When is the best time for moms to ask for help in Postpartum?
Postpartum care and support for mothers are often lacking, leading to postnatal depletion, which affects one out of two mothers globally.
Is Postpartum something we should be ashamed of?
Today’s episode is a powerful one, focusing on a topic close to Carolina’s heart—postpartum care and the need for better support for mothers. Joining her is the expert, Christiane Panesar, in helping moms conquer fatigue (while mending baby’s colic, eczema & sleep) so that they can ditch the Postnatal Depletion and become the mother, the businesswoman, and the lover they know to be.
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Podcast Episode Transcript
Welcome back, friends. This is the Make a Baby podcast and Carolina’s Search for My York podcast host. And today we’re talking about something that’s near and dear my heart because, again, we can’t talk enough about postpartum. Postpartum is something that if you’re having a child and you’re menstruating and you give birth, you need to care about because postpartum looks different for every person, but the postpartum care across the world is not the same.
And here in the United States, we need to have these conversations because women are deserving of better care. And today we are talking to my friend Christiana Pinesa. So today, and I’m super passionate about postpartum because it is actually the reason why I started my practice. Most people don’t know that is I was deep in my postpartum and I got certified in my postpartum to help me heal so that I had the ability because Reiki was so Restorative and critical in my postpartum recovery.
I got attuned to Reiki. And then when I first launched my business, I was a mobile Reiki business for postpartum moms. And my first business was Omaha postpartum Reiki. I would take my table and I would go to women’s houses so they wouldn’t have to leave their houses, especially if they were quite like home from the hospital, they wouldn’t have to leave their babies.
And then eventually ended up in a chiropractor’s office. So postpartum I’m super passionate about, but today we’re talking about when to ask for help in postpartum and you are the expert. But before we dive in, my favorite question to ask every guest is where are you in the world? I’m in Alberta, Canada.
I love Canadians and you’re my favorite. So can you give us a little bit of who you are, what you do, and then we’ll dive into when to ask for help in postpartum? So I specialize in helping moms conquer fatigue while mending baby’s colic and eczema so that they can ditch the postnatal depletion and become the mother, the business owner, and the lover they know to be.
And I created postnatal depletion recovery to support mothers who have been putting themselves last for far too long and on the back burner for far too long so that they can make the shift from zombie to goddess in weeks and not years or even decades. I was a three identities, mom, business owner, and lover.
So I think that that’s really important. I think also what I discovered later in postpartum is I lost part of my identity as a person that I only took on as the mom identity. And then that was like my personality instead of like. I was a horse owner and I had hobbies and I have a fun personality and I’m quirky.
It took a while for that to re emerge. So I love that. To me that’s like a whole approach. Yeah. Yeah. Totally. And it’s so important. So when should moms ask for help in postpartum? When is the best time? Or I think that I can gauge for just working with so many women is when is the best time? Because nobody wants to be an inconvenience.
And I think that that is a tricky question because I know the answer, but I want you to answer it is like, when is the best time to ask for help? When should they? Yeah. So the short answer to this question is right away. And even before postpartum, because the best scenario is when moms do it before, because it’s so much harder to ask for help when you’re in the midst of it, when you’re in the thick of it.
And even if you think you don’t need help. Yeah. Even if you think you don’t need help, it’s better to set yourself up for being. support it and then maybe not needing the help after which would be totally fine too of course but usually that’s the best thing to do to just factor in. There’ll be hiccups, there’ll be some difficulties.
The longer and more detailed answer to this would be if you feel things like you’re feeling totally overwhelmed. Even if you think you shouldn’t feel like this, but you feel overwhelmed. When you don’t get enough sleep, you get severely interrupted sleep. When you don’t get enough time for yourself anymore, for self care, or you don’t even know anymore how to take care of yourself.
When you’re struggling with things like breastfeeding, when you’re struggling with getting appropriate nourishment for yourself or baby, when you’re struggling with The baby may be showing symptoms of not sleeping well, like crying for hours every night, having so called colic or showing eczema or things like that.
Ask for help when your relationship is suffering. Ask for help when your ability to thrive at work is suffering. And the list can go on and on, but I think moms get the point here. But the most important thing to say here really is that if you ask for help as a mother, It doesn’t mean you failed as a mother because so many moms think that, including myself, when I was there, I totally thought at the time there must be something wrong with me because I had a tough time and postpartum without any family support.
And it was a big deal for me to express to friends that I was struggling. So a thing is I find moms think. They should do alone because there is so little support for moms in postpartum out there. So because there is no support, we think we should do this alone. And mom’s getting the, you’re good to go from the doctor at just six weeks after birth.
