Shiro Bergbauer is a wife, mom, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and the founder of Stethoscopes to Swaddles, an online platform that serves moms in medicine. She is joining me today for a conversation about postpartum motherhood. Whether you’re currently in the postpartum season or not, this episode is for you. Let’s dive in!
In This Episode Allie and Shiro Discuss:
Taking care of yourself in the postpartum season
Postpartum depression and anxiety
Reality vs. Social media
Getting resources and help for yourself
Helping other moms during their postpartum season
Mentioned in this Episode:
Courses (Use the code PURPOSESHOW for 10% off!)
Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages. We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard, it is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself, the idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life, where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hey friends! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show podcast. It’s me, Allie, and I’m so glad to have you here with me today.
We’ve got a guest episode today and it’s with someone who has become a friend of mine through Instagram, Shiro Bergbauer. She’s incredible. Really.
And honestly if you haven’t seen the promo image for this episode, go and take a hard look. She’s literally a goddess. Her picture! I said, “Oh my gosh, you’re absolutely intimidating, brilliant, and amazing!”
We’ve become friends on Instagram. She’s the most happy, upbeat, down-to-earth person. We connected through each other’s content, started messaging back and forth, and that turned into this episode.
Shiro is a wife, a mom, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and she’s the founder of Stethoscopes To Swaddles, which is an online platform that serves moms in medicine. So if you’re a mom in medicine, this specifically is what Shiro does. She is your girl.
But this episode is for all moms. And that’s what Shiro says. She’s always saying that she wants to be the person to remind every mom that they’re doing a great job and refocus and recenter them, which of course I love and is a huge reason why I was drawn to her.
In this episode we are talking a lot about postpartum motherhood. I respect the way that Shiro speaks about the postpartum season of being a mom. Not a lot of women are so willing to be so vulnerable, real, and raw about their experience, and Shiro is. We have a really good conversation here.
My hope for this episode is that it helps you feel seen. Whether seen for something that you went through in the past in a postpartum time of your life, or that you’re going through now or that you may go through in the future, and you can come back to this episode, remember it, and come back and relisten.
I think it’s really important that moms talk honestly about the postpartum period of life, especially when there are cases that it doesn’t go super smoothly. And that’s what this episode is all about.
Enjoy the listen. Enjoy Shiro, the way she speaks, her graciousness, and her vulnerability. And go and find her on Instagram and follow Stethoscopes To Swaddles. Send her messages and send her love for the vulnerability that she shared in this powerful episode.
Enjoy this talk between me and Shiro about postpartum motherhood.
ALLIE: Hi, Shiro! Thank you so much for being here with me!
SHIRO: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. I’m so honored that you asked me to be on the podcast.
ALLIE: Let’s kick it off with you telling us a little bit about yourself, your story, what you do, where you’re at, your kids, and all that good stuff.
SHIRO: I am a mom of one. My daughter, Isabella, turned two in July. My husband, Michael, and I live in Houston, Texas.
We have been together for 11 years and married for 6. Bella is our first child and most likely our only child. She’s in the throws of toddler life, so it’s been really, really interesting.
By day I’m a nurse anesthetist. I put people to sleep. I work in a large cancer hospital, so I get to meet so many different people of all ages every single day. It’s a balance of taking care of other people at work and then coming home and taking care of my family.
ALLIE: You do such a good job! I follow you on Instagram and you do such a good job of connecting with women by sharing past and present photos from your motherhood. You share about pumping with your daughter and all these other things. You just have a way of connecting with mothers even if you’re past the season that you’re sharing about.
SHIRO: Thank you! So what’s been interesting is my little sister just had her daughter in June, so my niece is four months old. And the blog and the Instagram handle were born in June. So, this is growing with my niece.
It’s been interesting walking my sister through this journey of motherhood, holding her hand, and being there for her on the days when the baby cries nonstop. So, right now it’s easier for me to remember and have a way to handle it when maybe at the time I was going through it I didn’t have the resources.
