Supporting women through the postpartum period is an undeniable act of love and service.
What if there was a way to easily customize this care so that the women you support feel deeply held, valued, supported, and loved?
Today, we’re sharing a beautiful conversation on how this is possible with Jojo Hogan; founder of the Slow Postpartum movement and self-proclaimed “facilitator of oxytocin”.
This information will elevate the way women and families experience the postpartum period and bring us back to the joyful experiences we were always meant to have.
Where to find Jojo Hogan:
The Love Language Quiz
In this episode, we are sharing:
- The what and the why behind the original 5 Love Languages
- Oxytocin in the postpartum space, not just birth
- Finding a deeper level of communication & connection as a provider
- Mothers are the experts
- A loving exchange of energy between professionals and families
- Better care, better business, better postpartum
Welcome to the Postpartum University podcast where we support you and your provider in understanding the science, the art, and the sacredness of healing after birth. I’m Maranda Bower, your host, your Postpartum Nutrition Specialist, and homesteading mom with four wild kids. It’s time to get you the holistic, whole body healing that works. Welcome to the Postpartum University podcast, Maranda Bower here and I have with us, Jojo Hogan. If you are not familiar with her, you will be absolutely in love with her by the end of this episode. She runs Slow Postpartum. She is the founder of the Slow Postpartum movement. Many of her posts have gone viral over the years, including a very recent one. So I would be surprised if you haven’t heard her. But she’s a maternal postpartum care specialist. She’s a nutrition coach through the Postpartum Nutrition Certification Program. She’s a yoga teacher and all of these amazing things. And she’s coming to have a conversation today about using the five love languages and postpartum support. And I read that she was doing this training and I was like, oh my gosh, she’s got to be here on this podcast. So Jojo, welcome. Tell us a little bit about the five long love languages by Gary Chapman. And then let’s really get into how we can bring this to our clients and the mothers that we serve.
Jojo: Sure, thank you so much for having me Maranda. It’s just so nice to see you again. So as you mentioned, I work with postpartum families and other birth professionals and postpartum professionals caring in the postpartum space. And I do this in a number of different ways. As you mentioned, I worked with you as a nutrition coach, and I love sharing the benefits of postpartum nutrition with my clients. And I work with yoga and massage and bodywork and various different other modalities. But of course, it’s really all about making it however you work and whatever you know, the way you work within the postpartum space, whether you’re a professional or whether you’re somebody who just cares for new families or whether you are a postpartum mum. It is all about, I always think it’s all about bringing it back to feeling loved, supported, and cared for. Because when a new mother or parent or family feels that love and connection around them, then this is so much easier for them to be able to relax and be there to offer the same to their baby, right? If they’re being cared for, loved, supported, nourished, and nurtured, then they can offer all of those things to their new baby. So often when people ask me what I do, I often just say, I just bring the love. And the way that I do that is I bring, I sometimes call myself the facilitator of the oxytocin, right? We know that oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding and connection is so important in the birth room. Any birth donors out there listening will know that we want to bring all the oxytocin into the birth room. But sometimes what people don’t realize is that we need to have a lot of oxytocin in the postpartum space as well, right? When the new mother has high levels of oxytocin in her body, she’s much more likely to feel loving and connected and bond with her baby. And it also controls the letdown reflex of breastfeeding and it reduces anxiety, it helps her sleep, it reduces stress, it’s an anti-depressant, it’s an anti-anxiety hormone, all these wonderful properties that oxytocin has. And the way that we can bring oxytocin into the postpartum space is by making women feel loved, feel supported. When I found out about Gary, I think I always knew about Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, and you mentioned it earlier, but if people out there haven’t read it, it’s kind of like a self-help book. It’s about relationships really, and I think it mentions quite a lot about the partnerships, like understanding it within your partnership with people in couples. But then I think he went on to talk about the love languages of parenting and all sorts of different things. And the way that he’s categorized, or the way that he explains it, is that we all have these different ways. He categorizes them into five different groups, doesn’t he? But what they’re based on is that the way we like to feel love, or we express our love. And the five different categories are, the first one is physical touch. They’re not in any particular order, but they just come into these five categories. One of them is physical touch. The next one is words of affirmation. The third one is acts of service. The fourth one is quality time. And the fifth one is gifts or presence, physical things. And in the book, he goes on to say that when we receive one of these things, it makes us feel loved. And everybody, he says, has got not necessarily just one main one, maybe two, that when we receive those things, it makes us feel loved and connected. And if we receive another one, it might not make, it might not have the same impact. For example, it’s probably pretty obvious I’m a massage therapist. And I think that it was quite obvious to me that physical touch is one of my love languages. Not only do I love to be massaged and hugged and all of those things. I like to be able to give that to other people, because often the way that you express love is the way that you like to receive it.
