Well hello there! Long time no talk. It’s basically been a year since I last wrote to update you all on my health and my life, which at that time just included having had a new baby! Life with two children who are fifteen months apart is about as wild as you would probably imagine, but it is also more amazing than I could have ever imagined, especially now that my son is over a year and more able to play and keep up with his two-year-old sister!
My immediate postpartum period following the birth of my son was probably one of the hardest periods of my life to date. My body was very depleted from two back-to-back pregnancies and almost immediately following the birth I began struggling with postpartum depression. While I am in a much healthier place today and I count myself as very lucky that I was surrounded by support and resources that allowed me to address it quickly, I am still not quite ready to go into details here about that experience. What I can say with confidence though was that there has been no “bouncing back” right away from everything my body had gone through to grow two amazing people in two years.
I would love to tell you that I have spent the past year prioritizing self-care, eating liver, drinking bone broth, getting sunshine, avoiding sugar and nourishing my body into recovery, but that would be about the biggest lie ever told. Even with years of AIP and healing experience and knowledge under my belt before having kids, even with relative success at maintaining my diet through a challenging first pregnancy and during my first 6 months postpartum I am human and being the mother of a newborn and a 15-month-old, in my opinion, a perfectly valid excuse to lean a little heavy on the Enjoy Life chocolate chips. (That is not a recommendation, just a glimpse into my humanity) Life with two (very) littles left less time for Epsom salt baths, less time for cooking and basically no time for sleeping.
That being said, I will give myself credit and offer perspective in saying that I did NOT go back to my old standard American diet, I did not eat things that I had knowingly reacted to in the past, I have remained 100% gluten-free, nightshade-free, peanut free, egg-white free, soy free and corn free, and 99% dairy free with the exception of some occasional goat cheese and butter which I can tolerate in small amounts. What I did do was start heavily relying on reintroductions like chocolate, wine, coffee, rice and almonds and in turn, I have done a poor job of focusing on nutrient density.
Thankfully, I have not had any noticeable ulcerative colitis symptoms since the birth of my son, but in recent months as my immune system has moved out of a suppressed state from pregnancy I have begun noticing many signs of inflammation and immune dysfunction that I can not ignore. I have had periods of joint pain off and on for much of the past year, especially when I am particularly tired, I have gotten sick with colds and other viruses more often than I used to, my digestion is irregular, I have occasional bouts of bloating and indigestion, and I recently had a systemic allergic reaction to an exposure to poison ivy that left me covered in hives for three weeks and required a round of prednisone.
About a month ago, we night weaned our son allowing me to get better and more consistent sleep which has helped me move towards re-adopting a more healing mindset and finally moving out of the fog of survival and early new motherhood. In that spirit, I have decided to undertake a month-long AIP reset to kickstart some healing and bring my focus back on nutrient density. This means that I will be doing full elimination AIP for just one month- different than the recommendation I would make if you were just starting out with the autoimmune protocol. I am excited for this process, in part because I know how much my body needs it but also because I am curious to see how my body will respond and how it will feel to do full elimination AIP outside of the experience of an Ulcerative Colitis flare, which is what led me to begin the autoimmune protocol over 5 years ago.
My plan is to post updates here weekly as I move through this reset period, but if you are interested in a more detailed picture f my crazy life, feel free to follow me on Instagram too. I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with you all!