Valerie Lynn – The Mommy Plan: Podcast Episode #119
April 28, 2021

Valerie Lynn - The Mommy Plan: Podcast Episode #119

What is eco postnatal care?  Valerie Lynn, author of The Mommy Plan, tells us how to nourish and heal a postpartum body.  You can listen to this complete podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud. 

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:  I’m Kristin, co-host of the Ask the Doulas Podcast, and today, I’m joined by Valerie Lynn.  Valerie is author of The Mommy Plan, and she also has a recipe book.  Valerie is an eco postnatal care specialist.  Welcome, Valerie!

Valerie:  Thank you, Kristin.  It’s nice to be here.

Kristin:  Yeah, it’s great to reconnect with you!  I know when we initially connected, I was teaching Sacred Pregnancy classes, and I had some taken some trainings where we used your recipes for postpartum doula work, and so I’ve always loved them.  And I know in the past, you had written a guest blog for me on nourishing the postpartum mother.  So I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately.  It’s been many years.

Valerie:  Oh, yes.  Yeah, it has, and you’ve grown your business, which is awesome.

Kristin:  Yeah.  It is.  It’s wild!  We have 20 doulas on our team and 2 nurses, so yeah, loving it!

Valerie:  That’s quite an achievement because that’s not very common.  That’s pretty awesome.  Congratulations to you and all your hard work!  And what I’ve been up to is just spreading the word and reeducating families, you know, as well as birth professionals, doctors, nurses, on the eastern practices of after birth care, because they’re very specific, and they’re applied to the postnatal anatomy and what happens after pregnancy, any type of pregnancy, whether it’s full term, miscarriage, stillborn birth – you know, there’s things that we can do, that women can do, to help their bodies heal and recuperate much faster and restore the womb.  We don’t realize what a drain it is on the female body, and there’s, again, specific things you can do that I’ve studied through the Ministry of Health in Malaysia in the field, and that’s how I came up with the first book, The Mommy Plan.  So that’s been happening, and I actually teach now at the Malaysian Permanent Mission to the United Nations.  I teach my course there in Multicultural Postpartum Recovery Practices.  I had many requests from moms and people who said, oh, what do I do with these food guidelines?  It seems very strict.  And it’s really not.  So from those requests, I started writing recipes six years ago.  I initially engaged brilliant chefs, and then when I got the recipes back, I inadvertently had to change them.  You know, tweak them here and there and change them, even though I sent them the food guidelines.  But what I also did was I adapted it for a Western diet and lifestyle.  And I said, when you break things down to food science, you know, then there’s a lot of core principles that you can follow.  And I took something like that top ten meals here, like pancakes or, like, meatloafs and other things like that, and I put a postpartum twist on them.  So you have, like, for example, like a meatloaf, then you have a healthy meatloaf, and then you have a postpartum meatloaf.  So that’s how I describe that.  That’s called Healing Meals: Simple Recipes for New Moms.  And that’s happened.  I’m developing the course now.  My book, The Mommy Plan, is used by CAPPA for its postpartum doula and new parent educator as a resource, and DONA has approved my multicultural postpartum recovery course for continuing education units.  And I have – I’ve been in California.  I’ve opened up the Post-Pregnancy Wellness Boutique of Los Angeles.

Kristin:  I read that.  That’s wonderful!

Valerie:  Yes, and a pregnancy services collective.  And so it’s nice to have everything spread out, and I can see that, all of my things, and people can come in and, you know, see and experience.  Southeast Asia, again, has the lowest rates of postpartum mood disorders in the world because they have special clinics and they have spas and even wings of hospitals that are dedicated to the recovery of feminine health and women after childbirth.  And I even have a university here in California that is interested in incorporating my work into one of their curriculums.  So it’s been…

Kristin:  Fantastic!  I was intrigued by the work you did in Malaysia.  Was it 20 years that you spent?