And so that’s one of my main ones. And he says that when you know what your love language is, or more importantly, once you know what someone else’s love language is, then when you give them that physical touch or quality time or words of affirmation, it makes them feel loved. And this is such an incredible conversation for couples. I have read this book, I’ve read it for my children as well. And just to give you an example, I’m words of affirmation. That’s really important to me, but my husband is physical touch. So I’m giving you an example here. So he’s more likely to give me physical touch as a way to express his love, even though words of affirmation is what I tend to give him. And so now that we have this understanding, we can be like, oh, okay, now I know that I’m gonna give you more physical touch and less words of affirmation. And he’s gonna do the same for me, give me more words of affirmation and less physical touch. And we both have that back and forth, right? Where it’s another level of communication. And of course, we sprinkle in the others and we do the same for our children.
Maranda: And yes, absolutely. And by sprinkling in, and of course, it doesn’t mean that we don’t include all of the pieces. And but when we’re coming into the birth and labor and postpartum space, you know, I suppose you could have, you could ask people what their love language is, right? You can open that conversation.
Jojo: That’s exactly what I do. So this is such a simple way as a postpartum care provider that we can bring amazing service to our clients. And I do it in a very simple way. I just get them to fill out a questionnaire at the beginning of our time together when they’re still pregnant. And along with their details of their name and their address and all of the things and what foods they love and what their values are and what their challenges are. And all the things that I ask my clients when I do an intake form, quite a detailed intake form, I ask them what their love language is. And I say, actually two, two, I say, can you give me two of your love languages? And if they don’t know, I send them to Gary Chapman’s website and I can’t remember what the name of it is, but we could put it in the show notes. And I ask them to do the little questionnaire that’s on them. And often they’ll do it with their partner if they haven’t done it before and if they don’t know. And I also ask for the partners love language as well, because there are times where I’m working with both parents. And I also, if they’re not aware of this, just like you said, it’s a really great insight into your relationship. So once I know what their love language is and they know what their love language is, more importantly, then I can easily come into that postpartum space and give them what they need. So for example, if it was you that I was caring for, if you had your new little baby and your arms and I came in and I knew you told me your love language is words of affirmations, then I would make particular attention to tell you what an amazing job you’re doing, how you’re the best mum for your baby and how your baby is thriving. And I can see that you’re communicating with your baby really well. And it’s not I would be seeing those things, but maybe I wouldn’t think to mention them all the time. But I would know for you, particularly it would be important for me to really voice those things and tell you what a great job you were doing on a regular basis, because that would make you feel connected and supported.
Maranda: Yeah, absolutely. And it would be from a place of coming in with attention to detail. You’re not making this up. You’re simply bringing more awareness and attention to it and speaking it verbally, right?
Jojo: Correctly. Whereas for somebody who, for example, words of affirmation was not their love language, but touch was, of course, I would still be telling, I always tell my clients that they’re doing a great job because they are, they always are. But I would pay particular attention if it was your, you know, touch was your love language. I’d be saying, right, let’s, you know, have you had a foot rub this week or should we set up the massage table and give you a lovely massage or how are your shoulders feeling?
Shall I give them a little rub today? Knowing that even while we were chatting, if I lifted up your feet onto my lap and gave you a lovely foot massage while we were just chatting about your day with your baby, that that would be something you would really appreciate. Obviously, I’m always asking, but for somebody whose love language is touch, and I say, “Hey, how do you fancy a massage today?” Of course, they’re going to really appreciate that.
Maranda: Yeah. And then acts of service and quality time and gifts. What would you suggest for anyone who’s listening in? What could they do for someone whose love language is one of those?