It’s been great to go back to the newborn days, to those first two months of the crying baby when you don’t know what’s going on and you’re trying to figure that out. And being able to do that with my sister who totally gets me and knows that I come from a place of no judgment, I’ve been able to connect more with moms of littles because I’ve already walked that journey.
I exclusively pumped for 13 months, so when moms send me messages and say, “Hey, nursing is not going very well. I’m going to exclusively pump. I feel so bad for giving up.”
I say, “Wait. You haven’t given up; you’ve changed your journey. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up.”
I think being able to empathize and connect with people and really seeing the journey that I’ve taken and the journey that they are taking and our journeys are going to be different but I’ve learned things along the way that can help.
The interesting thing about moms and medicine is that as moms we care for our families, we care for our spouses, our community, but we don’t take a break from caring. We care at home. We go to work and we take care of other people. Sometimes what you notice is that you’re so good at taking care of other people and you’re not good at taking care of yourself.
What I’m trying to really establish with my platform is a community of support. A community where moms feel taken care of, and where they also feel they can learn how to prioritize themselves and not pour from an empty cup.
It’s so hard to break that down, especially for moms of littles because they’re thinking, “Well, but this little baby needs me.”
And what I try to emphasize is, “Yeah, the baby needs you, but you need you. And how do you show up for yourself?”
I want to give them resources, too, not just say, “Hey, take care of yourself. Okay, bye.”
ALLIE: I love that. What does that look like when you’re doing that? What tools do you give for women in that season?
I’m really passionate about that season of motherhood, but it doesn’t always show up in my business. I think people see us with platforms and they assume that’s all there is. But I also have a separate, actual life, and in that my friends and friends of friends and even on the street or in conversations as I’m checking out at the store, women who are struggling with that postpartum period will flock to me.
I think how they’re feeling in that time and that they’re allowed to feel in that time is so important. That’s what really drew me to you is that you seem really passionate about that phase of motherhood. If anyone’s listening who’s in that phase, what kinds of things do you say to them?
SHIRO: One of the things that I’m very open about is that I struggled with postpartum depression with my daughter. The way my postpartum depression manifested was I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t crying. Mine manifested as rage and anxiety.
And unfortunately my husband was the victim of the rage. He would say, “Oh my gosh, what’s going on? You’ve changed.”
And I’d say, “No, I haven’t changed. I have a baby.”
I went to see a therapist and she said, “I think I’m going to call a psychiatrist. You’re scoring very high.”
I said, “No, I’m not crying. I don’t want to harm myself. I don’t want to harm the baby.”
And so, what I realized at the time was that I didn’t have the awareness of what it would look like or could look like. One of the things I’m very clear about on my platform is really sharing, “This is what postpartum depression looks like. This is what baby blues look like. This is why you should ask for help.”
The other thing that I’m really passionate about is understanding your love language and how you can take care of yourself using your love language. I feel like people learn about love languages based on how to thrive in a relationship, but rarely do we look inside and think, “How can I thrive in my relationship with myself by serving myself with my love language?”
I’m also very clear about telling moms, “Please reach out to me if you have any questions. If you want to do it anonymously you can.”
I’m in some mom groups. There’s a CRNA mom group, which is a certified registered nurse anesthetist moms, and there are 7,000 of us in this group. And a lot of the time there are anonymous questions people ask and I say, “Hey anonymous, please, please, please reach out to me. I’ll keep your secrets, whatever it is, but I really want you to be able to talk to somebody.”
Are you struggling with breastfeeding? Are you struggling with Pelvic Floor Issue, which is another baby of mine. Helping moms understand that peeing when you run after having a baby is not normal and it doesn’t need to be normalized.
And so, I really try to find the resources. There are some great mom information things that I share on Instagram from other influencers. I really try to resonate those messages of, “This is for me and you. I’m not just sharing this to have a post. This really touched me.”
This is why I think it’s important for us to be having these conversations. Normalizing conversations around motherhood, around the struggle of motherhood, and really being open to the fact that it’s not easy. When a baby is born, you don’t always fall in love with them the moment you lay your eyes on them.
