Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Healing From the Inside

Have you ever heard of 21st Century Syndrome? It's otherwise known as adrenal fatigue/adrenal burn-out, and I've got it.

My adrenals are fried, folks. FRIED. It's really not surprising, I suppose, considering what my body has endured over the last five years. For five years I have been pregnant, breastfeeding or breastfeeding WHILE pregnant. Not a single day off. Add to that three c-sections, and now 16 months of sleep patterns that would qualify as torture in most countries.

My body needs some help, so after much research I have decided to take the following steps:
1. More rest. I won't go so far as to say more sleep because that's really up to my kids more than me. Especially Baby Belle. If she can just figure out how to sleep without waking six or seven times a night, my body will benefit. In the mean time, I'm going to at least take the time to let my body rest during the day. That means that while my kids nap, I will also nap.
2. Vitamins! I'm now taking a daily mixture of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, a B vitamin complex, vitamin C and licorice root. Also a healthy dose of sea salt with each meal.
3. More gentle exercise. I really love pushing myself when I work out, but I don't think it's the best idea while I'm trying to heal. I'll stick to shorter workouts, and try to include more yoga.
4. No more coffee. This one will be hard. Even on days when I don't feel like I desperately need coffee, I still want it! I love my morning ritual with a hot cup of coffee. But I kicked the habit back in March, and I know I can do it again - and I know my body will thank me for it.
5. Better eating. I'm trying to be as strict as possible in eating Whole30-style for the next month. My body just functions better when I eat this way. My energy is higher and more consistent. And I'll certainly need that while giving up coffee!
6. Wean Baby Belle. I know there are plenty of mothers out there just ready to give me all kinds of grief for choosing when my baby weans. I'm just not into super-extended-breastfeeding. (I'm not against it on principle - do what you want. It's just not for me.) I think I've done her a great service by giving her over 16 months of breastmilk. (She's never had a bottle, and she only had a couple of ounces of formula in the hospital while she was being treated for jaundice.) I know it will upset her - she's definitely a booby baby. But it's time. My body needs a rest!

I am hopeful about the difference this will make in helping me feel better. I'm also hopeful that it will provide the best chances of allowing my hair to grow back (though I know it's not a guarantee). Now I just need to come up with some way of reminding myself to take my vitamins four times a day!


  1. Good luck, especially with no coffee! That would be the hardest for me- one day without and I get a terrible headache!

  2. You might (hopefully) be surprised by Baby Belle's forgiveness. I haven't weaned Jasper yet but I have cut off certain feeds that I thought would completely break his heart. Or maybe he`s just waiting for his teen years to make me pay...

    1. I hope you're right about the forgiveness! Tonight will be the first night of no bedtime feeding, and NO through-the-night nursing!

  3. i have long wondered about you and adrenal fatigue so i am glad that you are looking into it. also, have you read about gut and psychology syndrome and the work of dr. natasha campbell-mcbride. it strikes me that you might find it relevant (not the autism stuff but the gut health stuff). sorry about the one-handed typing.

    1. I know a little about GAPS - the fermented thing freaks me out, but I now routinely include a lot of bone broth in my diet. I think I'll do a little more reading up on it - thanks.

  4. best of luck to you! those are all great goals...but not easy ones! as for coffee, when i did give it up, i found that a cup of tea was almost as good. i even put cream in mine to try to fool myself!
    ps thanks for the tip on the date. i usually look at the calendar, but this time i guessed...and i was wrong!

  5. Thanks for coming over to my blog! I look forward to checking out your Whole 30 foods.

    Good luck with the weaning, may it be easy on both of you.

  6. Well, you know I support extended breastfeeding... *when* it works out for all involved. I had to wean the boys earlier than I would have liked because I just didn't make much milk by about 4 months pregnant! However, I will tell you this: Jasper was not a good sleeper at all (up 2-3 times a night minimum) until he stopped nursing. Bam, he slept through the night and is still my best sleeper of the three. Who knew? Good luck with everything!

  7. No one can fault your for weaning a 16 month old baby, seriously. I'm all for breastfeeding for as long as it is working for both of you...you remember when I nearly snapped and had to wean Abigail? I think a body will tell you when it is time to take a break. You are a great mom and I think it's important that our children (especially our daughters)see us take care of ourselves so they see the balance of woman/wife/mom. I hope you all start getting more sleep this summer and that Elena deals well with the weaning. Love ya!

  8. Who are these moms who would give you grief for weaning your child? They presumably don't know you, and know the warm, attentive, generous, patient and LONG-SUFFERING woman you are. Think of Psalm 131, "still is my soul, like a weaned child in his mother's lap" -- that's the image of soul at peace with God, *weaned*. So take heart.

    I had read this a while ago, and it reminded me so much of you (not the eating habits but the parenting situation) that I thought I would share it with you. I don't have any advice on how to address the adrenal fatigue issue but hopefully with Francis home, rest will be more possible. Perhaps you need to just schedule in one morning or afternoon a week where he takes the kids out so you can sleep. If that sounds like a lot, quickly remind yourself how little sleep you've had in the past year and half and what you managed to accomplish despite that. Your health and happiness DESERVE sleep. Agreed? Good.

  9. Jac, I was wondering where you found your information/resources on Adrenal fatigue... Did you end up looking into a naturopath? I wouldn't mind reading more to see how I can help my body cope with the complete lack of sleep I am still getting... :)

  10. Jaclyn...

    I can identify so much with the adrenal fatigue thing. I got some help for that a couple years ago but was pregnant at the time and not really ready for the changes that needed to go with it.

    I commend you for breastfeeding as long as you have. It is a huge commitment (23 months for Kyle and weaned because I was working nights) Celebrate all you have given your children and support yourself so you may continue to give to them and to your family.

    I have several hormone related troubles which I think can link back to adrenal fatigue, not enough rest and in the past not enough nutritional support for my body for many years. Now that I know better I am doing more but as many Moms can relate.. there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, sleep 8 hours or more and still have some sanity..

    best of luck with each step you work through and know there is a sympathetic ear over here who gets it.

    I hope weaning and summer vacation are going well for you so far.

  11. i know i keep commenting, but i wanted to tell you that you are one of our most informative commenters to date! so thank you for all of your comments on our blog, and thanks for making us both a little bit smarter with each piece of information you give us!

  12. Jac, I don't know if I replied to your kind message last week, I definitely remember clicking on the link to your blog, but I can't rememeber if I replied and if so, I am sorry. Thank you for your kind understanding of my karaoke fear! I am an instrumentalist too (also music degree! Flute) and I have sung all my life but it's scary! I hope that your Nan will be ok. x


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