The Postpartum Podcast – The Power of Podcast and Social Media and New Motherhood

Why this podcast?
The Postpartum Podcast is one I’ve subscribed to for a while but haven’t written about yet.

I think that’s simply because, being a birth doula, I tend to focus on pregnancy and birth but the postpartum period, especially the immediate postpartum, is really a part of birth too.

Many of you will have heard of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. This project is dedicated to –

“educating, embracing and empowering humans through photographs and story telling”

The idea of a fourth trimester (yes, I know it doesn’t quite add up mathematically), really struck me.

Those first few weeks and months are such a special time. Mum and baby both need space and time to recover, bond, get to know each other and just bask in all the love.

It should not be a time for rushing around, entertaining visitors and trying to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

Whilst there is a Postpartum Podcast episode featuring Ashlee Dean Wells from The 4th Trimester Bodies Project, this is not the one I am going to focus on here.

I brought it up because the concept of a fourth trimester made me realise that The Postpartum Podcast should absolutely be included when I think about birth podcasts.

It is definitely time to feature it here!

How does it look?
The Postpartum Podcast episodes I have listened to have been very much relaxed conversations between the host, Kellie Joy, and her guests.

Kellie is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Educator, Yoga Teacher and mum.

She chats with her guests like they are old friends.

There’s even swearing.

I absolutely love how open and relaxed it feels and am excited to share this resource with new mums and mums to be.

Episodes last anywhere from half an hour to over an hour and are released weekly.
Episode titles include –

“Whatever You’re Feeling, it’s Ok and it’s Normal”

“There is no Always or Never – Listen to Your Baby”

“Learning to Receive Support”

“The Postpartum Body and The Difficulty of Not Knowing”

“This is Impossibly Hard and You Actually ARE Doing a Good Job”

and

“You Know Your Baby Better Than Anyone Else”

I really love how supportive and non-judgemental this podcast is and I think it could make a big difference for any mums out there feeling lost or overwhelmed.

Why this episode?
The episode I am going to write about features Bryn Huntpalmer, the host of The Birth Hour podcast. My first ever post on this blog just happened to feature an episode from The Birth Hour so it seemed a good place to start.

Also, as I’m such a fan of podcasts, one podcast host interviewing another podcast host was just too good to miss!

The episode
We recently spent a few days with family a couple of hours north of Stockholm and on the way home I listened to three Postpartum Podcast episodes in a row (my two-year-old was, for once, asleep). Although I loved how relaxed the conversations were I also felt that they lacked structure and wasn’t sure quite how I was going to write this blog post.

At some point though I realised that there actually was a structure and that Kellie had certain questions that she asked each guest. The fact that I had missed this to start with maybe just goes to show how well these conversations flow.

In fact, it works so well that I think I will structure this post in the same way.

Introduce yourself
After a brief introduction, Kellie begins by asking Bryn to tell the listeners a bit more about herself and her family. Among other things, Bryn is a mother of two, a podcaster and a blogger.

What was your work situation, postpartum?
I think this question is so important. Whether or not you work and what kind of job and hours you have can have a big impact on your postpartum time.

Bryn was in graduate school and her husband is law school when their daughter was born. She was able to go back to classes and her part-time job with a fair amount of flexibility but this is not the case for everyone. Hearing how others handled a situation that might reflect your own and knowing that you are not alone in your experience could be incredibly helpful.

I also loved that Bryn shared an experience she had three weeks postpartum. She attended an interview with a panel of very high-level members of her community. Having so recently birthed her baby (in her living room no less) she says she was not intimidated at all.

Experiencing birth and seeing just what your body can do can be very empowering.

Birth story
This is the point where the guests are asked about their birth stories. What kind of birth experience you have and how you feel about it can have a huge impact on your postpartum period, both physically and emotionally and I am so glad that this question gets asked.

Bryn had home births with both of her children, the first of which lasted thirty-four hours and ended with a pretty severe tear and a retained placenta.

BUT….

Bryn talks about how comfortable she was with her midwife and how that meant that afterwards, although her physical recovery was tough, emotionally she felt great.

Working with a care provider who you feel comfortable with and who truly supports you and your wishes is huge.

 What advice would you give to someone about to give birth?
This question is double edged for me. On the one hand, advice, however well intended, can be harmful. On the other hand, if you can listen to advice through a filter and simply take what works for you and what fits you and your unique situation, then advice can be great.

During pregnancy, people are so quick to give advice or share their birth stories (the terrible ones are always the first to be shared, of course) that it can be overwhelming and really have an impact on how you feel about your own upcoming birth.

Be honest with yourself and if you think your filter is not the best and that you’d rather not have people give advice or share their birth stories, gently ask them not to.

The advice Bryn gives is to do your research so that you know what kind of birth options are out there and to make sure you are with a care provider you can trust.

Thank you, Bryn, great advice!

What was the best thing about your postpartum period?
This is so different for everyone and that’s why this question is so important.
Bryn underlines the confidence she gained from giving birth and being a mum and also talks about the overwhelming love (and worry) she has for her children.

What was the hardest thing?
Also a great question and one which, hopefully, will reassure new mums that they are not alone in what they are experiencing.

Bryn says that what she found hard was breastfeeding.

I love that she was open about this. Yes, breastfeeding is natural but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally or easily. Both mum and baby are learning how the whole thing works and it can take some time.

Reaching out and finding the right support, both from the start and if you are having problems, can make all the difference.

What helpful thing could someone do for a friend who just had a baby?
Love, love, love this question!
Of course, not all of the suggestions will suit everyone but there will definitely be some good ideas.

Bryn mentions that someone she had only met a few times at a La Leche League meeting, who had a baby nine months older than Bryn’s, brought dinner over for them, chatted for a while and afterwards sent Bryn some breastfeeding resources that had been helpful for her.

Bringing food (and not necessarily expecting to be invited in) can be oh so helpful to brand new parents.

What would you like to say to mums who are in the postpartum period right now?

“Give yourself a break and know that you are not alone”

This advice is pure gold. It sounds so simple but those first few weeks and months can be pretty overwhelming and it can be very easy to doubt yourself and to think that you are the only one who feels this way.

To know that you are not could be very reassuring.

To wrap up
Whether you are expecting your first baby, have a newborn or an older baby, The Postpartum Podcast will definitely be a great resource to dip into.

Sometimes, just hearing that other mums are experiencing the same situations, doubts and worries that you are can be enough.

We don’t always need answers. Sometimes we just need to know that we are not alone.

Other episodes on this topic
The Postpartum Podcast – All Episodes

The Postpartum Podcast – Shout, Don’t Hush with Ashlee Wells of The 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Fourth Trimester Podcast – All Episodes

Birthful – Loving your Postpartum Body

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.
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