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Episode 116: Reimagining Postpartum as a Transformation

, , July 19, 2023

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Jacqueline Kincer  0:03  

Welcome back to the Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today’s guest is Ariellele Martone, who is a doctor of physical therapy, a neuro clinical specialist yoga teacher and certified pre and postnatal coach turned mama coach. After overcoming postpartum depression and pelvic pain. During her own postpartum journey, which she’ll be sharing with us today, she realized the importance of addressing both the physical and emotional healing that needs to happen to feel whole again, which is definitely our mission over here at holistic lactation. 


As a side note, a lot of people think holistic means natural. That’s not how we use the term, we really use it as looking at the whole person, their environment, their circumstances, their history, society, all of those things to really create an integrated experience of breastfeeding that works for them. And Arielle is looking at postpartum the same way. So she ended up creating the postpartum revolution, which is a program to help new moms reconnect to their mind, body and soul. So they can feel amazing in their body and confident in who they are becoming so they can stop second-guessing themselves. I love that because, you know, as we’re going to talk about, really, in the beginning of the episode, what we spend a fair amount of time discussing is really just kind of the expectations or lack of information that pretty much presents to us all, through pregnancy and early motherhood. And so many of us are just finding out the hard way about what things are really like. 


And then the second half of our conversation is really about healing and recovery from transition to motherhood from birth of the postpartum period. And what that really means. And I love her perspective, because she does have that history of being a physical therapist of doing clinical practice. And so really seeing, obviously, the physical elements of that, but also the mental and emotional ones. She’s got so many relevant things that have occurred in her own journeys as a mom, that I’m so excited that she’s sharing with us because her vulnerability is really helpful for so many people in terms of just really getting to know ourselves better, and to not feel alone. But then what I really love is the way that our conversation goes into some things that really just I think we can move beyond validating things, right? It’s easy to say, oh, motherhood is hard. And you know, having a baby is gonna be difficult, and breastfeeding might be challenging and all of those things, but then what do we do with that information. 


So I hope that you stay till the end of our conversation. I just love what Arielle has to say. She’s just great. And I’m so grateful that she came on the podcast. And so I really hope that you enjoy our interview with her. And I hope that you grab a glass of water. This is your little reminder stay hydrated, folks. It’s summertime. So well, at least in the northern hemisphere. I know I do have a lot of Australian listeners. So for you still drink water, though, doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, especially if you’re lactating, you’re pregnant. And you put on your earbuds, your pods, whatever you listen to Beats headphones, maybe you’ve just got it on a speaker playing in your house or your car and tuned into this interview with Arielle Martone. Welcome to the show. Arielle, I’m thrilled to talk to you today because you have so much personal and professional experience in the areas of you know, just post postnatal health, postpartum wellness in general. And, you know, I would just love for you to start off by telling our listeners a bit more about yourself. And if you want to just you know, start diving into your own breastfeeding journey.


Ariellele Martone  4:26  

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me. So I am a physical therapist, yoga teacher, pre and postnatal coach and postpartum wellness coach. And I mentioned to you before that I kind of transitioned into postpartum Wellness Coach fully after having my daughter my second. And it wasn’t initially the plan it kind of just happened because I was seeing a lot of holes that were missing in postpartum care with my daughter, I ended up having postpartum depression and I also had a lot of pelvic pain as well. And it was You know, knowing what I know, and knowing that it’s a healing process, and that we actually need to allow our bodies and our minds to heal. It isn’t always easy to find the care and the support that you need. And I found it that a lot of the information that I was finding was, was not really helpful to me, especially, you know, when we look at health and wellness, on a whole, I think we don’t always do a great job of really blending mind and body together and looking at it as one and looking at it in a proactive as opposed to a reactive standpoint. 


And I think in postpartum, we need to, we need to be proactive, as opposed to reactive, and we need to really consider the mental emotional well being and the physical well being of the mother and that whole process and how it interacts. And a lot of what I was finding to was just advice that wasn’t helpful to me and postpartum because I feel like it’s a very specific time. So you know, you hear about waking up an hour before the kids or being part of the 5am club to do your your self care. And in early motherhood, that’s just a no, you need to rest when you’re able to rest. And there’s a lot of advice out there that just, it wasn’t fitting where I needed it to fit in. So I kind of re shifted from my practice of, you know, clinical work as a physical therapist, and I was also kind of transitioning a little bit anyway, I knew that I wanted to be with my kids at home more during their really early years. So after my son, I did an extended maternity leaves. So I didn’t go back to work until nine months postpartum. And at that point I went was doing pretty good work. So it was one day a week, it was great. It was honestly the best of both worlds. And I loved it. And that was my plan was to have my daughter and do the same another like nine months to a year and then go back to doing one time a week. But again, after having a more challenging postpartum period, with her, I kind of refocused and, and decided to really provide the care that I needed. So that’s kind of what got me into doing what I’m doing now. And then as my journey into motherhood itself, was a bit of a winding road and a bit of a struggle. I did IVF for both my babies, and it took four years for me to get pregnant with my son. And then after having him there was, you know, that thought I knew I wanted to have more kids, we talked about not having an only child, if we were, you know, if we were able to because with infertility, you never know if you’re gonna get lucky enough again. So we really tried, or at least in my head, I was thinking like, Okay, well, we need to start again as soon as possible. And I think that brought with it, it’s its own level of stress. 


