I have been in Washington D.C. at the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit for the last few days. By my self. Yes, I know people here, but I'm traveling alone and I have a room to my self. Obviously, that doesn't happen much and right now I feel more like my self than I have in weeks.
Before I left on Thursday, I was more stressed out than I have maybe ever been. I was crying all the time. Seriously, all the time and usually I'm not a particularly big crier. I was having thoughts and feelings that were really dark and things that haven't been in my mind in years and was feeling like a legitmate crazy person. I felt alone and like there was absolutely no one I could talk to about it. Not that anyone would have known that to look at me.
I was listening to one of the speakers, Dr. Kelly Brogan, talk about hormones and gut health and I had an 'aha' moment. Prenatal depression is a thing. A real thing. I have experienced it in each of my pregnancies in increasing severity and I can't be the only one. I haven't googled it so I have no idea if there are statistics or studies or stories or Facebook groups about it but I want to share so that no one feels alone. As moms, as women, as people; we all become really good fakers at our own expense.
My 'aha' moment in all of this was that I'm not, in fact, losing my noodle. My hormones, my gut health, my sleep patterns have all taken a serious roller coaster ride since 2010. Pregnant, breastfeeding, breastfeeding while pregnant, not breastfeeding or pregnant, pregnant and not breastfeeding. Holy shit how could I feel normal?
Dr. Brogan was talking about checking B12, Vitamin D, thyroid levels (and some other things I don't remember) and about healing the gut to heal depression. Depression not only post partum but in all stages of life. Looking back at the other times in my life when I have felt that way, it totally makes sense. Regardless of the emotional stress that was going on at the time, hormonally and bacterially, something was off that I was blaming on my mind. I wasn't just spontaneously slipping into some dark hole for no apparent reason. This was really empowering and reassuring to me.
The point of all of this is: mamas (and not mamas) your gut- take care of it. Eat fermented foods, get that good bacteria going, heal your insides. Above down, inside out. There is scientific evidence that gut health and mood are correlated. Do blood work if you need it. Vitamin D is simple. B12 is simple. And good heavens talk to someone, you really never know who's feeling EXACTLY what you're feeling and is dying for someone to understand. If any of us want to do a good job of taking care of our littles, we have to take care of ourselves.