Putting a baby on your boob the moment you deliver it, that’s on TV. That doesn’t happen. It’s not natural for some women.
I’m trying to shatter this messaging of, “This is what motherhood looks like,” to “This is really motherhood and this is how you can thrive in motherhood.”
ALLIE: Let’s focus for a minute on postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. I don’t know about you, but I was still pregnant when mine started to set in. I was at the end of my pregnancy.
SHIRO: Were you pregnant with a girl?
SHIRO: Okay. That’s something interesting that I learned from my physical therapist. You have so many circulating hormones. You have a lot of female hormones circulating because you’re creating their endorphins and yours.
I don’t even know what the scientific basis is behind this, but she was saying, “Think about the fact that you have your hormones and now baby’s hormones, and they’re circulating inside of you.”
ALLIE: Yeah. And I think because mine showed up when I was still pregnant, it didn’t seem like postpartum depression because I wasn’t postpartum. My daughter is now 11. Things have changed so much since then.
Brooke Shields’ book had come out and all that stuff, but it wasn’t as normalized. It wasn’t as talked about. It was a secret. It was very heavy.
SHIRO: It was shrouded in mystery. And it still is because the imaging out there is that struggle is abnormal.
Everybody wants to show these perfect pictures of the nursery and the swaddles that they got their baby. Nobody is saying, “Oh my gosh, I woke up in the morning and I was afraid to open the baby’s room because I thought the baby would be dead.”
People don’t talk about those things. And with good reason, right? Nobody wants to be the crazy cuckoo person on social media talking about all the things.
Then there’s also this other extreme where people are oversharing. It’s finding that balance and normalizing the conversation, but also providing people with resources. It’s not enough to say, “These are the signs of postpartum depression,” if you don’t know where you can go.
In my city, we’re very fortunate. We have a place called The Center For Postpartum Family Health. They have therapists. They have family counseling.
It’s not just for moms. It’s also for dads. Dads go through postpartum depression too. It’s to be able to have those conversations with your spouse and your family and really sharing.
My part of it was I was doing way too much. In the process of having my daughter (she was a month old) we put our house on the market and then we were going to sell a house and buy a house. I’ve always handled a lot of things, but I wasn’t giving myself grace to say, “Hey, you’re a new mom, so ask for help.”
I think the conversation is growing, but it’s still shrouded in mystery.
ALLIE: I think the answer is not to air all your stuff on social media, because I think at least in my position that will make me susceptible to things that are not healthy for me to see. But the answer is to have an actua, in-real-life community or a resource you can go to. Or send a DM to someone like Shiro and go and get help.
Social media is not real life. Social media is not real life.
SHIRO: Yeah! You cannot say that enough.
ALLIE: Even for the most honest and raw of us sharing, doing our best to really share and really shine a light on issues, it’s still a highlight reel. It’s no one’s fault. It just is.
You can’t be using social media as your guiding light for anything. It is just a connective platform. If it’s not helping you connect to what is good, then get off of it and go in real life and get support.
SHIRO: I remember my sister saying something similar. She was following these people on Instagram and they were showing their nursery and all these amazing things and she said, “What’s wrong with me? I’m not getting it.” And I said, “That’s not real life.”
I was commenting on a girl’s stories the other day. She’s a big influencer out of Chicago. She had posted these beautiful pajamas that she was going to wear after the baby and they were white.
I said, “I hate to break it to you but if you have a vaginal delivery or even a C-section you really don’t want to wear those pajamas. Please leave them at home. This is coming from a place of love. They’re going to get messy. I know you see influencers walking out looking all cute, but it’s not real life.”
The reality is we want to share the good stuff and we want to share the raw parts, but even then we’re not sharing the essence of what’s going on. And so, you really have to be careful, especially as a consumer of social media. Take it with a grain of salt. Learn what you can learn. And then don’t compare yourself with other people.
It’s so easy to say that. I’m in that position where I think, “Wow, these people have 10,000 followers and I have 1200 followers.” I connect to the people that are following me and those people I know are for me.
