Overwhelm and mental health issues don’t have to be a part of your postpartum, but it can be so hard to find the help and information you need in postpartum to make that a reality.
I am working daily to change this narrative.
In this episode of The Postpartum Circle, I talk with Rose Elbert about her path to healing in postpartum.
Rose did her best to prepare during her pregnancy for the possibility of postpartum depression, but everywhere she went, was met with her health professionals not being sure how to really help her or which direction to point her in.
She lived in such a rural area and not having any support system she felt like there was no one there to help her. But after moving, a colleague that was also a counselor shared about working with me, and Rose took that as a sign that maybe I could be the help she needed too.
She shares her progress with us in this episode and how she has taken back control of how she feels in her life.
Through working one on one with me, Rose has made lifestyle changes that have helped her mental and emotional state.
She has been able to set some essential boundaries in many areas of her life and continue to help others in the way that lights her up.
Come listen to her inspiring story & see how working with me has changed her life.
In this episode, I’m sharing:
- Introduction of Rose Elbert
- Rose’s story and what led her to seek help
- Feeling overwhelmed every day
- Having no support system
- Moving to a more populated area
- After the first child Rose had anxiety
- Feeling as if she didn’t have purpose
- Unable to find postpartum care
- Seeing a colleague’s post on working with me
- Finding and having space for herself
- Learning to set boundaries
- Lifestyle changes
- Claim space and time for yourself
- Improvement with marriage and relationship with kids
- No more guilt
- There is always going to be something happening in your life so don’t wait to take care of yourself
We all get it postpartum and the years after having a baby is no walk in the park. But you know what? It isn’t just about depression or anxiety either. Hey, my friend, I’m Maranda Bower, homesteading mama with four wild kids whose life passion and education is all about supporting mothers and providers in understanding the science, the art, and the sacredness of healing after birth. What we know as common sense in the postpartum years has many women feeling just plain awful. It’s time to bring back the truth, get you the tools you need to heal and thrive in motherhood and beyond.
Hello and welcome. I am very very thrilled to share with you a beautiful postpartum experience with my former client Rose Albert and so here Rose is. Rose, tell us a little bit about yourself. How many kids do you have, where do you on this earth? Tell us a little bit of details about what was going on before we met.
Rose: I have three children. My oldest is five. I have a three-year-old and then they also have an 18-month-old who was born just right before the pandemic hit since she was born in January 2020 and gosh, where was I? We had just moved and I was finishing up grad school. I just got my masters in clinical mental health and I just felt so overwhelmed. Like one thing that really really just ate at me while it was going through my master’s program was like I knew that my mental health was not great. Like and I knew enough about mental health and I knew enough about like how to help people with mental health to just know that like I too needed some help. But I was living in rural Alaska. I was living in Barrow for so long and so we moved it for everything. So I was like, okay, I finally feel like I can get the help that I need but I just hadn’t been able to find a good fit that I felt like met sort of what I needed. So it was really overwhelmed. Like daily I would just spiral into overwhelm, you know that emotion. That’s where I was at.
Maranda: Yeah, thank you for sharing that. And I remember you having shared with me that before, you know, before we began this journey, how you had really no support systems. I mean, you were living in a very rural place and been struggling for quite some time, right? And working through all of the things. And you had so many transitions on top of all of the things that you were going through mentally and emotionally. And so when we finally came together, you were actually referred by another mental health provider in the area. And so we had met and that we assumed it was a right fit. Maybe you can share a little bit about what that experience was like for you, saying yes to this kind of support and moving forward with this, because that’s kind of a challenge for a lot of people to kind of make that decision and that investment of time and money and all things.
Rose: Yeah, well, I guess I’m like way to start. After I had my first child, I really had a lot of anxiety. And I know it’s hard looking back, but I’m sure it was postpartum anxiety. But I’ve always been a little bit anxious. So I just kind of thought that it was like new mom, right? Like, and that’s every, everyone you talked to was like, oh yeah, that new mom thing. Like, so I just, having not been through that before, I thought it would just kind of go away and wasn’t really worried about it. And I was also like just new in my master’s program. And so I thought it was just, you know, the weight of everything I was doing, I thought that like my anxiety was just, you know, normal. And so I really didn’t reach out for much help. But I did end up taking a break from my master’s program, just thinking like maybe that would kind of help my anxiety level and, and allow me to spend more time with my daughter without the crushing overwhelm and anxiety that I was feeling. And so I took a break from my master’s program, and that did help for a little while. But then I got pregnant again. And after my second was still having a lot of anxiety, and I was going back and forth doing school here and there, not super consistently. And after my second was a year old, and I got my period again, I noticed that there was a couple days a month that I was just like, didn’t understand why I was alive. I just could not figure out the purpose of life. And I’m somebody who I have like a spiritual center. Like I feel very strongly that like life has purpose and that everyone has purpose. And so for me to get to the point where like seriously, a couple days a month, I just did not really know. I didn’t feel like it applied to me. I was like, I know that like life has a purpose, but like mine, not sure.
