#163 | Postpartum Roundtable: A Candid Conversation on Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, Unmet Expectations & Spousal Challenges

June 1, 2022

Today's episode is another special roundtable, in which we sat with some postpartum women in Cynthia’s kitchen to talk about their experiences with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, arguments with their spouses, lack of professional and personal support and  unmet expectations. Amy is a young mother of three; Devon is a forty-year old mother of one. Through tears and some laughter, you’ll discover that much of what a struggling mom experiences in her early months and years is universal, and even with different lifestyles and networks of support, it’s the emotional journey of postpartum life that everyone can relate to.

To listen to our previous Postpartum Roundtable, listen to Episode #3:
Postpartum Roundtable on Isolation, Anxiety, Sex and Marriage


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  • Email: Cynthia@HypnoBirthingCT.com 
  • Text: 203-952-7299 to RSVP to attend a free information session live on Zoom. Upcoming dates are posted at HypnoBirthingCT.com. You can also sign up for our Fourth Trimester Workshop,  Breastfeeding Workshop or Cynthia's HypnoBirthing classes and weekly postpartum support groups at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Work with Trisha at:

  • Email: Trisha.Ludwig@gmail.com for online breastfeeding consulting services or text 734-649-6294 for more info.

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View Episode Transcript

If he was going to need to leave in the middle of me pumping Harper crying, a baby blowing out their diaper, and another month throwing up, and the dog doing something, I was so trapped. I was so trapped in this world where my husband got to go to work. I didn't have any reprieve. There was no one coming to my house. This is real. And this isn't just hormonal. This is a lack of sleep. This is a lack of help. This is a lack of identity. This is like I said, this is boredom. This is a burden. This is loneliness. It turned into depression.

And she walks in the room. She goes Hey, Amy, how you doing? And it looks like Well, honestly, I'm not doing very good. Oh, no, you're not. And I thought to myself, I was vulnerable. I was honest. I wrote I answered the questions. So honestly, that if I read them, I would be like she needs help. She needs somebody to hold her hand and say how can I help you? And she did it.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Episode Three of the Down to Birth show was a postpartum roundtable where we brought together three women who had never met before. One was a mom of one one was a mom of two. One was a mom of three. And we just put them down in front of this microphone. And they started talking and they covered as you can imagine everything from depression, anxiety, career sex, you know, intrusive thoughts. And we're so happy to have both of you with us today. Devin and Amy. Devin, you're turning up already. So that's how this goes. Okay, you both been in my Postpartum Support Group for quite a while. Amy since you gave birth to your twins Devin, I think since last summer. Anyway, let's start by having you in a Trisha. And I would just love for you guys to start by just basically introducing yourselves with your age your babies, so people can know who they're listening to you one of the first seven.

Yeah. So I'm Devon, I have Jane, who is 10 months old. We moved to Connecticut from Philadelphia when she was three months old, which I did not think was going to be so difficult, by the way. So we live here with my husband and our families are like four hours away and an hour and a half away. And obviously we have no friends. So there's but I have made a lot of friends through the support group. And through a mom's fitness group, which is really nice. But anyway, so I had Jane in June of 2021. I was 39. I had a four day laborer, all 40 hours of labor and four hours of pushing. And I didn't know what I was having. So having a girl was like amazing for us. Not that boys aren't great. But I knew that Jane would be my only one because she was the product of seven years of IVF. And it was just a really, really long journey for me. And for my husband. And I kind of came to terms with the fact that I was never going to have children. And I think I was okay with it. You know, I was never the person that was holding someone else's baby when I walked into your room. I was never volunteering to babysit, because I wanted to go out. And why would I want to watch your kids if I actually want to go out with you? That's not there. Anyway, so I loved other people's kids, but I just you know so now that I have Jane I moved to Connecticut and I never realized how isolate i i understood that women felt isolated. stay at home moms felt isolated. You know, there's books and movies and everything about it. But um, I didn't realize how just like, bored and lonely I would feel and that like this little human being was such a burden on me. I had no idea like what to do all day. I didn't know anything about weak windows. And it seems like people constantly ask me about that. I don't even know what that well that is it must be ridiculous. Have you done leaping sleep patterns and patterns and what you're doing developmentally with your baby during the wake? Time either Tommy's and are they putting themselves to sleep, are they putting themselves to sleep as a big one in, in their crib during the day. And I have a baby that loves to be awake and loves to look around.

But basically, what you're getting at is like, on top of feeling bored, lonely, isolated, it's like, oh, and I'm doing this wrong. Always. I've been doing that this wrong since the day she was born. But she's been so healthy and happy that you're doing a great job. How am I doing a great job, and I'm doing everything wrong. And you can't, you know, I think I made the mistake in the beginning of having too many resources. I reached out to everyone, you know, all my friends who had kids, anybody that had kids. So I had all of this feedback coming in. And a lot of it was sort of like at that point, then unsolicited negative feedback and opinions and confusing. I felt like in general, I went from being a successful, independent, functioning adult, to being like a baby myself, and having absolutely no idea what to do from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed, I cannot make a decision. I can't think straight. And you don't I mean, it just all of a sudden, it's this whole new world that like no one really told you about.

And I don't know if you were aware of it at the time, but you you qualify for many risk factors for postpartum depression. So IVF, quote, older moms, you know, I reject that kind of language. But that is how that is how they measure older moms. And I think both of those are for the same reason expectations, right? You want something for so long. And then a move is a big risk factor for postpartum depression. And of course, a long, difficult labor. Breastfeeding. I mean, Devon, you were basing a lot of those and, and then I think when I met you, you told me that the mom had sent you a picture was on Halloween. Like, this is what we're doing to celebrate. What are you doing with Jane? And what did she do with them? Remind me, she took her baby at this point. They're four months old, I guess she took her baby addict to the baby's butt into orange paint, and then dipped it onto a piece of Cooper's Yeah. And then she drew like the little like, the the twig, the brown twig that comes out of the pumpkin and this, the stem. And when she sent me the picture, I thought to myself, you're drunk, right? You could be doing this is what she said to you. Like, what activity? Are you?

What are you doing with Jane this Halloween? And I thought I'm literally turning 40 in? Well, no, I just turned 44 days ago. And I literally want to put my baby down on the ground. I don't even care. Oh, she is. And I want to walk out that door. And I never want to come back. I did not buy orange paint, or green paint or brown pen. I don't have any paper. And I am not doing a craft with Jane. But it made me feel like I was abnormal. You know, I'm a crafty gal. I went to design school. Why am I not doing that?

Before we get into Amy introducing herself? Can you just respond to one question? I have you here you are several months later. And you just said at that moment you thought let me I want I would be what I'd like to do is put chain down I don't care where and leave the house. How do you feel saying that now? What do you what's your perspective on that now?

It's upsetting. It's upsetting. She's so sweet and so cute. And she always has been. But I was so trapped. I was so trapped in this world where my husband got to go to work. And I didn't have any reprieve. There was no one coming to my house at noon to make me lunch. There was no one up with me in the middle of the night. I was alone. And I wasn't because I have this husband, who was doing everything and cooking and cleaning. And he's such a huge part of our lives. And he's great. But He even didn't understand that my only escape from Jane was to put her down and walk out the door. And I threatened it one time and I think he thought I was crazy. And I was like I am crazy. You know like I am you know and I said to him one time I said nothing that I set your do is rational. And I know it but there's no way around it. It's the sleep deprivation.

It's it's like you're waving flags for him. I was waving flags. And it wasn't until I came out and said like I'm leaving these flags people. No one's doing anything about it. This is real and this isn't just hormonal. This is A lack of sleep, this is a lack of help. This is a lack of identity. This is, like I said, this is boredom. This is a burden. This is loneliness. It turned into depression and anxiety, it didn't have anything to do with those shifting hormones after you have a baby. And furthermore, when people say that it really bothers me, because as women, our hormones are shifting every single month, so don't just tell me that after I have a baby, your hormones are going to be a little off. Because every other month of my life has been tear free.

But it is true that postpartum depression is not linked to hormones. They say they don't know what it is linked to. But it really points to change. Like it affects fathers that affects parents who adopt and it can happen anytime in the first year long. I've Trisha went to hormones start to basically level off at what depends on birth after it depends if you're breastfeeding or not. You still have a very different underlying hormonal situation when you're breastfeeding. But it's actually supposed to be protective against postpartum depression when breastfeeding is going well, because oxytocin is a calming, relaxing hormone. But prolactin is an anxiety provoking hormone. And prolactin is the hormone that we need to make breast milk. And it's a hormone that makes us be high alert. It's the hormone that makes us here, every single thing that happens in the middle of the night. It's the hormone that makes us be extra aware of everything which can can you lean over into anxiety, there's both, you know, rights. And also when you wean off breastfeeding, there's a whole nother set of hormonal shifts that take place, so there's a lot to it.

Yeah. Amy, why don't you tell us about you? Next, okay.

My name is Amy. I am 28 years old. I have three daughters. Harper is just over three. And I have twins who are about to be 18 months old, which I've remembered today specifically for this. I never remember how old they are. Prior to having kids, I was an occupational therapy assistant. I worked in pediatrics with kids with special needs. It was my thing. I loved it. I was ready to go back to work after I had Harper. pregnancy with her was very tough. But I powered through it. I had her. And then I became a stay at home mom, which completely flipped the narrative for me. I was excited. It was nice because I did have those moments of I don't want to leave my baby. I want to stay home with her and take care of her. But now I have no interaction. My career is over. How do I continue my CPUs to keep my certification won't guess what I did it. So and that's just the way that it played out. Postpartum with her was interesting for me. It was not what I expected. We had a very successful breastfeeding journey. I took her to brunches I went to I took her to my girlfriend's houses. I went everywhere with that baby that you could imagine. I strapped around my chest and brought her everywhere. And when we decided to have the twins, not that you decided to have twins. It's not that I decided to have twins.

I had this vision in my head of like those Instagram moms. They've got a baby Taurus and went out with like a little hat. They're gonna be on a manicure. Yeah.

And I'm envisioning myself with this toddler and a baby and how beautiful was going to be and how fun and then I found out I was pregnant a week after I decided I wasn't ready to try to have more kids yet. Yeah. And then, seven weeks later, they told me it was two babies. It was a surprise.

And what happened in that moment?

Well, because it was COVID My husband wasn't there. He wasn't in the room. When you

got the news. He was not allowed to any appointment. So you've got the news about him without him. Okay. Yep. And she ultrasound tech looks at me and goes, Oh, it's two babies. And I said, What do you mean? It's two babies? Yeah, two babies right here. One, two. So I got in my car. Who are you looking at? So I got your right. So I get my car. And I FaceTimed my husband and I said, Is there a place that you could sit down? He's a police officer. So he's directing traffic. And he goes, What do you mean Sit down? Is everything okay? Yeah, everything's great. Everything's great. Don't even tell me it's twinsies AMI Yes, it is Matt. I'm a twin myself. I have a fraternal twin brother. So it technically, you know, runs in the family was it was I was anticipating? Absolutely not. I thought I was going to have one baby just like I had the first time. So then our world really flipped upside down because well wait. He said, Don't even tell me it's twins. You said as twins. What did he say next?

He said, Okay, well, here we go. Like that was it. We all knew what was going to happen. It was. It was bizarre. It was very bizarre. And I showed up at my mom's house. She lived near my doctor's office and I handed her my ultrasound is happy, ecstatic.

