Presence Over Perfection: Recovering from Postpartum Depression

First Published on June 13, 2015 on the website of Reiki Expert Pamela Miles at:  http://reikiinmedicine.org/daily-practice/reiki-helps-postpartum-depression/

Reiki Helps Postpartum Depression – by Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

On the morning of my first Mother’s Day, I was sobbing uncontrollably. My mother and mother-in-law were trying to console me, but my hormones were on a roller coaster ride. I had postpartum depression.

My husband was confused by my illogical behavior. How could he understand what a failure I was? I didn’t have enough breast milk for our precious two-month-old daughter.

Sleep-deprived from two months of breastfeeding every three hours, I couldn’t think straight. Even when she was not nursing, when my baby was snuggling against me, I was stressing about what I might be doing wrong.

My doctor and husband convinced me my child had lost so much weight, I had to start feeding her formula at night. My hormonal, chaotic, self-judging mind struggled to accept what my baby’s health required.

Once she started on nighttime formula, I got more sleep, and began thinking clearly again. I remembered my Reiki practice, which had supported me throughout pregnancy, calming anxiety, relieving discomforts, helping me sleep.

After my baby was born, I felt too tired to even rest my hands on myself to practice; my self care slipped away. Soon my life felt out of control, and depression took over.

Once I restarted my daily self practice, the exhaustion and depression began to recede. The night of my first full practice, I had the deepest, most restful sleep in two months. I awoke feeling more like the loving mother I had hoped I could be.

I started practicing self Reiki in bed while my daughter napped. I shut off all electronics. It was hard to resist sharing baby photos through e-mail and Facebook, but I chose my sanity.

As I placed hands on my abdomen to practice, I remembered my body was still healing from birth. Obsessing about my lack of breast milk had distracted me from the weak muscles, aches and pains my hands were now comforting.

Often I napped after Reiki practice, something I hadn’t allowed myself to do. Napping became easier and deeper as I continued my daily practice.

I started feeling so much better, I began practicing Mommy and Me yoga at home. I regained my physical strength, and built a deeper connection to my daughter. We started taking walks in the fresh air.

Each time I placed my hands on my heart during Reiki practice, I felt the guilt melt. I took deep breaths and often teared up. The lump in my heart slowly dispersed. I forgave myself for something I had had no control over.  

In the peacefulness of my daily Reiki self practice, I came to realize my child only wanted a loving, caring, present mother; continuing my Reiki practice helped me be that. Over time, I came to see what a good mom I truly was.

Now my baby was happy and I was happy, and that’s what really mattered.

Photo by Sira Anamwong – freedigitalphotos.net

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