Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

A Doula’s Advice on Advocating for Yourself During Pregnancy

June 21, 2022 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 4 Episode 4
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
A Doula’s Advice on Advocating for Yourself During Pregnancy
Show Notes Transcript

From pregnancy to birth, to raising a child, we all need a lot of love and support as moms. During this episode, journey into the world of wellness surrounding women’s health before, during, and after pregnancy with Mama Glow founder, Latham Thomas. She shares more on how we as moms can feel empowered and strong during these often challenging times and tips on how we can advocate for ourselves.

Chrissy:

Welcome to raising healthy families with Moms Meet and KIWI. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and chaos of life with little ones in the healthiest way possible. Hi everyone, I'm Chrissy Kissinger, Chief Mom Ambassador and today's host. In this episode I'm talking with Latham Thomas, an advocate for birth equity who works to bridge policy gaps in maternal health and is the founder of Mama Glow. We're journeying into the world of wellness surrounding women's health before, during and after pregnancy, and how we as moms can feel empowered and strong during these often challenging times. This episode is brought to you in part by Gatsby chocolate. Treat yourself mama! Gatsby is the only low calorie chocolate on the market offering two to three times fewer calories than comparable products. Gatsby's seasalt extra dark chocolate bar is perfect for those seeking an indulgent chocolate experience. A hint of seasalt provides a savory boost to an already rich and decadent dark chocolate made extra bold and intensely delicious. With only 60 calories and two grams of sugar per serving you can indulge in Gatsby chocolate without any guilt. Today we're joined by Latham, founder of Mama Glow and Mama Glow foundation. Named one of Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul 100, Latham has cultivated her wellness practice over two decades. She served as a doula for clients including Alicia Keys, Anne Hathaway, Ashley Graham, DJ Khaled, and more. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post Vogue, the wall street journal, magazine, Forbes, women's health, essence and more. She's a proud mother of 18 year old DJ prodigy and music producer, DJ Fulano, and is an author of two best selling books, Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living And Crowning The Queen Within and

Mama Glow:

A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy. So thank you so much for joining us today. We're so excited to chat with you.

Latham Thomas:

Thank you for having me.

Chrissy:

Well, first, I'd love to learn a little more about you and what inspired you to start Mama Glow. You know, and if you can share more about your experience as a mom and how that led you to where you are now.

Latham Thomas:

Well, my son is now 18 years old, having finished his first year of college at a Berklee School of Music. I'm, you know, nearly two decades into this parenting thing is about to be 19. And so as I think about two decades ago, being pregnant for the first time in New York City, and navigating a world that did not have the internet in the way we know it today, that we didn't have smartphones, we didn't have apps, we barely trusted the internet 20 years ago. And so I think about the great changes, and also the strides that have been made in terms of access to information and support that exists now that didn't exist when my son was being when my son was born. And in my experience, leading through my pregnancy and into the early postpartum period, I was living in New York, I was able to find an amazing birth center, a freestanding birth center where I deliver with midwives. And I knew in that time, when I had my son, I knew in that experience that I would do birth work. I didn't know what capacity but I knew I needed to support mothers and birthing individuals because what I had experienced was so amazing, you know, I had this incredible experience of feeling supported a feeling empowered a feeling, you know, autonomy and sovereignty and my body and feeling this ancestral connection and really like this transformative experience. That was my son's birth. And I felt like, you know, all the stories people shared with me were mostly negative. And mostly about, like, you know, the advice was like, Oh, girl, get the epidural and just really like, not thinking about what my desires might have been. But you know, in parting advice with something that most parents know, right, people just walk up to you and start giving you advice. It's unsolicited. And so I got a lot of that right, but not a lot of affirming around what birth can be, and, and what birth really should be, you know, and so, um, so I sought to really help transform the way that we talk about it, think about it, the way that we serve folks who are moving through the birth process. And, and, you know, I believe that a culture shift has taken place, and really one that also says enters a marginalized people and really looks at the Health gaps that we have, particularly United States. And so the work that I do today, which was really deeply informed by my son's birth, and in my experience of decades in women's health field, is, you know, Mama Glow, Mama Glow grew out of this need to support people on the sort of threshold of of, of transformation, really, which is this birth process. Right. And, and through that, you know, offering hand holding, offering support, offering education, advocacy tools, and ensuring that people come on the other side of this experience, feeling their most powerful, but giving them permission to be vulnerable in the process, or it is about vulnerability. And so the we seek to reclaim that, you know, in this process, we seek to reclaim that, that basic human right of every individual to have safety, dignity and belonging, and a sense of a sense of empowerment in this process. And so that's what we that's what we helped to help our clients achieve. And Mama Glow is a global maternal health organization and education company that serves doulas. So we have a global fleet, I would say of doulas, a community of doulas who serve all corners of the US and six continents. And we have also a support for families who come in needing a doula and so they can be matched with a doula anywhere. And we also have a foundation. In addition to our doula training program, we have a foundation that offers scholarships support, and is working to improve birth outcomes through various programs. One that we have with the city of New York called the citywide doula Initiative, where we provide doula services pro bono for families in need in 33 neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. And we also have a program with L'Oreal Carol's Daughter, that Services provides doula support in five major US cities that was announced aligned with the White House's Maternal Health Day of Action last year. And, and then we also work with universities to train the next generation of birth workers. And so our commitment is really to ensure that there's a future. And that future is, you know, us investing in a design that is sustainable and supports people when they need it most.