I think as women, we want to compare so much. It’s not healthy.
ALLIE: Yeah. It’s not real. It’s not healthy. It’s serving no one. It’s holding you back. It’s holding you back mentally, emotionally. It’s holding you back from reaching goals.
Most of all, in my experience with myself and speaking with others, it’s holding you back from soaking up the beauty that you actually do have in your real life, because you’re comparing it to the appearance of beauty that others are putting forward.
And who knows if it’s real. Who knows what filter is making that room look sparkly white. Who knows and who cares because it’s not your life.
SHIRO: Comparison really is the thief of joy. I think people start placing unrealistic expectations of themselves, the society around them, their spouses, their children. And I’ve caught myself doing that.
My daughter had been asked to do a video and all she had to do was say, “The last day to register to vote is October 5th.” And she just was not having it. Every time I took my phone out she was running off and I found myself getting so upset. And I said to myself, “She’s 2. If she doesn’t want to do it, she doesn’t want to do it.”
But I felt the sense of, “I owe it to this person to send this video today. Get it together, Isabella. Let’s do it.”
And then I thought, “No, she’s a baby.” She eventually did it. It was cute, but I had to edit it quite a bit.
She didn’t want to do it at the time and I told the lady, “She’s being a toddler today. We’ll try again tomorrow.” It worked out.
One time we were on vacation in August and I remember I had this really cool picture I took with my daughter. We were on the beach and I wanted to post it on Instagram, which I ended up doing.
But my husband and I had gotten into an argument on the way to the beach about the golf cart. Bella had thrown a tantrum. We had lost a shoe. And so I said, “This is an image that you see. Not pictured is the fight that the parents had and the toddler tantrum.”
So, see what you see, but realize there’s always a back story.
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ALLIE: I feel like there’s going to be people listening who are begging us to go into this a little more with the postpartum stuff. How did it look for you when you say postpartum rage?
I know exactly what you mean because mine also manifested itself in that way. I was a zombie. I was dead inside. I did not have feelings about my daughter.
I did not feel anything when she cried. I wished that she would shut up. I had no maternal anything.
I would fly into a rage after bottling stuff up. But it would be over nothing, you know? Which that’s my go-to anyway as a person is to get really annoyed or angry at something when really I’m hurt, but I don’t want you to know I’m hurt so I’m going to be angry.
But with postpartum it was these explosions, and it was always to Brian, my husband. Can you explain what that looked like for you, what you did, when you knew you needed help so that we can give some examples to these women and explain that we had this and it’s okay.
SHIRO: Absolutely! My daughter was born a week early. I had an induction because I had a pre-existing medical condition. I had a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in my lung a couple of years before I had my daughter so my doctor wanted to have a really controlled delivery.
Everything was great. I went in to get induced but my daughter decided she was not going to be told when to come, so she progressed on her own. She arrived. Day one, I look at her and I love her.
My husband says, “She’s the most beautiful thing.” And I’m like, “Umm, I’m not too sure, but okay.”
And then the nurse said, “Put the baby on the breast.” And I did but there was no milk. And she said, “Well, the milk will come.”
So day one I already had this anxiety that my kid’s going to starve today because I don’t have any milk. This was a mother/baby friendly hospital so they were all about breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. My child’s crying, crying, crying, and I’m like, “She’s hungry. Somebody give this child some milk, some formula.”
Fast forward, we go home and I’m still struggling with nursing. And I’m like, “You know what, forget it. We’re going to use formula until we figure this out.” And I am really, really trying. I’m trying to nurse her and it’s not working.
My girlfriend calls me and says, “Listen, you’re doing a great job. Just pump and give her what you can. I said, “But I want to nurse.” And she says, “Well, right now you’re losing your mind and it’s not working.”
And so, I started this pumping journey but then I started getting very resentful because I’m thinking, “Why are other moms able to nurse their kids and I’m not able to nurse my kid?”
