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take back postpartum

Postpartum Struggles Are Real

 

Statistics show that about 15% of new mommas experience postpartum depression. And 70-80% of us experience “baby blues,” that 2 week period after the baby’s born when we can feel confused, overwhelmed, sensitive and just not ourselves.

If this is you, you’re obviously not alone. Here’s what you need to know: There is no failure in pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

You can move with grace through potential sadness, grief, fear, and anger to embrace and heal from your experience. When you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, depressed or anxious, unconfident and unsure, a holistic postpartum plan can give you back your joy and confidence. You got this. But it takes a village to raise a baby and new parents. Sometimes we just need a little guidance and support - especially in modern times.

I know what it’s like to experience birth trauma and struggle to put it behind me. Or to try to find balance when there’s a new baby in the house - when the idea of “me time” seems like a cruel joke.

After My Own Last Birth I was Sick and Alone

Even as a nurse-midwife, I found myself in a postpartum situation that confused and scared me.

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Several weeks after the baby was born, I began to feel like I was over caffeinated. My thoughts were racing, I was extremely agitated, panicked, completely overwhelmed and unable to function. Making decisions felt impossible and I couldn’t sleep. I felt faint, and was losing weight.

I was ashamed and embarrassed. How could I, an expert, find myself in such a state of confusion and intolerable symptoms of anxiety? I didn’t want to ask for help. The people I did ask were unable to treat me, and my husband was confused and worried.

I started to have scary and repetitive thoughts. Noises seemed too loud. Faces seemed too big. What the hell was wrong with me?! I felt like I was drugged. Somehow I suspected my thyroid was off, so I asked my colleague to draw my labs. Then I nearly passed out.

After a call to 911 and subsequent visits to a postpartum stress center, I learned that I had postpartum thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which the thyroid initially makes too much hormone, before not making enough.

The diagnosis gave me the confidence to finally accept help. I knew now that I wasn’t crazy. I knew I shouldn’t be embarrassed...but I was at the time. I stayed with my mother, who lived several hours away - near the center - for an entire month. And my husband and friends all worked together to care for my other kids at home.

I had to stop work for an entire year while recovering from my illness. And it took me a number of years to fully heal using a comprehensive holistic approach. My yoga and meditation practice were life changing, but the complete healing happened after intensive Clarity Breathwork sessions. It was the most delicious and miraculous feeling of relief I ever experienced.

The Forgotten Fourth Trimester

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Throughout history, children were raised in communities. When a woman labored, she was surrounded by friends and family. She was attended to by the community midwife, often the same person who was there for the births of all the other babies in the area and potentially even her own birth. After birth, she was off duty to rest, recover, and get the breastfeeding, while her tribe cooked, cleaned, took care of the other kids, and did needed errands.

Now, we live separated from our families, often experience pregnancy through postpartum more or less alone, and deliver our babies amongst strangers. A sister or mother-in-law might stay with us briefly after our babies are born, but then we’re on our own.

In the US, women are sent home alone after a few days in the hospital, and maternity leave is shockingly brief. We’re expected to pick up at work right where we left off after just a few short weeks at home with our new baby. Paternity leave is almost non-existent in this country, except for some more progressive family friendly workplaces.

Of course so many of us experience depression, anxiety, worry, and a lack of confidence! This way of viewing motherhood is simply unnatural. You can’t institutionalize the sacred.

But, thriving postpartum is possible. Especially when you go into it with a plan.

How to thrive postpartum

If you’re currently struggling in your “fourth trimester,” here are some tips you can implement right away to take the edge off.

Exercise. Try to make time for whatever type of movement feels good to you. Have someone take the baby while you go to a class. Put her in the stroller and go for a walk. Put on a workout video while she’s napping. Turn on some music that reflects your mood and move your emotions with your body; then turn on something upbeat and dance like noone is watching.

Connect with your community. Join a mommy support group either online or in-person. Reach out to friends and family that tend to cheer you up or make you feel comforted. Ask a neighbor to join you for a walk. Take a postpartum mommy and me yoga class. Don’t be afraid to open up about how you’re feeling. You might be surprised how many people can relate. And make sure to get daily soul nurturing hugs.

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Meditate. Taking time to center down can make a big difference in our energy and confidence. Spend quiet time in nature. If you’re not accustomed to meditation, find a guided audio to listen to or just turn on some relaxing instrumental music, get comfortable and focus on your breath.

Nap. Now is not the time to stress about housework. Sleep deprivation leads to depression, anxiety, reduced memory and concentration, weight gain and a host of other health problems. Allow yourself to nap when the baby’s napping. The housework can wait.

