It has been over a year since I first tried Lumē Deodorant, and I’ve been using it almost that entire year (minus a few weeks as an experiment). I’ve made 4 purchases from their company, usually of discounted bundles (the only thing junk email is good for is discounts), and I’ve spent $130.52 total. I have ALSO tried a couple different aluminum free deodorants in that time to see how they rank up against my Lumē. First, HERE is my most recent review of Lumē Deodorant.
Next, here are the other two aluminum free deodorants I tried against Lumē:
Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant in Cucumber and Green Tea
Native Deodorant in Cucumber & Mint
“I think, somehow, Target fills us with hope as we walk down their clean aisles, items curated to scream “TAKE ME HOME” to every basic mom, such as myself, so that when we get up to the register and they explain calmly that they are going to remove several hundred of our hard earned dollars from our bank account that we don’t blink an eye but smile vapidly and have instant buyer’s remorse.”
You had me at Dove
Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant smells good… until I sweat right through it with my stinky pits within 30 minutes of applying it. Come on, Dove. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on your regular deodorants over the years, slowly poisoning myself with aluminum. The least you could do for me is give me a natural deodorant that WORKS. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect much after using Lumē for so long. I used the Dove 0% only a few times (just to make SURE it wasn’t a fluke). It wasn’t a fluke. Unfortunately, this deodorant did not keep my stink away.
I was really hopeful for Native deodorant. First of all, I found it at Target. And I think, somehow, Target fills us with hope as we walk down their clean aisles, items curated to scream “TAKE ME HOME” to every basic mom, such as myself, so that when we get up to the register and they explain calmly that they are going to remove several hundred of our hard earned dollars from our bank account that we don’t blink an eye but smile vapidly and have instant buyer’s remorse. So when I saw this $12 “paraben and aluminum free” deodorant on the shelf, I thought, “why the hell not?!”
The first thing I noticed about the Native Deodorant is that it smelled super yummy. It had a distinct essential oil or extract smell rather than other deodorants with laboratory created “parfum” smells like something you throw in your gym bag to keep it from smelling like the bacteria factory it most certainly is. Native’s sharp and clean scent was sure to blast my stanky pits to kingdom come with freshness. I applied it after a shower, just like I had with the Dove, to give it a fighting chance at combating my underarm bacteria.
“Do I have to chase my two gremlins? You betcha. Do I sweat because they raise my blood pressure? Oh, probably. But if these deodorants can’t DEODORIZE me in the most common activities of my life, I can’t make them a staple of my hygiene routine.”
Unfortunately, it also fell flat for me in terms of smell protection. Now, to test these, I wasn’t doing any strenuous exercise like I had done with the Lumē months ago when I was shoveling several cubic yards of river rock in 90-100 degree weather out in our yard. Both the Dove and the Native could hardly handle my day to day mom life. Do I have to chase my two gremlins? You betcha. Do I sweat because they raise my blood pressure? Oh, probably. But if these deodorants can’t DEODORIZE me in the most common activities of my life, I can’t make them a staple of my hygiene routine.
Hello, Lumē, My Old Friend…
So every time a new “deodorant” has failed me, I’ve found myself going back to Lumē. Just like running into the arms of an old friend who I know is going to wipe my sweat away and kill the smelly jerk bacteria that keep haunting my pits. Lumē has been there for me. And to top it off, I had a representative FROM Lumē contact me about my last review concerns and make suggestions on how I can test their product better. The best part is that their suggestions actually helped! In my last review, I stated that I wasn’t sure how long my body’s “detox” period was because my hormones and a few other factors were making that unclear. This meant that even though the Lumē was still working, it wasn’t lasting as long as it had previously and I was unsure of the cause.
The Lumē representative that contacted me suggested that I try a clothes detergent that had enzyme technology to fight and kill the bacteria that can build up in clothes. Honestly, I don’t know why I hadn’t tried this sooner. I knew of these detergents but was unsure if they could really help me. So, per her suggestion, I tried Pursil Liquid Laundry Detergent in the Odor Fighter variety I found at my local grocery store. It specifically boasts “Odor Fighting Technology” and has seemed to work very well for me. It hasn’t made the problem go away 100%, but it’s drastically better than it has ever been.
Since changing to an odor fighting detergent, I feel like the Lumē has had a better chance to work to its fullest potential. The only time I’ve found the Lumē to fail at all anymore is when I work up a deep sweat in my mommy fitness class. Especially during the time of the month when my hormones are most haywire, I tend to go through days of excessive sweating that is hard to mask without showers twice a day. Sheesh. Isn’t motherhood beautiful?!
So, in short, here’s what I’ve learned. If a deodorant doesn’t boast an aluminum free alternative that actually KILLS the bad bacteria that makes you smell in the first place, its MUCH less likely to actually work. Now, I have heard good things from people through the mommy-sphere who have had positive experiences with many “natural” deodorants. But, for me, they don’t work if they’re not getting rid of the bacteria.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means if you purchase anything through my sponsored links, I receive commission at no additional cost to you. My views and opinions are not swayed because of this; I only recommend products and services I love.)*
Full disclosure: I DO NOT make any money or get any promotional kickbacks from Trusst Brand for my review. I am reviewing this product only as a consumer/customer.
I wore traditional underwire bras for almost 20 years of my life. Being larger chested made the underwire a necessity. It wasn’t until I got pregnant with my first baby that I considered a change. I wanted to do what was best for my baby and my body, so at that time I invested in some bras without underwire. Underwire-less bras took some getting used to because I instantly felt exposed and unsupported. Once my mind caught up to what my body had already realized, I found that I was actually way more comfortable. I nearly turned into a bra-burning mad woman when I noticed that I had developed bruising and muscle indentations under my breasts from the years of underwire digging in to support my ample chest. No wonder we women love taking our bras off at the end of the day!
After realizing my freedom, I ended up wearing wireless bras for about three years during my pregnancies and the postpartum breastfeeding journeys afterwards. I kept promising myself that when I finally finished breastfeeding, I’d buy some new, cute bras seeing as how I had just spent the last three years in the rotation of the same 4, milk-stained, incredibly unflattering stretchy bras. I started to venture back out into the retail fashion world that I had been absent from for an embarrassingly long time to find that I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, we live in a day and age where computers automatically read our minds and somehow know exactly how to advertise what we want. I began seeing more and more ads for bras and intimates. I checked some of them out but wasn’t willing to take the plunge on investing in bras that I couldn’t try on from companies that charged restocking fees.
Body After Babies
An unfortunate reality of carrying two babies and breastfeeding them for a combined 16 months was that I ended with completely different breasts than I started with. To make matters more complicated, we moved to a different city a year ago, and the availability and selection for what I lovingly refer to as “big girl bras” is next to nothing. I tried Target, but they didn’t keep my size in store, and what I bought online from them was not what I would consider an everyday bra due to its regular style underwire. Ouch! All other retail stores in our area were the same story. I even tried on what some would consider the “granny panties” of bras that offered full support and very little breathing room. Seriously! I felt like I was being suffocated. Plus, it wasn’t really the look I was going for; torpedo boobs and visible bra sticking out from under all my tank tops was not what I had in mind. I looked into bras from Cacique, intimates made by the Lane Bryant brand. I like the quality and selection of Lane Bryant clothes, so I figured I’d be safe. But what I couldn’t get past was their restocking fee. Since I wasn’t able to physically visit one of their stores to try on bras, and I knew that I’d inevitably need to return one or more trying to find the perfect fit for me, restocking fees were a deal breaker. Several more online retailers, including Adore Me, ThirdLove, and a couple others left me pretty discouraged for similar reasons.
I began planning a six hour round trip drive just to be able to visit a store where I MIGHT be able to find and try on bras that fit me. Thankfully, internet marketing had my back. I saw one more bra ad that sparked my interest. Trusst Brand bras first caught my interest because of their name. I thought using the word truss in their name was clever because, as Wikipedia states, “A truss is an assembly of beams or other elements that creates a rigid structure.” I thought, “well, at least I can expect these bras to have good support!” What I didn’t expect to find was a brand that not only had invented their own technology to help large chested women, but they also guaranteed their work AND did their best to make it affordable. Of course, most “big girl bras” are a financial investment, so price tags didn’t shock me much, but I still wanted to get the most out of my budget.
Try Before You Buy
I found that not only was Trusst Brand willing to give me 40% off my first bra (by signing up with my email) but they also have a program to try before you buy. Trusst Brand’s try before you buy program sounded too good to be true, so I made sure to read ALL of the fine print before signing up. I found that their program was actually very simple, and there was little to no fine print. You take their online “quiz” to find out your size (which is important because Trusst doesn’t follow the same sizing as most bra manufacturers). This might sound like an annoying inconvenience but I’ll share what I learned from trying the Trusst sizing in the next section.
Trusst Brand’s “Try Before You Buy” system allows you to choose three bras to try on (any sizes or styles) at no initial cost and only pay for what you keep in the end. This means that you can have three bras sent to your house at no initial cost to try on in the comfort of your own home. If you choose to keep any of them you pay for what you keep, but not right away. If you decide to send any bras back and exchange them for different styles or sizes, they will not charge you until you have everything in-hand that you intend to keep. At the time that I made my purchase, I exceeded the minimum requirement for free shipping so even though I exchanged one bra for a different size and sent one back entirely, I didn’t pay any shipping. And no restocking fees! It was great.
Trusst Brand’s Sizing
It was hard for me to trust the fact that Trusst Brand had done their homework in creating a solid sizing chart that translated from traditional sizes to their own. So when I made my initial “Try Before You Buy” purchase, I chose one bra in the size they recommended and two in a size up from that because I was afraid that their sizing was too small. It turned out that I was way off. The size that they had measured me for was nearly perfect. The larger sizes I chose were much too big. Traditionally, I’m a DD but the Trusst Brand sizing chart measured me for (what they call) a D. See why it made me nervous to order their suggested size? Thanks to their super easy returns system, I was able to send back and exchange for the exact bras I wanted.
The last thing I’d like to note about the size the Trusst Brand measured me for is that I still feel like it might be slightly too big for me but that might be because around the time that I was measuring myself and ordering the bras, my body was still adjusting to being done breastfeeding. I may have lost an inch or so of fat where the bra band sits, which means that even though I keep my bra on the tightest setting, the band is still a little loose on me. But it may be possible that they measure a little generously in the band size. I’ll have to do a follow-up on that if I buy another bra from them in the future.
Trusst Bra Quality
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to try many different bras from different sources and quality levels. When I was young and on a tighter budget, I got my bras from department stores. Department stores carry a pretty wide variety of bra qualities, but current prices seem to reflect an inflation of cost without much progress for quality. The materials and makeup of the department store bras may have improved slightly over the years but the prices seem to have gone up more than they’re worth, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find something good there, but it means you may have to work harder to find it.
Eventually, I “graduated” to what I thought at the time was higher quality bras from Victoria’s Secret. They’re definitely slightly better than what you can buy from a department store, but you pay a bit more for the name brand. It was always hard for me to find a style in VS that not only fit me but was practical AND flattering. Being larger chested narrowed down my choices to begin with, but finding a style I liked that worked under regular clothing and didn’t cause me to spill out in all the wrong places was difficult. I spent years wearing VS bras but was completely underwhelmed by the cost to comfort ratio. Why did I have to pay so much money for something that wasn’t completely comfortable for my body?
Finally, after dealing with the changes my body has gone through after having kids and realizing that I’m willing to pay a little more for comfort over cuteness I found Trusst Brand bras. My first impression when I took the bras out of their packaging is that the material they use to make them is buttery soft. The material works really well under regular t-shirts and thin tank tops. Plus, it’s very soft on the skin. The cups are nicely shaped and give me way more lift than I’m used to! I was a little worried when I first put the bra on that I’d look like my boobs were going to knock satellites out of the sky, but once I put a shirt on over the bra my chest didn’t look odd at all. I guess I’m just so used to my new old boobs that I didn’t know what to expect from my new new boobs, haha!
Technology > Underwire
When I first started looking for new bras, I figured I’d have to make some sort of sacrifice and that I’d have to live with some level of discomfort. When I first found Trusst Brand, I chose them based on the fact that they had a wide range of sizes, plus they had a great exchange and return policy. What I didn’t count on was finding all of those things from a company that had ALSO developed a brand new technology to help large-chested ladies find a more comfortable alternative to underwire without compromising support. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, they did it. Here is a little bit more on the technology you find in every Trusst Brand bra.
The image to the right shows an illustration of the Trusst Brand’s patented support structure. It’s made of a hard plastic, which allows for it to be easily moldable while still being light so as not to add weight to an already heavy load. The plastic piece has some shapes that pop out three-dimensionally above the main curve, which gives the whole shape its strength. The nice thing is that those popped-out shapes are hollow. This means they use less plastic to make them, making them lighter and cheaper to make (less cost to pass on to the customer), while still providing a strong shape.
When I first started reading about this new technology, I was skeptical about its comfort. I thought for sure that the bottom of the bra cups would still push against my ribcage to provide support and leave my skin bruised and dented. That is always the struggle I came across with traditional underwire. Once I got the bras and tried them on, I found that this was not the case for Trusst Brand bras at all. Not only is the inside material soft and comfortable on skin, but the shape of the bottom of the cup (where the plastic support sits) does NOT push into the ribcage but sits perfectly spaced from the body while keeping a good form and not losing support or causing breast tissue to slip out the bottom. Trusst Brand has done an amazing job at padding the bra just right to prevent you from feeling the support structure while not over-padding the bra and making it feel bulky or fake. I can wear these bras all day without discomfort. I’ve only had them for a couple months, so I will do a follow-up review once I’ve put more miles on them and can truly attest to their lifespan through normal wear and tear.
Trusst Brand seems to offer everything I’ve been looking for in a bra company. They have a great product, created with groundbreaking technology, backed by great policies, and the convenience of online purchasing. The only thing I hope they are able to change in the future is to expand their color and pattern availability. With proper care, I’m imagining getting a lot more life out of these bras than any I’ve purchased before. They’re built for comfort AND built to last. So far so good. I look forward to creating a positive follow-up review in the future. But for now, I give this product a 5 out of 5 bear tracks rating.
Is a first time mom ever really prepared? Mom groups, Pinterest, blog articles like this. Read all you want, there are a million things you can’t prepare for as a parent. I’m not saying this to scare you, or maybe you’re already painfully aware, I just want to share my experience with you. When I had my first baby, I was as prepared as I could be. Had all the equipment I needed, read as much as I could to learn about what to expect, I even took classes to prepare me for childbirth. But even after all that, I still suffered from postpartum anxiety and depression for over a year after my baby was born because I was inexperienced as a parent and didn’t understand the signs. I was sleep deprived, suddenly eating anything and everything I could out of convenience, riding the hormone roller coaster, and spread thinner than I ever had been before. I couldn’t believe that being a mother was a miserable thing. I couldn’t believe that something I had wanted and looked forward to most of my life was a mistake.
I spent the first year of my first child’s life hating almost every second of motherhood. Never for a second hating my baby, but I couldn’t keep from wondering if I shouldn’t have tried so hard to become a mother. I looked at my rainbow baby, for whom I had fought through fertility issues, through tears and months of disappointments, and thought “why don’t I enjoy being a mother? What is WRONG with me?” I thought this over and over for months. Never finding an answer. I felt horrible for not desiring to leave my house or take my baby out into public. I didn’t want to join any mom groups because I feared that I was such a horrible mother for the way I felt that other moms would shame me for sure. Sharing this story now is hard enough because I’m sure there are still some moms out there who might be reading this thinking I was a horrible mom for feeling this way. Thankfully, postpartum depression and anxiety are gaining more awareness. More parents are sharing their journey. More parents are understanding the signs and signals. You can read my post about my postpartum mental health struggles HERE, complete with a long list of my personal symptoms.
“I looked at my rainbow baby … and thought ‘why don’t I enjoy being a mother? What is WRONG with me?'”
After a year of struggling as a mom with PPD and PPA (postpartum depression and anxiety), I finally realized that I needed to address my mental health. Being a mom is equal parts mental, physical, and emotional effort, but even after my moods improved, my brain fog lifted, and I started to feel less overwhelmed, I was still left with regrets and guilt. I regretted not being able to dote over my brand new baby, not wanting to do a newborn photoshoot, or even dress my baby up in his cutest onesie and show him off at church. I felt guilty that I didn’t enjoy being a mom, I didn’t wear cute coordinating outfits with my baby, I didn’t want to do playdates. And to complicate feelings even further, my hormones had started to tell me that I wanted another baby. What kind of cruel joke is it that our bodies can give us mixed signals like that?!
And Then Comes Baby…#2
To make a long post short, we became pregnant with our second baby when our first was only 16 months old. It was joyful and daunting at the same time. Exciting and overwhelming. I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best, but I assumed that my hormones would torture me again and drive me back down the postpartum struggle highway. Fast forward nine months through a fairly basic pregnancy (for which I thank God), a week overdue, we decided to have me induced because my gestational diabetes had our baby measuring large to begin with. After an even longer and more difficult labor than my first, I figured it was just the beginning of my second round of struggles as a mom. Call me a pessimist, but suffering through PPD and PPA and feeling guilty about wasting your first year as a mom will have you seeing things in a cautious light. Things didn’t seem any different at first, but it wasn’t until I finally held my baby after the nurses cleaned her up, measured her, checked her health, swaddled her and handed her back to me that I started to be able to hear my own thoughts and notice a change.
For the first time since becoming a mom over two years before, I had a moment of calm. As I looked down at my second baby, I realized that I DID know what to do if she cried. I DID know how to hold her to breastfeed (even if I was a little out of practice), I DID know how and when to change a diaper. I wasn’t instantly overwhelmed or scared, and I didn’t feel alone. I felt confident that my husband knew what to do and that I could actually try to sleep in the hospital before we took her home. Then, I chose to hold my new baby not because I was afraid to put her down but because I wanted to look at her tiny, perfect face and take in everything about it. I was able to focus on tiny details like her eyelashes, soft cheeks, and tiny fingers instead of feeling overwhelmed by the hugeness of the situation and the responsibility of caring for a new life. I didn’t wake up in a panic when she would start crying. Not only was I prepared to be a mother, I was finally enjoying it.
Remember the feeling of starting a new job and being awkward and scared to answer the phones or not have the answers a customer needed? Being a first time parent can feel kind of like that, but instead of disappointing a fellow adult human, you’re suddenly responsible for keeping a tiny human alive. No pressure, right? But once you’ve had that job for a while, you know where to find everything, you’ve learned the answers to almost all of the questions, and you have more confidence when answering the phone. This is closer to what being a second-time parent is like. Now, that’s not to say that parenting a newborn and a toddler at the same time is a piece of cake, but you might be able to approach the situation with a little more confidence than when you were a newbie.
Once we got our precious cargo home, it began to sink in for me that maybe I was on some sort of naive high from the pain medication from the hospital. I thought for sure that I would begin feeling overwhelmed at any moment. Thankfully, as the days progressed, my confidence stayed the same and even in the more frustrating moments, my brain didn’t fail me and gave me the proper mixture of patience and clear thinking that I needed. Late nights were rough but didn’t affect me the way they had before. I didn’t spend my hardest hours alone, struggling to feed my baby and crying in the dark. Instead, I would leave just enough light on so I could watch her sweet, little face looking up at me and shooting hearts out of her eyes at me while she fed. It immediately soothed my soul, calmed me, and restored my confidence as a mother. I hadn’t failed my children, I had just been fighting my body’s abnormal hormonal responses.
My second baby restored my faith as a mother. She helped me understand that the feelings I had with my first were not my fault. Even if my brain was the one speaking the lies, I didn’t have to believe a word of them. My second baby showed me what it felt like to enjoy my opportunity to be a mom. She made me feel that even though I wasn’t (and still am not) perfect, it wasn’t about being perfect. Even though she wasn’t directly responsible for this change in feelings, I thank her for helping me realize that I didn’t fail my first baby. I didn’t realize how much I needed a second baby until I realized that that baby was my redemption as a mother. I didn’t actually hate the newborn stage. I didn’t actually hate getting up every two hours to feed my baby. I didn’t actually hate sacrificing my body and my comfort to feed my baby. I didn’t actually hate having to hold my baby until my arms ached. Those were just all cruel jokes played on me by my postpartum body after my first pregnancy, and I felt a new sense of purpose and pride in doing those things.
Rainbows and Butterflies
This is not to say that everything has been all rainbows and butterflies after this second pregnancy, but it is a stark contrast to my first. I share all of this with you to give you hope. If you are struggling, have struggled, or are afraid you will struggle again with your postpartum mental health, I want you to know that those struggles are NOT your identity. Those struggles don’t define who you are as a mother. And they aren’t written in stone. Your children love you despite those things and may never even know you struggled in the first place. Make your health a priority and seek help with a doctor, counselor, friend, pastor, or anyone who cares about you. You are worth that redemption.
Full disclosure: I DO NOT make any money or get any promotional kickbacks from Lumē for my review. I am reviewing this product only as a consumer/customer.
Well, here I am again. Back almost 8 months later to give you an update. I first tried Lumē deodorant back in January of this year (2019) and was pleasantly surprised by the results. But I knew, looking forward, that I wanted to conduct a little experiment to truly test the results. As I mentioned in my original Lumē review HERE, I’ve experienced sweating and odor since I hit puberty in middle school many, many moons ago. I’m not shy about it anymore, but you can be sure that I’ve put this product to the test.
I’ve read that when switching over to a more natural deodorant (without aluminum and some synthetic chemicals) your body tends to go through a bit of a detox period. Before trying Lumē, I had been using Dove deodorant for many years, believing that it was the gentlest non-natural deodorant I could find. That might have been true (it’s an unfounded theory), but I did experience clogged pores, ingrown hairs, and darkened skin under my arms consistently while using Dove deodorant. This leads me to believe that it wasn’t as gentle as I would have liked.
The first time I tried Lumē, I found that my detox period was surprisingly short, but I think that was due to the fact that it was still winter, so my sweat levels really didn’t test the limits of Lumē’s capabilities. During my first trial run with Lumē, I did notice an improvement in the health of my underarm skin. After my detox period, my underarm skin was smoother, lighter in color, and less prone to ingrown hairs after shaving.
Putting it to the Test
The weather this summer has been abnormally mild for us, but my armpits are still under a lot of stress, hormone level changes, and more temperature changes than they were the first time I used Lumē. We’ve shoveled literal tons of rocks in 90°+ weather this summer, plus I was finally able to finish my breastfeeding journey with my youngest, so my hormones have been up and down like a rollercoaster. It is possible that I’m still in the midst of my second detox period while using Lumē, but it’s been over a month since I started the new stick, so I’m hoping that’s not the case. To say I’ve been putting the product to the test is an understatement. I have noticed that I have been abnormally smelly…hooray. But I do feel like that has started to taper off.
This second time around, I don’t feel like I’m getting the same distance out of the Lumē formula that I was the first time. I’m definitely not getting more than 24 hours coverage out of the deodorant, plus I’m having to reapply occasionally, so I may be using up the stick faster. I’m hoping to be able to do a third review of the Lumē products later on this year, and I can update that review to reflect how fast I’m using the products based on the time of year or weather temperature.
What’s That Smell?
