Prioritizing Self-Care for Postpartum Moms

While many women get cleared for normal activities from their doctors within a couple of months of giving birth, the postpartum recovery period is actually much longer. How long does it actually take to heal from pregnancy and childbirth? And what are some ways new moms can prioritize self-care during this time period?

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Episode Transcript

Natalie Gross 0:07
You've given birth to the most beautiful baby imaginable. Congratulations. Now, welcome to the wonderful world of postpartum, the fancy mesh underwear and gorgeous breasts, raging hormones, sleepless nights, all while your body is trying to heal from bringing a new human into this world. The physical and mental toll is a lot for any new mom to handle. Yet, instead of asking how you're doing, most people just want to talk about the baby. And while you're always happy to gush, of course, there's a little voice in your head screaming, but what about me? We got it. We've all been there. And today we're discussing how to care for ourselves as moms in the postpartum period, when family, friends, even doctors are focused on caring for baby. This is Newbies.

Natalie Gross 0:51
Welcome to Newbies! Newbies is your online on-the-go support group guiding new mothers through their baby's first year. I'm Natalie Gross, mom to a three-year-old boy and a girl on the way. We've got a great show today talking about how to care for ourselves as moms in the postpartum period. Now if you haven't already, be sure to visit our website at And subscribe to our weekly newsletter, which keeps you updated on all the episodes we release each week. Another great way to stay updated is to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app. And if you're looking for a way to get even more involved with our show, then check out our membership club. It's called Mighty Moms. That's where we chat more about the topics discussed here on our show. And it's also an easy way to learn about our recording so you can join us live. Now let's meet the mamas joining our conversation today. Tell us your name, location and a little bit about your family as we get started. Ashley, do you want to kick us off?

Ashley Shepard 2:11
Sure. Thank you so much for having me. My name is Ashley Shepard. I'm the mom of one, William. And I'm located in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm also the author of "New Mom Thoughts, Real Questions for Moms with Real Feelings, which was created out of my journey in becoming a mother.

Jaimie Flack 2:28
And I'm Jaimie Flack. I live in Buffalo. And I actually have four kids now. So I have Casey, she's seven. And Jessie turns five this week, all of her stew. And then I have Tucker who is two months old. So I'm fresh in this postpartum period for the fourth time. And he's interesting, because we found out he has a heart tumor when he was when he was in me prenatally. So but then he also ended up with an unrelated NICU stay. So we just kind of have some different perspective, I guess, because of our fourth little baby.

Natalie Gross 3:05
Yeah, well, thank you both so much for being here. We're all moms like we've just talked about, we've all gone through postpartum. So before we take a quick break, let's chat briefly about the things that no one tells you about this time. So tell me one or two things that you wish you'd known after having your first baby.

Ashley Shepard 3:22
So I think for me, coming from the idea of just feeling like a perfectionist. One thing I would say to new moms is to just realize that there's no right way to parent, there's no right way to be a mom, and you'll have feelings of where you feel like you're doing it wrong. And you're not. You should trust yourself. Trust your instincts and religious know that it's a time to give yourself grace, your baby's new he or she is learning how to adjust to this outside environment. And you are also learning how to be their mom. And so being patient with yourself and just realizing that it's a learning process will definitely help during that time period.

Jaimie Flack 4:01
Yeah, and I think I would add to that, too, just don't be afraid to ask for help or even accept hope if someone offers it. I think sometimes, I felt like I didn't need it. Or I maybe felt like I didn't deserve it. Like my mom's here. I should be fine. I don't need help, even this time around our church offered to to make us a special meal for Easter and Easter baskets for my kids. And I was like, surely we can handle this. But we let them do it. And it was it was so helpful and such a blessing. So I think sometimes we're afraid to take that help, but just don't be afraid. Afraid to take it because this is just a crazy time. So many things are changing. So just just take the help when it comes or ask for it if you need help.

Natalie Gross 4:42
Yeah, those are excellent points.

Natalie Gross 4:50
Today on Newbies, we're talking about caring for mom during the postpartum period. There's so much to juggle while you're simultaneously trying to heal from nine months of pregnancy give or take And the physical toll of however your child came into this world. Our expert today is Dr. Natasha Sriraman, a pediatrician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. She's also the author of the new book "Return To You: A Postpartum Plan for new moms aimed at helping new moms care for their own health. So thanks so much for joining us. Welcome to Newbies.

