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Stephanie and Dr. Elana recap the episode with Karen Kleiman on the topic of her new book Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts. They discuss why self care is necessary and not just a luxury, how you can figure out what you actually need to feel better, and how to support your mama friends who are struggling. This episode is full of great takeaways for any mama–whether you are currently experiencing some postpartum anxiety or depression or not.
We’d like to say a special thank you to May’s Podcast Partner: Coconu, an organic coconut-based lubricant. Get 15% off your order on their website with the code WHOLEMAMAS.
Stephanie Greunke 0:03
It shows that you, for sure, are not the only person that are thinking these things. We all have these thoughts in our head, and we all struggle with some degree of parenting. It’s not easy for anybody, and knowing that you’re not alone can help you feel more comfortable talking about it to other friends of yours, sharing about it on social media, going and seeking help from a therapist, and there are even therapists and hotlines out there that will keep things private.
Elana Roumell 0:35
Welcome back to Whole Mamas Podcast! We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence-based information, so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive, or navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we got you covered. I’m Dr. Elana Roumell, pediatric naturopathic doctor and creator of Med School for Moms, an online resource where I teach moms how to safely be a Dr. Mom.
Stephanie Greunke 1:01
And I’m Stephanie Greunke, registered dietitian and Program Director for Whole30’s Whole Mamas Club. I’m also the co-creator of Whole30’s pregnancy program.
Elana Roumell 1:09
We’re excited to recap the episode with Karen climate on her new book ‘Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts.’ And before we begin, we want to take just a second to thank our podcast partner, Coconu, which is a high quality organic coconut oil and coconut water-based lubricate. On last episode, Stephanie shared how important it was that we’re mindful of not only the food we eat, but the beauty products we apply to our skin. And I, of course, couldn’t agree with her more. And mamas, I’m going to get real with you. As you well know, lubricants goes directly inside our bodies. Our mucous membranes absorb chemicals much more rapidly than any other place in the body. Our skin absorbs about 60% of the chemicals we lather all over ourselves, while our vagina absorbs not only at a faster rate, but also more gets absorbed directly into systemic circulation. This is why as doctors we often prescribed medication as suppositories rather than orally or as cranes. We know the vagina will soak up the medication quickly, and this is why we could prescribe a lower dose of medicine. So back to Coconu. It is extremely important we choose a lubricant that has safe ingredients you’re okay with practically your vagina literally eating up. This means you definitely want to avoid lubes with parabins and petroleums. This also means we want to avoid loops that contain flavors and glitters or other weird chemicals designed to jazz up sex. And yes, moms these do exist just visit your local sex toy store. It’s a fun field trip with you and your husband, just don’t buy their lube. So personally, I had a great time trying out Coconu’s lubes, both their oil-based and water-based were both great. It gives me peace of mind knowing that what I’m putting inside my body is safe and it could still perform well. This was definitely a fun product for Steph and I to review, our husbands want to thank Coconu. This is definitely one of your favorite products for us to be partners with, so thank you to Coconu. It was a really great product and Steph recommend it. So Steph anything else you’d like to add?
Stephanie Greunke 3:13
Yes, my husband gives it the two thumbs up too, for sure. Talking about mixing business with pleasure, with this one. And you know, I had to laugh because I remember going and purchasing some of those flavored and different kinds of lubricants when we were in like college, so I’ve been there and I’ve done it too. So there’s no shame in doing that, but when you know better, you can do better and that’s why we love educating and sharing about what Coconu is up to. We’ve loved trying the products. I actually really love the coconut water-based one. I think that’s such a unique product and as we’ve talked about on different ad and as we’ve shared, it’s really important if you are trying to prevent a pregnancy or if you are using toys, that you choose a water-based one instead of one that has coconut oil on it. And what I have heard over the years talking to moms is that sex is hard to really get ramped up for when you are a new mom and sometimes you’re just not in the mood because you’re tired or you’re stressed. And if you are worrying about irritation that can come as a result of using lubrication that is more synthetic, that’s not fun either. It’s a major buzzkill and Coconu is great for this. They’re really mindful about the ingredients they put in their lubricant, so you’re not going to experience that irritation that you might find with other ones. So, love what they’re up to, love that we were able to try it, and I am a fan – I will be choosing it from now on. If you would like to try Coconu, head over to coconu.com and use code WHOLEMAMAS for 15% off.
Alright now on to our nourish yourself segment. So outside of trying these lubricants, what else have you done to nourish yourself Elana?
Elana Roumell 5:02
I love how you said it’s totally mixing business and pleasure, Anthony, my husband was so excited. We were like, well, we got to get to work. Yes, we do. So that was really fun. That was definitely nourishing.
But what I really wanted to share in our nourish yourself segment was actually what I shared for the first time in our introduction is that I have created a online resource with a variety of products called Med School for Moms. I don’t want to take too much time talking about this. If moms you want some more information, please follow me over at Instagram @drelanaroumell. This week. I’m starting to now share this little baby, or I should say the big baby, for the last seven months, Stephanie, I’ve been working so hard on building the content and just sharing with the moms. It’s so interesting, but what is so nourishing to me is that I’m getting to see a vision turn into reality. And there’s something so fulfilling about that. I think the two of us are visionaries, we are goal setters, you know, we really do commit and follow through to our visions. And it’s just like I wanna cry, it feels so good to finally just be able to share what I’ve been up to and all my hard work. I have literally poured hundreds of hours, I think I’ve worked harder on building Med School for Moms than I have even my own medical center. So, it is a HUGE endeavor and I’m just so excited to be able to like birth this baby once and for all. So anyway, that’s just exciting. And I’m excited to share more information via Instagram with all you mamas
Stephanie Greunke 6:32
Oh, I am so excited for you. I know how hard you’ve been working on this! I just cannot wait to look at it myself, and to have moms experience it and to really feel empowered with taking control over their kid’s health, and having options, and having just a one-stop shop for looking at ways that they can help their kids stay healthy and really treat their their kid’s illness when it comes up. So I’m pumped to talk more about this. And, I think you’re right, bringing something that is in your head to life to share with other people is such a gift. And that’s something that you and I both really, really believe in as we share our values or to share the knowledge. We don’t want to keep everything in for ourselves. Our goal is to learn so that we can teach others, and that’s what you’re doing with this program. And that’s what I like to do with our pregnancy program and future postpartum program. I’m so excited to see it! I just can’t wait!
Elana Roumell 7:31
Thank you so much Steph. And I just want to thank you for being a contributory instructor, you’re one of my Med School for Moms instructors. I pretty much gathered 10 of you guys across the country who really want to focus on helping empower moms and who specialize in pediatrics and/or pregnancy. So, I just love having you part of it. I love all of your knowledge. And I just I love sharing my network with all of you moms. So, thank you. Yeah, this has been such a labor of love and I’m just excited to continue to share. So thank you. Tell me a little bit about what you’ve done to nourish yourself besides use Coconu?
Stephanie Greunke 8:04
Yeah, well, I actually just got auto-enrolled in a kindergarten type of program. What we wanted to do, we’re moving next June. And so we want him to start kindergarten when he’s six, we think it’d be the best for him, just knowing his personality, is to push back and delay kindergarten until he’s a little bit older. And that works perfectly. If we move to Wisconsin in June, then he can start kindergarten at six. He’s a late birthday, he’s September when we moved to Wisconsin, and then he’s kind of older/oldest person in the class and he can just continue on at that school. But we needed something in the meantime, he is a little bit too old for where he’s at right now in this daycare preschool place. It stops at age five. And so we’re trying to find an option for him in-between preschool and kindergarten and we found this really cool nature school. It was actually hard to get a spot in because they keep the classes really small and, you know, it’s like more of a private program. But I’m so excited for him to do this nature school. He’ll be there Monday through Friday outside. It’s a 100% outdoor-based. And so they do education, they do teach them letters and numbers and help them read and get them ready for kindergarten, but it’s all play based and they use their environment as a teacher. I think it is the coolest thing. And I also think he’s going to teach me a lot about nature that I don’t know. The preschool teachers are talking about how they will talk about the different kinds of insects and animals that are out there and help them tie knots and I’m like, ‘I don’t know most of that stuff.’ So I’m excited to learn from him too.
Elana Roumell 9:45
So cool. I remember you sent me a link to the school because you were so excited. I’ve actually been really curious about that for my children too. A friend of mine showed me that like a couple years ago and I’m like oh my god, this is so neat. And what I loved about it too is they just say it’s rain or shine, like the kids they show up, and they’re outside and they play with whatever nature has in store for them. In this one that I knew about, that they changed locations. Is yours in one location or do they go in different areas of town?
Stephanie Greunke 10:14
They’re mostly in one location, but they’ll do a beach day and different field trip here and there.
Elana Roumell 10:18
The I was looking into you, literally have to drop off your kid at a different nature area every week so they really explore different places. But anyway, I just think it’s such a fantastic idea and I think Otto in particular, just knowing him, is going to eat it up. He’s gonna love it.
