An Awkward Run-In at Target into a Lesson in Diversity

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

An Awkward Run-In at Target turned into a Lesson in Diversity

(This was an article Hehe wrote originally for Family Education, you can view the full article HERE.

As a Maternity Concierge, sometimes I go on the first few outings with new moms after the baby is born. This particular family had a three-year-old, too. So here we are having spent way too much time in Target and a cart that drops items every few feet because it’s piled mountain high because this mom had been cooped up for the last three weeks. I’m wearing the baby, who is sleeping, and the three-year-old is in the cart (and holding a few items), but growing antsy as each minute passes. Nap for her was due in 45 minutes and we knew we’d already be late for that.

As we step into the line (keeping in mind, we are the third party in line), the three-year-old asks if tomorrow is a “school day” or a “home day” and her mom tells her it’s a school day. The conversation pursues and the little girl names her friends that are in her class including the “not kind” friends and her “most favorite” friends. As the conversation dies, I begin a conversation with the mom about setting expectations for what our plan is for when we get back to their home. Amidst our planing, we hear this booming, yet so innocent, voice say, “Look Mommy! She’s black.”

Now, let me set the stage for you. I don’t have children. I know secrets to nooks and crannies of parenting. I know tips and tricks for couples about to have a baby. I know how to comfort someone after a miscarriage. I know how to navigate setting boundaries when tantrums strike, introducing solids, and how to potty train kids, but nothing… I repeat, nothing…. can prepare you for a moment like this in life. Sometimes in my job, I find myself saying, “Thank God I am not here yet in life,” and this was one of them.

This mother, ever so gently said, “You’re so right! You’re noticing we all look different. We all have different color skin, isn’t that neat?” The little girl continued, “Like Justin* at school!” Her mom replied, “You’re right! Do you want to say hi to her? You could ask her her name.” The little girl nodded and turned to the lady in front of us and said “Hi! I have this baby!” As she said this, she was holding up her new baby doll she was getting “to practice breastfeeding” as mom breastfed her new baby brother.

As it turns out, this little girl had been learning about diversity at school. Not only was she displaying her intelligence of being able to transfer things she learned in school to the outside world, she was simply trying to say hello to a new friend and didn’t know how. It was never about the lady in front of us because it was always about her being a proud new big sister showing off her new skills in her new role. It was always about having something to say and not knowing how to say it.

Imagine if her mom had squashed that?

Remember, that your child has no idea what is socially acceptable and what isn’t. That’s your responsibility to set those boundaries and teach your child why those boundaries exist. It’s your job to teach your child how to interact with other humans and treat other people kindly. As they learn about the world, you will have to shape the way they express the constant influx of knowledge they take in each day.

Be mindful that your child learns by seeing and doing and observing. They ask blatant questions because, to them, their questions are simple. They make unfiltered comments because, for them, that’s the language they have to express that feeling or thought. Remember, they are simply connecting the dots around them.

*Name has been changed.

Check out the FULL article , here.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


When Things Are Bigger Than You

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

When Things Are Bigger Than You


Recently, I have been truly connecting with the approach of "Is this bigger than me?" to try to combat what I call "The Guilt of Saving the World." This is where someone has such strong feelings about helping others that it sometimes inhibits them from seeing the limitations of their help or that they may not be able to remedy certain situations at all. I became acutely aware of this guilt that I so often encounter when I first moved to Boston. The homeless population around Newbury Street and the Back Bay area absolutely break my heart. They do. It makes me feel so deeply sad. I without fail will always purchase food and drink for someone when we go walk around that area. I won't give them money because I want them to be fed and hydrated more than I want [insert whatever their sign says]. I can't help them get a job, or help them get to their destination, but I can feed them and I can give them water. I can give them a hug and let them know that they aren't alone and good humans still exist.

My Walk With Things Bigger Than Me

I once was yelled at by a supervisor of mine... in a one-on-one meeting...about something that I had tried to prevent in the first place. DAMMIT HEHE! After leaving the meeting and leaving for the day, I began to cope with what exactly happened there and after realizing that it seemed to be an extreme reaction to me feeling frustrated, I realized, "This is bigger than me." That supervisor was so stressed and so run thin, that they lost control and I just happen to be the last straw on the camels back. Bigger than me

I recently supported a mother who had such blinding Postpartum Anxiety that it was frightening. I questioned how things escalated so quickly from newborn mom to irrational in what seemed like overnight. I have supported many of newborn parents through anxieties and "firsts" so I was well-equipped. After a single conversation about how we got to this irrational island, I realized, "This is bigger than me." And it was. There were cultural norms playing a role in it and there was concerning medical histories that drove the insanity. Bigger than me

When I first began my career as a doula, I worked with another doula in the community that was so threatened by having a doula so close in proximity to her own service area that instead of coming to me and having a conversation like an adult, she contacted all of the other doulas in the area (and some of my clients) and tried to persuade them that I was a fraud. Obviously, this didn't do any good for her mission, people just thought she was a mud-slinging lunatic. Boy, THIS ONE FELT PERSONAL. Honestly, it took me a bit to get over this one. She was my friend (or so I thought). We had grabbed drinks before and had lunch with one another--we even had been "back up" for one another. After looking into several things like how many true friends she had, her overall happiness in life (judged by her demeanor and comments she made), and her general business ethics, I realized, "This is bigger than me." I feel sad because it seems like the fear of possibly losing business didn't encourage her to "up her game" and provide better quality service to clients, rather it turned her into a nasty human who tried to manipulate others and ruin another person's business. Huge character flaws will always be Bigger than me

This year I worked with a couple that was so unorganized that it hindered their ability to properly prepare for the arrival of their baby. They kept asking if these things would affect their birth experience and I continued to remind them that the way they prepare will have an impact of the birth of their child. They never got around to taking Childbirth Education classes (despite saying they wanted to take it) or putting together a nursery (despite explicitly noting they definitely didn't want the baby in the room with them) or having a conversation about alternative pain relief options (because talking about pain meds made her anxious). I realized the moment she went into labor that "this was bigger than me." There were underlying complications with her pregnancy that was causing extreme anxiety and it was never shared with me for the reason of shame. Bigger than me.

Is It Bigger Than You?

Don't get me wrong, it took me years to get here. I'm quickly approaching 30 years old and this is a recent mental shift that has happened in the last 12 months. I just recently have begun to be so attuned to my own body, thoughts, and emotions that I became acutely aware of how external things affected me. Through this acute awareness, I began to cope with the fact that somethings I wont be able to change. Weird, right?! Because when you're a child, everyone always tells you, "You can do anything if you set your mind to it." This just isn't true. and that's okay. I'll say it one more time, it's okay that you might not be able to change everything you want to change.

Welcome to Parenthood

Starting with pregnancy, there are things that you just can't change. The gas, the sleepless nights, the heartburn, the nausea, the emotions-- just turn it off already! You can accommodate and adjust to these things, but changing them is pretty difficult since your body is doing a lot of work. With work comes changes and these changes have purpose (or at least happen for a reason-- is there a purpose for extreme gas?!). 

In parenthood, when your child insists on waking up at 2am every single night even when they are 8 months old, you aren't going to be able to change this. Your child needs to eat, or maybe they need to know they are safe. Whatever the reason for their wake up is, until their body is ready, you can't control their wake ups. When your toddler yells their first curse word, you will want to react in a supportive, but stern way to express that what they said was not okay. This won't necessarily stop your child from saying this--if you're lucky, it will. However, if you have a strong willed child, you might hear this foul language over and over again..what's a gal (or dude) to do?? It's the "you can lead a horse to water but can't make them drink" mentality. You can ask your toddler not to yell "SHIT!" every time they drop their binky, but inevitably they will in a place where it is least acceptable! 

Of course, with all things bigger than us, we try (in the beginning) to control the situation. Maybe you take a Gas-X, or eat some ginger chewies. Maybe you speak with your boss who acted so inappropriately or ignore your toddler's ugly words. But at the end of the day, that's where your control ends. You can't actually control another human. I couldn't make that couple go to CBE classes. I couldn't wave my hand to take that mother's postpartum anxiety away. and I certainly couldn't have been able to predict that my boss was having such a bad day.

So Where Does That Leave ME...

Realizing that something is bigger than you is hard. Not feeling challenged with this new information is even harder. When someone says something is bigger than you, a natural instinct is to be bigger than whatever is bigger than you, right? Wrong. That will only lead to a vicious and very unhealthy cycle. However, there are a few things you can do. I wish I could say, "take this magic pill and all your troubles will go away." (*cue my wanting to save the whole world complex*) I don't have a special pill, but I do have a few words of advice about what I've learned to do.
  • - Remind Yourself. Constantly remind yourself of what you have learned and why this is bigger than you. Whether that look like, "They are not a good person and no matter how nice I am to them, they won't change," or "This person needs more help than I can provide them and they aren't open to speaking with anyone new," or maybe even a little self-preservation of "I just can't continue to support this person because it is so negative and it is affecting my personal life/relationships." 
  • - Do Some Soul Searching. When something doesn't sit right with us, it is important to search within yourself to understand why. It is important to understand your own triggers and your own boundaries when working with other people. Understanding this about yourself can help you be aware of when someone is getting close to crossing those lines, advocate for yourself and set your limits and expectations. 
  • - Talk About It. Find someone you can trust and someone who understands and talk. Talk it through with that person. It's helpful if that person will challenge your thoughts to help you consider other viewpoints and angles. Some people want to talk about things once and they feel better, while others may want to continue to verbally process all the things so it may take a few conversations. Remember, there is a difference between coping and talking versus dwelling. 
  • - Plan For The Future. What did you learn from this encounter? Take a bit to reflect. Self-reflection will help you learn things about yourself. Behavioral reflection will allow you to look at both parties' behaviors to learn something; plus this may give you an insight to where the other person might be coming from. Emotional reflection will help you evaluate your emotions going into the situation, during the situation, and what emotion the situation elicited from you afterwards. You can also try to think about the other person's possible emotions. Through this time of reflection, you can think of ways that, if you had to have this conversation (or one similar) again, you would be better prepared to stay in control. 
Whatever is going on in your life--especially in your pregnancy or on your journey to conceiving--take a pause to really think, "Is this bigger than me?" This time in your life is full of learning opportunities. Having a child is just the beginning of a long journey of "a-ha moments" that help you realize things about yourself such as your boundaries, your weaknesses, your breaking points, your achievements, and your triumphs. You will learn what you need to survive vs. what you need to be happy. You will learn what exhaustion really feels like, but you will always, somehow, find the energy to keep going.You will be amazed at yourself and your child, but also at your partner.

One of my darling friends said it best, recently. She said, "This year has been a year of pure happiness, pure exhaustion, pure amazement, pure anxiety, and most importantly pure love." It will also be filled with those moments that are bigger than you and that's okay.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


Postpartum Depression

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Postpartum Depression

Last week, I got a message on Instagram from a sweet follower that said “Postpartum depression is a hormonal imbalance..unfortunately your surroundings don’t determine if you get it or not. I wish it did.” While it was not exactly accurate, it reminded me of just how many misconceptions there are out there about postpartum mood disorders. Around these neck of the woods, we prefer to call them “postpartum mood challenges” since a disorder isn’t often short-lived and PPD is often temporary.


I have seen the spectrum of postpartum mood challenges and they appear so different every single time. I have witnessed a mother with such severe postpartum psychosis that she refused to turn off the lights as her newborn slept. She wanted lights on every minute of the day. I have shared in the despair of a mother so depressed as she mourned the loss of her “pre-baby life.” I have also had mothers share dark thoughts like they wanted to throw their baby out of the top story window or fantasizing about leaving their baby and driving off into the sunset, never to return. On the lighter end of the spectrum, I have seen new mothers who get angered and irritated easier than normal or can’t control their crying. Sometimes, it’s not an outburst of emotions, rather extreme anxiety that is crippling and prevents everyday actions like sleeping and eating. 

The important thing to remember when it comes to navigating the postpartum period is that there is always help. For anything that comes your way, you’re never alone. There are local resources. There are online resources. There are free resources. There are paid resources. There are one-on-one resources and group resources. 

You are never alone.

What is it?

A depressiveness that includes irritability, anger, extreme sadness, and low moods that lasts more than 2 weeks after the birth of your baby. Up to 60% of birthing parents (that’s 2/3 of the birthing population to be clear) suffer from postpartum depression and that number will only climb if we include non-gestational parents in the mix.You may also be surprised to learn that postpartum “rage” (becoming angry over things that otherwise don’t seem to be “worthy” of anger) is a classic symptom of postpartum mood challenges. A few other symptoms are the inability to sleep, a lack of interest in eating, and a lack of interest in activities that used to elevate your mood or bring you joy. Intrusive thoughts are also a large red flag. 

Another common misconception about postpartum mood challenges is that it must appear soon after birth and that simply isn’t true. Postpartum mood disorders can impact parents up to the first year following birth. To think that you’ve made it out of the first month or even the fourth trimester unscathed is a mistake. For 12 months after your baby’s birth, you need to be supported, loved, and cared for while you have access to resources and the support of professionals specializing in new mothers and postpartum life. Do not hesitate to reach out to resources that can support you in this time.

Baby Blues vs. PPD

You may experience Baby Blues as your body and hormones realize that your baby has been born and it is time to begin shifting, you may experience weepiness, tearfulness, and light sadness in the first 14 days following the birth of your child. This is very common and even thought to be “normal.” If you’re new around here, you should know, I despise the word “normal.” Everything in life is a spectrum. Everything is a variation of normal and to classify something as normal either gives folks permission to be very sick and not seek treatment or to cause themselves unneeded emotional turmoil as they beat themselves up for not experiencing something considered normal. Neither are healthy and nothing across the board is normal. Postpartum Depression is not exclusive to females or birthing parents. Males and non-gestational parents can also suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis.

Other forms of Postpartum Mood Challenges

OCD- This is classified as consistent and uncontrollable compulsions or obsessions that interfere with your ability to care for your child. OCD is usually thought of as checking locks on doors multiple times or clouting cracks in the sidewalk, but in postpartum it may look like incessant thoughts of dropping your baby. So much so that you don’t pick up your baby at all. It may also present as manic thoughts of your baby suffocating in their sleep leading you to not allow your child to sleep out of your sight and not getting sufficient rest yourself. 

Psychosis- This is defined as paranoia, hallucinations, confusion that interfere with your ability to care for your child. These are the stories that make the news and usually end in harm being done to the child or others. Postpartum psychosis can lead new mothers (and fathers) to make extreme choice and irrational decisions that are not founded in any solid evidence or research. Usually these decisions seem far-fetched and are very concerning. 

Anxiety- While some level of anxiety is expected for new parents to experience, some new parents have crippling anxiety. If your anxiety is debilitating and prevents you from interacting with your baby (picking them up, holding them, feeding them, putting them down, etc), then it’s time to share this with someone. Your anxiety should not be causing you severe distress. Another symptom of postpartum anxiety is paralyzing and intrusive thoughts about your baby (Is your baby eating enough? Are they gaining enough weight? Are their diapers filled with enough output?). These obsessive thoughts may drive you to action (constantly weighing your baby).

Risk Factors You May Not Know About

- HORMONAL FACTORS
So many people blame just hormones for the shifts and changes that happen to your body and your brain after your baby is born. While they play a large role, they are not solely responsible for your postpartum journey. There are other factors that play a role but a history of depression and anxiety (in the gestational parent) will also increase your risk as well as history of alcohol abuse which has also been correlated with PPD (1). 

Immediately postpartum, the human body will experience an increase in amino acids which will result in a deficiency in serotonin (the “feel good” hormone). While a decrease in serotonin amidst the happiest time of your life may seem unusual, it is an expected bodily response. There has also been studies linking estrogen receptors variations and PPD (2). It is important to note that the studies and findings are not only new, but also there are very few of them. There needs to be more research to determine an exact link. 

- GENETIC FACTORS

Genetics play a crucial role in this. If your mother, grandmother, or sister experienced challenging moods and emotional swings during postpartum, your risk is heightened a bit. They way our body adjusts to postpartum will vary from person to person, so your postpartum journey will not look like anyone else’s, but looking at your family’s history may give you a good insight of what is possible for you. Your postpartum journey will be an individual walk, no doubt, it may be similar to someone you know, but your journey is yours and everything is a variation of normal. A gene, known as HTR2A, and a serration receptor, known as 5HT2A, has been linked to a higher risk of postpartum emotional struggles, but education level and socioeconomic status can stand as “correctors” for these genetic predispositions (3). 

- ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
Turns out, as much as I love her (I have a personal relationship with her), this follower is very, very wrong. Your environment is very much an influence on your likelihood of developing postpartum depression…and anxiety and psychosis and OCD. The support of your partner is the number one indicator of much of your success as a new mother. Whether your partner is supportive and encouraging can have MASSIVE impacts on your breastfeeding success, your ability to avoid extreme sleep deprivation, your mental health, and your physical healing. Matter of fact, this study (4) determined that a distressed relationship was the top environmental factor impacting a mother’s postpartum mental health status. While mother’s with specific genetic markers were more prone to postpartum depression, their environment actually played a bigger role. This study (5) showed that even mother’s with “sensitive” genetic markers were less likely to develop postpartum depression if they were in a positive environment. Therefore, your environment does matter. This research paper goes on to share that the term “depression gene” is actually more of a sensitivity to their postpartum environment and the support of their surroundings.

- YOUR BIRTH STORY
The way your birth goes has a large impact on the way you heal (mentally, emotionally, and physically) after birth. This study (6) points out that obstetrical complications, difficult pregnancies, and challenges with breastfeeding can also impact your risk of developing a postpartum mood challenge. Let’s just take a quick minute to think about the obstetrical language we often hear in the birth room such as “incompetent cervix” and “failure to progress” that sets women up perfectly to question their body and their ability to confidently parent their child. How can we expect women to hear these negative terms about their bodies for hours leading up to the birth of their child and then automatically tap into an internal confidence to successfully parent? We can’t. I am a FIRM believer that the way your baby is brought into this world will ABSOLUTELY impact the way you heal and navigate during postpartum. This is why choosing a provider is not only a crucial point in planning for your birth, but also holds so much weight in achieving your ideal birth. Finally, for mothers who classify caring for a baby as “difficult” are also at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression. 

It’s also important to mention, if your birth starts with an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, you are at a higher risk of postpartum depression. This should come as no surprise because as postpartum hormones plummet, this will feel more intense if you’ve already started behind the emotional eight ball.

What to do if you feel “off” after your baby arrives

Tell someone. Tell anyone. Just let someone in your life (that you trust entirely) know that you are not feeling well. Share with them the thoughts swirling in your head and the emotional struggles you are navigating. If you don’t have anyone in your life that you feel comfortable sharing this sensitive information with, tell your healthcare provider. Another option is to do a quick Google search to find a local mental health counselor that specializes in supporting parents during postpartum. 

Medication may not be the only answer. Not everyone wants to medicate when it comes to healing and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone bully you into taking medication if that is not what you feel is aligned with you. There are SO MANY OTHER OPTIONS available like support groups, one-on-one counseling, The Birth Lounge, meditation, exercise and diet changes, as well as positive affirmations and rewiring the neurons in your brain to better serve you during this time.

Be careful where you get your information & resources

While we all love our moms, mother-in-laws, and grandmothers, the truth is they aren’t always as educated about things as we’d like to think. This sweet follower has had three children of her own, but the research on this topic has changed drastically over the years and her opinions on postpartum depression were misinformed and could prove to be very dangerous if she passes this along to new mothers who might be suffering from postpartum mood challenges and needed some real help.

It’s IMPERATIVE that new mothers are supported by professionals and have access to evidence-based information rather than the opinions of folks who have simply given birth before. While giving birth give you a helpful insight of what happens before and after baby, it might require a bit more expertise founded in education rather than experience. The fact that experience doesn’t always translate to education is one of my biggest qualms with the birth world and motherhood in general. It seems today that every Tom, Dick, and Harry feels they are qualified to give advice to new mothers, yet we are only seeing maternal mental health declining. Go figure. One of the biggest ways we can combat misinformation is to be mindful that you aren’t confusing anecdotal experience with evidence-based education.

Final Takeaways:

  • -There is always help. You are not alone. Now, yesterday, tomorrow, next week. You are not alone.
  • -Tell someone, tell anyone. You can’t get help if no one knows you are struggling.
  • -Postpartum mood challenges are a spectrum and can manifest in many different ways and present as many different symptoms.
  • -There is real evidence that there is real reasons for postpartum depression and it’s deeper than just being “hormonal” or simply adjusting to your new role.
  • -If your provider isn’t listening to you, go get a second opinion. You deserve help in this transition.
  • -Make sure you are taking advice from professionals who are experts in the field. Your mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother may not be fit to support you in this sensitive time.
  • -Postpartum Mood Challenges are not a reflection of you as a person, as a mother, or as a partner. You are strong as hell and recognizing that you need some support is the strongest and bravest thing you can do for yourself and your baby.
Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


Resources:
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849876/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849876/#B44
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849876/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849876/
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519112915.htm
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849876/

Gifts for Every Badass Lady in Your Life

Friday, February 7, 2020

Gifts for Every Badass Lady in Your Life

Valentine's Day is such a commercialized holiday, I get it. Not everyone loves to recognize love, but… I’m not one of those people! I love V-day! It really just entices my hopeless romantic side. In my teen years, A Walk to Remember and The Notebook were among my favorite movies that I could watch on replay and cry every time I saw it as if it was the first time. What can I say? I love a good love story. 

Sometimes in pregnancy, the spark can be lost or the intimacy is forgotten. Sometimes our gratitude for one another takes a back seat because of the overwhelming to-do list that comes along with having a baby. I challenge you to take this Valentine’s Day to recognize the love that it took to get this child here and remember the passion you have for your partner. If you’re expecting a baby, your life is about to change forever. In a really good way, but in a way that is going to test your relationship and you need compassionate understanding and love to help you through those seasons. If you are new parents, remember this is a season. It too shall pass and I promise it does. Everything is temporary in this stage-- the lack of sleep, the fussiness, the feeding challenges, the blowouts. It will eventually resolve, and you’ll be on to a new challenge. Don’t forget to lean on your partner in these times of frustration and overwhelm. Use this Valentine’s Day to share the love and relight that spark before your baby arrives. 

I’ve put together a list of incredible gifts for the women in your life-- your mom, your bestie, yourself..*uh hmm, share this with your partner*, and all the other badass ladies you have in your life. 

  • - Boob Necklace - Now I know this doesn’t strike you as ‘self-care,’ but every time she sees this hanging around her neck it will serve as a reminder of just how strong she is. She will remember the hard work her body puts in everyday from growing and birthing babies, to feeding those little humans, to standing on her feet for endless hours in the kitchen and driving hundreds of miles carting around the kids to here and there and everywhere in between.

