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I share some of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned from Mother Teresa and how we can apply them to motherhood so we live with more peace.
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Hello, my friends. Today, I wanna talk about postpartum. And for those of you who are not postpartum or may never be postpartum again and you already know that, I want you to listen to this episode because you could just swap out postpartum for post surgery or post any major difficult thing in your life like someone passing away or your husband losing his job. It’s really just experiencing a difficult time with grace. but I’m going to talk about postpartum in this episode because I’ve gotten several requests for it and we do a lot of coaching on it in the community and I just want there to be a podcast episode that we can refer all of our friends to, hopefully, before they have a baby, but definitely after they have a baby. So thing about postpartum is that, first of all, if you’ve never had a baby before, you usually don’t have any idea what it’s like. And this is true of most difficult things, right? If you’ve never, experienced, and unexpected death in your family, you don’t know how you’re going to handle that. Okay. And, and that’s me.
I have only had a couple grandparents pass away after a long amount of being sick, and we knew it was coming, and it was just time, and it was peaceful. And so I have never experienced somebody dying suddenly and unexpectedly. And so I know about myself that I am not sure what that experience is like. I’m sure that there are a lot of difficult emotions and a lot of waves of emotions, but we experience these things in life. postpartum, surgery, losing a job, these difficult seasons, and we can flow outside of them and objectively say, yeah, those are difficult things to experience. Even if you don’t know what it’s going to be like to experience them, you can guess that it would be difficult. It would be challenging. And sometimes difficult seasons or situations come up unexpectedly, and then sometimes we know that they’re coming. So for example, you know if you’re gonna be postpartum. you know it’s coming.
But I think particularly in America, we do a really poor job of preparing women for what that actually looks like. And in my opinion, we don’t support them very well either. And so just knowing that postpartum is a thing and it’s a difficult thing will help you to wrap your mind around it. And I think one of the reasons why veteran moms don’t take new moms and tell them how difficult postpartum is is because, 1, it’s not difficult for everybody in the same way. There are many different flavors. of how postpartum can be difficult.
And I think we don’t want to scare them, right? Here they are, and they’re already thinking about labor And so to take someone and say, well, I mean, yeah, labor’s hard, but what’s really hard is postpartum. I don’t think that doesn’t feel helpful. And so I think we kind of keep them in the dark about it. And then when you have your first baby, And I’ll just speak from my experience with my first. I really struggled to breastfeed her and so that was a big challenge of my postpartum story, and I was by myself. I didn’t have any help. I had moved to a new place. I had one friend, and It was just that I was so lonely. None of my college friends had had children, and Then on top of all that, whatever unique life situations you have going on, you’re also just going to be exhausted in a way that you’ve never been exhausted before, and your boobs hurt and your lady parts hurt, going to the bathroom hurts, like you’re going through all of these things at the same time, your body, and then you’re trying to figure out how to keep this tiny person alive.
And then you’re also having to rediscover your marriage relationship with this other person and you’re trying to figure out your roles with your husband too. Are we both waking up in the middle of the night? What are we doing? And so it’s a lot. There’s a lot going on postpartum. And so even though I believe that everyone has a unique experience of it, I think most people would describe it as a difficult season. Now, after having 6 children, here’s how I think about postpartum and how I would get prepared for it if I had to go through it again. So for many babies, maybe even after the first one, I think it was even after the first one.
My husband and I were like, woah. It is really hard for 12 weeks. And we call the 12 weeks after the baby comes the darkness. Not that it’s negative when we’re not happy, but it’s like our life gets filled up with a dark cloud. It’s just hard to see clearly. I think that’s why we called It’s bad. It’s foggy. And so I’m tired. He’s tired. We’re trying to navigate life with a new baby. And so we would kind of like hug each other when I would go in to have a baby, and we would say like, I’ll see you on the other side of the dark I love you. You know those memes that say, like, I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry. I just saw one the other day that said, I’m sorry for what I said when it was 100 and 6 degrees outside. just thought that was hilarious.