Stephanie Greunke 10:35
Yeah, hopefully he doesn’t eat too many things up that’s outside but he will thrive in that environment for sure.
Elana Roumell 10:39
It’s good for his immune system so it’s all good.
Let’s dive into the recap. I really enjoyed this. I just listened to it the other day and I ordered her book. I honestly think this is an incredible resource, Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts, that Karen put together for all moms, whether they’re struggling through postpartum depression or anxiety, or thriving as a mom. This resource is, I just think, an essential book for any mom and so I so appreciate you bringing her to our audience. So thank you Steph, really I think it was just so neat. I wanted to mention I loved right away at the get-go how Karen commented at our nourish yourself segment. Yeah, she went into how the word ‘nourish’ is such a better/worse use these days. I think she’s from a different generation than us and she compared how self care used to be associated with language like “self-indulgence” or “overindulgence” or being “spoiled” or she used those words, and while today it’s just much more accepted as a necessity rather than a luxury. It made me smile because you know, nourish is such a big word for me, I obviously have a huge significance for that in my life. The medical center I founded is called Nourish Medical Center right? So this word really inspires me day to day but I also I use this word to also help inspire my patients every day to really embody nourishing practices day in and day out. So I resonate a lot with the word “nourish.” And I honestly, I think it’s important that we just continue sharing with our community and other moms how to really transform self-care into a daily necessary practice, rather than thinking it’s still this luxury. So I’m just kind of curious from you, Steph, like in the last even just decade of your practicing your own clients. Have you seen more of this transition with women embracing self-care, seeing it less as a luxury and more of a nourishing necessity?
Stephanie Greunke 12:37
Absolutely, I think we are seeing it more even on social media and when I talk to clients, and talk to moms in our pregnancy program, they understand that it isn’t indulgent, it really is necessary. But I think we talk about it more often than we actually do it, right? It’s one thing to talk about the importance of self-care and make it non shameful, and not indulgent. But to actually take the steps to do the things that make us feel good. And that’s really what I consider self-care is doing things that make us feel good. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate spa day trip, or buying something really expensive for yourself. It could just be finding some moments of stillness and quiet and taking a longer shower than you normally do. So just making it really accessible. So yes, I think that it is something that’s becoming less shameful but I would love to see more moms taking action and in doing that in their daily lives and not feeling guilty about it, you know, figuring out what works for them, figuring out that what that could look like for them, and then asking for the help that we need to actually do it. Whether that is taking a step back from parenting to do some the small things, or doing it even if you feel too exhausted to do it. And what I mean by this is, I know at the end of the day you can just feel tired, and you’re just like, I just don’t want to do anything, even if you know it feels good for yourself. And that could be going to exercise or going for that walk or even taking a shower. Like, there were days where I knew I would feel better after taking a really long shower, because I’d been in the same clothes for three days, but I just like didn’t have the energy or motivation to leave. And I saw I saw a meme not too long ago, it was like, Oh, I guess I’m not the only one that feels like this because I was kind of like, ‘Am I just really that lazy? Or is that a thing?’ In the meme was this picture of somebody saying or I think it was like even just text and the person was like, ‘I don’t want a shower’ and them being tired. And then the next line was them in the shower, and they’re like ‘I live here now.’
I think we forget like how good some of these things can make us feel at the end of the day. And we’ve talked about how to approach asking for help with your partner on other podcasts and we’ve talked about how self-care doesn’t have to be this elaborate thing on other podcasts, but there’s still work to be done out there vwhen it comes to self care.
Elana Roumell 15:07
I do think we have come a long way. And it almost like pained me to listen to what Karen was saying about her generation. It used to have such like, shame and like, put such a wrong meaning on women taking care of themselves. Where, now we’re really fully embracing that. It needs to be part of our norm. Like, it’s a necessity, it’s not just a luxury. I’m so glad that we, Stephanie and I, are in this generation that can really embrace that because it’s just a sad feeling, if we’re always putting ourselves a second continuously. That would be a really challenging life, in my imagination. So I’m so glad we’re moving in that positive direction.
Stephanie Greunke 15:54
And similarly, you know, talking about the struggles with parenthood. I talked to my mom about this too. And I was like, ‘Did you ever talk to your other mom friends about it being hard as a mom?’ And she’s like, ;No, we just like really didn’t talk about that.’ And, you know, even like the stories that Karen shared in the episode about women keeping things to themselves, I think we are coming a long ways with that and being able to have a safe space to share our true feelings about what it’s like to be a mom. And one of the ways that Karen wanted to do this was by creating the hashtag #speakthesecret, and that hashtag has been a very popular thing that moms have been using similar with #motherhoodunplugged and #motherhoodunfiltered. Those hashtags help moms share and relate to one another on social media. Ilana, I know you are big on the topic of sharing, you share so easily and authentically, while others have a harder time with this. So can you give our listeners some advice on ways they can get more comfortable sharing or what a good first place to start is if they want to open up the conversation but they’re a little nervous too.
