We have our very first guest on this podcast, Jojo Hogan of Slow Postpartum!
Jojo has been involved in the care of pregnant and postpartum women for nearly 20 years of her life.
We get into deep discussion on the importance of postpartum and how much study and research lack in offering women the support that is so desperately needed during this time, what led us both to this path of supporting women on this journey, and how we now work to give this support to them in the absolute best ways possible.
I highly recommend that you go check out Jojo, if you’re pregnant, especially, you need to go take a look at the work that she’s doing in this world.
You don’t want to miss out on what I refer to as the Slow Postpartum Movement where the work that she is doing is changing lives!
~~Find Jojo Hogan on her platforms and her offers: https://linktr.ee/slowpostpartum
In this episode, we share with you:
- Introducing Jojo Hogan
- Jojo’s story in transitioning from caring for the pregnant woman, to focusing on women in postpartum
- The stigma around feeling as if things have to be “good” as a Mama-Caring for a mother up until delivery, but then who was caring for her afterwards?
- Postpartum was always a “blip” on the radar for courses with mothers preparing during pregnancy for delivery/postpartum
- Attention needs to be drawn to other significant parts of this journey into motherhood, not just birth
- Food is medicine, food is healing
- The history of what different cultures were feeding postpartum women and offering them for care
- The concept of Slow Food-The importance of postpartum planning-Different ways to work with Jojo and where to find her https://linktr.ee/slowpostpartum
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, a homesteading mama with four wild kids. My life passion and education are all about supporting mothers and providers. 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, my friends. This is such a treat. We have our very first guests on this podcast, and let me tell you about guests on this podcast. They are top-notch. We’re going to be bringing you so much value. Every single guest here is going to be doing that. But not only that, not only are they movers and makers, but they are also postpartum nutrition certified coaches. This means that in order to be a guest on this show, you have to be certified through my program. This isn’t about creating exclusivity; this is really about establishing a high standard. We are setting the bar here for better postpartum care. So, when a guest comes on this show, you can know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this information is true. For that, I am super excited.
Without further ado, I’m going to introduce you to Jojo Hogan of Slow Postpartum, which I always refer to as the slow postpartum movement. Because you are moving and transforming the world. So, Jojo, how did you come into this space? Tell us all about your business and what you do. How did you get here?
Hi, Maranda. It’s so lovely to be here. Thank you so much for asking me to join you, especially as your first guest, what an honor. It’s wonderful. Well, I, as you mentioned, have been working in this space for quite some time. I’ve been involved in the care of pregnant and postpartum women for nearly 20 years of my life. That started off as working as a massage therapist and a yoga teacher. I specialized in working with pregnant and postpartum women and absolutely loved the work. I even opened a large spa – a pregnancy wellness center, with yoga, massage treatments, osteopaths, acupuncturists, and midwives. Women would come all through their pregnancies to be cared for and nurtured. They’d come to my classes to learn about births and all the things that pregnant women want to know. We did offer postpartum treatments, but they weren’t as popular as the pregnancy treatments. Even though I encouraged women to come back after their babies, sometimes I struggled to get them through the door.
Because I often cared for women all the way through pregnancy and birth, at the end, we’d have a conversation about their baby or birth plan. Then I’d give them a big hug and ask them to come back. Some would, but when I saw them months later, I’d notice they were struggling. They’d sometimes burst into tears during a treatment or out on the street. I’d see in their eyes, even if they were smiling, that it hadn’t been great. If I could get them to open up, they’d share that it had been hard, lonely, exhausting, and overwhelming.
This is something that I hear all the time. I’m kind of a magnet to this. I see a new mom and a baby, ask how they are, and when I push further, the tears and struggles come out. It boils down to a lack of support. There’s a stigma for mothers to always say things are good because they feel ungrateful. I can relate because I’ve had my own postpartum journey. My son is 21 years old now, but I struggled in those first few weeks and months. That’s why, like you, I really want to know how they are. They tell me about struggles like breastfeeding, and I understand.
