Monday, September 22, 2014

The Art of Extreme Self-Care Chapter 9

Hello and welcome to The Art of Extreme Self-care postpartum style. For those of you who are new to my blog, last December I announced I would be doing a read-a-long of The Art of Extreme Self-care by Cheryl Richardson and sharing with you how I applied the principles of the book in a postpartum setting.  We will be focusing on one chapter a month and while I try to post the first Monday of the month, that doesn't always happen. Last chapter was about protecting your sensitivity. Let's dive into chapter 9.

Chapter overview: Time for a tune-up.

What I got out of the chapter: Taking charge of your health. As a mom, it's so easy to up your health last as you focus on caring for your family, but being healthy is vital to being able to give the attention and care you family needs. Those routine dental cleaning appointments or annual exams get put on the back burner. Unless something is seriously wrong, a trip to the doctor's office is delayed. But not just medical things, stuff like getting a massage or pedicure and visiting the acupuncturist takes a back seat.

When I first read the chapter last year, I was going through one of the low points of my postpartum depression.

1. Taking charge of my health. I did this by reading up on postpartum depression and ways to combat it naturally. I wanted to know what type of medication would be safe while breastfeeding and the side effects. 

2. Listen to my body. I did a check in with my body. At the time my neck and shoulders were tight and painful as I had a flare up of fibromyaliga. There was a spot of psoriasis on the back of my scalp that needed looked at. I wasn't sleeping very well. And I was out of shape. My perineal area was still sore and I still had pretty bad pelvic pain.

That month I started pelvic physical therapy, scheduled regular visits with the acupuncturist and massage therapist, saw a dermatologist for the psoriasis, and talked to my doctor about what was safe to take that would help me sleep better while breastfeeding. I also started to exercise at the gym regularly. Between massage, acupuncture, exercise, and a natural supplements, I started to sleep better and feel better within a week.The tension in my neck and shoulders melted away.

3. Choosing Health Partners, not Parents. I want someone who I can work with in improving my health not just tell me what to do and expecting me follow their orders without question. I absolutely love my OB-Gyn, she is someone I feel very comfortable with and discussing very personal issues without feeling like she's judging me. My acupuncturist and massage therapist are the same. We are all partners in my health. We are equals.

4. Finding the right Emotional Support. This right here is what saved my veggie bacon during the worse periods of postpartum depression. I am so blessed to have a powerful group of women, my Spiral Wise sisters, who have been my rock through some of my darkest moments. I also have a couple of soul sisters who I know I can call any time of day or night and they'll be there for me.

5. Know what you need & when you need to know it. I'm so thankful that in this age of technology when I have a test done, I can log in to the patient portal and see my results, but I always ask when the results should be available, so I'm not constantly logging in to check.

Every six months I go through these 5 steps and take the appropriate actions to ensure that my health is optimal, because I want to be there for my daughter. A healthy mama means a healthy home. 

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