So that’s why they think they should be good to go. They should be all recovered. Those moms are being sent home with a, Oh, it’s normal. What you’re feeling. It’s normal. Your baby crying like this is normal. Your baby having eczema and colic and all these things. There’s nothing you can do about it. I was told that.
He just has really good lungs. Really? Yeah. And also society does a great job of reinforcing this idea that you have to bounce back and that you will bounce back to what you were before without recognizing that you grew a human and you had a birthing experience, which are both very transformative experiences in each of their own.
So for me, I always look at postpartum is we’re restoring. Your energy, and then also so that you can have space to meet the new version of you, because there’s no going back. There’s only going forward. You have a new human that came out of you. And we’re also going to go ahead and have this new family dynamic.
Your partnership, if you’re in a relationship is going to shift no matter what, or if you have already existing children, the dynamic of that, and how much time and how you’re going to live life now is permanently different. So I think. Allowing yourself to have postpartum to unfold and meet the new version of yourself and get to know yourself now, because, you know, your life, you’ve been many versions of yourself, but now in postpartum, it’s time to meet this new version of you.
And I think that that’s the truth for I found in my postpartum is that people are like, well, when are you going to get back to normal? Well, what would really didn’t happen is people didn’t know the traumatic birth experience I had, and I was never going to go back to the person I was. So, yeah, I think you can’t because you’ve grown, right?
How could you go back? How can I forget what happened to me, right? And it’s so recent. I think that society through movies and like conversations and misconceptions, like that’s been, especially in American culture, that it’s been just so widespread that you’re supposed to bounce back and you’re supposed to lose weight quickly and you’re supposed to be Yeah.
Back to the way you were, whereas that couldn’t be further away from the truth of like, no, we’re not going back. We’re going forward. Yeah. Do you know this saying, how does it go? Moms are expected to work as if they don’t have children and to mothers as if they don’t have a job. Yeah. Like you’re just supposed to do everything like before, just with baby now.
Yeah, I know. When they’re really small, you can do a lot. But like, People are like, did you enjoy your postpartum, your maternity leave? No, John, I did not. I had a C-section and I was learning to breastfeed and I had a medical grade pump and I was learning to like exercise this boob. So to a slacker boob would produce as much as my bigger boob.
So no, John, my maternity leave was a lot of work and I’m exhausted. So this is my soapbox. So maternity leave and postpartum recovery in corporate America. It’s not what it should be at all. Not at all. Sorry, did I startle you? Don’t even get me started on this. Yeah. Okay. So we’re in the same boat, but like, so for me when asking for help, I was careful in postpartum who I asked help to though.
I was very careful. I worked in a male-dominated industry. I used to work in pharmaceutical manufacturing. I was in some cases only one or two women in the department at a time, and then I moved jobs during my postpartum too. I mostly asked help. I had a postpartum doula and I had one really good friend.
She didn’t live near me, but she also was postpartum, but she was postpartum with her second kid and she was, Further along with me, she was like, her kid was 7 months old, 7 months old, and she had, uh, a 4 year old. So she had done doing that and it wasn’t working. So she had a lot of time for me and ask for help.
You need to have more than 1 source to go and ask for help from in asking for me. I asked her all my mom questions, all my breastfeeding questions, all my why is this so hard? Why do I feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest? And then I would ask my husband. I was like. I basically couldn’t do a lot of things because of my C-section recovery, but he took on a lot of the things in our marriage and it actually was better because I didn’t realize I was doing too much in our marriage.
I was doing so much that. I was enabling. So now our marriage, six years postpartum, it’s very different. So that’s great. Okay. So you mentioned something that’s really important. What is postnatal depletion? What is that? Because in all the postpartum circles I’ve been in, and I know a lot of postpartum doulas and things, and even gone to conferences, no one’s ever used this word.
Or this words or this phrase. Yeah, this was so important for me to discover that this exists because all I knew before was the term postpartum depression. And then my midwife came by and uttered those words. It actually really helped. Me, not that I was a hundred percent going there already, but it was just this wake up of, Oh my God, there’s actually an explanation for why I’m feeling like this.
This is not just in my head. There’s actually something going on. But what I found out what it actually really was, it was postnatal depletion. And it’s a syndrome that affects one out of two mothers actually. And it’s not just new mothers, but all mothers, that thought we way back in your match-up. Yeah.