One thing I noted in my original Lumē review was that I didn’t like the smell of the original scent. In fact, I think that was the only thing I didn’t like aside from the cost. The original scent is called Lavender Sage. Usually I really like both of those scents, but for some reason I didn’t like the way Lumē had combined them. It smelled too much like chemicals to me (even though that’s not what I was smelling).
This second time around I was planning to order the unscented stick deodorant, but when I went to order, I noticed that they had added several new scents. Aside from the Lavender Sage and Unscented, they added Juniper Berry, Jasmine Rose, and Silver Spruce. (These sound like names of kids you see trending on Instagram…) I chose to get two–one Juniper Berry and one Jasmine Rose–just in case I didn’t like one of them. Once I got the sticks, I noticed that neither smell really stood out to me as especially appealing, but I liked the Juniper Berry more, so that is what I’ve been wearing. I can imagine a lot of people will like the Jasmine Rose, but I’ve never really liked the smell of rose other than straight from the flower. I have a feeling that the scent might grow on me when I start using it. I’m also interested to try the Silver Spruce eventually. Initially, I didn’t order that scent because I was afraid it would be too masculine of a scent for me, but I think I’m now willing to give it a try.
After giving Lumē deodorant another try, I can say I do still enjoy the product. I’m using more than I had back when I initially tried it due to harsher conditions, but I think I get enough coverage that I don’t clear a room with my stench. I still don’t feel as fresh as I’d like, though. I’m not crazy about the scents that they offer either. Maybe it’s more that the base scent is something I’m not fond of, and the additional smells added to it are not agreeing with me. In reality, though, I don’t smell the scent often after I apply it, which is probably for the best. Ideally, you shouldn’t smell like anything unless you want to be distracting.
I think the most valuable thing I’ve gained from using the Lumē product is cleared and improved skin in my underarm region. Since puberty, my armpits have been a point of reservation for me. I’ve always struggled with excessive sweating, sweat marks, odor, and generally unappealing underarm skin. For years, I’ve tended to cover up and hide the problem, ashamed to show my armpits or wear anything other than black. After using Lumē, I’ve noticed an almost instant improvement of my skin. My underarm skin has been smooth, less bumpy and dark, and less prone to ingrown hairs. That said, I feel that the novelty of the product has worn off, and I’m a little disappointed that I’m constantly worrying if people around me can smell me. I do hope that it’s possible that I’m not fully through my detox period and that my freshness will improve with time and usage.
Based on the differences from my original experience, I think I might have to downgrade my rating to give this product: 3 out of 5 Bear Tracks. Hopefully my impression of this product will improve by my next update!
As the title suggests, this article contains some possibly triggering subjects including depression, anxiety, miscarriage, surgery, and infertility. Please read with caution.
I’ve been putting off writing about this for a long time now because it is an incredibly difficult subject to write about. It’s hard to revisit the feelings and events. It’s hard to describe my experience accurately enough for others to grasp. It’s hard not to turn this into a 500 page novel because I want so badly to share every aspect of my experience if it means that one person can find helpful information in it. So here it goes.
My Origin Story
I’ll start by giving you a synopsis of my history and reproductive health. Middle school is a time for change and growth…and crazy bonkers hormones. In my case, my hormones were less focused on chasing boys and more focused on causing me a lifetime of physical issues. I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS until I was an adult and found a doctor who would commit to the diagnosis, but I had been living with the symptoms since I hit puberty. Irregular periods, debilitating cramps, facial hair and acne (which is extra humiliating when you’re a school age kid), low sex drive (which is rough as an adult), and unpredictable PMS. And on top of that, moments when I thought I would die from the pain of a burst cyst.
After dealing with PCOS for years, I asked my doctor about treatments. There were none. “Try these pills,” they said. A few miserable days later, I quit them cold turkey. I couldn’t live like that. I asked my doctor if I would be able to have kids. She said she wasn’t sure, but she was optimistic. Other doctors were not. I knew I wanted kids, regardless of how helpful my body would be. Once I finally got serious about trying to conceive, I found out that I had a cyst the size of a grapefruit that needed to be removed. The good news was that the cyst was non-cancerous; the bad news was that it had wrapped itself around the ovary it was attached to, and there was no way to remove the cyst without also removing the ovary. Are you kidding me? Now I’ll never get pregnant, I thought.
To make a long post shorter, I WAS able to have kids. I miscarried once but was able to get healthy, find a product to help me balance my hormones, and have a healthy pregnancy and a very healthy baby. Sleep during pregnancy wasn’t too much of a problem for me, and neither were cravings, constipation or hemorrhoids, or mood swings. Sounds like an easy pregnancy, huh? It definitely could have been worse. I still had plenty of other symptoms, but I was thankful for a fairly boring ride. Most of my struggles came later.
