- Season 1, Episode 2: Get me a diaper, my identity just imploded
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Susan: [00:00:00] Kate, what were you just talking about? Like the dichotomy of what people say parenting is like
Kate: pregnant for the first time, you know, I feel like there are two general extreme camps of reactions, right? The one camp is like, Oh my God, your life is basically over. Like, you can only stay in fancy hotels or resorts because it’s all inclusive or you can’t go out at night or you have to get up every two hours and your marriage is going to be like on the rocks and you’re gonna fight all the time.
Kate: Right. So that’s like one very pessimistic. Your life is overview. And then the other kind is like the very dreamy it’s like, Oh, it’s so wonderful to birth the
Kate: being. You’ll become a better version of yourself. Um, it’s so lovely to smell their delicious Milky smell in their nose. And you’re just, that’s all you’re ever going to think about.
Kate: It just, I feel like, you know, these are two very extreme. Takes from other people slash the internet slash social media. When you know, to first-time parents, you guys think about that. [00:01:00]
Susan: Which one were you?
Kate: Um, I mean, neither and both, I think. Right. And same thing. That’s my thing is like, I think people want to present one view for whatever reason but the reality is very mixed.
Kate: Um, and it’s often like both you get the delight and then also the really low, you know, bad parts all in one. Right. They’re all mixed up. Or sometimes you get one, not the other. And um, yeah, I just, I feel like that’s more reality versus just, Oh, it sucks. Your life is over or, Oh my gosh.
Kate: You know,
Susan: I want to know who these angel came.
Susan: Ladies are like, are they all privileged? Like, did they have help? Like, are they with a 1%, you know, like, that sounds cool, but it’s too Disney for me. You know? Like I remember the first few days of parenting, it was like, it was strange because they let you leave the hospital. Like you just, just start walking out and no one’s like running after you.
Susan: Like, they’re just, you just go and then that’s crazy. [00:02:00] Right. And we were leaving in the middle of COVID when cOVID just started. And it was crazy because all the people who were taking care of us, they didn’t have masks on, but they would say when they were last tested by, and then we walk out, I kind of forget that there’s COVID and we’re driving around.
Susan: It looks like an apocalyptic scene because Seattle’s totally empty. And then I see everyone with masks and all of a sudden I realized, I was like, Oh my God, what happened in the last three days, there was kind of like this, like. Brainwashy day spa, zoo Lander experience, where I, you know, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.
Susan: And then I’m out free. We come home and then art has jaundice. So then like for the next four days, he’s like in this like lighted little, like tube thing, and people are coming to take his blood all the time.
Jeanette: Like, like this is at the hospital or at home,
Susan: this is at home because they call us and they’re like, Hey, BT dubs, he has jaundice.
Susan: And I’m like, Why did we just go home? So then [00:03:00] like someone’s coming into our house all the time, but then everyone has COVID so that, it just it’s like, I was, I thought that early days of parenting would be, would have been this like angelic, like, Oh my God, like, you’re just like a few days old. Like you’re an animal.
Susan: Like I am primal, like motherhood will like seep through my tits, you know? And then what really happened was like, I’m trying to protect him my milk isn’t coming through. I have a tailbone injury. So I actually really can’t breastfeed him, even if I wanted to. And then we need to figure out how to breast pump.
Susan: Like we need to figure that out right now. So I’m standing. With my glasses that are like going slowly down my face, I’m physically holding the pumps with my hands. Cause we haven’t bought a breast pump bra yet we had no plans for this. And you
Kate: didn’t realize
Kate: I lift clearly recommended.
Susan: I sent me because it was too intense, dude.
Susan: You’re like, you’re like the person I want to be, [00:04:00] but I’ll never be, but I gave the list to my husband, but he never looked at it either. And I’m like holding on pumping, trying to figure out what this pumping machine I’m texting you guys going, like, what are all these settings? Because if you actually read all the manuals, it’s not very clear what to do.
Susan: And then my glasses keep like slipping down my face. I can’t even like push them up my face. And I’m like, Oh my God, this is the early days of parenting.
Jeanette: Yeah. I remember like, um, with Isaiah, you know how I also mentioned the last episode that I messed up my pelvis, um, AF it, you know, pushing Isaiah out and then.
Jeanette: Yeah. I just remember, Jake went to get the car and everybody’s like, Oh yeah. It’s time for you to leave now. And I’m supposed to carry Isaiah, you know, and walk to the front door. And I’m just like limping kind of, you know, because like my pelvis is really messed up and yeah. I don’t know.
Jeanette: I’m like, Oh, okay. So this is , what motherhood is [00:05:00] like, like slightly limping towards the door while carrying my
Susan: I think motherhood is so complicated cause okay. Before I had kids and I’d see moms, like, I just didn’t know what to do to be helpful. And then also people don’t want to infringe on your parenting notice, but then also like, do you want to ask for help?
Susan: Like it’s so many layers of confusion, um, that I feel, I feel. I feel like a bad friend to all the moms that came before me. You know what I mean? Like I just, I didn’t know what to do. And then I know usually like parents just disappear for like six months to a year and they’re still your friends, but they gotta take care of the kids.
Susan: And I was just like, is it because they’re so in love with their kids and not with me anymore, or like, I don’t want to text them and bother them. You know, so it’s like, it’s, there’s this kind of very confusing unwritten code of how to interact. Because also once I had the early days of parenting, I remember I would [00:06:00] get so many text messages of like, how are you doing?
Susan: And depending on what state of mind I was in, I was either I saw it as another task and I was gonna lose my mind. Like I did not want to respond to them because I was like, you want to know how I’m doing? Like, I, every time I want to like eat or anything, I have to go to the bathroom, spray myself, use a little like washer, like put on some creams, like make an ice pack thing.
Susan: Like, it was just like, it was so much work just to get out of bed and then also feed him and then feed me that I was like, I don’t want to tell you how I’m doing, because it’s so bad. But then there were some times when I was like, feeling so lonely and so like, Scared and confused. And I felt like I’m just alone, you know?
Susan: And especially with COVID, we didn’t have my mother-in-law come. My mom passed away when I was a kid, all my aunties didn’t come. Like it was like the most lonely experience, but at [00:07:00] the same time, such an intimate experience with a new creature, you know, like, I don’t even know how to explain, like, why is it so confusing?
Kate: Yeah. Actually I told Susan, I totally agree with you. It’s interesting because I did have a lot of support. Um, when my daughter was born, like my mom was around my parents, my mother and father-in-law were around for the first few days. And then I had a traditional Chinese, um, uh, postpartum nanny. Right.
Kate: But even with the people
Kate: I actually felt very alone because it’s not like they were around me all the time. Right. When I was breastfeeding. Right. Or when I was resting, I feel like it’s one of those experiences only. A woman, once you become a mom, I mean, even if you have a loving spouse or partner or family, there are things that you feel just by yourself.
Kate: And it’s, um, I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing, but you just feel like you are alone. They’re experiencing, for example, um, you know, I didn’t realize that when you breastfeed for the first few days, or you try, your hormones are raging through you still, and you literally feel your uterus is still contracting when you’re, um, you [00:08:00] know, establishing like your milk supply and feeding your baby.
Kate: And that I’ll literally felt the hormones coursing through me. I don’t know how else to say it was crazy. And I could feel my uterus contracting and, you know, I just felt like I’m going through this by myself. There’s no way my husband who is a doctor, he can’t even understand that. Right. I think that part, no one really tells you about, even if there are people around you, which is crazy to
Kate: me, right?
