The first year with a new baby is not for the faint of heart, but it’s also one of the sweetest times with your children. Not only can you survive during this time but you can also thrive in this first year. This episode is all about the four essentials that your need to focus on to avoid postpartum depression, anxiety, or any other mood disorder after giving birth.
They all say it takes a village to raise children but there are no villages anymore. We are divided by technology, time, and space. So what’s next? What kind of environment do you need to be in; how do you build your own village? Is it possible to enjoy the first year after birth even though everyone says it not possible? I say yes and this episode is going to explain it all to you with four simple, tangible, and essential steps.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
What research says about a mothers brain
Motherhood changes us. That's clear but this study goes in depth on what happens to a mothers brain after giving birth.
It dives deep in to the study of our brains and how in the months before and after birth this one part of our brain called the amygdala grows in size. And it quotes for a “normal” brain. Who knows what that is like for any woman experiencing any kind of trauma, has had trauma, or is just flat out experiencing any kind of mood disorder.
This almond shaped set of neurons in our brain helps process memory and drives emotional reactions like fear, anxiety, and aggression. So when its enlarged it has more receptors to uptake the increased amount of hormones we experience during pregnancy and after. Each time we look at our babies, there is a small dose of hormones that are received by the amygdala that give us a positive feelings and reward us for the act of just simply looking at our babies. Hello human survival. Without this insanely intricate design who knows how we would have survived when imminent threats were present everyday.
The study goes on to talk about the enormous amount of oxytocin that is released in breast feeding mothers and how that plays a huge role in the sensitivity to a mothers response to her baby in the first few months of motherhood, and the coolest part I of the article I read is how it compared the brain activity in imaging to that of falling in love. Our brains literally light up in the same way when we have a baby as they do when we fall in love.
My personal journey into motherhood
My first born came to me in the middle of serious negative emotional abuse and I know for a fact that it affected my ability to bond with her. I was not and did not experience falling in love. I was in survival mode every day of my life. I love my baby with all of my heart and soul, but my brains ability to solely focus on falling in love was not there.
Many women experience these feelings, they experience ppd or postpartum depression or anxiety, the develop obsessive compulsive disorders and it all stems from what and how we take care of ourselves.
I know thats steep but I truly believe it. I was one of those women who “didnt have a choice” I stayed for years and allowed myself to be told horrible things about who I was bc “i didn’t have a choice”. I left 4 times before I left for good, “bc I didn’t have a choice” but the reality is. I had a choice.I didn’t know how to handle the choices I had. I needed help and had to search high and low to find the resources I needed for that time in my life. I was blessed with an incredible career that gave me finical stability and freedom to medically care for me and my daughter in the best way, and feed myself organic food, and family and friends who listened to me cry for years.
Surviving the first year of motherhood look incredibly different in that brain than it did in the mind of my second. I was married to a God fearing man that cherished me, my birth, and my purpose. I gave birth in my home, I had zero fear. I was safe. I fell in love with my baby the way the study shows a mom can. My brain was experiencing motherhood in a completely different way, but either way I experienced motherhood, no matter what was happening in my mind, my neurons, my chemicals, trauma or not, these 4 essentials were the foundation of survival.
Sleep is one of the most vital parts of all life, let alone after birthing a human. No matter what way you approach sleep with a baby in the house, it's vital that you prioritize it. With my first I was dead set on doing all the breastfeeding on demand, and everything all the crunch "good moms" did. But that just lead to a lot of sleepless nights and me never really learning some of the key elements of sleep skills for babies.
With my second, I decided to humble myself, which 14 months of waking up every night will do that to you, and get educated on the subject of sleep. I hired a sleep consultant.
It was the best decision of my life. And you should absolutely do the same.
Cara from TakingCaraBabies has the most affordable services to teach you how to get everyone in your house sleeping within the first 3 months of postpartum. If your baby is anywhere in the first year of like I absolutely recommend purchasing her course. You can also attend one of her in-person workshops if you are local to Arizona.
Understanding how to care for yourself once you become a mom is no easy feat, but it is vital. Here is a list of topics to read about so you can be prepared to care for yourself, not just baby in the first year of motherhood.
breastfeeding in public
No More Fake Food.
Yep, I said it. You have to start caring about what kind of food you are eating. If you are a breastfeeding mom this is not a question of want, it is a need, not just for baby but for you. Breastfeeding depletes you of all the micro and macro nutrients so baby can thrive, which means you need to replace them. Prenatal vitamins aren't going to cut it. You need to be eating whole foods without synthetic flavors and sugars, dyes, preservatives, and high levels of processing.
Here is what you should focus on eating during pregnancy and for the first year post birth.
organic foods (specifically the Dirty Dozen)
grass fed meats
whole food protein bars
herbal teas (breastfeeding friendly)
My Daily Smoothie Recipe
1 cup nut milk
1 scoop chocolate collagen powder
2 cups raw greens
2-4 tbsp nut butter
Wearing your baby literally gives you your life back. Need I say more?
The thought for some people can be super overwhelming but I promise the incredibly short learning curve is worth reducing the hours of stress you will experience over the next year.
Here is a list of my favorite carriers.
This soft carrier is life. I would buy it 10 times over again. It is soft, butter like, cool, and light weight. Plus incredibly comfortable.
This structured carrier is amazing for the later half of your first year of motherhood - and beyond. I still use this carrier multiple times a month with Bay and she is two now. I purchased the option that has completed air flow for the Arizona heat. It carries on the hip, front, back, and baby can face in or out. It comes with a sun shade and a zippered pocket. I am extremely small framed at it sized down to me, plus it comes with a back support for larger framed mommas.