Natasha Sriraman 5:23
Oh, my gosh, thank you so much for having me.

Natalie Gross 5:25
Absolutely. Well, what is it about your own motherhood experience, or your interactions with patients that inspired you to write this book,

Natasha Sriraman 5:35
I was a pediatrician and had my first baby around the same time, I have three kids 2018, and one who was 14 Who's in high school. And my own experiences, I think when you're in it, you don't realize how hard it is and how taxing it is. And I think both of the moms, both of them said it beautifully, like giving yourself grace, which I don't think a lot of us do. I think also being being in the line of work that I am, I'm a little type A and I don't think anyone really prepares you for what's coming. So I think I struggled with everything I struggled with breastfeeding, I had postpartum mood issues like after my second. And I don't think back then especially we didn't talk about it. And we didn't define it, everyone was like, well, you're just tired, because you have to in diapers, you're just overwhelmed. Because you know, your husband's on call, like things like that. And I think when I started really focusing on that in my practice, and when I started noticing, moms kind of struggling, but you know, here I was, you know, five, six years out of having babies, and I started noticing it in my patients of all races, all ages, all socioeconomic status, you know, you just kind of, you know, I kind of honed my practice and to really kind of focusing on the moms, I mean, I'm a pediatrician, I see the babies, as soon as they come out of the nursery, I see them up through college. So I, I see kids of all ages, but really kind of focusing on the moms and throughout my career, especially the last like 1012 years down here in Virginia, I really wanted to kind of tailor not just my practice, but my academic practice. So you know, kind of like the breastfeeding, but also really kind of postpartum depression and things like that. And just really growing bad in terms of all the things that as mothers as and not just new mothers, you know, it could be your second or third year, fourth pregnancy, your fourth baby. So I just a lot of my research focused on on these topics, a lot of my advocacy, both locally, regionally, as well, as nationally focused on that I, you know, I would be writing articles, I'd be writing blogs and things like that. And it was actually a mentor of mine, who is also a pediatrician and her daughter was pregnant. And what happened and this was pre COVID in 2019. And she so she was you know, now she's you know, she was this was going to be her first grandchild. And she said, you know, Natasha, you have you need to take all of all of these things that you're doing. And it has to become a book. And a few people had told me that and she said, but I think kind of seeing what her own daughter was going through and really not kind of being prepared for what postpartum is for the mothers because like you said, every book out there is geared towards baby care, which of course is important, but someone I met said that she had read every single book that was out there. So she was really, really prepared on how to be pregnant and how to take care of the baby. But no one prepared her for what happened when she went home. And honestly, it's because of my mentor who just kind of really pushed me into kind of making this a reality. And she said everything that you're doing, moms, you know, moms and partners and family members, they need to they need to know this. And when we kind of looked at the market, there really wasn't anything out there talking about postpartum period for moms.

Natalie Gross 8:57
Yeah. I relate to that so much. Because I mean, like one funny story, I had a baby shower, and somebody who had had two kids gave me like these giant pads. And then I just kind of looked around, I was like, what, why do I need when everyone was like laughing? It's like, Oh, y'all understand? And I had no idea. So then I like pulled my sister in law aside afterwards. And I was like, Why? Why do I need these, she's like, Oh, you're gonna bleed for a while after and I bled for eight weeks. There's just so many topics that are so taboo. And that was something that I had no idea about, and there and I was going to discover so many things like that on my postpartum journey. So I'm so glad we're here having this conversation today. So thank you for this. And, you know, one thing I wanted to talk about is there is so much societal pressure from social media from your job. It's harder to kind of bounce back after baby right, but how long, medically speaking does it actually take for a woman's body to fully recover for pregnancy and childbirth? I mean, I I was personally in pelvic floor physical therapy for nearly a year, I had a fourth degree tear. So, it for me, it took a lot longer than you know that six week mark when you go to the doctor for that all clear appointment, so I'm just curious, medically speaking, if you can kind of talk to us about the process and the toll it takes on a woman's body?

