# 0 - Why Women Struggle After Birth
In this week's episode:
Depression, depletion, hair loss, anxiety, burnout and exhaustion…this is what postpartum looks like for so many women. The struggle not only happens immediately postpartum, but many women struggle with their health months and even years beyond childbirth. Why are so many women struggling in their health after giving birth? And why aren't we talking about?! Join me in this teaser episode of The Healthy Postpartum Mama as I share what I believe to be the reasons that so many of us struggle within our first few years postpartum.
In this episode, we’ll cover how other cultures address the postpartum time, common themes for postpartum healing, and I’ll share with you the 7 pillars of postpartum wellness that are necessary for reclaiming your health.
Kilah Lawson: Hey, everyone, it's Kilah Lawson and I first want to say “Welcome” to our very first episode of “The Healthy Postpartum Mama” podcast. So this episode is going to be more of an intro, before we dive into the juicy content where we talk about all of the things that nobody really is talking about when it comes to postpartum. I wanted to chill with you guys, connect with you guys and share with you, what this podcast is going to be about, what you can expect week after week. So let's go ahead and dive in.
First, I want to share a little bit about myself. So again, my name is Kilah and I’m live in St. Louis metro area. I am the owner and founder of the first and as far as I know, the only postpartum care agency that extensively supports moms within their first few years postpartum. I am a postpartum doula, and I am a postpartum vitality coach. And to get really into the personal details, I am a fire wife and a mom of five. You got all that. But I am so excited about this podcast. I feel like it's been a long time coming. A lot of you all who are tuning in have been connected with me on Facebook for quite some time. And you guys have watched my journey as I have reclaimed my health since having five children back to back. We had them very close together. My oldest is only nine and our youngest is three. So within the last year, I have been taking steps to overcome my own health struggles. And in the process. Just really working with moms one to one as a postpartum doula. I soon realized that so many women are struggling with their health after childbirth, and I'm not talking about weeks into your postpartum journey, or even months into the postpartum journey but struggling with their health years into their postpartum journey. And should I even dare to say, decades after giving birth. And today, in this episode, I am going to address the question.
Question: Why are so many women struggling after childbirth? Why are so many women struggling during their postpartum time?
Answer: And before I answer that question, I do want you guys to just be very comfortable. This is a space where, we're not in person, but I want you to just get comfortable. Use this as an opportunity to just take some time to yourself. If you need to go turn on the tablet for the kids or lay them down for a nap, so that you can get a few minutes to really have a time to reset and listen to this podcast. Awesome. Do that. Take off your bra, grab a cup of tea. Today, I am drinking mint tea. This is one of my favorite herbs, peppermint. But get relaxed. Pause the video if you need to, and get comfy.
Question: All right. So why are so many women struggling after childbirth?
Answer: Let's answer that question because that's the whole reason for this podcast. The reason for this podcast is to help you to reclaim your health, so that you can become the mother that you truly desire to be throughout your entire motherhood journey. But before we reclaim our health, we have to talk about some truth that I quite frankly feel we ignore and neglect within our society. Some things that are unexpected that so many women are experiencing in their postpartum journeys. I think I mentioned that we first must define what postpartum is? If I didn't mention that sorry. It's my ADD mama brain coming out. Probably a reason why I should not be doing a podcast because I might be repeating myself over and over again but bear with me.
What is Postpartum?
So in the American culture postpartum is seen as the fourth trimester and it's seen as the first few weeks after giving birth, and I'm here to really challenge that definition. Because I want to acknowledge the fact that so many women are experiencing the direct impact of childbirth months, and years into their postpartum journey. I believe at least 30% of women are diagnosed with an autoimmune issue within their first year postpartum. We're getting a new definition for postpartum depression and other postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. So that we can include that the onset of symptoms can actually arise and occur far beyond what we originally thought. So some sources cite postpartum depression, the symptom is triggering a year, or even two to three years beyond when you initially had your baby. So it's pretty fair to acknowledge the fact that postpartum in America, it's different because we don't treat it first of all, like other cultures treat postpartum. And we'll get into that a little bit later. But we need to acknowledge that postpartum and the impact of childbirth can truly be much longer than what we are subscribing to. And so when moms come to me, and they tell me, well, I had my baby two years ago, or I had my baby four years ago and am i still postpartum? I say, girl, just subscribe to whatever aligns with you, you had a baby, technically postpartum means after childbirth. So you could be 10 years down your postpartum journey, I've had a baby 20 years ago, if you want to subscribe to still being postpartum. I cannot knock you for it. This is the entire reason why elephant baby, our innovative postpartum care agency, why we support moms in their first few years, and I keep it fluid. I don't say first two years or three years, it's your first few years. And if you come to our website looking for support, and your youngest baby is four or five years old, and guess what? You're going to get served, you're going to get supported. So now that we've defined, “we've redefined what postpartum actually is?”
Question: Let's answer the question as to why so many moms are struggling in their first few years postpartum?
Answer: My answer for that question, I want to give three answers to that question. The first answer is because of the way that our society views postpartum, the way that we treat postpartum, now I'm going to give you an example. After I had my last, we actually birthed at home, I say we but it was me my husband was there. I birthed at home and assisted I decided that, my previous three children were gave birth in a birthing center, my first birth was given at a hospital, I had an epidural. But all the other four I did natural and our last was at home and assisted. And that is very different than what most women are doing in our society. But after I had my fifth, we actually immediately transferred to the hospital, where I experienced abuse. I experienced being unheard. I experienced medical bullying from the staff at a local hospital here. And I was treated very terribly. The reason that we decided to transfer was because we were concerned about possible hemorrhage. And there was so much going on when I actually gave birth. And if I could look back, I just really wish that I would have given myself time in, implemented all the stuff that I knew about, what you should do at home if there's possible hemorrhage but I don't want to get into the details of my birth story that might be for another episode. But at the end of the day, we ended up transferring and it led into what I believe a downward spiral of depression. And anybody that knows me and knows my journey, knows how openly I talk about, how I have experienced depression, depletion, and that started when I began having children, but my depression is very weired to describe, because when you think sometimes of depression, you think, well, depression only, when will my depression end, when will it stop? And the truth in my case, and what I believe to be the case of many women is that, it's not going to stop or it's not going to get better, your health is not going to be get better, including your mental health, until we take the steps necessary to completely reclaim and recover.
Now, some women say, well, things have I starting to feel like myself, and they may ease that they may start feeling themselves again. But for me, I felt depression came in waves and seasons. And since I started starting my journey to motherhood, I truly feel that I always struggle with depression off and on, it would almost come like in seasons, where I would have really depressive symptoms, where things like struggling to do everything, everyday tasks, I was experiencing postpartum rage, that hopelessness, that sadness, and then also the connection with my physical symptoms, not being able to really get restored asleep. All of those things, I felt like they never truly fully went away. But they were more intense in specific seasons. And so I say all of that to say that when I left the hospital, I showed up at home and there was a lot going on with my family. My husband was finishing up Fire Academy and he wasn't there to support me. Our families weren't there, they were normally there to support us. And on top of that, the hospital staff called CPS on us. And they claimed the reason why they called CPS was because we chose to delay our baby's bath, which there are so many benefits to delayed bath. I don't think we'll talk about that in a later episode, but Google it. But it was a bunch of BS, is what it was. And like I said, I experienced bullying and abuse in the hospital. And it led into my most severe episode of depression. And I feel like my situation after my fifth, even though I had the most knowledge on how postpartum should be because at that time, I had just finished my full spectrum training to become a doula. And I had started researching, what was needed in order to be an effective postpartum doula and what postpartum mothers needed to truly recover in their postpartum time. So I knew what should be happening. And there was such disconnect, because my postpartum time, I felt like was out of my control. And it again led into a downward spiral of depression. And unfortunately, so many women are like me, and where we're either experiencing birth trauma, we're not being heard, something traumatic happens during our birth, or immediately postpartum, and it sets the stage for the rest of our postpartum time. And so the issue really is how we address labor, delivery, birth as a society. We could talk about maternal mortality, we can talk about how the US out of all developed nations, we are really one of the worst when it comes to prenatal care, and also just the maternal health outcomes. But the reason that so many moms are experiencing health issues, is because of the way that our society treats this time. Again, like birth in America is terrible, and postpartum, I want to say might be even worse, because it's non existent. We have this whole idea of a six week checkup, but it's almost as if our health care system doesn't even know why that six week checkup is there. It's, like we took pieces of what other cultures do because a lot of other cultures do honor a six week time of recovery or 40 days of rest.
