Postpartum depression recovery is possible.
By working through my own trauma, balancing of hormones, learning to prioritize my sleep, and nurture my body with the right foods for a body that is healing from both pregnancy and birth I have perfected these methods of healing for women in postpartum.
Through my own experiences and research I now teach and have taught 1000’s of women to take back control of their postpartum experience so that they can too create the bliss they deserve.
If you want to work together with me you can reach me here, https://marandabower.com/contact/, or if you are seeking support from a counselor or therapist, or your provider, or you’re seeking out a nutrition coach or counselor, whatever it is that you are doing to get the support that you need. Just know that that support exists, and that support is also necessary, as we’re going through these postpartum changes.
In this episode, I’m sharing with you:
- Sharing my raw and vulnerable journeys of postpartum
- My postpartum depression recovery strategies
- Preparing for my first birth, settling for nothing less than the absolute best
- Knowing nothing about the unique needs of my newly postpartum body
- Research doesn’t really prepare you for the unfolding of postpartum depression
- I dedicated myself to learning all that I could about healing my postpartum body and mind
- Reconnecting with Myself
- Determined not to have the same experience with 2nd birth, but several months after falling into rage and depression
- Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis – a postpartum autoimmune disease
- The reality of depression in pregnancy, and how little it’s talked about
- Leaning into the feelings and finding support from my provider
- Postpartum bi-polar, and healing it with nutrition, sleep and support.
- Creating your own postpartum bliss through healing
- If you’d like to work with me, or need support reach out here! https://marandabower.com/contact/
We all get it: postpartum and the years after having a baby is no walk in the park. But you know what? It isn’t just about depression or anxiety either. Hey, my friend, I’m Maranda Bower, a homesteading mama with four wild kids, whose life, passion, and education is all about supporting mothers and providers and understanding the science, the art, and the sacredness of healing after birth. What we know as “common sense” in the postpartum years has many women feeling just plain awful. It’s time to bring back the truth, get you the tools you need to heal and thrive in motherhood and beyond.
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Postpartum Circle podcast. I’m Maranda Bower, and I’m very, very excited for today’s episode because today I get to share with you my very raw and very vulnerable stories of postpartum. And so, if you don’t know my four stories, I’ve got four beautiful kids. I want you to get prepared for a very wild ride, and I think this is really important because not only is it about using the stories of women, connecting, and really educating and sharing with women the different things that could happen in postpartum and the different experiences that happen, but I also want to share this story with you. So that you can understand the reason behind why I do what I do and why I care so much about your post-birth healing journey.
So, I’m going to start off with my first birth, which happened about 11 years ago. And I will tell you, when it came to preparing for the birth of my baby, I went out of my way to do everything “right”. I was a biology major. I am a science geek at heart. I was already very obsessed with digging deep into the what, where, and how of women’s bodies during pregnancy and labor. And so, while I was preparing for my first birth, I really didn’t settle for anything less than what I felt was the best. I literally had five different doctors before I settled for the right provider. If there was somebody who made me feel less than or someone who made me feel uncomfortable, I left their practice. I literally fired them, said “no thank you”, and went on to find someone else. I swore that I had everything made. I ended up with an amazing midwife who was with me for all four birth experiences. But I truly did not settle for anything less than the absolute best.
I spent hours understanding pregnancy and preparing myself for this miraculous day of birth when I would get to hold my child for the first time in my arms. And there he was. In the very same moment that my son came into this world, my postpartum journey began. And I will tell you, it was a 17-hour labor. It was all natural. It was something that I absolutely wanted, but it took so much out of me. I did not spend any of my time, my months and months planning for the labor and birth experience, preparing for what life was going to be like after the birth of my baby. I took the breastfeeding class, right? I made sure I got the best stroller, the best car seat, researched the best nursing bra, and got the nipple cream. But nothing else beyond that.
I knew nothing about the unique needs of my newly postpartum body. All I knew was, I began my first days, weeks, and months of motherhood exhausted. I felt terrible in my body. And I swore that motherhood was not for me. Research doesn’t really prepare you for the unfolding of postpartum depression. I mean, we know the stats: one in seven will experience postpartum depression after having a baby. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I cried daily. I felt no connection to my son. I knew he needed me, but I barely knew how to help myself, let alone my innocent baby. And I lost my relationship, you guys. I became a single mother. I lost my business at the time, which was in a different health field, more like beauty product-related things.
