Why this podcast?
Now that I’m well into my amazing Postpartum Doula course you are probably going to see a few more posts focusing on the time after birth. This podcast popped up as I was searching for some juicy new material and I was intrigued.
The Delivering Strength Podcast is hosted by Candace Gesicki and Anna Marie Murphy. Candace is a chiropractor, doula, regional director of Birthfit Cleveland and just happens to be a CrossFit athlete in her spare time! Anna Marie is also into CrossFit, is a new mum, marketer and loves learning about holistic health and nutrition.
According to Candace and Anna Marie, the Delivering Strength Podcast is –
“… more than just a podcast. It’s a part of a bigger movement to empower women and families to seek out the information necessary to have an informed birth.”
Why this episode?
We plan for our births in great detail, do all the research, ask all the questions. But, for our postpartum? Not so much. Which, when you think about it, is kind of weird because birth only lasts a few hours, maybe a day or so, whereas postpartum lasts forever!
Ok, of course you are not going to have a newborn baby for too long but you will be a parent forever and I believe that journey can start in a much smoother, more positive way with some thinking and planning ahead of the big day.
I love that this episode gives not only great ideas but some wonderful insights too.
How does it look?
The Delivering Strength Podcast launched in August 2017 so is pretty new. There are currently twenty episodes covering birth stories; how to prepare your relationship for life with a baby; pregnancy & fitness; prenatal tests and alternatives; miscarriage and infant loss; baby wearing and mindfulness.
So, a pretty good range of topics.
If you decide to listen to the episode and like this podcast’s style you have a really great opportunity to join Candace and Anna Marie at the start of their podcasting journey!
Who should listen?
All expecting parents and maybe their nearest and dearest too.
Lisa Falkenstein is the guest on this episode. Lisa is a postpartum doula with a bachelor degree in family studies. She is also a belly binder, infant massage instructor and breastfeeding educator who has experienced postpartum depression and her own breastfeeding challenges with little family support available.
So just why can the postpartum period be so hard?
You don’t know what you don’t know
It’s hard to plan for the postpartum because, especially if it’s your first child, you just don’t know what to expect. It can become pretty overwhelming pretty fast.
Postpartum culture has changed
I think it’s so important that Lisa and co talk about how much things have changed in the West. Where once families lived close by and women were all stay at home mums there was an inbuilt support network readily available.
Breastfeeding, cooking, cleaning, basic baby care, these were all taken care of or taught by the mother’s mother or another close family member. New parents were not supposed to just figure it all out by themselves.
You’re supposed to do everything and rock at it too
These days many women work. They have kids. They want to see their friends, exercise, take some time for themselves. They are supposed to ferry their kids around to various activities and, much of the time, take most of the responsibility for the home as well; laundry, cooking, cleaning, groceries, they all take time and energy.
That’s a lot.
What makes it worse?
We suck at asking for help.
Society tells us that asking for help is somehow a sign of weakness rather than simply a sign of being a human with only 24 hours in a day.
When should you start planning for the postpartum?
Lisa suggests that you begin to plan as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
What should I think about?
Lisa breaks down the various issues that can come up post-birth into two categories; physical and emotional.
I love that Lisa lists some of the supplies that you might want to have in stock, not for your baby but for you. So, here we are –
– Pads (check out this podcast episode on making your own padsicles)
– Disposable underwear
– Intimate wipes or a perry bottle
– Nursing pads
– Nipple cream
– A sits bath with herbs
– Breastfeeding tea
– Snacks you can eat with one hand (LOVE this one)
– Book or magazine
– A small basket that you can easily grab and take with you from room to room with a couple of essentials in (snack, phone, burp cloth, water bottle…)
Maternity leave is unlikely to be a time for creating culinary masterpieces or sometimes even soup. Lisa suggests cooking and freezing food ahead of time that you can warm up easily (and if you can eat it one handed you’ll really be set).
Also, think about asking someone to arrange a meal train for you.
So many people want to help postpartum but might not know how. Being able to cook some food for you and drop it over is a very simple but real way in which they can show support.
EVERYONE wants to come and see your brand new baby and you probably want to show him or her off too. BUT! Put you and your baby before social niceties. It really is ok to say no and people will understand.
I really love Lisa’s idea of simply saying –
“We really want to see you but we just need a couple of weeks to settle in and get to know our new baby”
Put your visitors to work
When you are ready for visitors have a list of jobs to hand so that they can pick one (or more).
People genuinely want to help and sitting on the sofa while you run around getting them coffee and cake is not helping.
Your list could include –
– Getting something you need from the shop
– Taking out the rubbish
– Looking after the baby for an hour so you can nap or shower
– Loading, running and unloading the dishwasher
– Putting some laundry on, hanging some up or both
These are all super easy, practical ways for someone to make a big difference to your day and get to spend some time with you and your baby at the same time.
Lisa points out that it’s important to recognise that simple, day to day things are going to change once your baby arrives.
If you were doing all or most of the housework before you won’t be able to keep that up postpartum.
Sitting down with your partner ahead of time and sharing out all those household jobs will save a lot of stress down the road.
Similarly, talk about how you are going to portion out baby care. If you are going to be breastfeeding your partner may feel there’s not much they can do to help but that’s just not true!
They can burp the baby in between sides, change nappies, bring you a snack or glass of water. Not only will this help you but your partner will feel much more involved too.
The episode mentions other areas to discuss with your partner ahead of time to see if you are on the same page. These include sleeping arrangements, vaccinations and whether to put your baby on a sleep or nursing schedule. These are not things to discuss when you are sleep deprived and trying to figure out life with a newborn baby.
A postpartum doula can fill the role that used to be filled by a mother or aunt (without any of the judgement or personal opinions). They can help with basic house cleaning, meal preparation, support you in breast or formula feeding, teach basic baby care, ensure you’re getting enough to eat and drink and, perhaps most importantly, provide emotional support.
I love that Lisa recommends having someone who you are completely comfortable with that you can call when you feel that nothing’s going right and you are a big, fat failure.
She shares a memory of sitting on her bed with her three-week old baby, both of them crying and telling her husband that they’d made a terrible mistake. She loved her son but just did not feel that she could be a mother.
It’s so important to know that you may well have feelings postpartum that you did not expect to have. The feeling of being overwhelmed by the huge responsibility, of wondering if you can really do this, of questioning whether or not this was actually a good idea.
The guilt that accompanies those feelings is real and I remember it well. So many of us feel this way at one time or another but so few actually talk about it.
To be able to reach out and talk to someone is huge.
Baby blues or postpartum depression?
I’m so glad that Lisa raises this. You know yourself best and if you are feeling down or anxious for longer than a week or two, reach out. Postpartum.net is a great resource for getting to know the signs of a postpartum mood disorder. You can also check out this blog post for more information and resources.
It’s often not easy! It’s a learning process for both you and your baby and it can be great to take a breastfeeding class while you are pregnant and to find a lactation consultant you like BEFORE your birth so that you have someone to call right away if issues arise.
To wrap up
I very much like the fact that the hosts of this podcast sit back and let their guest do the talking whilst at the same time asking questions or sharing little bits of personal experience.
I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for new episodes and would love to hear what you think too!
This episode contained a lot of really great ideas and information to consider when planning for your postpartum, I covered a lot of it but I hope you listen to it in full to capture every last bit.
Do you have any tips for a smoother transition into new parenthood? I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time!
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.