Jeanette: Yeah. Yeah. I remember this one morning, it was probably like two days after we brought Ruth home. And, you know, she, she is pretty helpful, but then like, I hadn’t slept more than 60 or 90 minutes at a time for three days.
Jeanette: Right. Because they’re just like, the babies are like that, like when they’re newborns. And , I got up in the morning and I hadn’t slept all night and my mom looks at me and she’s like, I’m going to go out and exercise. Okay. And I was just like, you know, like kind of like, I can’t, he just said that to me, you know, like exercise is [00:09:00] really the furthest thing from my mind right now.
Jeanette: I don’t think in all cases, but in many cases or even most cases, it’s just hard for other people to understand, what’s going on. And even for my mom who herself had kids, you know, um, you just kind of forget. I mean, I think that moment is just so intense and you, I think you do feel kind of alone
Susan: husbands, man. I know you were, you
Kate: told me that before art was born, Marvin was like, um, saying something about how he wanted this golden period for you guys without, I mean, this is pre COVID, right? When you thought you could have help come over, but then, um, you were kind of annoyed because Marvin was like, Oh, we should just, just be the three of us, like you, me and the
Susan: I mean, I’m sure he probably said that. And then I would look at him and be like, you know, in Vietnam, like the woman is [00:10:00] in the bedroom, does it leave the bedroom? Like, I don’t, I, I think I still want to take a shower or bath, but like the community is taking care of the woman so that the woman can feed as easily as possible to the child, you know?
Susan: And my, and then Marvin was like, You, we don’t need to do that. Like, come on, like, let’s plan a trip soon. Like we don’t need help. And I was like, who’s going to make me food. He’s like, you’re going to make you food. I was like, what are you talking about? You know? And then even like a week in, after we had our he’s like, let’s go on a walk.
Susan: And I was like, I don’t know how to describe to you that it has felt like there’s been an anvil in my panties for like one month before the baby has come. Like just stuck to the ground. And I’m like wobbling around, like dragging this anvil around and you want to go on a walk. If I was in Vietnam right now, someone would be feeding me food.
Susan: Like I outsource, I had so many Asian people [00:11:00] including you two ladies bring me food because I knew it would get to this point. And my husband has he’s wonderful. He’s amazing. But he just, he just didn’t get, he was just, was like, yeah. W maybe we can like, go on a trip. Like when are we going to start rock climbing again?
Susan: And I was like, what part of anvil in my panties, do you not understand? Cause that’s, it’s still happening. I still have an anvil in my panties and Art is 10 months old.
Kate: Can we talk about that community thing I think is actually really important. So when I, um, you know, there’s a traditional Chinese custom I think maybe Koreans might have Vietnamese.
Kate: I don’t have it too, but like where, um, a woman, uh, basically has a confinement period of a month, right? Traditionally after you give birth to a baby. And the whole point is that you can heal, you know, the woman can get better. She’s nourished with foods like Susan was saying there’s family around traditionally, there was family cooking all, and everybody was taking care of the baby.
Kate: Right? And so obviously today when we have nuclear families, it’s not really possible, but what’s replaced that in China is there’s the postpartum nanny. This is a [00:12:00] lady, her, she, this is her profession. What she does is she travels from family to family, stays for the traditional 26 days. Um, After the baby is born.
Kate: She cooks, um, all the foods for the mom. Um, she, uh, does night duty with the baby and is holds the baby, takes care of the baby and teaches the parents how to do things like change diapers, give the baby a bath and everything for the first month. And so, um, all that to say I was kind of skeptical because, you know, having been raised in the U S I was just like, Oh, I don’t want some random person coming into my household.
Kate: Like after I have a baby. Cause you know, I like my space and stuff. But then after seeing how stressed out my friends who didn’t have support or like my American friends, I was just like, maybe I should say yes to help. Right. And so we actually did hire a postpartum nanny, um, a Chinese post-partum nannies, um, to come, she arrived four or five, five days after, um, my daughter was born and, and my husband who was also initially skeptical, he’s not Chinese.
Kate: Um, like after she stayed with us for six weeks, we were just like, This woman was in the [00:13:00] best possible thing. Like if anybody, if you’re able to have the resources to hire someone like this, like she, I think she helped our relationship because we were able to spend a lot more time with each other. Um, you know, she helped me, uh, just, you know, I think everybody focuses, Oh, what a cute baby, but people don’t think enough about the mom, right?
Kate: Like what you’re going through your mental health, like your physical wellbeing and my post partum nanny. And he always said to me, she was like, my goal is to make you happy, happy mom, happy baby. And I was like, that’s so simple. Right? It’s so simple. And yet, why are we as society focusing on like, Oh, cute little angelic, everything for the baby, everything for the baby, everybody like, you know, circles around the baby.
Kate: And the
Kate: mom is like sitting there.
Kate: I feel like generally neglected. I don’t know. That’s just my opinion.
Susan: Oh girl, if I could have afforded it, I would have done it too. Like, that seemed awesome. Like I remember I came over and she made us food or something. She made us lunch was that she gave you, she made extra for you to take home, but also it’s like, it’s like someone [00:14:00] there to help you also establish structure and patterns of how you’re going to set things up.
Susan: And it’s not your mom where there feels like this, like underlying judgment or like, well, we did this way and it worked this way and then maybe you’ve read something and you’re like, maybe I want to try it this way. You know, like in a way there’s someone, there were third party who you’ve paid to just support you and that’s their success metric, you know, like that seemed really cool.
Susan: And like, what also seemed really cool is a doula, like basically resources that understand women and put women’s opinions first, like all for it. If you had the resources to do it,
Kate: I’m curious too, to know,
Kate: like for Jeanette, cause I know your mom, um, lives with you guys. Like, did she, you know, did you
Kate: find it helpful to have her
Kate: or what are the dynamics that get to you as Susan mentioned, even sometimes with like your own mom or your mother-in-law could have different,
Jeanette: Yeah, definitely. My mom you know, since she came to live with us, she’s done a lot of [00:15:00] different part-time jobs.
Jeanette: And one of them was as a postpartum doula in the Korean tradition. She did this on and off for about a year where she would go to Korean American families who just had a baby and just like help them out. And yeah, and I think there’s just pattern recognition, right?
Jeanette: Because Most parents are first time parents, they don’t know what they’re doing, but this person has like, this is like their 10 family. So they kind of know okay, this is like a good way to do things. Right. And so they can really kind of coach the parents as well.
Jeanette: So yeah, I think having my mom, especially because she had some of that experience coming in, that part was helpful. She would do the soaks for me to help my circulation and help the bloating go down and all of that. And so that was helpful.
Jeanette: But I do think there is an added stress because of the relationship. Right. Because, uh, like she, yeah, she would say like I think you should do it this way. And then just saying no to that is more complicated than saying no to somebody who’s going to leave in a month then who you don’t [00:16:00] have a, necessarily a long-term relationship with.
Jeanette: Um, so yeah, and that’s kind of like an ongoing, I would say, um, not just like only around immediately having give birth, given birth. Right. It’s just like an ongoing kind of, um, uh, how should I call it? Just like an ongoing low simmering issue that sometimes needs to be managed
Susan: that’s easy way of saying it.
Jeanette: Yeah. But it was really helpful. And I do think that having that support, I mean, even with postpartum depression, right? I mean, I think one of the things that’s really correlated with postpartum depression is lack of sleep and lack of support.
