- by Keturah Srot
The following is a guest post by Keturah Srot sharing her journey through Postpartum depression/anxiety and wisdom in using essences while pregnant or nursing.
Aside from some anxiety, my pregnancy was mostly uneventful. My labor and delivery, however, were incredibly traumatic due to several factors. Despite that, I believed once I got home from hospital, life as a mother would be amazing. I was wrong. I struggled with moderately severe postpartum depression and anxiety for almost a year.
I would walk out of the grocery store with my baby in the cart and suddenly visualize a runaway car in the parking lot hitting us and killing us; or I would be afraid the kind elderly couple smiling at my baby was secretly planning to take him and run out the store. I told no one any of this because I was afraid I would be ruled an incompetent mother and have my baby taken from me. I never, ever had thoughts of harming my baby or myself. But I was so anxious someone else would harm us. The hardest part was I honestly couldn’t put words to my emotions. I couldn’t even say, “I feel so anxious.” It was like the words were stopped up inside. So I felt trapped inside. This only heightened and ramped up the anxiety and depression.
It was at this time I started researching ways to heal. I ached to feel like myself again even just a little. I tried another brand of flower essences but didn’t notice much change. So I started researching brands. As a Christian, I wanted to feel good about what I was buying spiritually as well as brand ethics, ingredients, etc.
My prayers and research led me to Freedom Flowers. I immediately ordered a custom combo then fired off a detailed email to Seneca.
Within days of using it I felt calmer. The visions of impending doom stopped. A couple weeks later, I was out walking with my baby and husband. I suddenly had this thought, “Maybe I can heal... Maybe there is goodness for me.” And slowly yet quickly at the same time, my heart, thoughts, and emotions started to shift. The anxiety and depression begin lifting. It was dramatic and astonishing.
I was sold on flower essences from that time forward. Since then, I have recommended Freedom Flowers essences to more women than I can count. I work with pelvic floor and women’s health physical therapists, and I am often recommending Freedom Flowers to clients. Lately I have considered keeping several bottles on hand to just give out to women. They have helped me that much.
Alcohol Safety: Nothing Tipsy Here 🙂
Let’s talk about safety and the big ol’ question that comes up a lot: alcohol in essences.
It is important to really assess things beyond “alcohol is bad” when looking at how we nourish ourselves and families. As mamas, we tend to get really wrapped up in healthy ingredients for our children. We want the best for them, so it’s only natural we research ingredients and question everything.
Alcohol has been used as a carrier and preservative in food and medicine since the dawn of time. It’s still used today for those reasons.
Children’s medicines used to frequently contain alcohol. While over-the- counter pharmaceuticals have shifted from using alcohol in recent years, some formulas still contain alcohol in varying amounts.
Some very common fermented health foods such as yogurt, kombucha, and raw sauerkraut contain alcohol. In 2010 in Australia (1), kombucha was recalled for exceeding the allowed 0.05% alcohol levels. The level of allowed alcohol allowed in kombucha here in the US is 0.5%. (2) If you make homemade yogurt, kefir, kombucha, or sauerkraut, you and your family are possibly consuming even slightly higher amounts of alcohol depending on the ingredients used and the amount of ferment time.
There is also safety in alcohol. Water is extremely susceptible to pathogens. I won’t scare you, but I will tell you: don’t web search “brain eating amoebas found in water park water” at 10pm at night. Needless to say, having a good preservative is paramount for safety. All water based items contain a preservative of some kind for safety reasons. Flower essences are no different.
Personally, when I was pregnant and about 32 weeks or so along, my midwives instructed me to go home, put my feet up, and enjoy half a small glass of wine. I was told it was perfectly safe to do this a couple times a week. So I did that up until delivery. My midwives assured me that women and midwives had been using alcohol like this for centuries. I’m a very light drinker. Still, it was a very relaxing ritual. And... my child came out extremely healthy and beautiful. It illustrated to me that there are safe, wise, and supportive uses of alcohol during pregnancy and child birth.
