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Understanding Postpartum Mental Health: Navigating Postpartum Challenges and Self-Care for Moms (and Dads)

Postpartum Mental Health
Understanding Postpartum Mental Health: Navigating Postpartum Challenges and Self-Care for Moms (and Dads)

Navigating postpartum Challenges: Self-Care for Moms and Dads

postpartum. Are you struggling with postpartum mental health challenges? In this episode, we discuss the importance of self-care and offer practical strategies for navigating this complex time. Join licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley, LMSW, and Jessica Bullwinkle, LMFT, as they share their insights and expertise on postpartum mental health, including coping skills, self-identity, and the challenges faced by new parents. Whether you're feeling alone or simply seeking mental health resources, this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in understanding postpartum mental health.

If you're looking for information on postpartum mental health, you've come to the right place. Our latest podcast episode, “Understanding Postpartum Mental Health: Navigating Postpartum Challenges and Self-Care for Moms (and Dads),” offers valuable insights into coping skills and tools you can use to manage postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, and other maternal mental health issues.

We also discuss mental health awareness and the stigma surrounding it, as well as the importance of seeking therapy and medication for postpartum mental health. Additionally, we share tips for self-care and offer resources for postpartum mental health education, advocacy, and recovery. Whether you're a new parent struggling with postpartum mental health challenges or simply seeking to learn more about the topic, this episode is a valuable resource for anyone interested in postpartum mental health and its impact on relationships and work.

We have an exciting lineup of upcoming podcast episodes that cover a wide range of important topics related to postpartum health and wellness. From the 4th trimester and postpartum recovery to postpartum depression, anxiety, and weight loss, we'll be exploring all aspects of the postpartum experience. Our experts will also be sharing tips and advice on postpartum exercise, nutrition, sleep, body changes, hair loss, and skincare.

We'll delve into the benefits of postpartum support groups and discuss common complications that can arise during the postpartum period. Additionally, we'll cover the importance of the postpartum checkup, the role of a postpartum doula, and topics such as postpartum bleeding, the postpartum period, sex, contraception, and breastfeeding. Stay tuned for these informative and engaging episodes!

What is postpartum mental health?
Answer: Postpartum mental health refers to the mental and emotional health of new mothers and fathers after the birth of a child. It includes a range of conditions such as postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
Answer: Symptoms of postpartum depression may include feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, guilt, and hopelessness. Other symptoms may include changes in appetite or sleep patterns, difficulty bonding with the baby, and thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby.

How common is postpartum depression?
Answer: Postpartum depression is a common condition that affects approximately 1 in 7 women after giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners.

What is the 4th trimester?
Answer: The 4th trimester refers to the first three months after a baby is born. It is a period of adjustment for both the baby and the parents, and can be a challenging time for new parents.

What are some self-care strategies for postpartum mental health?
Answer: Self-care strategies for postpartum mental health may include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking support from family, friends, or a therapist.

How can I find a therapist to help with postpartum mental health?
Answer: You can find a therapist who specializes in postpartum mental health by searching online directories or asking for referrals from your healthcare provider, friends, or family.

What is a postpartum doula?
Answer: A postpartum doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and practical support to new mothers and fathers during the postpartum period. They may assist with tasks such as feeding, diapering, and light housework, as well as provide guidance and support for the new parents.

How long does postpartum depression last?
Answer: Postpartum depression can last for several months or longer if left untreated. However, with proper treatment, most women recover within a few months.

Can postpartum mental health affect breastfeeding?
Answer: Yes, postpartum mental health can affect breastfeeding. Women with postpartum depression or anxiety may have difficulty with milk production or may experience pain or discomfort during breastfeeding. Seeking treatment for postpartum mental health can help improve breastfeeding outcomes.

What resources are available for postpartum mental health support?
Answer: There are many resources available for postpartum mental health support, including support groups, online forums, hotlines, and therapy services. Your healthcare provider or local community center may also be able to provide information on resources in your area.

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Ways to Unwind and Relax

Meditative, Relaxing, Mental Health Coloring books developed by licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley and Jessica Bullwinkle – Available on Amazon Today!


