Ayurveda and Postpartum Depression?

Natasha works as a Teacher in an International School, while Amyra is an aspiring Ayurveda Practioner. Apart from their husbands, the two best friends have a lot in common. They share the same birthdays, have studied in the same schools and colleges, and their first-borns are girls. Moreover, they suffer from postpartum blues.

Here’s a discussion between the two new mothers, Natasha and Amyra, on how motherhood has changed their lives.

 

Natasha: You know, Amu, I knew motherhood is a different ball game altogether but I didn’t sign up for uncertainty, exhaustion, fear, anxiety, and loneliness. I’m finding it so difficult to be sane!

Amarya: I understand the space that you’re coming from, Natu. Even I’m battling those real emotions. Let’s not forget the nights that go in feeding and soothing our babies. Sometimes, I don’t know what to do… But we are not alone.

Natasha: I miss the old, carefree days.

Amarya: Me too! Trust me, Natu, it’s just a phase. In fact, I came across something very interesting in my Ayurveda research the other day. New mothers with postpartum depression, like us, have more anxiety and panic attacks and feel intensely inadequate and overwhelmed. This is because of the high amount of vata dosha.

Vata dosha is linked to Air energy. It rules all movement- breath, heartbeat, all muscle contractions, tissue movements, and so on- and communication throughout our minds and nervous systems.

Natasha: I think I also have a streak of pitta dosha, considering the increased amount of irritability and anger I’m experiencing lately.

Pitta dosha is associated with Fire energy. It oversees our digestion, body temperature, thoughts, and emotions. The dosha is also linked to intelligence and understanding.

Amarya: That’s quite possible! According to Ayurveda, our maanaseeka prakriti or mental constitution is dominated by vata or pitta elements. This, in turn, has an influence in the postpartum phase as well.

Prakriti is defined as our natural characteristics. It is responsible for developing the sattva, rajas and tamas or three gunas in us. Prakriti is further divided into two categories: maanaseeka or mental and saareerika or physical.

Natasha: Is clinging to our comfort zones or desires causing this mental imbalance?

Amarya: That’s true! Our mano vaha srotas or mental channel becomes unstable because it desires familiarity… Like you said earlier, “I miss the old, carefree days”. The aim is to raise our mental constitution to its healthy vibration.

Mano vaha srotas is responsible for all the mental activity- thinking, questioning, analyzing, and so on- that takes place based on past, present, and future events. It also directs our goals, thoughts, and emotions. The srotas is divided into conscious and subconscious minds.

Natasha: How can we do that?

Amarya: Start by getting some fresh air daily. Our mano vaha srotas welcomes sattva or sunlight and brightness when it experiences tamas or darkness and rajas or agitation. I’ve seen a difference in myself, Natu. I’m taking that time to draw inspiration from Nature and go within. It allows me to let go. Let go of my need to be perfect, my expectations, and my plans.

Sattva, tamas, and rajas are the trigunas or three different categories of natural qualities in human beings. Sattva people are inherently good and caring. Tamas people are generally cynical and lethargic. Rajas people have strong will-power and desires.

Natasha: Hmm… I can see the difference in you.

Amarya: Not just that, take some time out to pray and meditate. I pray for strength and practice nadi shodhana. This gives me the confidence and perspective I need. Natu, I’m so happy that you are not isolating yourself. In such challenging times, it’s very important to reach out for support and comfort. So, keep at it!

Nadi shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is said to reduce stress and anxiety by purifying the nadis or subtle energy channels of our bodies. This enables the prana or breath flows easily during pranayama or breathing exercises. Nadi shodhana is believed to harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain.

Natasha: Thank you for encouraging, Amu! But what do I do about my diet? Do you think I can include any Ayurvedic supplements?

Amarya: You can try Amrutam’s Nari Saundarya Malt. It is an ancient traditional medicine for our complete health and beauty. The malt aids in combating postpartum depression. I’m seeing the change in me. Along with that, have warm, mushy and cooked food to pacify the vata. Give your Heart Chakra all the love it needs by drinking solarized water.

Natasha: Alright, Ma’am! What about stress relief?

Amarya: For that, rub bhringaraj oil into your scalp and on your feet. You can also include effective herbs, such as brahmi, ashwagandha, and shankhapushpi. Natu, I also want you to remember one thing: If at any point in time, you feel like hurting yourself or your baby, seek professional help immediately.

Bhringaraj oil helps treat pitta imbalances to induce sleep and tranquility. Brahmi not only enhances memory but also keeps the mind calm and composed. Ashwagandha is said to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Shankhapuhpi helps combat sleeplessness, anxiety, headaches, and stress.

Natasha: Sounds like a good plan!

Amarya: It is necessary. Also, please don’t forget to thank me later!

Natasha: I’ll see about that.

According to Ayurveda, postpartum depression is caused by an imbalance of  vata and pitta doshas. It is a mood disorder that triggers extreme emotions. But it can be tackled with the help of Ayurveda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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