Its 6 a.m., and I’ve been up all night.
Every hour or two I’ve had to get up to try to settle a colicky and clingy baby. It’s been months now of insanely broken sleep, and a sense of gloominess is starting to sink in.
The fear of my body breaking down is starting to grapple hold of my mind. My body feels heavy, my head foggy, my heart tender. I’m hungry for space, for sleep, for support.
I’m grieving my old life and the freedom I once had.
And whilst my heart explodes with incredible joy at the little human being in my arms, there is a shadow that is looming.
This is the shadow of postnatal depletion.
According to Dr. Oscar Serrallach, Integrative doctor and creator of the “Motherload nutritional protocol,” PND is a very real phenomenon.
Serrallach states, “The placenta passes nearly 7 grams of fat a day to the growing baby at the end of the pregnancy term, while also tapping into the mom’s iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, iodine, and selenium stores—along with omega 3 fats like DHA and specific amino acids from proteins.” The mother’s brain actually shrinks five percent which “supports the creation of the ‘baby radar,’ where mothers become intuitively aware of their child’s needs, if they are cold or hungry, or if they cry at night. This hyper-vigilance becomes dangerous for the mother when she, in turn, is not supported.”
This had become me.
Before children, I was carefree and adventurous, but postnatally, something had switched, and I became filled with irrational fear and paranoia. I was afraid harm would come to me or my baby. I was exhausted and depressed. I forgot people’s names, I forgot appointments, and I even forgot to put the handbrake on the car before it rolled backward down a hill—with my child in the back!
I didn’t understand what was happening to my body and mind, but instinctively I found myself reaching for the chocolate—real, raw, dark, muddy, earthy chocolate.
And I found that when I ate this kind of chocolate, I felt better. It seemed to lift my spirits, it soothed my nerves, it ignited a sense of pleasure and passion again, and it nourished the void of what I now know was iron and magnesium deficiency.
My experience with raw chocolate was so profound that it awakened something within me. I began to search for the cleanest cacao. It was the kind of chocolate that was as close as I could get to the bitter cacao bean and still taste good.
I was on a mission, intuitively sensing that this “Food of the Gods” was indeed supporting me and holding me in a healing, nourishing way. And when I couldn’t find the exact chocolate that was the perfect fit for my PND needs, I created my own, as close to the bean as I could get, and as silky and smooth as I could get it. This chocolate alchemy became my medicine.
Looking at the nutritional profile of cacao I can see why I instinctively craved it, and I’m in awe of my body’s subconscious wisdom that moved me toward this medicinal food.
Raw cacao contains:
>> Magnesium, helping with teeth grinding, eye twitches, and muscle tension for sleep deprived, hyper-vigilant mammas.
>> Iron, which is depleted during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
>> Theobromine, which is a vasodilator to reduce blood pressure when under stress.
>> Serotonin, tyrosine, and tryptophan production are increased, which act as an antidepressant and precursor to melatonin for sleep.
>> Phenylethylamine enhances mood and metabolism.
>> Zinc, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins B2 and B3, and over 300 phytochemical compounds and antioxidants to boost the immune system, fight disease, and slow aging.
With all of these benefits, it is no wonder the Mayan and Aztecs treasured and traded cacao like gold, and it is no wonder that it is the perfect medicine for postnatally depleted mothers!
So if you think you’re a PND mamma, you are not alone.
There is so much support out there—nutritionally and emotionally. You can bring the joy, the bliss, the pleasure, and the sanity back into motherhood!
The Theobroma Cacao tree is whispering to your soul, longing to share its healing properties with you. Find the best organic raw cacao you can, and allow yourself the pleasure to nourish yourself, guilt free. You are doing one of the hardest, most demanding jobs in the world.
And because I love you, here is a free, simple raw chocolate recipe you can make for yourself. This was the very first raw chocolate I tasted seven years ago, and I have been eating raw cacao every single day since!
>> 150g coconut oil or raw cacao butter, chopped
>> 90g maple syrup
>> 90g raw cacao powder (must be raw for the nutritional benefits of the cacao)
>> Optional: nuts or berries
- Place coconut oil/chopped cacao butter in the thermo and melt at 37 degrees on speed two for 1 to 6 minutes minutes (one min for coconut oil, and five-to-six minutes for cacao butter, depending on how large the pieces are)
*Exceeding 42 degrees means your chocolate will no longer be technically raw, and the nutritional benefits will be destroyed by the heat.
- Add syrup and cacao powder into the thermo and melt at 37 degrees for another minute at speed three, scrape down sides of bowl, and melt for another minute.
- Once melted, pour into a silicon chocolate mould, or simple ice-cube mould.
- Once the chocolate is in the mould, add berries or nuts or dried fruit.
- Use a toothpick to poke down the nuts and fruit so they are completely covered. Tap/jiggle the mould on the table so that it removes any air bubbles.
- Set in fridge for two hours (or put in the freezer if you just can’t wait that long).
Author: Jane Elizabeth Sawicki
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen