What everyone needs to know about Postpartum Depression

It will be four years ago this month, I birthed my twins naturally.  It was the most excruciating pain and exhaustion I have ever experienced.   Little did I know, this was just the beginning of my complete and utter burnout.  {Only seven months before, I also opened my Pilates business in Cold Spring, NY.}  So to say I was exhausted is an understatement.

As the months went by I reached out to people to help me.  I was experiencing postpartum depression, my sleep was disrupted every, single night for two years and I found there was no one to help me.

Three steps that shifted me out of Postpartum depression was art therapy, diet and adaptogens.

Art Therapy

The first major shift I had with postpartum depression was with art therapy.  I invited Dana Whiddon into the studio for a group art class. It was life changing.  With pen to paper, I began to draw a great big red X.  I looked around at everyone's butterflies and peace symbols and knew I had a lot of workt to do! But by the end, my image represented my sister and I dancing and a red heart of love.  I knew my healing began.  Thank you Dana, I will be forever grateful!

Still seeking an answer for my emotions.  I enrolled in Dr. Aviva Romm's online women's health specialist course.  She begins the course with diet and adaptogens.  Diet is the pivotal change we can make to reduce exhaustion and for me, postpartum depression.  Birth is so depleting to a woman.  There seems to be so much attention prenatal to a women's health and postnatal there is none.  {You can read more about diet and depression with Kelly Brogan's book A mind of your own.  }

Postpartum Diet

{I am not a nutritionist; here are some simple rules to follow postpartum}

  • Reduce all caffeine and no alcohol.  In my sleep deprived state, I thought "Guinness is good for breast milk," or a "glass of wine will help me wind down."  All it did was create insomnia and anxiety.  Take out all alcohol if you are experiencing depression.  
  • Add fat to your diet! Yes, eat good, healthy fats at each and every meal.  Add avocado oil, avocado's, coconut oil, coconut butter and first pressed olive oil to each meal. The fat will help keep you full, prevent a sugar crash and support your body during this stressful time.  
  • Wind down at night with a cup of tea and add 1 tsp. of collagen to it. Collagen Hydrolysate has 11 grams of protein and helps repair connective tissue postpartum.
  • Avoid dairy and gluten if you are your child is sensitive to them or you are constipated. These foods may also affect your moods.  
  • Add Natural Calm to your diet.  Magnesium will help reduce anxiety and aid sleep.  Take this at night for a great evening's sleep, and it may help with constipation.  
  • Focus on organic fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat and whole grains.  
  • Some books I love are 21 Day Sugar Detox, The Plan by Lyn Genet and A mind of your own by Kelly Brogan. 

Add adaptogens to your diet.

Adaptogens are used to promote a sense of well-being, improve energy and stamina, reduce fatigue, improve immunity and enhance mental concentration and promote hormonal balance.

In 1964, the Soviets coined the term after seeking a remedy for exhausted workers.  When the workers took adaptogens, they were less fatigued, more efficient and could concentrate.  Now, this isn't a quick fix for not taking care of yourself.  But they do help the body in moments of high stress; like postpartum.  

Adaptogens can help:

  • Reduce stress and your response to stress
  • Enhance the entry of glucose into cells
  • Enhance the utilization of glucose
  • Reduce times you are sick or have a cold
  • Reduce depression and postpartum depression
  • Enhance sleep {particularly Ashwaghanda}

Some great adaptogens to add to your diet would be:

  • Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticous)- Helps with brain function.  
  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)- Reishi for nourishing and soothing your adrenals. Use when you are feeling “fried” or are reaching your limit. 
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)- (Contraindicated in congestive heart failure, edema, liver disorders, and pregnancy.) 
  • Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
  • Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
  • Rhaponticum (Rhaponticum carthimoides)
  • Schisandra (Schisandra chinenis)- Avoid with pregnancy
  • Nettle (Urtica dioica)
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Nourishing and non-stimulating; caution excessive use with hypothyroidism. Great to help restorative sleep.

Tincture Blends I love for exhaustion & alleviating depression:

    • Herb Pharm: Adrena Nourish {Take after Adrena Soothe if you are feeling burnt out.} 
    • Herb Pharm: Adrena Uplift
    • Adrena Soothe- Start here for burnout for two weeks, then add Adrena Nourish in the evening.  Great for anxiety, tired and irritable. 
    • Host Defense

You can heal from depression with diet, herbs, and self-nourishing daily.  You don't have to suffer. I encourage you to seek help if you find you are suffering.  Please send me an email or comment below with any questions. 

As a herbalist, I offer women's health consultations.  Learn more HERE.

Warmly~ Tara Gregorio

I want you to know that some of the links in this guide are affiliate links.  That means I may receive a commission if you use them.  I only recommend products that I use and love.  If you don’t want to use these links, only search online yourself.  Thank you for your support.

Tara Gregorio

Tara Gregorio, Owner, and Founder of Tara Gregorio Pilates & Wellness is a seasoned veteran with 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. A STOTT PILATES® Lead Instructor Trainer, Tara has led thousands of teachers- in-training through the certification process. Tara’s knowledge of Pilates, movement, and health is both deep and varied. In addition to teaching instructor level, equipment-based classes, she teaches workshops on topics ranging from anatomy and special populations to athletic conditioning and injury.

Tara’s clientele seek her out for her expertise in pre- and postnatal fitness, breast cancer recovery, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and injury rehabilitation. Tara has a B.S. in Fitness Management and is ACE, Pink Ribbon, STOTT PILATES and 200-hr Living Yoga Certified.

A holistic health practitioner, Tara is also a herbalist and homeopath with over seven years experience and training. Tara develops her own natural remedies, which she features in her product line, TG Herbals. TG Herbals, founded in 2014, is a diverse and growing line of tinctures, bug sprays, salves, and herbal tea blends. A mother of active, three-year-old twins, Tara also specializes in remedies for teething, colic, diaper rash, mastitis, insomnia, pelvic floor incontinence, and diastasis recti.

 Tara makes her home in Cold Spring, New York. She accepts clients in her studio for fitness, injury rehabilitation, and herbal consultations.  

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your doctor when needed. Please note there are affiliate links attached to the blog posts.