Healing The Woman Within

I recently started learning more about placenta encapsulation as a method of helping heal more quickly from the birthing process and the hormone changes after birth. I don’t know much and thought I would post my initial feelings and thoughts as I am now considering this for my current pregnancy. Personally, suffering from post-partum depression, anxiety, and PTSD even with a healthy and happy home birth I struggled for a long time. I seriously considered pharmaceutical intervention to cope with my emotions and could not find anything or anyone to help.

I meet more women every day who are certified in this technique and who have tried this method with great success. Women have told me that compared to their first birth they have significantly less or no depression or anxiety, their milk production is stable, and they are more able to emotionally handle stress, older children, and the physical healing much easier. Plus the ease of someone coming to your home and taking care of the process do you don’t have to worry about what will happen or how takes a lot of stress off a new mom.

Now that I am preparing for my second child this is definitely an option I am looking into. I am starting to talk to women in my community who perform this service and learn about their experiences. I listed some great websites below! Honestly, my first reaction was “sounds good”. I know I felt this way because I will do anything to prevent what I went through with my daughter’s birth. I am also a supporter and practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and when I learned that encapsulation specialists follow traditional Chinese methods my interest was further piqued.

While my husband and other people I talk to find the situation ‘gross, cannabalistic, or disgusting’, I know that that is their opinion. When you have not experienced such severe post-partum distress it can be easy to judge others and their methods for healing while this may be the very best option for many women! However, many husbands or family members report that women who used encapsulation were happier and in tune with their body and baby more than previous births. Maybe it is just strange because we don’t eat many organs in our American culture. Maybe our parents or grandparents ate liver but in other countries all organs are harvested (including pig skin) and made into dishes and soups for their healing and nutritional qualities. Not to mention how many rituals and medical procedures were considered mandatory, safe, and for the better of the baby when they were harmful, painful, and damaging (early cord clamping, enema’s, shaving, gassing women). before it was accepted that they were just not necessary. The other way around, how long did it take for midwifery to become accepted again in our culture, home birth, water birth, drug-free birth, before we realized how good drug-free can be for the baby (when safe for mom, baby, and medically okay). One day soon I think our culture will think that it was crazy to NOT eat your placenta!! Just a personal side thought.

If you have used placenta encaspulation what was your experience? Good or bad or did you notice any difference at all?

check out these sites for information and testimonials:

http://placentabenefits.info/

http://sites.happymamastl.com/home/why-encapsulation

visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/healingthewomanwithin for further discussion!

http://www.yourjoyfulbirth.com/Placenta_Encapsulation.html

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Where are these symptoms coming from?

I recently met with Linda at Mother To Mother, a company that supports women during the postpartum and pregnancy period. We talked about our own personal birth stories and the stories of women we meet with who experience post-partum adjustment disorders. The topic of how we both struggled to recognize that our symptoms were related to the birth of our child came up, and we agreed that many women don’t recognize their symptoms until years later. I knew I was having panic attacks almost daily but always blamed my overactive personality. It wasn’t until three years later I connected my symptoms to post-partum PTSD.

Many women have chest pain that they relate to a heart attack. When they go to their doctor, a battery of tests is run with the same result: you’re normal. These women are usually experiencing a panic or anxiety attack, or even a flashback and never relate the pain back to a negative birth experience. Some women even believe they have cancer because of their symptoms. The exact psychology of the symptoms can be hard to pinpoint and most of the time doctors do not think to ask of past psychological or emotional trauma.

If you are experiencing symptoms that seem to have no origin think back to your birth experience and what you went through. Because our minds are so ‘imprintable’ with hormones and the depth of the birth experience, and the fact that we may not even remember what happened to us, but our subconscious does, we will exhibit symptoms related to trauma, panic, anxiety, depression, PTSD. Write down all your symptoms that you can think of and talk to your provider. If they don’t think that ‘birth trauma’ exits for a mother, find a new doctor and talk to a psychologist trained in working with mothers.

Start attending support groups even if you don’t think you have post partum adjustment symptoms and share your stories. Learn more about what you are going through and allow others to help you heal and recognize your symptoms. Click the link to find a local group near you.

Nearing the end of a seminar today, I started to feel my classic anxiety attack come on. Panic and anxiety swept over me, I couldn’t breathe right or think, and the heavy constricting feeling in my chest kept getting stronger. I had to get out of there, now! My usual thought is “get home, that’s where you’ll be safe” kept playing in my head. Also, I kept calling myself ‘anxiety ass’, a very derogatory and degrading term someone once used against me on a daily basis. Calling myself names also made the situation worse.

I got in the car, starting to feel better because I knew I was on my way home. I knew I could stop this, I didn’t have to panic or feel this anxiety. I went through everything I could possibly think of, especially what would I tell other people to do when they experience this.