So we got that timeframe. Where it's after six weeks, we're going to check to see if you're okay. And what that typically looks like is, you go to your doctor, they might give a little assessment to see, if you're showing signs of depression, or anxiety, and they're quick to write a script for depression, they might even ask you if you want some birth control. I had a client that I've worked with, maybe a year and a half ago, because this was during COVID. And she told me that her doctor, she had got stitches, made her check her stitches on a video call, like she's literally trying to check the condition of her stitches on a video call. Now, if you want to sum up postpartum care in America, that's what a lot of women are experiencing, the postpartum time is non existent. So there's issues and flaws within the medical system. And far beyond that, but away that our society as a whole, when we look at how our jobs are treating the postpartum time, there's not any federal regulations on paid maternity leave. So that's a problem. There is this expectation for moms to snap back and to get back to, who they were before. They had their babies. And we see it all over Instagram, if you search the hashtag postpartum health or postpartum fitness, it's a mom who's running marathons, or she's hiking and climbing mountains, and she's a superhero because she's doing all the things or even more things than she was doing before she had her baby. And other cultures, we see common theme when it comes to postpartum healing. The number one theme is rest. A lot of other cultures are really emphasizing the need, don't do anything. Don't get up to do anything. The most important thing is for you to rest. Another key theme across other cultures who truly honor the postpartum time is the theme of bonding with your baby. Those are like the most two important things, rest, bonding with your baby, proper nutrition in which warming foods that are easily digestible, digestibles are encouraged, where family members are coming to live in with mom, so that she can actually recover and not have to do all these things, or where mom is going to live in with family members. So again, she can truly rest, replenish and not experience depletion, months and years down the road, which is what we're seeing in the American society. So first off, a six week checkup is not enough. And the way that we treat when we get down in the nitty gritty, just the way think about how your friends and your family treated you during your postpartum time. It's very rare that we see a village mentality. Just because a lot of that has to do with the individualism of our country. But maybe people came to bring you meals the first week postpartum, and then you're on your own, there was no true collectivism in which people rally together to ensure that you were healing. So that's issue number one, just still way that we view things as a society, I believe is what is causing so many mothers to really struggle within their postpartum time.
My second reason, I want to chat about this with the way that we view postpartum as a society. But a big reason why so many women are struggling is lack of support. I was leading into this also.
Lack of support is a huge reason, why so many mothers are struggling with their health in their first few years postpartum. We're not supported by our partners. It's almost, we have to figure out how to take care of this tiny human, how to navigate motherhood and newborn care and care for ourselves. There's such a heavy load on us as mothers, where mental load is very heavy in our favor. And the actual physical load we're having to maintain the home still and so many of us struggle, like if you're anything like me, I struggled after having my babies. Because I could not be in a home. It wasn't with every child and it wasn't with every season. But in so many seasons, I found myself just being unable to rest and relax, because my house was a mess. Who can relax when there's Cheetos all over the floor, when you need to scrub the bathrooms because the bathrooms haven't been cleaned in over a week. And so these are the things that we are dealing with as mothers, the heavy load that we carry, and that we're often carrying alone. Again, lack of collectivism within community, lack of help from our partners, why should we have to tell them this is how I need you to help. And then so many of us have an issue even vocalizing, we need this help in this area. But that's a whole another topic, for a whole another podcast. So, reason number one that so many of us are struggling in our first few years postpartum is the way that society treats and views postpartum. Number two is lack of support.
And then I would say the third and final reason is, the lack of education, and resources that empower mothers to truly replenish all that was lost. So the lack of education starts with the very fact that we don't even understand the dynamic and the shift that happens when we become postpartum. So I remember after I had my first, I was in the hospital, I was hungry. And I told my husband give me an emos pizza, emos is one of the best pizzas here on the St. Louis area, and I was craving some emos pizza. And I said, Give me an emos pizza, I had no clue of the shift that I had just experienced within my postpartum body. And a lot of women do not know that when you're pregnant. We might recognize this a little bit more than we do for the postpartum time, but your body is completely doing everything that it can, to nourish your baby in utero. And that continues, when you're in labor and the actual moment that your baby intersperse side, the delivery process, your body is stripped of so many minerals, so many nutrients. And there's so many changes to your postpartum body, your digestive system changes. And a lot of cultures call this the digestive fire, but the digestive fire weakens. And it makes it more difficult for your body to just properly digest foods. And we'll get to this in future episodes. But this is the whole reason why it's so necessary for you to be eating the appropriate foods to support the changes of your postpartum body. You all hear me say this all the time. If you are following me on Instagram or Facebook, it's not the time to be eating a bunch of smoothies, or drinking a bunch of smoothies or eating a bunch of salads.
