The New Mom/Working Mom Balancing Act
Kate Wolfson is goop’s executive editor, and the editorial team’s resident new mom.
Dear goop, I have a pretty good handle on the whole taking-care-of-baby thing (my first), but it’s come at the price of taking care of myself. I feel rundown, anxious, and foggy. I was handling it on maternity leave, but now that I’m getting ready to head back to work, I worry that the delicate balance won’t hold. Are there any precautionary steps I can take to prevent a total unraveling? —Liz T.
Hi Liz, There are about a million things you learn when preparing for baby, and then another million and a half about managing life once baby is born. After I had Sonny, the first couple of months were pretty blissful. I was so wrapped up in the magic of nesting, and my husband was able to take time off, so we split feeding, cleaning, diapering, and bathing 50/50. It’s laughable in hindsight, but I really believed that I’d skipped a lot of the new-baby stress that everyone kept warning me about. Silly, I know, because all that stress came on full force just a few months later.
The anxiety and exhaustion started on the day I went back to work and only intensified as the weeks went on. The pressure of pumping enough milk to sustain a growing little boy was constant and the anxiety of it all was wearing me down. My thoughts were totally scattered (mom brain is serious business) and my moods were all over the place—particularly low when it came time to take off my work hat at the end of the day and get into mommy mode—the switch-off felt like a roller coaster. It felt like I was barely surviving through the week, and by the time the weekend started, I had zero energy left. I felt totally depleted.
Back to your question: It hadn’t occurred to me to ask a doctor about what might be going on. So I did what I always do and started quizzing other moms at goop HQ about how they deal. Elise, our chief content officer, pointed me in the direction of—you guessed it—a doctor.
Dr. Oscar Serrallach has written extensively about postnatal depletion—the notion that the symptoms associated with having children (the exhaustion, the mental fuzziness, and the general feeling crappy) can plague moms for up to ten years after giving birth. According to him, these symptoms are caused by several factors, both social (we don’t have nearly as much support as past generations have had when it comes to childcare) and nutritional (babies start draining key nutritional elements, like brain fat, from their mamas while they’re still in utero). In addition to a proper diet, taking the right supplements postpartum can have a similar result as taking prenatal vitamins does during pregnancy: re-upping the body’s stores of those same vital nutrients it lost. So we collaborated with Dr. Serrallach to help create the Mother Load protocol of key vitamins and minerals—including a powerful dose of DHA—to support new moms during what is likely the most taxing period in their lives.
At six tablets daily, it’s an intense regimen to commit to, but being a working mom is intense, too. And while everybody is different (you should ask your doctor whether this regimen is right for you), sticking with the Mother Load protocol and getting a steady influx of the vitamins and minerals I was missing gradually helped me get back on track and start feeling like myself again.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.