Valerie:  Well, and counting, because I still have a family property there.  And I first went to Malaysia in 1996, visiting, and then moved there in 2000 after graduating, continuing my graduate work in Malaysia.  And so since 2000 to 2012, full time, and since then, part time.  So that’s why I have a very deep, regular relationship with the consulate and the embassy staff here on both the east and the west coast, and I’ve been invited to exhibit at the Malaysian Embassy, and it’s – yeah, I just love it.  And I’m really missing my home.  You know, I have a first home and a second home, the US and Malaysia.  Missing it, and so I really created the boutique, and I really redecorated it, bringing Southeast Asia to me because I can’t travel during this pandemic.

Kristin:  Right.  Well, if I get out to the west coast, I’ll have to check it out!

Valerie:  Yes, please!

Kristin:  I would love to see it.

Valerie:  Yes.  That would be awesome!

Kristin:  So tell me more about the definition of eco postnatal care specialist.  I know you offer coaching services as part of your client services, but I’d love to hear specifically about what that means so our listeners can better understand.

Valerie:  Well, eco postnatal care is – you know, eco means natural, and that’s what it is.  It’s natural care for a woman after childbirth to help heal her body because you’re going to support the body’s natural healing capabilities that gets triggered after childbirth.  So it’s all about using – because the body – pregnancy is a natural state of a woman’s body, and birth is a natural event.  But it’s a little bit of a trauma, and a trauma whereby certain functions in the body become secondary.  They were primary, and they become secondary, such as digestion, circulation, and metabolism.  And then they become secondary, and then the postpartum functions of breastmilk production, shedding the retained elements, so the water and fat, and rebalancing the hormones become primary for a time, for that six to eight weeks after childbirth.  So that’s why the eco side of it is completely natural for a natural event in a woman’s body.  That helps that process, and you don’t want to interfere with that.  You want to support that.

Kristin:  Exactly.  Yeah, I talk to my clients all the time about the warm state in pregnancy and learning from you and then after delivery, you are in that cold state, and using some of the nourishing recipes that you have and warm teas can be so healing.  So tell us a bit more about the shock after delivery that a woman’s body goes through.

Valerie:  Yeah, so like I said, because the – and it’s a trauma, but it’s a natural trauma, and that’s why it can heal so quickly in six weeks.  But here in the United States, there’s a huge void still with recovery after childbirth.  I know when I had my son, I always say, he was made in Malaysia and born in America, in New Jersey where I’m originally from, and then went back when he was three months.  You know, I’m realizing that – I was here for about nine months.  I came back October 2006, and he was born May 2007.  I went back to Malaysia when he was three months old in August 2007.  But after childbirth, there was no – because my prenatal education started in Malaysia when I was pregnant.  So then afterwards when I came here, I’m looking for the services, natural products, the body treatments, the wrappings, as well as just the basic guidelines and the precautions of how to protect your body based on the postnatal state because it’s all based on science, the humoral theory of medicine.  So it’s all based on science, and it’s based on evidence-based proof – which is supported with evidence-based proof, I should say.  And so there was nothing like that.  All I got was a sheet: don’t walk up and down stairs – mind you, I did also have an emergency Cesarean.  Typical not-very-nice birth experience in the US, unfortunately.  But, you know, things happen for a reason.  And everyone was safe, including my son.  And so I was told, don’t walk down stairs, and don’t drive.  And don’t vacuum.  But, again, I was a strategic business consultant in Asia.  I ran the American Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia, and so like every Western woman, we’re not going to be like – well, why?  Why?  What is it?  And so when I really started looking into it – oh, and mind you, too, I also had postpartum anxiety and OCD after my son.  I didn’t realize this for nine months because Malaysia was so low, that 3%, the lowest in the room, with postpartum mood disorders.  No one talked about it.  No one – there was not even, like, a psychologist or psychiatrist you would see that would specialize in it.  No one deals with it.  Now, we are more dealing with it.  I’m a postpartum support international country coordinator for Postpartum Support International for 11  years now.  We’re really trying to bring more light to it because there are women that fall through the cracks, like me.  So it’s like a double-edged sword, right?  It’s like the best in the world, the lowest in the world, but there are still people.  So I have women that contact me, and I facilitate them into our online resources and my personal network.  So I’m building ties and more and more resources.  And I do articles and interviews.  So that’s how my journey began, when I realized – I was running the American Chamber of Commerce.  I have all these people on my board: Boing, McDonald’s, Citi Bank, GE, Intel, Boeing, Exxon, and I was having these crazy thoughts about my son and accidentally hurting him or just those thoughts that were very irrational.  I knew Malaysia had very good and very specific, I should say, postnatal recovery practices and techniques, which I liked, and I looked and I saw on Mother’s Day, the penny dropped.  I was reading articles in May 2008, and I was like, wow, I think I’m experiencing postpartum anxiety and OCD.  I was stressed about my job, but I had irrational fear and worry about my son that was disrupting my life.  So that penny dropped, and I looked and saw – we had, like, 20% at that time.  They were – this was 2008.  They were reporting.  Now it’s higher.  And in Malaysia, I looked, and it was 3%.  I was like, well, why is it 3%?  Because I lived in Japan before, and the diet – you know, had a great diet, Japanese diet.  Malaysia, delicious food; not a great diet, right, because it’s delicious curries and stuff like that.  And so I was like, what is it?  What’s the reasoning?  And so long story short, I took out a package and I went and had this whole traditional postnatal spa treatment, and I rebalanced myself naturally in two to three months by body treatments, the herbs, following the food guidelines.  Still, after a year, because you’re out of balance, so you still have an ability to recover.  So maybe like my body, you know, the leftover baby fat or something like that, could not really be helped other than exercise, but the internal rebalancing of hormones, which is where the mood disorder stems from, that could be – that was helped.