Jeanette: And it’s like published by doctors and stuff, and you’re just kind of like, no,
Jeanette: duh. Like,
Jeanette: yeah, it’d be like, don’t sleep. And you’re physically hurting a lot then. Yeah. It’s gonna make you feel worse. Like emotionally, it’s gonna make [00:17:00] you more liable for feeling down. And, um, I think even with support, sometimes your body just takes such a beating, like in the whole birthing process that you might still feel like that,
Susan: you know, I love that you brought up postpartum depression because I wanted to talk about it a little bit, where I had gone to some early parenting groups or the hospital’s like, you’re going to be a parent workshop and they teach you how to swaddle and they talk about postpartum depression.
Susan: So I had gone to all these groups and they talk about it. And the way they talk about it is like, if you can’t get out of bed for a few days, or like, you want to do crazy things to your kid, you have postpartum depression, you know, and they pointed it as like a really intense, extreme. And then it’s like postpartum anxiety, like, okay.
Susan: So what’s that? And like what, where are you on it? You know what I mean? Also like, is what I’m feeling normal because it’s just like lots of hormones everywhere, you know what I mean? So it’s [00:18:00] like, it’s such a spectrum to know when to ask for help. And like, for me, it’s like I could still get out of bed.
Susan: Like I, there was a force that pulled me out of bed, like every few hours and pump and like try to maximize pumping and like feed myself and like I was on such a rotation, but the question was, was, well, is it that bad? Like when I feel sad or anxious about things, like, is it bad enough to like go seek support or take meds?
Susan: Right. And I think that was like a really blurry line. And I just want to say, it wasn’t until I met other moms that took meds or, um, A few moms had recommended this resource called perinatal Washington. It’s called a warm line, not a hotline, which I think is actually really interesting that they rebrand it that way.
Susan: And I had gotten to this point where I was just really anxious, like I was, I was, um, [00:19:00] when I was pumping all the time, I felt like my brain cells were just like being pumped out. Like, I, I felt like I wasn’t thinking very clearly or like, I just wasn’t in a good place, but I wouldn’t say I was postpartum depression, the way it’s been painted to me.
Susan: And I was having a lot of anxiety about the milk stuff, because it was just like, it was just taking up so much energy and life out of me. Like it, wasn’t an enjoyable process where it’s like so intimate with me and my baby. Like I still had this massive tailbone injury that I’m still nursing right now.
Susan: And so finally someone tells me to call perinatal Washington. I, I call the warm line. We talk for an hour, there’s all these resources of emotional therapists that focus on postpartum moms. There’s physical therapists that I should go to for postpartum moms for the perennial floor. Eventually I don’t get meds, but it’s just the fact that I was just trying to figure out where I was in that [00:20:00] spectrum.
Susan: And if it was quote unquote, bad enough to get help, or this was just expected. Do y’all get what I’m saying? Like, it’s just hard to figure out if it was hormones or if it was bad or bad enough. And also the shame and stigma around asking for help, whatever that helped look like.
Jeanette: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s on a spectrum. I don’t think it’s binary. It feels like, like if you look at the public health ads, it feels binary. Like, do you have postpartum depression? I don’t feel like it’s a yes or no thing. I think a lot of women feel pretty overwhelmed.
Jeanette: I mean, if not all new moms feel pretty overwhelmed at some point. Um, I’ve struggled with depression in the past, but actually not around childbirth, like not around, like, after having kids, but I did experience more anxiety after Isaiah was born.
Jeanette: And even after Ruth was born, it kind of tapered off with Isaiah, after he was about a year old, but I just felt like I needed to be super OCD about [00:21:00] everything, like checking everything, like making sure there’s nothing in his crib and like everything was super safe. I still feel like a lot of anxiety around that.
Jeanette: Like for Ruth, it takes me a long time to go to bed. I think that that is. A symptom of my anxiety. Um, I wouldn’t say it’s interfering necessarily with my ability to function or like do the things I feel like I need to do or want to do, but there’s definitely a heightened level of anxiety.
Susan: Did you ever do that thing where you’re like, they haven’t said anything in a while. They haven’t cried in a while. Are they dead? Are they dead? And then you just peek in just to see if they’re dead and then you like peek out.
Jeanette: Yeah. Yeah. I just like watch their chest and just like, see, like, I’m like, it’s moving, right.
Jeanette: It’s moving. And Jake’s like, can you please not go into his room? You’re going to wake him up.
Kate: Yeah. Again, this is funny, it is, you know, these things that moms experienced. Um, just even though, you know, [00:22:00] even if you have a really supportive spouse. Right. And I think for me, um, the first few months, I think we’re actually great.
Kate: Uh, but I was very careful to sort of be, you know, my husband had actually discussed, while I was still pregnant, just to look for signs of postpartum anxiety, depression, just because I’ve had, um, a history of anxiety in the past. So I’m, you know, I was prone and I was actually on medication during my pregnancy and into nursing.
Kate: But interestingly as the first few months were actually like, fine, I felt like my anxiety didn’t come until later. Which apparently is it happens with actually some women it’s sort of misleading. Cause you always think postpartum. Okay. It’s like immediately postpartum, but actually for quite a large number of women, it, it may not have an onset until like six months or even later.
Kate: And so sometimes it gets missed, right. Because.
Kate: know, you think by that time, it’s thought everything’s fine. Like you’re adjusted like nothing bad happens. I think a lot of my anxiety started coming more like later on and I definitely have more of a, I guess type A are very organized personality.
Kate: And so I think that translated into a lot of like, [00:23:00] feeling very stressed out and uptight over certain things. Um, yeah. And so there’s that to register kind of, um, throw it out there that these things can kind of come and it depends on what kind of personality you have too. Right. It could even just feel like maybe a little extension of a little extreme trait of your personality.
Kate: So it’s like very insidious and you’re not even aware right. Until maybe someone calls you out on it, probably your spouse cause they’re around. So yeah, I think it, it can be quite, quite insidious and sometimes hard to really identify if you have any thing postpartum this,
Susan: you know?
Susan: Yeah. I mean, not everyone’s going to have a partner. Right. But if you happen to have a partner that one of their jobs should just to be, to record your mood every day, you know what I mean? Like they can be helpful to actually catch stuff because I think it’s just like, it’s so complicated to actually also track what [00:24:00] you’re gonna look at the mood Jake’s mood of you.
Susan: And you’re like, Mmm, I disagree with that.
Jeanette: Yeah. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Like I don’t want, I don’t want to take, to tell me how he thinks I’m feeling everyday. That just is a recipe for an argument.
Susan: Um, okay. So, um, I have a confession to make my confession is breastfeeding was a very complicated thing for me. And I was jealous of both of you. I was jealous, like, do y’all remember like the early days, like I wouldn’t be texting and be like, Oh my God. You know, I read that. What was, what was the expecting better expecting better book, right.
Susan: About breastfeeding or Emily? Austria talks about many things about pregnancy, but also breastfeeding or maybe that was encrypted sheets. Which one was it?
Jeanette: Uh, I can’t remember.
Susan: Was it? Yeah. [00:25:00] Yeah. Yeah. It’s cribs sheets. Cause it’s like, after the baby’s born. Um, I had read the, or Marvin had read the summary.