Jojo: Yes, great question. Acts of service, I think, is my other one. I love it when somebody, I mean, I had a friend come around the other day and mowed my lawn for me, you know? I was like, “Thank you so much.”
Jojo: And I had actually a funny story I told the other day, you know, when I met this new partner I was years ago when I had a new partner. And I can’t remember how it instigated, but I came home and he was cleaning out one of the cupboards, like under the sink or something. And I was like, “Oh my God, that’s the sexiest thing anybody’s ever done for me.” And he was like, “Really? If I’d known that, I would have cleaned out more cupboards.” Because when somebody does something for you, it has that effect sometimes.
Maranda: I wonder, however, if this is something that moves to one of the top of the list for moms in general, because we are so busy with all the things, we carry so much on our shoulders in terms of acts and things that we have to do. Our to-do list is never-ending. So for someone to come in and take that off of our plate, it is almost in a sense a physical touch, right? It allows for us to have more of that space. It’s an act of service, obviously, allows us to have more quality time and it’s a gift in this sort, right? So it kind of touches all of those bases. And of course, I’m just speculating here, but as a mom, that might feel really good for a lot of people.
Jojo: You’re right, but of course, there could be times where it doesn’t, because if somebody’s, you know, acts of service is not their love language, then maybe they would prefer the massage. Maybe they would prefer the words, but in my experience, acts of service is quite a common one, just as you touched on. And I think as postpartum, well, put it this way, postpartum doulas often services our thing, isn’t it? We know we will sweep in, we’ll make the kitchen lovely and tidy, we might cook a beautiful lunch, we might cuddle baby while mom eats and has a shower, and so we might check and fold some washing and make sure the house is nice and straight. So that’s often that acts of service that postpartum doulas do. But just say that you’re not a doula and you’re just caring for a new mum, or perhaps you are a postpartum mum and you know that acts of service is your love language. Then a really important thing for you to do, and I really focus on this a lot with my clients, is as you ask people for help, and you give them things that you really need help with, and you ask them, and that can be challenging for some new parents and new mothers, but it’s so important because it will make a difference to you. Often, and let’s face it, what happens in the postpartum so often, we get a lot of gifts, right? We get the packages and the baby grows, and we get the lovely bunches of flowers, and we get the gift wrap packages, and they don’t get me wrong, they’re all lovely, and they’re probably even more lovely for someone for whom gifts is their love language. They might love getting the beautiful parcels of baby clothes, but if acts of service is your love language, you would probably far rather somebody just brought you around some dinner, put it on the stove, and cleaned the kitchen while you ate it, and that’s absolutely fine to ask for that.
Maranda: Let’s be real, you’re exhausted and overwhelmed, have zero support, your hair’s falling out, and you feel like you’re failing as a mother, #uglytruth. Yes, Postpartum University has the support, tools, and community to heal your body in ways that you have never imagined. Go to www.postpartumu, that’s postpartum, the letter U .com/reclaiming to learn more.
Maranda: I absolutely love this conversation because we’re bringing in another level of care and attention to the people that we are serving. By really focusing on their needs and then catering our skills, because let’s face it, I have seen so many professionals in the field who are serving mothers who have a very long list of credentials behind their name. It is ever-growing and almost to a point where it never feels like enough, right? We’re always seeking more, but this is a way that we can be more and be more intentional in the space using the gifts that we already have and that we are so well endowed with. Really, we have so many gifts that we can bring to the table in these five love languages and just being able to sit down with yourself and write a list of all of the different things that you can provide to be able to provide that for your families and serve your families. And just to ask that simple question.
Jojo: Yes, yes, that’s right. And to know that when you provide that, you are making your client or the mother that you’re caring for, whether it’s a relative or somebody that you work for, feel loved. And that’s all they need. That’s all they need. They’re quite capable of often doing all the other things. They’re capable of looking after and loving and caring for their baby. They’re capable of being a good mom. But to feel loved, we all need that. And that will help build their oxytocin and make them feel wonderful. And just touching on that point, you asked about quality time. Some of the doulas that I’ve worked with and I’ve coached, sometimes they’ll give me the feedback that, oh, I just went to this mom’s house and all she wanted to do was talk. And I just sat there having a cup of tea with her for two hours and I didn’t do anything. And I asked her if she wanted me to do anything and everything had been done. And I feel a bit guilty because I haven’t done my work. And I say to them, you sat there and you listened and she needed to talk and she needed you to hold the space for and support her and be that listening ear, right? That’s what you did. That was your power. That was your superpower. You were giving her the quality time that she so needed. And that’s very powerful.