My mom, bless her heart, she comes to visit me two weeks in to help with the baby because we wanted to spend the first two weeks just the three of us. And so when she comes, she says, “Well, why don’t you try now?”
And I just remember sitting there thinking, “Wow, I really failed. My mom had four children. She breastfed all of us and I cannot nurse this child.”
So I said, “Okay, this is how it’s working.” And she finally looked at me and said, “Yeah, that looks really hard. Keep doing what you were doing before.”
But at the time I was already building up this “not enough-ness” like, “I’m not a good enough mom for her. I can’t even nurse.”
I was still on maternity leave and my in-laws came to visit. And they are the most wonderful human beings on earth. However, they were like, “Oh, why is the baby sleeping on her back? Is she going to choke to death?”
Then I’m thinking, “Oh my God, my child’s going to die!” I started having these fears in my head that were so unfounded and I started getting defensive.
One day I needed my husband to hand me something and he didn’t and I got so upset. I had tears in my eyes and I said, “I’m leaving and I’m never coming back.”
And he said, “Wait, what happened to you?”
“I’m never coming back,” I said. “You’re not helping me with this pumping.” I left, but I came back.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later and we’re sitting eating dinner. My husband is eating and I’m thinking, “Oh my God, he’s chewing so loud.”
I’m getting angrier and angrier, and angrier. I get up and go upstairs, saying, “I’m going to get some earplugs. I can’t stand the way you chew.” And he says, “Oh, okay.”
I come back downstairs, put my earplugs in. And I’m being super petty at this point, saying “Listen, you need to learn how to chew.”
So he says, “I’ve been chewing the same way for eight years.”
And so, it started that way. I would literally get snippy at him for no reason. I woke up in the morning and I didn’t like the way he looked that day. And then the anxiety with the baby started.
We had started sleep training her. She was sleeping well. But I would wake up in the morning and right before I would open her door I would think, “What if she’s dead?”
I started realizing these were not normal thoughts, something’s wrong with me.
ALLIE: It’s like a flood. When I would hand the baby to somebody, I would think, “What if you drop her?” I would see it.
SHIRO: My trigger was one day I was coming down the stairs. We lived in a two-story townhouse. And I thought, “Oh my God, what if she fell?” And I remember thinking that’s not normal. Why do you think she would fall?
Then one day I was standing at the top of the stairs and I thought, “What if I accidentally dropped her and then everybody thought I killed her?”
When those thoughts started coming together, I thought that something’s not right. I remember getting very upset with people for not reaching out to me after I had a baby, but I wasn’t telling them I needed them to reach out.
I guess it’s also my Enneagram type. I’m a type 2, which is a helper. And helpers always think other people are also thinking about the things that they need help with and when they don’t they get resentful.
So, I’m annoyed at my friends for not reaching out. And I thought, “This is not me. This is not who I am as a person.”
My mood was all over the place and my best friend was visiting, which was really a godsend, and she was trying to figure out what was going on with me, but I couldn’t put a name on it or a word to it. I would wake up in the morning and I was annoyed with everybody. I was angry at everybody.
I was angry at my husband for wanting us to sell our house and move. I was angry at the people coming to the showings. I was angry at everyone.
One day I said, “You know what? I need to call somebody.” My girlfriend had gone to this center for postpartum health so she sent me there. When I took the mental health screening, she said, “Well, you scored really high.” Then I said, “But I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t doing this.”
But when I was fully aware, I realized it had been there for so long. It was a combination of all these things—not asking for help, not knowing what I needed or not knowing what people could help me with. I was trying to do all the things and not asking for help and it was making me resentful and angry. I was not myself.
It took, I would say, a year to walk that journey. And I still have my little moments. I look at pictures now of my daughter and I, and we were bonding and all these things were happening, but a lot of those days are a blur. I don’t recall those days because my mental health was not where it needed to be and so those days were wiped out of my mind
ALLIE: That’s exactly what happened for me. It’s gone in my brain.
And when I see photos of myself during that time, first of all, it’s really sad because you can see it all over my face. And no one came to get me. Nobody came to help me.