Susan: Let’s not kid ourselves. I didn’t actually read the book. And it was like breastfeeding kind of inconclusive. It’s a personal choice benefit to you. It’s could reduce some breast cancer. Right. And so I was like, okay, so it’s okay if I want to go to formula. And I texted all of you. And I was like, I’m having anxiety.
Susan: I don’t want to keep pumping out all that. I did say, I think pump my brain cells out. And, and I remember you all were so supportive, you know, fed is best fed is best. And I, I could hear the words that you texted, but I was still comparing myself to how long you all had gone or were going. And I still felt really bad, you know, like [00:26:00] I just felt bad.
Susan: I was pretty sure I was a formula baby. You know, we went to Harvard like, but I’m thinking worst case scenario as a mom that I am like, I don’t care about my son, but at the same time, like it’s just too exhausting for me and the tailbone stuff. I didn’t. I just, I just, I just needed something in my life to feel normal and stable again.
Susan: And so I desperately wanted to go to formula, but I thought I was like being a bad mom and no matter what, nice things you said to me, I still compared myself to you. And it wasn’t until I talked to other moms who stopped and shifted to formula at month, one or month three, when I got to talk to them and I just heard their trade-offs and what they thought about it.
Susan: But the fact that I knew that did it too, and that they’re like, Oh yeah, I don’t even think about it anymore. Like, there’s always new problems that come up and I don’t even think about it anymore. And I’m like sitting there going, like, that felt like heaven to me. Like that felt like salvation to me. And then finally it was only after I [00:27:00] talked to them that I could actually be like, okay, cool, Kirkland, signature.
Susan: Here we come. You know, like we’re going formula all the way at, at month four. Right. But I gotta tell you, like, It was so hard because y’all were my friends, but I still felt jealous. And still felt like a bad mom, you know? And it’s like, I don’t know how to get rid of bad mom complex, but like anyways, yeah.
Susan: I’m jealous.
Kate: No, I totally get that, Susan. It’s funny you say that you were jealous cause we were either all still pumping or breastfeeding. And then it’s funny because it’s, so these things are incremental, right? Because for me, yeah, sure. I was able to like, um, mostly pumped for my daughter, but then I would feel jealous and I knew I’m the person who told you said is this bubble.
Kate: And I really do believe it, but this goes to show you how, even if I tell you something, sometimes it’s as an individual, it’s hard to convince yourself. Um, so I think you hit the nail on the head is that I then felt jealous of women who are actually able to fully breastfeed because my daughter just, she [00:28:00] never really took to breastfeeding.
Kate: She would only do it like sometimes at night, basically when she’s not aware that she’s actually like. But as soon as she was like awake and happened to be like, no, thanks, dude. I take the bottle please. Right. And so, you know, I mean, I obviously would be like, Oh, I should be grateful. Like I’m actually producing a lot of milk for her, like whatever.
Kate: But then I would feel jealous of the moms who were able to breastfeed. So usually it’s like this like nonstop train. Right. It’s crazy. And then I’m just like, what did I do wrong? Like, you know, Emma says it. She doesn’t like me to look on my boob. Like, and I cried a couple times. I was like,
Kate: well, she’s fed,
Susan: she’s so happy. And I’m like, so I
Kate: think it’s just a thing that a lot of moms go through where just, even if you understand intellectually, but it’s fine. You’re not a bad mom. Like the subjective feeling, the emotional rollercoaster. It’s just like, it’s very hard
Susan: to not go through that.
Jeanette: Do you think
Jeanette: it’s something.
Jeanette: Particular to [00:29:00] breastfeeding, or do you think it’s just kind of like the first thing in this long line of things that’ll probably last for a long time of like, what is like the boundary of being a good mom, right. Like how much do we have to do for our kids to feel like we’re a good mom to them.
Susan: I think both
Kate: like, because breastfeeding is so, um, if you think about it, it’s like, it’s actually kind of weird if you name it. So we’re mammals, so obviously like,
Jeanette: like whatever
Kate: you think about it, it’s like, it’s very bizarre and also very magical, right? Like your body just produces because of hormones starts producing this nutrient for this baby, and then it just. It’s it’s, it’s very primal. And then it’s also like, just so intimate only you can you mean, I mean, sorry, currently there are no nursemaids or like rich people back in the day, women, they used to hand off their babies to like nurse maid or whatever, but that’s not really a thing now.
Kate: And so it’s just like that first connection with your [00:30:00] child. So in a sense, yes, it is. I think breastfeeding is sort of like I guess, classic case for this, but then, you know, I think it also applies in the future too. I still find myself thinking, Oh, you know, how can I do the best, this, the best that, and then I think
Susan: it’s just.
Kate: It’s really important. I have to remind myself to take a step back being like, you know, getting her the best this, or doing the best. The best mom I can be is not, you know, um, being able to breastfeed her for however long or being able to pump for however long or whatever. It’s more having a healthy mental state so that I can really be attentive to her and responsive to her.
Kate: Does that make sense? Um, but I think it’s hard because I think we get, I mean, in this world, especially when you’re surrounded by so many different people, social media, product advertising, like a lot of, you know, sort of societal expectations, it’s just really hard for us to shed that and focus on the really important thing.
Kate: Right. It’s just, it’s hard. I mean, I mean, I think some people can maybe do it, um, if they’re really like, you [00:31:00] know, just really good at tuning everything else out, but I feel like most of us are pretty susceptible to environmental. Influencers.
Susan: Yeah. I mean, I think like breastfeeding is that’s your first test out of the gate.
Susan: Like you decided to have a kid. Can you do it, you know? And it’s, you’re kind of like, Oh my God, like, I need, I need to perform like right now, like right now, right now, like, and then do you remember the first few days when you’re like squeezing your tits and like, we need, like, what was it glue claustrum was it called like, uh, yeah, I paid attention in breastfeeding class and then you can like, get whatever you can on your pinky and you like, get it the syringe and you like, suck it up.
Susan: And like, you like put it in your mouth and then like, the doctors are like, this is so great. Like, this is so great. And like, you’re just like sucking anything out, you know? Cause you’re like, I have to feed my child, but like, they’re going to lose the weight anyways. And it, everyone tells you they’re going to lose weight and then they [00:32:00] lose weight and it’s devastating.
Susan: You’re like, Oh my God, I can’t provide for my child. You got little, like, what am I, what, you know? And it’s like, okay. So that’s one, which is just like the first test of like, did you make a mistake? Intending to have a child, you go through with the entire birthing process, and now you have just failed forever one, you know?
Susan: And then two it’s like, let’s be honest, we’re all type a people. And anytime we ever focused on something, for the most part, it should work out. You know, for the most part, maybe we’ll just do well. And here we are trying to start this entire bodily system of what it’s meant to do, but we’ve never done it before.
Susan: And in our thirties, like how often can you say, like, this is the first time I’ve done something and go back to that. Beginner’s mind of like, okay, let’s try another way. Okay. It’s not like labeling, I’m a failure. You’re like lactation consultant. Okay. Or I’m going to drink this to me and I’m going to eat [00:33:00] this cookie and I’m going to do, I’m going to have this seaweed soup and I’m going to, you know, and it’s just like, you’re just like trying so hard, but it is a measurement of your effort in a way, you know, even if it’s just like, well, you know, your milk cousin come in.
Susan: Like, but how do you really separate the two? Right. It’s like, do I love my child or do I not love my child? Like, it, it becomes binary like that, even though it’s like, it’s so much greater
Jeanette: Yeah. Um, I dunno know, I was a formula fed kid. My brother was interestingly, a breastfed kid. Did he go? No, but you know, we both turned out fine.