And it’s the same thing. Like, we are not our best selves when we are exhausted we’re both exhausted, but then in addition to that, my body hurts so badly. And I want you guys to know that I am also just over the moon in love with my baby. I love the newborn face. I love newborn snuggles and kissing their face and smelling their feet and smuggling with them, like, I just love it so much. So it’s not bad, but it is intense. Right? And so I know that both are gonna happen. So my husband and I just acknowledge that this is a time of transition. It’s not who we are. It’s not how we’re gonna live forever, but there’s just this adjustment period that’s really intense. The other thing that I do or would do again is I say no to almost everything in that 12 week period of time.
There’s just this, like, idea that mom should snapback and continue to do things and I am just hard now on almost everything. I don’t leave the house usually for 2 weeks. And so depending on when the baby was born, I might miss 1 or 2 Sunday masses. But I don’t leave the bed usually for, like, a week. I am just all baby all the time. And part of that for me is that my body does struggle to breastfeed so much. And so it’s it takes so much of my focus and energy to be skinned to skin and to drink the tea and to just stimulate all the things to get my milk to come in. And that’s just so important to me that if my kids were in soccer, I would just be like, oh, you’re just gonna miss it. or my husband will take you. I just really am so protective of myself for those 12 weeks And I think particularly if you haven’t had a baby before or even if it’s your second or third baby, it’s scary to think. If I compromise right now, that’s the kind of mom I’m gonna be forever. Right? So let’s say that you’re having your 3rd baby and your oldest is 6 and your next kiddos 3.
And you think, oh, no. I don’t want my six year old to miss out on ballet recital stuff. and then present this new baby. And I’m just here to tell you that a six year old probably won’t remember much of that and will probably adore and love this new baby, and it is okay to protect yourself and to prioritize yourself in those 12 weeks. That is a mindset shift. It’s a mindset shift to say. I am going to really protect myself and my body at this time, and then I will go back to serving my family. And for me, It’s not zero until I hit 12 weeks. I experienced a real bump in energy and brain power at 4 weeks 8 weeks and then 12 weeks. And so my brain is coming back to me slowly throughout that time. And I just know that I’m going to be the best mom possible by not burning out. And I remember after I had my first baby, I’m kind of a strong willed independent woman, and I was just like, oh, we made baby things. And we went to Babies R Us on the way home from the hospital and I just, like, walked all around the store and then I got home and I was in so much pain and I bled so much And I was just like, Why did I do that? And I didn’t have to. I just wanted to. I just wanted to be strong. I like feeling strong. But now I know for me, being strong is saying no and being home with my baby. And I just think that if we empowered women more by saying like, listen, this is an intense experience. Take care of yourself. and you can come back and do all that mom stuff with your kids. After 12 weeks, 3 months is such a short period of time. And again, it’s not like I shut out my whole family for 12 weeks. Like, usually the kids are with me in bed looking at the baby, and I’m talking to them.
And eventually, I might even like to play cards in bed with them. Like, I’m doing stuff with the kids. I’m just not leaving the house and running errands and making, like, fancy meals. And so how you think about taking care of yourself will determine how well you take care of yourself. If you think taking care of yourself is selfish and it makes you feel guilty and you think it’s hurting your other children, I just want to know that that’s optional. It’s optional to think about it like that because instead you could just think, oh, this is the best thing for everyone that I take care of myself. And it’s such a gift to these other people to ask for help. Right? Like some other moms grocery shopping every week. And you could say, can you grab me these protein bars and drop them off by my house? If a new pregnant mom asked me that, I would be so happy to do it.
But we just, for whatever reason, live in a culture where it feels really hard to ask for things. and it’s not because the other people are reacting poorly. Like I’ve never asked for help and had one of my friends be like really Yeah. I mean, I guess I can do that for you. Just never. It’s just all in our heads. And that’s not totally true. I do wanna say I do know some people and have some clients that have parents that act inconvenienced when they’re asked for things. But there probably is a friend in your life who loves you so much who would be happy to help you. And then I don’t think we even asked our husbands for help, right? We either just, like, yell at them when we’re crying and we’re totally burnt out when we should have asked them 3 days before or we half ask for help and expect him to just know what we want, and then we’re disappointed and hurt when he doesn’t guess. the other half that we didn’t tell him.