Chrissy:

And that's so important too, is that education piece and making sure there's advocates for for women, you know, especially as they go through this beautiful process of creating a human being and providing them with the tools that they need. So I remember I think I shared with you I have three kids, when I had my first my oldest, I there was not I mean, he's nine now and I feel like I didn't know what a doula was. I didn't even know it was a thing. So for those I mean, I know about it now. But for those who are not familiar, can you explain a little bit? How a doula is part of the birthing process and what they do?

Latham Thomas:

Yeah, so a doula is a non clinical care provider that offers emotional support, physical support, education, advocacy tools for you to navigate birth process and partner support if you have a partner present. And really, what my client calls it is like having a producer for your birth, like you would have a producer for your wedding, right? It's someone who is really there to ensure what I like to say is like help preserve the memory, right of that experience. And so it means I'm thinking about every touch point along the way. You know, every person you encounter every experience you have from the moment you enter into the hospital or the birth center, or the moment that the process ensues, at home, wherever you are, and helping you to navigate that. Right. It's being a liaison between your practitioners and the larger birth team and family. It's someone who sort of acts like glue almost right, but also serves as like a community, cheerleader or friend, and doulas sort of step into a gap where that exists because of how our society has been constructed. And so, you know, a lot of people don't have support their families, they live far away from their families, so they don't have access to people. Who could support them in the postpartum period, for instance, or who could even attend the birth. And so a doula is a professional who, who is aware of in and connected to these processes and understands how you know, birth can unfold and understands how to support you, as you go through big transitions and move through the birth process. So that you feel like you're not alone. You feel like someone is there to witness you. And also, you have someone who can anticipate your needs, right? That's the biggest piece is someone who can listen really well. And who can anticipate your needs? What does that look like, you know, putting a cold towel on your forehead, you know, when you're in transition, it's, you know, maybe like hip squeezing, you know, to give you counter pressure during a contraction, it's feeding you water in between contractions, it's going to be rocking with you side to side and humming, you might be combing your hair, it might be giving you mum, you know, little whispers of encouragement in your ears. It may be holding your hands through contraction, right? Like, there's so many ways that we provide the support and, and it's something that we can't depend on our doctors or nurses to do, right. It's not what they do. And we do have a lot of doctors and nurses and midwives who and public officials and, you know, policymakers, as well as you know, public health students that come to the program, and who try to learn those soft skills to bring back into the spaces where they work. But typically, these are not skills that, you know, the nurses or the nursing team is there to provide. And so a doula can, you know, be a part of the essential birthing team, right, and an offer the support that you otherwise wouldn't have, you know, as a result of, you know, how how labor progresses, you know, generally, for most people, so, you know, that person who can kind of just take your worries away, in a sense, right, who can help you feel more comfortable is really critical. So, yeah,

