Gold Coast Doulas Registered Trademark

Month: March 2023

The Power of Distraction

We often think of distractions as negative. We may get distracted by all the to-dos on our list, and it’s hard to stay focused on work or give our full attention to someone. Our kids may get distracted while getting dressed, or for older kids maybe it’s while doing homework.

But let’s reframe distractions. They can be extremely helpful when used in a healthy manner. For instance, if you are a person who worries a lot, or gets fixated on one idea, sometimes a distraction can help. Let’s say you’re worried about an upcoming work presentation or you child’s teacher conference; give yourself a mental break. Think of something you like to do that you can become completely absorbed in. For me, it’s working out or watching a good show. I can shut off my brain and completely focus on something else. This helps your mind relax and hopefully will tell your body to stop producing stress hormones for a while. For you, maybe it’s going for a run, or mindlessly looking at beautiful vacation homes online. Give yourself that break. Get distracted. But….don’t allow yourself to be distracted for too long. If you find yourself binge watching a show for 3 hours while you get behind on other things, this is not helpful. Set a timer if needed, and once it goes off, you get back to your work. Think of this distraction as hitting a reset button. It doesn’t fix whatever problem you were worried about initially, but you gave yourself a mental break. And sometimes, when you come back from that break, the problem doesn’t seem so bad.

This works for kids too. If they are struggling to figure out a problem in their homework, let them take 15 minutes to watch a show or play a game. Let them reset. Let them give their little brains a break and hopefully they are able to focus when they come back to the table. You know your child, so maybe watching a show isn’t the answer for them. Maybe they need to go play some football, listen to music, or dance – whatever your child can becoming fully engrossed in to give their mind a quick break.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by all the things we have to do; the never-ending lists that just seem to get longer. Parents and kids both can have several tabs open at once in our brains. Kids are thinking about school, a test, play practice, sports, friends, etc. As parents, we know all too well how many balls we are constantly juggling. Our kids classroom party, a big work meeting, piles of laundry, picking up groceries, planning dinner, the house is a mess, the guests coming tonight, the dog needs grooming, the dentist appointment tomorrow, that email you still need to respond to, etc. The best way to shut down some of those tabs could be to distract yourself. It seems counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t you stay focused and get working on all this stuff?

If you can step away from all of it for a little while and let your brain be silent, sometimes you might find you come up with answers. Have you heard the saying, ” We come up with our best ideas in the shower.”? That’s because typically we are doing a mundane task that we don’t have to think about, and we don’t have distractions. So leaving technology behind is key here. Go for a walk, drive your car, or take a shower without distraction. Let your mind go. You’ll probably notice you come up with great ideas, solve problems, and figure out how you want to respond to that email while you let your mind work in silence.

For parents who have trouble falling asleep, distraction can be helpful too. If your mind is racing at night when you’re trying to fall asleep, use a distraction that will shut your mind down. For me, I have to write down ideas or problems that are keeping me awake so I can revisit them tomorrow, otherwise I cannot fall asleep. Once they are written down, only then can I turn off my brain and relax. If I wake in the night thinking about the problem again or I have an idea, I have that notebook by my bed to write it down, get it out of my brain, and fall back asleep.

It’s important for parents and kids to try and stay off technology right before bed. Parents, alcohol and caffeine intake can negatively affect sleep too. Sugar is a culprit as well, so watch how much sugar you and your kids eat after dinner. I have other blogs detailing out the ideal sleep environment, but a dark, cool room is important no matter your age.

If you find you’re prone to anxiety or depression, and you also aren’t sleeping well, make sleep your #1 priority. Sleep deprivation has all the same symptoms as anxiety and depression, as well as lowering your immune system, so get your sleep on track, talk to a therapist, and work on ways to find healthy distractions.

Alyssa Veneklase is a Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant, Newborn Care Specialist, and Certified Elite Postpartum & Infant Care Doula. She is currently a real estate agent working with her husband, but continues to teach three classes at Gold Coast Doulas – Newborn Survival, Becoming a Mother, and Tired as a Mother.


Prioritizing Your Needs Without Any Guilt: Podcast Episode #176

We talk with Elizabeth Andreyevskiy, a stress coach for moms and founder of Emotionally Healthy Legacy.  Elizabeth also has some free downloads for Ask the Doulas listeners!  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello, hello.  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas, and I am joined today by Elizabeth Andreyevskiy.  She is the owner and founder of Emotionally Healthy Legacy.  She’s a stress coach for moms and is also a podcast host of the Emotionally Healthy Legacy podcast.  Elizabeth is a mom of four and is super passionate about mental health and emotional wellness and motherhood.  She helps overwhelmed moms reduce mental stress so they can respond with patience and calm toward their kids.  She teaches proactive ways to be less stressed, prioritizing mom needs without guilt and ways to regulate emotions when feeling triggered.  Welcome, Elizabeth!  I’m so happy to have you here!

Elizabeth:  Thank you for this opportunity!

Kristin:  I would love to get into prioritizing your needs as a mother or a mom-to-be for our listeners who are newly pregnant without feeling any guilt.

