Redefining Motherhood

Ep 38 - Birth as a Rite of Passage with Amelia Kriss

November 04, 2022 Lynn Turcotte-Schuh, Amelia Kriss Season 2 Episode 4
Redefining Motherhood
Ep 38 - Birth as a Rite of Passage with Amelia Kriss
Show Notes Transcript

Amelia Kriss is a Drama Therapist and Certified Coach in private practice in the Bay Area, California, where she lives with her husband and two powerhouse daughters. She works primarily with recovering people-pleasers and "Nice" girls who are ready to deconstruct self-shrinking patterns, and find more ease & joy.

 Amelia is also deeply committed to Birth Story Medicine work; helping birthing parents integrate, and move forward from, unresolved issues connected to the experience of giving birth. She believes that supporting parents through birthing as a rite of passage is an important (and too often missing) piece of creating healthier & happier families.

 Amelia is also a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator and a director for therapeutic theatre. She is deeply interested in the connection between our personal healing journeys and our collective liberation.

 What we discuss in this episode:

  • Amelia shares her own postpartum journey and the moment her husband asked her how she was. Her answer surprised her and helps to frame her transition into motherhood.
  • What it really means when we get the message after a birth that says "Mom and Baby are healthy and happy."
  • Why it is so important to prepare birthing people for the psychological and spiritual identity changes that come with the physical experience of birth. 
  • Why the information preparing families have access to leans towards one of two extremes and why both sides are just not complete. "Most of us hold both sides; fear AND trust."
  • Growing humans is a bad-ass thing and we are strong enough to think about, and prepare for, all potential outcomes.
  • What it means to be "empowered" as a parent. You have life experiences you can draw on as you prepare for birth. And how birth is like going on a hike.
  • Amelia shares about her Group Coaching program - how she designed and it and how it will help expectant parents.
  • How society steers us wrong in birth and motherhood and why Redefining Motherhood exists. How motherhood is not a role or an archetype but an experience.
  • Lynn shares the experience that jolted her out of "survival mode" in motherhood.
  • Amelia connects for us that there is a level of death/change/rebirth that takes place in the transition into motherhood. How it is mixed and messy and dynamic. How there is a ying and yang. 

Resources and Links:

Connect with Lynn on instagram @HappyMamaWellness. Looking for more support with parenting and motherhood? Get your first month in the Happy Mama Wellness Community here!

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to try and give birth with as few medical things as possible. I wanted to avoid medication and intervention wherever possible. But whenever I said those things out loud, I was met with phrases like, are you crazy? You have no idea what you're talking about. Don't be a martyr, and you're putting your baby at risk. It was so deflating. And it made me doubt every single instinct that I was feeling. Then my wife and I found the Bradley method of natural childbirth. I'm not promoting this class or method. It's just the route that we went for our own preparation. That class did prepare us for many of the physical things that would come with labor. But more importantly, I believe, it surrounded me with like minded people, and brought my confidence back in line. Halfway through that 12 week class, I was able to reply to all the naysayers with compassion and respect, by saying, I appreciate your concern. But this is the path we're taking. When labor began, I was in a really good place. I knew what my goal was. But I also knew I had no control over the course of events, I was going to stay calm, and go where the experience took us. I ended up having the unmedicated vaginal birth that I was hoping for with very minimal interventions. And it was the most empowering experience of my entire life. We'll get back to that word a little later. Having been on the other side of motherhood now for nine years and having worked as a support person for birthing people for about eight years, I've come to realize that the world of birth and motherhood is incredibly polarized. It's not at all what I thought. It's a world of extremes. And the people seeking the information in the middle like I was have a huge mountain to climb. Birth is not just the physiologic act of pushing out a baby. It's an emotional, spiritual and mental rite of passage that brings you to the other side forever transformed. And that's the part that always seems to be missing. That's why I'm excited and honored to have had this conversation hopefully the first of many with Amelia Chris, a fellow birth worker and Mama supporter, trying her best to prepare birthing families for the actual experience of birth, rather than the stories of either extreme. This episode is so good. It's so inspirational. It's so insightful, you might need to listen to it several times before you dig out all the hidden gems Hello, and welcome to redefining motherhood, the podcast for Mamapreneur xers who really love their kiddos but are overwhelmed and burnt out from the day to day of motherhood. I am Lynn Turcotte-Schuh Mama mentor, founder of The Happy Mama Wellness community and your host. Redefining motherhood is all about letting go of society's expectations and digging deep to figure out what you want your motherhood experience to feel like and you're not doing it alone. My guest and I are here to inspire you, motivate you and help you be a truly happy mama. Today's guest is Amelia Chris, and she is a drama therapist and certified coach in private practice in the Bay area of California, where she lives with her husband and two powerhouse daughters. I love how you describe them like that. Amelia works primarily with recovering people pleasers. I am raising my hand because I want you to and quote unquote, nice girls who are ready to completely deconstruct the self shrinking patterns and find more ease and joy. Like I cannot wait for this conversation just for that. But it gets better. Because Amelia is also deeply committed to birth story medicine work, where she helps birthing parents integrate and move forward from unresolved issues connected to the experience of giving birth. She believes that supporting parents through birthing as a rite of passage is an important and too often missing piece of creating healthier and happier families. And I could not agree more. So Amelia, thank you so much for being here. We're so excited for having me. Would you like to share a little bit more about your journey and kind of how you got to being a therapist and coach and working with families?