Chrissy:

yeah, I love that. Because even if you have somebody in the room with you, a partner or whoever a doula is someone that's trained and sees this all the time, right. So they know like, to your point, what kind of things to advocate for you. I have a friend who's a doula, and she was just explaining some, you know, things to me that I never would have even thought of in a hospital setting, you know, to ask for, like, I think it's called a squat bar, or, you know, different positions or things like that, that I never, ever would have thought to ask. So I love that I love you know, the ability to have somebody in the room with you that really can advocate and be your person. And I think I shared with you, I recently had my third child, she's seven months old. Now, we're finally getting into a good routine. But you know, sometimes after we give birth, rather than being able to celebrate the miracle that we just performed, after nine months of creating a human moms may be struggling, whether that be mentally from postpartum depression, or anxiety, recovering from a traumatic birth, the lack of sleep that we all very well know. And then physically recovering, whether it's from a C section or tearing or painful breastfeeding issues. We all kind of experienced that. And also accepting our new bodies, you know, the added weight, the loose skin, the scratch, the stretch marks, things that, you know, we don't always talk about. And then also women having to deal with going back to work. The list could go on and on. And I feel like you know, the fourth and the fifth trimester period is is really hard for moms in so many ways. It's not very often talked about. So how do you at mamma glow help the women that you work through or work with? How do you help them through this stage?

Latham Thomas:

You know, I think that the postpartum period has been culturally dismissed or erased from the narrative of motherhood. And there's a few reasons for this. But also, I think what we see, especially in the West, and particularly the United States is that motherhood can be extremely isolating, and having a baby and especially in the times that we're living through now where people have been in quarantine and, you know, have lived through a global health crisis, right? You really get to see what it looks like. We don't have adequate supports in place. Right, regardless of what kind of family configuration you have. And so imagine you layer on top of that having a newborn Um, it's really hard for people, right, so what we expect of birthing people right after they have, after they've given birth is to rest to heal, to go back to work to breastfeed to, you know, still be active entertain, like all these things, right. And really what they should be doing is being treated like how we treat an infant, you know, we should swaddle them with support, we should feed them, we should bathe them, we should hydrate them, we should hug them, we should keep them in the bed, keep the temperature warm, you know, and, and not leave them alone, just like we would not leave a baby unattended, we should keep, you know, close to them. And what we see instead is people come visit really, you know, early on, and then you never see them again. Or they don't come for months, or they don't reach out. And so because we've in this country, kind of built systems against caregiving. There's not a an impulse to care for people. There's just it's not there. And so instead of like looking after someone and really supporting them, once the baby arrives, you know, people are kind of like, okay, well, I guess you got this, right, you'll figure it out. But because we've also force people to do things alone, right, like parent alone as a unit, instead of community parenting and community raising of a kid, you have people who are struggling to do it by themselves, really struggling to do by themselves. So part of what we do is help folks before the baby arrives, really start to configure what community looks like, and what their birth village will be. Right. And we think about the birth village as folks who show up to support not just during once the baby arrives, but like ahead of that, right, like where people can make sure you have food, we're gonna make sure you get a shower, who's going to come over and wash them dishes, fold some clothes, you know, who can help you with nursing with changing diapers, maybe dealing with the other children in the home, like, it really cannot just be you and your partner, it needs to be other people that step in, right. And it's really hard for moms, and particularly women in general to accept help, right? It's really easy to give, but it's really hard to accept other people's help. And so we try to flex this muscle during the pregnancy, and help people learn how to configure their birth villages before the babies arrive. So that there's not disappointment and an upset when when their babies come in no one's there. Right. So we try to plan for this ahead. Another thing we do is really look at the perinatal mental health quotient, because a lot of focus in previous years was on postpartum depression and anxiety in the postnatal period, right? But what we see in terms of perinatal mood disorders is that anywhere along the perinatal continuum, someone can develop depressive, symptomology, or anxiety and left untreated, it will not go away. Right, it'll amplify. And so we want to get a handle especially because of what people have lived through. Want to get a handle on a mental health and mental health supports that we can put in place to ensure that folks feel like they have what they need, right to thrive. And also they have the right people to talk to when they don't feel like they like everything's okay. Right. And so instead of waiting until the baby arrives and waiting for folks to, you know, be to a place where it's heightened, like why don't we address it during the perinatal continuum earlier on, you know, and prenatally. So, that's something that we're also looking to support people. So that on the other side, right, they don't feel as as alone. But I think also, another thing really is ensuring that folks feel empowered to make decisions and have self trust. You know, there's a lot of people who give advice and tell you what to do and, and then you get really confused with what decisions To make or what direction to go with, with your health or the baby. And I'm a big proponent of, of really, like developing self trust, and having people have their own sense of self trust. So listening to what their intuition is telling them, if something doesn't feel right, listening to that as wisdom, you know, asking patients or clients to, you know, participate, not only in their health care, but you know, question and, and, you know, interrogate some of the options that are that are out there and ensure that they feel aligned with them. And so we're trying to help people develop this, this self trust, so that they can also make better choices for themselves. And this extends into parenthood, it actually helps them to become better parents when they have self trust. And so there's many things that we're trying to do. But, you know, I think generally, what's challenging around any support is that how, how the United States is structured, and how it addresses the parents, the postnatal period, is not set up in a way that really honors the needs, right of, of new parents. And so, you know, with one in four women going back to work 10 days after having a baby that's not supportive of breastfeeding success, as a as a quarter of a bonding is not supportive of recovery. Right? It's not supportive of mental health. It's like, there's so many things that are impediments to our success. And so it's always one of those things where it's kind of like a miracle, right? If somebody kind of comes on the other side of this, and feels okay, and feels good and feel supported, because it's so hard to feel those things, given the circumstances that are sort of set up, right, with people having to go right back to work people, you know, having to navigate a world where they're confronted with social media, and different body types, and people who snap back to pre pregnancy size in like, you know, hours, you know, right, like this kind of cultural expectation, and this body dysmorphia that shows up, like, all of these things make for people to have neuroses, right. And so I just think that, you know, we put a lot of pressure on Mothers and new parents and, and I think that people deserve to feel ease, and supported and loved in this time, and we should care for them, like we care for infants.

Chrissy:

Yeah, I love that so much. And I think I love your point of the perinatal care, not waiting until after the baby's born. And really kind of advocating and recognizing that our moms need help the entire way. I one thing I experienced in all of my pregnancies is during pregnancy, you know, everyone is like, sit down, like you're, you're pregnant, but then after pregnancy, it pregnancy, it's like, All right, so let's just move on and get that you know, like, it's just and while that's a part of life, like there still needs to be that support system, like you talked about, kind of talking through the postpartum depression anxiety piece? How? How would you recommend someone recognizing the difference between the normal hormonal fluctuation? And what point at what point you should seek help? I remember, you know, days, minutes after giving birth, I would just sit there and cry, you know, all my hormones going in and raging? And I remember my husband saying, Do I need to worry about this like, or is this normal? And I would just say, I don't know, is it normal? Because you feel you know, your hormones are going crazy. But I also know, at all of my pediatrician appointments with my daughter, I would just be asked, like, a quick form, like, Are you as happy as you always are? And I would fill it out. And that was that and I could easily either lie on that, or I could not answer it properly. So I guess how would you? What would you say? How would you recognize the difference between what's normal and what's not?