Maranda: I’m wondering from a business perspective how this has transformed your business and your practice. Because I’m willing to bet when a mother leaves, when you leave a mother and she is cocooned in that love, she is probably going to be spreading your name to all of her friends and family, and sharing that gift of you with the world. So I’m sure that that in itself increases your business as well. So it’s almost like this gorgeous flowing spiral, the circle that is feeding itself. When a mother feels loved, then you feel loved. And when another mother feels loved, you feel loved, right? And it just goes back and forth. And so the exchange of energy that is taking place is constant and ever flowing, and it feels really good.
Jojo: Oh my goodness, Maranda. I mean, I think I truly have the best job in the world, because I feel when I’m in that space that I’m just surrounded in this bubble of oxytocin, and don’t get me wrong, new mothers have challenges and they have bad days and sometimes you arrive and the baby’s crying and the mama’s crying and everybody’s crying and it’s tough for them sometimes. But if you know how you can just come in there and immediately know what she might need, just have a, because often she doesn’t, right? Often the new parent that you’re working with, it could be, you could say to them, what do you most need? And they don’t even know, right? You know, when you’re in that exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out space, they don’t even know. But you know, because you have a little bit of an insight. And also the other thing that I think is really important is that I am very mindful of not being the expert in my work. I’m not the expert of their baby. I’m not a lactation consultant. I’m not a midwife. I’m not medically trained. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a pediatrician. So therefore in my work I empower new parents to be the best parent for their baby. So I’m not the person that’s going to come in and say well you should do this and then you should do this and I would try this and why don’t we do this. You know there’s enough of those people around and they all contradict each other. All the books and the websites and all the advice they’re getting from their mothers and mothers-in-law. So my job is just purely to make them loved and do that in any way that I can because if they are loved and supported and cared for and celebrated they know how to mother their baby. They know how to be the best parent for their baby from that space of feeling relaxed rested and nourished and nurtured. That’s all that has to be done.
Maranda: There was a feeling there and I hope everyone just who heard that like my whole body just went oh like that was so beautiful and so touching. Like you could just you can feel the difference between that just in you talking about that. Jojo I am so grateful for this and I understand that you have a training on this as well. It is part of my coaching program. I do have a slow postpartum coaching program where I work one-on-one with doulas and birth workers to teach them the techniques that I bring to the slow postpartum movement. And I work with new families and it’s part of that for sure how to bring the oxytocin into the space and how to plan because my work is all about planning the postpartum.
Jojo: I work with pregnant couples and people. I start working with them when they’re pregnant so that we can together plan a postpartum full of ease and bliss rather than walking in a few weeks after the baby’s born when it’s all turned to custard and it’s really, really difficult for them, right? So that’s where this whole kind of, you know, what are your love languages? What are your values? What is your philosophy? What challenges are you worried about? We talk about that before the baby comes. And then when you’ve got all that information and you can come up with a postpartum plan together, the work is a lot easier, right? When the baby’s born, because already we have built the village, we’ve got the support, we understand about the importance of nutrition, which of course is what I learned from you. And we know their love languages and they understand all this as well. And then the work becomes just such a joy and a privilege.
Maranda: Jojo, where can people find you and your program?
Jojo: So my website is slowpostpartum.com and there’s information on there, both for pregnant mummies about the art of slow postpartum and for birth professionals. And my Instagram and Facebook is @slowpostpartum.
Maranda: And we’ll have all of those links in the show notes. I highly, highly recommend that you go check her out. She’s absolutely amazing. I’ve been following her for years now. And I’m just so honored that you are here and sharing this. Thank you so much for your insight and your wisdom, Jojo. I can’t wait to have you again.
Jojo: Thank you so much for having me, Maranda.
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