Elizabeth:  So that is a big one that so many mamas that I talk to, they struggle with feeling guilty for taking time for themselves.  And before we get into that, I think it’s really important to understand what’s going on in our brain when our needs are not met and how that affects our emotions and emotional regulation.  So we have, like, three main parts of our brain that kind of we use when it comes to our emotions and thinking.  So right behind our forehead, it’s our frontal lobe.  It’s the prefrontal cortex.  I call it the thinking brain because that is where we make positive choices, logical thinking, we problem solve, we learn new skills, we mature.  That’s when we – if we’re in that part of the brain, when we’re in a conversation, we are making good decisions in the sense of the way we communicate and stuff like that.  And that’s you and me right now in that part of the brain.  And when our brain senses some sort of threat, it shifts us first into our emotional part of the brain, which is right kind of in the center of our brain.  And what happens is when we shift there, when we sense some sort of threat or a trigger, the emotional part of the brain lights up, and it shuts off the thinking brain because the thinking brain is not necessary for survival, and so our brain just starts to shift us to the emotional part of the brain.  And in the emotional part of the brain, this is when it comes out in our kind of – our brain senses some sort of threat, and it comes out in our words and in our tone and our behavior.  And so that is when – let’s say you have a conversation with your spouse.  You don’t feel seen or heard, and let’s say they ignore something that you’re saying.  That’s a threat to you, right?  And then it comes out into a rude tone, and you’re being disrespectful.  You start raising your voice.  And when it builds up enough, it’s going to shift you to the survival part of the brain, which is our fight, flight, or freeze.  That is where our brainstem is, and that’s definitely when your thinking brain is shut off.  This is when we’re having that big meltdown.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had moments like this, but when – this is when you’re, like, freaking out as a mom.  Like, not just like, oh, I’m frustrated; raising my voice a little bit.  That’s your emotional part of the brain.  Your survival part of the brain is like, everybody hide.  Mom is losing her marbles.  Like, you’re losing your cool completely because it’s the stress buildup with so much in your brain.  There is so much threat response, and so it’s like a toddler having a meltdown, right?  Like, you can’t teach them anything in that moment.  You’re not teaching them ABCs.  Same thing for you.  Like, you literally can’t think logically when the stress has built up so much in your brain.  And the key to all of this, to say more in your thinking part of the brain, is to help your brain feel safe.  And how do we do that?  And I start out with my mamas, because so many mamas prioritize everyone else above themselves, with simple things, such as sleep and eating meals, right?  We take care of our kids.  We give everyone food.  And then we somehow skip our meals.  And we make sure everybody goes to sleep at a reasonable time, and then we stay up so late scrolling on our phones and have poor quality sleep.  Also, sometimes you have a little one, right?  Like, you get poor quality sleep.  And what happens when – those are like the basic needs we all have, right?  Eating and sleeping; resting.  Like, basic.  And when those needs are not met, it creates a threat in your brain, and it will shift you to that emotional part of the brain, and you will be more reactive.  So I’m sure you’ve noticed: when you’re hungry and when you’re tired, you say and do things you wish you didn’t.  Like, if you’re driving on the road and you are so tired and exhausted, and you’re hungry, the person that just cut you off is pissing you off a lot more than if you just had a great time with your girlfriends, you ate a great dinner, and your emotional tank was full, right?  And your needs were met.  Same thing with our families.  Oftentimes, moms are reactive.  They’re raising their voice.  They’re yelling.  And they literally just have unmet needs.  And I always start out with the basics.  I’m like, are you hungry, or are you physically exhausted and tired?  Because if you are, you will be more reactive.  And then we kind of build off of that.  What are other unmet needs that you’re experiencing, right?  Maybe you just literally don’t have enough support.  You’re pulled in too many directions at the same time.  You have too much on your plate.  And so when we don’t take care of ourselves, even with the basics, you will be more reactive.  And then that creates a cycle of mom guilt, right?  Then we go down the spiral of, oh, I’m such a bad mom.  I’m yelling at my family.  I’m yelling at my kids.  Why am I always angry all the time?  And it’s not because you’re a bad mom.  It’s because you’re truly struggling.  You literally have unmet needs.  So that’s kind of the basic foundation I always start out with my mamas.  I’m like, we need to understand this, and then we build off of that.

Kristin:  Yeah, and especially in the postpartum time, whether it’s baby one or baby five, really, that focus on getting rest and nourishment and asking for support.  I feel like as moms, we feel like we need to do it all and be super woman when it’s important to ask for help, and moms often feel a little isolated and left behind when visitors and family members want to hold baby and the focus is on the baby versus the experience the mother just went through.

Elizabeth:  Yes, and I think – so I have four kids, and my youngest one is 16 months old.  When I was pregnant with her, my sister-in-law created a meal train for me for postpartum, and it was for six weeks long, for postpartum.  And I had people bring me meals for six weeks, three times a week.  Obviously, there was leftovers.  I did not have to cook for six weeks.  I think I made rice once, just a pot of rice.  I didn’t have to cook at all.  That is one thing that was off my plate that made life so much easier.  So here’s the mindset shift: you can try to do it all.  First of all, you won’t succeed because we can’t do it all.  You can try to do it all.  You’re going to get overwhelmed.  You’re going to get stressed out.  And it’s pulling from somewhere, okay?  That energy – you have a limited amount of energy, and it’s pulling it from somewhere when you’re trying to do it all.  It’s either pulling it from your physical wellbeing, from your mental wellbeing, or your emotional wellbeing.  Something is suffering, okay?  You’re not going to be able to do it all.  You might for a season, for a little bit, but it’s pulling from somewhere, and something is suffering because of that.  And most likely, it’s you, and then it’s negatively spilling into the rest of the family, right?  You know when Mom is in a bad mood; like, want it or not, it seeps into the rest of the family.  It just does.

Kristin:  Right.  You can be resentful to your partner because you feel like you’re doing more with the feeding needs and wake-ups and so on.  But if the mother’s not asking for help, then there are certainly some easy, actionable ways a partner can help.

Hey, Alyssa here.  I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming.  Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between.  You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood.  You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more.  You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most.  And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls.  If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at, or check it out at  We’d love to see you there.

Elizabeth:  I think that’s the biggest thing is shifting the mindset and being like, I’m asking for help to support myself and to make things easier.  That’s the reason.  I could do it all, but I’m choosing not to.  I’m asking for help to support myself and to make life easier, and have that conversation with your spouse or family members or friends that are around you in your life.  And here’s the thing.  Oftentimes, we have these conversations with our partner when we’re already overwhelmed, when we’re already stressed out, and we’re super heated.  And we’re like, you never help me with anything.  You always spend time on your phone.  That’s when we’re emotionally charged, right?  Our thinking brain is shut off, and we say things we regret.  So my suggestion for you is to have a conversation with your partner outside of a heated moment and be like, hey, look, I really need extra help and support right now.  Would you please take over with the other kids and put them to bed in the evenings?  Or would you please take over with the meals and make dinner?  Whatever it is.  Actually, I heard this from a marriage book – not “could you,” because, yeah, I could or I could not, but would you please support me and help me out.  I feel overwhelmed and stressed out.  I feel like I need a little bit of extra rest.  Otherwise, I’m yelling at everybody, and I don’t want to do that.  I don’t want to be that mom.  Would you please help me out?  And give them a tangible thing to do because people are like, okay, how can I help you, and I’m like, okay, you can take my kids out to a park.  You know when people postpartum ask you, like, oh, reach out it you need any help.  I’m like, here’s the meal train.  You can sign up over here.  You can bring me a meal, and you can take my kids out to a park next week.  Which day works best for you?  Like, I am always – if somebody offers help, I’m going to take them up on it.  Why try to push through and overwhelm myself and stress myself out if I can make things easier?  And my kids are going to have a great time at the park versus being, like, stuck at home, probably watching screens or something when you’re dealing with postpartum.

Kristin:  Exactly, and taking care of the baby and dealing with nap time.  It’s wonderful.  So I feel like friends and family members want to help, but unless they’re given specific requests, then they feel like they’ve made an ask, and they’re waiting.  Otherwise, yeah, you’re just feeling isolated and overwhelmed.  I love your focus on really setting up some strong communication between couples.  How do you – again, as you’re working with coaching clients, what are your tips for pregnant moms to really ask for help before baby is born and they’re in that overwhelm stage?

