To The Tired & Exhausted Mum
I get it! I really do. The rollercoaster ride that is #mumlife. Some days we are nailing it and others it feels like it is nailing us. Being a mum is an incredible yet very taxing role. It can take a massive physical and emotional toll on your body and self and without support and looking after yourself before long you burn out. I understand. I have been there. This is why I’m sharing more here on the blog writing to the tired & exhausted mum. Because, mumma, I feel you. But I am also here cheering you on. Reminding you that it gets easier. That the days are long but the years are short. YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB.
For me, motherhood has been both the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. It has taught me so much. It has made me dig deeper, to be stronger than I ever thought I could be, to keep going even though I had nothing left. Because the love you have for your children is beyond words. The love we have for our children doesn’t change. But if we don’t take care of ourselves we compromise how present and vital we are.
Fill Your Cup Mumma
Firstly, to the tired & exhaust mum, you are so worthy of being cared for. Being a mum is not easy. Some days I feel like I’m thriving, whilst others I’m just muddling through. This is the journey. Each night I go to bed reflecting on the day, wanting to wake up and be even more of the mother I want to be. It starts first with filling YOUR cup.
One of the best things you can do for your children is to nurture and take care of YOURSELF so they get the best version of you. Self care is not selfish mumma.
To help any mothers in our community who are feeling tried, burn out and exhausted, I want you to remember that you don’t need to fix your whole life today, but start filling your cup, one bit at a time. You need it. For you, and for them.
To give you some tools and ways you can start to support yourself, I chatted with the incredible woman and fellow nutritionist and naturopath Shannon Stokes. Shannon is a mother herself and specialises in women’s health, family and children’s health, fertility, hormones, the gut and microbiome and food intolerances. She is amazing and someone I recommend to see if you need support in these areas.
Over to you Shannon…
Tips from Naturopath Shannon Stokes
Stay strong mama…
Firstly , we are all totally doing this together!
If you are a new mum, or have been doing the mum dance for over 20 years… it’s a wild ride. So often I see in my clinic, mums and dads who are tired.. mum and dads who are burnt out, they are bouncing bub on their knee, feeling vague, and in tears. They feel a whole lot of guilt for feeling this way, which leads to feeling more alone.
Post Natal Depletion
I want to talk about something so very real and raw. Its Post-natal depletion! Often it starts way before we even fall pregnant. We are madly trying to be the career woman we thought we should be, hustling all day, every day. Then we come of age and the cluck factor sets in. SO we start trying for bub, maybe it was a relatively smooth process, or maybe it was quite a stressful and trying time, perhaps we needed reproductive assistance. Before we know it that tiny little sesame seed is taking all of our goodness to grow its chubby little fingers and toes and make lungs and beautiful little baby blue eyes. They really need a whole lot of nutrition from their mama right from the very beginning. (cue the beginning of depletion)
Fast forward a few years and perhaps a few months or years of breastfeeding, night wakes…. (Oh the night wakes). And then, there is the shitty mum diet! What even is that, I know I did it for a good year or so after my kids even though I had that knowledge. It’s the piece of toast in the car, it’s the left-over crusts from the kids’ sambo, its spaghetti Bolognese on repeat. So adding up all of this time, there is a real cause for depletion, right? Why would our mamas and dads be feeling amazing? Seriously, how can we feel on top of the world when we are so depleted. Sure, maybe we have been to the doctor and had some standard pathology bloods done and they have come back ‘ok’, or ‘fine’. But this depletion runs deeper. Its from our bones, its from our “coping mechanisms”, its coming from a cellular level, which right now isn’t a classic picture of disease or even treatable from a western medicine perspective.
A Natural Medicine Perspective
From a natural medicine perspective, this is where we can really shine. We can replenish our mums, we can give you the things that these past months/years of growing and raising a baby, birthing a baby, feeding a baby, waking up to baby and having all the mum/dad guilt has TAKEN from us.