So some grandmothers can't get enough babies.

And she is that grandmother. Love your mom, but your grandma. So anyways, so my pregnancy with the twins was phenomenal. It was fantastic. I had them. I felt excited, nervous, scared, whatever, every single emotion in the book. And then I got home. And it felt like my life just went into shambles. Right before I had the girls. I reached out to Cynthia. And I said, my name is Amy. I'm having twins I saw about your Postpartum Support Group. I would love to join. And she was like, Oh, great. You can come this week. I'm like, Well, I'm actually having my C section that a few days. But I would love to come like after I go.

And I thought is this is someone playing a joke on me on my candid camera here. She's like, I'm having my what was it my babies on Thursday, and I want to join on Tuesday. And I did and I was I was there.

Thankfully, when I got home from the hospital, my brother and his fiancee were there. So they were able to help me with the babies. And my husband was home from work still. But it took a matter of weeks for my life to just literally feel like it was falling apart beneath me. I wasn't good enough for Harper I wasn't good enough for the babies, they neither of them could latch. I was pumping like a mad person. I wasn't sleeping. I was crying. I was dirty. My C section hurt, like, you name it, I was just going through it. And I was just trying to make it through the motions every single day and just keep telling myself it's gonna get better, it's gonna get better, it's gonna get better. And then one day it just hit and I had this horrifying panic attack. My husband walked in from the grocery store. The girls were in their high chairs. I think the babies must have been about three or four months old. And I was standing in the kitchen, shaking and sobbing. I couldn't breathe. I said to him, I think I need you to bring me into the emergency room having a panic attack. I can't be alone. And he had to go to work in an hour. Which is just, you know, and did he go to work? Yes, he did. That is a big unfortunate part of his career. There's been many times where he just he can't be there to support me because he's just not allowed. Well, you've had phases where he did the night shift. He did the day shift. He did double shifts. Sometimes he was sleeping all day. Yep. And you had to be quiet with the three kids. And then he would go to work and be out all night and you were alone during bedtime and thinner all the times he was working in the daytime and home at nighttime then it was double shifts. I mean, you've had you've been powerless over his schedule. Yeah, any change brought you so much new anxiety because right when you would get into a groove, it was all up ended again. Absolutely.

As soon as I would be used to him being home for dinner, being home for bedtime. Being home for the morning. It was oh, I'm on day shift. today. I'm on evening shift. Sorry, I have overtime. Sorry, I got ordered. And again, it's just a part of the life. But it made everything so much harder when I had no idea what to expect what time he was going to get home, what time he needed to leave. If he was going to need to leave in the middle of me pumping Harper crying, a baby blowing out their diaper and another one throwing up and the dog doing something because I have dogs too. And my family lives close. But everybody has their own things. My sister works. My mom has her stuff. So there was nobody that could ever be there and a drop of a hat. So when I had my panic attack, it was just so alarming to me. It immediately put up all of my feelers to start therapy and I wanted to go on antidepressants. So what did I do exactly what I was at Most of you, I called my gynecologist, right, how'd that go? That's what we think.

So I called them I get on the phone with the representative. And I tell her, I am having postpartum depression. I just had an anxiety attack yesterday. I'm afraid. I need to see the doctor. I will see her telehealth, I will talk to her on the phone. I don't care. I just I need to see her. And she said, Okay, Type Type, Type Type Type. Okay, we can see you in a month. Oh, my. Right. So I guess you're only in a crisis with three babies at home.

Absolutely. So I hung up the phone, and I just lost it. And I called my mom and I'm in hysterics and I said, I don't know what to do. I'm so depressed. I'm so afraid of how I'm feeling right now. I'm not okay. I need someone to help me. And I don't know who to ask for help. I don't know what to do. I've never been here before. And she said, Amy Teresa, you either get back on the phone with that doctor, or I'm going to go down there and talk to them myself. So I said, Okay, I'm going to be an adult mom, I promise that I'm going to do it myself. And I called. And I said, Listen, the last ladies I've talked to me, I can't wait for a month. It's not good enough. Okay, honey, hold on one second. puts me on hold comes back. Okay, we can see you next week. And my response was, that's not good enough. And she said, Well, do you want to talk to a nurse? Yes, I want to talk to a nurse. I want to talk to somebody. So the nurse called me back in a few hours. And she said, Okay, I talked to your doctor, she's ready to prescribe you 25 milligrams of Zoloft. We'll keep your appointment booked for a month from now and call us in the meantime, if you need anything. And that's what they said to me. And again, I got off the phone, and I just lost it. And I said what I mean, I'm not at the point where I want to harm myself or my child, but they had no idea. They had no idea what I was going to do when I hung up the phone.

Nobody even asked you those questions when he was a nurse. Nobody asked you those questions.

No, they were willing to let you get there. Absolutely. It was horrifying.

The thing that is so concerning. I hear this a lot with doctors, even with midwives, with family members with partners and husbands. It's like if the mom is crying for help, but she lets them know, well, I don't think I'm going to kill myself or the baby. The response is like, well, then you're good. There's so much suffering, shy of killing yourself or killing the bait like, there is so much suffering. That's such a crisis. And that always seems to be the response we get with Trisha and I had a woman with very severe she was in our group, Amy for a while Lisa came on the podcast, and it's out there. She has the episode out there. Same thing happened. She was telling her midwife and her husband and they were like, but you're not going to do anything. Right? She was sobbing, she was terrified of knives, scissors packing them out. She was not behaving normally. Yeah. Well, there you go.

Because you don't have a plan. That's right, what is what's the plan when you can walk over to that knife and slice your own throat.

