Hi there all you lovely humans! Excited to introduce Mary Whitlock of The Crunchy Crusader blog. Mary and I met through the health and wellness world here in Denver Colorado and chatted back and forth for a while about our mutual interests. I love Mary's simple and practical attitude (who's got time for complication when you've got 4 kiddos running around!?) when it comes to how to build a healthy home for all members of the family. Since I am not a mom myself I thought it would be great for Mary to write a piece for all of you moms out there. Check out this amazing article on what it takes to heal after giving birth, and then check out the piece I wrote for her blog a couple weeks ago about Women's Health and Balancing Hormones with Essential Oils.
I’m super excited and honored to be able to be here as a guest of Clara to share this information with you! Today I am going to talk about the postpartum healing because I believe it is something that is greatly overlooked by many but when ignored can contribute to adrenal fatigue, depression, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune conditions and other health conditions.
Postpartum healing is so important but often neglected by most. We live in a society where women are expected to lose the baby weight quickly, start working out full speed just weeks after giving birth and forced to go back to work within weeks to a couple months after having a baby. All if these burdens and exceptions come at a cost. As women years later we face depression, hormonal dysfunction, and complete burnout.
Today I am in the process of healing my body back to health after years of pushing my body to the limits. For years I was that person who worked out like crazy chasing what I thought was the “perfect body”. I’m sure many of you can relate to this as we see it all around us.
My oldest will be 11 years old in just a couple of months. I remember after having him all that I could think of was I needed to get back to my pre-baby weight. I had a c-section and was literally back running after only 3 weeks. I was young and 21 and I thought that if I felt ok I should get back to working out and losing the baby weight.
I would skip my sleep and would get up at 4 or 5am, just to make sure I would get in my workout, or I would stay up late and workout after I got my son to sleep. I also started to watch what I ate which of course meant low-fat and diet foods (diet soda, Yoplait light yogurt, lean cuisine meals). I did everything against what my body needed. I was lacking sleep and nutrition and pushing myself to the limits. Ok so skip to having 2 more kids over a course of 4 years and this is pretty much what life looked like for me.
Our bodies can only take so much. My breaking point was 9 months postpartum with my 3rd child. Life was great until suddenly my body began shutting down. I began to gain weight ( a total of 15 lbs in 9 months). I lost hair. I had brain fog, I was irritable. I started becoming depressed. My period was irregular. I experienced loss of libido, and the list goes on. After a few years of seeing different doctors, I finally got some answers. Stage 3 adrenal fatigue and multiple gut infections is where I ended up. If I could turn back time I would have done everything different.
16 months ago I gave birth to my surprise baby and decided to take a whole different approach postpartum. I embraced the weeks I had with my little one and asked for all the help I needed. Sleep was and still is my friend. I never sacrifice a workout for sleep anymore. I take walks often and do lots of yoga. I am kind to my body. I eat nutrient dense real food and skip counting calories because I know my body needs all the nutrition it can get to supply milk to my baby and help my body recover from caring and giving birth to a baby. This time around I am supporting my health and giving my body the time it needs to fully recover and heal!!
Here is a list of what I believe are some of the best actions you can take postpartum to support the health of your mind, body, and spirit!
1. Don’t Rush To Loose Weight: Your body will get there if you give it time. If you are nursing sometimes your body will try and hold onto weight as a proactive mechanism. You also need all the nutrition you can get especially if breastfeeding.
2. Ease Into Exercise: Having a baby is stressful. Exercise is also a stressor. Many times it is a good stressor but when you are lacking in sleep along with the addition stressors of having a baby now is not the time to push the exercise. Activity is important so make sure to choose exercise, that is less stressful and more healing such as yoga, pilates, and walking.
3. Take Time For Self Care: Self-care is SO important. Especially as a new mom our babies take every minute of our day. It is so important to take care of yourself. By taking care of yourself you will be a better mother. Take weekly Epsom salt baths with some essential oils, get lunch with a girlfriend, get a massage!
(If you're interested in how to integrate more self-care into your life and routine attend Clara Wisner's workshop "The Importance of Self Care Before, During, and After Pregnancy" at the Mamahood.)
4. Just Say No: Now is a time to not take on extra tasks. It's ok and very healthy to say no. If you don’t jump to say yes then it is something that you probably should not be doing presently.
5. Be Kind To Yourself: Love your body and embrace how it is different now. You carried a baby for 9 months and gave bDon’t strive to be perfect.
6. Sleep: Sleep is so important and when our bodies recover the most. Lack of sleep is an additional stressor.
7. Eat A Nutrient Diet: Nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods to the support the healing process. Especially if you are breastfeeding your body needs extra nutrients.
8. Meditate: Try and incorporate some type of meditation or mindfulness into your day. I personally find the Headspace app enjoyable and easy to use!
If you found this information at all helpful I would love for you to come stop by my blog where you can find more wellness tips along with lots of real food recipes at TheCrunchyCrusader.com
Mary Whitlock is a military wife and mother of 4 children ages 16 months to 10 years of age.
She holds a BS in Exercise Science and Wellness Coaching and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Mary Whitlock is a safe skincare advocate and deeply passionate about supporting the health of our bodies through a real food based diet. Mary has also been featured on Colorado Springs local news station Fox 21 on numerous occasions sharing healthy recipes and wellness tips for families. She is the author and creator of the food and wellness blog The CrunchyCrusader.
Connect with Mary:
Safe Skincare and Makeup: www.beautycounter.com/marywhitlock
Phone: (530) 205-8177