Kristin:  It’s amazing that you did all of that research on your own and not having any tools in the West.  And now you’ve made all of your research available to so many women.  The impact is huge!

Valerie:  But we still have a lot more to go, and still in the United States where women, it’s not – in Malaysia, you do have your OB-GYN, and the doctor’s responsibility is birthing, having a safe mom and a safe baby after birth.  And then the culture takes over.  So it’s the same thing here, but we don’t have the culture.  We don’t have the guidelines.  We don’t know why.  And women still don’t have any importance on this recovery because they still feel – and it’s true that, you know, there’s a natural transition back to a nonpregnant state.  But it’s still – it’s like when you break your arm and you have a temporary support cast on it.  You’re not going to wait six weeks and then get your cast.  Here, we’re all about waiting six weeks.  Doctors say, eat anything you want.  Do anything you want.  Well, you’re in a vulnerable state, and it’s based on science, and there’s things that you do and expose yourself to.  Our natural lifestyle and habits don’t support that and interfering with it.  And when we talk about hormones, it’s so sensitive.  The backdrop, also, is the chemicals in our food and the pollution in our air and in our personal products and cleaning products.  They’re all hormone disrupters.  And so that’s why we have a weakened, prolonged recovery in the United States.  There is no doubt about that.

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Kristin:  That makes so much sense.

Valerie:  I’m a developmental economist by study, so I like statistics.  So when I looked at, and you still look at, the numbers, which there are about 4 million births a year here, and roughly about 1 million women, new cases annually, of postpartum mood disorders are diagnosed.  That’s not including the existing 1 to 1.5 million, and you’re on top of the ones that are not even reported.  So that’s what blew me away and got me to seriously look into this.  I just felt the void, and I just knew I went through an awful period.  And I was not pleasant to be around, and I just don’t want that.  Thank God I was in Malaysia.  There are – I had, like, full-time live-in help and a great support system, but if you’re doing it on your own, it’s so hard.  And that’s why I think it’s even more important here.  People say to me, well, over in Asia, you have a better family structure and this and that.  Well, yeah, maybe.  It’s still more conventional.  But we need it more here because there’s so many women that live, a wife and their family.  So you need to know how to help yourself recover.  So it’s even more important because we don’t have the help.  We don’t have the products, the knowledge, the talent, the skills.