Amelia Kriss:

Sure, absolutely. So I'll talk about my work in a second. But I think that the place to start is the sort of my own like, postpartum journey. And so I had my first child seven years ago, which is crazy to think about, um, And there's this one moment that really, really stands out to me where it was just a couple of days after she was born, we were in like the cozy postpartum time, and our families were around, and they were really, really sweet and helpful. And it was like, really kind of idyllic in that sense. And I had this moment where my husband asked me, like, really asked me, like, how are you? Like, looked me in the eye and asked me, and what I heard myself say to him was, I feel like I just got back from a war and everyone else is acting normal. And so also, it wasn't a war, I understand that I'm not comparing it to a literal war. But that was like, the, the emotional texture of it for me. And, and my sort of, you know, in my therapists, brain and my coach mind, right, like, sort of aerial viewing on myself, I was like, Oh, this is important, I should remember this, right like that. That's a big statement to make. And it surprised me when I said it. And so anyway, that moment sort of always stands out to me. And then I think about the work that I do with folks with pregnant folks and birthing folks and newly postpartum people, and families. And the more I do this work, the more I find out that that is not that uncommon, right? And so we use different words, right? I'm not saying that everyone says what I said, you know, there's definitely lots of beauty in the birth experience, and in the early postpartum time, too. But it's really, really intense for people a lot of the time. And that's often like not contextualized societally, it's like, I always, I always make this joke, like, you know, I'm in this time in my life, and have been for many years, where several of my peers and friends and family are having children, you know, and we'll get the email from the dad or the partner. You know, usually it doesn't come from the birthing parent, that's like, everyone's good. You know, it'll say, like, mom and baby are happy and healthy. And, and like, what I what I always say, when I get it is like, first of all good. And what I know now that means is like baby's good. And mom, or whatever, the birthing parent is survived. Yeah, that's what we mean, you know, and I think that's sort of what motivates me at a deep level in my work, is that I think us surviving it, physically and physiologically, enough to function as caretakers. That's not happy and healthy. Right. And I think a lot of the space between that is about this missing piece for parents, which to me, you know, and in the lineage of many of my teachers and mentors, to me, that piece that's missing is about birth as a rite of passage birth as an incredibly humongous identity shifting experience for a lot of people. And when traditional childbirth education is focused on like, here are the stages of labor, not to say that stuff isn't important. It's just that it's not complete. Because the babies are being born. Yes. And we're being born as parents in that moment. And even if it's not our first child, it's our first this child. Yes. And I think, to not give birthing people, the context of how deep and intense this can be, is a very real disservice.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

I could not agree more, there's a quote that's coming to mind. And I it is escaping me who said it. So I apologize to all the listeners that I cannot provide you the source. But the quote goes something like this, that, you know, everybody told me that when my baby was born, I was going to meet this whole new person, but nobody told me that person was going to be me.

Amelia Kriss:

Absolutely. Yeah. I don't know where that comes from, either. But absolutely, you know, and, and I think that's part of what I think we all sort of instinctively understand that, especially once we come to the other side, right? Especially in the postpartum time, you know, you know, just think about all the people you've probably heard say, like, nobody told me, why didn't anybody tell me right? And, and I think that that is about, you know, some of it is about the details of, you know, sort of the medical or physiological experience or recovery things that people are like, shocked by right. But I think on a deeper level, often that's about this identity stuff that's about like, Where was the guide, in kind of a spiritual way for what was psychologically going to take place and that looks really different for everyone. So I'm not saying that everyone has a, you know, carbon copy experience. Certainly we don't. But I think there's a commonality there's a universality in how watershed it is for lots of folks. And when we don't give people that framing, I think that creates this like breeding ground for shame and self blame and like personalization, right? Where we make these birth plans, y'all can't see my air quotes, right. And it's not to say that there's anything wrong with that unto itself. I maybe have a quarrel with the language of plan. Because I think it implies that we get to control some or all of how this goes, right. But it's a checklist, right? I'm going to make this plan, like, I'm going to put out these Mapquest directions, I'm going to follow them. And then they're there, I will be with my baby at the end. And it just as we know, right as birthers and and people who support birthing people, we know that it's not that linear, we know that it's uncertain, and it's wild. It's so wild. It's a primal, like deep thing. And to like, make a PDF that's like, here's how it's going to go is just like more and more mind boggling to me. But anyway, I think often because of that idea of birth planning, folks find themselves measuring the experience or how they interpreted the birth experience against what the plan was. Yes. And in that space, right? Without the context, hey, no one gets to control this. This is a huge, wild, crazy ride, this threshold is way bigger than any document we can make or any linear preparation we can do. Without that people start. Many folks think to themselves, I did something wrong. Yeah. If only I'd said this, if only I had asked for this, If only my partner had done this, if if only I'd chosen some, you know, and it's, we're never gonna get to know, right, we can't go back to the birth, it already happened. And we don't get to change any of that. What we can change is the stories we're now telling ourselves about ourselves, because of how that went.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