But if you and if you if you don't do want someone you care about or a client or a patient you're responsible for in any way to want them to be suffering that much.

It's because of where the liability lies, the liability they have, they're liable. If you go kill yourself, they're liable. But if you they have cleared their that that's not going to happen, then you know, just when you can come in, we'll get this sorted out. But it wouldn't be difficult for them to simply give you a few names of other people to call a therapist or hotline, right. There's a free 800 hotline, a Postpartum Support International. They give you the survey.

Right when you're in the hospital, and you know how to answer the questions. You just say no because you don't want them to follow up with you. And then they give you the survey again, like six weeks, we're talking about the Edinburg, postpartum depression screening, which is free on the internet. But we've heard of doctors handing it to women at postpartum visits and then charging them $75 Because they filled it out in the doctor's office. It is free on the internet, my gynecologist and pediatrician charge for it. That is if your insurance doesn't cover it.

It is free on the internet. It's a downloadable page it's a billable service

that's outrageous that I don't make sense if you ask the questions analyze it and give some follow up bill for it. They're not qualified to analyze it it's that you you add up the numbers and you either fall under potential screening positive or screening night if they're they don't have they don't have this guy or not. Well, provide follow up recommendations on what you should do if you score too high.

I don't know they don't have that training. I mean, they are they they have resources. They just say shut it don't use it. They just It's like, and why is it at, as soon as you're in, you're in the hospital post immediately postpartum. And then at your six weeks check six week checkup. Because I think that my worst postpartum depression happened between months three and seven. No one gave me the study. No one gave me the flyer then.

Because they're not exactly right. That's exactly right. Because they're not educated or informed what so ever. They do not study postpartum anxiety or depression. This is what what did what was it? What did that support group do for you? You're still in it. You've been in the group for a year now? What role has that played for you?

Oh, my God downs. I mean, it's just been life changing, really. And I feel like anytime that I've thought, okay, maybe I'm ready to, you know, take a step back from it. My girls are older now. I just, it has brought so much relief to me. Those Tuesday mornings, even when the girls are crazy and running around and crying and like those days that I was still pumping and trying to, you know, manage the group and playing with them on the floor and having a heart for doing cartwheels over my head. Just to sit there and listen and be listened to, and be provided with nothing but understanding and open arms and love. And nobody cares. If you show up and like you don't talk, or you talk a lot. Or you. You know, tell them what you had for dinner last night and everybody where you say I think I have to leave my husband or or I say I think I have to leave my husband and I hate my kids.

Which probably came out of my mouth more times than I could even imagine.

But you the thing is that resource. It's so simple to have a resource like that. But what Trisha and I talked about so often is obstetricians. They know their thing. They know the medicalization of birth, they it's needed at times. They don't study nutrition. They don't study breastfeeding. They don't study early childhood development. They don't study perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. They don't study pelvic floor health. And that's all fine and good. We don't have holistic care in this country. Unfortunately, the problem is women just like you said, Who did I call my GYN? We think they are the go to. But when you realize you're so empowered to find all these other people in your postpartum life, I mean, acupuncture, chiropractic, who knows what it is, there's so many modalities, but we just have to tell more women build a whole team around you. You need a team of people around you. What do you wish they had done instead? When when you said can you believe this is all they did? Like? What do you what do you wish they had done instead?

Well, first and foremost, I feel like from the start when I went for my six week checkup, and they gave me the screening, and I filled it out completely, honestly. And I thought to myself, you're gonna say something, they're gonna lock me up. I'm embarrassed. I don't want to talk about it, right? Because I'm supposed to be euphoric, and love my baby, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she walks in the room. She goes, Hey, Amy, how you doing? And it looks like Well, honestly, I'm not doing very good. Oh, no, you're not. And I thought to myself, I was vulnerable. I was honest, I wrote I answered the questions. So honestly, that if I read them, I would be like, Wow, this, she needs help. She needs somebody to hold her hand and say, How can I help you? And she did it. And all she said to me was, well, if you feel like you need an antidepressant call me. Right, call me and they study medicine. So that's what they study. And let that not that that's the wrong choice. That is their only trick up their sleeve. It's their only go to, what we need to do is remove isolation. And you need to tell that woman's family members, her partner needs to know this is happening, that pediatrician needs to know her lactation consultant needs to know she needs that team of people in her in her personal life to know what she's really going through to.

And, Devon, to your point about, you know what if you don't feel it at the six week visit Well, after the six week visit your OBGYN or your midwife is really kind of no longer responsible for you. So they don't have that much concern for what happens at three months or four months or nine months down the line.

I actually did text my doctor back in Philadelphia this week. And I said to him, I have this issue. I don't know if like, I understand, you're not my doctor, I don't even live in the city anymore. If you don't want to deal with this, don't you know by all means, and I used to work with him at the hospital and he texted me back and he said I will always be your doctor. And I was like that is so nice. You know, like I don't have these big. I don't have major issues that I'm bringing to Him, but it felt like he cared. You know, it makes a big difference to me. Experience difference for somebody to just say that yeah, just know that, you know, you have somebody to reach out to. And you clearly were completely invalidated on your face.

So after that happened, I I had a telehealth appointment with my doctor, and they sent me a survey online to fill out how was your telehealth appointment? You know, answer some simple questions read us. And in the bottom it says please write if you have any comments. And I was like, crack my knuckles. Okay, here we go girl. And I wrote, I mean, when I tell you I wrote like this novel. And at the end of it, I said, please reach out to me, I need to speak to someone as soon as possible. Here's my phone number, here's my email, you can text me call me, I don't care, please get a hold of me. And a few days later, some higher up in the hospital called me. And when I got on the phone with her, I just, I lost it. And I was respectful. And I tried to be, you know, as calm, cool and collected as possible. So I could get my point across. And at this point, I had been in the group, I learned an astronomical amount from you that I could really just stand up for myself and stand up for other moms. And I looked into this woman and I said, I am disappointed. I'm hurt. I'm disgusted. This was my second birth at your hospital. I love your nurses. My doctor was great. Like, they were fantastic. But what happened to my aftercare when I walked in, and I told them that I was horribly hurting. I was afraid of how I was feeling. And they wanted to just give me an antidepressant and tell me to come back for my yearly exam. They didn't give me any recommendations for therapy, group therapy. Nothing they gave me nothing. Like I was just this tack on the wall. Oh, here throw throw any her medication seat. Yeah.

Did anyone even schedule a follow up after you started the medication? Nope, nope. And there's a lot of side effects to that medication. So you could be suffering even more? Yeah. Well, you know, Devin, she'll just have to call them they call us. We'll call you back in a month.

So she assured me that it would be a part of their training. And basically what I had said to her was, this is what I think you need to do. Put a poster next to your window where these women answer the phones. I know, their job is hard. I know they talk to a lot of people all day. I know people can be rude. If someone gets on the phone and utters the word depression, anxiety, I'm afraid. Red flag immediate nurse, doctor, somebody needs to get on the phone with them. They cannot be put on hold. They cannot be hung up on they cannot be told that there'll be seen in a month, a week, two days from now. It needs to be handled then. And they're Oh, I know. Mrs. Mehta check. Don't worry. We're gonna Baba, I don't care. I don't care. I don't want your promises. What I'm telling you is that I could have been ready to kill myself when I hung up the phone. And who would have been responsible for that?

All right. Let's get into some of your, you know, your relationship stuff with your partners. I mean,

I mean, I have it much easier than Amy. My husband works normal hours. We only have one child,

hold on. It doesn't matter what your partner does. It doesn't matter how many children you have. It is hard. It is life changing. It is no. Please don't ever say that to me, because I always feel for everyone.

Yeah, well, it's something I was actually thinking about today. Because like you said, it's hard. And I was thinking that term is like, it can't just be that black and white. Right. And this is kind of off topic from relationships a little bit. But it was funny, because then what I was thinking is like, I'll see someone in the grocery store, right? And it'll be this woman and she has like a blowout. And she like use like a wand. You know, like she's got like that, like the way gels gel nails. And she'll be like, it's just so hard. And I'm like, It's not the same hard for me and for you. Or a woman said one time. Oh, I also have a nine month old and I thought where is it? Because mine's here. And like you have the gels. And I just it's so it's funny because it's what you're saying like it is hard. No matter what. You know, even though my husband is done work at 530 and he's home for the remainder of the evening. It is hard it takes a toll on your relationship. I think the one thing that we have going for us is that well, a couple but we were older. So we weren't used to you know, when you and your husband got together you were like young, dating vibrant when it comes to sex like you guys are like really like in like it At the peak of this relationship, right, so like, my husband and I got to 39 and had a baby, so and we got married at 32. So we were already in a different stage of our marriage. Right? Like we had more of an understanding of what life is like, on an older and older couple was like, I don't know, you don't I mean, like, I just think it was like a little bit easier. Plus, we went through so many fertility struggles that were difficult, that it wasn't we never had that. I love when people say this, oh, you're gonna start trying to have a baby. That's fine. And you're like, Yeah, I'm sure it was fun for you. Or I'm sure you got pregnant by accident. Right. And so it's like, we never had that. So we already had these struggles of like, who's to blame for infertility? Right, who's resenting the other one for the infertility? So now that we have a baby, and our life has changed, it seems like we were almost prepared for that part. We were almost prepared for our relationship to struggle, rather than oh my gosh, we were the life of the party, going on vacation all the time to like, bam, we had a baby. So I will say that I don't even think my relationship has struggled that much. Which is definitely one positive.

You feel like you were sort of already in a place of struggling? Yeah, I mean, life and becoming parents in just a different form of struggle after Exactly, exactly. That's where's your situation maybe went from freedom and excitement and passion and youth to like, the rug is ripped out from under you?

Or you may have your children? Oh, my God.

I said I was 28. earlier. I'm 29. I'm turning 30. In July. I can't. Time means nothing.

I had them in your mid and late 20s.

Yeah, I got married when I was 24. I had Harper when I was 3026.

Isn't that crazy that we had babies 14 years apart? Like the female body I know can have a child within from 13

to 50. It's a long timeframe. I think I'd rather

30 than 50. Other ways?

I Disagree. Disagree?

Emotionally? Yeah, I don't know. Basically.

To answer that question, yeah, that's a very bad question.

I think in the support group you brought up to our bodies, and how like, I think Cynthia said, the one day that you look back on your body at a certain time you're like, oh, my gosh, I was so sexy back then. And I think that's the other part of when you have a baby so young, you still have that like youthful like energy and figure and beauty and everything. But I never considered like my body would change.