Kristin:  Yeah, and I feel like American women just want to – they have all these expectations to bounce back, get back to work, fit into their old clothes, and just versus other cultures where the first 40 days plus, depending on the culture, is all about healing and bonding and family and friends nourishing them and helping them in so many ways, and that is not our culture.

Valerie:  Because no one has explained it the way we need to understand it.  That’s why I took – even when I was doing my research, which I applied to do a self-funded study through the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, and I was granted it, in hospitals and in the field and manufacturers and spas and massage schools.  I pieced it together.  And that’s what we need.  When I explain it to people, then they understand why and what happens in that healing window of opportunity I call the first six weeks.  So people just want the accolades of having the baby and all this, but actually, you know, I always tell people that pregnancy is easy.  By and large, that’s the easy part.  You need your stamina.  You need your well-being, your health, to really take care of the baby the way you want to.

Kristin:  Exactly.  And you had mentioned again that isolation.  And COVID intensifies that isolating time for women, so if they don’t have family support, don’t have a postpartum doula or a nanny, how can you encourage the partner to help in the six weeks?  If it’s a Cesarean birth, it would be longer than that, but in that recovery time?

Valerie:  Well, I like to be very realistic with dads.  Some dads are a huge buy-in but only on these certain things.  And they most likely just like bottle feeding.  And when they can’t do that because Mom’s breastfeeding, they get a bit like, eh, what am I going to do?  So realistically, dads need to understand those first few weeks and what could happen, and then mom has – again, I’m all about the mom.  Most people are all about baby; I’m all about the mom, and a little bit about the baby, which I teach a Malaysian colic massage specifically for colic, which is awesome.  So I just focus on the moms to get them up.  So when I explain to dads, you know, mom heals; it’s going to be easier all around.  And so in the coaching program, I like to have dads on it, which is beneficial, but if not, I do have them on certain modules where I know they can buy in because it’s kind of from a male perspective.  To support breastfeeding – but when dealing with dads, you also need to ask them, like, what’s your roles around the house?  Who has the chores?  Who has what duties?  A lot of people do feel that mom is just being lazy.  Mom just – they don’t realize the enormity it takes to grow a baby and then birth a human.  It’s way, way more.  And some women are great and bounce back, but 99% of people don’t.  So I find, in order to get their buy-in, ask them what are their roles around the house.  What can they do, what are they willing to do, and it’s only a temporary time.  Because dads, you know, they can only take off two weeks and then go back to work.  They also have a lot of stress.  So for example, are they willing – and sometimes they don’t have skills – are they willing to cook?  Can they cook?  Are they willing to do laundry or straighten up?  Are they willing to do these things for Mom and take these chores temporarily away from Mom?

Kristin:  Right.  Like, she shouldn’t be vacuuming, for example.

Valerie:  Vacuuming is really, really bad for the core.  That’s, like, the number one thing that could bring back the lochia.  It’s super bad.  It’s one of the number one things that I say.  They think, oh, it’s just a machine.  I’m going to clean.  But it’s how you’re moving your torso and what happens.  So, again, you have to get back to the condition of a woman’s body after childbirth and then the postnatal anatomy.  So you have to take it back to the science.  Don’t just say don’t do it.

Kristin:  Like, show them evidence.  I love it.

Valerie:  Yeah.  That’s what it is.  I ask them about what their roles are, if they can cook, if they can’t, what they can do.  And then if they’re not, doulas plus Groupon is their best friend.  Say they can’t cook.  You get a doula in that can cook or will cook, a Groupon for some kind of cleaning service or – you know, you can pay local people to come around.  You just go and you hire someone or you pay someone, like, $100 for recipes that the mom can pick – that’s a lot of food.  That’s got to be at least five days’ worth of food.