I love that. I love that so much. I'm like literally my necks getting sore, because I'm just sitting there nodding, nodding yes, yes. Yes. So, yes, a bobblehead. Most of our audience knows me as a parenting mentor, parenting coach, right. Like, once, once the kiddos are side. Space, they start to work with me. But I my first fashion, the first way that I ever helped families was as a childbirth educator. And I still do that nine years later, I am still a active certified childbirth educator. And I work out of hospitals. And we have the standard, you know, stages of labor, of course, you know, here we go, blah, blah. And we teach it because that's what we have to teach. It's what we're told to. But I always find little ways with my supervisors permission, if any of them are listening, I always find little ways to interject some of this spirit of what we're talking about. Because it is so important. Like, I firmly believe it's important to understand how your body works as the birthing parent, and how powerful it is and how it knows what to do. And I we always start class with, we're gonna learn about, you know, vaginal birth, like we're in the middle of the woods, no one's around to help. This is just what your body is going to do all by itself. And that's the frame that we talked about the stages of labor. But we just this year, added in a little piece about the fourth trimester, so that we could start to prepare families a little more for this emotional and psychological effects of becoming new parents. And I'm like, I started this almost 10 years ago. And just now it like just now after years of fighting to get it in, we're just getting it in. And if you multiply that by the very low number of families that actually seek some sort of education or support before the baby comes like this, you learn to understand why we're so unprepared. Like Absolutely, the information is just not getting to the people who need it the most. And it can be really, really frustrating.

Amelia Kriss:

Absolutely. And I think that's a really important point is, you know, what information is out there? What information is getting to people And without making any of that information wrong or bad, I just am constantly saying it's not complete. Yeah. Because, you know, as you and I talked about, you know, offline, right, that there's this huge polarization in the, in the loudest birth messages that parents are getting, right. So, on one hand, from one, you know, extreme, we think of birth, and we hear about birth as sort of medically necessary crisis, right. Like, it needs to be monitored and, and controlled by doctors and professionals. And, you know, like, it's a dangerous thing. And we'll let you know, right, when you and your baby are okay, you know, that'd be basically so much fear. So much fear. Yeah. And then on the other side, you know, what, what is commonly maybe called the natural birth sort of community, although I just want to say out loud that all birth is natural, and that I, that's important to me,

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

I agree to interrupt you. But when I hear that term, I cringe. And I'm like, Okay, did we do that?

Amelia Kriss:

So sometimes people will say, right, sometimes people will say unmedicated birth, which I like a little bit better. But I also, I also think there's some some threads of judgment that land in that too. So yeah, all of that said, this other side. The other extreme, I think, communicates this idea that like, if you were strong or pure, or like enlightened enough, you can have this blissful like cloud nine, maybe even orgasmic birth experience. Yeah. So I am not saying that those two extremes are not true for some people. But I think for most of us, we're somewhere in the middle. Yeah, for most of us, we are holding both right. Like, I think that's part of the preparation you're talking about that is missing. And whether folks go to childbirth classes, per se or not, I think it's also about changing on a societal level, the stories and messages that we are all telling about birth, telling ourselves and other people that like it's this ideology, in a way, it's this clash of like, it's either this fear, be afraid experience, or it's this Trust yourself, trust birth, trust the process, your body knows how to do this. And I think for most of us, we feel some amount of fear and some amount of trust. Yes, and that's okay. There, they can both be there. They're both real, they both are there. For most birthing parents, there's a sense of trepidation and uncertainty. And, you know, and there's also, hopefully, the knowledge that we get to draw on, you know, 1000s of years of collective experience and wisdom doing this. And although maybe you've never given birth before, or you've never given birth to this baby, before you've lived in his body for as long as you have, you know, things about your relationship with pain, about comfort and coping about how you handle fear, like, you know, things about yourself that are applicable to this experience. Yep. And, and so it's a both and it's a, you can't really be fully ready, because it's not the kind of thing you can really be fully ready for, it will probably take you to some edges of yourself. And that will be whatever it is for you. And you have experiences and self awareness that that can carry you through this, if you if you call on them.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

Yeah, I love that so much. And it's such a, it is a dichotomy. And I feel like I feel like not to put too much pressure on the birth birthing experience. But like you, like you said, it's a rite of passage, you are essentially like shedding an old life and embarking on this new one. And when we begin new experiences like that, the way they start can sometimes affect the way they go. Right? So if we can start that experience, feeling empowered, and trusting ourselves and our partners and feeling like we're a team, and that we support each other and like just having this awareness of how much strength we do have, but also knowing we need help along the way. Like that launches you into parenthood, like nothing else could. And I feel like that beginning happens for such few families and makes me