Did you say one out of two? Is that globally? Is that a global statistic? Globally. And it could be all ends of the spectrum. It could be severe postpartum depression. Or it could be just feeling a little bit. I bet. I bet you that’s what I had. Shut up. One in two women. So 50% of women that have babies are postpartum suffered from this.
Experts estimate at least one out of two mothers. At least. And it comes from the depletion. My hair, my hair is standing up. And it comes from the depletion due to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, and breastfeeding. And so many women are already depleted as they enter pregnancy, right? So then it just compounds and compounds, exactly.
They’re not eating the right foods. Yeah. They’re not nourished. Yeah, they’re already maxed out. And then on top of their maxed out life, they’re having a baby now, right? And, and when a mother makes her baby, of course, it’s all from their own resources and nature’s very smart. The placenta first makes sure that the baby is taken care of and every mother would want that, but still it comes at the cost of the mother of being left depleted if she doesn’t fill her cup enough.
So this explains so much. And it’s not actually That’s why some of the, I suffered deep. I had a lot of health issues that started only in postpartum that I never had before. And that’s one of the symptoms for it actually. That’s one of the symptoms actually to have health issues come up during pregnancy or postpartum that have never been there before or are being aggravated.
That’s one of the symptoms actually. Yeah. I’m going to have to send this episode to one of my favorite clients I’ve ever had. Shout out to, I won’t say her full name, C. in Wisconsin. She had. A Reiki baby and we had done a couple of sessions together shortly after she was postpartum baby was not even a month old yet and she didn’t getting like paralyzation and she couldn’t move and she ended up getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The long run, but, like, she had not had any issues or any signs prior to that. So now she has full flown that only came up during postpartum. Luckily, she can walk now and she’s, I think, on the road to remission with her doctor’s help, but. There are so many cases about this. This is life-changing for me. I have keep going, keep going.
I like, but no, like I know so many women that the postpartum, the things come up that we didn’t, we’ve never had this conversation on the podcast. I’m flipping excited. Yeah. And it’s not just on a nutritional level. Like people always think, Oh, it’s just diet. And that’s like a huge part of it. And the problem here is just a possible moment is that.
Moms are just being recommended standard diet and exercise recommendations. Like, first of all, like the standard diet and exercise recommendations, they are set according to men, like all our research is according to men. It’s just like a new thing in the last few years that we’re actually starting to even look at women and have like female test objects and medicine and all of that.
And then That’s really cool. A woman is so different when she’s a mother, right? You can’t just even do the same things you did before you became a mother, like your physiology, your brain chemistry, your hormones, your nervous system, everything has changed. And it’s actually an upgrade. It’s not a deficit that we always think of because we don’t.
We can’t go back. Like that’s a deficit. Now we’re less, but it’s actually an upgrade and also scientifically researched. It’s, it’s really interesting actually. But anyways, where was it? So it’s not just nutrition, but it’s like several levels and people forget like all these other levels of like, for example, underlying traumas, like so often traumas get.
Traumas come up as you become a mother or new traumas happen, like birth traumas, traumas of not being supported, being able to breastfeed, like all these things. So all that gets compounded. So we have to help women work through this and integrate all of this rather than just normalizing it. We’ll just push through.
It’s just normal. You’re tired now because that just makes us feel like we’re crazy, but it’s actually, it’s a real, it’s a real thing. Yeah, I think instantly it’s going to sound bad. I think anyone who says, Oh, you’re being crazy is an asshole. Like, I can’t, they’re like, that’s in your head. No, I pushed a baby out of me or had a baby taken out of me and I grew them.
Nothing that I’m going through is crazy, like stop invalidating women. So we were talking about a lot of things, but what are some, like, three signs that you need to ask for help? You were talking about some of them, but what are like, for as a woman that is like a working mom, if this is happening in your life, that you immediately need to stop and ask for help from a person that you trust?
Yeah, so there are a few signs actually, which are the symptoms of postnatal depletion. So for example, severe fatigue, let’s say in the past two weeks, you would rate your fatigue at a six to 10 and 10 being zombie-like. If you’re tired, even if you had a good night’s sleep, if you have brain fog, AKA baby brain, there’s hypervigilance, which is usually a baby brain is not normal.
No. Like it’s common, but it’s not normal. This being forgetful, you can’t say. I think that’s so important. So baby brain is brain fog and it is common, but it’s not normal body function. Very interesting fact is that a mother’s brain actually shrinks like about five to eight percent. They’ve measured this in each pregnancy.
So you’re literally, like baby literally siphons nutrients off your brain, it takes it off your brain for, for its own, for their own. So no wonder, right? Like why baby brain? And we can rebuild that. We can take care of the nervous system. So it doesn’t have to be like this for the rest of our lives. So that’s one sign.