Kristin:  Right, and there’s now grocery delivery service, and there’s so many different options.

Valerie:  Yeah.  So just for that, and for me too, but coming from the food perspective, then we get kind of into the postnatal nutrition and meals and what you should be eating – what she should be eating.  Again, things are done with a purpose during this time.  You eat with a purpose.  You rest for a purpose, not to be lazy.  Right now, when the body is in an intense exercise, so to speak, and it’s working for you, working for the mom, because it no longer needs those retained elements, or the water, fat, and flatulence, to support the baby or the joints or anything like that, it’s shedding it at an intense rate.  So from my research, you know, the metabolism increased 7 to 10 times higher during that time when it’s shedding.  So the things we’re doing are disrupting that, and that’s why it’s so long.  The body’s just – you know, and it has to do with the digestive system and the activities.  So that’s why I want – what I do, when the mom’s body – like a set, like make a postnatal care set.  There’s things that dad can do to make sure all is healing from day one because it’s a consecutive healing every day.  And we also go over if Mom’s not feeling great and just different moods and things that are longer.  Irrational fears she’s not doing a good job – things that dads shouldn’t say.  Don’t compare them.  It’s amazing how men are just – I will say men are more caring now than way back when in the ’50s or the ’40s, but still they say things that they maybe just shouldn’t say.  And then they want to do things that maybe they think is good, but for mom, it may not be satisfying at that time.  Do something simple.  And then just try to, like, lower their expectations of that time where they all think it’s going to be a holiday or something, but it is not.  I want to get this reading in – it’s absurd.  There’s a lot – I see a lot of moms coming in at the boutique.  They go to the homebirth midwives or the lactation consultant, and it’s always like, oh, I wish I knew.  I wish someone told me.  So I’m about scenario planning because I’ve been criticized a lot in the past.  Don’t scare moms.  Don’t tell them they could have hormonal postpartum migraines or this or that.  But no, it’s scenario planning, like in business.  As long as you know, okay, if you are having a headache and all of a sudden it comes on – my cousin’s daughter gave birth last year, and she had a postpartum headache for three weeks, and poor thing.

Kristin:  That’s a long time.

Valerie:  It is, but it’s not uncommon at all.  So I’m on a lot of natural groups and moms’ groups, and there’s so many things like that that come up that people are like, oh, what do I do for this or that.  So it’s like scenario planning.  What can you do if you have this headache and your doctor is like, oh, it will pass?  Like, if you have a stomachache or you’re constipated and your doctor says, oh, don’t worry, it will pass.  Eat whatever you want until you have a reaction.  I hear that time and time again because doctors aren’t trained for that.  They’re just answering – they don’t have time to answer these kind of really in-depth questions.  It’s the worst advice you could ever give someone.  Like, you’re someone who has a peanut allergy.  Oh, try each nut until you go into anaphylactic shock.  You don’t want to do that.  But this is just our culture.  I’m not blaming them.  We just don’t have that here.  Malaysia – you know, the universe just gave Malaysia its role in the world.  I always say, like, Japan does sushi; Germany does cars; US is innovation; UK does tea.  Malaysia does postnatal recovery really well.  Even their maternal healthcare policy of the government gives each mom three months maternity leave plus each mom that’s given birth, that gives birth in a public hospital, is given six two-hour body treatments, massages, and wrappings.  Six, free, two-hours.  All within the first six weeks, targeting day 5 after childbirth but starting by day 7, and then finishing by day 44.  That’s in their government policy.  The private hospitals, they have that service.  So every woman is entitled.  So they just blow me away.  They really care, and when I first started studying and researching their practices – luckily, my contact was the head of the traditional compensatory medicine department under the Ministry of Health.  And the first time I went into the Malaysian hospital, they had a whole wing for all this eco care.  Whether it was cancer or diabetes or something else, and then you have the maternity side.  I was like, wow.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was just incredible, an eye-opening experience of what this kind of care could be.  And you know what?  It was very simple.  You have, you know, a bed for the mom, a low bed on the floor for the massage and body treatments.  You had a bassinet for the baby.  You had some products.  That’s all you need.  Maybe a little music.  That’s it.  And it’s just – and it really helps the body heal.  And we have to get a start on it because the body starts recovering from day one, hours after the placenta is birthed, internally, because there’s that sharp drop in hormones.  The birth of the baby, the placenta.  That triggers the healing process.  So it starts a lot earlier.  I’m always about day one, so I’m really bringing the honor back to the birthing day where in traditional cultures you have a special meal and it’s honorific for the person to make the meal, and you have that.  And then the first time a mom gets cleaned.  It’s an herbal feminine wash.  It’s not a douche.  It’s a feminine wash because the first four days should be devoted to the perineum and getting that strengthened.  That’s why things are delayed to day 5.  And so if a mom’s had a Cesarean, your perineum still needs TLC because it’s weakened.  You could have hemorrhoids.  You don’t know what’s going to happen afterwards.  There’s so many infections people get, even if they didn’t give birth vaginally, and so herbal products, all the products I import, are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, deodorizing.  It’s ten months of menses lochia that’s coming out full of toxins.  And mentally, moms are like, oh, my God.  It smells so bad.  It’s also helping that.  That’s twice a day for 20 minutes, a sitz bath.  And it does dramatically help with wound healing.  And all the products that I import, the little magic in them, it’s 52 different herbs collectively, but not in each product, has traditional herbs from the jungles of Southeast Asia that are sustainably farmed and grown, and they are known for feminine healthcare, for wound cleansing, shrinking.  They’re known for restoration.  So that’s the magic in the products.