Skip the sugar. Regularly eating sweets and simple carbs like breads and pastries puts us through a vicious cycle. Sugar crashes lead to low energy and low moods, which lead to carb cravings. Stick to fresh whole foods - and add more protein and healthy fat for a balanced diet and a balanced mood.

Do what you love. Each day, do things that bring you joy - even if it is for a few minutes at first. Think about what excites you and try to do more of it in your regular routine. Let it be easy and simple. That may be a quiet cup of tea, a visit with your friend, a stroll in the park, a flower or herbal bath in candlelight, watching comedy, getting a massage, doing some yoga. As baby gets older, make taking some time to yourself each day to do these things a non-negotiable like eating, drinking and sleeping.

Seek help. When your sadness or anxiety feels like more than “baby blues,” seek a qualified professional to help you through it. If, like me, you have an undiagnosed medical condition, the suggestions above just won’t be enough.

I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. 

I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by. I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby.

For more info on the Bellefit girdle, check out my blog about it hereHave a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)!

I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.

“Anne Margolis was my incredible midwife. She is practical, science-based, and vastly experienced, but most importantly, she’s an awakened woman here to light the path to your most joyful self. Anne is the incredible midwife who taught me, through this process, how to midwife my own patients’ rebirth experience. Her own educational course is a deep but manageable dive into her accumulated wisdom, packaged for your journey. Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.Yours in the truth.”    — Dr. Kelly Brogan MD

“Anne Margolis was my incredible midwife. She is practical, science-based, and vastly experienced, but most importantly, she’s an awakened woman here to light the path to your most joyful self. Anne is the incredible midwife who taught me, through this process, how to midwife my own patients’ rebirth experience.
Her own educational course is a deep but manageable dive into her accumulated wisdom, packaged for your journey. Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.Yours in the truth.”

— Dr. Kelly Brogan MD

Excellent childbirth education and preparation in advance are crucial for rocking your birth and postpartum experience, and are major reasons why I created my Love Your Birth course. It is a comprehensive online course that teaches women what they need to know about planning and carrying out the birth that they want in all settings - the hospital, birthing center or at home. It’s a course on how to have a holistic, healthy pregnancy through postpartum - for the body, mind, and soul - and is how I have guided thousands of women and their families in my midwifery practice for over 21 years. It contains a rolodex of my favorite resources with over 200 of the best books, movies and supplies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family & friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting...It includes resources on improving and even ensuring ensuring healthier pregnancy and birth outcomes than the status quo, and preventing and healing from birth trauma so prevalent in the modern world! I also help you prepare your mindset for such a task, to debunk myths, and to reframe any current ideas or conditioning about pregnancy, birth and postpartum that can use a change in perspective or that are simply incorrect and do serve you. After finishing the course, the idea is that you are now able to create and have the healthy, beautiful and empowering journey through pregnancy, birth and new parenthood that you really want. 

 

Postpartum Depression: Ending The Stigma

 

Postpartum Depression: Ending the Stigma

Guest Contributor: Haley Rolff

"The exact rate of postpartum depression is unknown because there are so many undiagnosed cases.  In the US, it’s estimated that up to 80% of women who give birth will experience some form of it, whether it’s the “baby blues” or a more severe type of postpartum depression (American Pregnancy Association). There are 4 million live births a year which means that 3.2 million women are at risk! This is before taking into account the women who have experienced stillbirths (about 24,000 happen each year in the US) and miscarriages (which happens between 660,000 and 880,000 times a year in the US) (CDC, Mayo Clinic).

As for clinical postpartum depression, specifically, about 900,000 cases are diagnosed each year (Postpartum Progress). Medical experts estimate that, when taking undiagnosed cases into account, that number could be twice as large!

Why are there so many undiagnosed cases? After conducting research and going through over 250 interviews (with moms, dads, and postpartum specialists) a team of students at Northwestern University speculate that the culture around postpartum lifestyle in the US may be a major factor.

When asked whose health came first (between the mom’s health or the baby’s health) the universal response of parents was the baby’s health. Moms think that the baby’s health comes first so much so that many of them don’t eat enough, rest enough, or practice enough self-care. Instead, they overexert themselves trying to obtain the “perfect motherhood” which many characterize with impossibly high standards in terms of the state of a mom’s baby, home, and over-all image.

Let’s start with the standards around the baby. It begins with the baby shower, where the mom receives stylish onesies, blankets, and tiny socks for her baby, who, not only is too young to enjoy its ‘gifts,’ but will quickly outgrow most of it. Those things then turn into more clutter for a mom to worry about.

