18 Month Postpartum Update
I’ve wanted to do a postpartum update. It’s been quite some time since I’ve done one. Speaking honestly, I just don’t even know where to begin.
In my first year of postpartum I had been visiting my doctor pretty regularly as I really wasn’t feeling good. I had a long list of different ailments that was making living day to day extremely hard.
When all my tests regularly came back normal I was brushed off. I was told I was healthy. When I pushed the issue further (because I truly did not feel healthy in any way) my doctor told diagnosed me with IBS, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.
3 things I didn’t have before getting pregnant with Huntly. At first I believed him. Why wouldn’t I?
The longer I sat on this new information and the more research into it I did, the more I felt he was wrong.
The things about those 3 diagnoses is that there actually isn’t a test for them. Doctors come to these diagnoses when they don’t have any other answer, basically through elimination of everything else.
I just couldn’t believe that I was suffering from these 3 things and would be living the rest of my life with upwards of 15 + symptoms. So I started looking into different more holistic approaches.
I was already seeing a naturopath but also tried rolfing, hydrocolon therapy, massage therapy, reiki healing, going vegan, completely changed my physical activity regime, physio therapy, acupuncture, therapy, medicinal cannabis…I’m sure I’m missing a few things 😅
Here’s what I discovered:
❌I don’t have IBS
❌I don’t have Fibromyalgia
❌I don’t have osteoarthritis
✅I have poor circulation (we’re thinking it started from my c-section surgery)
✅I have suppressed childhood trauma that’s manifested in certain areas of my body
Discovering I’m hypermobile was a huge unlock of knowledge for myself. It finally gave answers to many of the struggles I faced during my pregnancy that were consistently brushed away.
Because I’m hypermobile, my joints and muscles can move beyond the point that they should, in order to ensure I don’t become a jelly mess my body reacts by over tightening my muscles. This causes me to be extremely tight yet also very flexible which caused a ton of pain throughout my body.
This tightness is held in every level which means even the muscles that help us digest food and 💩 were/are super tight, which has lead to all my gut issues.
It was when I visited a pelvic floor physio therapist that I discovered I was hypermobile. It was also my amazing physio therapist that was able to pinpoint that I was holding trauma within my body causing a lot of pain as well as living in a state of anxiety for so long had lead me to shallow breathing regularly which lead to various other issues.
I’ve been going since November 2020 for regular treatments. We’ve worked on various things like my breathing techniques, waking up dormant muscles, posture, exercises to strengthen weaker muscles and releasing my tightness and tension. The biggest help for me has been dry needling. It allowed me a small window where my muscles were relaxed enough that I could work on strengthening and aligning.
It’s important that I note I have also been working closely with a therapist that specializes in trauma. Working with the two have been imperative to my recovery as I needed to work through the constant fight/flight mode and anxiety I have been living in. To allow my nervous system to relax and stay relaxed, which of course went hand in hand with the work I do with my physio therapist.
Knowing how well I respond to dry needling, I was curious about acupuncture. Dry needling isn’t something you can do when you’re pregnant, not that I am pregnant now, but we are trying and I had so much pain during pregnancy i wanted to see what other options are out there that I can take advantage of while also pregnant.
I’ve only had 2 sessions of acupuncture, but so far I can say it’s been just as beneficial to me as my physio therapy and therapy have been. After a short discussion about why I was looking for treatment and history, a quick look over at my body and a few needleless pokes, the acupuncturist concluded my main issue was circulation.
Now, as I said in my first post, I’ve tried a lot of different things. I’ve listened to my doctor, to specialists, researched my own information and have been given a ton of different diagnosis completely based on the professionals biased opinion. I’ve had to decipher a lot and learn how to choose what to listen to and follow vs what to ignore.
What I’ve learned is that it comes down to awareness. Firstly, knowing your body and paying attention. Having confidence in what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Secondly, listening to them. What is their reasoning behind the diagnosis, are they explaining it clearly and from a place of knowledge? Are they listening to you and responding to you, or just talking about their own profession and others? Thirdly, you’re intuition will never guide you in he wrong direction, so trust it.
So when the acupuncturist told me he felt it was a circulation problem dating back to when I had my emergency c-section it felt right. Based off of my basic knowledge of the human body, a lot of my issues could be affected by circulation.
After my first two appointments I have felt amazing. Most of my pain is gone immediately, my gut health gets better after each time, my sleep is phenomenal and my energy levels are the highest they’ve been since getting pregnant.
An interesting thing I’ve learned about the human body is that the longer a problem goes on for the longer the treatment will be. My body and mind have been accustomed to operating a certain way now for so long that neural pathways have been “smudged”, new ones have been created and old ones forgotten. Habits have been formed beyond what I can even control, like my circulation.
To be able to be on this journey is such a privilege. I have followers from all over the world and I recognize that healthcare isn’t free everywhere and also recognize within my own country of Canada most of the therapies I have had to use that have actually helped aren’t covered by MSP.
I also recognize there is a huge stigma around most of the therapies I have tried. From spiritual stigma with reiki, to mental health stigma with trauma therapy, to the stigma’s around holistic health, plant medicine, veganism, cannabis, Chinese medicine etc.
I continue to share my personal journey in hopes of helping. Helping some of you, helping shed some of the stigma and helping put control of our health back in our own hands by empowering us through our voices, stories and lives.
It’s all about trial and error as well as a heck of a lot of patience. What works for me may or may not work for you, but it’s about keeping an open mind to new options. I used to really struggle with trying new things, spending time, money and energy on myself. Taking the leap of faith and not taking no as an acceptable response was the absolute best decision I made for myself.
I almost gave up.
I almost believed my doctor when he told me I had IBS, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.
I almost believed I was going to live with chronic pain and discomfort for the rest of my life, but I’m so happy I questioned it and haven’t given up.
Often the response from people when I share my pregnancy/postpartum journey or experiences is to feel bad or sorry for me.
As nice as it would have been to breeze through it all, I also wouldn’t be in a place of knowledge, power and control over my health.
I’m actually very grateful for what I’ve had to and continue to go through.
I am grateful that I have this abundance of knowledge to pass on to my family, friends and community.
I’m grateful that I am in a place of openness, where I’m not in fear of trying new things.
And I’m grateful that I’m in a place of trusting myself and intuition rather than following the guidance of others on what’s best for myself.
I used to get stuck in victimizing myself. feeling sorry for myself and questioning why me?! I’m so grateful I’m no longer in that place (at least most of the time 😅) because it’s outside of that space where you see the reason why. Where you see the opportunities that are presenting themselves and the greater benefits.
I guess in conclusion I have to say, my postpartum journey has been about healing, centering, grounding and balance. I’ve worked on these aspects at various points in my life, but also missed the one vital piece to it all and that’s balance.