Another one would be. Hypervigilance, which is usually coupled with unease or anxiety, if we just can’t relax anymore, we’re constantly on alert. You can’t even sleep anymore, even if you could sleep, even if you had time and baby is sleeping. A sense of guilt or shame around the role of being a mother.
Like you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. Feel guilty for taking time for yourself. That’s definitely a sign you should ask for help. Loss of self-esteem. Like you went from capable, confident, and ambitious to feeling anxious, unmotivated, and you don’t want to leave the house anymore after you became a mother.
It’s very common. Feeling overwhelmed, feel like you can’t cope anymore. You’re either losing it at your family regularly or you’re just tuning out as a protective mechanism because it’s too much. What he talked about. aches and pains, digestive issues, health conditions that have worsened since you had baby.
That’s a sign. And then also loss of libido. That’s also a sign as well, if your hormones are just sabotaging your date nights. And last one, if it has been already one, three or five years after birth and you’re still feeling like you never really recovered, you’re still depleted. So it’s not normal. You don’t have to suffer like this.
So. If we have those and we ask for help, what are some examples of people they can ask for help from that you would suggest? Like the kind of people you mean or the kind of things? Yes, like, is it our doctors? Is it a friend? So if we have these things, everyone’s situation looks differently. Sometimes we have single moms.
Sometimes we have spouses that are working away, maybe truck drivers that are on the road a lot or, you know, traveling. If that’s the case. What do you recommend? Like, who should we be talking to? Yeah, I mean, whatever you have. I mean, if you have family support, that would be the best. But if, let’s say, your family is just stressing you out, like your mother-in-law, and it’s actually every time they come, you just feel judged and anxious, then that might not be the best support.
You know, if you have. Neighbors and friends. That would be amazing. Like, ask them. Your people usually love to help and they might need some help. How to help you. They might not know. I think that’s really great. They might need some help helping you. Can you talk more about that? Like, for example, I just had to remember last night how I even got offered some help with my first baby, but I just could not.
Accepted. And the thing was like my best friend at the time when she had her baby before me, I had a miscarriage. We were supposed to have babies at the same time. I had her baby and I really wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. And she just kind of cut off from everybody and didn’t want to see anyone and just thought I have to figure this out on my own first.
Then I’ll invite you in when whatever I’m presentable, baby’s presentable. And I was so like, I just didn’t know how to help her. And I didn’t know I could have just put some food in front of her. door or like it just didn’t dawn on me. I was just like, okay, she said no. So I’ll just respect that. And I was kind of sad about it, but I just didn’t know.
And then in turn, when she came to help me, she stayed over the first night after, uh, when we brought home baby and she stayed there to help me. And then at night when baby woke up, like screaming at the top of her lungs and I was totally panicked and didn’t know what was going on first-time mother. And I just, I did not ask her for help.
I just didn’t want to wake her up. I was like, Oh my God, I can’t just Seem like I don’t know how to take care of my own baby and I pretended no, I’m fine. Everything was fine. Thanks for staying over and it was cause I didn’t know how to help her. She didn’t let me help. Then in turn, I couldn’t even accept her help.
So it’s so, it’s such a vicious circle of pain of society. So once I knew, and I knew, example, I was asking one of my friends, once I got over myself and realized I need help, otherwise I won’t be the mother I want to be. I won’t be the lover I want to be anymore. I wasn’t but I really would help me to ask was For my family, for my baby and I ask a friend, could you organize a meal train for me?
And she’s like, yeah, for sure. I didn’t know you needed help. Like it was no problem. They were so thrilled. They could help us. But before I didn’t even dawn on me, I would need some help with food that I would be hungry every two hours from breastfeeding and faint if I wouldn’t eat and just couldn’t handle making food.
I was in such a different space. So I couldn’t handle opening the mail. Yeah, I couldn’t literally we got a notice. I say this all the time. We got a notice for our rent that it was overdue and we are like, super responsible people. We have never been late and Ryan’s like, did you do the bills? And I was like, no, I haven’t moved from this couch and I was just concentrating on, because we had a difficult time breastfeeding and it was the last thing I was hell-bent on, like, making work when my birth didn’t go the way I wanted it to.
Yeah, so I was just focusing on keeping. this child alive and breastfeeding and learning how to pump, getting him to latch. And I was not functioning the same way. So literally I was a shell of the person I was before. So it’s really important to remember like in postpartum too, that, you know, you’re going to may not be able to do this, the simplest of things that, or maybe also a sign is that you forget to eat, forget to eat.