Natasha Sriraman 10:15
Yeah definitely, I think. And that's something that I addressed in my book, kind of the kind of comparison issues. For me, it was the magazines at the grocery store. So I didn't have social media back then, thankfully, because my youngest is going to be 15. But I cannot tell you how many women I have in my office who are comparing themselves to these moms, whether it's bouncing back or getting in a bikini, or hey, they took, oh, they're out, you know, going to the zoo with a newborn and things like that. And I mean, you have to think your body changed over, you know, generally speaking, 40 weeks, obviously, give or take for every mom, but all the changes, the physical changes, along with the mental health, mental changes, but you know, all your hormonal changes, and then the physical act of giving labor, I don't think we all realize how difficult that is. And you know, what, you know, you have your natural delivery, and kind of things that go along with that. But also, you know, for myself, I had three C-sections. And growing up with a surgeon in my house, no one prepared me for that. And when you think about it's abdominal surgery, and to think that we're having women go back to work, you know, I have some moms going back to work in two to three weeks, and definitely six weeks, whether it's going back to work, or taking care of other kids, or maybe you're taking care of your parents, or, you know, I see a lot of women trying to get back into that kind of their exercise regimen before kind of what they were doing pre pregnancy. And you really have to give yourself that grace of like you said, nine to 12 months, and we just don't allow ourselves that. I mean, I think there's definitely this, we don't give ourselves enough grace, I say that to all the moms I see in my I have a specialized like breastfeeding, postpartum practice, but giving yourself that grace, but also, I don't know if a lot of those who surround us may fully understand that because I think, you know, in my case, I think, you know, the mothers and the answer, you know, surrounding me, I think a lot of people forget, you know, how, how long it actually takes, and I think everyone's family structure is very different. For me, it was just me and my husband, you know, whereas a lot of my friends, I'm originally, you know, my parents originally from India, so a lot of my friends, they had a massive amount of people coming from India to help them we didn't have that, you know, my parents work and things like that. And so that kind of the expectation, well, you know, you should be doing this, but you know, it's everyone's postpartum period looks so different. And the amount of help and like both moms said in the beginning, like how to ask for help, and how to accept help is really hard sometimes. And I think just allowing ourselves to heal is is very, is very difficult. Just not from, from our point of view, but I think from those around us, I think maybe there's expectation of whether it's a spouse or a partner, or employer and things like that, like, you know, how many times have we heard that, you know, maternity leave is vacation? I used to hear that a lot. Yeah. So I think we have to, I always, I always liken it to, like, you know, if my husband has abdominal surgery, and you know, he's, we're expecting him to go back to work and like, you know, two to four weeks, you know, that's, that's ludicrous, if you if you think about it that way. So I think, you know, giving that nine to 12 month, and of course, everyone, everyone's pre-pregnancy, health varies, but really just giving yourself your body changes, and it changes with every pregnancy. And it changes with age, and it changes and things like that, but giving yourself you know, giving yourself that grace. And I think like you said it, that's hard because we're holding ourselves to sometimes an impossible standard.

Natalie Gross 13:50
Well, we've kind of talked about the kinds of emotions that you feel after having a baby and you and you mentioned some of the postpartum emotions there. But if there's a mom out there listening to this, who's really struggling, what are some signs to know that it could actually be postpartum depression versus the typical anxiety of anxieties of new motherhood and when they need to seek help?

