’s not, there’s nothing wrong, wrong with you. It’s actually a symptom again of okay, something we need to take care of. So, um, and I also wanna say like, while supplements can be, can be important, um, we really cannot take care of postnatal depletion just with supplements alone.

Um, and, and I know it’s suggested online, but it’s, it’s really a syndrome that happens on so many different levels and it’s a really important aspect to actually look at. Um, Energetic blocks of healing, for example, nervous system, um, underlying beliefs and so on. So, um, like, well, I can’t explain it maybe within like a quick minute, but what I, what I wanna say here for moms is to just look at, um, what’s going on, like when they feel an emotion to just, uh, develop some awareness of something’s going on here, maybe some, some patterns, and, and to not just like bottle it up, but um, feel it, hold space for it, be kind to yourself and that it’s, it’s nothing bad, but that eventually we just, uh, get to discern that this is not really who we are, but it’s just an influence.

And, um, while it can be extremely uncomfortable to feel, it’s, it’s really not, not bigger than us and it’s, um, it’s part of the work I do with, with my moms. So, um, we’ll, we’ll go deeper into all of that if moms are interested in learning that.

Excellent. And because some of our listeners may not be future moms or moms who have just gone through this experience, they may be a neighbor or a friend or a family member of someone who is at this stage of life.

Do you have any suggestions for them of how they can support that young mom? Or even if it’s when the, in the first few years, as you’re saying, it could be more than just right after childbirth, but, but how they can help support that?

Yeah, definitely. Um, so definitely to keep on reaching out to that mom, because I, mom might just say, no, I’m, if you just ask, how are you?

Like, just let me know when you need something. It’s very unlikely that mom’s gonna say, oh, and I’m, I’m not doing okay. And I’m going and actually gonna pick up the phone and say, Hey, I need some help. Like, it’s very unlikely. So it’s really important to actually keep on. Reaching out or just showing up.

Just maybe bringing some food by, put it, uh, by the doorstep and actually ask the mom what’s the right food? Because I remember in the beginning I was too polite to turn on any food and then I couldn’t eat it because my baby, um, was reacting to certain foods, so I had to give it to my husband. So like people really like, uh, knowing how, how a mom needs to be supported.

So just if, even if a mom feels shy to tell you, just like ask, ask the mom. So food is always a really good idea or coming by and actually not just, um, come for a visit, but actually come pick up, pick up some dishes and they do it in a sensitive way. Some mom doesn’t feel bad about it, like just supernatural or pick up, pick up the baby.

Some mom is com is comfortable with that. So the mom can have a shower or lie down. Um, And like, what I found really helpful is actually to have a, to put a sign on the door for the mom that can be written like midwives notice of like with some, uh, guidelines for, for visitors, especially if it, if mom just has given birth a few weeks ago with some rules of like, whatever, on your way out.

Like, pick up some garbage or like, wash some dishes and wash your hands before you come. Oh yeah. All these things that moms might be shy to say that, but to actually help her, um, protect her cave, hold her space and, and help with some people that might not know how to do it properly. And, and maybe one more tip is, um, like, well, it’s nice to give, uh, baby gifts as, as a gift, like whatever new, new jumpers or toys, but.

Like baby’s okay cuz the mom’s taking care of baby perfectly. But like, help the mom. And what’s a really good idea is actually just collect some money or just start like a fundraiser or something cuz everybody gives a little bit so that the mom can actually get the support she needs for some, for some self care.

Um, I think that’s like a really, really good gift.

Nice, nice. I I like that. Thank you. So we’ve talked about a lot of different things and some of our listeners are gonna be in your area or close enough to be able to work with you. If someone wanted to join one of your groups or to work with you, how would they get in con in contact with you?

Yeah. Um, so my website is That’s So they can, um, read a little bit about everything and join my free Facebook group from there and write me from there. And, um, also they can follow me on social, social media,

Well, good. We’ll, we’ll put those links in the show notes. So whether you’re listening to the audio or on the website or watching the video, look where the notes are and you’ll be able to see those, those links to be able to, to see what she’s doing on her website and to get in touch with you if you need to.

So what else do you have going on? So tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing with the Facebook group and things like that.

Yeah, so I opened, uh, a free Facebook group to support moms that are going through this and like a place where also they can meet and support each other and help each other.

Usually moms at different stages. So it’s really good to get together and to see, okay, we’re not the only one going through this. And there, there is help and other moms made it through. And, um, if moms want more, um, one-on-one support and also more group support, I’m focusing, uh, currently on, uh, what I call postnatal depletion recovery, which is a 12-week transformation for moms, um, from, I call it from Zombie to Goddess.

And at the same time, we’re taking care of baby’s distress. So it’s from moms and babies and really look at, okay, what’s going on at underlying, um, root causes. And we also include the other kids usually in that, and even the husbands quite often. So really the whole family is, is, uh, taking care of you. And it’s really not just about, um, managing symptoms.

It’s not at all about managing symptoms or trying to just, uh, do some co coping strategies, but we’re actually taking care of what’s going with moms and babies. And, um, yeah, as I said, it’s completely tailored to mom and baby and individual pace and needs. So for moms that are looking for that close support, um, This is, this is for them, so they can just check out the Facebook group.

Um, it’s through my webpage. You can get there or it’s on Facebook, um, Facebook group. And I also offer free, um, 60 minute calls from moms, um, call ’em conquer fatigue calls, um, that are totally free. So just to see what’s going on for moms and see if it’s maybe a good fit. Um, look at the baby’s symptoms and moms can apply for that on the website or from within the, the Facebook group.

Great. Great. Well, Christina, thank you so much for sharing with us today. This is a totally new topic for me, even though I experienced a lot of what you’ve described, had no idea what that was, and, um, and I know how much it would’ve helped me. And, um, and I can only imagine how many that are listening, whether they go through it themselves or have someone that they know that they can pass on this information to, to help get them the support that they need.

So thank, thank you for sharing this with us today. So thank

you so much for having me, Tonya. My pleasure. Yeah.

Tonya Wollum


Tonya Wollum is a disability advocate and host of the Water Prairie Chronicles podcast which connects special needs parents with resources to help them navigate parenting a child with a disability. She is the mother of 2 college-age children who have each grown up with a disability. That experience, along with a background in education, led her to create the Water Prairie Chronicles to help share what she has learned with parents of younger children to help them know how to advocate for their children.

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