Elana Roumell 17:01
I love what Karen is doing already. And I think she’s seeing such a wave of successful outcomes in this. I think it really comes down to the fact that we’re normalizing what it takes to be a mom. Just like your meme said, like, once you saw like, ‘Oh, this other mom was tired and didn’t want to take a shower.’ it kind of made you feel like, ‘Oh, great. Like, I’m not alone. I’m like, the only one who literally felt like taking a shower was something that was not on her to do list because you’re so tired.’ right and making yourself wrong for that. So I think for me personally, getting comfortable with sharing has truly come from being so involved in some of the personal development workshops that I’ve taken. I’ve done a lot of landmark and a course called MITT and just various courses because I personally just love that stuff. One of the main things that they do in these personal development workshops is they share and they encourage us to share. And at first everyone’s kind of like, I don’t want to share, you know, like, this is uncomfortable. This is weird. But the more people shared, the more everyone got something out of it. And you would realize that even if it wasn’t you sharing and you just hearing other people’s story it made you just feel like you’re not alone made you feel like, ‘Gosh, wow, I can see some of me in this person who’s also struggling.’ And then when you actually did your time to share, you felt so much better and so much more relieved.
And through that experience of me taking so many workshops, and time and time again, just seeing the power of that, I just realized that I no longer can keep my mouth shut. It’s a disservice to me. But it’s not only a disservice to me, to keep my mouth shut. It’s actually a disservice to other people who have the opportunity to have what’s called like a breakthrough or have an opportunity to learn something from my experience. And so who am I to keep that from someone. Over the years, I’ve just gotten really comfortable with sharing very authentically. And, you know, at this point in my life, in all honesty, I don’t really care what other people think. Maybe people have opinions about some of the things that I do, or the way that I live my life or my practices, but I’m so confident in that this is what works for me that if it doesn’t jive with you, then that’s okay, you know, unfollow me on Facebook or unfollow me on Instagram or whatever. And if this is benefiting you, awesome, let me know so that will motivate me to keep on sharing. So, for me whenever I get great feedback, it just keeps me going, keeps me continuing to share, and it is just such a great feeling. So for moms who are already sharing awesome, I really commend you for that, keep on doing it, because it you never know what difference it really makes for the person listening.
And for the moms who may have more hesitation sharing, perhaps, as a way to start practicing, you do start using these hashtags like the #speakthesecret because it is really anonymous, and it is a safe space for you to share. And maybe just start sharing once a month or even just once anytime you feel like it and just start seeing how it makes you feel. Start observing how that is for you. And also ask others if what you’re sharing to them had an impact and listen for that. So anyway, I’m such a huge fan of sharing. I find it to be incredibly healing, for not only you but everybody else, and so I’m a big fan. So I’m so glad we got to talk about it. Thanks for asking Steph.
Stephanie Greunke 20:31
Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is also really interesting and important for our partners too, one of the things I thought was, it was really cool to see in person was when I was pregnant, we worked with midwives and as part of being in the midwife practice, we would do monthly group sessions. So all of the mamas that we’re working with this midwife and their partners would come together and we will just have conversations about different aspects of the pregnancy and what postpartum was going to look like. And my husband doesn’t share openly, all the time, many partners and husbands are a little bit more reserved when it comes to sharing their feelings and their fears, and that vulnerability piece just isn’t something a lot of men particularly are used to opening up about. And so seeing the other dads, other partners in the room, you could see them watching the other men in the room. And when they opened, you could see kind of the weight shifting off their shoulders, like ‘Oh, this is a safe space. And maybe I can kind of share something that’s in my head that I’ve been afraid to talk to my guy friends about.’ because there are some friends where you feel like you can open up to and it can be hard to come across with guys. When it comes to postpartum depression in males, for example, one of the best things that they can do, one of the most effective ways that dads can work through that depression, the postpartum period, is that peer to peer support, almost even more so than working with a counselor. So if dads can kind of get together and talk about their dad experiences, that opens up huge doors for healing. And so I think it is important that we’re doing it as ourselves and kind of setting the role model that it’s a safe place for our partners to do it too, and encouraging them to talk.
Elana Roumell 22:24
Great. Thanks for adding in our partners because yeah, we’re I mean, we’re I think the majority of our audience are women. But you know, there are men maybe listening and all of us women who are moms may have spouses that can benefit from this. So great reminders.
I have to tell you one of the parts of your podcasts with Karen, I literally cried. Obviously I’m pregnant, so that’s a lot easier for me these days. But it was when she shared about the seventy year old women, those two seventy year old women that responded to that add that she had I think in the newspaper back in the day, and that shared their story about having postpartum depression for the first time ever. They shared with her for the first time ever. They felt shameful, sharing it with their partners. They were afraid of them possibly wanting to get a divorce. They felt shamed just disclosing any of their feelings, just being fearful that people would think they’re going crazy. Tthey just they wanted to stay behind closed doors is the exact word she used and protect themselves. And it made me cry. I just, I couldn’t even imagine how alone they felt and how scared they felt and how they truly felt like they were going crazy because nothing was normalized. They just assumed that they were the only ones experiencing that.
So it actually reminded me, Steph, about your interview with Alexandra Sturgis. That was such a great interview and she talked about how these traumas, if not addressed right away, they can actually carry through for decades of someone’s life. I believe she said they’re “trapped traumas.” And that just stayed with me for some reason, it was like such a big key takeaway of that episode. Karen shared about the seventy year olds, it was the exact situation, they were trapped in their trauma. And they still were processing it just by sharing with Karen at the ages of 70. And so this was not okay to me, when I see something like this, and obviously it also motivated Karen to really delve into this work. Steph, I guess I just wanted to bring up, how can we inspire our listeners to really reach out sooner, so this doesn’t happen to them? This is so important that we share and that we don’t isolate ourselves because I hate for any listener to have this happen when they’re in their 70s. What can we do to encourage them to share?
Stephanie Greunke 24:40
Well, first of all, I don’t think it’s just because you’re pregnant. I mean, when she was sharing that story with me, I was like, choking up, I had a hard time keeping things together, because I just felt that. I just felt how hard that could have been for them and what they must have been thinking. I mean, I could only scratch the surface of what they’re feeling, but it was just…I can’t imagine that. So, no, it’s it’s really hard hearing stories like that and knowing that even today there are people that have this trapped trauma still and they’re navigating it by themselves and trying to really be strong even with this really hard secret, difficult secret. I think we’re starting to turn the tide when it comes to sharing. I think, even though we make it may kind of roll our eyes at it, celebrities are really helping us with this because we see celebrities, people that we assume have it all together – they’ve got the money, they’ve got the help, they’ve got everything you could possibly want, and they’re still struggling. And so when they come out, it’s kind of like wow, like these people that we admire are talking about it. And so, you know, them combined with moms that are sharing through those efforts, like speak the secret and motherhood unplugged, and motherhood unfiltered, and then the memes that are all over the place. It’s starting to become less scary to say that you have or you had any kind of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder or you had a hard time with labor or motherhood, and this is helping women feel a lot less alone. So it can be hard when you think that everybody is just really thriving with motherhood, and you’re not and you don’t know if it’s just you.
And that’s what I love about Karen’s book is that page after page, you see these images and these cartoons and it shows that you, for sure, not the only person that are thinking these things. We all have these thoughts in our head and we we all struggle with some degree of parenting, it’s not easy for anybody and knowing that you’re not alone can help you feel more comfortable talking about it to other friends of yours, sharing about it on social media, going and seeking help from a therapist, and there are even therapists and hotlines out there that will keep things private (unless you are going to hurt somebody or yourself), they’ll get you the help that you need, but everything is kept private. So you’re not at risk of losing your job or anything like that if you do come out to somebody, so I think that’s really helpful. I think it’s also really helpful that we understand that because you’re feeling this way doesn’t mean that you are a bad mom or that you’re going to get your baby taken away from you. I think that’s what in the previous years have really caution moms. Moms were afraid that if they said something, that they would be labeled as a bad mom or an unfit mom and get their kids taken away. And that is excruciatingly scary and painful. So knowing that just because you are navigating some of these scary thoughts, you’re safe to say that you are. When you can get help, you can really overcome some of these fears that you’re having and be able to enjoy motherhood and without risking anything when it comes to your family sticking together.
Elana Roumell 27:59
You know Steph that was one of my absolute major, major takeaways from this episode. So if you don’t mind, I’m just gonna throw that in right now, because it’s so important is: these negative thoughts that we have as moms, they are so normal, and they’re so common. And what I really appreciate about what Karen said is that it’s not about the negative thoughts. It’s the meaning and the weight, essentially, that we’re putting on these negative thoughts. And so one mom, she said, could say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be with my baby at all. I literally just went to run away and hide,’ and just get over it after a few minutes because she realized like, ‘Oh, I’m just tired and no big deal.’ Or another mom would have the exact same thought like, ‘I can’t be with my child right now. I just want to run away and hide,’ and say, ‘Oh my goodness, I must be such a bad mom. Oh my goodness, this means this and this and this…’ and then spiral into these thoughts that then cause distress and that’s where the disease process can really take place. And that’s where it’s an issue. So it’s really a relationship with our thoughts. The more we normalize the fact that we all have these scary thoughts as moms, and the more we can adopt a relationship with them, knowing that we cannot trust our thoughts, simply because we are tired and we’re deprived of sleep. I mean, it’s just the way it is.
In fact, one of my business coaches early on in my career, she used to catch me a lot in the “spirals,” is what we call them, where I used to tell her, ‘I want to close my practice. I’m so tired. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ And she’d be like, ‘Stop this!’, you know? And I’m like, ‘No, I just I need to close my practice.’ and I would just keep on trying to convince her like, ‘This is so hard. This is so much work. I just I don’t want to keep on going.’ And she kept on reminding me, ‘Elana, you cannot take your thoughts seriously, when you’re tired. Go stop work, take a nap. And let’s revisit this tomorrow.’ And every time I did that, and we revisited this tomorrow, I would say to her, like, ‘Oh, I’m good. Okay, so how do we solve this problem? Okay, great. Let’s keep on moving on.’ Every single time and she would just have to keep on reminding me like, stop taking your thoughts seriously, you’re tired, just go and sleep.
And that actually kind of moves into the next topic we wanted to talk about is just getting moms needs met, right? Like, it’s hard to figure out what our needs are. And it’s hard for us to identify what we need in the moment and our needs constantly change with sometimes every day, or every child, or every life stage. And the biggest thing that I just want to hone in on this is that every mom is tired, right? I mean, it’s just the way it is when you just birthed a child for hours on end. So we’re stressed out physically, we’re stressed out emotionally and now we’re up at all hours of the night, we’re nursing, or we’re bottle feeding for some I mean, it’s still a 24-hour, seven day a week job. And just like you said, with celebrities, even with the most amount of help and resources and all of this stuff, we’re still susceptible to it. And so again, normalizing this, knowing that this is a possibility, setting your resources up, so you have at least as much as you can ready for you, but more than anything, not judging those scary thoughts, because we all have them. And it’s really up to you if you want to respond to them or react to them. And so I just think this was so powerful what Karen had to say about this, and so I couldn’t just miss out on just honing in on that as our recap. So thanks for letting me talk about that Steph.
Stephanie Greunke 31:38
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, that’s really where the counselor comes into play is if you notice that those scary thoughts are spiraling. Yeah, definitely, you need some sleep. But it’s really helpful to have somebody that helps you think through those thoughts and where is that stemming from? And how can we develop tools to help change that wiring in your brain so that you’re not going there, and you’re not letting that spiral happen. Because we need to identify that’s happening for sure, but then find ways where when it happens again, because it’s going to happen again, we know what to do in that situation.
Elana Roumell 32:10
Exactly, exactly. It’s like just being aware of it and catching ourselves before just takes the best of you essentially, yes, and most times, you just need more sleep. That’s usually the thing. Now, whether you can get the sleep or not, that’s where it can get dicey, that’s where we have to ask for help. And that’s where we have to stop making priorities like the dishes or the laundry where it’s like, I’m just I just need to sleep instead of that. But Steph, one of the things you brought up that I absolutely love during your podcast was also how can we support our friends and our community when you start seeing them in distress? So it may actually not be you experiencing it, but you can already start seeing, ‘Gosh, my friend is starting to, to feel this and I can see her spiraling, what are ways that right I can step in and help her?’ I really loved you guys really delved in there – just be direct with her. Don’t even ask her open ended questions like ‘How are you?’ or ‘What can I do to help you?’ You just say, ‘Hey, I’m going to bring over dinner tonight,’ or, ‘Hey, I’m going to pick up the kids and I’m going to drop them off at gymnastics for you,’ or you’re just very direct with them. And I really appreciated that because sometimes it’s hard for a mom to ask for that. And just being told that this is what I’m going to do for you, I think really helps. But I tend to be really direct and it comes easy to me. But I also know there’s a lot of women that it’s harder for them to be direct. So I was kind of curious from you, Steph, is what some advice you may give to some of the women who have a harder time being direct but how they can still support their friends who they observe are in some distress.
Stephanie Greunke 33:44
I think we balance each other out really well. I am not a direct person whatsoever. And so it’s really hard for me to kind of take action on this. I think it’s become easier because I’m a mom and I know what she or the family may need so it’s easier for me to decide. I’m like ‘Oh, I know, when I was a mom, what I really needed was food.’ And so I’m gonna drop off food at this mom’s house, even if she says she doesn’t need it, I’m gonna make something that will freeze well, and I am going to text her and say, ‘I’m going to drop it off at the door. And if you want me to come in cool, if you don’t, I’ll leave.’ And so just it kind of helps when you have that perspective as a mom, but you know, not all of us are moms and we still want to support those that have children and they need help in the postpartum period. So one of the things that I like to talk about is do it and ask for forgiveness later. Nobody’s going to turn down food, you know, nobody’s gonna turn down you taking their dog for a walk, nobody’s gonna be mad at you for that, I should say. Sometimes, what I like to do is actually start in the pregnancy period. And so having moms before baby comes identify areas in their life where they may need help, so that when it comes to having other people step in and take some of the responsibility off their shoulder, they have a huge list. So if you can have those conversations before you have your baby, like, let’s say you’re with your pregnant friend and you’re at the park, say, ‘Hey, look, I’m going to help you. I can do X, Y, or Z, which would you prefer?’ And that way, you’re already telling them like, it’s not like a ‘Hey, like, if you need help, let me know.’ It’s like a, ‘Hey, I’m going to help you pick one, pick something.’ And that can be really helpful.
And, you know, I would say Elana, it’s really important to get comfortable with having these conversations and being more direct. And I see that from the perspective of somebody who kind of hates that, like I hate any area where there could be confrontation or any area where there could be discomfort because I’m such a people pleaser. But it really is important. It’s important that we are taking action to help these moms instead of just throwing up ‘if you need more help I’m here’ type of thing, especially if we’re close with them. And also from the perspective of like our partners and talking to our bosses too, and you’ve helped me with this a lot, is really letting them know what you need. If they’re not doing it, it’s not necessarily because they don’t want to do it, it’s because they don’t know that they need to be doing it. And so if we can get more direct with our friends, we can also be more direct with our loved ones in really amplify and elevate the energy in all areas of our lives.
Elana Roumell 36:17
And I always keep on reminding people is just to be transparent. If it’s uncomfortable for you, then start the conversation like that. And it could look like to your friend, ‘Hey, I know this is uncomfortable discussion, and I’m hesitant to even talk about it and I care about you. It just seems like you’re having a challenging time. I want to help. I could be wrong. But honestly, it will make me feel better just to do something. So I’m going to come over and I’m going to walk your dog. Do you think that’ll help you? Or I’m going to make food for you. So which one of those to make it you know, sounds better?’ You know, just be transparent. We’re all humans and they get it and they just appreciate that you’re actually trying to be uncomfortable just to help them because they’re uncomfortable right now. We’re all uncomfortable, it’s life.
Stephanie Greunke 37:00
Yeah, and I think like even throwing it out there, one of the things I used to say too, when I was first getting started was like, and I still do this is, ‘You know, when I had my baby, I loved it when people brought over meals for me or I loved when somebody set up a meal train for me. Is that something you’d like me to do for you?’ Because it’s kind of like, yeah, it’s not saying like, ‘Oh, I think you need it because you’re not going to be able to do it.’ It’s not like downplaying it. Just saying this was really helpful, I would like to do it for you. Can I do it for you?
Elana Roumell 37:27
That’s excellent. Absolutely. Because then it’s not making anyone wrong, they can’t even like assume that. You’re just saying, ‘Hey, here’s my experience. It helped me. Can I help you?’ Yeah, I love it. I think that’s great for the people who have a harder time being direct.
Well, Steph, any other last takeaways? I mean, I just I love this episode so much. We could probably talk again for another hour, but I just wondered if there was any other last things that you wanted to share with the audience so that they can really gain a lot from what Karen has to offer?
Stephanie Greunke 37:56
Yeah, I think this book, the title may be in the seem like it’s just for somebody who is struggling with postpartum depression. But I think that this is a fantastic gift to give any new mom and it is something that I am going to suggest, and I already have suggested to all new moms and bring to new moms, because I know for me personally, this would have been a game changer in my postpartum because I felt many of the things that she shows via the cartoons in the book, but I didn’t think that they were normal. And if I would have had something like this that showed that all these things in my head were normal, I would have felt more comfortable also sharing with other people, and then like we said, really opening up that conversation. I feel great about it now. But when I was a brand new mom, it was hard for me. And so I really think this should be in health care provider’s tool boxes. So it should be commonplace, if you go see somebody in the postpartum period, this book and these type of types of books are out there. So if you’ve kind of been on the fence to get this book, I mean, we’re not getting paid to talk about this book, but I really think it’s so important. And I hold it really close to my heart. I think it can help a lot of people. So just recommend getting the book and experiencing the cartoons and the exercises would be very, very helpful. How about you?
Elana Roumell 39:13
I have the exact same sentiment, I literally want to share this with every pregnant patient that I have, almost as like, not like a required reading, but like obviously a recommended resource. I think the comics, in and of itself, they speak volumes. And I don’t know of any other books that have used this type of way to teach and to transform people. I think it was a brilliant way to really help moms visualize and put themselves in people’s shoes. It’s one thing to read a book or to watch a video or whatever. But these memes and these cartoons, I just think Karen did a really great job thinking to do this with all of the thousands of clients she’s seen. So people can really help put themselves in those people’s shoes. So again, I think it’s great. I love that she has areas of the book where you can actually they’re almost like worksheets, where you’re listing your resources ahead of time. Because ultimately, it’s not a matter of IF you’re going to have some distress at some time. I hate to be so bold and saying this, but it’s really a matter of WHEN, because moms, we will feel overwhelmed at times, it’s just an inevitable part of it. And so at those times, it’d just be so nice to go into your book and look for the resources that you’ve already created without being tired and without being already in the mode of the spiral of thoughts. And so when that happens, you have a great tool right there to go back to and utilize. I can’t say enough great things about it. I would love to meet Karen herself. This isn’t my specialty, working with postpartum women, although I do see a number of them in my practice, but I was actually so called to do her training she does with clinicians, just to even get more of an insight into what she does, obviously, you know, the two of us, we love helping people. So anything we can to get our hands on to really help and I just I really love the work she’s doing. So maybe Steph and I will go and do that training together one day.
Stephanie Greunke 41:12
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, there are other types of trainings that are available. Postpartum Support International has a frontline training as well, and there’s a lot of things that you can do online. So if you can’t make a physical trip to Karen’s location, you’re not out of luck. There’s a lot of opportunities that are out there. And I think it’s really important that we understand this, so we can better help other people and I love that you’re on board with learning more to
Elana Roumell 41:36
Good, thanks, I know this is such a huge passion for you. It was also really fun to hear your passion shine through that episode. All right, well, let’s wrap up. I think this recap was going to be really helpful for many women and again, moms, please share, we love spreading the word about postpartum health, anything that we can do to support you during pregnancy and also obviously to support your kiddos as well. Please do of course, share these episodes and let us know – send us Instagram messages. Stephanie and I we check our DMs, we love hearing from you mamas, so please do keep in touch. We’re hoping that all the information that we put out there is helping you guys.
Again we hope you enjoyed specifically today’s recap with Karen Kleiman that we just reviewed, just great guests just like so many other ones. But Steph and I, we love doing these reviews and these recap specifically and we always hope that you get a lot from what our takeaways are just to kind of summarize and give you guys some good take home points.
We also just want to thank our partner again, Coconu, please remember to use the code WHOLEMAMAS at checkout over at their website www.coconue.com to get 15% off your order. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out again by sharing with your mama friends and writing us a review on iTunes. Again, we read each one of those. You can also visit our website at wholemamasclub.com/podcast to review show notes, find past episodes, and leave comments and questions for future shows. Please remember that the views and ideas presented on this podcast are for informational purposes only. All information, content, and material presented on this podcast is for informational purposes and not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis and or medical treatment of a qualified physician or health care provider. Consult with your qualified physician or health care provider before starting any diet, supplement regimen, or to determine the appropriateness of the information shared on this podcast, or if you have any suggestions regarding pregnancy or prenatal treatment plan. Now go on and have a good day, and nourish and nurture yourself and your family.
- Self care into a necessary nourishing practice rather than a luxury
- The power of the #speakthesecret campaign
- Helping moms figure out what they need
- How we can best support mom friends who are in distress
- How our negative thoughts can get the best of us
- Why not taking your thoughts so seriously can be one of the best tools!
This episode's guest
The Whole Mamas podcast is led by Stephanie Greunke, a registered dietitian, and Dr. Elana Roumell, a naturopathic doctor, both trained in functional medicine and passionate about pregnancy, postpartum, and pediatrics. They invite experts on the show, answer burning questions, highlight key points, and make sure you feel empowered to take action. Find Whole Mamas and the Whole Mamas hosts on Instagram @wholemamasclub, @stephgreunke, @drelanaroumell, and at www.wholemamasclub.com.