Or we assume that he doesn’t want to help? And so how you think about taking care of yourself and asking for help in postpartum will drastically change your experience of it. And I just want you to know that there are no postpartum police. There are no rules. There is no one way to do it. Right? You get to decide what you want to do, and you get to change your mind. I know that food for me is often really challenging to navigate postpartum because sometimes I really want a lot of protein and then I’m like, how do we keep a lot of protein in the house? And then sometimes I want things that are really easy to grab, and I don’t even know. what I’m gonna want, but I’m gentle with myself and I’m gentle with my husband about it. And we just know that now. We just know that I’m gonna have the baby and then each time I kind of just like when you’re pregnant, I kind of just want different kinds of food.
Like, I just remember so clearly with one of the kids. I don’t remember which one, but so clearly that I just wanted hummus and chicken all the time. And that was kind of unusual. And so we adjusted into that rhythm. And then with one baby, my midwife made these oatmeal protein like balls that were supposed to be really good for bringing your milk in for getting your milk to come in. And so we’ve made those, and I had those. And so there’s just loving yourself through it. loving yourself through the unknown of a difficult season. And so let’s circle back to, you know, losing a job or somebody dying unexpectedly or being, you know, post surgery. If those are new things for you, it’s the same thing. You don’t know how you’re gonna do them, but we know that our default brain when things are difficult, it’s very sure that something’s wrong with you. And so your brand will be like, Something’s wrong with you. You’re screwing this up. You’re bad. Instead of just telling yourself, hey, this is new, and it is intense, and we’re just gonna have to learn how to post surgery. We’re gonna have to learn to grieve.
We’re gonna have to learn how to pivot after this job change. And I’m just gonna love myself through it. I’m gonna be gentle with myself. I’m gonna pray and walk closely with the lord. I’m gonna be a woman who is comfortable asking for help. These are just all things that will help you experience a new and difficult season? Well, because you’re gonna go through it anyway, but we just tend to increase the amount of suffering. We just make it harder on ourselves by talking to ourselves about it in an unhelpful way. So it’s just not helpful to say, right? Like, Oh, I’m just not very tough, or I’m gonna ruin my children. The other kids aren’t getting enough of me. I don’t wanna bother my friends. Oh, I’m so emotional and dramatic. I need to just lock it up. And this is how your brain talks to you. Isn’t that crazy? It sounds so mean. But it just is. It’s how our default brain talks to us. You have to do the work of redirecting your brain.
She learned, I love you. They’re doing an incredible job. This is difficult today, isn’t it? It’s a lot. How can I help you? What do you need? Can we ask for help? Do we need to rest? And like I talked about in the previous episode, we can look for Holy Spirit sparkles in the event, in the season that’s difficult. How is god blessing us? because my mind, you know, I really struggled to breastfeed all 6 of my children, and my mind is so upset about that. It’s like, why? I have hyper fertility and not the ability to feed my babies for my body when it just feels like everyone else can do it. And I feel anger and I feel shame. And We wanna feel our feelings. You’re gonna hear me say that all the time. We wanna allow your feelings to bubble up and feel them, but they only take 90 seconds. We wanna prop process them out and then go, alright, lord. Why? Well, how can I serve you here? How do you want me to show up? And I I just see how he was with me with each of those kids and They I breastfed them each for varying amounts of time and why it had to be that way. and how he loved me through it and gave me so much support. Even though I cried a lot, like, I just he was with me in those times. And I didn’t have this work then.
And so I think it’s just living postpartum with grace. I just love this word grace because it feels so soft and gentle. Grace with yourself, grace with the people around you, grace with the lord. It feels silly to say let’s have grace with the lord, but let’s be honest, we don’t. we’re kind of mad at him when we think it should go a different way. And so if you’ve never had a baby, spend some time talking to moms about postpartum, don’t be scared about all of the stories. It won’t all be your story, but just know it’s kind of intense. There’s some things And all you really need to do is to learn how to check-in with yourself and ask yourself, hey, what do you need? Because that’s gonna serve you no matter what comes up. That’s what it looks like to live postpartum with Grace. So I hope this episode was helpful. Please share it with women. You know who is about to have a baby or who has had a baby because you know that time, it’s so lonely. We feel so isolated, and it is a really intense time of transition, but I want you to have the hope that it it doesn’t last forever. It does get better and better. And just because it’s difficult, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. but that you can also just check-in with yourself and say, you know, what do I want postpartum to look like for me? And how can I make that happen? Alright, Mama. Remember, you were Made for Greatness.