And it would come really monthly. And after three months, I was like, wait a second, this is happening every month. Like this probably has something to do with my cycle. And it was, yeah, it was every month, it was two or three days that I just like, didn’t wanna get in bed, was depressed, sad, hopeless, all the things. And I reached out to my OBGYN, and he recommended that I go on birth control. But I knew, you know, it was a year and, you know, about 15 months after my last baby’s born. And I wanted to get pregnant again, so I didn’t wanna go on birth control, but I didn’t want to like be depressed while I was waiting to go on, you know. And so he didn’t really give me any solution that I felt comfortable with. I tried like an herbal supplement that wasn’t super helpful. And fortunately, I got pregnant fairly quickly when we started trying. And so I had about four months of that, which I, in reading, I feel like I did have premenstrual disorder disorder. And anyway, I got pregnant again. So that went away and then when I got pregnant with my third child or no that was that was my third child so when I got pregnant with my third child I having had that experience and then some other just really hard things that happened throughout that pregnancy I was trying to think ahead and I made an appointment with somebody for postpartum depression while I was still pregnant. I knew I know what ways this are like I work in the mental health field so I was like I need to make this appointment so that it’s I have the appointment like right when I have the baby because I was just sure that I was going to have postpartum depression and when I asked my OBGYN again he didn’t really have any solutions for me he was like yeah no there’s some people you could see there’s this one lady in town that I think works with you know postpartum depression and he named her and I was like oh I actually have an appointment with her already is there anything else like doing to like kind of get ahead of this or you know I was just because of other things that were going on in my life I was I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I was just I was feeling very like feeling a lot of weight emotional weight and um yeah he just really didn’t have any solutions for me and he’s an amazing OBGYN like I recommend this guy to everyone I know because he just it was so wonderful for my pregnancy and my delivery but all my postpartum stuff I was like yeah like you’re really not yeah and that’s pretty that’s pretty typical because really that’s what they’re trained in is OB care pregnancy and birth and there’s I was just talking to a colleague today actually who works in the hospitals actually training providers and you know the one of the things that she said we’re just we’re not trained in this postpartum care and how to support women during this unique time like we have to go somewhere else we have to go see the specialist so yeah but it was it’s like well any I met with I met with a woman that I had me department with like three days after delivering.
And physically, I was feeling really good. But I had worked with, with a friend of mine who does a lot of like mental and spiritual and emotional preparation for like birth and delivery.And I felt like that was really well for me. And I didn’t have any like, I had a great delivery and was feeling really well physically overall, like three days later. But when I went in and I brought my baby with me, the woman was kind of like, so you have postpartum depression, like you’re like barely postpartum out of you. And I, you know, I told her what was going on in my life. And I was like, I don’t know if I have postpartum depression. I just like am postpartum and I, I don’t want to fall into postpartum depression. I don’t want to get postpartum anxiety. I don’t want those things to happen. Like I’m trying to get ahead of it, you know, and it was almost like everyone’s kind of like, why are you doing this if you don’t have a problem? But in my mind, I was like, I want to not have a problem. I want, I want the things that were happening before to not happen again. And I want to be able to cope with like the hard things that I was coping with in my life that had nothing to do with pregnancy, but like, I just felt like the timing and everything. I know, I just desperately wanted help. And I was like reaching out to every, everyone that I knew how to reach out to, and she, she was really nice. And I met with her probably four or five times and she gave me a few strategies that were helpful generally, like for anxiety, but nothing that was like. You know, nothing really gave me the tools that I needed long term, which is sort of like in the moment, immediate stuff, but nothing really preventative. And I ended up, we were in Fairbanks to have the baby, we went back to Barrow, and then the pandemic hit. And also right before we went back to Fairbanks, I learned that I had a uterine prolapse, which was really hard for me. I am someone who’s I’m sure it’s hard for everybody, but I’m someone who I’ve always been really physically healthy. Like my OBGYN is the only argument doctor I’ve ever seen like I just we didn’t ever go to the doctor growing up because we never got sick and I’ve never I know my body just has never gone through anything like that where like I hurt physically and there was not much that I could do and I asked my OBGYN again I was like, you know, what can I do for prolapse and he pretty much told me that like someday I could get a hysterectomy. And that was all he told me I was like, okay, cool. Yeah. Um because you know and just having had a baby, I wasn’t like planning my next child but I was like and not like not planning either. I don’t want to like still get a hysterectomy today.