Jeanette: So I breastfed Isaiah until he was like 18 months, which was like too long because by then
Susan: level that’s like, you are brought in level. That’s like European, you know, that’s how the Europeans do.
Jeanette: Yeah. Like where you have like a [00:34:00] kindergartener on your boob.
Jeanette: What, it’s a funny side story is that I started a new job and like, we were going around telling memorable stories about ourselves, all the new hires. And this one guy said that he, um, was breastfed until he was like, He was four or five or in kindergarten or something.
Jeanette: And breast milk has a lot of sugar. So all his teeth were like Rodan. And I was just like, I couldn’t, I couldn’t like get that image out of my mind. Like even now, many years later, I like still remember that. And, um, so anyways, for others listening, in my opinion, weaning at 12 months, if you can, is good, because I just generally have adopted the philosophy.
Jeanette: Like, if it’s medically okay for your child, it’s better to move them, transition them to the next thing, like earlier, rather than later, because they’re just easier to transition when they’re younger, when they get older and they get to be 18 months and they know what boobs are and stuff like that, then they’ll put [00:35:00] up much more of a fight in terms of giving it up.
Jeanette: And it just turns it into this whole thing.
Susan: Totally. But I mean, I I’ve got buyer’s remorse, man, because like, when people are like, so like, how’s your son? Like, what do you think about him? And I’m just like, Oh, he’s cool. You know, like I feel concerned because I just called my nine month old. Cool. Like, I didn’t say like, Oh my God, he like brings me so much joy.
Susan: And it’s like a love. I’ve never felt before, you know, like I hear people say that. I do love him, but I think he’s cool. And I wonder if that’s, because I didn’t do the breastfeeding thing. Like, did I not did meet him miss out on a club? And like, me and him are just like, you know, pen, pal level. Like, we’re not like, like she not going to have an Oedipus complex with me.
Susan: Like how attached?[00:36:00]
Susan: I should’ve gone to five years, you know, but like I did three and like,
Jeanette: okay, don’t second. Guess yourself?
Susan: I mean, I think
Kate: everybody’s everybody’s experience should be different. Right. But I think, again, I’m really convinced that today just because we have so much like messaging around us, right.
Kate: Certain messages get really loud and there may be like some, one or two people’s experiences, but then they get amplified. And especially when it comes to motherhood or like these experiences, like, you know, sleep training or, you know, like all these other hot button topics as a new parent, the early days of parenting, like what kind of stuff looks the best pacifier was whatever this, that.
Kate: Um, and so, you know, when you have a few strong voices, especially if they’re like experts so-called, um, You know, it, you can’t help, but feel like, Oh, there’s like one or two right. Ways to do things. Right. And if I don’t do the right ways and Oh my gosh is my child’s scarred forever. If I use like, you know, uh, like a [00:37:00] sippy cup, that’s not like weighted straws, you know?
Kate: And I think, especially for us too, having been like all very type a and like, you know, we just want the best. Um, and then plus you add on that top of that expectations for career like professional women now to do everything right. We gotta be like the perfect career person gotta be, be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, like you just quadruple the expectations of, you know, a generation ago.
Kate: And it’s just, it’s so much, it’s very, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of mental burden on us. Right. And, and, and then it of course gets, uh, stresses us out when we make all these small dis even small decisions. Not even, not, not to mention the big ones, um, about the baby. That’s what I see a lot in my, um, First-time mom, friends who are like very high achieving.
Kate: Right. I don’t know if you guys,
Jeanette: yeah. I mean, I think that there’s just this expectation that we should be able to handle it all. Like, and, and when we feel overwhelmed, we feel like we’re failing. [00:38:00] Right. So I feel like a lot, like, even for me, and, and a lot of like friends around me, we all have this expectation.
Jeanette: I don’t know where we get it from, but like this expectation that we should be able to do everything, like hold down a full time, great job. And raise kids, um, cook, you know, at home, maybe this is just me like maintain a clean house, like do enrichment activities, like go through it all smiling, you know?
Jeanette: And, um, An exercise. Right. And I just, you know, if you like, just think about the hours in a day, it’s just not possible. Right. It’s just not, and that’s what I tell myself to just comfort myself, because I do think that I find, I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I think partly because I somehow have this expectation that I should be able to do it all and not be tired.
Jeanette: Right. But, and when I can not do it, it [00:39:00] feels really shitty.
Susan: Is it like, you know, men are from Mars, women are from Venus like that. We’re just so different. Like I gotta tell you, I love my husband. But like he can eat all the pasta. He wants, drink all the drinks that he wants and he’s got a beach bod doesn’t need to exercise.
Susan: He does like to exercise, but overall he does it in sporadic extreme sports ways, but like, he’s got the beach bar he’s calm. He doesn’t always need to prove himself. Like he he’s like focused on being, instead of doing like, he’s like all the things that I want, except the fact that he’s a man, you know, I’m like, what, how is it that it seems so easy for him?
Susan: Like how, what point in our upbringing did I get some kind of matrix download programming that also makes me feel the same way as you Jeanette, which is like, feeling always like, we’re not going to cut it and there’s always [00:40:00] more and that we didn’t do it. Perfect. And like, okay, you two, um, sent me Christmas cards and they were awesome.
Susan: You know, I never got around to it.
Kate: I’m going to say something kinda like judgy and meme. It’s not mean it’s true. No, no, no, no. Not to you. Not to you. So like Susan and I have Asian male spouses. Okay. So I’m going to say something mean about like Asian males. Boy got like, you know, with Asian who have Asian moms, obviously, because they’re Asian males.
Kate: So one time, like my mother-in-law was here and she was great in many ways, but like, you know, she, she had one child, my husband, um, they’re Indian. Um, and so, you know, she was talking about how like in high school, um, Oh, he was like, you know, too busy with school to like help around the house and do like cooking and laundry, all this other stuff.
Kate: Um, like he was too busy and then I was just like sitting there being like, okay, I was expected to do laundry for my parents, by the way, I folded their [00:41:00] underwear and I had to clean the house and I had to wash the frigging dishes. And then my husband could see that I was like steaming. He was like, well, Kate’s the one who went into Harvard and I didn’t.
Kate: And so like, I mean, I’m not trying to blame my mother. And I think a lot of Asian parents have this attitude where like, you know, for the guy it’s cool. Like, you know, boys, sons, like, they’ve just, all they have to do is study. But for my parents, they expect it. So, you know, even from a young age, they expect me to do stuff around the house.
Kate: I didn’t get an allowance, no allowances. So in addition to my studies where I was, you know, I had to like perform, well, obviously I also have to do domestic stuff. Right. And to this day, I kind of wish like my parents had never introduced me to domestic shit. Cause now I feel like I have to like Excel in all kinds of domestic.
Kate: And my husband, I get into all kinds of arguments. Cause I’m like a perfectionist in the kitchen too. Right. So I just feel like a lot of this is. You know, gender or social conditioning too. Um, if you’re from an Asian family, I don’t know. That’s just my experience. And it like drives me crazy when I think too much about is I try not to
Susan: girl now I got pay a couples therapist to [00:42:00] deprogram my Korean husband.
Susan: You know what I mean? Like, okay. Like Marvin is a neat freak. He loves the Marie Kondo method. Like he needs things to be clean, but in terms of like that point of like a partner being like super considerate and like checking it, like, Oh, you just said this, how can I support you on that? You know, or whatever.