Herbal Safety and Flower Essences: One Is Not The Other
Flower essences are very different from the more widely known herbal tinctures and other herbal supplements and teas. They are also different than essential oils as noted here.
Herbal tinctures are made using herbal matter (leaves, berries, flowers, roots, etc.) that are harvested then fully submerged in alcohol for 4-6 weeks. The alcohol draws out the various medicinal properties of the herbs. After the tincture has steeped for the full amount of time, the herbal matter is strained and the remaining alcoholic liquid is poured into a sterilized bottle.
Herbs work on the physiology of a person, much like a drug such as aspirin or prescription medications. Note: It is of upmost importance you research carefully and work with trusted health professionals when using herbs while pregnant or nursing. Many herbs have not been fully studied in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some are strongly contraindicated and could cause harm to baby or mother. And some are super gentle and safe and can be taken with wild abandon. You need to know which is which.
So where does this bring us with flower essences? Freedom! 🙂
Flower essences are different, as they are vibrational in nature—not physiological like herbs.
To make a flower essences, the flowers are clipped and soaked in water for a few hours. The flowers are strained, then the water is poured into a sterilized bottle and an equal amount of alcohol is added to preserve it. None of the physical constituents of the herb or flower are captured in such a gentle process.
The wonderful thing about flower essences is that unlike essential oils or herbs, you’re simply working through emotions when taking them. There isn’t any drug or health contradictions to worry about because there are no herbal chemicals contained in the essences. (As always: check with your doctor first.) Flower essences have been used since the 1920s. (Seneca's interjection: A lot longer than that!) To date, there has not been one recorded drug interaction reported with the usage of flower essences.
How I would use essences while pregnant or nursing
I’m not currently pregnant or breastfeeding. If I was, I would avoid doing any deep trauma work unless working with a professional who felt that was the best direction. The essences will not cause any harm. But pregnancy and the early months of motherhood and nursing are times to focus on peace and calmness. Our bodies are nourishing growing babies in one way or another. So being in a calm, relaxed state—or at least supporting ourselves toward that state—is often best.
I personally would focus on soothing or removing anxiety, shame, guilt, loneliness; embracing new season changes; regaining energy or dealing with burn out, and the like.
A custom blend is always fabulous because it is custom tailored to your needs. If you want to try some pre-made blends, you can easily begin with any of the bouquet blends like Joy, Stay Calm, Peace, Crisis Care, Stress Less, etc.
Also consider the gemstone varieties. Amethyst is superb at promoting peace and calm. Rest Stone might be wonderful for use during or after a long stretch of sleep regression or no naps—when everyone is feeling exhausted and needs rest.
For my little one I have sometimes given them the same blend I’m taking, depending on what it is. That way we are on the same page emotionally. I have also used and loved the following for the whole family:
Anger Management — great for baby/toddler meltdowns, mama meltdowns, unexplained frustration, mood swings, and the like.
Chamomile — a single essence and in some blends. If you have ragweed allergies (like me!), you can use the essence without it setting off allergies. It’s great for teething, tummy pain, wanting held but not held, and other emotional discomfort. It will not reduce physical pain. But it can help emotionally cope with any pain. I have also added it to chamomile tea with some milk and honey, for both physical and emotional comfort all in one.
(When my son was teething, I gave him lukewarm chamomile tea, milk, honey, and chamomile FE in his bottle. It really helped!)
Yarrow Shield — if your little one is sensitive to emotions or going to be around a lot of people, this is a very shielding and helpful blend. I personally need and use at least a couple of yarrows in almost every custom blend I take. I notice a similar need in my little one.
These are hopefully a few good ideas to get you started using essences for your family.
Motherhood is a hard, good calling. Flower essences are such a gift and support in this season of life. My hope is that this post gives you the peace and confidence to make a great decision for you and your family!
(1) https://au.news.yahoo.com/kombucha-recalled-after-alcohol-content- exceeded-labelled-limit-081142175.html
(2) https://www.law.uh.edu/healthlaw/perspectives/2010/ leblanc_kombucha.pdf