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Postpartum Update

Sep 5, 2018

Postpartum Update | Flourish by Caroline Potter, NTPIt’s difficult for me to put into words the emotions of these past few months welcoming our sweet daughter Remington Claire into the world.  My heart (& my husband’s heart) as tripled in size and these postpartum days are filled with all more beauty, joy, frustration, fulfillment than I ever could of imagined.  

I will be really honest—motherhood has been both more difficult and easier than I expected, but becoming a mother has far more fulfilling than I ever thought possible.  Our sweet Remington has brought so much joy into our home and filled a void we never even knew existed.

After a very challenging pregnancy and being in “survivor” mode for so many months, I can wholeheartedly say that every difficult moment was worth it, and I would do it a million times again for our sweet Remington.

The good news is, for me at least, that as soon as Remington was delivered, all the misery, nausea, extreme blood sugar drama due to Type 1 diabetes, fear, horrible aches and insomnia instantly went away.  It was the most incredible feeling, just to feel more like myself again!

I will also say that my postpartum progress was pretty rapid at first, due to instant relief, and then has been very slow and steady.  For 9+ months my body was under more stress than it ever will be and I have let myself feel all the things and take this postpartum phase with grace.  I know eventually my body will get back to normal but am not in any way trying to rush the healing process.

You can read my trimester updates, how I prepared for baby & other postpartum tips—First Trimester, Second Trimester, Third Trimester, Navigating a High Risk Pregnancy, Organic Baby Registry, Breastfeeding Nutrition, 5 Ways to Nourish Your Adrenal Glands After Baby.

Postpartum Update | Flourish by Caroline Potter, NTP

My Postpartum Update

Everyone’s journey is different and I hope in sharing mine that you find bits of inspiration but never compare your journey to mine!  My best advice is to take it slow and know that you didn’t create a baby overnight, so the body takes time to heal.  I was very intentional with my health decisions postpartum and it took me about 3 1/2 months to finally feel more like my normal self!

Physically

Honestly, I felt great pretty quick, and I am very thankful for that.  We were in the hospital for 5 days after Remington’s birth (for a few reasons & because Spain isn’t known for it’s fast pace), so by the time I got home, I still had some minor soreness “down there” but I think the stress of the hospital sorta made me forget about that—I was just so thankful for a real shower after a week and to be home.

*I will say, I took Arnica pretty consistenly once active labor started and for the first 48 hours postpartum.  I think that greatly contributed how I felt immediately postpartum.*

I was extremely, and very painfully swollen, for about 2 weeks after birth.  I had an epidural (saved my life) as well as I was on fluids for the entire birth process due to Type 1 diabetes.  So my swelling was terrible!!

Exercise—walks at first were only about 10 minutes, but I remember on Mother’s Day about 10 days after birth, I managed to slowly walk all the way to lunch and back, about 1.5 miles round trip.  Yes, after I was exhausted but it felt so good.  Starting about 1 month, I was able to move around pretty normally.  I tried running once but that hurt till about 3.5 months postpartum, and I only ran 1/4 a mile, but again it felt so good just to return to some sort of normalcy!  I have been very consistent about walking every morning and Remington loves being outside, so that has been positive for both of us!

Weight loss—UGH, this has been more frustrating than I expected.  I don’t like to talk about weight or numbers, but I did not gain much weight during my pregnancy, so I thought it would be easy for me.  And it was the first month—I lost all the weight.  Then breastfeeding really kicked in, and I have had a huge overproduction problem (yes a very painful blessing) and that caused me to pack back on a lot of weight.  They say breastfeeding is the best way to loose the weight, but for me it has been the opposite.  I truly believe that my body needed to gain some “fat” to produce milk and feed my sweet baby.  She is healthy and content, so if that means that this is what my body looks like for now, I am totally ok with that.  But yes, I am human and it has been frustrating and tearful, but this is such a short season of life and my sweet daughter is my top priority!

Migraines—this has been the most difficult part postpartum and these unbearable migraines are most often triggered by exhaustion.  I was very consistent about taking naps every afternoon for the first 3 months and that was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.  But each time I would have a rough night of sleep or not get to my afternoon nap a migraine was usually triggered.  Migraines + taking care of another human is beyond rough.  

Breastfeeding—I never thought I would say this and I always thought it was weird when women said they loved breastfeeding, but it truly is such a beautiful experience.  Don’t get me wrong, it is HARD—a huge commitment, very draining, my body feels awkward and not my own, but the emotional connection is something I can’t quite put into words.  It forces you to stop and just be and that is something I will savor forever.  When she places her little hand on my chest it is the most incredible feeling.