Amelia Kriss:

absolutely me too. And I think, you know, it's interesting because this this empowerment, word gets like thrown around a lot and I think for a lot lot of folks, the way the empowerment gets, like packaged, or like sold to birthing parents is like, just be strong. Just trust yourself. Like, you know, I think there's a lot of messages that get wrapped up in that, like, you know, you know, when I'll working with pregnant folks sometimes, you know, really checking in and being like, okay, so you're reading this and this and this great, you know, especially if their folks were like, really database and I'm that way. I mean, I prepared on that sort of academic level for my birth, like, like I was about to sit for an exam. Yeah, I was like, here to get my a plus. It turned out that was not complete, but I did my best. Yep. But just coming back to, you know, I'll ask folks like, what are you not reading? What are you avoiding? Right? Like, you read that whole book about birth, except you skip this chapter about having a cesarean birth? Not judging that you skipped it? And there's information in there. Right? What story? Are you telling yourself about what it would mean, if you had a cesarean birth? What maybe superstition Are you holding that if you read about it, or know about it, or look at it, that that means it's going to happen? Right? Or that if you avoid it, learning about it, or reading about it, that it's not going to happen? And I think then that sort of there's a whole other concentric circle of like, support people, you know, doulas and midwives and doctors and all kinds of providers, whatever their relationship is with those things, right. Like, often, you know, people will hire doulas or support people. Also, I love doulas need to go on the record. Love love them. Yes. Love them. Like wanna, we're gonna still want to pause talking to you and write a love letter to all the doulas love. They're like the spirit guides for the birthing person. It's it's so I mean, yes. Yeah. to usher you into this new totally self. Yeah, noticing who you are, support people what they're what they're avoiding. Right. Yeah. Because there are also support people who are like, we're not even you're talking about that, cuz that's not gonna happen. And it's like, you can't promise anyone that, yeah, nobody knows what's going to happen. And I think there's this and this, I think we can tie this back to patriarchy, and all kinds of socialization of women and birthing, folks. But there's this assumption about like fragility, particularly, like psychological and emotional fragility that pregnant people can't handle or shouldn't have to think about scary or hard things. And I just want to call BS on that. Like, I think we can. And we do we already are, yeah, like, it is a bad ass thing to grow a human inside of you. And however you do it, get it out. It is a bad ass thing. And this idea that it's that we're not up for the challenge of thinking about or learning about, or moving through, you know, whatever our on ideal versions of birth are. It's not true. But we kind of make it true, right? Because if the first moment that I even know, if the first moment I even think about a cesarean birth is perhaps a moment in my labor, where that is where things are going. And that's what needs to happen now. What service are we doing to those parents by colluding with them and avoiding that knowledge or that possibility? So that they can, they can do that in that moment. It just, it I, I feel so passionate about holding birthing parents with care. And and I think part of that care, part of that love is a realism about the fact that we don't get to control this. And that some of what we lose or give up or have to lay down in the birth process, some of that comes down to this illusion of control. And as you're saying, right, how it starts can be how it is right. What better initiation into parenthood is there than that? Yes. Right.

Unknown:

So the control over them once they're out,

Amelia Kriss:

you're gonna have this child. Yep. And they're going to be a whole person. Right? And obviously, you're gonna have a deep relationship with them, and it's going to be whatever it is, but this idea that there's somehow an extension of you or what you think should happen, or how you think it should go. Good luck. Yeah. You know, and I think we all collectively sort of semi consciously get on the bandwagon, that there's some right way or some, some level of control that just is not true, and it doesn't serve Have people I don't think,

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

agreed I, I do agree with you that that word empowered can be a little bit loaded sometimes. And so when I am saying to a birthing person or a family that's about to welcome a baby, whether it's their first or their eighth, right, and I use that word empowerment, what I mean by that is like, look inside, you know, this is gonna be hard. But you can do hard things like look at your track record, look at all the things you've accomplished before this that are hard, like, let that give you power to move through this hard thing as well.

Amelia Kriss:

Absolutely, I think you're so right on and that I was actually going to talk more about that word, and I went somewhere else, but you're reminding me Yes. So for me, when I think about empowerment, especially in terms of birth, it's about right, it's about self knowledge. Right? It's about exactly what you're saying. It's not this, like, surface level false confidence that like, everything's gonna be fine. I'm just going to show up. My body knows how to do this. It's not that those things aren't true. It's just that there's more. Right? Yeah. And I think that's so important. And like, that, often, the true the deep empowerment, is, is about a preparation that acknowledges that we don't get to control how it goes. But we do get to choose how we show up for it. Right. So like, often, the analogy that I like to use is like, you know, like running a marathon or going on a like strenuous hike, right? There's no real analogy. I don't think for labor, I think it's a very singular experience, but to start thinking about like, okay, like, why do people run marathons? It's not because they want to suffer? Yeah, it's because there's meaning in it for them. It's because it changes the story about who they are to themselves. And, and what is the meaning of birth for each person, right. And not just that we can look at that afterwards. But in the pregnancy time, we can start to explore like, okay, so when I have faced other challenges, you know, like, I think the hike analogy is a is a great one, because it's like, if you think of labor as a hike, right? We don't know how long it's going to be. We don't know what path we're going to take. We kind of know where we're going to end up. We don't know how many periods of rest, right or replenishment are going to be there. They're probably going to be decreasing as we go. Yeah, great. As we get more tired, there's probably going to be less space for rest, right? Yeah. And so it's like, that makes me think about the polarization too. It's like, if you were going to go on a really strenuous hike, I wouldn't say to you, like, you know how to walk. Your buddy knows how to do this. I would say, okay, so what do you need? Right? What's gonna what what do you know about yourself, you know, how are you with altitude? Right? How are you with heat? You know, where can you set up some water stations? Like, it's not about, you know, it was not about like, you know, on the extreme medicalized side, it's like, I can imagine you're at the bottom of the mountain, and we just airlift you to the top or like, you can't do any of this, right? And then on the other side, I can imagine that it's like, well, you can walk, go. And it's like, look during the stream,

Unknown:

get some berries on the way,

Amelia Kriss:

neither of those feels honest or helpful to me. Yeah. And I think that's, that's the conversation, I want to, you know, I'm currently actually creating this group coaching program for pregnant people that is really focused on this aspect of it, like, what do you know about yourself? And how you best cope? You know, do you like a lot of people around? Do you like no one, you know, would you like support where they're there. But also, it's super clear that you can say, I need you to leave. And I'll let you know, when I want you to come back, you know, the really practical stuff. And also the the deeper stuff, you know, what does this mean to you? And how do you hope to feel on the other side of this? And why are all of these sacrifices worth it? And bringing some meaning and some awareness to that? Because I think it's important. And I, you know, I do as I mentioned to you, I do birth story medicine work where I work with folks postpartum on sort of processing unresolved stuff from their birth experience or from their interpretation of it. Yes. Also, this other issue that has really brought into focus for me, like what is the kind of preventative medicine right? How can we help prepare pregnant and birthing folks for the reality of this? And it's not about fear mongering, and it's also not about pretending that it isn't hard.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

Yeah, I love that so much. That's a missing piece like you found out you found one of the missing links for sure. I love that I every family that is about to give birth. Again, whether it's the first or fifth If they shouldn't be taking, they should be in that group program with them. So it's wonderful that I think what keeps coming back for me throughout this entire conversation is, when I started this podcast, it was actually called redefining supermom. And then we changed it to be redefining motherhood. But the, the essence of that is that, because of society and culture, we have this picture of what birth is going to be, or what motherhood or parenthood is going to be. And then we measure ourselves up to this, you know, with this measuring stick that doesn't actually exist. And we decide we have failed, right? Whether it's, I'm supposed to have a vaginal birth, and I had this this area, and I failed, or, you know, my child is supposed to be polite, and they just dropped an F bomb, I failed. Like, it's just like, we have all these completely unrealistic, skewed expectations and ideas about what this whole journey is supposed to look like, too. And with the work that I do mentoring moms, and with this podcast, my goal has been to let's just make let's unravel that. Like, let's take that away. Because none of its real. And let's look at your life and your experience. And what would a joyful motherhood experience look like for you? Right? So let's figure that like, let's go down that path? Absolutely. If we back up, we need the start that in pregnancy, and so that was why I was so thrilled to be able to get you on because the conversations we're having on not only this podcast, but you know, in our community on on social media. It's, it's, we're already in it. But if we can, if we can start with a better understanding. Yeah, man, like, we would have a whole generation of like, happy. I'm gonna say stress free, because I mean, the like, unnecessary stress. Yes, moms that are raising happy, stress free kids. And like, what a awesome world? That would be. I know, I just went kind of off the rails there. No, you're

Amelia Kriss:

not off the rails at all. I think you're right on them. Right. Like, what? What can we do for ourselves as parents and for the families and parents that we've worked with, that promotes their best coping, their best compassion for themselves and others? Right, as you're when you're saying happy and stress free, like what I'm hearing underneath that is like grounded? Yeah. And like regulated? Right? Yep. On a nervous system level, which, as we know, with our kids, we're co regulating with them all the time. Right? We're in some ways, lending them our grown up nervous system, as theirs is still developing. And, and yeah, I think that's, you're, you're making such an important point here about about this idea of motherhood, right? If we think about mom as a role, right, as an archetype, which we do, right? Like we all have, you, I any person anywhere, I bet if you were like make a list of what you know what the idea of a mother or what the role of a mother means to you. Regardless of their own personal experiences on an archetypal level, we all know what that means, right? I think it would be like nurturing kind, you know, there's so many things we could put on that list. But that they, that ends up being kind of a bucks, because we're not archetypes, where people were actual individual human beings, as you're saying. Yep. And I think that's part of where we need to be a little bit more honest, is there's no amount of coddling or protecting pregnant people that we can do that will actually protect them. From what we societally the pressure, we put societally on Mothers and caretakers that is out there. And I think instead of saying, Don't worry about any of that you're doing great. You're doing great, just trust yourself, your gut. I think what's actually more loving and more real, is to say, hey, look around, like we live in a world where the ideas about how women, how parents, how mothers, how caregivers are supposed to be. It's it's relentless. And as you're saying, it's invented. It's impossible, right? Like, you know, I was having a conversation recently with someone about like, Mommy like wine culture, right? And without I'm not villainizing anyone's choices in any of that. But noticing on a societal level, that the message that gets propagated over and over is mothering or parenting is so stressful, so hard, so unrewarding. Is that we have to numb ourselves on the daily to get through it. Exactly. I don't care what people do to cope and take the edge off. I want people to be well, it's not about judgment. For me, it's about what are we saying we believe about motherhood? If that's if that is necessary to just to get through it. Yeah. So to me, it's not about the drinking of it. It's about what does that mean? We think, what does that mean, we believe? Yeah. And, you know, so many folks postpartum. I mean, even in my own experience, and I've certainly seen it with friends and clients, you know, I was okay. But I was not well, right. I was functioning, I did not have any clinical situations postpartum. You know, luckily, that were so intense that I needed, you know, that level of care, that level of treatment. And I was not well, you know, and so much of the messaging that I received, and that really, that I fed to myself to was like, well, welcome to being a mom, this is what it's like, you want to kids. And it's like, why it's not acceptable to me. That, because we're moms because we're parents, we're exhausted and unfulfilled, and, and welcome to the party. I don't believe that's a true or complete picture. And I think in the same way, it it's a setup, right? Where people start discounting their own knowledge, right? I mean, so many things postpartum, that folks deal with autoimmune stuff, recoveries so much stuff, that basically they're like, Well, I guess I mean, I don't know, I guess this is what it feels like to be a parent. And so I think it's tricky, because I think as professionals, we want to normalize like, it's so big, it's so huge, there's a lot of feelings, physiologically, emotionally, things are going to change. And when we over normalize that, I think people start settling for things that really aren't normal. And, and that don't have to be that way. If we have enough knowledge, and enough sort of self awareness to go, something doesn't feel right here.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

Yeah, I completely agree. That's actually what happened to me. I had postpartum anxiety when the undiagnosed for over six months, because so common, I just kept saying, Oh, I guess this is normal. Like, I guess this is just what it's supposed to be. It is so so hard. And this is hard. So I

Unknown:

guess we're like, that's right

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

on track. Yeah. That's exactly what happened. And I love we're gonna come full circle here, I could talk to you for ever, like, we made a part two of this conversation. But just to kind of start wrapping things up, I'm gonna come full circle, because you had talked about that message with, you know, mom, mom and baby are happy and healthy. What it really means is that everybody survived. Right? Right. Like, can that not be our benchmark for motherhood? Either, like, Absolutely. Not be like, that's our goal. Can it's not

Amelia Kriss:

enough for me. And it's not enough for any of us. Bare minimum,

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

for sure. And I just kind of share what triggered it for me because I think sometimes we do just survive because nothing big enough happens to drop us out of it. And so maybe this conversation for some of our listeners will be the jolt but just to share that moment in my own life. And if you have a jolting moment, I'd love for you to share that. But like I said, I suffered from postpartum anxiety. And I was just just getting through the day, like, my wife, my wife would come home, she'd be like, How is everybody? I'm like, we're alive. Like, that's my big accomplishment today, myself. Like, that's

Unknown:

especially when you're struggling with something like that. Absolutely.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

And, um, and so, I was extremely bonded to my baby. I was very lucky. Like, I was wondering, I had that experience where instantly was in love with her. Like, I feel very great grateful for that, because I know not everybody has it. And even still, I was like, we're just barely making it. And I started having this recurring dream that I was in an accident, and I passed away. And my baby was left like my, you know, without her and her mommy without her mother. And in my head, so So I'm getting therapy at the time, and they're, you know, we're going is that possible? Yes. Is it probable No, so let's not have it be on the nightmare list. However, what that did for me that I'm so grateful for is it made me say, if I only have a week left. Or if I only have a year, or 10 years like that will never be long enough. So if I only have that small amount, I want to fill our lives with joy, and intention. And I want my daughter to remember that we were like we lived every day. And we enjoyed every day. And that doesn't take away the hard stuff. We still struggle, I still get overwhelmed. But the underlying motivation is, did we have fun today? Did we connect today? Did we like really enjoy this experience of life together today? Was I here when I was here? Yes. Yeah, that has guided my personal journey, my professional journey, like that switch that went off has just made all the difference. And so I just wanted to share that because it was a it took a huge jolt for me. But that's where I hope we can inspire listeners to go is like, No, this is not acceptable. I want to live like I want to absolutely love our kids for such a short amount of time. And then they're on their own.