Elizabeth:  Yeah, I think that is really important, to ask for help before even the baby is born.  And you can either create a meal train yourself or you can ask a close friend or a sister if you feel weird doing it for yourself.  You can have them create that, and when anybody asks you when the baby is born or even like at my baby shower, people signed up for the meal train, and they just put their email down, and then my sister-in-law sent them a link with the meal train to sign up.  That is one of them.  And I think for me with other kids was having somebody take care of the other kiddos and taking them either for a sleepover or taking them to a park.  I’ve had people ask, hey, can I come over and clean your house?  I’ll be like, yeah, sure.  Come over, wash some dishes so I can sit there and hold my baby.  I know people tend to want to hold the baby postpartum, but that’s not really what I need help with, unless you have a colic baby who screams all the time and you actually do need a break.  Typically, you want to cuddle with a newborn who’s so sweet and precious.  Oh, it makes me want to have another one.  They’re so cute in that stage.  I absolutely love it.  I actually had a postpartum doula with one of my births, and it was really helpful.  She was able to just do some basic things around the house.  She ironed some of my husband’s dress shirts because he used to be a flight attendant, and he was gone a lot.  So that’s one of the things she helped with, ironing the shirts.  She washed the dishes.  She went outside and played with the other kiddos.  It was super helpful for me.  And she was even there for that emotional support, that I could talk to her and just literally share my birth story or talk about how I’m overwhelmed.  Just having someone to listen to you; that’s it.  Just being there.  so that was also super helpful for me.  Yeah, just getting over the mindset block, that it’s a weakness asking for help, and seeing it as a way to support yourself and to make things easier on yourself.  You can also do Instacart pickup or delivery, right?  That’s easier than going to the grocery store.

Kristin:  Exactly, especially during COVID and flu and RSV season, to take a newborn to the grocery store.  Definitely get the delivery service.

Elizabeth:  Yeah, why put yourself through that?  Why do that, if you can make things easier?  And my mom would be like, oh, I’m going to Costco.  Do you need anything?  I’m like, yeah, can you grab these three things, and then Venmo the money or give her cash next time I see her.  So it saves you a whole trip.

Kristin:  Exactly.  Great tip.  And I’m all about registering for services, again, like a postpartum doula that you mentioned or a meal delivery service having premade meals, a housekeeper.  Just some actionable thing, the diaper services, whatever it might be.

Elizabeth:  And those are amazing gifts for new moms, by the way.

Kristin:  Yes, because then you don’t get – I feel like people tend to shop off the registry, or you register for things you don’t need until a baby is one or beyond and in the walking or crawling stage, so then you have extra clutter and things in your home that you don’t necessarily need.  So I’m all about services and things that can make a difference versus having more things to clog up your house.

Elizabeth:  Yes, for sure.

Kristin:  So as far as working with you, what would that look like for our listeners?

Elizabeth:  Yeah, thank you for asking.  So I have a coaching program.  It is called Be Less Stressed.  And in my coaching program, we start out with figuring out the root of your stress, like getting down to the basics first.  Why are you stressed out and overwhelmed, and learning how your external behavior is actually mirroring internal struggle.  I teach you how to prioritize your needs without having any mom guilt.  We talk about how to release stress out of your body because stress collects in our body if we don’t release in our mind.  Healthy ways to release stress and process stress, how to say no to things that drain you, how to delegate to save energy.  How to reduce the stimulation that causes sensory overload, importance of calming your nervous system, because when our nervous system is overloaded, that’s also another reason why we tend to react.  Sometimes we do have met needs; our needs are met, but we just have so much sensory overload, and our nervous system is so tense.  So teaching the strategies, how to calm your nervous system and lift your mood when you’re in a funk and you’re just feeling kind of low.  Rewiring your brain to respond in a positive way.  So many times, we just react in a certain way.  We’ve been doing it for years, but we notice that that’s not how we want to be with our kids anymore or with our spouses because our kids are starting to repeat our patterns, right?  And so we want to respond in a more positive way; just to rewire your brain to respond in a positive way when you’re triggered, when you feel like you’re about to blow up.  Like, what do you do in moments like that?  And communicating your emotions and your needs with your family members and asking for that support.  A lot of my program is shifting the way you think and creating healthy habits that support you in your life right now, in your season of life right now, that support your mental and emotional well-being so then you can show up as that best self for your family.  And yeah, that’s what my coaching program is for, and I’m your support system.  I’m your mentor.  I’m your guide.  I’m making sure I’m checking in with you; you’re doing the work and not just listening and not implementing anything.

Kristin:  Love it.  And they can find your course on your website, correct?

Elizabeth:  Yes, on my website.  It has the details on it, how to work with me, how to reach out to me.  And I also made a special page for your listeners.  There’s three free downloads that you can download.  One of them is positive affirmations for you.  If you lost your cool with your kids and you feel so guilty, it’s a recording of positive affirmations that you can listen to, to remove that mom guilt and see that you’re just struggling in that moment.  You weren’t trying to explode on your family on purpose, right?  And then there’s five strategies to reduce overwhelm quickly, to calm your mind and body when you feel super overwhelmed.  And then if you want to feel in general less triggered as a mom, just in general, I have a training for the mamas, as well.  It’s called Be Less Triggered.  So check that out, and if you want to reach out to me, I hang out on Instagram @emotionallyhealthylegacy.

Kristin:  Nice!  And then tell us a big more about your podcast.

Elizabeth:  Thank you for asking, yes.  So same title, Emotionally Healthy Legacy Podcast.  You can listen to it on any podcast platform, and it’s all about proactive things that you can do to lower your stress, how to respond better, ways that you can support yourself in motherhood and literally just make mom life easier.  It could be practical things or mindset shifts to release some of that stress and let go of things that are weighing you down.

Kristin:  Love it.  Any final tips or thoughts for our listeners?

Elizabeth:  Yes.  Nobody benefits when you’re running on empty and have unmet needs, and nobody suffers when you take care of yourself and prioritize your needs.

Kristin:  Love it.  Thank you so much, Elizabeth!  It was wonderful to chat with you.

Elizabeth:  Thank you for having me!

Thanks for listening to Gold Coast Doulas.  Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.  If you like this podcast, please subscribe and give us a five-star review.  Thank you!  Remember, these moments are golden.

The Role of Caregiver for New and Expectant Moms: Podcast Episode #175

Kristin chats with Bre Boysel of Cariloop about the role of caregiver for new and expecting moms.  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello, hello!  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas, and I am so excited to chat with Bre Boysel today.  She is the director of coaching services for Cariloop, and Bre is a mom of four has a 14-year career in nursing and is also a health coach.  Welcome, Bre!

Bre:  Thank you!  Thanks for having me.

Kristin:  I’d love to hear a bit more about your background and how it led you to Cariloop.  I know you worked in both pediatric and geriatric care as a nurse.