Postpartum Update | Flourish by Caroline Potter, NTP

Emotionally

Ahh hormones—let’s just say there are many tears postpartum—both overwhelming tears of happiness and amazement at the sweet miracle of life but also painful tears of exhaustion, confusion and frustration.  Just like in pregnancy, I’ve encouraged myself to just let all the emotions flow!  Its ok to have feelings and just let yourself be you.  The newborn phase passes so quickly, and I have really let myself embrace all my feelings—having a baby has broken down so many of the tough “walls” I put up in life and it really has been a beautiful thing for me.

Babies are the most life giving and the most draining all at the same time.  It is so beautiful and so exhausting.  But, they are completely dependent on us for survival and their needs can’t ever be ignored.  My to-do list, my peaceful dinner time with my husband, all of that has to come second and that has been a big adjustment.  Life is different, challenging, beautiful and messy all at the same time.  But gosh, she brings SO much joy into our home, it is worth every single moment!

I think its ok to “mourn” your former life so to speak.  I have NO regrets of having a baby, but there are times when I miss the former days.  I am an introvert and need alone or quiet time and there isn’t much of that anymore, but honestly I could just stare at her all day long!  There are times when all I want to do is just be able to take a long shower, binge watch Netflix or tackle my long work list.  But all in all I wouldn’t trade that for sweet baby snuggles.

Nutritionally

It’s crazy to me, that the only support you are given is during pregnancy, but postpartum your nutrition needs are actually more, if you are breastfeeding.  But the body truly needs to heal and replenish.  During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the body is designed to prioritize the baby’s needs, often leaving the mother depleted for years to come.

Personally, I have felt drained—there were a few weeks postpartum, about 2 months in, that I felt someone was sucking the nutrients out of me…and well Remington literally was, but nutritionally I have been very careful to boost my nutrients.

I’ve honestly never eaten so much food in my life—breastfeeding has me constantly hungry and I never feel full.  I have been going through cubes of butter, blocks of cheese, jars of coconut butter and grilled hamburgers and steak like crazy!  My mom and I took a quick trip to Portugal when Remington was 3 weeks and the resort’s breakfast buffet was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experience.  Seriously, I am starving all the time.  Whether or not you are breastfeeding, your nutrient needs in the postpartum phase continue.

Adrenal support— Supporting my adrenal glands, both prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and postpartum, has been my best decision and I have reaped so many benefits!  About 6 weeks postpartum, the exhaustion really set in, so I started focusing on my adrenal fatigue protocol and increased what I was taking and doing even more about 2 months postpartum.  It was amazing to see how some simple changes and supplements made a huge difference and I finally started to feel more like my normal self about 3.5 months after birth.  I detail my adrenal fatigue protocol in my Understanding & Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Naturally course (use the code POSTPARTUM to save 30%!).

Besides adrenal support, I have been loading up on lots of healthy fats which are our hormones building blocks and hormones need to be balanced and restored postpartum, as well as a huge component of our cells—remember, healthy cells mean a healthy body.

I also am continuing to take beef liver capsules and a prenatal vitamin, as well as following my adrenal fatigue protocol.  I am working on some postpartum nutrition protocols, so please get in touch if you are interested!Postpartum Update | Flourish by Caroline Potter, NTP

Recovering from a traumatic pregnancy

Pregnancy was really difficult for me—for 9 months I was in “survivor” mode, spending every moment, both day and night, trying to keep myself and sweet baby alive and stable.  Towards the end it really started taking a toll on me, and I know it has affected my postpartum.

I still have moments of fear and anxiety when I check my blood sugar.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night panicked.  Type 1 Diabetes will always live with me, but I have been trying to give myself some space from talking much about my disease to allow myself to rest and heal both physically and emotionally.

I will say, diet-wise, I have intentionally been pretty relaxed—mostly because breastfeeding has me starving—but also, I had such a negative relationship with food for 9 months, seriously I was sick up until the very end.  I didn’t want that negative relationship to continue, and thankfully ALL foods taste amazing to me now (except mushrooms and lamb, those still sorta freak me out).  But I have given myself grace—yes, moderate amounts of fresh croissants, wine and gelato for the first few months.  Now 4 months in, I am still having to consume much more carbs than normal due to breastfeeding, but am mostly back to my traditional way of eating.

Food has such an emotional component and I really wanted to focus on healing my body and taking care of my sweet baby rather than worrying about what foods I “shouldn’t be eating.”  Yes, I’ll admit, I even had a pizza delivered one night when my husband was still deployed.  It was total happiness.Postpartum Update | Flourish by Caroline Potter, NTP

What I’ve been loving postpartum:

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