And I was afraid that I was going to be losing my son. I sank so deep into postpartum depression and anxiety that I turned away from natural healing techniques and remedies. And doctors, and everything—I turned away from all of it. I felt so deeply ashamed by my experience. I was supposed to have it all together. I couldn’t tell anyone my experience and still to this day, I look back and think, “How come nobody knew that I was experiencing such intense postpartum depression and anxiety? How was that not obvious?” It boggles my mind sometimes because of the depths of which I had felt this.
I actually, one night in the midst of another sleep-deprived week and raising my son, ran to my couch hysterically crying because I was hallucinating from insomnia. I remember he was up a lot that night and when I finally got him down for bed, I went to rest my eyes. But within 15 minutes, I heard him crying again. I looked up and I swear the curtains were moving toward me and they had faces. I was hallucinating and I knew it. I freaked out. It was because I wasn’t getting the sleep I needed, the nutrition I needed, or the care I needed. That night, when I experienced that hallucination, that’s when my world began to change.
In the following months and years, I dedicated myself to learning all that I could about healing my postpartum body and mind. I became a certified childbirth educator. I interviewed countless indigenous women and midwives to learn the history of healing mothers and really dug into the science. I even started hosting pregnancy and postpartum retreats and became a very active voice in my community. I was teaching, creating space for women in motherhood, sharing, and speaking with everyone I could. I even spoke at universities and created a book—among many other things. Being able to learn and share with so many regularly allowed relearning and unlearning of how to really take my own advice and apply the research and findings that I had experienced and discovered.
I had spent too many moments of my new motherhood experience hating it. It was finally time for me to start finding myself again and reconnecting with what I love. After that experience of hallucinating with the curtains, it was draining. My boy was really needy and he took up so much of my time, especially as a single mother. I had no escape. It was hard because my attention went solely to him, as it should. Babies are typically very needy and my son was extra needy. But at night, when he finally would go to sleep, I would light a candle and take out my journal to write. It was my time, my space to reconnect with Maranda, to remember her joy, honor her pain, and be present for her growth. I’d do this for 10 to 15 minutes a night, and I was able to put my feelings into thoughts and words, truly beginning the healing experience. That felt amazing. But then I’d crash, right until my son woke up and needed me again.
Through this experience of healing, I went on to meet my dream man, my husband. He’s absolutely amazing. We had a baby together. Well, we had many, but this is the second one I’m telling you about. I swear I had all my bases covered. I was not going to repeat what happened the first time. And now, with his support, it was going to be very different. Or so I thought.
I was wrong. Even though I had spent years, by the time my son was four and when I had my daughter, researching, sharing, and helping women to have better postpartum experiences, I thought I was in a good place. I felt really well after my daughter’s birth, so well that I had lots of energy. I was adapting to mothering two children very well and really embracing this transition. And then it hit. The months after her birth brought deep bouts of postpartum depression and anxiety.
And I felt like I had no help. I was angry, I was rageful, I was really out of control. In addition to the anxiety, my ravaged and poorly nourished post-birth body really began to compromise my immune system. I was diagnosed with a postpartum autoimmune disease. For those of you who are familiar with ulcerative colitis, it was gruesome. I spent many, many days on the toilet just wondering what happened to me.
It was because I knew all the things. I thought I knew everything and that I didn’t necessarily have to apply everything. Because I had such an amazing birth experience and I felt so good and energized, I continued on. But then, the crash happened because I truly didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t apply the knowledge that I knew. It was very painful. I mean, I would spend hours crying on the bathroom floor, because my insides felt like they were being ripped to shreds. I was upset with where I was and how I had gotten to another low place once again.
Then, I had my third birth. It was very unexpected and probably one of my most challenging pregnancies because I was in the throes of healing from the second childbirth experience and postpartum experience. It took a long time to really come to terms with wanting this pregnancy and being fully involved in it. I had pregnancy depression, which is something that a lot of people don’t even talk about. But by the time I was in my third trimester, I felt so ready to welcome this baby. I had worked through a lot of what I was going through, both emotionally and physically. I knew I was going to follow my own advice this time. I reached out to my support system and asked them to provide nutritionally dense and appropriate foods for my early postpartum days. I had a meal train set up, they knew I needed help, and I was confident in receiving it. I had everything set up and I thought I would be off to a really good start.