Bre:  I did.  I spent a number of years in direct patient care, and through that experience really gained insight to the fact that it was one thing for patients to be receiving that direct care, but often questioning how much they were truly set up for success when they weren’t receiving that direct care and they were back home, whether that be from an illness or welcoming a new family member into their home.  And I encountered the opportunity to join Cariloop and their mission that is so near and dear, and here we are.

Kristin:  I love it.  I know Cariloop exists to relieve the stress and anxiety felt by caregivers and to give connections and resources, and you have a variety of coaches.  So would you fill us in a bit more about your model of care?

Bre:  Absolutely.  Cariloop is concierge support service that connects caregivers with a dedicated care coach.  We partner with organizations who provide our service to their employees as part of their benefits and wellness package.  And those caregivers come to us and connect via our web-based portal and are paired with their dedicated care coach, which as you had already mentioned, we have a wide variety of backgrounds in healthcare and caregiving to really be able to support our members, regardless of what phase or what type of caregiving journey they’re on.  And like you said, we believe no one should go through caregiving alone, and we really just walk alongside them and support them through all the twists and turns of what caregiving brings.

Kristin:  And Bre, can you give us some examples as far as caregivers outside of nursing fields?

Bre:  Coaches?

Kristin:  So health coaches, life coaches that deal with more of the medical aspect.  Would those be some –

Bre:  Sure.  So we have coaches with backgrounds in nursing, social work, administration, all of the different care settings as far as acute care, long term care, primary care, so that regardless of what that experience is, although those members are connected with their own care coach, we can also tap in to the wealth of expertise that we have from the whole depth of the coaching team, and they come from all settings.

Kristin:  So for medically complex issues, more of that concierge care to help navigate the system.  And also, as you had mentioned, just the employer benefits and understanding how to best navigate that.  So I do love that you’re dealing directly with employers to enhance the experience of their employees.

Bre:  Absolutely.  It’s so funny that you mention that.  It is open enrollment time, and it’s one thing when we’re going through those elections for our benefits as those things are fresh in our mind, but when you are going through a caregiving journey, oftentimes the first place that we think to go isn’t always the benefits that we have available to us through our employer.  So we positioned where we are as coaches and to be able to really dive into all of the avenues a caregiver has to explore to receive the support that they need, whether that be their employee benefits or employer benefits, rather, or their insurance or support within their community.  Oftentimes, I’m doing everything that I can.  Are there other things out there that I don’t know about or that I’m missing that could be helping my loved one or myself?  And so to be able to outline that for these families and those caregivers so that they feel empowered and encouraged and informed in making the decisions that go into caregiving daily is something that we really love to be able to do.

Kristin:  I think I could use a coach for navigating my benefits program and insurance and understanding all of the options.  It’s overwhelming.

Bre:  Yes, yes.  It very much is.

Kristin:  So you’re also a certified B-Corp, and that is very impressive, as Gold Coast is a B-corp.  There are very few healthcare focused B-corps, so I was so excited to see that you went through the very rigorous process to become certified.  Tell me a bit about why that is important to you as a company.

Bre:  I think it’s so important to us as a company because we are reinvesting into our communities, and to really be able to create the global standard for the way that we support caregivers, families, and each other, a huge part of that is walking the walk, so to speak, and so to be able to go through the process of becoming a B-Corp and to really be able to highlight that as an organization to show what we are doing to invest in our community and the cause that we are so invested in is really incredible.

Kristin:  I love it.  So let’s get into navigating all of the changes with expecting families as becoming a caregiver for the first time or with baby number four.  I know the first year is very overwhelming and so many changes.  So I would love to hear your tips on best tools and resources for families as they’re navigating caregiving for the first or as I said, the fourth time.

Bre:  Yeah.  I think one of the biggest things is first to just recognize that they are caregivers.  So often when we are connecting with and supporting families, it’s not often that people self-identify as caregivers, unless they are in a situation where maybe they are caring for someone who has had an acute event and are ill or maybe an aging loved one.  But it’s so important to recognize that beyond being a sister and a spouse and an employee, being a parent is being a caregiver.  And I think that’s one of the biggest things that I can encourage parents to do is to recognize that they’re caregivers, too, and to really create a community of support around that.  As you said, that first year is a lot of guaranteed change as they’re going through pregnancy and bringing baby into the world and adjusting to being a family of three or being a family of six.  And so I think that would be the number one tip is just to embrace the fact that they are caregivers.

Kristin:  I know as far as options, it can be – especially for a first-time parent, you really don’t know what resources in your community or across the country would be available to you for support.  So how does someone navigate not only their system within their employer as far as benefits package and leave times, but really, again, getting that community of support?  Some great options to look into outside of Cariloop?

Bre:  I think starting with their provider is a great place.  Every family’s journey is different, as are our desires for our experience, and so starting with their provider and having conversations about what their hopes are for their pregnancy and their delivery and really having that open line of communication with their provider as a starting point to explore then from there what best resources there are within their community as far as classes that may be offered by the hospital or getting the better understanding of what delivery options they have by taking a tour at the hospital, all the way to then connecting with the hospital on the providers that visit there as far as when the baby comes.  There’s just so much to unpack through that journey that starting with your provider is a really, really great place.

Kristin:  I love it.

Hey, Alyssa here.  I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming.  Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between.  You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood.  You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more.  You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most.  And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls.  If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at, or check it out at  We’d love to see you there.

Kristin:  And then as far as support groups, I think the pandemic has opened things up to have a lot of online support available, whether it’s breastfeeding groups or perinatal mood disorder support groups.  So obviously, like, really understanding what options are, and I also think figuring out the benefits plan of, like, what would be self-pay and what would be something that your insurance or flex spending or health savings would cover.  Navigating budgets and priorities.

Bre:  Yes, absolutely.  And connecting with your employer is a great place to start there, especially when bringing a baby into the family.  That then creates the opportunity to make those changes in benefit elections, as that’s a life event.  And so even exploring; maybe a family hasn’t used a flexible spending account before, and looking into how the change in dynamic of their family, how that may be better suited for them as their family grows.  And so connecting with their employer to see what options they have through that avenue, and again, the pandemic has opened so many doors as far as virtual support groups and ways to create that community of care and be connected.  I just always encourage families – trying is the first step, and especially when you are seeking our resources that are so personal, and as we talk about intimate things within our family dynamics of growing our families or life stressors or finances, all of those things that kind of compound together to create each of our own unique scenarios.  Finding the right community and the right support as far as those support groups or counselors or peer groups, even, within our community.  It’s really important to take that first step and try because that’s often the scariest part, and then you’re able to really just connect with people who understand and can support you as navigating all of the changes in that first year in particular.

Kristin:  And also, you know, getting that plan early, not only with childbirth classes through doula companies or a hospital and hiring additional support, but thinking about childcare and what you’re going to do for that plan.  Again, how much paternity leave is offered?  How much maternity leave?  And then starting with either a postpartum doula or a nanny right away to help that adjustment, and I know that childcare centers with newborns are very challenging to get into right now.  And so getting on that waitlist if that’s important or finding in-home daycare or a nanny share or working with a newborn care specialist.  Like, finding that right type of support for your family.  And of course, some families rely on grandparents.

Bre:  Absolutely, and I think that brings up such a great point, just that it can be really challenging for caregivers to be in the present and enjoying this experience of growing their family and bringing a baby into the world and also planning ahead, and as you said, we have seen with the aftermath of COVID and since COVID started, that availability of childcare in that many families are having to get on waitlists and start to explore what those options are going to be a year in advance, oftentimes as soon as they find out they’re expecting.  And that can be really challenging to try to be present and also plan and prepare.  And again, I think in supporting these families and these members and these caregivers, it’s important to kind of give themselves some grace in that it is stressful, and it is a lot to unpack as they’re exploring what options are best suited for them.  But again, I would just encourage them to connect with those services with any that kind of speak to their situation and what they feel may be helpful for them, and just have the conversation because, again, as we talked about before, a lot of times some of the biggest stressors come from just questioning, is there something else out there?  Is there more?  Am I missing something?  And by reaching out and connecting with those services and those options for different support after baby comes or as you’re returning to work and needing childcare, having those conversations and exploring those different avenues is really empowering and encouraging in really feeling like a family is making the best decision for their family and where they are in their journey.

Kristin:   I love it.  So, Bre, some of our listeners may not fully understand what the role of a certified healthcare life coach would be.  Could you explain a bit about the coaching role to our audience?

Bre:  Absolutely.  So as care coaches – again, we have the honor of connecting with families and supporting them through their journey to – with the goal of relieving the stress and anxiety that we feel as caregivers.  And that looks different to each family.  In some instances, that can look like finding those childcare providers or a doula as a family prepares to deliver their baby and bring baby home.  It may also be, again, navigating those employer benefits that they have access to or their insurance.  Oftentimes, we have expectant families come to us and share that their provider has informed them that they have until a certain number of weeks to pay a certain amount based on the relationship that their provider has with their insurance company.  That’s oftentimes a new concept to families, so that global maternity billing, to be able to connect with a family and explain to them what that is and what it means for them and what will happen if maybe they don’t end up getting delivered naturally and how that will then change.  And then on to preparing, and receiving support in breastfeeding, or families who maybe nursing didn’t work out and they are facing the formula shortage; what to do there if they’re having trouble accessing the services and the things that they need for their family.  And so a coach just joins them there and connects with them to identify the things that are causing them stress so that we can take that off their plate and navigate that for them, so that then we can come back to them after doing that legwork and kind of outline what their options are or what information we’ve been able to gather for them, again, so that they can make a really informed decision and feel empowered in doing so with all of the unknowns that they face.

Kristin:  I love it.  And I’m sure if they’re navigating medically complex newborns or bedrest, it could be even more helpful to get that support early on, if they know they’ll have a NICU baby; expecting triplets, for example.

Bre:  Absolutely.

Kristin:  So any tips as a mom for our listeners?

Bre:  Oh, as a mom of four, there are a lot of days that I feel like I am winging it, and it took a long time for me to work through some of that mom guilt that I think so many of us face in trying to juggle it all.  And so I often have to remind myself to extend myself a little grace and also to delegate and be comfortable in sharing what it is that I need to balance being a mom and a spouse and a daughter and all of the things.  So I think as an experienced mom, that would be what I would really encourage other moms to do for themselves.

Kristin:  I love it.  So, Bre, how can our listeners find you?  I know you have a website for Cariloop and you’re on quite a few different social media platforms.  Share away.

Bre:  Yes, they can find us on LinkedIn, on Instagram by searching Cariloop, and they can also visit our website.  We have options there for them to connect us with their employer, to discuss that.  And then we also have contact information there for them to reach out to us directly.

Kristin:   I love it.  Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Bre.  It was wonderful to meet you.

Bre:  Same to you.  I appreciate you so much.  Thank you.

Kristin:   Have a great day.

Bre:  You, too.

Thanks for listening to Gold Coast Doulas.  Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.  If you like this podcast, please subscribe and give us a five-star review.  Thank you!  Remember, these moments are golden.

Ryleigh Birth doula

Meet our new birth doula, Ryleigh!

Meet our newest birth doula Ryleigh. We love to share interesting facts about our team. Ryleigh and her family reside in Muskegon.

What did you do before you became a doula?

Before this I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a career. I have dabbled into a few different degrees in college, did some nanny jobs in between, and have been consistently working at an assisted living home for 7 years now.

What inspired you to become a doula?

I’ve always been a “helper” at heart, and have always wanted to stand beside people in hardship. Once I had my first daughter and realized just how much of a village it takes to go all the way from pregnancy to postpartum, I realized I wanted to be that help that women could count on during this vulnerable time in their life. Knowledge is power in my eyes, and if I can help someone by giving them information and being their support through such a difficult season, then why not go full speed ahead!

Tell us about your family.

I am married to my husband Brody. We met in 2015 at the YMCA daycare where we both worked and started dating shortly after. Brody is a silly, sport enthusiast, Jesus loving man. He’s very supportive in all I do and was very excited for me to take this next step into something I have been talking to him about a lot! We have 2 children earth side! Penelope is our 3-year-old. She is as goofy and smart as they come. She loves everything from princesses to tools, and keep us on our toes for sure! Gemma is our 5 month old. She was our literal gem, our diamond in the rough, our rainbow baby. We had a pretty traumatic ectopic loss between our two girls and Gemma could not have come at better timing. She has filled the gap in our family and has truly been such a light in a dark season for us. She’s smiley and chubby and that’s just the way we like her!

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

My favorite vacation spot would have to be Disney World. I love the combo of shopping, riding rides, watching performances, and the magic there. Even at 25, there’s still magic being there!

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

Truthfully I’m not a huge music obsessed person, I’d rather listen to a podcast or sermon. But I’ve been listening to Walker Hayes, Brandon Lake, Ron Pope, Garret Jacobs, and Vince Joy. I tend to listen to music for their lyrics, I love creative lyrics. Or because it has a funky beat I can dance to in the car!

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Water or fresh air can fix almost anything, all the way from the baby to the mama.

What do you consider your doula/consultant superpower to be?

I’ve always been told I’m a good listener. I would rather sit with someone for hours on end and listen to them and whatever they have to say than talk about myself. I think sometimes when we try to help someone we tend to overshare and give unwanted advice or try to fill the space too much, and I’m hoping I can use my love of sitting and listening to people as a safe space for them to get their feelings and emotions out!

What is your favorite food?

If you asked me from the time I could eat till right before my last pregnancy, I would’ve said spaghetti. But now I don’t love that. I would probably say tacos now, a good chicken taco with a little bit of kick to it and a lot of cheese!

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

Grand Haven. That’s where I’m from and where I grew up. I love that it feels like home to me, walking the pier, swimming on the beach, all their festivals and fairs, yummy places to eat. I love pretty much everything about it!

What are you reading now?

“Oops! The 9 Ways We Screw Up Our Toddlers” – By Michelle Smith

Who are your role models?

A lot of the women in my life are my role models. They have all had their peaks and valleys in their own journey yet they are all relentless and have kept moving forward! I hope to be half as resilient as they are.

Reclaiming Our Feminine Energy As Mothers: Podcast Episode #174

Kristin chats with Dr. Laura from Mind Your Soul about supporting and reclaiming feminine energy in motherhood.  Dr. Laura is the author of “You Are the Most Perfectly Perfect You.”  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello, hello.  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas, and I’m here today to chat with Dr. Laura.  Dr. Laura owns Mind Your Soul, and she is a clinical psychologist who specializes in supporting women who feel they’ve lost their vibrancy within the transition of becoming a mother, which includes preconception and well into the motherhood journey.  Clients that resonate with Dr. Laura’s approach are high achieving, open minded, curious explorers with a propensity towards holistic health and attachment style parenting.  Welcome, Dr. Laura!

Dr. Laura:  Hello!  I’m so excited to be here!

Kristin:  I’m so happy to chat with you!  I know our focus today is going to be on supporting the feminine energy to be reclaimed, rediscovered, and unearthed.  So as we get into that, I’d also like to touch on – for our listeners who aren’t familiar with attachment parenting, what that really entails as far as an approach.

Dr. Laura:  Sure.  So maybe we’ll start with the attachment parenting.  Maybe that’s a little bit more tangible than this whole concept of feminine energy, which can get a little woo-woo, so we’ll try to keep it grounded and connected for everybody.  So what I mean by attachment based perspective is really these concepts that we come in as human beings, and we have these two kind of opposing forces.  One is that we really need to attach, right?  We’re not going to survive if we don’t attach to another human.  We’re not actually physically equipped to do so.  And the other part is this drive to be autonomous.  This idea comes from a Canadian physician, and I’ve kind of taken that and expanded it a little bit and really brought it into my own perspective is what I mean.  I think the obvious of needing to be cared for when we’re an infant is pretty obvious.  This other part of needing to have autonomy – you know, we all have basic needs, and so that’s really where the autonomy comes in, meaning this need to express ourselves, to feel like we matter, that we feel like we belong really unconditionally.  I know that can be a very loaded word, unconditional, but really that we truly live within our tribe, and that’s not only meant for the immediate family nucleus but kind of that radiating out, that we belong, without any conditions.  We don’t have to be a certain way or do a certain thing or perform in a way to be good girls or good little boys or any of those things.  So that’s my perspective of attachment, needing those two things and allowing both of those two things to flourish simultaneously.  And now because we’re human, they often don’t, right?  And again, that’s said without any blame or any shame.  You know, when we’re able to just look at something for what it is with that detachment, from my perspective, that’s where we can really thrive.  That’s where we can grow.  That’s where we can expand and say, what is this here to teach me.  So I’ll pause there because I know there might be some questions or want to dialogue a little bit about what I just said.

Kristin:  Yeah, I love your definition.  So most people define attachment parenting as basically a crunchy mom who wears her babies and never – you know, feeds them immediately when they cry, doesn’t follow any schedule.  So I love your definition.

Dr. Laura:  Yeah, and to me, I think this actually weaves really well into, like, feminine energy, right?  Which isn’t only reserved for female anatomy persons, but in this concept, to be attuned, you can do all of those things, right?  You can have the no schedule; kind of attuned parenting is how I like to think of that.  And sometimes, you know, specifically as mamas, we can get a little unbalanced in that.  We can get – the side of the teeter totter can weigh heavily so, let’s say, attuned to our child’s needs that we forget about our own.

Kristin:  So true.  And depletion begins.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely.  And that’s when that joy, that spark – and then, you know, eventually, it can over time kind of grow into this depression or resentment or shame like I’m not doing enough.  It can manifest in a lot of other things other than feeling really radiant in how you’re showing up as a person.  So when I say attachment, we kind of initially started it as starting with the parenting journey, but then that really transcends out really throughout our whole livelihood, right?  How do we attach to people – colleagues, partners, children.  How are we also mindful to being autonomous, and where do we get our needs met, and how are we showing up in our fullness and with our purpose?

Kristin:  Exactly.  Yes.  And I feel like there’s so much focus on the baby after birth, and the mother or birthing person often gets forgotten.

Dr. Laura:  And even I think sometimes in crunchy circles, there can be that – what is it, the 40-day sacred window?  You know, there can be.  I think there’s at least starting to be a slower movement to hold space for a period of time after a woman has given birth.  And yet this is why I love in your intro of me where you said really motherhood throughout the journey because the hard stuff doesn’t just stop after 40 days, like on day 41, you’re like, oh, I’m so great now.

Kristin:  We’re a mother forever, even when our children are adults.

Dr. Laura:  Exactly.  Exactly.

Kristin:  Yeah, that is beautiful.  And certainly, yes, mothering the mother and understanding a lot of the traditional cultures that do care for the mother while helping care for the baby and feed the mother and the importance of nutrition and, again, avoiding that depletion and the isolation that a lot of new moms feel.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely.  And for the larger part, this is more of a cultural or specific to westernized societies, right?  We’ve moved so far away from the concept of village.  What you just mentioned where indigenous tribes would make sure that the mom wasn’t depleted, but also then somebody else was stepping in and taking care of a new mom; literally, the mom, but also the baby, right?  So you had this built-in support network.  And often, you know, we have to create that ourselves because it’s not, let’s say, innately in our surroundings anymore.

Kristin:  Exactly.  So when you get into working with clients on reclaiming that feminine energy, is it a bit about the differences between genders and how we respond as parents, or can you define more of what that process to work with you would be like?

Dr. Laura:  Sure.  And of course, you know, my first snippet is going to be of course it’s going to be unique, right, because we’re all unique.  So my presence, though, or my perception is we all kind of come in, and aside from those kind of basic needs – we all have them – we also want to be, like, really seen and really heard, right?  Regardless of man, woman, and identifying as anything else.  So that’s really where I like to meet people at is, like, where are you – you know, because by the time you’ve reached me, you’ve identified something isn’t working, right?  Like there’s some sort of tension, and that’s usually when we go to any kind of doctor or a dentist, right?  Like, there seems to be a problem.  And I really want to, like, take away that talking to any kind of mental health professional indicates that there’s a problem.  I would say long before that, if anything, there’s already an imbalance, generally speaking, in our society, and so when you use any kind of counseling services or therapeutic services, my perspective is, like, that’s just good hygiene, right?  You know, that’s like going to yoga or going to the gym or our diet.

Kristin:  Get your oil changed.

Dr. Laura:  Exactly, right?  So that’s where I like to meet them.  And then it’s like really holding space for, okay, what is needing to be seen?  And it can be a rather – I don’t want to say slow like in the concept of time, but it’s an unfolding process, right?  Because sometimes for some moms, by the time I – or just people, really; just any people, not even mothers – by the time they see me, they’re so ready to, like, put down the heavy karmic backpack that they’re carrying.  It’s like the dam has broken and here we go.  For others, it’s like a soft unlayering of, like, what’s in there; how did that get in there; oh, I didn’t even know that was in there.  So it’s that unpacking and going moment by moment to what’s arising and then holding space and then coming back.  I mean, it’s quite frankly a process.

Kristin:  It is near the work of doulas.  Again, you’re talking about holding space, being open, allowing them to really identify their own individual goals and journey and just supporting that without judgment, and it sounds like that is a lot of your process.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely.  And I think it’s just like me; like, if I talk to you, you can see holes that I can’t see in myself, right?  That’s kind of – but sometimes I can see them.  Maybe I just needed a mirror to look, right?  So it’s not about somebody being right, but it is just exactly like you said in your work as a doula or doula work, period.  It’s holding space and that attuned listening.  What is asking to be seen and heard right now?

Kristin:  Exactly.  So how did you get into this work, Dr. Laura?  Was it your own motherhood journey?  I mean, there’s so many paths you can take as a clinical psychologist.

Dr. Laura:  Yes.  I am the birth mama of two littles, and I’m a bonus parent to two adult kiddos, but before either of those situations happened, it was really obvious to me that my mom needed some support and didn’t feel like she had it, could ask for it, could get it.  So I think it was really this – I always say that I became a psychologist because that’s my person who just happens to be that title.  I’m so inquisitive and just curious of how things unfold in that way.  And so that’s kind of my own upbringing, just seeing that women need more care and support.  And it wasn’t anything that my mom did or didn’t do but just realizing how society, generally speaking, again, kind of treated women or maybe dismissed them or didn’t hold emotions.  You were just supposed to get over it, or not being able to be angry.  So that has – I mean, from an early age, that’s just colored my direction of where I wanted to go.  And then I’ve worked with a lot of kiddos, and again, that really highlighted for me just kind of some disconnections between – like, the unbalance, really, between what we give to our kids and what we don’t give to ourselves, and it’s usually the mothers.  Again, not always.  And then it’s just kind of unfolded in lots of different ways.

Kristin:  Right, yes.  Beautiful.

Hey, Alyssa here.  I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming.  Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between.  You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood.  You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more.  You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most.  And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls.  If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at, or check it out at  We’d love to see you there.

Kristin:  So you’re also an author and speaker?  You’ve brought a book into the world?

Dr. Laura:  I did, and talk about – whoo.  I am also a Virgo, and what I realize about myself through the book writing – I was self-published, and it’s called You’re The Most Perfectly Perfect You: Reclaiming Self-Love, and it’s intended to just be a kind of a short little – it is a short little book, but it’s really just intending to, like, hold some space and some love.  It’s like this juicy little love bomb to you.  But in that process, like, realizing some of my shadows came out.  Or like this perfectionist, like, wanting to write it one time and be done, and then, you know, hiring an editor, and it’s like, uh, you might want to rethink this and this and this.  And I realized even – I’m going to go back and then link this all together, but you asked, like, what brought me to this work, too.  I think a big part of it is that when I step into this role, I’m also then holding myself, like, accountable, too.  Like, to kind of continually – I don’t want to say evolve as, like, a narcissistic hierarchy, but as a way to, like, expand and to grow because I’m also aware of how I want to show up for clients.  But then how am I showing up for me, right?  Like, how am I doing this work in my own personal work, right?  I don’t want to a person – it’s like walk the walk and talk the talk.  So I know for me, that’s part of it.  Like, offering these services also grounds me into that state of being.  So I saw that come full circle in writing the book and how I would want to just give my power away, right?  Like, okay, editor, you tell me what to write, as opposed to it being like a collaborative back and forth of, what am I trying to express here, and what is the best grammatical way for it to unfold.  And yeah, so it was a very interesting process.  A lot of growth.

Kristin:  Sounds like it.  Well, how – I feel like – okay.  The full self-care is overused.

Dr. Laura:  Oh, yes.

Kristin:  And it’s troubling at times because people think, oh, if I go and – you know, get a manicure or go for a walk.  But truly, like, I think you’re getting to more of the core in identifying who the self is, and we have so many roles as mothers, and that would be, you know, obviously, mother first and then partner and daughter to our parents and your role at work.  And so really defining who you are as a core because I feel like really, I mean, we often get lost in that primary mother role.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  Especially if we – you know, kind of how we started our talk, right, if we identify as that crunchy, attuned, attached parent doing all the things, making all the food, child-led learning aspects.  We definitely can overemphasize with that, or at least I know I can.  And I think as you’ve probably experienced, too, mothering has seasons, right?  So there’s moments when maybe the child or your children need more priority.  But that doesn’t meant that the mother is ever forgotten, right?  And so in my work, it’s reminding women that.  Because the longer that we forget about ourselves, then that tends to sort of snowball into other things.

Kristin:  Exactly.  No massage or manicure is going to make up for the isolation.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely.  And what I always say about self-care, and I love that you said it’s so overused, because the concept of it isn’t wrong.  It’s that it’s become so overused that we just schedule these things as if they’re another checkbox to complete, right, as opposed to go in with intentionality.  So it’s not about eliminating the manicure or the bubble bath or massage or whatever it is that we’re doing.  But bring attention.  Like, why am I doing this?  Right?  So the manicure is because you want to go and have some chit chat with somebody and just, like, not think so hard about when your baby is going to next feed.  Like, cool.  Then just be really mindful that that is a little break for you to also reconnect and, like, connect with another adult, if that’s what it is for you, right?  And maybe it’s like you feel really pretty and empowered when you have your nails done.  Sorry that I’m stuck on manicures.  It can be any one thing that we pick, right?  It’s about just being really intentional with how we’re spending our time, period.  Like, why are we doing what we do ever?

Kristin:  Yeah.  And then how does the – as you get into, again, that self-care, but really getting into conscious parenting, partnering, and involving the partner in this journey to reclaiming and supporting feminine energy?  Because I know in your definition, again, you had mentioned it’s not gender-related, but how does the partner – how is their involvement in this process?

Dr. Laura:  Yeah.  So again, if you think of – or how I perceive things is the yin and yang, right?  The whiteness and the darkness, but together, that is sort of the completeness.  Now, to any kind of single parenting people out there, that’s not to say that you need a partner to make yourself complete.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  Not what I’m talking about.  But this idea that – for me, it’s this felt being that we all come in with some energy force, right?  And, like, where is our complement?  That’s all I mean by, like, the feminine energy and a partner, which could be an actual partner.  It could be kind of like a surrogate partner.  It could be a greater, like, community of network partners, right?  So it’s how do you recognize where your strengths are, and then what kind of – what energy balance is that, to feel like it’s more full and rounded?  Does that make sense?

Kristin:  It does.

Dr. Laura:  It was a little woo-woo, but you got it?

Kristin:  I got it.  Yeah, that’s very helpful.  Obviously, again, you mentioned the birthing persons without a partner and really asking for support.  I know that can be tricky to navigate, or if their partner travels and is gone and they’re feeling isolated, I’m sure this is a big topic for your clients about, you know, communicating their individual needs and having hesitation in asking for help because I think in our society, we’re expected to be super women.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely, right?  Bounce back and just good to go.  Or take your 40 days and you’re fine, right?  So obviously, you know, we’re kind of combatting, let’s say, cultural expectations or cultural norms that are – I say norms, but they’re norms because that’s what happens.  It doesn’t mean that they’re self-sustaining, right?  So yeah, it is about knowing what your needs are and how to communicate what you need because we can get really good at, like, you know, kind of blaming, right?  Like, you’re gone all the time, and you don’t even know what I need.  And then it’s like the other person; what did you do?  It’s like a guilt trip, right?  So now you just made the other person feel bad for leaving because that’s just the way that they’re sustaining your family at the moment or whatever.  So part of it is accepting what is and then really advocating for what you need.  Now, sometimes we’re going to get that.  When we can get even clear and say, like, I need help.  It’s a collaborative effort to find some live-in help, or you get into a group around the corner that you feel that you have help.  But sometimes it’s not possible, right?  Sometimes it’s like, oh, I can’t afford that.  I live in a rural area; that’s not going to happen.  Or I just can’t even have the energy to search for this, right?  So sometimes, again, it’s about asking or identifying your needs without the expectation that they’re going to be met in a way that you think they’re going to get met, right?  This goes back to my concept of being seen and heard.  A lot of times, mothers or feminine embodiments just need to know that they’re heard.

Kristin:  Yes.  We don’t need to have things fixed; we just want to be heard.  Yeah.

Dr. Laura:  And that also goes back to the communication because the masculine energy is all about problem solving.  It’s all about, like, gripping into the now, and how do I make this work, which is a beautiful energy, and it’s so needed.  And sometimes, that’s where the miscommunication of the feminine – you’re saying, oh, you’re gone all the time for work, and then it’s the problem solving of, like, fixing it.  But really, it’s just saying, like, I miss this, right?  Like, I really wanted to parent more with you, or I feel like you’re missing it.  Right?  So you see how those are two different things of what you’re asking for.

Kristin:  Yes, completely different, and asking to have your needs met in a different way; they’re able to understand, like, hey, wouldn’t it be nice if we spent some time when baby’s resting.  Yes.

Dr. Laura:  Exactly.  So a lot of it is the communication, but it’s kind of this spider web untangling of what it is we even need.  What is it that –

Kristin:  There’s so many layers.

Dr. Laura:  So many layers.  And, you know, specifically for women, we’ve been really taught to sort of be – again, this is generally sweeping stereotypical in western society, right, is to be people pleasers and to not really rock the boat.  So I know what I’m saying sounds really easy, but it’s often incredibly hard to ask directly for what we need because for some of us, to some degree, we’ve been so far removed from even knowing what it is that we really need that we can’t effectively communicate in that way.

Kristin:  Yes.  So true.  So what are your top tips when you are again in the thick of it and feeling overwhelmed, to bring that joy and wonder into those early parenting days?

Dr. Laura:  Right?  So how I view it is always coming back to breath.  So, like, when we’ve gone off – we’ve gotten onto the hamster wheel, and we eventually stop it and we realize that it’s spiraled a little bit out of – we’ve spiraled out of control.  To whatever extent, we realize that, right, whether we’ve kind of thrown the full-blown tantrum or we’re catching up before, to breathe.  Take a breath.  Get centered.  And this is science.  When we take a breath or when we sigh, that actually is regulating our whole nervous system because usually when we get – and I’m sure you probably know this as a doula, right?  Like, in the birthing process, if you’re anxious, your body is not going to open.  So it’s the same.  It’s just not, or it’s going to be harder to.  I mean, the baby’s coming either way.  But same with kind of big emotions.  When we’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious or whatever it is that we’re feeling that’s not joy, that’s not open and relaxed – breathe.  Because somehow, we’ve given our nervous system the signals that we’re unsafe, and so everything gets tight.  And so everything is already, like, ready to conserve, either to fight or run, to flee, or it’s going to shut down.  And so that’s great for a survival mechanism, but that’s not the best place to problem solve or to really, like, be present, right, because our body has an agenda to keep us safe.  So when we breathe and take a few deep breaths, we are literally giving our nervous system and our whole internal organs the cues like, okay, this is not life threatening.  I can at least put those systems offline right now.  Like, I don’t need to worry about my survival.  Now I can just be here.  Like, now what is my next – what can I do next after this?

Kristin:  Wonderful advice.  Any other tips for our listeners as they’re navigating new parenting?

Dr. Laura:  I love mirror work, and I think sometimes it’s like, ugh, I don’t want to do that.  But looking in the mirror as many times as you can.  Usually, most of us are in front of the mirror brushing our teeth or combing our hair somewhere.  And make some simple “I am” statements.  And again, this isn’t like, again, that self-care, like checking off, but that we are really looking at ourselves, and we are saying whatever it is that we feel that day.  Like, I am beautiful.  I am doing the best I know how today.  I am feeling loved by – and then whatever.  I am a creative person.  I’m a kind person.  I am reacting calmly today.  Whatever we want to say, right?

Kristin:  Yes, applying it to yourself and your emotions versus reading a standard affirmation.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely, right?  There’s no wrong way.

Kristin:  That’s beautiful.  So how can our listeners connect with you?  I know you’re on social media.  You’ve got your website, your book.  And they can also work with you remotely or in person.

Dr. Laura:  Absolutely, yes.  I presume you will have all those links, but yeah, I’m on Instagram and my website, and yeah.  I’m around.  Reach out.

Kristin:  Sounds good.  Well, thank you so much, Dr. Laura!  It was lovely to chat with you, and I hope you have a beautiful day.

Dr. Laura:  Same to you!

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