Latham Thomas:

Yeah, that's a great question. And then thank you for pointing out that you can definitely lie and like, cheat a test or you know, outperform a metric for a test that is dependent on you essentially, providing information that only you can provide. You know, I think that um, you know, in the early stages in the sort of acute postpartum period, which is at first like eight or so hours after baby's born, you know, there's so much going on. And, and what we like to see is a check in usually 24 to 48 hours after the first day of life, to go to the home, once everybody has gotten back home, so usually people are home, you know, by by day two, three, right of life, depending on the type of birth. And once they're settled home, you can really see also signs of how they're adjusting, right? What we look for is normal fluctuation includes crying, general melancholy, or a sense of being forlorn or just a little bit sad. And this can be, we call it the baby blues, right. And so, this is really most people experiences. And it's, it's not, we don't see any indicators that like, one part of the world more than another, or pretty much everyone is impacted by this because of our biology. Right? Now, if they lose is not, if it's left untreated, meaning like, if you are navigating the blues, and it's continues, and you do not have support in place, it can become exacerbated, and it can lead to depression. Right? But it could also just end at the blues. You know, for most people, you might see that they get adequate care, meaning right, in that period, they're met with support and warmth and good food and rest and family members and folks who feel helpful, right? And, you know, they're able to connect hopefully bond with their babies a little bit and they feel good. Right? And, and in a few weeks, you know, the blues, few days, two weeks of blues, like resolves itself, then you have a feeling for some people where it's like, you know, they don't enjoy, the things have been used to, like, watching a Netflix like looking forward to something like there's not any looking forward, right? Am I looking forward to watching a movie or going outside or having breakfast or getting out of my pajamas or taking a shower or like, I'm not looking forward to any of that. I'm actually the opposite. I recoil from my life and the things that sort of bring me pleasure, but also that, you know, keep me together, right? Having disinterest in those things having disinterest in the baby, right? having thoughts of harm of the cell for the baby, you know, having a general like, it's really hard sometimes to, by the way, get up and get a shower. So I don't want to say, use that as a marker. Because a lot of people like I couldn't get a shower today, myself. That's normal, right? But the desire to take a shower should be there, right? Like the desire to get up, brush your teeth, take a shower, like most of us have that desire, like, Oh, I'm up, like, let me go get up and pull myself together. And then there are people where they cannot get out of bed. Right? Or getting out of bed feels like oh my god, like such a chore such a uphill battle, right? Just laying here. Right? Like is all I can really do. Right? That's a difference, right? That's depression, right? And so depression can also look like, you know, very rapid weight gain or beer, whatever weight loss, right? You know, after birth, a can look like behavior that's erratic, you know, so these are things that we would want to train partners to look for and look out for. So that they could also indicate because they're there when a doula isn't there, right, or the care provider. And so we need to have an open line of communication to be able to say, hey, yeah, something's not right. You know, I'm noticing this behavior, that behavior, we talked through this thing, and, and then being able to talk to that person about like, you know, what are you noticing about how you're feeling? And, you know, how can we get you help, because we'd like to get you help, right and focusing on trying to get help. So it's important to know that it is normal to have blues. And while while depression is also common, right? Threshing is also very common. And we want to ensure that people know that it's common, that they're not alone in it, but it can be addressed. Right, it can be addressed, and and in addressing it, we can actually impact on it in a positive way. So it's important that if, if you who are listening or if someone that you know or love Have is feeling that like themselves, that it is important for you with the language that you have, and in the way that you can express it. Talk to someone who can help you. And it may not be that you talk to a therapist first, it might mean it might be a friend that you can find it might be a family member, it might be a spiritual, you know, leader or pastor, it might be, you know, an elder in your community might be a friend. But you need to tell someone so that they can help you with the resources to find the best help that would serve you, right. And there's so many options available to people. And there's so many configurations of therapies, right, like you don't have to do, like we don't always have to move in, in the route of drugs, like some people cannot function without them. And other people, you know, can do a combination of therapy and medication. Some people are good just with therapies, right? So it will be important for you to figure out where you are on this continuum and what you need. And really apply your health history to like your current situation, and ensure that you have a provider that really, really gets you and can support you through the process. What I can say is that it's become there is a mental health crisis in the United States. And so it is really hard to find therapists it really is. So I'm not going to pretend like it's a walk in the park, because it's not, it is really difficult. And it feels like speed dating, when you're talking to people because you probably don't usually choose the first one that you meet. However, it is really important to find someone that you feel connected to, which is why I say doing this work while you're in the pregnancy is so helpful. Because you do not want to have to interview with people and try to figure this thing out when you're in crisis. Or when you're in deep need of the support. You want to already have established trust and be able to connect deeply with your therapist and you can work alongside your doula, by the way to support and action, make actionable, some of the recommendations of your therapist.

