That time of the cyclone - I mean Cycle!
Getting your period back after having a baby can be like winning the hormonal lottery – and not the good kind.
It’s like seeing a rainbow in black and white. Suddenly, you may feel like you want to argue with the world. Every little thing you’ve been biting your tongue about wants to flow out proudly like you’ve been learning French for four years and have finally arrived in Paris. Pardon my French. Watch out world! It’s not raining, it’s hailing – put a helmet on or stay hidden inside.
If this is you, all I can say is breathe and literally take up medication, I mean meditation (or honestly - maybe both) and prepare for next month. It will get better, but you’re going to have to help yourself – yes, you. And get a support person to help you. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck on a train you can’t get off and you’re going through this once a month – and you haven’t before or it’s worse than before you had a baby – you are not alone, unique or even special.
A lot of women feel this way for two weeks of the month. Yikes, yes, reread that. The truth is that the longer you ignore it, the longer it lasts. When you’re stuck in that cycle, it’s hard to find the will to do anything about it, as you're literally dog paddling through a tsunami of hormones, emotions and exhaustion. You no longer have the luxury of putting yourself to bed or bingeing on Netflix and chocolate, because you have a tiny human who needs you to be okay.
If you really aren’t okay, you must ask for help. You need to say the words, “I’m not okay right now, and I need help. I think with help I’ll be better soon, but I’m not okay right now”.
It is so hard to do, and so hard to not feel like you have completely failed by asking for help – but you haven’t. Don’t forget all the times that you have done it on your own. And now you’re doing it for the kids. Stop trying to drive with a flat tyre. Pull over, change the tyre and drive with fewer bumps.
The first step is identifying and recognising how you are feeling during the cyclone, how long it lasts and if you can relieve the symptoms with some natural strategies and remedies. You’ll most likely need some support to achieve this.
If your baby is happy in the pram, get yourself out for a walk. Don’t throw your phone or laptop down now, it won’t help you or give you the endorphins you need to release that inner monster. Get your bum moving and complain later – or complain throughout the whole walk – but do it. If your baby isn’t good in the pram, try to schedule some help - so you can exercise, or at very least go on a brisk walk.
The next thing you need is nourishment. Yes, you may be craving a block of chocolate, but that’s not going to help you in this cyclone or the next. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, eat with purpose: foods rich in healthy fats, such as salmon, walnuts, avocados, oats, flax seeds, and add cinnamon and turmeric to your diet, as well as leafy greens and red meat.
If you can afford it, I advise seeing a naturopath to help you find what supplements you - as an individual need. If you can’t afford one, or going to one seems way too hard, there are a few simple supplements that you can try, such as evening primrose oil and folate. Discuss these with your doctor and whether being on a contraceptive pill or contraceptive could help regulate some of your symptoms. A lot of women experience less PMS while on the right contraceptive. If you didn’t have one that worked well before you were pregnant, the trick is finding the one that is right for you.
The other thing to consider is acupuncture and Chinese medicine and herbs. Acupuncture and cupping can often help treat PMS, anxiety and depression. Chinese practitioners believe that if your periods are heavy and filled with rage and grumpiness, something is either stagnant within your flow or out of balance, and that with treatment your periods could improve. I personally tried it and I did find that it helped me relax and release tension, as well as decrease how heavy they were (Especially when I stopped breastfeeding - which can trigger a new hormone - rebalancing act)
The point is, if every month you’re feeling unusually depressed around your period, it is way too long a time frame to be miserable, and chances are that the symptoms will get worse. Its time to make a change - for change to happen.
Get the right help and get back to living a better life – so you can thrive! Not survive.
Other things to consider that may help:
· As briefly mentioned earlier - Talk to your doctor or better yet, gynaecologist to see if going on the right contraceptive could help manage your pms. If you were happy on the pill prior to having children, that may be right for you. Some women feel that being on the right contraceptive pill, is like being on a mood stabilizer – while others feel a little nutty. The good news is that there are other options, such as the Mirena but you’ll need to check with your doctor to see if that’s safe for you and your future baby making plans. They may also be able to check your hormone levels.
· Medication or counselling. If you have been or are on - antidepressants or antianxiety medication – it may be time to discuss this with your psychologist or psychiatrist. Things may need to be adjusted or revisited.
· Sometimes, simply talking can help you figure out what you need to rebalance your life scales. You are still you! What do you need? What is missing to help you thrive! Not survive these chapters. What have you stopped doing – that fulfils you and your soul. As a mother, it is too easy to and sometimes necessary to put your needs last – but you are human! You have needs. Perhaps your period is screaming out to you! To remind you, that you need some taking care of. You are living inside you and as a mother I know, how hard it is to look after yourself. As hard - as it is to do – it’s not a luxury, it’s essential. Always return to it. Return to taking care of your needs. This will be a work in progress for the rest of your life. Keep working on you!
Remember you're not alone in feeling this way.
I hope you found this helpful. Please spread the love and share it with your girlfriends.