Amelia Kriss:

Like, and also it's such a long time to you know, but yes, I mean, I think what you're saying is so big, because there is this, you know, that's what's underneath all of it for me in the work that I do is, you know, yes, there's hard parts, yes, there's struggles, yes, there's learning. And it's all intertwined with it can be all intertwined with this joy and gratitude. And wonder, you know, and, and that's what we want for our kids to write, as we create joyful and beautiful experiences for them, which I think often we're doing without even thinking about it, you know, hopefully, there's, there can always be more intention there. But I think it comes organically to us to do that is, is to want that for them. And what I'm wanting to turn the volume up on to is wanting that for ourselves, right? Like you're saying, and understanding there's a connection there. Understanding that when I open myself up to joy, and, and love and adventure, and also when I admit that there's other stuff, there's anger, and grief and sadness, and all that. When I'm awake and alive in my life, my kids get to learn to do that, too. Right? There's no amount of telling them that that is going to teach them that we don't have to do it. And we can't do it perfectly, which is like the message of all of this right? You know, like, there will be times that I you know, my my seven year old has started calling me out. Like she knows my voice well enough. She'll be like, You're not listening. I love it. And I'll be like, Oh my gosh, you're right. I'm so sorry. Let's start again. And it's like, that's what I want. Yeah, I don't love being called out because I wasn't listening. But right. And like, how many times can we talk about this. And also, the reminder is I do want to listen, I do want to be present. And whatever it is I'm doing in this moment that feels like it's more important. Like thank you for jolting as you said, Thank you for jolting me. And I know we're wrapping but there's one more thing I want to say about just what you shared in terms of the dream that you were having. And it sounds like you got some really important support. And that one piece of that is like reality checking it like okay, let's imagine of course, that's a possibility. Right? And that often with anxiety, what we're trying to help people do is like, Yes, that's possible. And maybe that's not the same as it's probable or happening or inevitable, right, we give ourselves some space there. Yeah, I think that's a really important like cognitive piece of it, and what you're making me think about, because I think about sort of birth and and parenting and all of this on a sort of journey level on a sort of metaphorical level. You're also making me think about like, that there are deaths in it, and hopefully not literally, and also that happens for people, but that there are things parts of us stories we held about who we were lives that we lived, or maybe thought we were gonna live or drempt About that do change and die and transform. I mean, that's, I think what a rite of passage. And what an initiation is, is that there are things that have to fall away so that new things can be born. And so I think it's also just noticing, you know, like, I think a lot about like, in movies where you'll see in like, you know, these caricatures of giving birth, often, the birthing person will say like, I can't do this or like, I'm gonna die, right? Yep. And I think that's also happens in real life. Sometimes not always, but it can mean we don't have a lot of control about what comes out at that phase. We're just trying to cope, you know, but but also thinking about Yeah, like, in some ways there there are things that are going to die transform destruct and recon. construct on a metaphorical level on an identity level for us. And I think that that's, we are subconsciously contending with all of that in the pregnancy and birth and postpartum time. And I think all of us are whether it manifests in a way that's, like problematic, and we need, you know, more support and even treatment around it, or whether it's just like, the sort of evolution of it inside of us.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

I love that. And I have found, I, a lot of moms that I mentor, they, they say to me, like, I miss my old self, I like I mourn my old self. Absolutely. And I have found over the years that the, the moms that are saying those things to me, they're the ones that are fighting to be the ideal. They're, they're, they're fighting to make their life look the way that they think it should look. Yeah. And once we kind of unpack those things, and we rewrote, it becomes wow, like, I found this amazing person, that's 10 times better than who I was before. And it becomes like you're saying, like a rebirth and so absolutely beautiful. I love it.

Amelia Kriss:

I love it too. And that, you know, it's so common, I think this like, I miss who I was, or I miss my old life, or who was that girl? Or who was, you know, who was I? And I think that's, that's part of what I mean by rite of passage is that the whole experience brings up these questions about who am I? Yeah, you know, what is life? About? What, what is the meaning of all this? What am I doing here? Who am I? And I think in lots of ways, you know, as you're saying, like, I missed that old version of myself, like, we hear all these sort of these common expressions about the experience. And they're clues about what's happening. And as you're saying, we can look in there we can get curious about like, well, where'd she go? Like, what, you know, where might we look for her? And yeah, and that she's still in here. And you're new, you're old, and you're new, you're there. And you're here, it's mixed. And I think that's the thing that I want to amplify. And all of it is just letting it be dimensional and mixed and messy because it is. And when we don't let it be that way, when we have this neat and tidy. Ideal as you're saying, we start thinking something's wrong with me. Yeah, why aren't I more happy? Why aren't I more grateful? Why do I Why do I get so stressed out? Like, whatever the it is? And what I want people to know is that's a part of it. It doesn't mean anything about you.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

Exactly. It's the ying and the yang, right? You can't have the light without the dark. Yeah, that'd be that.