Chrissy:

Yeah. Well, you talked a little bit about how you know a doula is really there during pre partum, perinatal postpartum she's she or he is your your support person essentially the whole way through for women who are unable to you know if they get a doula if it's, you know, financial, or they just aren't interested in it. What do you typically recommend on advocating for ourselves to our OBS to our doctors, I know, a lot of times I did not have a doula for either for any of my births. And I remember just, I wasn't sure what kind of questions to ask my doctor. Now by the third time I kind of had it down. But, you know, there, there was definitely situations even when I was during the birth, there were things where I wasn't sure if I should ask or advocate for myself, or just kind of listen to the doctors and do what they're telling me to do. So what do you recommend if someone's not able to hire a doula? or have somebody like that with them? How people can go about supporting themselves and advocating for themselves?

Latham Thomas:

Yes, so great question. You know, advocacy is like such a lifelong process. And it's something that we it's like a tool that we use that we sharpen all the time. And so I think about advocating, I think about advocating inside of spaces where birth is taking place, but also in every aspect of our lives. Think about when you go to get a hair cut, or you go to the dentist or you go any place that you go where you're receiving a service, usually ahead of that service, you're going to ask questions about what's going to happen, what to expect, you know, there's a lot of information that you'll be gathering before you let a service unfold, right. And so similarly, if we think about, think about it through this lens, if I was going to, you know, if I was going in for, you know, any treatment, or if I was at my birth and I'm inside of the hospital, the biggest thing that you can do for yourself is be prepared to ask questions and use your voice. And there is a really powerful tool that we love. It's an acronym called brain. And this acronym is wonderful because it invites us to explore or a deeper understanding of what consent looks like and informed consent inside of birthing spaces. And it allows us to practice giving and revoking consent, right? And so and it also allows us to make an informed choice. And so the acronym brain stands for essentially asking questions around any type of procedure or treatment. And when we're asking the questions we're asking about the be the benefits are the risks, a alternatives, AI, intuition, and that's really important, because we want to tap our intuition, we're asking a question, right? How it feels. And nothing? What if we do nothing? And then, yeah, so brain, right. So when so when someone brings to you, you know, hey, we're going to run Pitocin. Okay, what are the benefits? What are the risks? What are the alternatives to doing? This? Was my intuition telling me? And what if we did nothing? Right. That's we run it, we run that through. And the other thing I would say, the major question that I always bring in and have clients ask is, is there a medical indication for this? Is there a medical reason, right for this? Because everything that's going to take place, you need to understand why. And so I would love to know what the medical indication is for us to do this thing now. Right? Is there something that's telling you that we need to do this, right? If there isn't, then maybe I don't want to do that. But if there is, now I have information, right, instead of things just happening, right? A lot of folks will talk about how they felt like things happened to them. But they can't really explain what happened to the process, because nothing was spoken. And so part of this experience is that people have to feel empowered, in decision making in the post process to they feel like they were part of it, that they had a say, in the process as well. And so part of having that say, is being able to articulate right, being able to say, Listen, you know, I would like to do this, or it would please me if we did this or actually don't want to do that, right? Being able to have the the voice to say that and also to be able to ask the questions to get the answers that you need to make a choice. Right. And so running through the brain, right, reading through that acronym, is a really great way to, to kind of check in with yourself and your partner or your birth team to feel through a question and make sure that that feels right for you. And making sure that you get the adequate information as well, right. And if you're met with defensiveness, if you're met with you know, dismissiveness, like that's also a sign of something, right? Our providers should be willing and happy to provide us with adequate information that suits our needs, right, and makes us feel comfortable. And if our providers aren't able to give that to us, then we need to question like, you know, what the relationship is with, you know, our birth team. So these are all things I'd like people to think about right, making sure they feel most comfortable with who they've chosen, or who they've been directed to work with. And being able to establish a sense of trust. I can't tell you how many times I've written scripts out for people so they can go talk to their doctor, and they've practiced it so they can feel comfortable. Why? Why don't you feel comfortable? What is the culture that you're stepping into that makes you feel uncomfortable to ask a question to somebody that you're paying for a service? Right? So we need to shift this culture. We also need to ensure that people who are going into these spaces when sometimes they don't feel as comfortable, do feel empowered to ask the questions they need to feel their best and to have the best experience was possible. Because like you said, if they aren't going in with the support of a doula or someone else who really understands the turf, then they do need to feel like they can use their voices in ways that a doula would write in in support of them. Yeah,