Natasha Sriraman 14:12
Great, thank you so much for this question. And I think probably a lot of moms have heard of kind of like the baby blues, you know, technically speaking, it's like 10 to 14 days, you know, where you're emotional where you're, you know, your heart feels like it's bursting with happiness, but also, you know, you're tired you're crying and tearing and things like that, but it shouldn't what when we start to worry when it extends past that 10 to 14 day period, but even some of the research we've done shows that you can actually start showing symptoms even quote during that baby blues period, but where it starts impacting your, you know, daily activities, I mean, you know, getting teary and feeling overwhelmed, but you know, you're you're able to, like, you know, take a shower or feed the baby or, you know, spend time with your, you know, toddler where it really starts impacting what you're able to do. Who not wanting to get out of bed, a big thing is, you know, we say postpartum depression a lot. But I think and I think there's some celebrities that have kind of brought this up a lot, but postpartum anxiety is actually much, much more common. You know, everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps. And obviously, that's not always possible. But to be able to rest, you know, can you rest, can you sleep when the baby sleeps, or is this like this overwhelming anxiety, like, you know, you're always checking on the baby, or you're fearful that something's going to happen and things like that. And really being able to just kind of rest is so important. And I think that those overwhelming, feeling that anxious is definitely something you need to talk to your doctor about. And I think that's a big part of what we do in pediatrics. And that's why this topic has become so important to me. Because if you think about it, you're not going to see you're in our country, at least the United States, you don't see your obstetrician for six weeks after delivery. So we start screening in pediatrics as early as in my clinic as early as a two week visit. So we're actually picking up these moms earlier. And the way I think about it is like you know, you don't want a mom to suffer for four to six weeks. So if we can do something on the pediatric side, to start identifying moms and getting her the help she needs. And, you know, I'm sure some of your listeners can relate to the fact that a lot of times these feelings were there during pregnancy, but you know, it was just pushed aside or it was just this is part of pregnancy or this is just what you have to do. And, and I'm here to tell you moms that you're not supposed to feel like this, this is not part of normal motherhood, you're not just was to white knuckle, your way through it. So you know, if there's, you know, if there's anything that you know, is not feeling right, just, you know, please talk to your doctor, your obstetrician, your pediatrician, you can definitely tell some, you know, your your spouse, your partner, you know, grandma, some, you know, some of that you can talk to because sometimes it's just talking talking to someone who gets it, you know, getting kind of like the sleep squared away, you know, sometimes those tweaks would really, really helps a lot.

Natalie Gross 17:02
We're going to take another quick break. And when we come back, we're going to hear from Dr. Three ramen, and our moms on their best tips for taking care of yourself during the postpartum period.

Natalie Gross 17:16
We're continuing our discussion with pediatrician and author Dr. Natasha Sriraman and our panel of moms today. Moms. Before I get into some more questions, I'm just curious if you guys have any thoughts or comments on what we just heard from our expert?

Ashley Shepard 17:28
Yeah, I mean, Dr. Sriraman's journey is very similar to mine in terms of having a c-section and then having trouble nursing and things of that sort. And I think all of those, all of those different realities that don't go quote, unquote, according to plan when we talk about a birth plan that really can add to those baby blues and postpartum anxiety and depression, because you just feel like oh, well, for me, personally, at least I felt as if my body didn't do what it quote unquote, needed to do. And that was something that just kind of added to my baby blues personally. And so if you're a new mom listening, I just want to echo the sentiment that there's nothing wrong with however your baby gets here, however you feed your baby, things of that sort. And to just know that you're doing a great job.

Jaimie Flack 18:11
All that she said was helpful. I think, knowing when it's a big problem is helpful, because it is definitely you. Yeah, those first few days are just emotions, like you've never experienced just the ups and downs, especially downs, in the crying that isn't just out of characteristics. So I think it's very helpful to know like, when is that cut off? Even filling out that survey? Because I've done those in the pediatrician, and just just really thinking through if, as you answer the questions like is this, really, it's just easy to undermine, like, I don't think it's really that big of a deal. But if it is, like, you know, you need to get help. And so I think that's great that they're doing that early on, if that's something that you need.

Natalie Gross 19:03
Well, we've already touched on this a little bit, but I want to hear from you guys, what were some of the hardest parts of the postpartum period for you? And Jamie, I mean, you've had four kids, does it get easier or harder because you already have little ones at home? And, obviously, you know, your youngest was just in the NICU. So I'm curious how that's played into your own healing process, too.

Jaimie Flack 19:23
I would not necessarily say it gets easier not to like to scare anyone, for sure. Because adding a child is a wonderful blessing. And it's, there's so many awesome things about it. But you know, just anytime you add a little person, there's just the needs are multiplying. And so for those who are like, yeah, just you know, three, four, no big deal. You're just adding another. I don't agree. I think especially number four for us was like, bam, so many needs, just the sheer workload increases. So much. And then yeah, adding in the NICU stay was just interesting. I think, honestly, I had looking back on it, I think it was a pretty kind of a good experience, like the nurses were, were sweet and were helpful. But at the same time, you know, being kind of alone in the NICU, where, you know, my husband was always with me and mother, baby, but we have three other kids at home and so eventually had to go home and staying, you know, doing those, those nighttime shifts kind of by myself, and then feeling like I needed to be up at seven in the morning when they started doing rounds. And it even said, kind of on the wall, like, Please be up by seven, you know, have the bed made, and wasn't especially good for sleeping, which then leads to, you know, emotions being even more heightened. So that was definitely an interesting part of the, of the process of being in the NICU just just being so tired and not feeling like I could kind of fall asleep holding him like maybe I would have with my other babies feeling like more under surveillance, even though at the same time, I did have help if I if I asked for it, but I wasn't very good at asking.