Kristin:  So our listeners can order the products online through your website, correct?

Valerie:  Yes.  They can, on the website.  There’s videos on there and explanations and every single herb.  It’s all baby friendly, breastfeeding friendly.  It’s all good.

Kristin:  Yes, all natural products, and they can purchase your book and your recipe book from the site.

Valerie:  Well, actually, the recipe book at the moment is for my students and for my clients initially.

Kristin:  So they have to be coaching with you?  Okay.  So they can order The Mommy Plan book, and then if they’re a coaching client, then they get the recipe book as part of the sessions with you?  Okay.

Valerie:  Or if they buy the set, like the whole postnatal care set, because it’s really wonderful.  It has videos, printable product use charts, The Mommy Plan, the cookbook, and it comes with a sample of a postnatal group coaching for 30 minutes on a group call at this time.  So I really want moms to use it and to be on the right path because they’ve invested in their recovery, and I have no doubt it will help them.  And say the products – it’s ten products.  It’s a feminine wash; it’s a herbal recirculation oil that helps the water and the retained air and fat be released faster.  So it’s all about stimulation, circulation, and warming, because you’re in that cold state.  There’s a tea that’s wonderful.  I mean, I drink the tea.  And these products are traditional feminine healthcare.  I use them.  I had my son 13 years ago.  You can use these at any time.

Kristin:  That’s good to know!

Valerie:  It is.  They’re really great.  You need all this help, this concentrated help, right after childbirth.  But it’s traditional feminine healthcare.  It’s used any time.  I use these products.  There’ a tea.  There’s really wonderful virgin coconut oil that’s in there.  There’s a herbal bath, those sacred herbal baths.  And there’s a wonderful wrap that actually includes the hips.  Because you open 10 centimeters, got to close 10 centimeters.  You need to also support that weakened perineum floor, so this holds you, you know, holds that in, and helps it close faster because all these practices are about healing the mom faster and getting her on her feet to be a contributing, productive member of the family.  In other cultures, they don’t want someone laying around for months on end.  You can’t afford it.

Kristin:  So taking that time to heal, to get back to it, versus forcing a woman to get back into her regular patterns in the household and work right away and then have depletion and lose the productivity over time, and the mental health declines as well.  So it makes perfect sense to me.