Chrissy:

I love that brain acronym. And I wish I knew that before. I went through my third birthing process, because you're right, you have to kind of consider all aspects and being sure to ask those questions is so important and not being afraid, right? I feel like often, at least for myself, oftentimes people say, Well, they're doctors, they know what they're talking about. And they do right but but they may not know what's best for you at that moment in time. So really knowing the best questions to ask for and questioning that is great advice. I want to circle back to a conversation that we we started to have about the idea of moms bouncing back after baby. You know, I feel like there at least again, my experience when when you know you're pregnant, everyone tells you Oh, eat what you want, you're eating for two, the baby wants it. But then it's almost like as soon as they're the baby's born, everyone always focuses on you losing the baby weight and getting back in shape and feeling good. And that's not always an option for moms, between breastfeeding and sleepless nights and caring for other children that you may have and running the household. What would you recommend is a way that we can set healthy and realistic goals for ourselves, when you know, we're trying to work towards a more balanced version of ourselves a healthy balance between, you know, getting back in shape, feeling good about ourselves being healthy, but also not trying to pressure ourselves into being that that perfect human as soon as you know, we birth our child.

Latham Thomas:

Yeah, you know, I, I think that it's unfortunate that we live in such a culture that is so focused on perfection and on getting back to being a certain way, you know, the beauty thing, the beautiful thing about becoming a mother and moving into this new phase of your life is that you shared a part of who you were to become this new version of yourself, and you don't have to go back to that person. And so in a sense, it's freeing in the sense, it's scary, right? Because you become someone else. And that new person has different needs, and desires sometimes, and also different lessons to experience. And one of the lessons that I feel like is available to us in this time, is one around our relationship with time, right? You know, there's so much that we learn about trying to multitask and produce and produce and produce and work and work and, and I think that, you know, time is not really interested in being managed, you know, it's not like time doesn't want to be managed, like we don't have to manage time. Instead, I think unit tasking trying to finish one thing, not trying to do 10 Just doing one thing. And committing to do one thing, I'm gonna do just one thing, and I'm going to do it from start to completion, I'm not gonna put 1020 things on my plate, and give myself this one thing to do. And that's just answering this email today. Or if it's reading, you know, a chapter in this book, or taking a walk like one thing, and don't do a whole bunch of things. At the same time, I'm going to walk in and talk to my sister and then get the groceries like, I'm going to do one thing, right? I think this lesson of just slowing down will help us to pace and not feel as anxious. Also, I think this idea of, you know, a balance also is really, like so overrated, right? Like, we're all striving for this thing of like, okay, everything's gonna be perfect, right? Perfect balance, right? When it's imbalanced, it's like this, right? It's like, this kind of straight line, everything is smooth, right? It's all that's like also flatline. Right? No balance. No, it's It's movement, it's dance, it's equilibrium. It's dynamic equilibrium. And dynamic equilibrium is about us being in space and in relationship to all the things that are happening in our lives. And so you know, what, like, as soon as you get all the dishes done, and the kitchen is clean, and the food is put away, and everybody's in bed, guess what, you get a phone call that somebody you know, like, had an accident at their hockey game that you gotta go, usually, it's like, these kinds of things happen, right? Or you find out that like, you know, there's a snow day and you got all the kids in the house or, you know, soon as soon as anything is, like kind of complete, here comes another shooter drop, right? And so, it's like, you have to also move with that energy, right? Like, if, if there is, you know, like, it's like, we're the kids have like a school project, the energy funnels or direction to help them get that thing done. Then that thing is done. Now I'm back to what I have to do, right? It's like we have to just think about our lives and