Natalie Gross 21:19
Well, Dr. Sriraman, what are some of the top ways that you would recommend moms take care of themselves during the postpartum period, both physically and mentally?

Natasha Sriraman 21:29
Definitely, as both mom said, asked for help, really asking for it. Because I like to say that our sport, our spouses cannot read our minds. And that I give my moms a lot of guidance on that like asking really kind of specific things. But I really tell moms that I need them to rest. And I know this sounds really difficult, because when people used to tell me, I'd be like, but I have to clean the house, and I have to send the thank you cards, and I have to, you know, that kind of thing. But I need mom to rest when the baby rest. And if there's, you know, toddler older kids, like, I mean, it's okay, if they're watching a screen, you know, like, if they're laying in bed with you just so you can just lay horizontally.

Natalie Gross 22:06
Okay, I've wondered about that, too, because I don't know how I'm gonna sleep when baby sleeps when I have a three year old.

Natasha Sriraman 22:11
Right? Yeah, so it's, you know, it's just, you know, I mean, my, you know, when my I had to in diapers, I mean, honestly, my oldest who was 22-months-old, you know, Barney taught her how to tell time, you know, because I had to keep her occupied. It is what it is. And I think, you know, to your point about social media, I think a lot of times we compare our reality to everyone else's highlight reel. And I think we just have to be really mindful of that. But kind of just rest, like, even if it's just a horizontal position, just you know, things like that. And, you know, as you're feeling better, and things like that, I really tell my moms and I always use this percentage, I talk about it in my book as well. 4% 4% of your day is one hour, I need you to take time for yourself without the baby without the toddler without the stroller without the diaper bag, without all the stuff without the sling, whether it's going for a walk, whether it's meeting a girlfriend for coffee, whether it's you alone in the house, and you know, dad, or grandma or whoever takes the kids out. And everyone kind of looks at me, like I have two heads when I say this, but they're like a whole hour. So now I've cut it back to a half an hour, but really, like 30 minutes a day, if you think about it just to yourself. And I just remember the first time I left the house without a diaper bag. Without all the stuff, I literally went to CVS and bought diapers. So it wasn't anything like I wasn't getting my nails done or anything, but really like, like, just small concrete things that you can you can do for yourself, but letting your partner know, because I think, you know, women are phenomenal. Like, you're just I see women in my practice every day, my friends who have you know, just who are part of, you know, my, my village and my children's village. I mean, like, women are phenomenal. And like, what how we bounce back and how we manage everything is just, sometimes we just have to just kind of sit back and, and just realize that, you know, we're human too. And, and I think a lot of it is you know, unfortunately mom guilt, I think we feel bad. Like you all were saying like, well, while the baby sleeps, you know, I feel you know, I have this guilt, like, I'm not spending enough time with my toddler. And I can assure you as a pediatrician, and as a mom who had, you know, who had kids close together, they're going to be fine. Like, they're, they're just going to remember, you know, being around like I remember, you know, a lot of moms were like, well, I have to take them, you know, I have taken to the zoo, I had to take this out. And I was like, No, you just you can just be like, you can just be like whether it's you know, putting the baby in the stroller, or putting the baby in the carrier. And the toddler walks hand in hand with you, you're spending time with them. And I think a lot of times, we have this expectation that we have to keep doing so much so but definitely I want all my moms to take I won't say 4% I'll say take 30 minutes a day to yourself, you know, just just to have that kind of that rest.

Natalie Gross 24:50
Yeah. You started talking about, you know, partners. So I was curious, how would you recommend moms talk about this with their partners, and what role do they have to play in this recovery period?