I feel you are grossly misrepresenting what I said. I am so I am so concerned that anything I say can be misunderstood. So greatly. Let me say. Cynthia, I remember the day you said we all used to be cute and sexy when we say that. This is what I said, I shared the story of a woman in my postpartum group. Her name was Melanie, she was lovely. And she was rocking her baby standing there chatting one day. And she's like, you know, I'm always I've always been critical of myself my whole life. I've always been critical of my body. I've always been critical of my looks. And just the other day, I was looking through pictures of me and my husband on our honeymoon. And she just looked up and had this beautiful twinkle in her eye. And she said, I looked I looked so pretty. I looked so cute. And I said to all of you, I promise you all if you take a picture of yourself to day, Now Amy remembers this. Not like shower or not. I don't care what you're wearing, holding that baby. Take a picture of yourself right now. I promise you 10 years from now you will look back and see yourself as so precious and beautiful. And you follow the thing. I always feel so dirty, don't mean you're going to go downhill you're going to feel stronger in 10 years because the childbearing years it's hard to feel fit and strong. You're gonna feel vibrant and strong in 10 years to but cherish who you are. And this self criticism is what I'm trying to get so no, but the thing is, is I don't think that I even have criticized myself since I had a baby like, I don't know, I feel like something does kind of change and you that you're like, This is me now. You know, like my boobs will never look the same. But so be it right Are they going to look the same at 40 that they did at 25? Anyway, we're always changing is that this pregnancy seems to accelerate certain things, or radically, dramatically change certain things. But honestly, all of life is changing. You know, my I was getting some gray hairs. A couple years. As you can see, I'm getting some gray hairs. And my daughter said something when she was a little girl, she said, she said, Mom, I don't want you to have gray hair. And I said, Why not finesse? And she said, Because you have dark hair. And I said, Well, right now at this point in my life, I have dark hair. But in many years, I'll have gray hair. That's, I'm old. And when I was young, I had your color hair, you know. So when we embrace this, like we're always changing, we really do suffer less. This is like rooted in Buddhism. In yoga, we the whole idea of attachment is so much. It's not just on ourselves, too. It's like I thought it Oh, a friend of mine went away this weekend. And she texted me and she said, I had a blast. I felt like I was 21 again. So of course on my walk this morning with Jane. I'm thinking about it. And I'm like to be 21 again to be 21 again, and I was like No, stop. It has changed. So marriage. Yes.

Um, yeah, I mean, my marriage was no marriage is perfect. It'll never be perfect. It'll never be, you know, the storybook that I envisioned or whatever. People tell you that you need to let no one Yeah, I like the one you see on Instagram. Yeah.

And I would say, you know, prior prior to kids, our marriage was successful. Loving, great fun, so fun. We were like that fun couple that everybody wanted to hang out with and be around. And we had parties at our house all the time. And, you know, it was just, we lived in such a different life. And when we moved into our new house, and we had Harper and I had this image of us, you know, the Instagram thing of, we have our baby, we go for walks, we do this, and we did those things. We did all of those things you might for hikes, we went on vacation, we took her out to dinner, but it changed the way that we interacted with each other. It changed the way I felt about him. I'm sure it changed the way he felt about me whether he likes to admit it or not, because he doesn't like to talk about his feelings.

A man who doesn't like to talk, right?

Didn't feel like it looks in the Instagram picture.

And, you know, with Harper it was it was manageable. We we worked it out the best that we could, because I only had the one I was still able to, you know, figure out ways to get my needs met that he couldn't meet at the moment, I will go to my sister's house to my mom's house. Go see my girlfriend's. And then after the twins came. I was trapped, isolated, middle of COVID. He was working like crazy because of COVID. We were terrified. We had no idea what was going to happen. He couldn't come to any of my doctor's appointments with me. And all of these little things that even he couldn't control. Right because of his job because of other circumstances because of other people. Everything felt like to me that it was his fault. I resented him so greatly for so many things. Like even before the twins came to Earth. And then, once they did, and I just fell into that depression and that rut of everyday is the same and I pumped for the twins for nine months. And exclusively. And it was a horrible experience. Just to be very blunt. It was horrible. I would cry and just you were constantly constantly pumping, constantly tethered to your phone.

Yes. And and I have to dis describe for everyone where we have this postpartum group on Zoom. And Amy is often muted, and I can't tell you how many times I've taken pictures with her permission. Can I sometimes just take a picture of you? Because she has had three children on her like the two and a half year old over her head and they all adore her. They're all smiling. They're like Mommy, I remember Harper took a toothbrush. I don't know where the toothbrush she was sticking it in your mouth while you were talking. And then the others are on you. You have had all three of them on your body. You've had this breast pump as well on you. I don't know God knows how many hours a day and when you would unmute yourself. It was like a wake up call to the rest of us because the noise from your home the voices of the girls would come through, you know, you, you've been doing this with a smile on your face most of the time, which I don't understand. You really have had the disposition to put up with it. And still, there's been so much suffering, because in the way we normally boil it down, it's like, because how many of your needs are being met?

None of them were being met, which was the reality that I had to face. I think, once I, that moment that I had my panic attack. It was, you know, really trying to figure out what triggered it? What was the thing? Because it wasn't that day. Yes, the girls were crying. I was trying to make my lactation cookies and feed them and do the dishes. And the dogs were barking and Matt was out grocery shopping. And it all hit me at once. And I felt like I wanted to run away. And I couldn't. And when he walked through that door, and he said, We'll aim I have to go to work. I, I was ready to kill him. Like, seriously, not just a figuratively like, Oh, my God, I want to kill my husband. I was like, This is it. I can't be with you anymore. And I signed on to the group one morning, and I said, I think that's it. I think I need to divorce my husband,

I think your head it would have been easier. Absolutely. For three girls well on your own. It's also that you can have a moment with your partner in those days where you feel like I don't know how I'm ever going to forgive this to remember the time he didn't change the diaper when you asked you do. You'll never forget that

I'll never forget that

Can tell this tell his tell the story briefly. But when it comes to as you can have a moment with your partner and like, I don't know how I will move on from this because I'm so angry. How will I forgive this and move on.

It's also that because you're seeing him every day, you have to deal with that resentment building up in you every day. And if he's not there, you're still doing the same stuff. You're still pumping, you're still taking care of the kids just the way you were before. But at least you don't have to feel the shit. You don't have to feel the anger. And your panic attack wasn't triggered by one moment. It was weeks and months of that feeling. Building up inside you being suppressed, repressed And just finally, the pressure valve released. Yep. Tell that story.

So we had a friend over would you like to tell that story? Oh, yeah. He's not going to enjoy that I'm telling the story. Because he hates that. I like to harp on it still. But it's something like you said, I just, it was a moment that I will never forget. And no, I don't forgive him for it. And he knows that I don't because it it hurt me. And it sounds so silly when you just say it to someone. So we had a friend over. And I was changing the girl's diapers, the twins. And I changed one and my hand to the other one to Matt. And I said here, you can change her. And he looked at me and he said, No. I'm not changing her. And I stood there like dumbfounded. Well, what do you say to that? I said, Matt, just change the baby's diaper. No, I'm not changing your diaper. You should have asked me nicer. And I and his friend sat there and just silent as can be. And I'm looking for somebody to say, well, you change a diaper for your wife. So what did I do? I change the baby's diaper because what was I couldn't leave her in a dirty diaper. And then it was over in that moment. We didn't fight about it anymore. It was just it was over. He acted like it never happened. And I hated him. I hated him in that moment. Absolute hatred. I couldn't believe that he had the audacity to tell me that he wasn't going to change a diaper while he's sitting there hanging out with his buddy having a fun time.

Because you didn't ask him nice enough? Because I didn't ask him. Like who asked me to change a diaper at all? Right?

Right. And it is it's it's a moment that is burned in my brain and I will never forget it. And when I think about the growth that we have had since that since that day, I still go back to thinking if he knew what he knew now, if we learned what we if we learned it back then what do you still do that? Absolutely. He would. Really, really, and I love him. I love him to death. He is a great person, you would still have to ask nicely. Yes. Well, I think I think what you're saying I'm kind of in the right moment, he would have totally jumped up and down. This is the thing like he had it within him to just say no, because it was just the right moment. Just the right friend was in the room. He felt like you know Clay I mean, what he felt he could claim in that moment. And I think it's honest when we can say, Yeah, I think they do it again, if we were in just that if just if all those stars aligned in that way, yeah, that's their character. We can let each other down in relationships terribly. Marriage is about moving on, despite those really painful disappointing moments, because to have a marriage without them is just like, I think that's impossible.

But you would like to think that your partner would be able to learn from those.

He probably he probably learned but I think what Amy's saying is while he has that quality, still, it could just be something else. Like he might go to the gym when I'm burnt out and he knew all week I would need a break on Saturday and he went to the gym like that'll be another way that manifesting that happens still to this day. I mean, this he gets his hair cut. He does his thing. He mowed the lawn. He does this luxury of mowing the lawn. I had one it's gotta be. Yeah, and sounds good. I'll do it.

I started mowing the lawn. I took a beer shirt off. and a half. Nobody bothered me. Perfect.

I guess what frustrates me the most is I do things right. I go out last week I went to a drag show with my mom, my sister and one of my girlfriends. We went out to dinner. We went to the drag show. I came home. The kids were asleep. Matt went to work. But it was planning. It took me a couple months. We got the tickets. I had to make sure he was going to be home from work. I had to make sure the girls had something planned for dinner. What pajamas are they in? What size diapers are they in? What do I need to do for the bedtime routine, blah, blah, blah. Everything is done. When I go away to New York City for the weekend. Same exact thing. Here's the schedule. The girls had a bath. You don't have to worry about bathing them great. He has a night off. He wants to go to his friend's house. This just happened a few weeks ago. I'm reading a story to Harper he walks through the door and he goes oh what Dan just texted me. I'm gonna go run to his house for a drink really quick. Okay, I'll be home in a little while love you. And the girls were asleep. It wasn't like I was in the midst of chaos. But I thought to myself, Oh, my God. Don't worry about anything. If my friend down the street called me and wanted me to come over for a drink. It would be like a production of well, what if the girls wake up or Harper is not asleep yet? You can't have it right? I don't have the luxury of just saying bye. I don't have the luxury of going to work and having an intelligent conversation or talk to a three year old all day.

Wasn't there something about going out to dinner before you had that event?

Oh, yes. Mentioned in group last week. Yeah, because he wanted to work. He wanted it's a lot of a lot of things come down to work. And he knows it. So I just speak very openly about it. He wanted to work overtime. And I said to him, Well, I want to go out to dinner beforehand with my mom, my mom and my sister and I never have time, just the three of us because we all have kids and families and whatever. And he gave me this huge spiel about how like he needed to work and he wasn't going to be able to figure out what shift he was going to do or what row job he was going to do. I said I just want to go out to dinner and eat a hot pizza and drink a beer without little Gremlins at my ankles trying to also eat my food or just like enjoy it while it's warm. Maybe look nice and have somebody look at me and say oh look at that girl over there. Like that's all I just wanted that one night of going out enjoying myself having all of my girlfriends turning my phone off. And it just couldn't be that simple. It couldn't it couldn't just be have fun. Any I love you. You deserve it. And he he will say that and he knows that I deserve it. And he will say here's you know, here's a gift certificate go get your nails done, go see your brother go do this go do that. But it always comes with the extra staff because it's a production.

We talked about him saying but I can make overtime money. And I said why don't you go back to to Matt and talk about the value of you getting that happy you will come home I happier wife. Like this is what we wish all the like in this traditional heteronormative setup that we're talking about here. I always want to say like because these are like these are women who have married good people you've chosen well you married someone who loves you who's faithful who's committed to your family, but you want to say to these men like take care of her she will remember this the rest of her life and you will need her to take care of you when you're old. You want her to take care of you These women are not going to be dependent on you like this 20 years from now they're going to be really free, and really powerful and liberated. Because there it only looks this way right now. Take care of them.