that it's juggling. It's it's tightrope walking, right? And with tightrope walking. The really cool thing about the people who do that I used to be obsessed with the circus. The tightrope walkers the way they get across, okay, is that they hold a pole and that pole throws them off balance, if there was an off balance, so everything units thrown into our life is throwing us off balance. And guess what we're finding our way back into equilibrium. So, yeah, we might have to catch something over here and a shoe may drop over here, and we may be moving to accommodate those things. And at the same time, we return back to a place that is about grounding for us. And so we want to establish what that is first, right? When establish what is my normal, what is my what feels good for me, so that when I do have to funnel my energy in the direction of caring for a sick parent, or funnel, my energy, the direction of taking care of my new baby, or whatever it is, when when things subside? Or when there is a moment of reprieve, like, Where do I come back to? Right? That's important to establish what is that safe space where there's that safety net look like? So that I can always come back to that, and establishing practices that allow us to check in on a moment to moment basis to make sure that we're doing okay, and so it's not just on a Sunday taking a bubble bath, right? It is also like today, like, oof, I didn't nap right. Let me go lay down for 20 minutes just decompress like I'm tired. And recognizing that and then acting on it. Right? Oh, I needed a little snack. Let me stop now and go get a snack. Like why force yourself into hunger? I'm thirsty, drink water, right? I'm getting tired. Let me like do some energy, do something to get myself energized, whatever, some people do coffee, whatever you're doing, but take care of yourself on a moment to moment basis. That is the self care not just okay, the kids are lying down, let me get 10 minutes. No, like, in this moment, I need a minute, in this moment, right. And then we also teach the children, this is how we take care of ourselves. There's many ways to take care of ourselves, by the way. And when you check in with that, when you're when you're tapped into that, that's super important. Because then you know how to do it in front of your kids as an example to your kids, you know how to be your best version of yourself inside of every space you're in, right, including parenting. So, so I want folks instead of really trying to, you know, move into this, like, Okay, I gotta be my best and let me get this done. Not an externalized experience. But this internalized, more internal focus of recalibrating oneself after having a baby, a finding home, like what is home cleat look like now that I have a baby or multiple of them right around the house. What is his home plate situation? Where am I most grounded, right? And how do I check in and take care of myself moment to moment, right? So that I can be a better version of myself from for from my family from my work life? But for me, right? How do I do that for me. And, that's where I want parents to really focus their energy like, because if they can do that, if they can really turn inward, and also bring the focus to self. It's like, it's something that we don't ever do, by the way. And it would be so fulfilling, right to actually pour into oneself. Right, ensure to meet your needs, anticipate your needs to do that would be revolutionary. And so that's an invitation for all parents to try to do that. To to establish a new way of being in relationship with their themselves. That is it about, you know, breaking themselves down and wearing themselves out, right and tiring themselves to the bone, but actually nourishing and nurturing and fortifying and, and recovering and giving themselves a space to do all that which is deeply necessary, especially after having a child as you know. Mm hmm.

Chrissy:

Yeah, I always say that. I've always said that where I it's important, at least to me to be able to get away even if it's for an hour or 30 minutes. It makes me be a better mom to my kids because it gives me a chance to kind of reboot and, and kind of recenter myself and I always laugh that feels like moms only get massages once a year on Mother's Day. That should be all the time right? Like it should be whenever they feel like they need to. So I love that perspective. I love your advice. And just wanted to say thank you so much for joining us today it I could talk to you for hours on end I learned so much you had some great advice. So thank you so much for joining us.

Latham Thomas:

Thank you to

Chrissy:

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