Postpartum Depletion & The MotherBaby Dyad

Postpartum Depletion & The MotherBaby Dyad

March 12, 2024

It is time to mother the mothers this week with our maven Dr. Sam of Trillium Naturopathic with a deep dive in postpartum depletion and the MotherBaby Dyad. Dr. Sam is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor with an expertise in reproductive and maternal health. She is passionate about providing truly holistic care to Women in their reproductive years and is an advocate for changing the cultural conversations around maternal health, wellness and postpartum healing. In this conversation we talk about postpartum in the US, the mother baby dyad, postpartum depletion and the importance of focusing on your wellness as a mother. 

A passion of Dr. Sam’s is sustainability and the ultimate mother, mother earth. Worshiping mothers is worshiping mother earth. Protecting the health of mother earth is protecting mothers health and life giving force. The health of mother earth is a reflection on the overall health of mothers. Maternal health is planetary health. They are so interconnected. Mothers are life givers, and full of creative force. Our current culture destroys mother earth and you can see how this current culture is not in service to mothers. Mothers and postpartum mothers especially are deeply suffering and you can see that in the statistics! We are creating cycles of generational trauma that is destroying life and hurting mothers.


Postpartum Care in America

We focus some much of our energy preparing for the birth of our children and oftentimes neglect preparing for the postpartum period. Authentically preparing for postpartum and honoring that it is a totally new beginning. A new baby requires a totally new system of self, family and community. When we honor and learn about postpartum it makes the journey into motherhood a little less intense.

When you invest into building your postpartum sanctuary and honor the first forty days it has lastly positive effects on your overall health for your lifetime and that of your babies. When you give birth it is a moment in time that you are able to “rewire your brain” and make lastly neurological changes that impact your nervous system. Resting in the postpartum period also impacts your menstrual cycle later on in life and your menopause. Going against the grain and resting for the first forty days is a radical act in American culture which encourages you to “bounce back” or do everything you once were doing prior to having children. That having children shouldn’t slow you down and you can’t look like you have had a baby. That maidenhood is idolized and it is important to maintain your maidenhood when you are a mother. Diet culture has completely overtaken America, that if you grow and expand into motherhood that is seen as a weakness.

The First Forty Days

There is a sacred time after giving birth that is extremely impressionable, vulnerable which is critical to rest and be skin to skin with our babies. In other cultures around the world they call this sacred time, “Sitting the month”, “The First Forty Days”. These are cultural traditions that support mothers resting for 30-40 days and bonding and breastfeeding their babies. During this time “the village” or the community around the mother supports her in doing all of her household and childcare duties, she has ample time away from her work up to 1-2 years of paid time off and/or financial support from the family. Mothers only job is to rest for 40 days in and around their bed, bond skin to skin with their baby, breastfeed and eat nourishing meals provided by her community. There is an incredible book that gives a lot more description of this with recipes that I have reviewed here. I highly recommend checking out this book and doing your own research and setting yourself up for a luxurious first forty days postpartum experience.

MotherBaby Dyad

Exogestation is something that we see in animals like Kangaroos – but we are also animals and are exogestation beings. We give birth to very underdeveloped beings that need to continue to grow by relying on their mother for food, shelter and safety. Our babies are relaying on us for everything and would not survive without care. Babies need to be close to their mothers to feel safe, that their shelter is near and that their food is available. With this sense of security we nurture our babies. Babies need nurture to have proper brain development, this is something that has been studied and proven in neuroscience that babies need nurture to have lower risk of mental health disorders/symptoms and a regulated nervous system.

Your baby needs its mother to survive for food, temperature, hormones, nervous system regulation, nutrition in the form of your milk. The MotherBaby Dyad is the concept that they are one unit after birth that they both need each others connection for their survival and ultimate wellness. What our job as the community supporting a new born mother is to support the mother so that they can support the MotherBaby Dyad. Mother is baby’s first environment and it is important that we also too nurture the mother to nurture the baby. Our babies health and wellbeing is contingent upon the parent’s health and wellbeing. When Mother is healthy and well that is transferred to the baby. We can not simply care for the baby and neglect the Mother.

Postpartum Depletion

Postpartum Depletion can happen and is very common in America but is not normal. Postpartum and giving birth is not inherently depleting although there is energy expenditure. Depletion happens when a mother does not have the support from her community to rest and honor the MotherBaby Dyad. It can happen when the Mother is not fed nourishing meals and nurtured by her community so she is then left to separate from her baby to care for herself or neglect her own basic needs. Postpartum depletion can come from our inherent and aggressive diet culture in America encouraging new mothers to “bounce back” and loose the baby weight immediately after giving birth. When mothers rush to over exercise and not rest and allow their bottoms to heal properly and honor the first forty days.

Ways that we can thrive in postpartum is honoring the MotherBaby Dyad, asking for help and creating a support system so we can honor the First Forty Days. Dr. Sam recommends doing Nervous System Work or somatic therapy. Ella also recommends finding something for yourself so you can connect to your innate wisdom within like gentle yoga postpartum and walking.

To listen to the full episode and learn more listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or watch the full interview on Youtube. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a five star review! Thanks for listening and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. Please reach out to Dr. Sam if you would like to work with her and dive deeper into this supportive work for yourself. It is never too late to start prioritizing your wellness. You deserve it mama!

Meet Dr. Samantha Klim

Meet Dr. Samantha Klim, or as most people know her by, Dr. Sam! Dr. Sam is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor with an expertise in reproductive and maternal health. Dr. Sam is passionate about providing truly holistic care to Women in their reproductive years and is an advocate for changing the cultural conversations around maternal health, reproductive wellness and postpartum healing. Prior to becoming a Naturopath she practiced as a birth and loss doula and her work with many growing families informs her approach and passion. Outside of medicine, she has studied Yoga, Vedic philosophy, Permaculture, Grief work and many Earth based spiritual practices from around the world- all of which she weaves into her unique approach in patient care. She believes that Maternal health is Planetary health and that supporting vitality in Women and Mothers builds strong families, communities and ecosystems. Dr. Sam believes in the power of community and connection to nature and is always seeking to build stronger culture for Women and Mothers to heal together- she facilitates community building journeys as a certified MotherCircle facilitator. In her clinical practice, she provides 1:1 compassionate patient care in Issaquah, WA and also offers home visits to her postpartum patients around the Seattle area. The care she offers is truly comprehensive, including all of the traditional modalities of Naturopathic medicine and so much more. From nutritional counseling,  functional lab assessments, homeopathy and herbalism to cranio-sacral therapy, somatic based inquiries and pelvic floor recovery care – she has many tools to support healing of body, mind and spirit. Ultimately, she helps Women improve fertility, thrive during pregnancy and heal more fully postpartum so that Motherhood can be a time of vitality to be enjoyed. When she is not working, she is spending time outside with her husband and their beloved fur baby, reading fantasy books, gardening, cooking nutrient dense food or napping in the grass.


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