Beyond the culture around the baby’s style, moms are most worried about their baby’s health. They also feel pressure to spend as much time as possible holding and interacting with her infant for the good of its development (an overwhelming message that is constantly pitched on parent blogs and other social media). Moms then feel incredibly guilty if her baby cries excessively, have issues feeding, or get sick because they see it as a sign of failure as a mom. In reality, these problems are normal and actually shared by most parents.

On Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, however, no one posts about these problems which make them seem uncommon and a sign of bad parenting. Parents on Facebook mostly post about the positives. Why would you want to update your friends, family, and coworkers about the fact that your infant isn’t taking to breastfeeding, or is causing you to suffer from sleep deprivation? It’s easier to post cute pictures of infants’ moments of joy and pretend that life is always blissful. Moms on Pinterest post about incredible DIY baby projects, intricate baby fashion, and picture perfect homes. They don’t post about the house getting messy when parenting gets super demanding, or the sweatpants they throw on when they don’t have time to choose a stylish new mom outfit (which is much more common). Instagram is where celebrity moms and fitness-bloggers-turned-moms post their rapid postpartum recovery: somehow they get a six pack a month after giving birth, and their makeup is always perfect. In reality, the postpartum recovery process takes a while and each body has different needs and fitness restrictions.

All of this culminates into unrealistic standards for motherhood. According to the interviews, many moms who looked back on past pregnancies admitted to buying into some of these standards and regretted the toll it took on their own well-being (some interviewees revealed that they had undiagnosed postpartum mental illnesses).

Not only do these standards play a role in damaging the well-being of many moms, but it also plays a role in creating a stigma around postpartum mental illnesses, by constantly plugging that motherhood is an overall joyful experience. Although some people (even celebrities like Chrissy Teigen) are starting to talk about their experiences with postpartum depression, it is still vastly overshadowed and stigmatized by much of the media, or simply downplayed to “baby blues” which invalidates those who actually have clinical postpartum depression.

If you or a mom you know may be suffering from a form of postpartum depression, seek help from a doctor, (midwife), or a support group. Talking to people and sharing experiences is the only way to end the stigma, because it normalizes what has been wrongfully projected as obscure and shameful: mental illness. More importantly, it provides moms the support they need. Every mother deserves to be healthy, and every baby deserves a healthy mother.

Bundles of Health, a startup born out of Northwestern University, aims to give new moms better care postpartum. The company offers a curated selection of the most useful gifts to include in a baby registry. Instead of onesies, blankets, and socks, Bundles of Health allows family and friends to gift the mom-to-be a month of housecleaning, food delivery, or a postpartum doula. To add to your Amazon, Babylist, MyRegistry, or Target registry, click here. Help your loved ones give you the gift of health and happiness, time and peace of mind!

Check out Mayo Clinic’s description of postpartum depression signs, symptoms, and advice here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130 "

For Postpartum Mommas Worldwide

Whether it's banishing postpartum depression, healing birth trauma, or balancing me time, I'm an expert in postpartum care and can help you, no matter where you live. I've went through it all personally and professionally. I know postpartum blues, depression and anxiety well, and have helped thousands of women through what I call the "Forgotten 4th Trimester," to prevent or overcome postpartum depression and anxiety in a wholesome, effective and lasting way.  When you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, mild to moderate feelings of depression or anxiety, newborn care or breastfeeding challenges, or finding a sustainable new momma rhythm, I can help you with personalized guidance for your unique situation.

 

5 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Newborns

Are you prepared to ‪breastfeed your baby? Here are the first 5 tips to get you started.

1) Prepare in advance with education and 2) Get support

Whether you are expecting one baby, multiples, or plan to tandem nurse, the best way to prepare to breastfeed is the same as the best way to have the most positive birth outcome: through education during pregnancy when you do not know about it! More and more mamas today approach their birth full of information and support, which is great! But many mamas do little to prepare themselves for ‪‎breastfeeding their precious little ones ‪‎before they are faced with it postpartum.  In addition, It is much easier when you are determined, surrounded by breastfeeding mamas and support - which you can seek out while pregnant, and have a natural unmedicated birth. It is harder without all that, but absolutely doable. My Love Your Birth online course goes into much more detail about breastfeeding and preparing yourself in advance with knowledge and support, the hows and whys, and what you can do to prevent potential common breastfeeding breastfeeding and set yourself up for optimal success.  

Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer

Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer

Breastfeeding is a magical experience for the entire family, and it's one I am proud to support whole heartedly - especially as it's so incredibly beneficial for mamas and babies, on many levels. I am determined to help mamas and babies get the support they need so their breastfeeding journey is a successful one. I have helped thousands of mamas on their breastfeeding journeys, and am happy to share the wisdom from my education and those experiences with you.

Breastfeeding is a natural process healthy mamas and babies know how to do. But it’s not always easy. Natural unfortunately doesn’t necessarily equal easy, especially in the beginning, and for first timers! It is a learned instinct, but once you and baby get it, it can be so easy, even pleasurable and incredibly worth it. While many do get it right away, for others there is a learning curve that takes a few weeks to get into your groove, and sometimes extra support is needed - especially if its your first experience and you are not surrounded by mamas breastfeeding, as women were throughout history since the beginning of time, and still are in many parts of the world.  It is the way all mammals naturally feed their babies. 

This mama pig is so full of the oxytocin and prolactin hormones, she is completely relaxed and in pig mama bliss. Animals just know what to do. In unusual cases, if a baby animal is having difficulty in the wild, they did not survive. And that is simply part of wildlife reality. If an animal is owned by a person, they usually help the rare little one that is having trouble. Humans who are passionate about breastfeeding but facing challenges are fortunate to have all sort of lactation support, wet nurses, donor milk banks, pumping, storage and alternative feeding methods to get babies breastmilk.

3) Start breastfeeding within the first hour postpartum, or as early as possible by 4) placing skin to skin and allowing for the breast crawl

The first hour after postpartum is an ideal time to start breastfeeding as babies are naturally wide awake, alert, and have strong suck, root and crawl reflexes - from the hormones of undisturbed childbirth.  Make sure the lights are dim and the room is quiet. Place baby skin to skin on your abdomen or chest.

Healthy babies have reflexes to actually crawl up and find their way to the breast, find the nipple and start sucking on their own. It takes patience but there is no rush - and it's truly amazing to watch. Check out movies like "The Breast Crawl."  There are plenty like this on you tube. Healthy postpartum mamas have a huge heart, the maternal instinct to love and care for their babies enhanced by the hormonal cocktail circulating in the body after undisturbed birth; and their breasts are filled with colostrum  - commonly referred to as liquid gold, that transitions in a few days to breast milk which completely meets your babies' needs at least for the first 6 months and beyond.

 

5) Make sure baby's latch is wide

It's optimal for them to be allowed and encouraged to do their crawl up to your breast, but yes, there are times when some assistance is needed. But don't give up. If baby is falling asleep and you efforts to wake baby have not worked, or baby does seem frustrated and is starting to get fussy trying to find your nipple, there are things you can do to help. You will have an easier time getting her to breastfeed before the crying starts. Sit up and get yourself comfortable with pillow support as needed, cradle hold your baby in one bent arm so his face is directly in front of your breast a tad below your nipple, leaving your other arm free. 

When your baby is held close, facing your nipple, wait for baby to open his or her mouth wide enough to get a good latch to breastfeed. A good latch includes as much of your areola as possible - the darker circular area surrounding your nipple, where the breastmilk is contained, as well as your nipple, where the milk is released into baby's mouth. Baby needs to compress and squeeze the milk out of your milk sinuses in the areola prior to sucking - which are all part of the breastfeeding process.

Sometimes baby's latches are occasionally shallow in the early learning stages, which usually means baby is sucking mostly on the nipple; this not only feels painful, but also baby is not getting the proper amount of milk needed. If that happens, press down on the nipple with your finger to release baby's strong latch and try again. Until you both get the hang of it, you may need to hold your breast as this mama is doing, and slide the nipple up and down against baby's lips. This will stimulate baby to open wide and then you bring baby to your breast to feed. Practice and patience do make perfect and are well worth it. 

 

It is crucial to have lactation support available. Sometimes all you need is some wisdom from other seasoned breastfeeding moms or your local La Leche leader. Often guidance from your midwife does the trick. If not, and more extensive assistance is needed, do not hesitate to contact your local lactation consultant. Make sure to ask that needed help right away, as the earlier breastfeeding is established the better for both you and baby.  It does take a village of love. We must bring back that village. 

The newborn baby has only three (main) demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." ~ Grantly Dick-Read. 

Let Me Help You Not only Rock Your Breastfeeding, but also....Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life.

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, setsclear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported women with locally for over 20 years in my private practice and I’ve poured all of my love, passion, knowledge and experience into creating something truly special for you

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This  44-day course  is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back!  This course  is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

You are supplying your baby's complete nutrition and hydration requirements, as well as your own. It is difficult to get everything you need even from the best of whole food varied organic diet. Do you need supplements? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice.