As a mom of 3, I can tell you that recovering from childbirth is NOT how the movies make it out to be.
Join me and Dr. Courtney Amerin, OBGYN, and Katie Danielson, Certified Nurse Midwife of the PUSH Revolution as we bust some of the biggest myths about the postpartum period. We’re specifically talking about postpartum mental health, breastfeeding myths, maintaining healthy relationships with our partners, diet culture and the “get your pre-baby body back” movement, and self care for new moms.
We had a blast recording this- lots of laughs and tears! Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
All right. Thanks everyone for joining in today. So ladies, I’m so happy to have you here. Why don’t you tell us all a little bit about yourselves and what you do?
I’m Katie. I am a certified nurse midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner. And I am one half of the push revolution. Um, I don’t know what else you want me to say about myself. Other than that, I get really, really excited about postpartum information and education. Um, Courtney, and I could probably talk about it till we’re blue in the face. So be warned because we might talk.
Yes. And I’m Courtney Amarin and I’m an OB GYN and the other half of the fish revolution and push stands for post-partum understanding, support and health. Um, we kind of created this company as a, like filler to the vacuum, the void of postpartum Googling. Um, and honestly, you know, in today’s American, at least society, um, you get a lot of focus on the pregnancy period, but nothing on the postpartum. And it’s just kinda like, alright, here’s some stuff to read when you get discharged from hospital and have a nice life and call us at six weeks or come see us at six weeks. Um, so we kind of wanted to create a space and place where, you know, we can bring good evidence-based information from a midwife, from an OB. We have other people on to obviously like Eva’s been on our podcast. Um, and, uh, we also created a course to kind of transition people through postpartum. Um, and yeah, so that’s
Where we, I love that. And so how did the two of you meet?
We met at work.
Oh, okay. So this is why I’m so, so how does it, cause you see here, like I’m, I’m CA as everybody knows, I’m Canadian, I live in Toronto and, um, you know, w the way that it works with OB GYN and midwives here, I mean, I’ve been in the care of both of them is, you know, you either pick one or the other as your primary caregiver and you, so the mid, the midwives have their own separate clinics and the OB GYN is have their own separate clinics. And while they might know each other, because they might both have privileges at the same hospital, they’re not like working together per se and less, of course they have to collaborate. You know, sometimes obviously if there’s a complication, a midwife will reach out to an OB GYN for a, but that’s kind of the extent of it. So is the setup where you both live a little bit different?
Well, kind of, so it’s still, you know, we are, I’d say we’re both independent practitioners. We both have our own practice that we’ve been doing. Um, and yes, we have the same thing of, you know, if, if there’s something abnormal, then I would consult with an OB, um, I don’t know, pardon me, have you ever consulted with me? Probably not.
Uh, maybe, you know, people want to have a midwife, and so then I’ll say, Hey, like, you can’t take this action or whatever. Yeah.
But I think what’s really interesting is that there is that misconception that it is like two separate worlds, but I mean, our worlds overlap all the time. You know, it isn’t just like you either get to have the OB or you get to have that midwife, because I think a lot of, uh, a lot of people don’t understand, like they do go side-by-side and they compliment each other and you can have either, and that’s fine. So we didn’t have it.
So you both work under the same hospital when you say even at work.
We did. Yeah. So when we were at different companies, now we work at different places. Um, but I was a brand new baby midwife when I met Courtney and was just kind of walking around with my floaties on like, oh, what am I going to do with myself? And she was brand new as well. Um, and so we just kind of bonded by disaster. Like if I laugh thinking about it, because if anything was going down, if was hitting the fan, it was because Courtney and I were both on together and the universe was like, let’s see if I can test you. So we, yeah, we bonded over that.
Amazing, fantastic. Well, I’m so happy to have you both here because you know, my listeners are all in that postpartum period, you know, they all have, you know, either younger babies or even the older ones, you know, a lot of them are in their first year postpartum. And so, you know, I would love to hear from you both on, I guess, some of the biggest myths or, um, beliefs that deep seated beliefs that you find amongst postpartum women that make you go, no, that’s not true. That’s really unhealthy. Don’t listen to that. You know, I guess what are the, if you could scream from the rooftops, like don’t do this, or don’t think that, you know, what are, what are some of those things?
Because I, you said that because I feel like there are just a ton of myths when it comes to postpartum. Um, first of all, I just want to say, when we’re saying postpartum, this is a myth that postpartum is only about depression. Right? And I think that if you were to Google postpartum, that’s probably the first thing that’s going to pop up. So when we’re talking to postpartum, we’re talking about the period of time after you’ve had your baby. And, um, you know, in, in technical terms, it’s, it’s the first 12 weeks after, or the, for the fourth trimester. So that’s something I just went to say right away. And then, um, yeah, we could probably talk about Ms till we’re blue in the face. But the very first thing I think that we hear a lot about, you know, a myth is that you’re going to instantly fall in love with your baby and well, or, you know, like I’m going to fall in love with my baby, or I’m just going to be this amazing. I love being a parent. And I think that is a lot of pressure, right. There’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself and, um, you might not, and that’s okay. It’s okay to say, I need a minute. Like, who falls in love with somebody the second that you lay eyes on them? Yeah.
Other than out of a
Movie, right? Yeah. And that’s where people are getting a lot of facts from about parenting childbirth, all the things, right. Like that on the, on the big screen. And we think, oh, cool. My water’s going to break it. And then two minutes later, I’m going to have an intense contraction without an epidural. And the baby comes flying out and then
Fall in love with the baby. And then they’re going to get up and painlessly walk, walk right out, you know, as if you didn’t just push a seven to eight pound baby out of your body. And, uh, yeah. And then just go back to life being normal. Right.
Right. And it doesn’t always happen like that. And I remember with, well, I’ve, I have four children. And my first one, I have a picture of the two of us sitting in the hospital bed and I’m tucked in one side and she’s kind of over here. And I’m kind of looking at her like, what am I supposed to do with this kid? I never held anything that little before. She was the first infant that I had ever laid hands on. And I just remember feeling super overwhelmed. And like, I, I have to be in charge of this, this kid, she’s mine. They’re going to, they’re going to expect me to go home with her. Um, and it’s very overwhelming that feeling of I’m it, this being a new kid like this, is it falling in love? Let’s let’s do this. And it, it does, it can take some time.
And my second baby, I can close my eyes and I can still see it. I’m sitting in my bedroom and he’s screaming his head off because all he wants to do is eat as little babies want to do. And I’m exhausted. And I think I don’t actually like you right now. I love you, but I don’t like you right now, not feeling, um, is overwhelming and it’s normal. And I think that a lot of times parents don’t talk about how scary that is and how normal that can be. And it doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Right. I mean, I’ll just be honest. I don’t think I fell in love with any of my kids. The second I’ve got three. I don’t think it was a love at first sight for me with any of them. It was kind of like, oh, okay. All right. So I’m taking you home and then, all right. I guess you’ll do. And then it’s like over time, you know, the relationship builds on the bond builds, like I think any other relationship, right? Yeah. So I agree. And then it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It doesn’t mean that, you know, you’re like a cold hearted, you know, which it just means that you just met this baby for the very first time who is 100% dependent on you for everything. Right.
And on top of it, you have had this physical thing happened to you, right? Like you may have had a vaginal birth or a cerium birth, and that hurts, right? Like it is not a painless event. And so you are human to be like, dang, I need a minute. I remember seeing there was this Instagram post or something about, um, like a picture of this person who had just given birth and her baby is she’s on her hands and knees, her baby is in-between her knees completely safe, you know, on this Chuck’s pad and pillow. And it’s very like a nice environment. And she’s taking a minute and the person that posted it was like, look at how amazing that this person is to say, I need a minute for myself. I have to catch my breath. This thing just happened. And then she scoops up and picks her baby up and bring it to her chest. And it’s like, that is motherhood, right? Like, why can’t we say, oh, I just need a minute. Like, this thing just happened to me and that, you know, I mean, gosh, think about like Courtney, you do scenario bris all the time. You know, it’s normal for that person to need a second. Right. They’re not instant. Like, let me stand up and hold my baby and love this baby. Right. This need a second. Right.
Um, well, and you know, in the same vein, like, we love to talk about the golden hour and skin to skin, but there’s a lot of misconceptions out there that it’s the hour period, 60 minutes period. And if you don’t do it in that 60 minutes, you’re never bonding with your baby, you know,
Cause we posted a lot of that stuff on our, you know, about the golden hour, what skin is skin is, et cetera, et cetera, benefits, you know, and so many people say, well, I didn’t get that because I was having a C-section. I didn’t get that because I had this happen, whatever
We landed up in the NICU. Yeah.
But you can still do it for weeks after, you know, um, dad can do it. Partners can do it. Siblings can do it, grandma and grandpa can do it. You know, like all of that is like a bonding experience for everybody. And the oxytocin flows, no matter if it’s the first hour or the 700th hour, you know?
Yeah. No, a hundred percent. And I think it’s important to emphasize that, you know, as I was saying before, like not every single birth goes 100% smoothly that, you know, baby comes out crying and mom is okay and you can, and you can do the skin to skin. I mean, my first birth was anything like that. And, um, and I felt really alone throughout the whole process. Um, you know, I’ve shared, I’ve shared this story before. It’s not a secret, basically my, um, my complication free first pregnancy, um, where I was, you know, 25 years old and, you know, my peak of health, I would say, um, what ended up happening was as I gave birth, that I was about forty, forty one weeks gestation. And, um, baby was born with an app Gar score of one, which in layman’s terms. Cause I’ll just say, I didn’t know what an app Gar score was until my baby had a one, um, the app guard score, uh, I guess you guys are probably in a better position to explain what it is, but I’ll explain it using nonmedical terminology where it’s kind of like the first test of the four that a baby ever gets to basically assess their overall wellbeing.
So, you know, they’re looking at heartbeat at what breathing skin tone, um, reflexes, and what’s the other one I’m missing. I’m missing a fifth one, um,
Grubby flexes, skin tone heartbeat. There’s a fifth one respiration. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That one. So basically, um, uh, Muna, my oldest got a zero out of two for all the categories except for the heartbeat, which was a one out of two. And um, in really in north America, like a healthy baby is supposed to be born at the one minute mark, like a seven and eight and nine. Um, and so she was a one she was completely as succeeded, was shipped off to the NICU right away and was placed on a cooling pad for a 72 hour period. I forget what the actual medical terminology is, but they called it brain cooling, which was basically meant to prevent further brain damage, not knowing if there was any brain damage that happened. So spoiler alert, they’ll just tell all the new listeners here that she’s a perfectly healthy, a 10 year old, but given the circumstances, we were warned very early on that there was a very high likelihood that she would develop cerebral palsy.
And so naturally through that whole experience, there was no bonding right away. There was, um, first of all, there was that separation. There was the immediate separation of, you know, being whisked off to the NICU nurses to do CPR followed by whisked off to the NICU to get straight onto that cooling pad. Then after the cooling pad, she was whisked off to the, to get an MRI done, to see what was happening in her brain. And so she was about three and a half or four days old before I was even able to hold her with all these wires sticking out all over the place. And so this whole idea that I had, and so I thought, I really truly thought like, gosh, I completely lost out. Like I’m not going to be able to bond. Cause I had a number of friends that had given birth and around the same time as me and they were all talking about their very typical regular normal experiences where like, oh yeah, I had to push for two hours.
And like the baby screamed, he was crying so hard and I’m thinking there was silence in my delivery room, like dead silence. And, and it, it made me feel very, very alone thinking a I’m the only one to ever have this kind of experience, which I really was, but it felt like that at the time. And B I really did think that it was going to affect the bonding that I had with her because I didn’t have that opportunity to do the skin to skin and immediately hold her and immediately tried breastfeeding. None of that had happened. Um, but thankfully just like with any other relationship the bonding happened, it just took a little bit more time. First of all, I had to distress. I had to, you know, kind of relax myself because thankfully when things did start to turn around and she was making really great progress in terms of meeting milestones and whatnot, we were able to relax more.
But, um, it didn’t mean that I was never able to hold her. It just meant that I missed out on those few days. Right. And you know, at the same token, I think if I think of a high school classmate of mine who, um, she developed preeclampsia at the ends of her pregnancy and actually, and landed up in critical care, it was very, very scary. And so she wasn’t able to hold her baby for the first few weeks because she was, she was in the ICU. Um, her son is now three years old and they have a beautiful bond. Right. But it’s just one of those things that it takes, it takes time. And so I think that we all need to be a little bit easy on ourselves sometimes and you know, not aim for that picture. Perfect. You know, Steven Spielberg movie moment that for some people happens and that’s wonderful. But if it doesn’t happen that either because of circumstances beyond your control or because it’s just not how you’re feeling, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong, right?
Yeah. Yep, exactly. Yeah. Um, gosh, I just think that’s, that is like, yeah, we could write a book on that right there. Um, you know, another myth, I think a lot of people feel, um, and Courtney, I see this all the time is at that six week visit, you’re ready to have sex myth, right. Like for sure. That’s gotta be, I mean, oh my gosh. I just think about what happens during that six week time period, right? Besides your body just going through this normal physiologic change of being pregnant to now being non-pregnant and going back to its pre pregnant size on the inside, you’ve got all of these hormonal shifts. You’ve got these roller coasters of emotions that can happen. You are maybe trying to figure out how to feed your baby. Maybe it has come very natural to you. Maybe you’ve decided to formula feed.
I don’t know, but that is not an easy thing. It takes up a big portion of your day and your night, no matter how you’re feeding your kiddo. Um, and you know, sleep during the first six weeks is probably unlike anything you have ever experienced, right? Like what other time in your life are you getting such fragmented sleep? I clean ever. Yeah. Horeb newborns will not be sleeping through the night. Um, they will need to eat every couple of hours. If they’ve got any other special needs, maybe they need to eat a little bit more frequently. I don’t know, like there’s anyways, you’re not functioning. Well, um, you’re bleeding. You are leaking milk from your breasts. You are cramping, you are doing all of these things. And so when you get to that magical six week mark, are you ready to roll around with your partner? Probably not. Probably not. Even if like physically you are like, maybe you feel touched out. Maybe you’re like, I am. I’m good. I would rather have a nap. I’d rather have a shower. I’d rather you. I don’t know. Do something else around the house type deal. I don’t know. I just think that one is a huge one. Um, and I have gotten many people asking, can you write a note? Can you write a note saying that I’m unable to for another few weeks? Okay.
Yeah. Yeah. I think partners are a little, not always, obviously, but sometimes a little, you know, uh, misunderstanding of the clearance. You know, it’s weird just clearing saying you don’t have an infection, your stitches have healed. Your cervix is back to normal. Uh, there’s not something catastrophic happening that, you know, you can’t have sex, but the mental component for females specifically, that’s something else too, uh, is if you’re a totally exhausted and you’re only worrying about this baby, you may not be into it. And that can, that whole loop of like, you’re ready, but you’re not ready. Can really spiral with your partner too and lead to this. Like, well, you don’t want me, you don’t like me. You just care about the baby. Like where did my wife go or where did my partner go kind of deal. And I think if it’s, you know, have that conversation, I always talk to my patients like if, and when you’re ready, which is not what for me to decide, talk to your partner, use lube, go slow, you know? Um, but I’m just going to say
Luke. Yeah. Luke has got, uh, Courtney and I could talk about lube all day long and we have talked about it. But, um, you know, Luke, unfortunately, it’s one of those things that has a negative, you know, air around it where people like that,
You must be old and like, no, like it’s not, and it can make things a lot more enjoyable and less painful. And if you are lactating, if you’re nursing your baby or you’re pumping, you’re producing milk, your body has a decreased level of estrogen, which means that those badges and tissues may be a little bit more tender. You might be more at risk of having tears, little, teeny, tiny micro tears. It might feel like your vagina is on fire. So I can’t tell you them on the people that I’ve seen that have said, I’m pretty sure I have an infection. And you know, there’s no infection. It’s just that their tissues are dry from their baby. And so, um, loop and foreplay time and space, that’s really the ticket right now, not the magic six on.
Yeah. And let’s not also forget that in the United States. I mean, a lot of those, a lot of the women are back at work after six weeks, which as a Canadian, I’m just going to say for the record, that is batshit crazy. I was going to say terrible, nothing else. I really truly thought that it was like that it was one of these, you know, old wives tales. Like there’s no way they’re actually back at work after six weeks. Like they really, they must all get, you know, five, six months, like it is the United States. And then it was, it was when I was, I was when I was pregnant with my first, my sister-in-law who was American, was also pregnant with her first and she’s a teacher and we were both do we, we ended up having girls a day apart from one another, which is like really cute.
And so, um, and so, and it was in may and she was really excited because, um, she, by the time she would have to go back to work. It was summer vacation. So she wouldn’t have to go back. She would have a full three months off and I was going what you’re celebrating over the months. And she goes, well, yeah, otherwise I would get six weeks. And I was like, my jaw fell to the floor because he happens to be, at the same time I was going to be going back to work when my daughter was five months because I had her right after finishing law school. And so here in Ontario, you would have to do what’s called articling, which is like a paid internship to, as a requirement to get called to the bar. And so I miraculously landed a dream articling position, seven and a half months pregnant.
Don’t ask me how that happened. Cause I still have this. They don’t know. Um, but they were willing to work with me cause they, they knew who they were hiring. And so they let me start a few months later so that she was five months old. And so as a Canadian, I was feeling so much guilt going, oh my gosh, I’m going back to work after five months, everyone else here goes back to work after a year. But then hearing my sister-in-laws celebrate three months, I was like, okay, you know, perspective here. But at the end of the day, whether it’s six weeks, three months, five months, like it’s still bloody exhausting and that’s going to affect your sex drive as well. When your little one is not sleeping through the night necessarily. Or even if they’re waking up, you know, once or twice, which is normal, it’s still exhausting. You’re still not getting completely uninterrupted sleep at that point. And then that’s going to affect how you’re feeling, right?
Yeah. 1000% definitely. Yeah.
It’s kind of like, don’t be hard on yourself ladies. So yes. Do you have any tips for how these moms can approach that conversation and have that delicate conversation with their husbands who just might not get it? Yeah.
Um, I, we just did a podcast. We spoke with our good friend, Dr. Jenna, and she, we call her a sexpert. Um, she is amazing and she talks a lot to couples about this very topic and her best advice on this is to start communicating during pregnancy. Like these are my needs right now. Let’s talk about it. Let’s be aware that my needs, your needs may change once this little one is here. I mean, everything is very hypothetical before you’ve done it. Right. Like I was the best in the world before I had my children. And you know, now I’m like, okay, cool. Like talk about humbling. And that is, that is what kids will do. I mean, everything is very humbling. Your relationship will change. Not necessarily in a bad way. Right. It can be amazing. It can be a life changing. It can be, it can be so good.
And so, um, yeah. Communicate, start, start talking about it now. And then if something isn’t working, say it like, don’t, don’t. Just, you know what, this isn’t working for me or let’s come back to this tomorrow or two days, like take that pressure off. Right. So that you don’t have as like, I just remember when I was a midwife student looking out in the waiting room once and there were several partners hanging out kind of all together. And they were like anxiously waiting while their partners were doing their postpartum visit. And all I could think about was like, you are waiting to hear, we get, have sex.
Yeah. Am I going to get late? Yes or no.
And I think some of that also is stereotypical. You know, like my partner was very tired at that six week mark as well, because I didn’t let him off the hook. He got put to work. He had to, he was working full time and I made him get up as well and help with his share with the kids. And I don’t regret that at all. We both were tired. We both shared the load of it and you know, it was good because that pressure was taken off. And I think that’s what you just have to do. And everybody’s different. Every situation is unique. Um, you know, what works for one person isn’t obviously going to work for another person, but I think those are, there’s some fair things, right? Yeah.
I have a colleague, you know, her, she’s a, um, she’s a registered psychotherapist. Her name is Alison Villa and she, her specialty, I’m just giving her a shout out because she’s wonderful. And her specialty is she helps couples remain connected after having a baby. And she talks about how it’s so normal for relationships to go through various different seasons. And some of those, you know, more challenging seasons are completely unavoidable, you know, and like being in those first postpartum weeks and months is just naturally going to be that more challenging season where, you know, you might be, you might not be able to spend as much time with one another as you normally do, because you’re flipping tired. You have a newborn that’s taking up a lot of your time. And it doesn’t mean that it’s forever. It just means it’s a season, it’s a season and you know, seasons don’t stick around forever. Your baby, isn’t going to be a newborn forever, but it just kind of comes with the territory of having a newborn. And I think that when people recognize that instead of trying to fight it like, well, no life should go back to normal because the baby is six weeks right now. Um, I think it’s, it’s easier on everyone, right? Yeah.
And also a huge thing that plays into your sex drive is your brain. Right? So if you are, you know, expecting that immediately post baby, your body’s going to look like what it did before there was a baby in it. That is, uh, that’s a little bit of a mind. Um, it isn’t like your body, your body’s different, your body’s changed. You have grown a human being. And um, you know, I think that we put a lot of, of pressure on ourselves and on other, um, other people who have given birth to immediately jump back and look amazing. I mean, look at when what’s her name, all of the duchesses who have given birth and they step out in their white dresses and they’re teeny tiny waist and it’s like, that’s not normal. It isn’t normal. And it’s okay. And I think that we put a ton of, of like expectations that you’re just gonna look and feel amazing.
In reality, you might not recognize the person that you see in the mirror. You might take your clothes off at the end of the day and go, oh, who is that? That’s not what I looked like in my head. And you know, there is nothing wrong with how you look postpartum there really isn’t and it’s okay to have these changes and your body is going to go through more changes as more time goes by. Um, and so I think that also can play into the way that we feel about wanting to have sex with our partners. And, and, um, yeah, I can talk about that all day. Sorry. No,
Yeah. And that leads into another myth too, that, um, you know, your body’s just going to bounce back and then if you breastfeed or lactate or nurse or pump, you know, any way that you’re making human milk, your body’s just going to lose the weight like this, you know, and it’s, you don’t even have to do anything. You just lose the weight because it’s going into the milk. Um, and some people, it is like that, but a lot of people you hang onto that 10 pounds or so, because that’s what your body has and the reserve, because it knows that it needs that because you’re breastfeeding, um, or lactating. And, uh, you know, a lot of times people can have a very, very disappointed six week visit. So say that like, what the hell I lost all this weight, and then now I can’t lose anything.
And, you know, even if you’re not breastfeeding, that can happen too. And, uh, you know, it’s, it’s took you nine months to get here. It’s going to take you nine months to get back or more, and that’s fine. Or maybe never, you know, and it’s not really a bounce back for more than a bounce forward into the new year, the new life, you know, things like Katie said, things are gonna change. Like your hips are always going to be wider, period. Even if you had a C-section because the hormone relaxin is working anyway and it relaxes all those joints. And that’s where people get a lot of pelvic pressure and pelvic pain right before they deliver. And your body doesn’t know that you’re going to have a C-section, you know, so your body can be different, even if you don’t have a vaginal delivery. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, I have a girlfriend, we had a baby on the same day. Um, and I was one of those that with my baby, I did lose the weight. Um, and she didn’t, she gained it and it was like this weird competition of like, okay, we had this, we had our babies at the same time, we gained the same amount of weight. Why do you look like this? And you know, those hormones postpartum can really mess with you where you’re like, oh, I have to look like this. I got it. Uh it’s I don’t know why we do that to ourselves, but don’t do that. That’s diet
Culture for you,
Unfortunately. Yeah. It’s not, it’s not, it’s not your friend’s fault. You know,
Your friend, just like almost every other person in the world, unfortunately is just a victim of diet, culture and diet culture permeates itself in the world of postpartum where anytime any celebrity has had a baby, the first thing that the tabloids and these magazines want to know is, oh my gosh, how did they lose the baby waves? That’s all that they know about. And I know that, I don’t know if either of you follow, um, oh my gosh, what’s her last name? Jessie Creek Crookshank. I don’t know if you follow her. She used to, um, you know what, because she’s Canadian, she now lives in LA, but she used to be on like [inaudible] Canada. Um, she has twins. She actually just had another, uh, another baby, a Singleton, but she also has twin boys. And I know that she spoke about the fact that she she’s naturally very thin.
And, uh, and she got pregnant with twins. And I looked like after, you know, our short period of time, her body just kind of, you know, more or less went back to the way it looked before, which was very slim. And that’s all that these journalists wanted to know about. And she was going, do they really not want to talk to me about anything more substantive than that? Like, does nothing else matter? Like I gave birth, I grew two babies in my body and she’s very open about the fact that he was actually a complicated, a very complicated twin pregnancy. She had they’re identical twins. And there was, I think, what is it called twin to twin syndrome? Like she had, yeah, like it was a very, very complicated situation and she, no one wants to talk to her about the transition to motherhood, how it’s going from having no babies to, to, you know, how are you surviving?
How, what kind of support do you have? No, we just want to know how you lost the baby weight. You back in your skinny jeans, what the hell? Because that’s a problem. But again, I think that that’s diet culture that is just everywhere that permeates in every aspect of our lives, including postpartum. But I think that what makes me so protective over these postpartum women is the fact that they just grew another human for on average nine months gave birth to it. And our key are exclusively responsible for keeping it alive. Okay, fine. Presumably the partners helping them out as well, and to be putting that and their hormones are totally out of whack and then to be taking diet culture and putting that level of pressure on such a vulnerable group of people makes me want to scream. Yeah.
Oh yeah. For sure. I love that. You said vulnerable because that is really what postpartum is, right? Stripping away, everything that you ever thought of yourself, um, and your relationship and your reserves and all of these things and just being vulnerable. And that can be really hard for a lot of people that, you know, giving up, control that, giving up, all of the things can be really hard. It can be a lot. Yeah. It’s a lot of pressure
Amazing and all of that and the crushing hormones and everything all is what predisposes everybody to, well, almost ubiquitously. You’re going to have postpartum blues, like who, can’t not,
That’s a fair myth though, right? Like that, that it is, it is a normal thing to be depressed. But like Courtney is saying, it is a normal thing to experience the postpartum blues, but it’s not so much to have postpartum depression.
Yeah. And I think women just get told or birthing people, you know, uh, and, and partners too, like welcome to parenthood. It is, you know, you’re gonna feel like. You’re gonna, you know, not get any sleep you’re gonna, you know, feel down. You’re gonna worry about your baby because you’re just a mother now you’re just a parent. Now you’re just a dad now. But there is a time when it becomes pathologic or like a diagnosed is where like, no, this is actually a thing. This isn’t just baby blues. Or I just didn’t get enough sleep. You know? And I think that, especially women, because that’s just like how we’ve been told in our lives that like you’re being hysterical, you’re being ridiculous. And like, no, actually I’m not because like I just had a baby and all my estrogen crashed and I haven’t slept. And my boobs Laken and no, you know, like
Human right. And no one ever says that. I’m just going to say, I know we can go down a deep rabbit hole when we talk about like the feminist aspect of things, but nobody ever calls men hysterical.
You know, it’s really interesting. I was just listening to a podcast today because my commute to my job allows me to have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. So I was listening to this podcast that I adore. It’s the armchair expert, by the way, Courtney knows my goal. We’re going to get a pair of armchairs and just hang out. But he was, I don’t even know who was talking to you, but he was talking to this man. Oh, it was Justin Timberlake. That’s who it was. And they were talking about how you, um, as these dads now, like they have this weird role where they are not allowed or have been taught that they can’t show their emotions. They can’t do these things. And then on the other hand, they’re being told by society, um, you know, like 50 50 that actually you should be showing your, your, uh, emotions and you should be saying these things.
And so they’re like, you know, like I want to let my guard down and I want to cry and I want to do all these things that I got to be manly. And I got to do all of these things. And I mean, I feel like that’s kind of where we’re at right now with these postpartum people and their partners is very polarizing, right? Like we hear from our, our parents and our grandparents to be one way. And then we see in society to be another way. And then with our friends and families, we’re another way. And it’s like, what do we do? Yeah,
Definitely. And I think, you know, especially men, but other parts, like non-breathing people in general, it’s like, if they change a diaper, it’s like, oh my God, you’re that helpful? Like, no, it’s 50 50. It took 50 50 to get here. It’s 50, you know?
Yeah. No, I always see, you know, um, I can’t remember the last time I saw this meme of like this guy, he’s he himself, he’s a father, he’s got a toddler and a baby. And I think he was giving his wife a break and he took the young kids to the grocery store by himself. And he had all these people coming up to him going, wow, you must be such a great dad. Like, look at you taking your kids to the grocery store. When was the last time a mom got same compliment by taking her kids to the grocery store by herself? Never.
Yeah. In the same vein, they say like, uh, you know, when fathers are out or whatever, with their kids, it’s like, oh your baby.
I was just going to say that I have babies
Parenting my children
Paying a parent. Yeah. Right.
But let’s, I would love to just delve into, you know, the postpartum depression and anxiety a little bit more because I think it is important for people to understand. Where would you say, like, how do you, where’s the fine line between what is normal baby blues, regular home, or hormonal fluctuations that with time will eventually kind of level out versus something that should require more intervention, something that’s not just baby blues. That’s, you know, more serious, like actual PBD, PPA. Um, how does one know whether or not they have one or the other? Yeah.
So it can be really confusing. Like, I’m just going to be real honest with you. I have had all three of those things, um, postpartum or the baby blues. We say this all the time. It is a natural, normal phenomenon that your body is just going to go through. Your hormone levels were very high during pregnancy. And then they become very low after the baby. And the placenta is out normal, normal, normal. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like. Okay. Yeah. So you can be like what some of my triggers were. I would just be hanging out watching TV, nursing, my baby, and all of a sudden I’m like, oh, I got up to cry about this. I’m not a crier, but I would burst into tears about the dumbest stuff. And then I would be like, wow, that’s weird.
But I’m okay. That lasts for about two weeks in the postpartum period in the immediate postpartum period, postpartum depression is a sneaky. It will come at you and you just feel, it’s not sudden, right. It’s kind of the slow growing thing. And you know, it, it feels like it’s kind of always hanging out behind you. Um, it, it makes you, it steals your joy. It steals a way, all the good pieces. It makes it so you cannot enjoy or function through your normal everyday activities. Everything feels too much. It feels too hard. It feels overwhelming. It isn’t always obvious that it’s depression either. Sometimes it can be anger. Sometimes it can be, all I want to do is sleep or it can be, I can’t sleep. I can’t eat, I can’t do these things. Um, so it can be really frustrating, especially if you’ve experienced it in the past.
It doesn’t mean it’s going to show up the same way. Um, anxiety is, it feels like, it feels like what you would expect, anxiety to feel like you can get a racing heart, you can have racing thoughts. You can have a hard time concentrating. You can have, um, overwhelming thoughts. Um, if you are experiencing those anxiety, doesn’t have a timeline. Anxiety can show up during pregnancy. It can show up after immediately. It can take a little while, but if you’re experiencing those things, you need to ask for help because identifying it, calling it what it is I’m getting treatment is possible. Yeah,
Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, especially with the depression and the blues, the main thing is, is that like, you can’t find joy at all with postpartum depression and that’s really the hallmark and it being after two weeks of.
Right. Right, right. Right. And then at what point do you find that, um, those, those overall poorest part in the hormones, like we’re not talking the first two weeks, but you know, like even just as you said, like crying at the drop of a hat, right. Or, or talking about something emotional that might have not necessarily like landed in tears, but like gets you into tears. At what point does that usually kind of level out? Can, can that continue if somebody is, is still breastfeeding, um, that, you know, those hormones can just make you more emotional or, you know, what’s, what’s common. I would say what’s to be expected with that.
What I think is really interesting is that if we historically look at ourselves as estrogen producing people, so I’m just going to say women, um, you know, when our levels go up and down throughout our life cycle, when our levels are nice and low, we feel terrible. So we feel like that, um, throughout the, our monthly cycles, we feel like that in the period, we feel like that during menopause. And so it can be really normal to have those feelings of depression and anxiety. Um, so when you are breastfeeding, your estrogen levels are definitely nice and low so that you can produce the hormone to produce milk. So yeah, I think that if you are nursing, your baby chances are that your moods are probably going to be a little bit more, I would say unstable compared to if you are not. Um, and you know, another factor that plays into moods is, um, what do you have for support? Are you doing this all by yourself? Are you taking care of a thousand other things in your house? Other kids are you, you know, trying to do XYZ, that’s a big deal. And then another thing that I think that people don’t put a lot of stock into is that lack of sleep. And I know that you know about this, but you are not sleeping. You, your chances of having a mood disorder go way up, right? Like you’re sleeping terribly. You probably feel terrible.
Oh, a hundred percent. I mean, we, we know that even with, you know, even outside of the postpartum sphere, you know, we have so much research that’s been done on just sleep in general. And when anyone, you know, of any gender of any age is not sleeping is not getting that consistent at interrupted sleep. The chances of, of struggling with regards to their mental health, in terms of depression, anxiety, or whatnot, like the risk factor, the risk goes up dramatically. Um, and so, and we, and we know that, I mean, that’s one of the many reasons why I’m so passionate about what I do, because I know that this is more often than not like precisely what exhausted moms need to be able to feel like themselves again, is to be able to get a proper night’s sleep and to teach their baby to sleep like a champ, which don’t get me wrong is not, it’s not possible to get a newborn sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night.