WMHP Season 2 Ep 2 PPDA

[00:00:00] Randi: Welcome to the Women's Mental Health Podcast with Randy and Jess, two licensed psychotherapists where we talk about women's mental health, wellbeing, and strategies for coping with life's changes and how it's all normal. You are

[00:00:13] Jess: in the right place, my friends.

[00:00:15] Randi: Welcome to today's episode where we'll be discussing the fourth trimester.

This is a term used to describe the first three months after a baby is born. We're gonna dive into what it exactly is and why it is so important to be aware about

[00:00:30] Jess: it. We're also gonna be doing a more in-depth series about the fourth trimester and postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety soon. So stay tuned.

[00:00:39] Randi: So find us and more information about the fourth trimester For moms on Randy and jess

[00:00:47] Jess: Have you ever thought,

[00:00:50] Randi: where did the term the fourth trimester come from?

[00:00:54] Jess: Where did all the anxiety come from After the birth of my child?

[00:00:57] Randi: Why doesn't society open up more about birth and the months after the first baby is born, or

[00:01:04] Jess: the second and third?

Because it's, it's all

[00:01:06] Randi: different. Why are we not having this conversation? Right.

[00:01:09] Jess: I'm still mad and nobody told me about mesh panties. Okay, so I feel like a failure because I'm struggling to connect with my baby.

[00:01:16] Randi: Do dads and moms also get

[00:01:18] Jess: postpartum? Then you know what they do? Yes, they do. Okay. What the fuck did I do?

[00:01:26] Randi: Right? Like, holy shit, I just had a baby and I'm not feeling this and that's normal. Right?

[00:01:33] Jess: Or when they hand you the baby and they tell you to go home and you're like, oh, I'm sorry, what? Mm-hmm. You want me to do what? Okay. I wanna get in my car and drive off a cliff. Yep. So I will say that if you are having thoughts, um, like any of these, um, it's okay to get help.

You can call 9 88 Mental Health Crisis line, or you can call 1 8 3 3 9 help for moms. Both are 24 hours.

[00:01:59] Randi: So what is exactly the fourth trimester for moms? And why is it so

[00:02:05] Jess: important? You know, I had never really heard this term until recently. I mean, and my kid's what, almost a teenager. Um, so this actually goes back into like, I think it's the seventies.

There's a pediatrician, uh, named Harvey Carp. He's the one that came up with the concept of this book, the Happiest Baby on the Block. Oh, I remember that. Right. Yeah. He's also the dude I think that made the snoo, you know that, that really super expensive special self rocking, like baby cradle. Oh, okay. Okay.

So that's him. So he describes the fourth trimester as the first 12 weeks after a baby is born. And the reason is, is that apparently we are one of the only creatures on the planet that has babies that can't walk and take care of themselves because so

[00:02:55] Randi: we're, we just have like, we've just gone through this whole process of like depleting our body of nutrients, of vitamins, of creating a human being going through what can often be a traumatic thing birth.

You know, it's physical, it's emotional, and then all of a sudden we're supposed to take care of this new human being that is relying on us 1000% for everything that they need.

[00:03:19] Jess: Right? Because we give birth to babies that aren't quite ready to be born yet. Cuz if we were to give a go through the whole process, they would never fit.

So, so basically, I mean, This is one of the, the hardest times of, of having a child the first three

[00:03:36] Randi: months, right? And most people are so focused on the wellbeing and the care of the baby that they forget about the mom or, and the dad too, right? I

[00:03:47] Jess: remember, like, it used to be so cool when I was pregnant, you can celebrate your belly.

People would open the door for you and they'd be smiling at you. Once you give birth, it's like you are an old shoe. And Seriously? Yeah. And they're like, oh, how's the baby? And I'm like, no, no. I'm up here. I haven't slept. I haven't slept. So most people do focus on the baby and not the parents. Um, I think there's a change happening now where people are starting to, like doctors are starting to ask more about the moms.

How is mom doing? How are the parents doing all the way up until they're one year old? Right? Because every time you go, that's, we're supposed to be checking in. How are the parents doing? This is a really hard thing, whether it's your first or seventh child. Every child and every birth is different.

[00:04:33] Randi: Yeah.