  • - CBD - I truly believe this is the secret weapon to motherhood. CBD is such a powerful tool that simply plays off the natural systems in our bodies. Every human has what is called an endocannabinoid system that is responsible for helping to regulate our memory, mood, appetite, and sensory system. Now, you must be very careful with which CBD products you trust to be in and around your body, so we’ve already vetted them for you! I exclusively use Elmore Mountain Therapeutics for many reasons and some of those are: they are a woman owned business founded by a mother who discovered CBD was a solution to her postpartum depression and anxiety. I also love that they use a method of CO2 for extraction and therefore produces an incredibly pure product. I use their tincture everyday to keep me sharp and anxiety free and the CBD balm is a lifesaver for headaches, backaches, and menstrual cramps!

  • - Primally Pure Spa Set - What is better than giving the woman in your life the gift of health? But not just any health-- products that will not only keep her body safe and her skin glowing, but also rid her systems of toxins and harsh chemicals! From deodorant to my daily skincare routine, I love Primally Pure products and have been using them well over 3 years. Last year, they launched a baby line which I automatically fell in love with...and use these products, too...for myself! Don’t judge me. They have baby powder, baby oil, baby soap (that clears up any and all skin irritations in your baby), and butt balm! The reason I love Primally Pure so much is that their products are plant-based. They believe in a “less is best” when it comes to their certified organic ingredients that they source from local farms! My farmer’s daughter's heart is literally shrieking with love. Their less is more mindset means they make their products with as few ingredients as possible. Personally I have eleven of their products. If you have questions about their products, just ask--chances are, I’ve tried it! Their spa set is to die for and the perfect gift for a mom friend--expecting or not!

  • - Thinx Underwear - This is a gift of pure love! This gift is for the gal pal in your life that you want to be around in 100 year. This is also for the expectant mama friend who you want to transform her postpartum bleeding experience. How’s this gift going to do that? Well, Thinx underwear solves two very big problems--it saves our earth and it saves your friends vagina (and hormones!). Have you ever taken a look at what is in traditional period care products? You might be shocked (even nauseas) to learn that bleach, carcinogens like Glyphosate (think.. Round Up), and fragrances that are known hormone disruptors. Whether you realize it or not, your vagina is one of the most permeable and absorbent places of the human body and each month we expose it to chemicals like Dioxin, one of the most dangerous chemicals in the world. The argument is that it’s in such low amounts that it’s not harmful, yet we are finding research to prove otherwise. While it may be low amounts, we are talking about residual build up from continuous use month after month. Do your bestie a favor for the restie (literally) and invest in Thinx underwear for her. Thinx can be used for roughly two years--that’s 24 periods! It’s so much safer than toxic period products, it keeps those icky chemicals and waste out of our landfills, and it’s nice to know you’ve interrupted one pathway of toxins from entering your best friends body!

  • - Love Crave - Okay, this is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry I own and wanna know why? It’s secretly a vibrator and it’s TSA approved so you can take it on all your vacays! This is a great necklace for date night and absolutely perfect to give to the love of your life on the morning of Valentine’s Day and be told, “See you at 7pm. xo, Me” *cues song: When a man loves a woman by Michael Bolton* It’s so discrete and actually very quiet! I’ve also never had anyone ask me what it was other than once at a festival in Boston. I was going through security and had accidentally put it on with the teeny tiny button facing outwards. The security lady asked me if it was a vape! Ha! The look on her face when I said, “No, it’s a vibrator” was absolutely priceless. It was shock followed by an approval smile and nod that said, “I’m ordering one of those tonight when I get home.” I was gifted mine by The Bloomi (which is also one of my go-to women’s sexual health and wellness resources) Grab yours here and make this V-day spicy.

  • - Birth Mantra Cards - This gift is for the expecting mama that is in touch with her spiritual side. She understands the power of mantras and is truly mastering her mindset around birth to prepare for her little one’s arrival. I was given a set of these mantra cards and I love them so much. I pull 3 a day and somehow they are always exactly what I need to hear. The mantras I pull each morning are the mantras I use throughout my day. A few times, I have pulled a card in the morning and been called to a birth throughout the day where I used one of the mantras I pulled that morning. They are always immensely helpful! If you’re new around here, you should know this about me: I believe that birth is 90% mindset. If you can master your mindset around the expectations you have set for birth, then you will, no doubt, stay in control from start to finish. These cards are incredibly helpful in helping you master your mindset.

  • - Moraccan Magic - You know those folks that you should get just a little something for, but you want it to be thoughtful? Morroccan Magic is your answer! This lip balm goes on so silky smooth and leaves my lips so hydrated. I honestly have MM in all of my bags, purses, backpacks, overnight bags, and yesterday I counted three in my bathroom in various places (I even keep one in the shower for when I do steams). Elderberry & Manuka Honey is my favorite flavor! One of my favorite things about Morroccan Magic is their ingredients list.