I tried meditating. Nothing happened but making my racing thoughts worse. I tried different hand positions or mudra to calm my body and energy down. Nothing, especially because it’s very hard to drive and hold a weird hand position for a while. I tried focusing on my breathing, which helped slightly but my chest hurt so badly I couldn’t breathe deep enough.

Finally, I thought of a technique from www.healmyptsd.com. She recommends a few techniques for dealing with flashbacks and the one that worked for me was to focus on my body and see which way my energy was moving. I felt a tornado inside my chest and it was very forceful. She suggests trying to force the energy in the opposite direction. I started working with that by twisting the tornado the other way. It took a few minutes but I did finally calm down!

So the moral of the story is to not let the attacks (no matter what type they are) to get the best of you. Don’t give in and don’t give up on finding a technique that works for you.

The last web search that brought a woman to my blog was “emotional unattachment after giving birth traumatically”. Many women do feel some level of ‘unattachment’ to their child, body, family, or spouse after childbirth. Any type of birth, either traumatic or perfect, can cause an emotional upheaval in the woman.

After the initial crash of hormones and then the introduction of new hormones through nursing, a woman struggles deeply with her new role in life. Feeling guilt for not having immediate feelings of love or connection with your new child is common, but often not discussed. How embarrassing to tell another person you don’t know if your child is even yours or how you actually feel about your new baby?

What can we do to start re-creating an attachment to ourselves, our child, our spouse, and family?

A few suggestions

  1. Be very gentle with yourself. Your feelings of ‘unattachment’ or even disinterest are normal, common, and natural. If you have had a cesarean, traumatic birth, or were unable to bond with your child directly after the birth you may not even feel as though the baby is yours. Know that these feelings (or non-feelings) are alright and time will pass for you to be able to change that. Especially as your hormones balance to a normal and regular ebb and flow, your emotions will be able to balance as well. Just remember that normalizing hormones will take at least 6-9 months after you have finished breastfeeding.
  2. Take time for self care. Come back to your own body and self first. Start with something small like drinking your favorite tea or coffee. Take a bath or shower with special salts or aromatherapy. Do something for yourself, in the limited time that you may have now, to reconnect to yourself. Take time to learn how to heal your body from the birth, and take care of your new body. My two favorite post-partum healing books are “Natural Heath After Birth” by Aviva Romm and “The Post Pregnancy Handbook” by Sylvia Brown for tips on healing such as: herbal remedies, nutrition, yoga, exercise, emotional coping and much more.
  3. Talk with someone you trust about your feelings and the actual birth. If you feel you cannot, start a journal or anonymous blog which you can put your story and feelings into words. Write your birth story down, all of the good and bad to begin the processing and healing. It will be incredibly difficult at first, but as you release the emotions and pain the healing can begin. Of course, if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your child tell someone now, call your doctor or even 911.
  4. Take some time to try new bonding activities with your new baby. Try bath together, massage your baby, singing, dancing, anything that provides you to share a physical connection, eye contact, as well as an activity together. Try showing your baby some new items such as a mirror or sounds. It is best to catch a moment when both you and the baby are having a good few minutes so neither of you become frustrated. Be as creative as you can!

Remember that these are just the very first steps in re-creating your emotions and developing the new love for your child. Be yourself and don’t force your feelings to surface.

Check out our website: http://www.healingthewomanwithin.info for resources and communities for healing birth trauma. Ask women how they feel on our forum, find online support groups in Yahoo! and in person.

Let’s look at some healing modalities recommended by Diane Stein in her book “The Natural Remedy Book For Women”. Diane Stein is one of my favorite natural healers and reiki practitioners. She has written many books on healing and energy and she presents her information in a very easy to follow format.

I would like to share and expand on her protocol for depression. She starts by sharing the emotional reasons for depression and physical reasons such as endocrine imbalances, chronic fatigue syndrome, heredity, heavy metal toxicity, high sugar diets, diabetes, candida albicans, food sensitivities, stress and nutritional deficiencies. All of these and more can contribute to depression, which means that just addressing the emotional state may not provide any relief because of underlying conditions that need to be addressed first.

Of course, depression can be life threatening and requires expertise to diagnose, heal, and even prescribe medications.

Vitamins and minerals: B complex vitamins, lecithin, folic acid, vitamin D and niacin can all be helpful. The best way to determine a mineral and nutritional imbalance is a hair analysis. Contact me and I can have one ordered for you. It is best not to run out and buy a bunch of supplements from your local store. You will quickly become frustrated when you don’t know what is working, what isn’t and when you don’t see any changes. Learn how to muscle test yourself, or bring a friend to help you.

Herbs: Herbs should always be checked against medications due to their ability to impede and cause harm when contraindicated with a medication. There are a wide variety of herbs used for depression, stress, anxiety, etc., but which ones to use is a complicated decision. I always muscle test my patients to see which ones are best for them. Try a tea with passion flower, chamomile, lavender, kava kava, or catnip. You can buy these in tinctures (liquids), tablets, or teas.