Susan: Like, he really needs a lot of help. And I know we’re going to talk about partners in a future episode, but like, I’m, I kind of sit there and I think like, Oh my God, this is what like, just male privilege feels like where, you know, I mean, he’s Korean and he was the first son. They were were afforded certain privileges where it’s like, Oh, take the time for your studies period.
Susan: You know, like it’s not an clean the house, whereas yeah. Girls are expected to do all those things, you know? And so now I have to pay someone to deprogram.
Jeanette: Yeah. I feel like there’s a whole episode there. Right. And we’ll [00:43:00] get to that. Being Korean American and then having a boy and a girl, um, yeah, I feel terrified one day I’m gonna wake up and I’m going to realize I’m asking my daughter to do things that I’m not asking my son to do, because even though that’s not what I want to do, it’s just so ingrained in me that it’ll just seep out.
Jeanette: You know what I mean? Um, and then the other thing is like I kind of half wish that my parents. Didn’t expose me to like any domestic stuff. Like you, I also had to do a lot of things around the house, wash dishes and cook and all this stuff.
Jeanette: Right. But now I’m good at it. And I’m much better at it. Now my husband. And it’s like a little, yeah,
Kate: no, you’re just so much better at it. It’s last year, just such like a control freak in the kitchen. I don’t really want to cook with you. And you know, so then it just like devolved and it was so, you know, there’s a whole splitting of tasks in the household. Sorry, I’m getting a little off topic, but like [00:44:00] whoever, you know, who people should do, what they do best, but what if you
Susan: happen to be the best that most of them?
Jeanette: Anyway. So there’s an article that my husband refers to sometimes, um, that I had mentioned to him. And he’s like, you’re using this on me. it was a New York times article, maybe like 10 years ago. It was kind of like what I learned from training shampoo or something like that.
Jeanette: And it’s about how using positive reinforcement, like how this woman had is that I think she was like a trainer at SeaWorld and she took the lessons from how they train the killer whales to her husband and her mother.
Susan: I remember this article. You did some of the killer Wells, like kill the trainers.
Jeanette: Yeah. That happened. Tell me
Kate: article it in the New York times love column, right?
Jeanette: I think so. Yeah.
Jeanette: Yes. I remember those. And then I started using it on Jake where you know, he did the dishes, but there were still kind of gross [00:45:00] or like he did the laundry, but then he didn’t really fold it the way that I would, or there were little streaks of , you know, laundry, detergents still left because he overstuffed the laundry machine.
Jeanette: I would still be like, you know, Oh, thank you so much, honey. You did such a great job washing the dishes. I would just give a lot of positive reinforcement, which is so, so not my personality. It’s something I really need to work on, but I was like this, the thing of being super critical is not working.
Jeanette: So, and I can’t do it all like I just need to try to find something else. Right. And so , I started giving him a lot of positive reinforcement and it did work. I mean, it’s not perfect. I would still say we’re not at a 50, 50 division of labor. But I think , for example, laundry, I think he does more laundry than I do now.
Jeanette: And he also has become more receptive to the way that I want it done. I think, because he feels like, like I see him as being better at it. So he doesn’t feel so defensive, you know, when I give him [00:46:00] feedback.
Kate: I need to do that. I feel like I’m still in the criticism stage. I catch myself and then, you know, it’s funny because my mom’s been living with us part of the time.
Kate: My husband has now realized that I am the way I am because he sees how my mom is to me. So at least I feel like he appreciates the fact that, you know, I was a
Susan: socially conditioning. It’s not your fault. It’s not my fault. But, um, well, the other
Kate: thing, I don’t know if you guys get this with your spouse is talking about men are from Mars.
Kate: Women are from Venus. So drew, you guys all had to go through like sleep, whatever, you know, baby sleep is such a huge topic, but I remember one of the biggest conflicts, um, housing I had was over like our different approaches to sleep training, right. I’m the kind of person who like reads up, asks friends, like, you know, I do my own research and then kind of figure, okay, what’s a good like, method that works.
Kate: Right. And he’s more like the kind of like.
Kate: Feel it, I don’t feel it. Okay. And
Kate: this feels good. I think it feels [00:47:00] good. And then he doesn’t read anything. So we get, we have conflict. We have had so many conflicts over how he thinks I’m too. Like by the book I need to loosen up and like use some, you know, intuition.
Kate: And then I’m just like, but you don’t even read anything. I send you. All you do is like, you just, I do all the work and then you just pull something out of your ass, randomly like, Oh, we should do this based out of nothing. You guys get that. I don’t know. Maybe there’s just an us thing.
Susan: Um, I got to tell you, so my strategy is listened to everything that Kate just said. And then she’ll like, give me the download because there are too many blogs, too many websites, too many articles that are just like secretly trying to get you to buy stuff. You know, there’s too many YouTube videos.
Susan: Like I just, I don’t want to do that. So I just trust Kate. And then I hear what Kate says. Then I tell it to Marvin. Like, I’ll just like, you know, click on a couple of stuff. And then like, maybe we’re done. I’ll be like, Hey, Marvin, you know, cry it out. And then he’d be like, that’s bullshit. And I’m like, okay.
Susan: So what do you want to do? [00:48:00] He’s like, it’s going to be fine. And I’m like, okay. And then the way I, you know, like really he’s basically saying there’s no strategy and our child will just perform or be perfect or something. And then right when shit hits the fan and art is like, Tears are coming down his face, Marvin, all of a sudden is like, let’s do the cry it out method.
Susan: And I’m like, whatever the technique is, or like anything related to feeding related any of the phases and all the decisions that you have to make, he will always say that’s bullshit in the heat of the moment. He’ll try something in later. How hear him talking to his friends on the phone, talking about things like to, to our friends who have, who just had kids.
Susan: So they’re earlier on than us. And he’ll be like all like an expert. He’s like, yeah, I should really try the cry it out method. And I’m sitting here going like, Oh, why do I have to be the first line of defense for your doubt? You know what [00:49:00] I mean? Like, or like, are you going to research anything else?
Susan: Cause I don’t want to click on anything. Like I it’s taken me like two years to buy a pair of shoes or like get new contacts I’ve been wearing like dirty scratchy contexts for so long. Cause I have no time to find new contexts like. Do you, are you going to give me a suggestion? And he’s like, that’s bullshit.
Susan: And I’m like, Oh my God, that’s kind of my husband, the whole process is like Kate, you’re a few months ahead of me. You feed me the information. I paid it to him. And then later Marvin, you know, comes to me and he’s like, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s cry it out.
Jeanette: yeah, Jake is actually kind of like, he, I would say he reads maybe not as much as I do, but he does read a good bit. So I think we have a more aligned approach there, but I definitely have other friends and family members who are more like that dynamic where she’s like, Oh yeah, like I gave him a [00:50:00] bunch of books and he didn’t read any of it.
Jeanette: And then I read all the books and, um, But he has like very strong opinions
Susan: about everything.
Susan: Marvin is always like, Hey, didn’t you hear the statistic or the claim or whatever. Like, there’s a correlation between the parents who buy the books and have better performing kids or whatever. You don’t have to read the books, you just have to buy them, which is showing intent or something like that, you know?
Susan: And I’m just like, okay. So he’s like, look, we bought some of the books. People give it to us. I’m sure it’s going to be fine. And I’m sitting here going like, well, why don’t you just read them? And he’s like, no, no, no, we already have them. And I’m just sitting here going like, I’m so confused. But if I’m fed that baby’s fed the toilet bowl, doesn’t look like a disaster.