  • - Bloom Mom Tribe Conference Ticket - This is a big ask and I get that, but I challenge you to think: are you worth it? The answer: yes. Yes, you are, my friend! This conference is going to rock your world! I am so excited to get to hang out and share the stage with so many fantastic women! This conference is all about stepping into your power as a mom and finding a community to support that! You know I’m here for that party! I’m going to be sharing how to take control of your birth experience and exactly how to have a safe, controlled birth experience that doesn’t result in birth trauma.

  • - Postpartum Journal - I included this journal in a giveaway and Kate sent me one, as well. It was a nice surprise, but I wondered how much I would get out of it since I don’t have children and wow! I was not only challenged to think about how I might be with children, but I had the opportunity to see postpartum from the outside perspective. It made me think about my own postpartum expectations, how to better serve our clients, and how to raise the bar on postpartum standards in general. You deserve to have a fourth trimester that isn’t filled with anxiety or full of chaos.

  • - The Birth Lounge Membership - The Birth Lounge will literally change your life. I teach you the 3 core components on how to prepare for your baby and avoid birth trauma. The easy three step process of controlling your environment, controlling your choices, and controlling your mindset will help you birth confidently and without fear. We unravel the “unknown” of birth and show you exactly how you can find faith in the process. We also break down how to manage the pressures and waves of birth including medical and non-medical pain relief. The Birth Lounge empowers you to feel in control from start to finish and helps dispel the anxieties caused by fear based information around pregnancy and birth! Join The Birth Lounge here and use the code FRIENDS to save $5/off each month! 

Valentine’s Day is a day to recognize the special people in your life that make you feel safe and loved. This is huge. This is a feeling that humans crave and will chase all over the world. Take the time to show thanks to the people closest to you. 

Xoxo, HeHe

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


Got a Case of Pregnancy Skin?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pregnancy Skin

Why does it happen?

Hormones, hormones, hormones! They can be blamed for so much and acne during pregnancy is one of them. Androgen hormones are your sex hormones that are produced by your ovaries (and testicles in males) and since your ovaries are hard at work growing and supporting a tiny human, your androgen hormones are wild and out. The hormone most responsible for your pregnancy acne is progesterone. This is a vital hormone and required for a healthy pregnancy. 

Progesterone helps prepare your uterus for a healthy pregnancy. Once you are pregnant, progesterone helps keep you pregnant and sustain the health of your uterus. It stimulates blood flow and helps deliver nutrients to a developing embryo in early pregnancy. Your placenta will also be responsible for the production of progesterone, too. These high levels of progesterone are also the reason why women don’t continue to release eggs each month in pregnancy.

Unfortunately, high levels of progesterone also creates oils on your face because it stimulates the oil making glands of your skin. This, of course, is the cause of the dreaded ‘pregnancy acne.’

What can you do?

So if your acne is caused by the hormones that are absolutely necessary to keep your baby healthy.. What are you supposed to do? My suggestion is to take a look at your skin care routine. Sometimes as your hormones change, the best resolve is to go plant based with your products. 

I’ve never really had acne, but when I turned 28 my face decided to change its’ identity and now each month, I get a break out around my period. Much like pregnancy acne, period acne is also caused by androgen hormones. I have seen what these products have done for my skin and I want you to feel beautiful during your pregnancy so I’m sharing them with you!


Here are the products I love:

  • Cleansing Oil: Okay, this is one of the first products I bought because I decided I wanted to get rid of every ingredient I couldn’t say. I was already using Primally Pure’s deodorant and their face wash had been on my radar. No better time than when I’m trying to overhaul my face products. I know cleaning your face with oil doesn’t sound right. Trust me, I was so skeptical, but it actually made my face moisturized and reduced the oil. I was shocked, but also makes sense. If you’re using products that strip the oil from your face, your face will only make more oil to return to it’s natural oil levels. Switching to oil cleansing was a really big transition for me, but my skin has never looked better and I know it is because I switched to natural face products--specifically fragrance free products.