Naturopathy: Eat a high protein and raw vegetable diet. Diane recommends eating more grains but since the majority of people purchase the wrong types of grains and are also sensitive to the highly processed and sugared breads, I do not recommend more grains. Cut out any additives including sugar, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, and chemicals which can impede the function of the nervous system and brain.  Include more omega-3’s, purchase a refrigerated fish oil, eat more good fats such as butter and whole (raw and organic) milk.

Homeopathy: Try Arsenicum for anxiety and depression, exhaustion and restlessness according to Diane. Pulsatilla is for depression with weeping and is also good for boosting the immune system.

Acupressure: Diane recommends paying attention to the sinus, pituitary, cerebrum, and cranial nerves, thyroid, adrenals, liver, and thymus for foot reflexology. “For releasing grief, try acupressure points below the collar bone on both sides near the shoulders and the back beside each shoulder blade.”

Flower Essences: White peony or blackberry, pandora vine and star of Bethlehem are recommended. See my post on bach flower remedies for more information on flower essences.

Gemstones: Look for pink, blue, or purple kunzite, lepidolite, chrysoprase, labradorite rose quartz or pink tourmaline. You can hold these gemstones or wear them on jewelry pieces.

Emotional release: Release grief by crying or create a ritual for letting go of the event, person, situation and closing the energy that is left open causing the draining of your energy.

There is a lot of information presented here, and more in Diane’s book. She gives more specific examples of types of depression and what works best for different types. The book offers different healing techniques for each category presented above for other physical ailments.

Healing the second chakra involves a multi-layered approach, as does all healing. Most work with the second chakra involves some type of psychotherapy and energy healing to remove the emotional blockage. Blockages from guilt, pain, trauma, sexual issues, and even addictions all need to be addressed. Recommendations also include inner child work, boundary work, and emotional release.

The second chakra is known to be an orange so orange crystals are often helpful in conjunction with energy treatment.

Bloodstone can stimulate energy.

Carnelian

Carnelian is associated with creativity and decision-making.

Red garnet encourages patience.

Red jasper helps to connect us to the flowing energies of the earth.

Ruby, the stone of passion, enhances sensory awareness.

Ruby in Zoisite is a way to benefit from ruby’s energy in a grounding form.

Similar to the first chakra meditation, try meditating with this position. Place your hands in your lap with your left hand on the bottom. Touch the tips of your thumbs together gently and chant the sounds VAM.

Foods that are orange or shaped like a uterus are very helpful for women. Try oranges or an avocado to help with physical healing.

Affirmations from Anondea Judith are:

  • I deserve pleasure in my life.
  • I absorb information from my feelings.
  • I embrace and celebrate my sexuality.
  • I move easily and effortlessly.
  • Life is pleasurable.

Second chakra

The second chakra is located in our lower abdomen and sacral plexus. It is often known as the sacral chakra and its characteristics are listed below:

Element Basic Rights
Water To feel and have pleasure
Purpose Balanced Characteristics
Movement and connection Graceful movement
Emotional Intelligence
Issues Ability to experience pleasure
Movement Nurturance of self and others
Sensation Ability to change
Emotions Healthy Boundaries
Sexuality
Desire Traumas and Abuses
Need Sexual abuse
Pleasure Emotional abuse
Volatile situations
Color Neglect, coldness, rejection
Orange Denial of child’s feeling states
Enmeshment
Identity Emotional manipulation
Emotional
Demon
Guilt

When a woman is pregnant the growing baby and uterus places an increased amount of pressure on the chakra, which can be easily thrown out of balance. The pressure on this chakra can also increase the amount of dreams a woman experiences as well.

Our society places value on control and repression of emotions, sexuality, and pleasure. Women are often taught to repress their sexuality and form a sense of shame and embarrassment surrounding their body. During birth all that shame is to be ignored as they are exposed to the room and a number of strangers. Their bodies are violated, disrespected, mutilated, and exposed in a way we were never prepared for. Since the second chakra is related to the right to feel, and our feelings or shame and embarrassment are repressed during birth, the second chakra can be harmed. When we suffer from the effects of a birth trauma and our feelings are ignored or we are told that our feelings are meaningless, our system suffers even further.

What about the damage that is done during a cesarean? While many cesareans are necessary, the chakra is directly cut, similar to an episiotomy with the first chakra and this requires a more intensive healing. Women often experience numbness and an emotional un-attachment to their child after they are born and assume there is something wrong with them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not having an immediate connection to your child after birth, every woman experiences this differently. But knowing that your connection may be inhibited due to an imbalance can often provide emotional relief and the knowledge of how to heal both your emotions and physical body.

Trauma to a woman’s sexuality in the form of rape, abuse (physical or emotional), pregnancy (wanted or un-wanted), and a multiple of other sources can directly affect the second chakra. The use of violence associated with sexuality can violate boundaries and sense of self. This assault affects the mind, body, and soul. Degradation and shame are often associated with birth.

Healing must occur on all levels to heal the second chakra, with an investment in time, self love and care, and trust.

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