No one’s gonna come and get you because they don’t know what’s wrong and they’re freaked out.
They’re thinking, “Well, she just had a baby and she’s having a minute.” But on the inside I’m thinking, “I am drowning and you’re all on floaties drinking Mai Tai’s and watching me. I’m struggling. I’m drowning here.”
It was infuriating to me.
SHIRO: It’s like people are looking at you and you’re not putting your hand out of the water asking for help so they’re thinking, “Oh, she’s just under water. She’s fine.”
ALLIE: Right. Exactly.
The solution is to get some amount of semblance of a piece of energy, enough to say, “I am not normal for myself. I am not feeling well and I need help.”
SHIRO: Yeah, you need to say that you’re struggling.
ALLIE: “I’m struggling really hard. I don’t even know how to put it into words, but I’m just not myself and it happened since I had the baby, and that’s enough.”
SHIRO: The thing about it is, there are so many dynamics that change when a child comes in the picture, right? I don’t think that these conversations happen enough.
You and your spouse can be the best of best friends, but the day that child steps into that family, you will disagree on a lot of things. I don’t care who you are. You will realize that you are not always on the same page with your spouse.
And to add that other layer onto mind when it’s already not where it needs to be makes you totally over translate things in your head. If your spouse does one thing, you’re thinking, “Oh, he wants to kill the baby.” You know?
And so, the thought process of even being aware and letting your spouse and your family know, “Hey, you know, I don’t feel right, but I don’t know what it is. I can’t put a name to it. Can you help me explore my feelings?”
I was very clear with my sister, “I’m leaving this space open for you. If you’re struggling, please, please, please, please let me know.” But I was also being active. I was calling. I was checking in.
Everybody always wants to know how the baby is doing. People rarely ask, “How’s mom doing? How are things going for you?” And as women, if we can make a commitment to friends and family, reach out to mom.
Everybody else is worried about the baby. The baby’s going to be fine. Ask mom, “How are you doing? How can I help?” It’s so important because then we’re supporting each other but we’re also leaving that space for, “If you need somebody, I’m your person. You can come to me. I’m going to listen. I might not have solutions, but sometimes you just want to be heard.”
ALLIE: And let’s just go over a list right now. The things that a mom that just had a baby needs are not extra clothes because it’s cute and it was at Target. They need you to cook for them. They need you to clean for them.
SHIRO: I created this little list and I can’t find it right now, but it’s ‘instead of bringing this for a new mom, bring this.’
Bring a meal. Ask them what they like to eat. Bring some liquids. Bring juice and water because they’re trying to breastfeed and they need to hydrate. Offer them a cleaning service. Offer to come hold the baby so they can take a shower.
The other thing that gets to me, and it’s also very cultural, especially in my culture, in African culture, is the concept of people coming to see the baby. Now you have to be hosting these people. You literally birthed a human being and people come to your house and you’re supposed to figure out what they’re going to eat or drink.
When you show up to visit a new mom, don’t expect anything. Show up, bring the drinks yourself, bring food yourself, and really, really, really think about ways that you can help them take a little break. You can hold a baby for 10 minutes while mom takes a shower.
So instead of, “Oh yeah, let’s visit. I want to visit with you.” Say, “Hey, do you want to go take a shower? Or, you know what? I’ll sit here with dad and you go get your nails done.”
A service, not a thing, because there are so many baby clothes. Anybody can bring baby clothes, right? It’s not helping.
How do we show up for each other? One of my very good friends she knew these babysitters and she had already used them. So she would say, “Hey, I’ll send so-and-so to your house for a couple of hours, so you can take a nap.”
For me I thought, “Oh, wow, I can take a nap and not feel terrible because this person is trustworthy.”
And I will say that I was also very lucky because our nanny started with us when my daughter was six days old, so she has been there from the beginning. She’s the only person that never experienced my rage because I thought, “I can’t do anything bad to her because she’s going to leave and we’re going to die.”