Valerie:  Exactly.  And that’s why dads and doulas help.  Maybe they’ll make the feminine wash or they’ll set up the sitz bath.  You know, they’ll put the oil maybe from the knees down on the mom if their legs are hurting.  Even when pregnant, it’s really great for retained water, as well, and edema.  These are things that a dad can do, as well, to help set up.  Make a tea.  All of this.  He can really play an important role.

Kristin:  Yeah.  Light some candles.  There’s a lot of conversations in the birth world right now about self-care, and I talk to clients about it, and it looks different to everyone.  But it could be a way to have some intimacy as a couple with the transition, whether it’s baby number one or four, to have that intimate time together where the partner can be involved in her recovery.

Valerie:  For example, my cousin’s daughter who had the headache for three weeks, my advice to her was, have your bath.  Her husband made the bath, and when she was in the bath, he’d pour the water over her back.  Then she had the calming paste.  There’s also a calming paste in there that is for postpartum headaches.  That’s a traditional recipe for postpartum blues.  It’s like a masque for the forehead that infuses these relaxation and refreshing herbs into the forehead that goes into that area.  And then she had the oil where he gave her a head massage for that.  So you’re right; you can have some intimate moments that are maybe going to be far and few between, where mom needs this help.  She doesn’t have to have these headaches, but these are things that you can do, and there’s a whole – there’s product usage videos that come with it, printable charts from day one, so there’s lots of support information.

Kristin:  Well, it sounds like a perfect gift for a shower.

Valerie:  That’s why I’m there and I support each mom and family the best that I can so that they have a better recovery.  That’s why I got into this, to help lower the rates of postpartum mood disorders.  But it’s still not happening.  I’m even on a maternal healthcare policy committee member for the state of California, and we are still very much focused on helping the mental health side.  This is all prevention to help the body recovery.  So slowly, slowly.

Kristin:  Well, I appreciate all the work that you’re doing.  It makes a big impact.

Valerie:  Thank you.

Kristin:  Any last words of advice for our listeners?

Valerie:  Yes.  Again, pregnancy is a natural state.  Birth is a natural trauma.  So the transition from the third to the fourth trimester should be seamless.  It’s not like, boom, had the baby, I’m done.  That’s how I was 13 years ago, and it’s not the case.  You have to think about it in a holistic way; first, second, third, fourth trimester.  And the fourth trimester is still dedicated to baby because you’re getting yourself back on your feet, and you’ve been taking care of baby this whole time while you’re pregnant with what you eat and changing your lifestyle.  So the big difference is having a planned versus a random recovery.  Don’t have a random recovery.  And look at your sources, who you’re pulling information from.  Make sure it works for you and your family.  A crazy diet may not work for you because it’s so out of your element.  People sometimes do that.  So it’s something that they should start within – you know, look at from the third trimester, and during the third trimester, probably about week 35, I recommend people to wear a belly support wrap because even if you don’t have pain or discomfort, your center of gravity shifts, and your abdomen is going to be super stretched.  That will help it afterwards to help those muscles contract, even if you’re not having discomfort, wear it.  Your muscles will thank you and your skin.

Kristin:  I agree.  I am all about belly binding and wrapping.  It’s fantastic.

Valerie:  Yeah.  This is the third trimester, the pregnancy support one.  Then you definitely wrap.  That’s a whole other topic.

Kristin:  Yeah, the binding during pregnancy and then the postpartum wrapping, yes.  Thank you so much.  Please remind us again how to get in touch with you.

Valerie:  Sure.  My name is Valerie Lynn, and my company is Post-Pregnancy Wellness.  I am an eco postnatal care specialist, and I’m starting to use the term “the body doula” because people know doulas.  Again, it’s very different from a postpartum doula.

Kristin:  Which you are a postpartum doula, as well?

Valerie:  Yes.  Yes, I’ve trained as that.  And you can find me on my website.  My email is

Kristin:  Thank you so much, Valerie!  It was great to reconnect.

Valerie:  You too!  It was great to talk to you.

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