It sounds a bit like someone’s making up words, doesn’t it. Postnatal Depletion’s got the same kind of ring to it as Conscious Uncoupling or Masturbatory Exercise (cheers for those pearlers, Gwyneth). It reeks of penmanship straight out of Oprah’s book club, and it feels like it’s making some switched-on wellness type a buttload of cash.
Model Jesinta Franklin’s spoken out about it, likening her experience with Postnatal Depletion to living in “total survival mode”, and now my girlfriends are all over it so it’s infiltrating my iMessage. The buzz is real and it’s freaking loud.
Excuse the whinging – I’ve recently learned I’m suffering from Postnatal Depletion myself. Drowning my curiosity in a copy of The Postnatal Depletion Cure: A Complete Guide to Rebuilding Your Health and Reclaiming Your Energy for Mothers of Newborns, Toddlers, and Young Children by Dr Oscar Serrallach, I discovered this hullabaloo might actually explain why I’ve struggled so hard to regain my bounce after popping a couple of leeches out in recent years.
I went in cynical, but I came out converted. At just three pages in, I’d gulped the Kool-Aid and begun screen shotting Serrallach’s gospel to text all the new mums in my life. His words spoke clearer to me than the sticky spaghetti strings endlessly running out of my one-year-old’s nose, and I zipped through the final pages in a tizzy, Googling naturopaths with my spare hand before throwing the book aside altogether to email them for appointment slots. My heart had been racing. I hadn’t felt exhilaration like that since the morning my phone rang right as the Cash Cow popped up on telly (it, unfortunately, wasn’t Sunrise).
Serrallach describes Postnatal Depletion as a mental and physical syndrome made up of a mountain of issues including “deep fatigue, hyper-vigilance and a feeling of being overwhelmed” – aka the precise welcome packs motherhood thrusts into our arms the moment bub is born.
The doc’s schtick is that yes, these things come part and parcel with giving birth and raising children, but mothers are commonly suffering long after they should be due to a lack of awareness and failing to fully recover from having a baby or babies. He adds that societal pressure on modern parents, especially the fact we rarely relax and put ourselves first, is also a major contributor. You can see how this guy is a global success, right? I was pure putty in Serrallach’s hands.
He also claims, and this is what really hooked me, that being Postnatally Depleted can wind up screwing with a mother’s immune function and wreaking havoc on her gut health. He advises via Goop (of course he’s now befriended Gwyneth) that those suspecting they’re Depleted, “go see a good functional health practitioner and get a comprehensive assessment of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals”.
He’s found through his practice that often levels of “iron, vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and copper are deficient, insufficient, or out of balance”.
So off to the naturopath I went, ready to shapeshift into the new woman I was desperate to be. It was the first time I’d ever entertained the idea of holistic medicine and to be honest, I was pumped to be claiming something other than Dental, Physio or Remedial Massage through my private health insurance (side note: naturopaths aren’t actually covered by any providers, but sheer ignorance was bliss at this stage).
But then the bubble burst. The afternoon prior to my scheduled appointment, hand, foot and mouth disease broadened its horizons out of livestock and into my eldest’s day care room. I was forced to reschedule but I couldn’t get back in with the naturopath for another two weeks. To be frank, it took the wind out of my sails. I’d also been researching good quality supplements in case I needed to top up any of those hormonal deficiencies, and they didn’t come cheap.
As life parenting two kiddies-under-two continued, my Cash Cow-like enthusiasm began to wane. I spotted Serrallach’s flash new product, something titled the ‘Mothermophosis Journey’ that promises to heal and transform mothers for just under $1500 a pop, and my inner cynic wondered if Gwyneth had come up with that one herself. I reminded myself that some days, particularly on a full night’s sleep, I get intense glimpses of a time in the very near future when I’ll be much freer to take that time to sincerely relax, when my kids get to school and aren’t screaming in my face every second minute (although I do hear that never ends…).
Perhaps I’m just the latest in Serrallach’s long list of case studies, as I take stock in the fact I’m showing classic signs of his extremely sensible case for the Postnatally Depleted. But to be honest, I’m just too exhausted to try and fix it at the moment. Am I the only one?