That was super, super helpful. She’s a mom and a grandma. She was able to help me with things that I was struggling with, but in a very “mom” way.
She was very supportive and handholding. Really she was our nanny. She was my nanny, my baby’s nanny, my husband’s nanny. She was taking care of all of us.
It was easy that we had the help, but looking back I wish I had said, “Hey, this is a list of things that family member A, B, and C can do.”
My mom lives in a small town so she doesn’t drive a lot. My mom’s love language is food and she will cook meals and meals and meals. But guess who would have to take her to the grocery store? Me. As helpful as it was, I was running around town, going to the grocery store with her.
I think being able to say, “Hey, you need help. Here’s how I can help you.” But also don’t ask how you can help. Think of things that you can do to help. If somebody asks me how they can help me, sometimes I think it’s going to be easier for me to do it myself so I’m not going to ask.
ALLIE: And think of help in the details. A mom with a new baby is not getting herself the best flavor of LaCroix sparkling water and slicing up limes and watermelons in it. Do that.
Do something that’s extra. Something luxury and extra. Like the things that I do now, but my youngest is 5. Give her the my-youngest-is-5-now luxuries.
SHIRO: As women we’re so able to tune into what other people need. Even for men, if you tell your spouse, “These are the things that I like,” and when they are sitting there with their nipples being useless because they can’t nurse the baby, they can’t go get those things.
ALLIE: For sure. I’m talking to the men here. But you have to tell them. Their responsibility is to aid you.
They can’t physically nurse the baby if that’s what you’re doing, but they can feed the baby if you’re not nursing. They can get more diapers. They can clean the whole house. They can pull the rugs up and dust underneath.
SHIRO: My husband makes this joke when we mention exclusively pumping, he was always bottle feeding the baby. He goes, “I’m going to start a society for men to speak up about being able to bottle feed their babies. This is the best bonding for any dad. And I’m going to encourage exclusive pumping for all women. He would at least be able to bond with her. “
He would ask me, “So if you were nursing, at what time would she take a bottle.” Nothing against not bottle feeding, but he would say, “Well, if she was not taking a bottle, then what would I do with her?” He was in the mindset of the only thing he can do is hold her.
And in German a baby is neutral. There’s male, female, and neutral. Neutral is “it”’ so a baby in German is “it.” He’d say, “It’s crying all the time.”
And I’d say, “She. She’s crying all the time.”
And he’s like, “But it’s a baby. It’s an it.”
And I”m like, “No, no, no. It’s a “she.”
ALLIE: You guys were able to take the situation where you were frustrated and it wasn’t working the way you wanted it to, but look at what a beautiful thing it turned into for your husband and for you. There’s a positive in everything.
That’s why there shouldn’t be this standard of, “This is the best way. This is the only way. This is the way you should do it.”
It needs to be, “Let’s have the baby, see how your body reacts, see where you’re at, and then we’ll pick what’s best for you out of that.”
SHIRO: Exactly. And you know, the other thing too, Allie, is one of the reasons I really chose to focus on moms in medicine, be it nursing or physicians, is that we work very weird hours. I have to be at work at 6:15 in the morning and I have to be at work at 6:00 AM on Wednesday mornings because we have meetings before we get into the operating room. My husband is a consultant so before COVID he traveled all the time.
So when I looked at the childcare options there was no way I could have a job and take my kid to daycare. Some of the conversations I really want to have are, “How are you going to figure out your childcare situation? How do you interview a nanny? How do you do this?”
When I interviewed my nanny, I had to be very upfront about the fact that I might get off work at 6:30 or I might get off work at 9:00 PM. Is that okay with you? I don’t have a 9-5 where it’s five o’clock, shut the desk and leave.
But the other thing that this gave me is empathy for the moms whose schedules are so crazy and they don’t have the resources. How can we be supportive of those moms? How can we share resources with them that they can plug into, that makes sense for them?
Not every mom is able to afford a nanny, so then they have to think, “Okay. If I can’t afford a nanny I have to switch my work hours. What does that look like for me? Does it mean cutting down on my job? It’s a hard decision to make, but it’s probably the only thing that would work at the time.”
