About two weeks ago, I hopped on a plane to Austin, TX for the BIRTHFIT Summit. This was my 5th and (hopefully) final trip of the year.
This was the first time that I got to be with almost all the BIRTHFIT Regional Directors. I'd met a handful of these wonderful women at a BIRTHFIT Coaches Seminar last year, but this was the first time I was putting faces with names and meeting people in real life.
The energy and strong sense of community started as soon I got to the PDX airport and ran into 3 other regional directors from the Northwest area.
I don't know if I can really put into words everything I experienced that weekend, but it became very clear that I found my community. There is something incredible about people gathering, from all different backgrounds, in a shared space with a shared mission. That mission is to support women and their non-birthing partners through the motherhood or parenting transition, from preconception all the way into postpartum.
What's particularly wonderful about this group is that while we all have a shared passion in supporting women, we all bring different life experiences, lenses to the table. Do we agree on everything? Absolutely not! But there is a mutual respect for our differences and a willingness to move through them with the idea that again, we are all here for the same reason to support women and improve their experience in prenatal and postpartum.
This weekend provided incredible training and I cannot tell you how AMPED I am to teach my upcoming Prenatal Series (our version of childbirth education). But what I was most surprised about was how much this weekend made me reflect on my own postpartum experience, how I am moving through this pregnancy, and how I want to approach it differently.
Key takeaways from the weekend:
Having a community is everything.
Put your own bias aside for a hot minute and you might just learn something new.
Don’t get so wrapped up in the daily grind that you miss out on your life and everything happening around you.
Simply planning for birth, without preparing for postpartum is like planning a wedding without preparing for marriage. Birth is one day (ish), postpartum is forever.
The last two points have already changed how I operate daily.
As a small business owner, I get locked into the trap of feeling like I have to do everything right now or it will never get done. I left my full-time job to pursue my passions in nutrition, fitness and wellness, but also to spend more quality time with my family. But in all honesty, I tend to get incredibly wrapped up in the day to day grind that I forget to get slow down and ENJOY THE PROCESS.
Since summit, I’ve been more willing to take a day or even just a morning to drink coffee, play in the garden and connect with my family. And guess what? Business is still moving forward and I’m a happier human. WHAT? CRAZY! I know.
To the last point: postpartum planning is the tool I am most excited to share and to implement for myself.
I wrote a few brief posts about my postpartum struggle with body image, athleticism and really wanting my strength and stamina back. But I never really shared about the struggles I faced with postpartum depression and anxiety and the impact that had on my marriage. Not that I was trying to mask anything or only put on a happy face-- you know me I'm all about real talk. But I think it's because I didn't know how bad it was until I was finally coming out of it. It was one of those "oh shit that was a dark time" realizations.
If I'm going to be really honest, I was scared shitless when we found out we were pregnant again. Not scared of pregnancy or birth, but of that postpartum time. The first time around I'd had a mostly positive pregnancy experience, an uncomplicated birth, and I had high expectations for postpartum too. So it felt like a big blow when things didn’t come naturally to me as new parent and I felt like I had no idea where to turn, who to talk to, or even what to ask for in terms of help or support. It’s been an ever evolving and changing process to learn where my old sense of self fits in with my new role as a mom. There’s been a similar evolution in our marriage too.
Learning all about postpartum planning during the BIRTHFIT Summit had me jumping up and down, dancing, and shouting YAHHHS! * Most of this may have been in my head so I didnt cause a scene. But if my partner and I had a quarter of the tools we worked through during that weekend, I really believe we would have had a different postpartum experience.
My favorites for tips for postpartum planning:
- CREATE A JOY LIST! Add 10 free activities and 10 paid activities. These could be as simple as going for a walk outside or going out for dinner. It's up to you! Schedule one of these once a week.
- SCHEDULE COUCH TIME EVERYDAY. This is 20 minutes for you and your partner to just connect as human beings and maybe not talk about poop or feeding schedules.
- MAKE SPACE FOR ALONE TIME. Schedule this for both yourself and your partner. It can be twenty minutes or an hour or an evening, but give each other a chance to recharge (and maybe do something on that joy list).
Currently pregnant? I’m offering two BIRTHFIT Prenatal Series in 2018. This comprehensive childbirth education series walks you through creating informed birth preferences, developing a plan for postpartum, and teaches exercises to ready your mind and body for childbirth and the motherhood transition.
Space is limited to 4 couples! Reserve your spot in our weekend intensive series: July 28-29 or September 8-9. Registration fee includes spot for you and your partner.