The postpartum time, especially immediately postpartum, is a time for easily digestible foods, foods that are warming to the body's, foods that are soothing to the digestive tract and are going to aid in digestion. Because if this doesn't happen, then it causes a slew of issues a lot long term, because essentially you're ruining your digestive system. And your digestive system is the key to absorbing nutrients. So are we making a connection? Because if you're not able to absorb nutrients, then guess what? You're going to experience things like postpartum hair loss, you're going to experience things like depression, anxiety. So we'll talk about all of this and all of this will be connected. But these are the three reasons why I believe that so many women are struggling within their first few years postpartum. We have no clue First off, that we can even overcome and reclaim our health. And even if there's a little flicker of hope that we can reclaim our health, we have no clue how to do it. So this is the reason again, for “The Healthy Postpartum Mama” podcast. I'm going to walk along with you and guide you and give you the steps, we're going to have conversations about, all the things that we're not talking about, the real reason for postpartum hair loss, they're real reason why your teeth are cracking and falling out. The real reason why you're experiencing an auto immune issue immediately within a year after having your baby. We're not only just going to talk about the physical, we're going to talk about mental health. We're going to talk about it all, everything that's related to postpartum. So if you're a new mom who is planning for postpartum, or you've just had your baby, or even if you're a few years, and I truly feel this podcast will be of value to you, because a lot of what I'm going to tell some of our more seasoned moms is, well, let's go back to the beginning of what we missed. Because a lot of recovering your health has to do with what should have been done, when you first had your baby. So really, what I want to accomplish during our time together as you're listening into the podcast every single week, is sharing with you practically what you can do to prevent common postpartum issues and to reclaim your health, if you're further along into your journey.
So I have a very easy way that we can remember, what I believe to be the “Seven Pillars of Postpartum Wellness”. And so when you think of my seven pillars, think of my “NURTURE” method. Alright, we're going to go through each letter of the word nurture, so that we can address what aspects are crucial when it comes to recovering your health. Let's start with “N”. “N” isnourishing your body. So important, it's really the foundation of all health, especially postpartum health. Then “U”, in the nurture method stands for utilizing help. And I know some of you are probably already thinking, I don't have anybody who can help me, I'm alone in this. And when we talk about utilizing help, I'm going to teach you how you can build your tribe. What you need to do in order to make community a priority in your life, so that you are not lonely. And if you're not
doing everything alone, we're going to discuss things like setting boundaries, because boundaries are crucial. And when you have people in your space who are not helping you along in your motherhood journey, and sometimes we lose sight of that when we're dealing with friends or especially that family members. So we're going to talk about all of that when it comes to truly recovering your health that we have. The next is “R”. We're really going to focus on resting & resetting and what that really should look like on a practical level. Resting is not just the sleep that you're getting at night. And some of you may be thinking what sleep and I get it, trust me. But the foundation of your rest that happens at night is really what practices you're implementing throughout the day. Restorative practices that you are consistently implementing throughout the day. So “T”, is tending to your soul. I don't know if you're anything like me, but I'm sure there's many of you listening, who feel like, I've lost myself in motherhood, everything that I do. Everything revolves around my children, everything revolves around my family, I really don't even know who I am outside of being a mother, and tending to your soul really provides us the opportunity to connect to ourselves on a level that's really intimate. And then soulfully connecting with others around us. And the next “U”, is going to stand for unleashing emotion. So it has to do with the emotional baggage that we've held on to, even maybe far beyond the time you became a mother. Maybe there's some emotion that's pent up. So I want to teach you guys how unleashing emotion and addressing emotional trauma, really being in tune with your emotions, how that's going to aid in your health recovery. The next “R” is all about mental health. So it has to do withrestoring your mind. So this is the practical things that we can implement in order to overcome things like depression, anxiety, overstimulation, and really the first thing before we get into all of that is shifting your mindset, to know and believe that you have the tools and that you have the capability to bring your body to balance and truly recover and overcome any struggles that you're dealing with since becoming a mother. And lastly, the “E” is nurture method is embracing the journey. And this really has to do with adjusting and as a mom of five, who had her first child almost 10 years ago, I would say that it's really been within the last year, maybe a year and a half, that I have truly embraced the journey of motherhood.
A lot of times, we are constantly trying to go back to who we were, what we were, the things that we were doing before motherhood. And I want to make it real impractical for you, I want to show you how you can embrace the transition, how you can embrace the journey, practical things that you can do to adjust as a mom, to make sure that your needs are being fulfilled, and that you're caring for yourself, all while being fulfilled and caring for your children and for your family as well. So the nurture method, those are the seven pillars that we will be discussing all throughout the episodes of the podcast. I'm very excited about this. I'm very excited about future episodes to
come. So make sure that you're subscribed to the channel, and I want you to do me a favor. I want you to reach out to me via email. I'm going to drop the email that you can send a message to and share with me two things. I want you to share with me why you were drawn to the podcast in the first place. And the second thing, I want you to share is what are you excited about learning as you're listening to the episodes of the podcast as we release the episodes weekly. So I look forward to hearing from you. I look forward to connecting with you in the future. And again, I'm so excited. I hope you're excited, just as excited as I am. So make sure you're sharing with your friends. And I will see you guys on the next episode.
About the show
The Healthy Postpartum Mama Podcast is a space for us to chat about what it takes to recover your health holistically!
If you're a new mom who's planning for postpartum or a seasoned my a few years into your journey, join me every week. Let's learn and heal together 🖤SUBSCRIBE ON YouTube