However, one day after my third daughter’s birth, all the arrangements I had made to support my healing and transition fell completely through. This is when my sadness began. I was doing everything right this time. I had set up my post-birth plan, reached out to my support system, and they knew how to support my healing. Yet, it felt like it all crumbled within days of her birth. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, once again afraid that if I mentioned my feelings, I might lose my children. Despite my fear, I leaned into it. My amazing provider dug deeper with kindness, and I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar.
“Devastating” doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt in that moment, but I pressed on. I was determined to heal my body and I was well-equipped with the knowledge of how to do so. During the highs of my bipolar episodes, I’d prepare for the lows. I’d make meals, have important conversations with my partner, and even note down things on the refrigerator. Because I was willing to lean on my years of research and take control, I was able to create change. For the first time in my postpartum experience, I was able to sleep well and provide my body with proper nutrition. With time, my highs and lows started to balance out and my body began to recover. And with determination and focus, I healed my postpartum bipolar in three months, without medication. While that’s not recommended for everyone, it’s my experience.
Shortly after, I got pregnant again. This time, with my fourth child and third daughter, I nailed it. I expressed my needs to my husband and worked hard to prepare nutritious meals that would heal my body and regulate my hormones. I set myself up for success, ensuring I had time for myself and recovering in bliss.
Now, I stand here as a mother of four and a woman dedicated to challenging the information perpetuated by the birth and medical industries. Through my own births and traumas, I’ve perfected my methods of healing.
My hormones are balanced, I sleep well, and I eat the right foods for a body healing from pregnancy and birth, although I’m not in that space anymore. I have taught thousands of women to take back control of their postpartum experiences so they too can create the bliss that they deserve.
I work from a place of experience, a place of knowledge, and a place of deep, deep desire to help mothers feel great, to get rest, to recover, and to find their bliss. And that, my friends, is the story behind me becoming a postpartum bliss coach.
As you can see, what I do and why I care about you and your results go way deeper than just postpartum recovery. It’s also why I don’t solely work with women who are just in the initial few weeks after having a baby. Instead, I work with women who are in the years after childbirth because that’s truly what I needed.
I needed somebody to be there for me, not just in the first six weeks but in the first several years as my body adjusted and grew and changed and shifted. As I got to know that new person in that body, I realized how much care, attention, and healing a mother truly needs in life after a baby, simply because I have been there.
If you want to be a part of that process, you are more than welcome to message me, reach out to me personally. I would be happy to see if working together would be the right thing for you. But I also want to say, the biggest part of you hearing my story and understanding the reason why I do this work is so that you too can understand that you have the ability to heal your body deeply, no matter what your experience is.
I have gone on to experience such a wide array of mental, emotional, and physical challenges in the postpartum period. I have used the knowledge that I’ve gained from those experiences to truly help and support my body in deeply healing and aiding other women as well.
And I just want to say, if I can do it from a place of depression, extreme anxiety, hallucinating — and I didn’t even tell you about my anxiety of monkeys coming down from the ceiling and stealing my baby, waking up and having panic attacks about that. Thinking, how could I possibly be so upset and having actual panic attacks about something that could not happen, right? Those deep understandings and postpartum bipolar, developing an autoimmune disease and healing all of that, healing all of that through the use of food, repletion, sleep, and hormone balance.
And so, you, my friend, no matter if you want to work together with me or if you are seeking support from a counselor, therapist, provider, nutrition coach, or counselor, know that that support exists and that support is oh so necessary as we’re going through these changes.
I’m so glad that you could join me in listening to my story. I hope it supports you and helps you, and I would love, love, love to hear your stories. I have shared many times how I think sharing these stories and really understanding the depths and significance of postpartum through the voices of women can be a changing point for so many. So feel free to reach out to me to share your own experience and your journey. I would love to hear it.
Thanks for tuning in and taking the time to learn about how to support your body in deep healing. We don’t do this work just for us or for you. Your healing impacts your children, your relationships, and your community. We do this work because the health and vibrancy of our world begin with its mothers. I hope you have taken some valuable information today and applied it to your own life.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, reach out about working together one-on-one or, at a minimum, learning about my postpartum nutrition plan, which is where I start every single one of my clients. And you can do that by going to MarandaBower.com.
Hope you enjoyed this episode. Let us know by leaving a review, and we will see you next time.
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