And so then I just had to be sad about my prolapse and just felt really uncomfortable and really like just yucky like I just felt like my body is failing me my body’s gross my body is you know, not what I want it to be and had a lot of really negative thoughts. Well, I was still in my grad school program and then all of a sudden a global pandemic and Yeah, I was 20/20 and it was hard for almost everybody, but it just this was really the beginning of the spiral that yeah, yes. Yes, and so what happened after this like as the spiral is continuing. So, yeah, I found out about my prolapse went back to Barrow I mean my doctor told me really just check in with us. It might correct itself check in with us in three months. You know three months went by in global pandemic. I couldn’t make an appointment or really think to call anybody. I was the week that I had decided I was gonna go back to work. And I was going to start my next class per school was the same week that everything shut down. It’s like March 16th or whatever and so then I’m at home.
My husband is a first responder and was working crazy hours during the pandemic. So I was home with three kids, you know, a newborn, you know, two toddlers and a newborn working from home, homeschooling my oldest from home. I mean, it was just pre K stuff, but she I’m entertaining her essentially and doing school and just dying. I was just crying all the time and really trying to like, you know, everyone’s been through a hard thing, you know, it’s not just me, but I was just really struggling. And we ended up coming down to Fairbanks for a little while over the summer. And it just felt so good to like have my family around my my parents or my sister was kind of I love Barrow. I’ve lived there for a long time, but I just don’t have the family connections there that I used to. And it just felt so good to be in Fairbanks. And I also knew that like, maybe for those in Fairbanks, I would be able to find somebody to help with my mental health. So we decided to move down there. Well, first, actually, I really really wanted to stay in Barrow. And I tried better help during the pandemic. And the hard thing was that it being telehealth and me still having the children and the work and the school, and then trying to add therapy on top of that. It was just like, okay, one more thing. And I was like trying to do therapy on the phone while taking care of three kids and checking me know, like it was just, it wasn’t helpful for me at the time. So we moved to Fairbanks, eventually, long story short. And while I was down here, I was still looking for someone trying to find postpartum professionals.
And my friend, Amy Carlson had posted her experience with you. And she is also a therapist in substance abuse, which is kind of the field that I work in. And so just seeing her testimonial, I was like, oh, I wonder if what she’s doing would work for me because we have, you know, somewhere background in professionally at least. And I had never really thought about seeing someone that wasn’t like a specific mental health professional for mental health. But just seeing her testimonial, I was like, come on, shut this lady out. And I actually got your meal plan for free at one point and had been reading through it, never started it. And then I reached out to you. So I remember there was one specific day in December where I was like standing in my kitchen and I was in the middle of finishing up this internship. And my husband had just barely moved down to Fairbanks, but I think he was traveling at the time. And I remember standing in my kitchen, like looking at the dirty dishes, looking at my kids that were eating and needed to like be cleaned up after. Looking of the window and wanting to go outside and then looking back at my dishes. And then like, and I remember doing like two full circles, kind of just like, what do I want to do next? What do I want? Like, oh, and then I had this project for school too that I was like, oh, maybe I should go work on that while they’re eating and not clean up right now. And I just remember like doing this circle, like, what should I, what should I do next? What should I do next? What should I do next? And I just couldn’t, I just couldn’t like move forward. It was so just overwhelmed with my life. And I liked everything that was happening in my life, but it was all so overwhelming. And so I was like, I’m gonna reach out to Maria. Yeah. We reached out, obviously, and we spent an upwards of five months together.
Maranda: This is how long the program is, and maybe share just a little bit about how that was for you going through a program like this and really what the end result was because that’s what everybody wants to know too, right? Like how is this really, how is this an experience, right? Like what happens during these these months together and then what’s the end result here?