Natasha Sriraman 25:01
Definitely telling them or asking them for what you need. And you may not know what you need, right? It changes, it changes with each pregnancy, it changes maybe day to day. But really having that discussion with your spouse or your partner, kind of what you need, you know, things like, you know, I need you to take the baby, you know, at night and feed, you know, a bottle, whether it's the breast milk or formula, because I need to, I need to sleep like the five hours. I mean, I remember my husband and I were both getting up at the same time while I was trying to breastfeed, and it didn't make any sense, because then we're both exhausted. So really talking about that. And then I think some one of the moms mentioned a birth plan, what I always talk about is the postpartum plan, we actually have a postpartum plan where, where moms can fill this in with their partners as part of the book. And I liken it to, you know, the wedding and the bachelorette party in the bridal shower, it doesn't prepare you for the marriage, right? You know, now, there's a gender reveal, but you have the baby shower, you have this you have, you know, no one's preparing you for the postpartum period, like having the baby and all the prep work and prepping the nursery and things like that, as a physician, birth plans go south all the time. You know, I think sometimes it's really helpful to moms have the birth plan, but you know, the baby's going to do what the baby's gonna do. But having that postpartum plan, I really talked about a lot. And that's a great way to kind of having that discussion with your partner and like filling it out before you need it in time of crisis, like, you know, really simple things like, like you were saying, one of the moms, you were saying about your church helping out like you know, who's going to have the meal train, you know, we're going to start a meal train, or which grocery stores deliver food. So you know, Dad doesn't have to leave the house to go get groceries, who am I going to call during the day after, you know, Dad goes to work, so I can take a shower, who can I call when I just really need to talk? Who is the closest lactation consultant who are you know, where the support goes for, you know, postpartum depression, and everything kind of out, I outlined in this postcard and plan and it's a great way to open that discussion with your partner as well as kind of having that plan, you know, hanging on your fridge before. Because I know, in my case, a lot of times I was looking for things when I was at the at the crisis point. And I think again, like we don't often talk about that when we're planning, you know, the baby showers and the gender reveals and, you know, registering for all the things and we're not kind of looking forward as to what's going to happen when you bring home the baby.

Natalie Gross 27:30
Yeah, those are great tips. Alright, moms, do you have any self care tips or things that have worked for you to get back to your quote unquote, normal self after baby?

Ashley Shepard 27:40
Yes. And I also just want to add on to what Dr. Sriraman said, is just the whole preparation. I think motherhood is one of those things where you, you can prepare for it. But it's it's a different experience for everyone. And if someone would have explained to me what motherhood was like, before I became a mother, I still would probably not have understood it. So for me, one of the things that helped really early on was, like we've talked about before, asking for help, and then accepting the help, because I know, often, we want people to help us the way we want them to help us. as well. If you have a partner, for example, like doing the dishes, or doing the laundry, and it can be really easy to want them to do it the way that you would do it, as opposed to just being happy that I got done. And so letting go of those expectations definitely helped me and then also not being afraid to speak up when people ask if they can come over and visit. And that's something I've read on mommy blogs is if you're going to allow visitors to come over set the expectation that okay, if you're coming over, you're helping with the baby, you're doing some type of thing, because you're exhausted after giving birth, regardless of how you gave birth. And not feeling bad about that, I think is huge. Because sometimes as women and as moms, we feel like we have to do everything. And we don't give ourselves that space to let others help us. And so that's something that I definitely learned in that journey is to just be open to the help. It's not an expectation that you that you do everything, you literally just had a baby. And then also really being intentional about your self care. And once again, echoing everything that was said earlier. And for me, I know that was something that was difficult even before having a baby, I wasn't somebody who was very great at taking care of myself. And I was just kind of running and running, running. And then after having my son, I realized that that kind of caught up to me. And so during that time, I was looking for resources, like looking online for for different things to help me books, things of that sort. And like just like Dr. Sriraman said, I didn't really see anything that fit that postpartum period. And it wasn't that I had postpartum depression or anxiety. I didn't have baby blues, but I just wanted something that could help me capture those thoughts and still be thankful for the experience because I think that's another thing is if you as an imam have a traumatic If experience or having an unexpected birth experience, people often tell you oh, well, I mean, at least you're healthy. And at least the baby's healthy. Any of those things are great, but you still have these feelings and emotions that you want to get out and want to express. And you sometimes feel guilty about having those feelings when other people haven't, don't even have their babies or they had something that was way worse than yours. And so you feel like you've been invalidated in some ways. And so out of that, that's kind of where my book came from, is that I couldn't find what I needed. And so I decided to create it. And so I created a 52-week guided journal for new moms to help them get from week one to one with their baby. And through. And I'm not suggesting that new moms right. At all, that's not what I'm saying. But for me, because I couldn't find what I needed. It was therapeutic for me to actually create it. And during that process, it actually led me to talk to other moms and see, like, everything was normal. I didn't I wasn't crazy, like all of these thoughts and feelings that I had, were validated because other moms had those same exact thoughts and feelings. And so really being intentional about journaling has helped me and then also, like was mentioned getting out and stepping away from the baby and realizing that other people are capable, and they can take care of your child, you're not the only one. And that also kind of helped to reduce some of my, I didn't have postpartum anxiety, but just some of the anxiousness around being a new mom, and everybody touching and breathing and all those things, especially having my son six months before COVID. And so that just also impacted me in a totally different way. But realizing that you don't have to do it all, and letting other people help you, I think would be two of the biggest parts that helped me as well.

