Feeling a bit touchy, Momma?
Hey there mommas
If you are feeling a little extra on edge these days, I want you to know you are not alone. Increased irritability is a common symptom in early motherhood and there is many physical and emotional causes for that. Liver blood deficiency and stagnation are the key imbalances I see in my acupuncture practice when moms tell me they are feeling on edge. So let's explore a bit of why that is, why it could be flaring up worse than usual, and some things you can do about it.
Why do I seem to be more irritable these days?
Right now, we are in the biorhythmic season of the Liver, spring! Every organ in TCM has its own season and times of day when the energy and function of the organ is at its peak (and its low!). There are many reasons for these associations, but that is a topic for another time. For now, just know that when we enter into the biorythmic peaks of organs (either seasons or times of day), any weakness in the function of that organ can be intensified, and symptoms will appear, or worsen. You can think of this like a row boat with a small hole. When it’s sitting near the shore with no one in it, it appears to be doing it’s job alright. There may be a small amount of water but it is still afloat. Then when someone gets in it, the increased pressure for it to perform properly exposes the weakness of the hole and the boat fills with water.
Energetically, the liver is responsible for regulating emotions like anger, frustration, and is associated with depression. Deficiency of Liver and heart blood are often the most common causes of depression and mood disorders I see in my practice. The chemical imbalances in the brain that result from this, are often associated with increased irritability. Some others signs to look for that you may be suffering from Liver blood deficiency or stagnation are; brittle nails, uncomfortable digestion, painful menstruation, headaches, increased breast tenderness, pain, visual disturbances, fatigue, and more
How did my Liver become imbalanced from motherhood?
Mothers of young children are particularly prone to weakening Liver blood, and smooth flow of liver blood. This stems from the process of growing your tiny babe, the birth, and many factors of your recovery and lifestyle after the baby arrives. Our Liver controls the flow and storage of blood in the body. Growing a baby requires an increased demand of blood to flow to the uterus and can deplete the liver. The birth of a child often involves the loss of a lot of blood, and this requires lots of rest, sleep, proper nutrition and other healthy lifestyle factors that many new mothers simply do not get. On top of all of this, hormones levels can be out of balance and without being addressed, can compound issue by preventing proper blood cell formation, nutrient absorption, and sleep cycles.
If imbalances such a Liver deficiency and stagnation are not addressed soon after birth, the problems can accumulate and further imbalance the body. It is worth noting that other organs can become imbalanced in early motherhood, leading to a variety of other issues you may be experiencing, and multiple organs can be affected at the same time. The good news is, there are plenty of things you can do, and following up with your postpartum appointments (including Acupuncture) can set the stage for proper recovery.
What can I do now to help?
Often I give recommendation for supplements, herbs, and dietary medicine to compliment treatment. If you are unable to get treatment, or want to do more between your appointments, here are some at home recommendations. Keep in mind that all of these recommendation take time and consistency to see results.
Vitamin B1- Thiamine, and Vitamin B6- Pyridoxine are great supplements to support Liver balance and function. They have been shown to help ease deficiency and improve proper storage of blood, combat depression and irritability, improve hormone imbalance in women, and help the liver break down fatty acids (important for brain function). You can find my favourite Vitamin B complex in the shop
The Liver likes Sour flavoured and green foods
An easy and simple recommendation to help soothe and health Liver is to drink Dandelion tea. This is widely available at health food stores in our area, and at the local grocery stores in the health food aisles. I recommend drinking at least 2-3 cups a day, for at least a few weeks.
Also, drinking lemon juice with warm water in the morning can be helpful to detox the Liver and improve its function.
One of my favourite ways to support the Liver is a Green Soup by Maverick Leggett! It is a wonderful combination of blood building and Liver boosting foods that tastes delicious!
Here is the recipe if you want to try it yourself!
4oz of Kale (I picked mine up at The Green Pig market in Salisbury)
10 Cloves of garlic (Yes, that many)
1 tsp of Salt
4.5 cups of Water
Simmer these ingredients together for 30-40 minutes, then blend until smooth
Drizzle with Olive oil, sprinkle Black pepper. Juice a fresh lemon and add as desired