Yeah. And I think about it often honest to god, I really do, I think, when the girls are, you know, middle school, high school, when they move out to college, how different I'm going to be how different my life is going to be. And sometimes it makes me wonder, is our relationship going to evolve from this? And I hope that it does. And I really feel strongly that it will. But I think that I also, in the future, I'm still going to have to process these years and these things, and go from there and see where it brings us. And I can only hope that it brings us to a higher place of understanding and love and care. But I don't know. And that's the truth. Is it gonna be enough? When it's just the two of us? And I have all of this time to look back on? Am I going to say, I want to keep continuing to do this and make our relationship to what it used to be before kids?

Or has it evolved into just something else evolves into something else, which could also

be really nice. I could think of you getting to share grandkids likes, definitely that's got to be great.

Well, there's the Next there's the next fantasy, right?

Just made another fantasy, the fantasy that having children be a certain way, what happens with those that diaper incident is in the future, even 30 years from now, if he has another blatantly selfish or slightly humiliating moment, like all you'll say, this is just like that diaper incident. So it's not that like you don't forgive it and move on you in marriage, you do forgive each other and move on from those things. They're unavoidable, you have no choice but to, but that you'll see that quality show up. There it is. There it is. So now I don't think you would have done it differently if we could go back because you're still doing that stuff manifested like this today, right.

And I think in the future without the kids and the extra things going on, I'll have an i do now have the have a better ability to stick up for myself to say what I need, not just what I need, but what I want and what to expect what I deserve. And in those moments where I don't feel so powerless, because I've got the kids clean to me and the pump and this and that. I can say No way, dude. Sorry, not gonna happen, where I felt like I never had that power to because I always have to be there for the kids and the House and the dogs. That's not always going to be my reality.

The vision I always have that is so meaningful to me. And I do it with myself, I do it with all of you. I wish we could all just sit with your partner's your wonderful husbands, you know, that easy. We all have wonder we don't say amazing. You can't call your husband amazing. You can't apologize for anything. Those are the only two words in the postpartum group. You cannot call your husband amazing. But I wish we could all just sit with your partner is and like look at a video of you walking down the aisle and say, Look at this bride. You married this bride. She wasn't a mother on that day. Can you just appreciate how she stepped up into this role? What she has gone through physically, mentally, emotionally up around the clock, juggling this taking care of that scheduling mess, like do you realize you married a woman? Who was this capable? And how easy she makes your life because of how well she takes care of your kids. I mean, I just feel like we all have to bow down I feel I feel that same emotion toward myself. I could look at myself walking down the aisle and say my husband married a business person, a business executive, like who saw this. Boy did I rise up? Right? I can't say that. I look at all of you and I feel that same affection. And I feel like if I were the husband, I feel like I would just my heart would be SPIEF swelled every day with that appreciation like i Wow a little did I know that Brian, I'm married would switch so much into this role.

And I know Matt always he loves to tell people how great I am and how good I am with the girls and I hear him tell people all the time. I don't know how she does it. She's so great with the girls. They love her. And first off I'm going absolutely wild inside but besides that, you know those moments where he has looked at me and like patted me on the back and said you know you're doing a really great job. Oh, I didn't feel You'll that way. I didn't look at him and say, Oh, thanks, honey, that was so sweet. You hate when people say I hate when people say that. I don't want somebody to just say like, Wow, good for you, Amy. You you're a rock star. Like, yeah, thanks. I know come to my house and clean the floor. Yeah, I really feel that way. So easy to say that. We've talked about the supergroup. I hate when people say this person is a good mom. And it's like, why the kids are alive? And he did she have a choice? Like, what's the what are the? What are the qualities that make up a good mom? You love your kid? Yeah, it means nothing. And people love to say it. They loved it or a real compliment. Exactly. Or another one is you do you? That's a great one. I'm like, what does that mean? I don't even know who I am. I have no identity. I used to be a nurse.

I have nothing. I live up to my own expectations now. And I don't like to think of it in a way of like, I don't care if I disappoint people, but I look at myself. And I can say I am a good mom. I am a good person. I deserve nothing but respect from people. Like it means nothing. You could tell me how amazing and beautiful and whatever. I really just, I just don't care. I don't Yeah, you care about getting your needs met. Yeah. And you

care about knowing that you trust that what you're doing is right. And so therefore nobody else's opinion matters. Absolutely.

But I think to tell a mom, you're such a good mom. Not only can it sound a little bit patronizing, even when it doesn't, even when it's very sincere. It does still ignore how she's doing and feeling in her life.

I think the biggest thing being able to be on your platform today is to thank you sincerely for everything that you have done for me in the last 18 months, right. It's been it's it truly has changed my life. I wish that I knew you before I started having kids. I think that my postpartum journeys would have been much different if you were involved. But I feel blessed and happy and loved. And I felt nothing but support from you. You have made me into the advocate that I am today. For women. I can't tell you how often I talk to other women about the support group that I'm in a support group I'm in Cynthia, you should listen to her podcast, you got to follow her on Instagram. And I use the words that you say all the time in group to lift up other people around me and provide support to my postpartum friends and my pregnant friends. And I think the biggest thing that I've just learned from you is that I have to be my biggest fan. I have to be my biggest supporter I have to advocate for myself. And I won't stop until everybody can do that. And I won't ever give up on that journey of just being the best that I can and helping other people to be that way too. And I really mean that from the bottom of my heart I can't thank you enough

Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

Look at what motherhood does to us. I know what it brings out and as hard as it is it's also made you look at what you just said about yourself. Yeah. Where are you where you've come from that day in the kitchen from these incredibly intense challenges. The hardest thing that you've ever been through has made you stronger than you've ever been before.

Absolutely. It's amazing. This is not what I pictured my life 10 years ago looking like and I have nothing but the utmost respect and pride in myself and the woman that I become that's powerful. Yeah, that's very powerful. Round of applause I'm not there yet.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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