One of the many questions I’ve been asked on social media is what steps am I taking postpartum to ensure I don’t have any MS flares. Which involves having a postpartum self-care checklist of things that I can do for myself.
If you’re new around here I was diagnosed with MS in 2014 but am living well with no symptoms or disability. I believe it’s because of the overall holistic way that I look at health and take care of myself.
See I believe in these 6 pillars of health:
- Stress Management
- Quality & Quantity of Sleep
- Reducing Toxic Load
So as I prepped to bring our twins into the world I wanted to ensure that I was able to maintain how I take care of myself. Here are the ways that I’m taking care of myself postpartum with boy/girl twins.
Postpartum Self-Care Checklist
Hire A Doula
With no immediate family in Port Alberni, hiring a Doula was instrumental in giving me back some time during the day to take care of me. I hired Tanis from Island Moon Doula and am so grateful for her support. While Mike’s parents came out for the first 2 weeks after we got back from the hospital, I hired Tanis to come on Monday – Friday from 10 am – 12 pm after they left. It allowed me to go into our bedroom and sleep for at least an hour. She would make me lunch, prep our freezer meals for dinner, vacuum, wear a baby, rock the other one to sleep and lend an ear to my venting.
I prepped freezer meals over the last few months before our induction date to ensure that we would have nutritious meals that were easy to make. I used the recipes found on Unbound Wellness’s website. I also continue to stock nutrient-dense foods. So when my Doula was over she could easily make me a jam-packed salad for lunch each day and throw a freezer meal in the Instant Pot to cook up for dinner.
I booked a virtual phone call with my Naturopath to review the supplements that I was taking pre-pregnancy. Due to my birth complications, we reviewed what I’d need to take to bring me back to health. Here is the list of what I’m taking and why:
- Prenatal: I was told to continue this until I stop breastfeeding
- Feramax: Because I hemorrhaged several times I needed to increase my iron intake to get my ferritin stores back up.
- NAC: I was taking this pre-pregnancy and during my pregnancy to ensure my body was getting enough glutathione for immune system support.
- Magnesium Citrate: Pregnancy and feramax causes quite the constipation so I’m taking Natural Calm to relieve the pain.
- Placenta Capsules: I had to hold on taking these until it was confirmed that I actually didn’t have an AVM anymore.
- Vitamin D: I take 4,000 IUs during the summer months and 8,000 IUs during the darker winter months.
After 2 months, I also brought 2 supplements back that I took prior to birth.
- CoQ10: I take this for cardiovascular health, it promotes immune system function and is an antioxidant.
- ALCAR: I take this for cognitive function and cellular energy production.
I wasn’t cleared to exercise due to the possibility of an AVM until week 9 postpartum. After getting the go-ahead, I immediately started daily walks and even joined a mom walking group organized by our local Public Health unit. I also started the Tone It Up Mama workout program on the Tone It Up App.
This area I would say is the one I need to focus on the most. I easily get anxious and it’s been amplified post-partum. I find myself fighting off panic attacks when our dog Rogue paces non-stop. It just seems like some noises set me off after a full day of caring for the twins. To combat this, I still take nightly Epsom salt baths at least 3-4 times a week. I keep an Adaptiv roller bottle in the bathroom. I roll this on my wrists and take a moment to inhale whenever I go to the washroom. This helps, especially if the twins are both screaming and I just need a moment to pee and to myself.
This is really the only area I’m struggling with. The babes are sleeping in 2-3 hour stints. So I’m sleeping from 9 pm – 12 am (3 hours), then around 1 – 3 am (2 hours), then 3 am to 6 am (3 hours) and then Mike takes over and I get an uninterrupted hour from 6 – 7 am. So in total I’m sleeping on average around 8 – 9 hours albeit it it’s in blocks of time. I don’t feel that tired during the day except I get sleepy around 3 pm and usually nap with both babes on me. I believe one of the reasons I’m not feeling too tired is that I’m still not drinking caffeinated coffee. I’m only drinking decaf and that seems to be helping with keeping my energy high enough to care for 2 babes.
Reduce Toxic Load
Nothing has changed here. I’m still using the same products I was before in my beauty, laundry and cleaning routine. Since I’m basically doing a load of laundry a day I made sure I had an ample supply of my DIY Laundry Detergent on hand. Ps. The OnGuard Cleaner Concentrate that I stock in the house is amazing for getting poop blowouts out of onesies!
I think one of the most important aspects to postpartum self-care is having a mindset of grace. Knowing that sometimes you may not do all the things you had hope to do, so you try again the next day. AND like everything baby steps. Don’t try to accomplish the full list of self-care in your first day postpartum!