Susan: Okay. I’m just gonna, you know, 20, 21. My goal has been to not fix things and not control things and I’ve completely failed at it. [00:51:00] But I’m more aware of it than before. I’m trying to be chill without being high. And that’s really hard for me.
Jeanette: Yeah. I’ll just put a little plug in here too, for having your second kid.
Jeanette: I know you guys are thinking about having second kids and though we don’t have to go into too much detail here, but I will say that it is a different game. Like it’s worse actually, when you have a second kid, because all the things that people say to you to make life livable after you have your first child, like those sleep, when your kids sleeps, right?
Jeanette: Like, it’s like, no, you can not sleep when your baby sleeps because you have a two year old running around who is not taking a nap, you know? So, , we love having our second and all of that, but it’s a different ball game. Like you think it’s hard and then it’s like, you have your second one and you’re just like, shit, how is this supposed to
Susan: So, is it twice as hard, three times as hard, 10 times as hard, second kid,
Jeanette: I think like three times as [00:52:00] hard. I mean, in some ways it’s easier because you kind of know I went through this before, so some of it, I know I can be less anxious about certain things, but the whole like, kind of having to manage two kids, this is like, totally me being, I don’t know, whatever you want to call it, like a wimp or whatever, because I know a lot of moms, like they stay home and take care of two kids all day.
Jeanette: Right. But like, I have this fear of being left alone with both of them right now. And just like it being me alone. And then my baby having a blow out diaper. And then Isaiah, all of a sudden like yelling that he needs to go potty and then me, like something happening to me.
Jeanette: And then I just have to take care of them all or like to scoop them both up in my arms and just go to go on like a group bathroom trip, you know, like. I don’t know. Yeah. So I, and then there’s
Susan: poop, smeared all over the walls with hand prints.
Kate: understand. The first, for the first long time, I was actually really afraid of being alone, left alone by myself with my daughter.
Kate: [00:53:00] I know it sounds really weird. Like, well, why should you be afraid of that? But I actually was like really scared of not having any, even the presence of somebody around in the house. Um, yeah. So I don’t know if that’s like weird or if other people feel that way, but, um,
Susan: I was really scared of, um, having to change my baby’s diaper because I had to deal with injuries.
Susan: So Marvin was responsible for bottle feeding and changing the diaper. Like, all I had to do was just wake up, pump and eat and go to the bathroom and go back to sleep. Like that was my job for like a few months, two months maybe. And, um, And when it came time, when he, his paternity leave was done. And then, and then it was me full time.
Susan: I was terrified of changing a diaper. And then
Jeanette: like, what were you specifically scared of
Susan: him? He’s a boy. I don’t know, [00:54:00] like pee pee, like right into my eye. And then the contract would fall out, you know, or like, I was so scared of poop. Like, that’s scary to see my mother who I was like scared of poop.
Susan: And, um, even when he transitioned to when we did solid foods and then he’s, his poop had changed. I had Marvin take like the first 10 poops diapers for some reason. Like it just, it just became really intimidating and scary for me now. That’s fine. It’s fine. Now it’s totally fine. But, um, I would say, like to do something for the really first time.
Susan: It’s so scary, you know, like messing up or like, I don’t know. Maybe I do it in a way where like, I don’t wipe all the poop and then there’d be like a poop infection all over his penis. And like, and then he’d be scarred and be poop boy for the rest of his life. Or like, I like wipe it and it’s like stuck up his butt and then [00:55:00] he like dies, you know, like, No, but nobody else has Poopa phobia here.
Jeanette: the only proof related thing I’m afraid of is sometimes when they have really, really huge poops and it comes out of their diaper and onto their onesy. And then sometimes in the process of getting all that stuff off of them, it gets in their hair and then you’re just like, shit.
Jeanette: Now I have to like, give him like a bath, you know? Like that’s just, that is probably my most scariest scenario related to poop. It’s just like, there’s so much of it. And like, you just can’t get them out of it without like separating the poop from the body, like cleanly. That’s just, that’s the
Susan: If I was like a dream interpreter, I’d be like, jeez, Nat, we need to really focus on your wellbeing. Wait, did you get poop in his hair?
Jeanette: Yeah. I think a few times. Yeah. When he had a huge diaper, right. And you would like, it would get on the back of his onesy.
Jeanette: Right. And it would be one of those things that snap around his crotch, and then you like unsnap it and you have to get it up [00:56:00] above his head to get it off. And then you have to try to get the onesy off in a way that it’s not going to get in his hair. And it’s really difficult.
Susan: That’s disgusting.
Susan: And then Kate, I remember you told me, you gave me bigger diapers cause of blowouts. And like, I was like, what, what is he?
Kate: no, I definitely went through, I probably tried 10 different brands of diapers. Um, I’m just like, uh, uh, obsessive, like experimental as I just had to try everything and decide for myself
Susan: Kirkland signature. Oh, they’re great. I
Kate: liked her. I love Perkins. Like their target ones are pretty good
Susan: too. Um, Oh.
Susan: Oh, you know, I bet you, we are going to have listeners who are thinking about motherhood, right. Or, um, has friends that are starting to have kids. What kind of advice would you give of how people can support new [00:57:00] moms?
Susan: Like what actually would have been helpful to you besides the sleep, when the baby sleeps rhetoric?
Kate: Okay. First of all, it’s practically don’t buy shit. That’s not on the registry or always ask if they have a registry. So I used to despite cute little like baby clothes, and now I’m just like, Oh my God.
Kate: Or like, you know, something that I thought was cute. I was like, this is not what they need. Like, I should have asked if they had a registry because like, you know, every person has to be able to get a lot of hand-me-downs. Maybe they’ll have a giant ass baby. So your newborn clothes don’t fit. Just practical advice.
Kate: Number one, always ask if they have a registry and give something off of that, don’t buy things that you want to give them.
Kate: Especially if you’ve never had kids, if you’ve had kids and you’d like something that worked for your kids, okay. Then you get a free pass. Um, and then I think the other thing for, you know,
Kate: friends is like, instead of saying, how are you, you know, how are you doing?
Kate: Or things like that, just say, Hey. You know, I know you were really busy. Just wanted to say, I love you thinking of you hugs. Right? So, cause I [00:58:00] remember Susan, you were saying like, you, you like the text started feeling like homework, right. Or like things that you needed to respond to. And so I think something like that, just something affirming and saying, Hey, I hear you.
Kate: Don’t worry about getting back to me. Love you, you know,
Kate: like that, I think would just really heartened and cheer up a new parent.
Susan: Yeah. I remember if I got someone who texted me at the right time, I would just be like, it’s really bad right now. And then she’d be like, let the tears flow girl.
Susan: And that was like the best message I ever got. It was the best message. Cause then I, I cried a lot, you know, sometimes, and it just, it’s so unclear when vulnerability is okay. Or like as a mom, you don’t want to unload on somebody else. So it’s like trying to. That find that equilibrium of when someone’s ready to listen and you’re ready to share.
Susan: It’s very hard in the early days, but just affirming them and telling them that you care about them is great. And I remember, you know, I am [00:59:00] all about that meal train. Um, and when we got meals, it was for variety. Cause my husband, my husband, he can eat the same meal, like five days in a row.
Kate: Oh my God, my husband’s the same thing.