A Tiny Human Just Came Out of Me
I didn’t sleep for 72 hours when my son was born. It was the first time in my life when I dealt with serious sleep deprivation. It turns out, 72 hours without sleep piled on top of pushing a baby out of your body results in what feels like the most wicked hangover you can imagine. And I’m supposed to take care of a tiny, fragile, new human at the same time? What fresh hell is this parenting gig?! That’s most likely where my PPD and PPA began creeping in.
At my six-week checkup, my doctor’s office handed me a one page “survey” about my current feelings situation. I passed with flying colors, but the reason for that was that six weeks postpartum was probably the high point for me. I had been parenting long enough that I didn’t feel like a total failure. I had a little sleep under my belt. I had lost all of the weight I had gained while pregnant plus some! I was feeling pretty awesome. So I hadn’t lied on my survey. I really did feel good. No feelings of wanting to harm myself or my baby. No crying. No out-of-the-ordinary outbursts. My doctor literally said the words “I see no signs of postpartum depression in you. You’re good to go!” She asked the wrong questions at the wrong time.
Early on in our new parent experience, we had a bit of extra help. My parents were living a mile away from us, and my mom was able to help out with some things. Soon after my six-week checkup, my parents began discussing the possibility of moving away…3 hours away. That may not sound like a lot for some people, but losing my best babysitter and some of my moral support so soon after becoming a mom was just the first ingredient in my stress stew.
Stress Levels Rising
At the time, my parents were living in a townhouse that we owned. It was my husband’s first house, and we rented it out to my parents when they needed a place to live. In order for my parents to have a nice place to live once they moved out of our townhouse, we offered to help them buy a house that we all approved of. This meant that we would have to sell the townhouse to be able to afford buying a different home for them. In order to sell the townhouse, we had to move my parents into our house temporarily, pack up and hide most of their belongings in the townhouse to be able to stage the home, clean it from top to bottom to make the house sellable, and then hope that the market was in our favor for the sake of our sanity. This process took several months and began when my son was only six weeks old.
My stress levels were rising. My mom was still recovering from multiple hip surgeries, my dad and husband both had to work full work days, and my brother had recently moved out of town. I was the only “able bodied” person who could drive the process and do most of the heavy lifting, literally AND figuratively. Plus, I was still trying to figure out how to be a mom. While my parents lived with us, my stresses were building as I struggled to coexist with my family and run my own home. I’ll spare you the details, but I will add that ice cream and carbs had become my “therapy.” My weight got out of control. I gained every pound back that I had lost before my six week check up. As my cortisol levels (stress hormone) spiked, my body began to feel like a fat, disgusting prison.
Cry Me a River
My husband was just as green to new parent life as I was. He didn’t know what signs to look for to recognize depression or anxiety. And even if he did, I’m not sure he would have known that I spent hours alone, cradling my new baby, struggling to feed him and crying my eyes out. Crying harder than I had in years. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried before I became a mother. I wish I could say I cried tears of love and joy when my son was born, but in reality, they were tears of relief. Relief that my son was healthy, relief that we had both survived, and relief that I was DONE being pregnant (at least for the time being).
Tears were something that came easy after my son was born. Tears of frustration. Tears of anger. Tears of fear. I became scared of everything. Having this new human in my care meant that I instantly became paranoid that everything harmful in the world could and WOULD hurt my precious package. How could I possibly pile on that amount of responsibility to my already toppling tower of fear and stress? Easy. I had no choice. My brain ran constant terror scenarios of the worst case you can imagine. Things you only see in movies or read about in the most click-baity articles ever written.
Shut Up, Brain
At night, my brain lay awake in the short opportunities I had for actual sleep, thinking up all the best ways to prepare myself to defend my family and protect my tiny baby from the evils lurking around every corner. Being unprepared was not just a fear at that point but my legitimate reasoning for not leaving the house with my baby unless absolutely necessary. I would see social media posts from friends happily leaving the house with their new bundles of joy for a day in the city, a family trip to the zoo, or even just a coffee date with other mom friends. Mom friends? What was that? At that point, I was so afraid to leave the house unprepared that my friendships were suffering.
During the day, I was irritable. But not like just easily annoyed. Like full on rage at the drop of a baby bottle. I tried so hard not to take it out on my husband, but in reality, he took the brunt of my rage like a boxer takes hits to the face. I could see some times when his immense amounts of patience began to wear thin. I could see that he was as confused by my anger and outbursts as I was, but he didn’t know that my outbursts were really cries for help. He didn’t know that I was confused. I was so afraid for my baby to want or suffer for more than a few seconds that I truly believed, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was the only person capable of caring for my infant child. I was the only one who knew what he needed and how to interpret his cries.