    Okay, back to the cleansing oil--yal.. it is so good. It feels amazing going on. It cleans everything on my skin, but my skin feels hydrated and so soft after using it. I also love the process. You put the oil on your skin with your fingers, massaging it for a few minutes. Then you wet a wash cloth in hot water and lay it over your face as to create a mini steamy facial. It’s heavenly and so addicting. I can’t imagine ending my evenings without doing my mini facial. It’s honestly so worth it.
  • Fancy Face Serum: After I loved the cleansing oil so much, I knew I needed to switch my moisturizer. I was, again, going for something fragrance free. I looked at the Fancy Face Serum and to be honest, I was sticker shocked by the price. I can’t lie. I was using the typical $15 face cream from CVS so $48 on a vile of face oil made me cringe. I saw the huge difference the cleansing oil made and I ordered the serum. I took a leap of faith and I’m glad I did. I absolutely love the smell. It’s earthy and elegant all in one. It smells grounding if that’s even possible. It also leaves my skin so soft. This serum + the cleansing oil are two products that I could not live without.
  • Everything Spray: This was my next item that I got. And well, I love it, too. I’m telling you, I didn’t think I would use it that often. I thought it would be nice for in the morning (I do not wash my face in the morning) to do a quick once-over before my day oil (Fancy Face Serum), but instead I use it in the morning, throughout the day, and in the evening. I love this spray. It truly is an everything spray. I use it in the morning just like I thought I would. I also use it before make up, when I come in from a client’s home (like washing your hands, not as aggressive as a bath, but getting germs off), when I need to brighten up during the day, when I get to wipe off any acne treatment (this serum is great to dab on spots), and if my face looks oily throughout the day! The Everything Spray is so versatile and it’s a staple for me.
  • Soothing Face Mask: This mask is amazing and works wonders on angry skin. Sometimes when my face is really inflamed, I like to hit the reset button and I find that this soothing mask is exactly that. It’s like I can put a layer of this on and when I take it off, my skin will have gone through a spiritual overhaul. The redness is gone, bumps are smaller, and my skin is refreshed and ready for nourishment (Fancy Face serum). All you really have to do to understand the power of this mask is look at the ingredients. You will see things like honey, oatmeal, spirulina, and evening primrose oil. I mean, c’mon!

For breakouts specifically:

Once you get your pregnancy acne under control, it’s just a matter of maintaining that amazing routine to support your skin’s health. However, as your hormones shift throughout your pregnancy (big shifts are usually noticed during the transition of trimesters), you might have to tame a few breakouts that pop up every now and then. Here’s what I use for the sneak attacks that my skin can pull.

Baby Balm: First, I know what the science and the professionals say--don’t pick your zits! I got it, but that is so hard for me to actually put into practice. I always pick at my face and it gets worse if I’m stressed. So when I do cross the line and create a scab on my face, this is my go-to. It goes on smooth (I mean, it’s made for a sweet teeny human’s bum), smells great, and heals hella fast. It moisturizes along the way and I’ve noticed it doesn’t leave me with scars. I have the large sitting on my bathroom counter and the small in my backpack/handbag.

Complexion Spray: The number one thing that I’ve learned makes a difference in taming breakouts (for my face) is to keep the area clean. Remember, I’m a picker so my fingers naturally (and without my notice) gravitate to my face. This Complexion Spray has come to my rescue so many times, I’ve lost count. As I’ve been trying to curb this horrible habit of touching my face during the day, I have also had to force myself to take notice when I am doing so and this has led to me noticing my annoying habit in client’s homes, in the car, standing in line in starbucks, in target, on a plane, and a number of other places you can’t just stop and wash your face. I needed something easily transportable and something I could use almost anywhere. This spray was the answer. I keep it with me along with the cotton rounds and anytime I find my fingers on my face, I spray a cotton round and wash the area.

Water: Hydration really is key here! We know that keeping hydrated is one of the best ways to support our bodies. We know you need extra hydration when you're pregnant. So there's no reason not to be drinking enough water, period.

Probiotic: A probiotic plays a great role in pregnancy! First, it feeds the foundation of your gut health and can support your body in fighting GBS so you don't test GBS+. It can also help reduce baby spit up, gas in babies, and reduce fussiness since your breastmilk is building our baby's gut and your gut health is going right into your baby via your milk. You can check out the probiotics we love the most here, but always check with your care provider before incorporating probiotics.

It’s time for a change. You deserve skin like a queen!


Acne is one of my very, very least favorite things. I have spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to find products that work for my skin. I can honestly say I have never seen products work the wonders that Primally Pure has for me. I swapped all of my skin care over to Primally pure beginning in 2017. I only share products that I love and that I know are safe for you and your baby.

I am always ranting on my Instagram (@tranquilitybyhehe) about how harmful fragrances and other icky chemicals in our self-care products are to our unborn babies. I am a huge proponent of encouraging mothers to take part in relaxing self-care routines as a way to prepare themselves for labor, but I want it to be safe. I want it to be with good, wholesome ingredients that are supportive of yours and your baby’s health.

Primally Pure has their very own Holistic Skin Care Guide which is absolutely chocked full of great routines, how diet impacts your skin, how to read and react to your skin, what products are best for your skin, and the best supplements to support your particular skin goals! It’s over 80 pages of juicy goodness all about taking care of your skin to get your ideal glow. Grab yours here!

I’d love to hear your questions about any of the Primally Pure products. Chances are, if you’re wondering about something, I’ve tried it. Use code HEHE10 to save 10% off your first purchase.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


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