I realized when I was exploring having a kid that a lot of this is not being talked about. Things like when you’re pregnant and there are certain things in anesthesia that you should really be avoiding. It’s not out there. So, you’re asking other moms, “When you were pregnant, did you go into cases that were doing X-rays or did you do this?”
I want to open those conversations up in a nonjudgmental way and say, “Hey, what cases did you avoid when you were pregnant? What would you avoid now? Knowing what you know now would you do X, Y, and Z?” Then the moms that come after us have more resources than we did.
ALLIE: Yeah. Really meeting women where they’re at and having options for everyone like, “Here’s what it would look like if you can afford this. And here’s what it would look like if you can’t.”
I love that about you. I love that it’s very inclusive and encouraging because everybody needs to have a plan and everybody needs to have options, whether they make minimum wage or they’re a CEO and they can hire a full-time nanny or whatever they want.
It’s so encouraging to see somebody with this passion speaking directly into the hearts of these women. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for being here. I feel like you gave some really practical things for postpartum. Neither of us knew that that’s where our conversation would go, but it’s so important.
Where on social media would you want to send people who would like to reach out for your help?
SHIRO: Currently, I am mostly active on Instagram. I am on stethoscopes.to.swaddles. You can reach out through the DM’s. I try to show up more consistently now. I had family visiting, so I was inactive, but honestly you can reach out to me.
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with whatever questions you might have.
I come from a long line of teachers and I joke because I never wanted to go into teaching, and now I find that something that I really like to do is share information, mentor women, and really support them. So ask me any question and if I can’t find the answer I am 100% sure I can find you the right person to send you to.
ALLIE: Thank you for being such a resource. I appreciate your time so much.
SHIRO: I appreciate you so much! Fan girl, fan girl.
I’m so excited with the message you are bringing out because it’s resonating with me so much. The thing about online course is that you might have all the pieces together in different shelves in your brain but it’s so good when you have somebody that creates a bookshelf for you and puts them in sequence so you can walk through it.
I’m taking Unburdened and I’m only one week in and I’m like, “Whoa, wow! Yeah, I do these things, but am I consistent about them?”
When you talk about taking an aerial view of your life, I’m like, “Wow! Step away and see what’s working for you and not working for you.”
And the thing is, Allie, moms spend so much time thinking about other people—our kids, our spouses, our community. But we need to also project towards us and take care of ourselves. Not in a criticizing ourselves kind of way, but really in a way that says, “This is who I am. This is how I want to show up.”
I like your concept of your bottom line, right? This is the bare minimum that I’m willing to put up with and at the end of every day if I have met these things for myself then I have served me and I can go and serve other people.
I love that your message resonates even with non-moms, even for women in general. Take care of yourself. Know what your non-negotiables are. One thing I love too, is the fact that you tell women that we don’t have to settle for mediocre.
ALLIE: You’re called to more. We’re all called to more than that, but you get to take it. You get to step up and take it and not settle.
SHIRO: And the thing is you’re not just saying, “You’re called to more. Bye.” You’re saying, “You’re called to more, but here’s what to do.”
ALLIE: Thank you for saying that and encouraging me. I love you so much.
SHIRO: I love your message and I’m so glad I found you! I always tell people, “Look at all these amazing people I found on social media!.”
ALLIE: Thank you for this amazing interview and we will send lots of mamas your way!
SHIRO: Thank you! Send them my way. Tell them to get in the DM’s or reach out to me by email. I’m more than happy and more than willing to be supportive.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me! In case you didn’t know, there’s actually an exclusive community that’s been created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions around The Purpose Show episodes. It’s designed to get you to actually take action and make the positive changes that we talk about here. I want you to go and be a part of it. To do that, go to alliecasazza.com/facebookgroup.
Thank you so much for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about me, how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more into your life to make it simpler, better, and more abundant, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, online courses, programs, and other resources to help you create the life you really want.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See you next time! I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
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