And every time, whether it, like you said, it's your first time or your fifth time, you have a new life. A totally new life. Yeah. You have a new title. If you're like a new mom or you are a mom of five. That's a new title. It's a new identity, it's a new structure. It's a new household. It's a whole new family.

And that's a lot. So a lot of the times you're just like, What the fuck.

[00:04:59] Jess: Right. I remember when they handed him to us, saying a few minutes ago, is that like they handed it to me and said, okay, good luck, goodbye. And I was like, wait, wait. No, no. Take, take her, take her back. Wait, what am I supposed to do with this baby?

And like I remember the next day I took her back to the hospital. Cause I was like, I don't think she's breathing right. I don't think she's breathing right. Mm-hmm. I was so anxious and we had such a traumatic birth that they were like, no, no, this is normal. And I'm like, this is normal. Are you sure? And then the doctor there had said, Hey, just a heads up, it was a female doctor.

She might have some blood in her diaper because of the hormones that you've had. Mm-hmm. And I was like, wait, what? What? Sure enough, next day she had a little bit in her diaper because of the hormones. And she was like, that's normal. And I was like, if she hadn't told me I would've taken her back the second day.

Been like, okay. I broke her already. What

[00:05:44] Randi: happened? And this is the thing though too, like you said, you had traumatic birth. I said I have had two traumatic births. I think birth is just traumatic, traumatic, traumatic. And we do not preface it that way. We're like, oh, it's like this beautiful seeing and like motherhood.

Like no, it's not. It's hard. It's grueling, it's painful, it's emotional, and it's never gonna turn out the way you fucking think it's supposed to. And it's been, you know, idealized in what like. Social media and movies and things like that, and it, it's not, it is, it's trauma, right? They're like, get your

[00:06:16] Jess: birth plan together and you're like, I just want to evacuate this baby.

I'm ready.

[00:06:20] Randi: And, and they say that all the time. And I have a love hate relationship with birth plans because like, I like to plan things out and have resources. On the go, so I know what to expect. But when these situations happen and you go in and have birth, all that shit goes out the window. And then you have had this idea in your head of how you think you want it to go, or you're envisioning it to go, and then none of that happens.

So then you're also grieving that process and that loss of what you assumed or you know, wanted it to be. And it's like, here you are.

[00:06:58] Jess: Right. And we wanna talk about how do you survive the fourth trimester, right? Mm-hmm. And I also wanna preface that don't be ashamed to feel any of these feelings during your fourth trimester, because this is a very hard and difficult adjustment period.

No matter how bad you wanted that baby, right? Or how wonderful your birth was, or how horrible your birth. Was whatever it was, it's okay to have all of these feelings,

[00:07:22] Randi: right? It can trigger other emotions or things you've suppressed in the past. It can bring up things that you haven't dealt with. Trauma.

Yeah, like from childhood, from other things you don't know. And so that's why this is. So important to have this conversation and talk about it in the open, and also why we wanna talk about the difference between just having some kind of maybe like mild baby blues, as they would call it, like kind of feeling down and having full blown postpartum after you've had birth and that you are.

You know, can't get out of feeling down.

[00:07:57] Jess: Right. And postpartum is not just depression. It can be depression and or anxiety. Some women don't get depressed, but they're so anxious and that's part of postpartum. And so we kind of, you say, oh, it's just postpartum depression. No, no, no. It's anxiety as well.


[00:08:15] Randi: And we talk more about depression and episode two, if you guys wanna give a lesson. Listen and episode seven about anxiety. If you want a little bit more in depth, talk

[00:08:26] Jess: about that. Yeah, and and I wanna preface that it's normal to have the baby blues after you give birth. Your body is going through all of these different hormones and changes.

So feeling a little sad or lack a little. We of sleepy. Oh yeah. Lack of sleep. L little weepy is okay, that's normal. But if it continues or if you're having thoughts like suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming your baby or thoughts of, you know, I don't wanna do this. That's when we start looking at some of the depression and anxiety.

And it can be diagnosed all the way up until your child is one year old.

[00:09:01] Randi: Right? So it's like long lasting impact versus like just kind of feeling down and out and tired. Couple weeks, you know, and stressed for a couple weeks versus like, this is not going away. Or you're having like ruminating thoughts that you can't get out of like, you know, you're.