I was also the thirstiest I had ever been in my life when I was breastfeeding. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s not that we’re not functioning. It’s just, it’s different, right? We’re like doing something so much more important, but the brain is totally different. My brain was totally overloaded with like, just the simplest things were really hard for me.
My postpartum was really severe. And that’s just my journey. It took all of me just to take care of. The baby we had to hire a housekeeper, there was a business called Mommy’s helper and this is way back before instacart. This is before groceries were delivered. Like, she would run my errands for me. She would go to walmart or target.
She would fold the laundry. She would make sandwiches and then she would come opposite days of the postpartum doula. And that went on for a few months just because I needed help. Yeah. Yeah. And the thing is, so many doctors, like if you have a good doctor, that’s great. But most doctors are not trained in postnatal depletion.
They don’t even know what that is. It’s just slowly becoming a thing in the medical world. Like there are some very specialized doctors for this literature out there. If they have a lot of these symptoms, how do they go about getting the diagnosis? Or what does treatment look like for postnatal depletion?
depletion. Yeah, there’s a postnatal depletion test I created, which people can find in my free support group, my Facebook group, so people can go there. And it’s not a syndrome because, exactly, because it’s not a disease, it’s a syndrome, right? So it’s harder to. pinpoint, but with this kind of a test, you can get a sense.
Of course, it’s not a diagnosis, but you can get a sense. Okay. Do you need some help here or not? So, and what I do with my moms, I actually look at this on seven different levels from nutrition to movement flow that’s suitable for moms, not just. normal exercise to looking at traumas, nervous system, sleep, underlying microorganisms, that might be root causes to problems, and then including taking care of the baby, because how could a mother be well if the baby is crying and not sleeping?
And there’s so much we can do to help the baby. One of our things was that baby had colic and was crying till like four or five o’clock in the morning. And I just couldn’t settle there as this, this is normal. There’s nothing I can do. And I’m glad I didn’t settle and I’m glad I didn’t give up and I found a solution.
And she was a totally different child. And we were totally different people after we got some sleep and I could actually start taking care of my postnatal depletion recovery, but it needs a specialized approach. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing because there isn’t much out there, unfortunately, like even, even with my doula and my midwife, I still, nobody prepared me for this.
Nobody helped me with this. It’s incredible. So that, that’s why I saw just, there’s like a real need for women to hear that this is a thing and you don’t have to just silently suffer in this. And there’s no, we’re breaking the silence is the whole reason why I started the podcast because the conversations.
Not just in spirituality, but like, just the conversations, in general, were not happening that I saw enough of in the way that we’re doing it, which is inclusivity and talking to a full array of experts. And I am so grateful you’ve come here. So tell us how we can work with you and find you on the Internet.
Yeah, so Facebook group is called Facebook Groups Postnatal Depletion, and it’s a free support group that I created for months, especially because of this, because it’s not just important to reach out for help, but to surround yourself with the right help, the right people you vibe with, you know, women that Get it and resources that are tailored for you and not just standard.
Okay, whatever. Here’s some sleeping pills or anxiety pills for you and some reflex meds for baby. Okay. Good luck. This group of moms can join for free. And also I offer an hour session for moms to just. See what’s going on, like what symptoms of postnatal depletion they freezed with symptoms that baby is experiencing and how we can make a game plan to the postnatal depletion in the butt and get your energy back.
It’s on my website, hardfood. com and I’m also on Instagram. It’s hardfoodholistic. The handle and yeah, I just want to say that like, please reach out. Don’t be shy to reach out for help. It can be scary. Like I know I went through this, but I love this quote, the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
It’s really like that. And I know this mom shame and guilt prevents us from. Admitting we need help, but it’s the best thing I could have done at that time and it changed my life and my family’s life. So no, you’re not alone. And also, I think what moms always have to hear is like, when, when you thrive, your family thrives too.
It’s not that you’re taking away from your family. If you take care of yourself, the mom is like the backbone of the family. And if mothers are well, then families are well, societies. Community so well and society is hopefully much better after that. I believe that a hundred percent. My husband would agree with you.
He dotes on me and I absolutely love it because, because we’re all happier when you’re thriving. So, right. It’s like, what do you, what is it like when I’m not thriving? It’s still great, right?
Still good, right? So I’m super grateful for you and to have you here and. For anyone that’s listening, just know that you’re not alone. And if you’re scared to speak up, send us a DM. We’ll find something. She has resources. I have resources. And that way we can make sure you’re not feeling alone until next time.
Make sure you let the Reiki flow.