Kate: My dad literally had the same lunch every day
Susan: and like, Oh my God, what is it just noodles
Kate: with? Um, he had actually added ketchup to his Chinese noodles. How weird is that? Anyway? So it noodles with some tiny seasonings and catch up literally every day for like eight
Susan: years. I don’t know. It’s like, if I could do that, that could be cool.
Susan: It’s like, it’s like modern day Soylent, you know, you don’t have to think too much about it, but at the same time, I’m just kind of like, Marvin would make me like the other day, ladies, I made him a sandwich yesterday with chips. Guess what? He [01:00:00] made me for lunch today, sandwich with chips. And not only the same exact sandwich, we have different variety.
Susan: He made me a suit. Exactly one. And he put the same goddamn pickle next to it. And he’s like, look what I made you. And I’m like, Aw, positive shabu, shabu, shabu. Thank you so much. But I was like, You could’ve chosen from anything else. And he just was so proud of him. So anyway, yes. Thank you. Thank you for making lunch.
Susan: Yeah. Well, anyways, with Neil trains, it was variety. Right. And I would pack out, we’d get the food, we’d eat it. And then like, I would just like pack them into like small containers that were just one serving microwaveable. And then, you know, I’d, I’d wake up. I, I, before I started pumping, I just put in the microwave, I had all these heat packs.
Susan: I was microwaving. I’d pull that out. And then when I was pumping, I was [01:01:00] eating that one serving at the same time, you know? So like people dropping off meal train food is so great to add variety. I know, like with the pandemic, it added complications, but like, it was so helpful. To think about one less thing, because you do need a lot of food to produce milk slash you just need a lot of food.
Susan: Like your body has just been through the most traumatic thing in a, in a woman’s life. You need nourishment to heal, you know? So like I’m all about that meal train so hard. And, um, I wish I could have advocated for myself better, you know, like with the doula or like the confession period, I was interested in all those things, but I always cheapen out, honestly, you know, where I was like, Oh, we can save that money.
Susan: Or like, diapers are gonna cost so much. Like they’re going to need so many, you know? And, I think like as much as if you can pay for [01:02:00] those things, it is an investment to the healing path or like, have people come help. Um, if it’s possible because, uh, It’s really hard to do it alone, um, with the strain on the relationship.
Susan: And then you’re trying to care for the baby and your own mental health. Like it’s just too much. And like as a friend, as much as you can, provide more opportunities for them to speed up their healing to be nourished and cared for.
Jeanette: Yeah. Yeah. , I think providing care without adding anything that they have to do essentially, if we’re not in COVID times and you’re able to visit then be super flexible.
Jeanette: I know that the visit may be kind of short. Um, and don’t expect that you’re gonna , be served anything like tea or whatever, right. You’re just there to see them and support them. And it’s when, you know, it’s feels like they’re busy or time to leave. Like you leave and you also need to be [01:03:00] understanding that like this phase in their life now they might not be able to have long uninterrupted conversations.
Jeanette: It’s just different. So I think being more sensitive to those things are always helpful. And I agree, if you can being a little bit on the more generous side with support, especially in the first one or two months after birth is good.
Jeanette: Um, can I just say like one last thing that I want to include in this episode, , which is that. Um, I I’ve done other things like much earlier in my life.
Jeanette: Like even starting from college about just thinking about being a mom and working and all of that. And I think a lot of women have this, um, obsession slash fascination slash anxiety, even from a fairly young age of like how this is all supposed to work. And I felt like whenever I put on these events or something in the past, like some [01:04:00] older, like often very kind of conventionally professionally successful women would say to me like, Oh, that thing was kind of negative, you know, or it just like kind of focus too much on the negative things.
Jeanette: And I don’t know, I would be interested to hear what you guys responses to that, because I actually feel like that worry, like now being a mom of two. Like, I actually feel like those worries are totally legitimate. Um, and I think that a lot of women sense that this is a sea change in their life.
Jeanette: That’s going to be challenging to handle, and they are worried about how they’re going to do it. And they want to find out more information about how others might have done it or what, what the, what exactly the challenges are. Right. And so I feel like it’s kind of taboo honestly, to talk about these things. Which is why I think a lot of young women are from a young age, really nervous about it.
Jeanette: And so, I don’t know. I dunno, what your guys’ thoughts are.
Susan: Are you trying to say that [01:05:00] we should focus more on the positive things or that when we focus on the negative things, is that okay?
Jeanette: Yeah, I think more like the ladder. I just saw this Facebook post from a friend. She just had twins and she just referred to like, you know, I went to my first talk about being a working professional mom, like when I was in college and I was like 19 or 20, you know, and now I have twins, but nothing can prepare you really for being a mom.
Jeanette: Right. And, it just like made me think like, yeah, like I, I think that you were worried because you could sense that this is a really hard thing. Right. And you were trying to prepare yourself and there’s just not enough, really resources to prepare you. Maybe there’s nothing that could ever really completely prepare you.
Jeanette: But I think we don’t even do the things that we can.
Susan: Yeah, I definitely
Kate: agree with that. And then there’s also the fact that, you know, one of the things I have become increasingly angry about as I’ve become a mom is how little [01:06:00] institutional and societal support there is in the United States, specifically for women around childcare and I think part of the reason why young women are like afraid, not afraid, but maybe they view, you know, uh, becoming a mother with like some skepticism, like you, your life is over, you know, all those like dramatic things that I mentioned at the beginning.
Kate: I think part of that is because, they don’t know how they can balance things, but the other thing is like, why do we have to do all these things? Right? If can we look at some other countries where women are actually much more supported, both on like, uh, you know, social and then also institutional, systems level.
Kate: And I think in the U S you’re just, we were basically like thrown to the dogs. Like, you know, if you work for a great company that has great benefits and like, you know, you can have money to like, go hire lots of people to help take care of your kid and all this other stuff. Okay. It makes your life a little easier, but that’s not most people.
Kate: Right. And so, and I think like, I don’t know, I just, I, I think there’s a real lack of responsibility in our country [01:07:00] to supporting women who, who want to have careers and are moms and want to have kids. Right. It’s like, why should you be forced to choose? Or why should you also be forced to be like a hundred percent in the best debt?
Kate: Both. Whereas men are only expected to really just be good at one thing,
Susan: Yeah. I mean, I think the solution’s always like, look at Europe or Ooh, the end of the nuclear family, like let’s rely on our extended families, you know? And, and I think COVID has really made that issue even more apparent of like, how should your family be composed for you to be fully supported and everything, but yeah, no, I totally agree with you.
Susan: It’s just like, why wouldn’t that be so interesting in our lifetime, if we could really provide for women, like instead of like being in a certain, certain tech companies or like working at the Gates foundation, you know, like why does it have to be like, those are the options or you’re going to have to really weigh [01:08:00] out, you know, should I be working right now or should I just stay home and take care of the kids because care is just so expensive, you know?
Susan: Like why do we have to keep making these trade-offs? And I hope in our lifetime, like. Women in America don’t have to do that anymore.
Jeanette: Yeah. So I think that’s slated for a feature episode, um, which I’m really actually excited about because I think it just gets to a lot of interesting questions, including, like why have children, right?
Jeanette: If women choose to have children who’s responsible, like who benefits? Is it primarily the mom or is it like society because we’re providing for humanity to go on, you know? So it’s just, I think it brings up a lot of interesting questions that, um, I’d love to discuss.