Quick note for you my friend, my postpartum nutrition certification program is opening and if you feel called to support women at this deep fundamental level and truly address the root of postpartum depression, anxiety and postpartum autoimmune disease, then join this group of thought leaders and community builders in this upcoming cohort. You can learn more at www.marandaBower.com/certification.
Rose: Well, I kind of, well I’m right, I reached out and then I knew I couldn’t really start, I couldn’t really commit until January, so I reached out to you in December, but I was like with everything that’s going on, I just I’m worried that, and I kind of wish that I had started in December now, like because I feel like everything that we went over would have just helped me with all of the things, but you know, hindsight’s 20/20. I feel like what it really helped me with was like having a space for myself, like I, in just setting aside the time to talk to you, but also having kind of the, oh gosh, now I can’t remember the name of the program, the sacred transformation program to go through and like, and a lot of what we talked about was like just encouraging me and getting me to make space for myself and take that space and take ownership of that space and not, not compromise that, and I’m such a helper, I’ve always been that way, I love helping people, I mean, I’m a therapist, I’m a counselor, I love helping people, but I just hadn’t realized like how out of control my helping was and how like, you know, all of these good things that I wanted to do, even though I wanted them, I was just so out of balance as far as like my actual needs. Like, I guess I wanted to get my masters, but I actually needed sleep. And I wanted, you know, to spend all this time with my kids, but I needed to have boundaries with them and my time in space, you know, so just being able to really take ownership of that was mostly when I got out of Armenia together, you know, the meal plan and the nutrition plan. I remember I started doing it and it was really enjoying it for like the first week and a half. And then I reached out to you and was like, this just feels like one more thing to do right now. But my issues weren’t so physical. You know, they were a lot, a lot more just, I mean, they’re so related. I don’t want to say they were just mental and emotional because having that nutrition plan for the time that I had it really did help.
But there was like a shift where I was like, actually, I don’t feel like what I need is this change in my diet. What I need is lifestyle change, right? Lifestyle change, right? Yeah, that’s exactly. But it did get me thinking in a different way. I really appreciated your meal plan, just like the beginning part where you explain like, this isn’t necessarily about what you eat. It’s about how you can absorb what you eat. Like, if you can’t absorb your nutrition, then it doesn’t matter what you’re, you know, putting in your mouth. And so it did give me an awareness of like, the kind of foods that I am eating, even if I wasn’t specifically following the meal plan, I’ve been thinking a lot more about like, how is my body feeling? Like, does my body need gentler foods today? Does my body like need something, you know, with more fiber in it today? What is my body? What can my body absorb? What can I handle? How am I doing physically? Has been on my mind so much more, which is not really how I thought about food before.
Maranda: Yeah, this is self care, right? We had to really, you know, rewire your brain. That’s exactly what we were doing, right? When we look at the scientific, you know, part of this, it was rewiring your brain and helping you really connect in with yourself, with your needs, and to be able to communicate that and translate that into a life that felt really good and that was not overwhelming. And so a lot of this was, you know, coaching, right? A lot of this was understanding things in a different light. And a lot of it was, here’s the tools that you need to make this transition, make these changes that much more efficient for you, that much more easier for you. And that’s where we spend a great deal of our time together. And where are you now?
Rose: I’m in a much better place. Well, and I, you know, didn’t mention a lot, but a lot of it also had to do with like, just my dynamic and my marriage and my relationship, like just early on when we got married, there was a lot of codependency and I felt like we had really worked on so much of that, but there were still these like lingering, like codependent things that I had never really thought about. And sleep was a huge area where like my husband and I differ so much in like how we value sleep. Like he likes to just power through and stay up and do things when there’s time. And I’m more like, no, I think we should rest for bodies. But for the longest time, I was, you know, just having a hard time claiming my own space with like how much sleep I needed and how I spent my time in the evenings.
