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Entrusting ourselves to another

As some of you may know in January I gave birth to my son.  It’s my first child and in true Destiny spirit I read every book I could on pregnancy, birth etc.  I felt calm, had very few questions and honestly thought I had “this” sorted. 


Effectively everything did go well until I realised my world was falling apart due to postpartum depression.  Honestly this topic is not talked about enough and frankly, “it's normal” doesn’t give us the space or support we need, but that is not the discussion here today.  What I’d like to talk about is entrusting ourselves to another.  Allowing other people to be there for us when we simply can’t be there for ourselves.


I don’t know about you, but I am a fiercely independent person and I love to “just get on with things”.  I enjoy trying to figure stuff out and I have no problem asking for help when I need it.  I don’t however tend to ask for help much.  It is something I am working on!


Day four post-partum and I am coming apart at the seams and quite quickly.  I would describe myself as someone who is emotionally intellectual and with my trauma training and experience, I know well the signs of a body in shut down.  But when it’s happening to you…it’s a different story!

 

So, what does this have to do with mindfulness and a rhythm of self-care?  While you are creating your mindful toolbox don’t forget to build in a safety system for when you might fall apart.  Having a mindful practice will make it easier for you to notice when your ship has gone off course.  You feel more because you are connected.  If you keep your hands on the wheel you are going to feel the rudder.

 

The signs must have been there before, they always are however most of the time it either happens to quickly or you are unaware.  When I realised my central nervous system had moved into shut down, I told my partner.  He looked a bit perplexed but asked what I would need.  I said I am going to need you to watch me closely and I will need to talk to my doctor about a treatment plan.  It’s easier to climb out of a hole when you have just fallen in then when circling the drain!

 

So, what could he help me with?



When your body in survival mode, everything is in overdrive, yet you feel quite numb.  Coupled with the strong drugs I was taking to recover from a C-section, I had one foot on this planet and who knows where the other foot was!!  My mind was racing, and I was over thinking everything and unable to make simple decisions.  I was a bit manic, hyper vigilant, not breathing well, sweating, nauseous, clenching my jaw at times and needing the toilet often. The classic symptoms for me when experiencing high stress.


I told him he needs to be my voice of reason; I will need to be reminded to drink enough, eat, rest and most importantly to BREATH.  Oh, and let’s not forget sleep. 

I was waiting for my milk to come in as they say and while this happens, you experience cold and flu like symptoms, night sweats and painful breasts.  I mean cut us a break mother nature, I just finished making a human for 39 weeks, had my abdomen cut open and now bear this gigantic responsivity of keep this tiny human alive.  Make feeding it easy please.  Ha, no such luck as many of you out there may know.


In my mind, I needed to be solely focused on my baby, yet my body was solely focused on keeping me alive.  I needed my body to jump into action, and yet it said pause.  Side note: I take a bow to any woman who hasn’t had a supportive partner in birth, and as this is blog for mental health recovery, I also take a bow to anyone who hasn’t been able to entrust themselves to another. 

 

There are different types on trauma and giving birth is definitely on the list.  It humbled me and reminded me that we don’t walk this earth alone, why should we suffer alone?  For many of us its easier to turn inwards, just to get on with it but I am here to remind you that if you want to give yourself the best chance of recovery, reach out and entrust yourself to another, there is ALWAYS someone.


What did he do?

Five to six times a day he told me to stop and breath.  It’s no secret that cyclical sighing is at the top of the list of treating anxiety and calming the central nervous system.  The second best is box breathing.  So five to six times a day I would do a couple minutes of cyclical signing and the rest of day I would stop and do a few rounds of box breathing, especially before bed.

                  A quick guide to Cyclical Signing: Inhale through your nose, stop for a second, take in a sharp deeper breath to fully expand your lungs. Then slowly exhale through your mouth. Give a little sharp push as the end to really empty your lungs at the end.  Repeat.

                  Box Breathing: download this free guide on my website https://www.destinysophia.com/product-page/breath-coaching-for-beginners


  • Sleep: It’s important to get good sleep and unmedicated is key.  Find what works for you, there are lots of breathing exercises that induce sleep and if you need a little extra help try taking a herbal remedy from Bach Rescue or a melatonin supplement.

  • Water: Drink plenty of fluids so your cells are hydrated, and your body can function on a cellular level.

  • Move: Get moving, movement is so important even if it’s as simple as stretching or short walks. You must move to get the body to process the cortisol and restart that engine.

  • Finally, visualisation! When I take a shower, I close my eyes and imagine the water washing away my pain and stress.  I know it might sound silly, but it works for a lot of people and our minds are powerful tools.  Use it to help you get to a point where you can give yourself what you need and ask for help.

 

In early posts I have talked about Breathing Buddies and the importance of having a support system.  Now the discussion is giving yourself permission to entrust yourself to another when you need help.  Sometimes that’s all it takes, giving yourself the permission.  Decide who your person/s will be and create that space, weave that web of support, allow yourself to have someone to lean on.

Coming soon are online Mindful Monday Meditation’s and Free Yourself Friday Meditations both free and paid sessions. It’s in the pipeline, I’ll be sure to advertise.  In the meantime, watch this space for more blogs posts.

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