Overstressed overthinking. You're in like a, you know, cycle. And so that's kind of like where those differences come in. Yeah.

[00:09:23] Jess: And you can be doing fine for like six months and then bam, you could end up with postpartum depression or anxiety. Mm-hmm. It can hit you, you know, after you think everything should be fine.

[00:09:33] Randi: Right. You might feel like you have a hold on everything and then it hits you at a left field and you're like knocked on your ass and like, but I shouldn't be feeling this way. I thought I had it all together and things were going good. And it's like, well, maybe. Things shifted, you know, or hormones changed or something else triggered, or there was a new life stressor and it, it brings it up to the surface.

So it's like that can be dangerous to have that thought that. This shouldn't be happening, but it is. And like not wanting to face it.

[00:10:02] Jess: And also we're starting to look more at the partners. Mm-hmm. Not just, you know, women, is that the partners, husbands, wives, you know, the partners that if you have postpartum depression or anxiety, there's a.

50% chance your partner does too. Right. And so it's good to get help for you and for them. Yeah. And a lot of times what I see is when mom's not doing well, the partner is kind of holding her up as best the partner can. Right. And then once mom starts doing better, it creates this space for the partner to a kind of fall apart and then get put back together.

And so sometimes it's, it's, it's like, you know, he's fine, he's fine. And then once you get your stuff together, you're like, oh wait, he's not fine at all. He was just trying to make it, or she, you know, partners were just trying to make it so we were surviving. So, um, but let's talk about, you know, all of the changes that happen, right?

Because there's so many different, like, physical changes that happened, right? Yeah. Like

[00:11:03] Randi: we said, changes to your family, your life, your routine. So, I

[00:11:07] Jess: mean, we're talking about like, there's physical changes to the woman, right? Mm-hmm. Depending upon what her birth was and the, the, the healing process, you know, they'll say Six weeks you're supposed to go back to work, which I think is complete crap.

Or have sex. Or have sex, and you're like, no, no, no, no, no. Did you see what just happened? No, I'm not doing that. Let's, like, let's

[00:11:24] Randi: be honest. You're that, you're, you're, but jj, jj, your vagina was bleeding. You can have continual bleeding afterwards. You can have. Perennial pain I had tearing, you know? Mm-hmm.

That I had to heal from that actually almost took two years. And scar tissue and things like that. Like some women can, you know, are cut some women tear your breasts, you know, are like if leaking milk or they become hard and painful like, you

[00:11:50] Jess: know, and it's sometimes, and it. This is the other thing too, is if you're choosing to breastfeed, fantastic.

If you're choosing not to breastfeed, fantastic. Exactly. No shaming here. Oh, we want, no, all we want is a happy fed baby and a happy mom that is not stressed

[00:12:07] Randi: about either one. Yeah. And like, uh, Jess and I both had. Issues breastfeeding and it is very common. And I personally felt like a failure as a first time mom when this happened.

Yeah. And, but when I finally realized like I was doing the best like formula, feeding her and giving her a bottle, and I could not also not express the relief I had that. Her dad could help me with the feedings. Yes. And I could get more sleep. I was

[00:12:32] Jess: like, he wasn't helping. He was participating.

[00:12:33] Randi: Right.

Participating. Thank you. I was like, thank fuck. Like this is happening right now because I prefer this.

[00:12:40] Jess: You know, and I, I always laugh at myself because the formula box didn't tell me to warm up the bottle, so she got room temperature milk her entire life, and she was fine. And she was fine. And people were like, oh my God, that is so amazing.

You are so smart. Cuz now you don't have to find a microwave to warmer bottle. No, no. My

[00:12:58] Randi: daughter loved it cold. Like she, so I was like, cool, great. Like on the go,

[00:13:03] Jess: right? But it didn't send, warm it up, so why would I warm it up? Right. I was a new mom, I had no idea what I was doing. So I think there's more info out now than there was say, you know, 10/12/15 years ago about giving birth and, and having babies.

[00:13:17] Randi: Right? A hundred percent. But I feel like we still don't talk, even though there's more science, there's more research, there's more information. I feel like we just don't talk about it enough still

[00:13:26] Jess: and we don't normalize it. Exactly. And that's the other part is normalizing, right? Is that, you know, it's the, the making things normal.

And that's probably why I work with a lot of postpartum moms is that I just wanna normalize. That that thought they have of, you know, the, I just want to drive my car into the center divide just because I'm over it. Mm-hmm. But I'm not gonna do it. But I'm thinking about it. That is a very normal thought.

You know, it's a dark fantasy that a lot of women have when they're having postpartum anxiety or depression.

[00:13:57] Randi: Mm-hmm. And I think too, we don't think about, cause it's like. You said like, baby happy. Oh, they're so cute. They're so precious. But also that baby is also growing at a rapid rate. Yes. And they also don't know what's going on.

You don't know what's going on. Like they're developing vision, hearing their digestive system like so they can have colic, reflux, they can have a hard time sleeping like my son is. Almost eight and he still doesn't sleep. So it's like, you know, that is very challenging for parents to manage and it is important for you also have open communication with your partner and yourself.

Like this is a lot. I understand this is a lot. They're going through a lot. I'm going through a lot. So let's all take a deep

[00:14:41] Jess: breath. And you know, I also wanna encourage you if you think your baby is having a hard time follow, like feeding or you know, being fussy. Really reach out to your doctors and advocate for yourself and your daughter.

Or your daughter. Sorry, trauma there. Yeah. Your, your child. Because with my daughter, she had a tongue tie. Mm-hmm. And I couldn't breastfeed because of her tongue tie. And nobody caught her tongue tie until she was like, Two. And so now I tell women to take a look at it, make sure there's not a tongue tie, make sure there's not a lip tie.


[00:15:13] Randi: Right. And we talk about this in our gaslighting episode two, there can be a lot of medical gaslighting. Mm-hmm. Um, That's episode 13. Sorry. Sorry. I'm trying to work that in. Um, but same thing. So like when I first had my daughter and she, I felt like she hated, hated tummy time and I didn't understand why and she would cry and scream.

And then I kind of noticed like she wasn't moving her like neck a lot and she was sleeping in a certain position. Oh, okay. And I was like, what is happening? Well, it turned out she had torticollis. And so we need to do physical therapy, and she ended up getting like a flat spot, like on her

[00:15:53] Jess: head. So wait, tell people what torticollis is because honestly, I just figured out what that was a couple of months ago.

Oh yeah.

[00:15:59] Randi: So torticollis is basically like a strained neck muscle. Mm-hmm. So like, and this is very common for babies to have this because, uh, especially when you have a vaginal birth, is that there's a lot of stress. From them coming through like the birth canal, they're twisted in the womb and then coming out, and so their body can be like strained and like their muscles can be strained and they can be kind of like their whole body is off kilter.


[00:16:22] Jess: and it can happen very, very fast. Like it can be totally normal. And then all of a sudden, like your baby could get torticollis where they dis all of a sudden, like their neck kind of changes and gets stuck.

[00:16:32] Randi: I mean, you have to think about yourself as an adult too, like. I have this happen all the time, like I'll get, I'll twist a certain way and like I'll my neck or my back or my arm or my shoulder will kind of like shift and go out and I'll have pain.

Or if you've like been sitting in a certain position all the time or things like that. Or if you're ever 40

[00:16:49] Jess: and you sneeze wrong, yeah,

[00:16:50] Randi: same. And then pee your pants when you sneeze. That's a whole other episode about. Pelvic floor exercises anyway, so this can happen to baby too. So, but then I went into the doctor and she was like, I don't think like she has, I don't think she has a flat spot, I don't think.

And I was like, I think that she does like this. Her head shape does not seem like super normal to me. And they were like, well, fine, if you want to, like, well, you can go see the specialist. And this was just a new thing to have a dock band when she was born. 17 years ago. So I went to the specialist and they were like, oh.

Yeah, she does. She has a flat spot. They, they made her a dog band. She needed to wear it. They helped us with the physical therapy. It was like a, is that the

[00:17:32] Jess: helmet? Yeah, Uhhuh. Okay, thank

[00:17:34] Randi: you. Let's little cute little baby helmet. Yeah. Called it dog. Yeah, let's called wood band. It's, it's a helmet. And so, you know, but it wasn't normalized then either too.