Being able to do that, not only did that help me because I was able to sleep more, but it also just like gave me this empowerment of like, yeah, like I can have whatever life I want. Like I don’t need to stay up till 2 a.m. just because my husband stays up till 2 a.m. and I don’t need to judge him for staying up till 2am and like just being able to have that experience has allowed me to just apply that in a lot of different areas but I feel like now I can claim space for myself and I can claim that space with or without other people in it and whether or not they’re in it is really up to me and I think my relationship with my kids is so much better um I had a really hard time previously especially throughout the pandemic of just like you know when I would wake up grumpy and grouchy and not rested like it felt like it was my kids fault you know so much was like oh they woke me up early like never mind that I stayed up way too late right but they woke me up you know or uh they they are so demanding or that you know it was I felt um often I felt a lot of resentment in my overwhelm towards my kids and like all the things I had to do for them and judging myself as a mother if I didn’t do that stuff for them and I feel like now I can just make more decisions that are based on not just my like my health but like our relationship health like no I’m not going to push you on the swing if I don’t want to push you on the swing because if I push you on the swing and I hate doing it the whole time.
Maranda: Like what good is that I love that so much so I mean the big thing here is that not only are you able to listen in and you’re taking care of yourself and you have that space so but what I’m hearing is that it’s not coming with guilt.
Rose: Yes yeah yeah so so powerful and that was a huge a huge thing for me it was like you know and when I was aspiring we’re on my kitchen trying to decide it was almost like, what, what thing do I feel the least guilty about or the most guilty about? And that’s the thing that I’ll do next, like, you know, feeling guilty about my house being dirty or feeling guilty about, you know, the work I was turning in being like B minus instead of a plus or, you know, just all of this, the guilt. And I remember talking to you about like, who said, like, who said your house has to be clean? Like, who’s coming over today? Even like, who was doing this to you? And it was me. Like, it was, it was all, I mean, society and whatever. But yeah, it was internalizing it. That was the problem. And I stopped internalizing it. There was a Facebook post not too long ago that went viral talking about how, you know, why not just put the dishes in there three times, you know, put the cycle on three times, right? Why do we have to do that to ourselves to where we are the sole, you know, responsibility relies on us? Why not just press the button a couple of times? Who said you couldn’t? Who said you have to stay, you have to stand up and taking a shower, right? Like, lay down and take a shower if that’s the way it goes, right? Who puts these rules on us? Yeah, it’s usually us. Well, and I think I just found in my life too, like, other, other messages that were like coming at me at the same time, that I was able to really like, instead of just like, Oh, that’s a good idea. I was finally able to be like, I’m going to start using that right now. Like, I’m not, you know, I’m not going to wait for a more convenient time to start improving my beliefs about myself or my beliefs about motherhood or my beliefs about like my career, like, I’m not going to wait until XYZ is over. I’m just going to start the good things now and let go of stuff I don’t need.
Maranda: I love it. It’s beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. Is there anything else that you any words of wisdom? Maybe somebody is looking at getting support. They’re feeling feeling unsure about this. What would you recommend to them?
Rose: Good question. I don’t know. I mean, I know a big thing for me, like I mentioned before, when I was thinking about when to start with you, it was like, oh, I have all the stuff that I have to finish. And so let’s start next month. And again, I wish that I had just started because the stuff just keeps coming.You know, and in January, when we did start, I remember, I remember almost thinking like, oh, maybe I should put this off. Like, because now I have like, I was starting to look for a job and I was like, you know, there was part of me that wanted to put it off again, because stuff just keeps coming. There’s no, there’s no end.
Maranda: Thank you. Thank you so much for your time. I’m so excited for you and your healing journey. I’m just so honored to be a part of it. And yeah, so many, so many great lessons. And I feel that so many of us can truly relate to your story, right? And it’s important to hear other women and what they are going through so that we recognize that even in the, I mean, these, these are moments that we feel alone in. These moments feel dark. They feel like we’re the only one on earth going through these things. And we might logically know that that’s not true. But it still feels, you know, within us to be the truth. And so when hearing these stories, you know, I think it’s just so validating for so many that, you know what, this is, this is the reality of things sometimes. And even more is that we have a way out that this is not how we have to go through motherhood. This is, there’s a better way, plain and simple. So thank you for that.
Rose: And the, and the better way isn’t as complicated as I thought it was going to be.
Maranda: Never, never. Beautiful. Thanks for tuning in and taking the time to learn about how to support your body and deep healing. We don’t do this work just for us or for you. Your healing impacts your children, your relationships, and your community. We do this work because the health and vibrancy of our world begins with its mothers. I hope you have taken some valuable information today and applied it to your own life. If you aren’t sure where to begin, reach out about working together one on one or at minimum learning about my postpartum nutrition plan, which is where I start every single one of my clients. And you can do that by going to MarandaBower.com. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Let us know by leaving a review and we will see you next time.
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