Natalie Gross 31:41
Thank you, Ashley.

Jaimie Flack 31:42
Yeah, I mean, I, I've just been over here shaking my head. Yes. Everybody's been saying because much of it as this, what I was gonna say also, but just that rest factor. I know. The doctor said, it's, you shake your head, like how am I supposed to rest with all these other kids? And yeah, I was gonna say the screens, if you need them are, are just so helpful. I know, especially for me, along with journaling. Journaling can be so helpful. But especially for me personally, just being able to have some time to read my Bible and pray, you know, God has given me so much peace that I cannot find anywhere else. And so, if I need to have my kids on the screen to do that, then it's fine. And just try to let go of some of that mom guilt, you know, guilt is meant to, just to help us, when there's something we're doing actually something wrong. And so much of our guilt is just not necessary. So taking naps when we can, when forcing the older ones to have some rest time, I'm not very good about that. But when I do, it's just so much more life giving, if we can all rest for a little bit, because we do all need it. Even getting to bed earlier, I tend to be a night owl. So not as good at putting myself to bed as I am or putting my kids to bed. So I'm working on that just like like others have said having the husband give a bottle. I think first time around with breastfeeding. I definitely didn't, there was just so much I didn't know about you know, it's okay. If you need to pump and let the baby take a bottle and you go to sleep, just stuff like that. And if you can find a lactation consultant that was really, really nodding my head on that no, that can be helpful. It's just don't hesitate to look around, ask other moms do you have a good one, because they can really be so helpful. And and if breastfeeding doesn't work, just fine formula is a wonderful thing. Even if you just need to supplement for a little bit while they're so tiny, and then can't stay awake long enough to nurse just do it doesn't mean that that's going to, you know not you're not gonna be able to breastfeed in the long term. So I think everything that everyone has said to and then also just don't stress about weight loss early on. Just try to fuel your body with good things, if you can, and then buy the clothes that fit, don't look at the tag, and just get what you need to get to get through this and take the time that at least that it took to grow the baby to worry about that.

Natalie Gross 34:20
Excellent point, Jaimie. Thank you for mentioning that. All right, Dr. Sriraman. Any last things to add before we wrap up?

Natasha Sriraman 34:27
No, thank you so much. And thank you, both Ashley and Jaimie for your input and for having me on. And yeah, just mamas. Just give yourself grace. And my thing is my mantra for for my practice. And what I do is that I need moms to be happy and healthy. So the babies I care for are happy and healthy. So it's a package deal.

Natalie Gross 34:49
Well, thank you so much to you and to Ashley and Jaimie for joining us on this episode today. And listeners, be sure to check out where we have all of our podcast episodes. Plus, blog posts, videos and more.

Natalie Gross 35:11
That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies. Don't forget to check out our sister shows Preggie Pals for expecting parents, Parents Savers for moms and dads with toddlers, The Boob Group for moms who get breast milk to their babies, and Twin Talks for parents of multiples. Thanks for listening to Newbies- your go-to source for new moms and new babies.

Disclaimer 35:36
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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