They were exhausted. They were overwhelmed. They had health conditions. They were suffering from the healing of the birth. All of these things, and they had not enough support.
So that was when I decided to investigate further. I thought, “I’m not there afterwards. I’m taking them all the way up to the end, and then there’s… where am I afterwards? Who is caring for these women?” That’s when I found out about the role of a postpartum care specialist. I decided that I would sell the spa. Actually, I would get rid of this business. You know, I sold it to a lovely person who’s continuing it in New Zealand. But I thought, “No, I want to be there on the other side to catch these women so they don’t fall.”
And so, that’s what my work has been for the past seven or eight years, I think. It’s an absolute privilege, and it’s my life’s work really to care for women in pregnancy still because my work really starts in pregnancy. This is where we need to start when we prepare for the postpartum. Don’t you think?
Absolutely, a hundred percent. And it’s interesting how similar our stories are. Because when I first started my journey, it was after the birth of my son, and I was struggling immensely with postpartum. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know all of the answers. And I actually started as a childbirth educator.
I went through lots of certifications. I started teaching classes. And no matter, like I was in a place where I could create my own curriculums. I was in a place where I was creating curriculums for other people’s use. I was working with programs. I was serving on boards. I was doing all the big things. And no matter what it was, postpartum always was just kind of a blip, right? It was never enough. I would always connect in with my clients after knowing that they had their baby at this point, like a month or two after they were due. And it was always still, for most of them, a struggle.
It was something that was missing, and I kept thinking to myself, “I am preparing them for one of the biggest days of their life, the labor experience, but what happens for the entire life afterwards?” That’s right, because the birth is truly, really, only one day of your life, right? Maybe two if it goes off the list.
“Yeah, maybe three, who knows? It’s such a short period, and then the rest of your life happens, right?”
And then the rest of your life. And so much was not happening. And I actually quit. I sold my childbirth education business and really started to focus on postpartum, just like yourself, because I knew that so much more was needed in this field, and the way I was approaching it through the pregnancy wasn’t something that was serving women as it needed to be.
So, I’m right there with you.
“Yeah, I felt the same way, and I remember saying to my midwife, when she came to do a postpartum visit a couple of weeks in, ‘Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me what was gonna happen afterwards?’ And she laughed and she said, and this is so true, ‘We try to tell you, you’re not really listening in our focus to the significant parts of this journey, which is not just the fun party, right?’ Not to necessarily compare labor to the fun party, but really, there are these big events, right? But there’s so much more that happens afterward. And our society really has not, I mean, even when it comes to weddings, even when it comes to labor and birth, you know, it’s not something that we bring our attention to. And I think that’s shifting significantly. I think women, incredibly smart women, are starting to notice like, ‘hey, this is really important and I need to draw my attention here.’ It’s becoming more common and more normal to think about postpartum. And I think that’s amazing.”
“And fortunately, some of that comes from a, you know, a slightly sad space in the role of the woman that I work with. And I think we’ve discussed this, and I know you have, definitely, is that they had such a terrible experience the first time that they don’t want that to happen again. And I’ve worked with some amazing families who’ve come to me and they’ve said, ‘look, you know, we had a really stressful, difficult, exhausting, overwhelming time with our first baby. We don’t want that to happen again. We want to invest in this postpartum. We want to make sure that we’re cared for, we’re looked after. And we know that we don’t need all the stuff, all that stuff that they tell you you need for babies. We don’t need any of that stuff. We’re going to invest in someone to care for us so that we can have this amazing postpartum that we didn’t have the first time. If we, you know, maybe we couldn’t breastfeed the first time or maybe we had to have a long recovery the first time. We don’t want that to happen again. We want someone to come and make sure that we are completely nurtured and cared for and nourished.’ And that’s, those are the families, sometimes, that they learn the hard way the first time, right?”
“Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I did too. And the second was just as hard and the third was just as hard. And I think I finally figured it out by the fourth. But, you know, it was, it was so much of that journey. And I kind of want to bring this back because you mentioned it just a few times about your program and what you’re doing. Now you’ve taken the postpartum nutrition certification program. And I want to ask you, what brought you to do that? What was the determining factor that made you say, ‘I really want this knowledge, this deeper understanding of postpartum nutrition specifically for my clients?’ What was that? The important thing for me is that nutrition was so important for my clients. I really understood the importance of food, food as medicine, food as healing, right? And that in order for them to recover adequately from the birth process, the pregnancy and the birth, then they needed to have really, really high-quality nutrition. Now, when I first started learning about the postpartum, I mean, I know about nutrition, not qualify, but I know how to eat well. And when I did my postpartum training, doula training, with a wonderful teacher in Australia called Julia Jones, she was coming in from an Ayurvedic perspective. And what I learned, which was so fascinating, was how other cultures view the postpartum, right? How traditional and indigenous cultures all around the world view their postpartum, which is so much, so about what I talk about is slowing down, having adequate rest, putting this dedicated period of time, quite often 40 days or 12 weeks, 6 to 12 weeks aside to be cared for, nurtured, nourished. And then when I found out that all over the world, women, doesn’t matter where you come from, Ecuador or China or India or any of these different places, the food that postpartum women are fed is different depending on what culture you come from. Obviously, India is going to be a bit different from China, but it’s all the same.”
“I have the same guidelines around the kind of food that postpartum women are fed. I found this so fascinating and interesting because I do have an interest in nutrition. As you know, and as you teach in your program, the food is warm, well-cooked, often slow-cooked, densely nutritious, high in protein, high in fat, and spiced. You know all those things that you teach.
I just thought that was so interesting. How do all these different cultures, even though they’re so far apart and from centuries ago when they didn’t know anything about nutrition and what we know now, why were they all feeding postpartum women the same kinds of food? That piqued my interest in nutrition. I’m quite a science geek. I love to find out what people do traditionally, but I also love to find out what the latest research says, the latest science. That’s when I started following you on social media because I loved your ethos.
I love what you were teaching about postpartum nutrition, and it really resonated with what I’d already learned about postpartum cooking and what I was already cooking for my clients. Then, when I saw you were doing a training, I thought, ‘That’s it. I’m definitely doing Maranda’s training’ because I really saw you as the expert in that area. What I loved about the way you teach is that it’s backed up with research and the latest science. There’s not much of that research around. It’s a new science, really, that’s emerging, suggesting we don’t eat the same things postpartum as we do normally.
It is really important, the link between postpartum mood disorders, hormonal disruptions, and even autoimmune diseases that so many women suffer from. I knew I had to come and do your training, and I’m so glad that I did.”
“Oh, thank you for sharing that. It’s such an interesting component when you start looking at different cultures. That’s actually where I started: trying to understand this from various cultural perspectives. They’re all very similar. They have different spices or key ingredients, but they all tell the same story. Being a science nerd at heart, and a biology student when I got pregnant with my first child, I delved deep into the science, statistics, and reasons for postpartum depression and anxiety. That was my personal experience. My way out was studying why it was happening.
In creating this program, it was a culmination of all these components: the cultural piece, the scientific piece, and the stories of countless women. All are equally important. There’s a gap in science because we don’t fully understand the postpartum body. Postpartum depression wasn’t even a diagnosis until 1994. In the DSM-5, the diagnostic tool for mental health disorders, it still mentions that you have to be no more than four weeks postpartum to be diagnosed with it. Fortunately, providers know better, but there’s still a lack of information and inconsistencies.
JoJo, when we recently connected and I invited you to this podcast, you shared about your premium program. If someone wanted to work with you, what would be your top focus for them?”