For example, a single stressful event, such as a road rage, can deplete our body of the all-important stress mineral, magnesium.. the loud motorbike that hauls past us and scares the bejeepers out of us can deplete our stores and raise that cortisol.. think about babies, a babies’ cry is LOUD and often constant. This is just ONE mineral! What about the nutrients needed to recover from birth, what about the nutrients to create breastmilk, what about the nutrients depleted from the crap ‘mum’ diet, what about the nutrients depleted from sleepless nights, what about the depletion from too much coffee, what about the nutrients depleted from that stressful morning getting the kids in the car for daycare and school, what about the nutrients depleted from skipping meals in order to try and lose the ‘extra weight’ …Hello mass depletion.
Where To Start
So, how can we keep on top of this demand on our bodies during this time? We need to prioritise diet first and foremost. Simple changes to our diet can go a long way. Below I have listed some of my essentials for mums and dads to just get a little boost back in their lives.
- Adding protein to each meal (eggs, collagen, protein powder, chicken, fish, beef, nuts, seeds, tofu or tempeh)
- Ensure you are drinking 2L of water a day, and an additional 250ml for every cup of coffee consumed.
- Stop drinking excess coffee – hello B vitamin deficiency.
- Ensuring you eat regular meals, now is not the time for intermittent fasting, or crazy fad diets, now is a time to eat every 2-3 hours, and it needs to be nutrient dense. Fasting and diets can come later.. maybe
- Eat with purpose – is that bag of left over BBQ Shapes serving you well? No its empty calories. Everything you consume needs to nourish you and serve your body.
- If you are having trouble sleeping, get some help! There is a lot of natural medicine remedies that can help with this, we need sleep and if its an issue lets talk about it.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods, reduce excess dairy and gluten and refined processed sugary foods – these are inflammatory, stress and depletion is already a state of inflammation. (ginger, garlic, turmeric lattes, lots of greens, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds
- Eat a darker chocolate. Dark chocolate is higher in nutrients like magnesium which serves your body, go on! I am prescribing it. 70% dark chocolate and above. Go to town.
- Chuck it all in a smoothie. If you don’t get time to eat well, chuck it all in, add some nuts, greens, hemp seeds, protein powders, blueberries and leftover veggies in a smoothie. (if you need recipes there is a smoothie eBook on the Mums and Bubs Nutritionist website)
You’ve Got This Mumma
There are hard days, and there are rewarding days. We all feel them! There are days it looks like everyone is doing so well, and you feel stuck in this overwhelmed state, or feel absolutely earth shatteringly tired, you may feel depressed and anxious and all of the emotions, but so very often this can mean your body isn’t functioning at its best. Speak to your GP, Nutritionist or Naturopath, get some help, but also take a look at the wild journey you are on, and see the depletion….why would you feel amazing if you haven’t fuelled your body? If you haven’t slept? If you have minimal help. Take care of mum first, fit your own safety mask first so you can be the best mum you can be. Don’t settle for feeling so far removed from your old self.. we can do this, we all need to do this together.
Shan Stokes, Naturopath (Mums and Bubs Nutrition)
Where To Get More Support
Shannon is amazing right? I’m sure you too can feel in her words how much love and support she has to offer for women! If you need support and want to find out more about Shannon, her clinic and the work she does, head over to her Mums and Bubs Nutritionist website or follow Shan on social media. Follow @shannon_stokes_naturopath_ on Instagram or on Facebook. Shan also offers appointments in her Brisbane clinics or via skype.
If you’re looking for support for nutritious meals for you and your family with the work done for you, check out the Nourish From the Inside Out Online Program. I’ve done all of the meal plans, shopping lists and family friendly recipes for you to help you nourish your body and improve your energy.
If you found this post helpful and would like to read more on the topic of mum life and women’s health, please comment below of what you’d like us to cover!
You’ve got this mumma x