After I had my son, I kept feeling like something was off in my body. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I could just feel that something was not right.
The problem is that, post-baby a LOT of things change and it is so hard to know what is the “normal” post-baby experience, and what symptoms might need to be investigated more thoroughly.
I lose weight pretty quickly post baby. After both of my deliveries, I lost about half the weight within two weeks and look relatively good. But it is SO incredibly flipping hard for me to get back to pre-baby weight.
Actually, to be completely honest with you, I have never gotten back to my pre-baby weight. There, I can’t believe I actually admitted that, because I’m not sure I have ever shared that. With anyone.
As one of my friends texted to me this evening, it’s about ‘how you look, and not about how much you weigh.’ While I agree with that, wholeheartedly, it is also discouraging.
I picked up a Self Magazine while getting a birthday mani-pedi with my mom, and read a stat that 50% of women are not at pre-baby weight one year post-baby. Instead of feeling like I was average, I felt incredibly discouraged. 50% of women could do what I could not do, when I have ALWAYS been the skinny skinny fit girl. That’s always been part of my identity, because well, people always commented on it.
This isn’t a post-baby pity party. I am actually feeling pretty great since I discovered the source of just WHY I can’t seem to get my pre-baby body back, despite my initial quick progress.
It’s my hormones. Yes, the very hormones responsible for supporting both of my baby’s lives, helping them grow and become the people they are today, are also wreaking some havoc in my body. After my son, I went in to get my thyroid checked not once, not twice, but three times. Every single time I was told that they were normal.
But what is ‘normal’ anyway? While pregnant with my second, I had horrible sleep insomnia, and was often up for the second run of Dr. Oz at 2 am. Thank goodness for that show at that hour! One week, he was discussing thyroids, and mentioned that the range of normal is for a middle-aged man who weighs 180-220 or so pounds. Aha, a light bulb went off in my brain. I KNEW those hormones were off post baby #1!
About seven to eight months after I had my daughter, I noticed that I was gaining some weight, and I was constantly getting sick. A simple cold turned into a sinus infection, ear infection, bronchitis, one time all three of those at the same time, within a day or two. I was sick about 4-6 times in four months.
Then, the exhaustion set in. I had no energy, no motivation. If you were to describe me, the words energetic or vibrant usually come to mind, so me, having none of that, is just odd. I was tired, but couldn’t sleep. I was dry, feeling anxious, had little appetite (again, which is not like me) and couldn’t shed the 10 or so pounds to get back to pre-baby weight.
My friend turned guru, Desi, a fitness and wellness expert, looked at me one day when we were just becoming fast friends and said, “you remind me of me. We have the same body chemistry. I think you need to get your thyroid checked. Go and see this guy.” She gave me the name of a more holistic general practitioner who takes a different look at health, mixing east and west. Right up my alley! So I made an appointment, and researched a ton. I was convinced, this is what I had.
And I was right. It turns out, many doctors just test your T4, one hormone, which then turns into T3 in your body. So by only testing the T4, doctors are missing a LOT of the picture. Sure, your T4 may be great, but if it is not converting to T3, you are having a hormone problem (low hormones or hypothyroidism).
Also, T3 can be muted in its effect by adrenal glands that are overactive, spitting out too much of the fight or flight response known as adrenaline. This leads to adrenal fatigue.
I had both. My ardenals were tapped and my hormones were low. Not off the charts low, but not in the optimal top 1/3 ideal range my doctor wanted to see.
The solution – a low dose of synthroid and Cortisol Manager. Synthroid is a synthetic hormone that you take in the morning, by itself, on an empty stomach. You cannot take any iron or other minerals within a few hours of taking it, or it’s absorption will not be optimal. Cortisol Manager you take a night, it helps you sleep, relax, and cleanse your arsenals.
Within a few weeks, I was feeling energized, motivated, happy and less anxious, sleeping like a baby, less dry with fuller hair, with a larger appetite yet losing weight. I wouldn’t necessarily even say weight, more like bloat. I felt constantly bloated, like that yucky PMS feeling in your gut, ugh. I even went so far as to see a GI doctor. I know my body. I knew I was pregnant 5-6 days before my missed period, just because I can tell changes in my body.
At the end of the day, you need to TRUST your own instincts (yes, trust your gut) because you and only you know your body and when something is off. If you are feeling like something is off or wrong, it probably is. You may not get an instant answer, and you may need to turn to Eastern or alternative medicine (acupuncture needles as old as 3,000 years old have been found, while Western medicine dates back a few hundred years. And not too long ago, we used to practice blood-letting!)
Trust yourself and be your own best advocate. And you don’t have to be significantly overweight to have a sluggish or slow metabolism. Pregnancy messes up a lot of things in our bodies, and you may just need a low dose of medicine for a little bit. This doesn’t mean you need to be on something for life, or that you have a major medical problem.
In fact, I am pretty sure you can still get the BEST rating for life insurance by being on synthroid, as it is not considered a serious medication. If synthroid doesn’t work for you (and I still felt like I was missing a little something, which I will share soon) you may want to try a natural desiccatted (dried) hormone (made from pig).
But by taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your baby. And wouldn’t you do anything to take care of your baby?!
*I am not a doctor and this is NOT medical advice. Rather, I am sharing my opinions and experiences with you in hopes that it might help others
I see Dr. Krems in Marina del Rey. He also put me on Astra 8 to help strengthen my immune system, which has REALLY helped me a lot, especially with a toddler in preschool and a walking baby who goes to the park every day! (More on the getting constantly sick in another post).
**This post contains links to Amazon.