But if your little one is eight months and is still waking you up all night long, like that can absolutely be fixed. Or if you’re a four month old is waking you up five times a night, we can get that four month old down to one wake up. And that could very well be the difference between someone really struggling with PPD versus being able to get it under control. In fact, I have a number of colleagues who are psychologists, themselves, who specialize in the peri natal mental health sphere. And they tell they’re sleep deprived clients, which are almost all, almost all the moms that come into their office are sleep deprived. And they tell them, you need to go work with a sleep consultant. Like we need to get your baby sleeping. I want to be able to help you, but we’re going to end up hitting a brick wall if half the reason why you’re struggling with mood and struggling with anxiety and struggling with depression is because you’re not getting enough sleep.
So yeah, I mean, listen, that’s something I can scream, you know, off the rooftops. I just w with regards to the, you know, the mood itself, I have this really clear memory and it was, it was a little bit embarrassing. So I was four months postpartum with my third with my son. And, um, basically the context here is I was at this get together of a bunch of moms of my, so my, my, my oldest is now, uh, she’s just finishing up fourth grade. So this was a couple of years ago where they were all entering. It was like moms from her school. They have kids that were all entering, um, grade three. And the reason why we’re all getting together was because my kids go to a Jewish private school. There’s two, they were a bunch, they were different campuses. They were amalgamating some of the campuses together.
And so they was going to be a whole bunch of new kids in their school from the other campus, going to the canvas that my daughter was at. And so we had to get together, have all the moms meet each other, you know, so that we can make the transition go as smoothly as possible. And so we were all sitting around and the person who organized it said, okay, you know, why don’t we all go around and introduce ourselves, you know, and say, w uh, your daughter’s name and why you named your daughter that name? Um, because a lot of Jewish names have very strong, like Hebrew Jewish names have very strong meanings to them. And my heart starts to beat why? Because my daughter is named a Muna, which in Hebrew means faith. And so we named her that because of the story that I just shared with you, I’m four months postpartum, exclusively breastfeeding, my son, and I’m going, I’ve never met half these moms before.
Don’t cry, Eva. Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. And I’m trying to like keep myself together. And the problem was that I was the second person to go. I was like this. So there was one person, you know, next to me and she’s like, hi, my name is so-and-so. I named my daughter Shira because we liked the name. And we named her after her grandmother and blah, blah, blah. And I’m going okay, now it’s my turn. I can do this, Eva. You can do this. And then as I’m talking and I’m just like, I’m calm, I’m calm. I got this. Like, no problem. I’m just going to say that there were some complications in it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then as I’m talking and my brain is calm, but I feel the tears well up in my eyes and I’m going, and my, and I’m just like, why am I doing this?
Why is this happening? It was like this weird bodily experience. It’s called hormones. Let’s call a spade, a spade. It was called hormones. And then, and then I’m a redhead. And so I blush very easily. And so, because of course, then I start to cry and then I’m embarrassed. Cause I’m like meeting these moms for the very first time who are going to be, the kids are going to be in my daughter’s class and I’m going, oh my gosh, this is literally the worst thing ever. I really should’ve said pass around and I’ll come back. But, um, anyways, what ended up happening was I actually had like five other moms come up to me being like, I had a similar situation. That was I, that was what happened with my daughter. And I had my daughter also landed up in the NICU. So I invited cause then what ended up happening was everyone else started sharing their stories, started crying and I’m going, oh boy, I, I’m not quite sure the organizer intend for this to happen. But at the end of the day, I guess that’s what happens when you ask what was, I guess they thought it was just like a neutral question. Um, you know, they thought all the answers would be, oh, she’s named after her aunt. So she’s named after her grandmother, but there were enough of those stories that didn’t fit that mold that just have the people who are all postpartum themselves landing up in tears.
Yeah. Good time said, just like that just proves the point that we need that support postpartum. We need that immunity. We need to be able to tell our stories because they are so powerful and so important. And I imagined even 10 years later, you still probably get teary and you step out use bumps thinking about it.
I’m a little bit teary-eyed right now. And I’m not the least postpartum. There’s zero postpartum hormones that I’m aware of. Yeah. So yeah, no, I agree. Like again, we just, we all need to be really, really easy on ourselves, but I think that that gives women some, you know, some clear guidance in terms of when you can just actually chalk it up to like temporary postpartum hormones that are nothing to be concerned of. Versus if there something more ongoing where, you know, you should go and speak with somebody about and, and who would be that person to reach out to, like, if let’s say you’re past the six week mark and you’re no longer in the care of your midwife or OB, is it your family doctor? Do you know, is that the next person to speak with the good,
That’s a really good question. In fact, my colleagues and I were just talking about that today. It is a gray area because for a lot of people in the maternity world, the OB providers, the OB GYN, the family practice people, the midwives, we are basically the only people that they see throughout this time period. And so who better for them to speak to than the person that they’ve been seeing. Right. Yeah. So I, I can’t speak for Courtney, but you know, my training that I had was, um, to become very comfortable, I took extra training so that I would understand the postpartum mood disorders because it isn’t unfortunately something that we are taught in school. Um, so I feel comfortable screening for mood disorders and treating, and also I feel super comfortable referring when it is outside of either my scope of practice. So if somebody is coming, um, with OCD or perhaps they have bipolar, um, those would be reasons why I would want somebody else to be involved. And so I will do that. And I know Courtney refers as well. She talks about that all the time about how she’s not an expert in everything, but it never hurts to ask, right. Like call, call the front desk and say, Hey, I am a patient and I am this far postpartum and I’m struggling. And they will either say, come in at this time where they’ll say, actually, why don’t you call your PCP? And if you don’t have one, try this person.
Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, you know, always starting with your OB GYN or your midwife is fine. Um, if you’ve ever had a therapist in the past, you can ask them as well, or, you know, any therapist that is covered under your insurance. Um, you know, of course, I don’t know how that works in Canada, but, um, yeah, in the United States,
In the United States, there’s like some that are covered. Some that aren’t, you know, um, you can always reach out to a therapist without a doctor knowing, you know, it’s not a prerequisite. Yeah. Um, and if your insurance really wants that for coverage then okay. But like you might as well try, you know, initially, and we always say that, you know, having that person, the therapist or, um, or whatnot, because, you know, any mood disorder or anxiety disorder is always going to be helped with their P like bar none. Um, there’s nothing that can’t be, uh, there’s no disorder, that’s only medication treated. Um, and so we always recommend both. Um, and having that person on hand, their number on the refrigerator prior to birth can be really helpful because then, you know, like this person is in my network, they are nearby there, what I want, you know, whatever. And then if the need arises to call them, uh, that it’s right there. Yeah. You know, and even meeting with them prior to delivery, to just kind of like have a baseline session. And a lot of therapists do like free 15 minute introduction, introduction or whatever. Um, but yeah. So, and then if you’re a provider goes like Q probably fine that’s because they don’t know. And they don’t want to admit that they don’t know. I mean, another provider.
Yeah. And a lot, like I would say 99.9% of obstetric providers in this day and age are not solo providers. It’s a little
Insane if you’re a solo provider, like you have to be in a group basically, and this one will be on call 24 7. Oh gosh. Right. Yeah. And so you will both see patients past the six week mark, if they’re struggling with, you know, something postpartum.
What’s really, what I think is really interesting and cool about childbearing is that you oftentimes will bond with your provider or that practice. And then you will go back to them, right? You have more babies, you have gynecological needs, you need birth control, you need whatever. Those are going to be, the people that you’re going to see. And so we want you to, right. We want to see you if you’re struggling
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s so nice to hear. I mean, I really, I don’t think that’s actually how it works here in Canada. Unfortunately I think that here, your first line of defense is, um, your family doctor, which if you have a, if you have a good family doctor that you trust, that’s wonderful. But I know a lot of people who don’t have either, they have a family doctor, they don’t see them very often, or, you know, there again, they were in the care of a midwife or an OB GYN for nine months. And I think that if there was that bond there, then it makes sense for that, that, that person to be the first line, the first person to reach out to, because they feel most comfortable with that person, right. There is a relationship there. So that makes, that makes sense. And you know what, I’m, I’m going to ask, I’m going to ask around, ask me people how it works here, you know, in Canada, if, if is an OB GYN allowed to bill OHIP, like bill, the government to meet with a patient after six weeks to discuss, you know, postpartum mental health issues.
I want to, I don’t know if they’re, I don’t know if they’re,
Uh, like not all of the mood disorders are going to happen within that first six weeks. Yeah,
No, you’re absolutely
Right. Eight weeks out, 12 weeks out, 14 weeks. There’s no, it doesn’t have a timeline like that.
And I think it’s also important to point out that not every, a lot of people think that the only people who ends up with PPD or PPA are people who have struggled with depression or anxiety in the past. Now don’t get me wrong. That’s obviously a risk factor, but it doesn’t mean that you’re then come, you know, exempt from ever having a postpartum mood disorder afterwards. I mean, these hormones are really, really powerful. And I know people personally who have struggled hugely with their health, with their mental health postpartum, who had never struggled with depression or anxiety in the past, and that’s all within the realm of normal.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It
Not discriminate. It does not. Yeah, yeah,
Yeah. There are respecters, but it could be anything, you know,
This was amazing. So let’s, let’s sum up here. Cause I know there were like multiple truth bombs, so I always liked to, you know, summarize things at the end. So, you know, the biggest myths. Remind me again, what was the, what was the first one that we spoke about that you’re going to love your baby right away? Yes. Yes. You’re not going to necessarily love your baby right away and that’s okay. It doesn’t make, you doesn’t mean that your heart’s made from charcoal. It just means that you’re not that you’re, you know, very, very human. Um, then second one was sex, right? That you might not want to jump into bed with your husband. The second you get the AOK from your doctor and midwife and that’s also okay, number three, your body’s not going to necessarily bounce back to the way it was before.
Even though diet culture might tell you that that’s what you should be aiming for. You should all be. We should all be giving diet culture, the middle finger here. And number four is what we were just talking about. Like to recognize, recognize the signs of, you know, PPD and PPA and, and ultimately req like acknowledge what is normal given what your body has gone through and given the natural hormonal fluctuations that are going to cause all kinds of mood swings and fun, really fun stuff, postpartum that’s again, all within the realm of normal and knowing when to reach out for help. So this is, this is so huge. Thank you so much that you have you for coming on. So if people want more of you in their lives, where can they find you?
Um, so we’re on most the socials, um, the Instagram handle is postpartum dot push. Uh, Facebook is the push revolution and then we have a podcast as well, which is the post-revolution podcast and that’s on a Stitcher, Spotify, Google play and iTunes. And then our web site is www dot postpartum, push.com. And there we have some freebies. Um, we have our blogs, we have our podcasts up there as well. And then most importantly, we have a course about postpartum. So that walks you through pretty much everything we could ever think of, uh, for postpartum. And, uh, that’s on our website as well. Um, your podcast, of course.
Amazing. Amazing. And I just have to say that I really feel like your course that you offer was something that I needed so badly after having my first, given how alone I felt with, you know, my whole specific unique experience, feeling like nobody else in the world was going through what I was going through and what my husband was going through. Oh my gosh, I really, really, really needed your course. So you guys should really all check it out because, um, I agree there just, there isn’t enough support for women in that postpartum period. So, you know, you got it. We, we need, there’s a reason why we all need a village, right. And this can absolutely be part of your village. So thank you ladies so much for being here and thank you all for listening in.
Thanks guys for listening. Have a great day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at email@example.com until next time have a wonderful restful nights.