The Postnatal Depletion Cure, by Dr. Oscar Serrallach
“Before motherhood, the typical modern woman with her busy, high paced life is usually already close to the maximum capacity of what she and her body can handle. Conception and pregnancy require amounts of physical resources, and then the baby’s delivery (whether by cesarean or vagina delivery) places further strain on these physical resources – and this is just day one of being a mother!! Throw sleep deprivation into the mix, and it’s no surprise that mums can feel overwhelmed, overworked, overstimulated, and over needed.” – Dr Oscar Serrallach –
Book Review by Amy van Beek.
The book I read for my assessment and to widen my knowledge to help clients and also help myself was ‘The Postnatal Depletion Cure’.
I enjoyed this book so much. It made me teary at one point because I guess I’m still in the postpartum stage too and it’s so nice to be heard and understood. It’s so nice to hear of a male doctor who has taken women seriously and decided to make a career of it.
It now makes sense to me why it takes some of us months or even years to reclaim our energy back. With my first son Logan, it took me a good year to be bouncing out of bed in the mornings and start to feel somewhat like the old ‘Amy’ again. It’s important for women to know that they are now a new or different version of themselves, but they can still incorporate small bits of who they are as this mamma. It’s annoying at times because I hear mums tell me how after six weeks they were ‘back to their old selves.’ I always claimed this to be a whole load of crap, especially after having my kids. The tiredness, the whole idea of running a rat race and yes, the word itself – THE DEPLETION – is intense.
I feel so much better now knowing that maybe it’s not just the fact that my kids don’t usually sleep through the night very often. Or it’s not me just being a whingy partner. There is so much more too it. Our hormone levels… thyroid, zinc, iron, vitamin B and C, etc. This is so great to know as well because I know half the doctors don’t even check these things and they make you feel like because the 5 things they usually check for (usually none of these things, maybe iron) all came back clear, that you must just be anxious or sleep deprived.
This book confirmed for me that I am really keen on furthering my studies at some point to venture further into the postpartum side. It has encouraged me to ask for MORE HELP. Yes, my youngest in 7 months now – but to me, my kids are still young and to avoid depletion, I need to ask for help. It could be something so minor, like asking their dad to take over for one afternoon so I can have a ‘break’. Or putting them both in care so I have a day to myself. But these things matter. We matter. I remember my partner whenever I’ve been telling him things about my friends and family having babies lately, I would tell him how they sound “down or depressed or emotional”. He would respond “every woman seems to have postpartum depression”. I now know after reading this book that there is a big chance it’s actually ‘post-natal depletion’ which I have suffered from in both births and post-partum. This book has helped me wake up a little and focus on my eating, exercise and ensuring my mental and physical health are in check.
This book will be of benefit to women to read not only post-partum or while pregnant, but also pre-conception. In regard to the medical side of things, such as women checking their health stats, having deep conversations with their partners, making sure they eat good food, and they have their village to help them during post-partum. It’s so important for women to understand that they don’t have to take on the world. Our western culture expects us to be 1000 different people at one time, straight after having a baby… a cook, a cleaner, a mum of a newborn, a toddler, a partner, a sister, a friend, a grocery shopper, you get the gist. Yes, times have changed and there is this new age in Australia where we feel the expectation to be all these things almost straight after baby is born (we might get a day or two to purely just be with our baby in the hospital) BUT this is up too us to change!!! We need to set the expectations early on and encourage women to hire doulas, cleaners, cooks or to have their close family or friends nearby in case they feel the need to rely on them. There is nothing wrong with doing this and this book has essentially taught me that. There is nothing wrong with admitting we can’t do it all. Our bodies have handled so much during the pregnancy, labour, and birth, that we deserve time to rest and recover.
I will be recommending this book to women so they can understand a little more why at times they feel so depleted, exhausted, and hormonal. Our bodies can only handle so much, and we need to be more kind. This will hopefully encourage them to ask for help early on and hire help if need be. They can potentially also explain to their partners what their cortisol levels do when they have just had a baby and why at times, we feel so overwhelmed and agitated. I want women to know it’s OK to take each day as it comes. To focus on their baby and not when they’re returning to work or whether their house looks immaculate. To not feel embarrassed to call their mum and ask them to cook dinner for the night as they feel too tired too. If we say no to the help or don’t ask, that’s when we drain ourselves and end up exhausted and in a heap. Then we are no good to anyone. If mamma isn’t in a good way- no one else in the house is. We need to care for ourselves the day we fall pregnant.
You’ve got this mamma <3
My name is Amy van Beek and I am a birth & postpartum doula who trained with Doula Training Academy. I am constantly learning and evolving, so I can keep up to date with new research and information to be able to provide you with reliable resources. I honestly believe that mind and body play a huge role among one another and when we get the two of these working side by side, amazing things can happen.
My website is currently being nurtured and will be birthed soon so will be available for you to view soon.
I am based in outer south-west Sydney and can be contacted by:
0447 291 866