Like I thought everywhere I went, like people would stare at her, like in this little band and I put like cute little like flowers and stickers all over it. But like, people were like, what? You know, and it was like, now it's more normal to see that out, but. What I'm trying to say is that as I scrolled off, was that listen to your intuition and push.

Yes. Because the doctor was trying to tell me, no, no, no. And I was like, yes, yes, yes. And then when I saw the specialist, they were like, yes. And you were right, you know, to push for this and come it in. And I got her. And then she was able to develop normally too, because then with the physical therapy, she was able to enjoy tummy time and move her neck and

[00:18:16] Jess: more.

Right. And that's, and that's what the tongue tie is that I had to go out. Side of the hospital, I had to get special testing and pay for it to prove it. Mm-hmm. I had to go back to the doctor who said, no, no. Oh yeah. I guess you're right. And then we had to go over to a surgeon. And she had to go into surgery because by two, she was like, you're not getting anywhere near me with that big tongue clipper thing, right?

Yeah. Mm-hmm. Well, now they use lasers to do it. Yeah. It's such a easier process. Yeah. And, and what you wanna do is actually go to your pediatric dentist. Mm-hmm. Not your doc. Which nobody told me. Right. So if you suspect there's a tongue or lip tie, go to your pediatric dentist. They are specially trained to look at that.

And with torticollis. The other thing is they do now is sacral cranial therapy for babies to release all of that when there is trauma. Yeah. And so there's a lot

[00:19:09] Randi: more That's a massage therapy. That's what I'm thinking about, but yeah. Yeah.

[00:19:12] Jess: But it's, yeah. But for baby's special and it's. The Sacro Crans, what they call it.

If you look it up, we'll post it. It's s a c.

[00:19:18] Randi: Okay. Don't try to spell it now. A l Crane, we'll, we'll link it on the website.

[00:19:23] Jess: Yeah. But it's, it's a therapy where it's meant to help them kind of release some of those nerves and twist and turns, which I had never heard of that either. So all of these things are changing as, as we learn more and we talk more openly about this stuff with our kids.

Mm-hmm. Randy and I, you know, yeah. We have kids who have some similarities, but we, there are so many women out there like, oh yeah, yeah, my kid had that. Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah,


[00:19:48] Randi: yeah. My kid had that. Yeah. Once you talk about it though, if you don't talk about it and you don't open up that communication and you don't make yourself vulnerable, you're never gonna know.

If anybody else maybe has some experience and sometimes opening yourself up to that conversation can lead to kickback from people who think they know it all or like who are, have their own negative, you know, connotation about it. But you're gonna find more often than not. You're gonna find somebody that you can connect with or somebody that's gonna help you through this process.

[00:20:19] Jess: I personally love getting all the information from somebody who knows all of it, who has never had a child, or who has never gone through birth, or who has never done this, and you're like, wait, wait. You cannot talk to me about birth if you haven't gone through this. How? How? It's like having a male doctor if you don't have a vagina.

How do you tell me? Yeah, kind of tell me what to do with

[00:20:37] Randi: mine. Well, and that's the thing I always say, I was the most amazing parent before I had kids. I had this list of I would never do, do this. Never, never fair. I would never, I wouldn't, I would, my kid will never, okay, yeah, just toss that all out the window, because pretty sure you're gonna give your kid red dye 40.

You're gonna let them, you know, run off. They're, this is all the things are gonna happen and you're gonna eat your words.

[00:21:00] Jess: Oh, my favorite story is how my daughter. Managed to crawl out of the cat door at age, like, I don't know. Oh, I remember you telling me eight or months. Yes. Dying. Her dad was supposed to be watching her.

She, she was in the room with him. Right? He's playing his game. We've got the, both doors are gated off, but the sliding door was open and we had a cat door. She crawled out the cat door and I'm like, I'm a good mom. I swear I'm a good mom. Yeah, right. We're

[00:21:30] Randi: good parents. This is the thing though, kids. They will find a way and they are fast.

One second, and then like, I mean, I've had my whole house flooded. I've had, you know, the list goes on and on. So you are not alone today. My kid, you know, spread 6,000 perler beads all over my living room. So, you know, you are not alone. Yeah.