Amelia Kriss:

And you're often in parenting and all that we're talking about, you're often experiencing the light and the dark at the same time. Yep. Emotional multitasking is

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

nuts. It is like, I tried to explain to people that as a as a mom, some days, I literally will look at my child. And I don't even know how it's physiologically impossible. But I will think and feel like this overwhelming love and gratitude and also absolute frustration that there's like flour all over the counter.

Unknown:

Absolutely.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

I really happening at the same. Yeah, I

Amelia Kriss:

remember having this conversation with with my partner, when when my first was really young, like, I was like, the headline of my day today is like, you are so amazing, meaning my daughter, you are so amazing. And I am so bored. Right? Like exactly what you're talking about, like this overflowing a love that I can't contain. Yet in my body, it feels like I don't have room for how big it is. And being like, who I remember, I used to do and think about a lot of other things. And I think as our kids get older, and as we adjust to the role, so much of that gets to come back into focus. I don't think it's one or the other, as I'm saying. But in that early postpartum time. Sometimes it's like, wow, well, I sit on this couch, then I make about, then I do it again.

Unknown:

Yes. Oh my gosh, I again, I could talk to you forever, but we are gonna wrap we made it to ourselves. As we wrap

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

up this episode. We happy to come back. Can you share with us about this incredible group program that you're putting together? Because really, truly, I think it should be like, standard standard issue for all family. Q

Amelia Kriss:

Yes, I will. I'm going to be brief. So the program I'm putting together is a group program. It'll be a small group, not more than eight people at a time just because I want everybody to have enough spaciousness, but also some community, which is why I think I'm going to do it in a group format instead of one on one and it's called Hold Uncharted, anchoring yourself in the wild terrain of giving birth. And it's about exactly what we've been talking about today. Who are you? What do you know about yourself? How can you harness that for this experience? What support in practical and psychological and emotional ways do you want? How do we set that up? What is the meaning of this for you? What stories are you holding from your family from society about how birth should be, et cetera, et cetera, I could go on and on. But the end goal, so it's six weeks, and when people leave, when we come when we close the group, each member will be leaving with like a support plan, like a personalized blueprint, about what they want in place for their birth. And that may include some postpartum things and some things leading up to it. But about like, what people, you know, to the extent that we get to control the location, or at least the environment, you know, they will have practiced comfort measures and coping skills and decided like, Oh, I like that that works for me, or this kind of touches nice or like, nope, whatever that is. And so that stuff will be in there. And it's really just as opposed to or in addition to a birth plan. It's a support plan.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

I love that so much. Yeah, me too. And we will make sure that all of the links and resources for that group are in the show notes.

Amelia Kriss:

Great. Yeah. So you can find out more the website is birthing for real.com.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

It's brilliant. As we close out, if you could give one piece of advice to either a brand new mom or maybe a mama to be, what would your what would your advice be?

Amelia Kriss:

Oh, well. I want to call it permission instead of advice. If I can, absolutely I love that. So the permission that I want to give is just the permission to notice what you're telling yourself, it has to look like or it has to be, or maybe what other people are telling you it has to look like or it has to be noticing. Just investigating, like maybe that's where the pain is coming from is from this idea that it has to look or feel or be some way, some way that is almost always different than how it is as you're experiencing it. And that to let to let ourselves have the experience we're having, even if it's a hard one, without also putting on top of it, the judgment of the story that the experience should be different. Right? It's like we don't get to control the hardness of the experience itself. But do we also have to pile on top of that, that it's not good enough? Or that we could have done it differently? Or better? Right. So I think as far as like the one sentence version is like, the way we love our kids, the way we support our kids when they're struggling. We can do that for ourselves. We don't have to meet our struggles, our challenge with a bunch of judgment and platitudes and made up stories. We can sit with ourselves and be with ourselves, the way we are with our kids. When they are hurt when they are scared when they are unsure. We have that in us and we deserve it too.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

Oh, I got goose ease and I'm getting all teary. Like good time to wrap it up. Oh my gosh, Amelia, thank you so much for being here. And I cannot wait for number two we'll have

Amelia Kriss:

that sounds great. Thank you so much for having me and for creating a space for conversations like this because it's so important.

Lynn Turcotte-Schuh:

Hey, Mama, I know how valuable your time is. And I'm honored you spent some of it with me today. If you love this episode and want even more tools, resources and inspiration, we have a community of mama printers that are working together to redefine motherhood by tackling mom guilt overwhelmed burnout and more. Head on over to happy mama wellness.com forward slash community to join the movement. If you're feeling super inspired by today's episode, take a screenshot and share it on your favorite social media channel. Don't forget to tag me at Happy Mama Wellness that's happy Ma Ma wellness. Even better. If you have a moment to leave a rating and review. It will help me bring you the content that lights you up. Until next time namaste