My anxiety came to a peak one day when I had ventured out of the house on a simple errand. Driving my sweet baby around in the car, in his perfectly safe car seat, in one of the safest cars on the market. But at that point I wasn’t able to trust any other person enough to drive my son around. I’ve never doubted my driving abilities. I’m a very cautious driver without being overly cautious. But that day, my anxiety was in full swing and I was anticipating disaster around every turn. I was driving through a neighborhood I had driven many times, with a speed limit of 25mph and I was doing 20…15…10. When it hit me. Nothing. No one was around. No one behind me. Yet, I was approaching every intersection with a level of caution that was insanely paranoid. Looking both ways more times that necessary. Stopping at stop signs for ridiculous amounts of time. Because my brain had left me terrified of the hypothetical dangers. And then the full blown panic attack set in. Heart racing, trouble breathing, tunnel vision. I pulled over. And for the first time through this emotional rollercoaster of parenting, I heard my brain ask me WHY I was reacting this way.
That was abnormal for me because I tend to be very self-aware. I spend a lot of mental and emotional energy every day being aware of why I do what I do and how I interact with my surroundings. As I sat in my car, I reflected on what I was experiencing and why that could be. After dealing with similar situations and breakdowns, outbursts and paranoia, I came to the conclusion that I had been suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety for almost a year. And I KNEW that I had to do something about it.
I Need Help
I was ready to pursue therapy and medication if necessary. I began researching therapists in my area. At the same time, a company I trusted released a new product that caught my attention. It was a natural ingredient probiotic that was specially formulated to lower cortisol levels and help reduce feelings of stress. I figured, if nothing else, trying this could help me with my every-day mom stress. I was really skeptical that I would even notice a difference, but I was willing to give it a try as a first line of defense against my PPD and PPA. I was ready to try almost anything to have a chance at finally enjoying my son’s first year of life, even if I had nearly missed it.
I do my best to stay as healthy as possible, trying natural remedies before turning to other options. I tried the probiotic; I was skeptical, but I tried it. To my surprise, IT WORKED. Not only did it do what it promised, but I felt my PPD and PPA symptoms (that I was clearly aware of by this point) melt away within the first week of trying this natural method. I was shocked. I thought for sure that it was temporary, but I’ve been taking it for two years now, and I can say that I am a believer. If you’re interested in the product, please follow the link at the end of the article.
Every person is different. Every momma needs something different in those most vulnerable moments. I’m not here to prescribe anything or tell you that this is the end-all method of treating PPD or PPA. I’m ONLY sharing what worked for me. I can’t tell you exactly why this method worked so well for me, but I continued to take this probiotic through my second pregnancy/birth, and it was a night and day difference in terms of mental health. Situations were different. Stress levels were different. Inevitably, hormones were different. But what I do know for sure is that I was able to enjoy my daughter’s birth and newborn stage in a completely different way than I did with my son. Even in my highest stress moments with my daughter, I was able to look down at her sweet face, take a deep breath, clear my mind, and even enjoy those times. It breaks my heart to think back to the first year of my son’s life and how miserable I was. I was so deeply entrenched in fear and doubt that I couldn’t enjoy those newborn moments with him.
If only I had known better the signs of PPD and PPA. If only I could have seen how abnormal my behavior was, or if only someone could have seen it in me. The best I can do is share a list of the behaviors I experienced during my difficult year to raise awareness. If you or someone you love is experiencing ANY of these symptoms or any behavior or feelings out of the ordinary, PLEASE contact your doctor and make them aware of EVERYTHING. The more your doctor knows about your experience, the better they can help you. Please do not suffer alone. Do not think that others will not understand. Thousands of women have had completely different experiences with PPD and PPA. There is no cookie cutter way to diagnose it.
List of my symptoms:
Anger towards loved ones.
Extremely quick to frustration.
Paranoia of unrealistic situations.
Fear of leaving the house.
Fear of being unprepared.
Extreme PMS-like symptoms.
Heart racing with no stimulant.
Feeling the need to be overly cautious.
Questioning life choices.
Feeling like your baby is purposely inconveniencing you.
Constantly feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Brain fog stronger than regular “Mom brain”.
Irrational fears driving your actions.
Waking nightmares (visions of irrational fears).
“Lost time” moments when you realize you’re unaware of how you got somewhere or accomplished a task.
Inability to trust anyone with your baby.
Inability to trust anyone to help you.
Inability to connect with baby
Inability to see baby as anything other than a very important task list
For the Dads
Please also be aware that dads can experience the same or similar symptoms. They experience the birth of their children through different eyes than we moms do but can hurt just the same. Please watch your loved ones for behavior out of the ordinary, and make sure to check in on their mental health. The only way we can protect ourselves is to protect each other and to raise awareness of these struggles. Parents need to know that they are not failing when they have these feelings. There is help and they are NOT alone.
I’ve also recently written about my journey as a second-time parent and how postpartum depression and anxiety played a part in that. Please read that HERE.
As promised, here is the LINK * to the probiotic that helped me. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper recommendation without a proper disclaimer:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.