[00:21:50] Jess: I, I, I remember hearing her and I was like, where is she? And I was like, Hey, where is she?

And he was like, she's right. Oh. Oh wait, rat. Found her almost in the front yard, playing in the grass. And we didn't even have a gate. Right. Like gate had been broken or something. And I was like, um, we're fixing the gates this weekend. Yeah. And he was like, okay, okay. And she was just happy as can be playing in the grass, you know, just, just babbling away.

And I was like, Oh my gosh. It It's fast.

[00:22:18] Randi: Yeah, fast. So with all of these physical changes and baby changes and everything happening and like trying to listen to yourself and like having other people like intervene, that comes with a lot of emotional Yes. Changes and emotional charge. And so this is huge, especially during this fourth trimester for moms.

For the months that follow. You can have mood swings, anxiety, like we talked about postpartum depression. And so it is so important to seek that emotional support, whether it's from friends, from partner, your partner from a therapist, from a mom's group, your pediatrician.

[00:22:58] Jess: Yeah. Tell your pediatrician if you're not doing

[00:23:00] Randi: okay.

Yeah, like any, tell anybody and everybody and see who you can kind of. Form who is, who shows up. Yeah. Who shows up for you. Exactly.

[00:23:10] Jess: And if you are struggling, please encourage your partner to also get help as well. Mm-hmm. Because sometimes the two of you are just trying to keep each other afloat between this baby, whether it's the best baby or a difficult baby.

Exactly. You know, it is. Difficult of, of trying to change, and then your relationship changes too. And so trying to stay connected with your spouse while trying to figure out what the house looks like with this additional person in it. Mm-hmm. Who, you know, let's be real. They're cute, but man, they're demanding.

[00:23:39] Randi: Yeah. And this leads into why self-care is so important to you and support, yes. Why yes. And support so important. And so we talk about caregiving in episode three and self-care in episode nine, but it is so essential for both mother, father, partner during this forced trimester for moms to prioritize rest.

Eating, hydrating, you know, moving her body a little bit and looking, you know, inward to care for

[00:24:14] Jess: yourself and asking for help. It's okay to say I'm asking for help. So a lot of us think self-care is like, oh, I'm gonna go to the massage and do all of this stuff. Right. No, it doesn't

[00:24:24] Randi: have to be that.

[00:24:25] Jess: No.

Sometimes that's actually self soothing. Mm-hmm. And really we want you to set yourself up that maybe you have, you know, the meal service coming in or. Grandma comes in and helps out so you can shower and maybe take a nap once a week, whether you think you need it or not,

[00:24:40] Randi: right? Yeah. Whether that's reading a book or just sitting outside for some peace and quiet.

And I always say too, if you are a new mom and you're overstimulated and baby is crying and you can't do anything, it is always best for yourself and the baby to set the baby down in the room safely, safely in their crib, and walk away. Take a deep breath. Go in your closet, scream, walk outside, get sunshine, you know, for like 15 seconds.

Take some deep breaths. Do you know a few minutes of mindfulness, whatever that looks like. You know, like throw some darts at the dart board, whatever you need, and then go back. The baby will be okay for those few minutes that you need to regroup. And this is important for your emotional care, your mental health care, and your self care.

[00:25:26] Jess: Right. You know, and one of the main hospitals where we live here has a whole program of don't shake the baby. Mm-hmm. Right. And I'm kind of like, okay, that's great, but let's talk about what we should do. Right. Right. I mean, I just don't like the whole don't shake.

[00:25:38] Randi: We do talk about like what we shouldn't do, shouldn't do, shouldn't do.

But like we don't talk about what we should do and how we can care for ourselves in the baby in the same process. You're right.

[00:25:47] Jess: Right. And like Randy, you were just talking about is taking a few seconds. The baby will be okay. Right. You're not going to harm the baby by walking away for 15 seconds and breathing and then going back.

Mm-hmm. And so it's very important. Or if you are at your wit's end, check in with your partner and be like, I'm out. I gotta tap out. Can you tap in? Right. And, and try to see,

[00:26:06] Randi: even now I still do that with my kids that are 17 and eight. I still, this morning I was like, I am going to blow my lid. So I walked my son over to my partner and I was like, please, Talk to him because I will, this is not gonna go well for me if I continue down this road.