“Sure, absolutely. I work with two client groups: pregnant women and families, and doulas and birth workers. I teach them the art of a slow postpartum. The term ‘slow postpartum’ stems from my interest in the slow living movement, a movement that’s been around for about 40 years. It started with slow food, which is interesting because a lot of what you teach and what indigenous cultures teach about postpartum nutrition is that the food is slow-cooked, local, fresh, organic, and natural.
The slow living movement has now branched out globally, promoting intentional and sustainable living. I realized that my interest in slow living was directly related to what I was teaching women about postpartum: the importance of dedicating time to slow down and be intentional. I work with birth professionals interested in this approach and pregnant women wanting this for their postpartum. The most critical aspect is that my work starts in pregnancy. It’s challenging to introduce these concepts to a new mom. I believe postpartum planning is vital and often overlooked.”
It’s that, like you were talking about, we’ve got the antenatal classes and the birth preparation classes and all the different classes to prepare you for the birth, but we need to prepare for the postpartum. It doesn’t mean I don’t work with people in the postpartum; I do. But my program, my mentorship, and my coaching start in the pregnancy so that we can set up all of the tenets of having this positive, nourishing, nurtured, cared-for, supported postpartum. Aspects of that are definitely bringing your program into it. So, finding out what kind of foods they love, what kind of foods we can prepare and pre-prepare, how they can set up support systems around them to make sure that they’ve got amazing food happening for at least those first six to twelve weeks. It’s to do with postpartum body recovery, how they’re going to get enough rest. We do yoga, we do meditation and mindfulness. We work on figuring out what their birth philosophy is, and sorry, their parenting philosophy. We work on relationship and family dynamics with the other people around so that that, ’cause that sometimes can be problematic after the baby comes.
“I’m an infant sleep educator, so I educate about what is normal for an infant sleeping, which is usually not what’s being taught in the books and what to expect and how that it is completely normal for babies not to sleep through the night and how we’re gonna get enough rest so that we can recover. All of those things, all those different facets come into my program. So that when before the postpartum happens, my clients feel that they are properly prepared.”
I love this so much because everything that you mentioned are things that I see are not necessarily part of a postpartum class, right? When I think of a postpartum class, it is how to change a diaper, how to put your baby in a wrap, right? When to know your baby is hungry and those are all important things, right? But your focus here is about mother and healing.
“Yes, that’s exactly right. And I often say, I don’t really, I love what doulas do, postpartum doulas, and they’re amazing at what they do. Doulas quite often come in to look after the baby, same thing, they teach you how to sort all the baby, help you with breastfeeding, all those kind of things and they’re there to look after the baby, but I don’t really look after babies, I look after mothers. And also my big thing is body work as well, I do a lot of body work in the postpartum and I either am there in person in the home massaging and caring for the mother with massage and touch and binding her belly and rubbing her feet and all those kind of lovely things. Or I’m teaching her partner, and this is when I do it online, I teach doulas and support people to do that as well. But I am there to care for the mother because I feel that if the mother is nurtured and nourished and supported, she will know how to care for her own baby. She needs that space to get to know her baby, right, to understand who this little person who’s just arrived on the earth side is. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to be supported by others because she definitely does. But my job is to care for not just the mother, but actually both partners as well. I’m often there caring for the partner as well.”
That’s beautiful, beautiful. JoJo, where can people reach you?
“They can find me at Slow PostPartum and the website is SlowPostpartum.com and I’m on Instagram, Slowpostpartum. And yeah, I’d love anybody to reach out who’s interested in bringing a Slowpostpartum either into their life or in that of their clients.”
Thank you so much. I will have your links posted in the show notes. So for all of you, I highly, highly recommend that you go check out JoJo in the least bit. If you’re pregnant, especially, you need to go take a look at the work that she’s doing in this world. Again, what I like to call the Slow Postpartum movement because she is truly making waves and changing the way women experience healing and motherhood, especially in those first few weeks. So definitely go check her out. I will have those links in the show notes for you and thank you so much, JoJo. I really appreciate you being here.
“Thank you for having me.”
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, then 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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