And he handled it and he was able to be calm and then I was able to calm down and, you know, come back to it. But I still, I had to walk away,

[00:26:34] Jess: you know? And the other thing is too, if you can't, you know, you don't have friends or your friends aren't having babies yet, or. Whatever it is. There's a lot of online support groups too.

Mm-hmm. Um, I'm part of PSI International, uh, which is postpartum, um, international, I guess. Psi, yeah. Support International and Support International. Okay. Um, and they have support groups for men. They have support groups for women, moms, dads. That's amazing. They have online support groups that can help you, and so you can reach out to them and do an online support group.

And in therapy, I tell mamas, bring your baby. Don't worry about it. Yeah. Bring your baby if your baby's crying. Just put me down. We'll talk and we can walk. We, I will work with you and help you figure it out. Mm-hmm. As will a lot

[00:27:16] Randi: of therapists. Yes, a hundred percent. When I had new moms come into my office too, they would be like, I can't find a sitter.

I said, it's okay. Or they're breastfeeding. Bring the baby. I'll hold the baby too for you. Yeah. If you want, a good therapist will meet you where you are at. And these are great strategies for coping. Mm-hmm. And tools that you need if you are walking through this, or if you're on the opposite side, like you're a sister, you're a best friend, you're a partner, these are things too that you can help with the new mom or with yourself or with a family.

Do you know if you see that a mom is struggling walking through this walk? Yeah.

[00:27:53] Jess: And, and really it. It's, it's, I tell people that you have to wear clothes unless you're breastfeeding, right? Mm-hmm. You gotta wear clothes if you're breastfeeding. I don't care, you know? Right. I, I got moms who meet with me who will, you know, pump.

Yeah. And I'm like, whatever. I, I don't care. Yeah. As long as you are getting the help you need and you're using the time that you need, that is fantastic.

[00:28:13] Randi: Like, I lived in a rural area when I had my daughter at first. So there was not a lot of access to support groups. So I found an online community of moms who had all had babies the same month.

Mm-hmm. And to this day, 17 years later, I'm still friends with most of those women. That's awesome. And cuz they were such a huge support system for the first, you know, like almost like five years. Of her life, like as you're going through this and putting them, you know, through the, through the world, um, and trying to make you know them into a functioning human being.

It's a lot when you say it that way. And so we need that friendship, that support to know that we're not alone and things are okay. Yeah, and it


[00:28:55] Jess: becomes such a crazy time. Like I remember when I went back to work, I was so hectic one morning I forgot to brush my teeth. I was so thankful though that we had a dentist office in the bottom floor of the building.

Cuz I went there and I was like, um, can I have a toothbrush and some toothpaste? And it looked at me. I'm like, I'm a new mom. I totally forgot to brush my teeth. Yeah. I

[00:29:13] Randi: need some help. I mean, I still, uh, I'm not a new mom and I still sometimes forget that, so I'll keep, you know, extra little mini like toothbrushes in the car cuz I'm just running ragged all the time.

[00:29:23] Jess: Right. I it, but so fourth trimester is, yes. The first three months there is so much more. And I do think we should talk more about it in different episodes about postpartum in like the first year and the adjustment that it really

[00:29:38] Randi: causes. Yes. This conversation is not, Over. So come back. We're gonna have more episodes about this fourth trimester and postpartum and coping for moms.

And these are also resources you can use. Like I said. Now whether your kid is five or 10, sometimes we're still struggling because we haven't ever taken these steps. Um, To create a support system for

[00:30:04] Jess: ourselves. Mm-hmm. I, I always say we, we, it takes a village. You need your village. You need the people who will show up for you, uh, in their jammies at 11 o'clock at night or who don't care that you're sitting on their couch going, I just need to talk.

Yeah. And

[00:30:18] Randi: those people are out there. Mm-hmm. It's just taking that first step to find them. Find a therapist you can connect with. Find a lactation consultant that can help you, you know, find a good pediatrician, find a good, you know, baby group. It's out there. You gotta seek it out. We're gonna put some resources on our website for you too, and we will talk to you guys next week.

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Postpartum Mental Health Podcast S2 Episode 2

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