Because I don’t know, if I didn’t have that kind of underlying infertility diagnosis in the background, I don’t know if I would have started trying, again, as soon as I did. You know, hindsight, I think the timing worked out great. And the kids are two and a half years apart. And it’s, you know, it’s a really a nice age gap. But I wasn’t necessarily fully ready for it. And that can kind of all kind of segue me into my breastfeeding journey a little bit as well. So at you know, my my road to motherhood was not as I’d planned IVF and then ended up having to have a C section with my son, which was, again, not what I had intended. I planned on having a natural birth, I wanted it to be unmedicated, I was planning to go into a hospital, but I wanted it to be unmedicated. And I ended up needing to be induced at 41 weeks because my fluid was very low. So he wasn’t able to stay in anymore. 


And after being induced, and several hours later, it was about 10 or 12 hours later that I caved and I asked for the epidural and which is fine. And now that I you know, I had it and it was fine. For me personally, again, my background as a physical therapist, and so much work in rehab. I was scared of having an epidural. To be honest, the you know, the labor pains didn’t scare me. It was that like that? What if that very rare chance of having a poor reaction to the epidural, which I’ve seen, again in rehab, and I know that my logical mind is saying when you’re in rehab, you see the worst of the worst like this is not everyday this isn’t common practice. But in any case, it wasn’t what I had planned at all.


Jacqueline Kincer  9:58  

And maybe We could just kind of like segue really quick. Yeah, some of those things that you did see that were effects from epidurals.


Ariellele Martone  10:06  

Oh, sure. I don’t want to scare.


Jacqueline Kincer  10:10  

Oh, but just like if someone is listening and you know, to be informed, right, or if they’ve already had the baby, and they’re like, oh, yeah, maybe that’s a good reason for me to get checked out, you know?


Ariellele Martone  10:22  

Yeah. So you can have, you know, you can get an epidural abscess, if, you know, depending on how the needle goes in, and if there’s any type of infection there. And that can lead to either more of a systemic infection, or it can lead to nerve damage, because it is going and through by your spine, so I’ve seen several paralysis cases because of an epidural conflict.


Jacqueline Kincer  10:49  

Right. Okay. Got it. Yeah. And it’s not common. Oh, no, it’s not.


Ariellele Martone  10:54  

And I don’t have the statistics for what it is. And again, you know, being in major cities in very good rehab hospitals. For years, it was a handful that I that I saw. And, you know, I know that it’s, it’s definitely not the norm. So in my mind was fine. But you know, I ended up having one with my son and my daughter, and they both, they both went very smoothly. And to that point, you can move around with an epidural. So I know a lot of people don’t want one because they’re hesitant that they’re going to have to, you know, be on your back in bed the whole time during the labor process. And that’s not true. Especially if you have a good body awareness. You’re, you know, you’re you’re numb but you there still some feeling there, you can tell when you’re, you know, you’re you have your proprioception is still fairly intact. And so you can tell when you’re on hands and knees and with my daughter, I was able to move a lot, I was squatting, I was all in the bed, of course, they I wasn’t able to walk the halls at that point anymore, but I was in every other position. So you can move with that you just have to have those conversations with your physician or healthcare provider beforehand and let them know, you know, what you want what you expect. But yeah, with my son, so after, after the epidural hours of labor hours of pushing, I ended up having to have a C section. 


And so my breastfeeding journey, I didn’t get that hour of skin to skin that I was so looking forward to. And because I was awake for it, but then afterwards, I was losing a lot of blood. And they didn’t need to put me under at that point. So I had that slower recovery of coming out of it. So my son, he did skin to skin with his father. And, you know, he got what he needed, and he was well taken care of. But for me, I missed out on it. And to this day, I don’t know if that was kind of the catalyst to the troubles that we were having. I think to a certain extent, there was a few things at play, you know, when I was a brand new mother, so I didn’t know what I was doing. Breastfeeding isn’t always a natural thing, even though you know, it doesn’t come easy, just because it’s a natural thing, I guess I should say it’s a learned skill. And if you haven’t really seen it or witnessed it or practiced it, you know, it’s it’s, there’s going to be a learning curve. So I think that was part of it. I was extremely swollen from the IVs. And then just from my milk coming in as well. So my breasts were like basketball. So I don’t even think that if we had that hour of skin to skin right away, if you would have been able to latch initially anyway, just because of you know the consistency that my breasts had at that time. But yeah, and then missing out on the skins, the skins. 


So there was a whole bunch of things at play. And we struggled a lot. I was lucky in the sense that I didn’t have an issue with my supply right away. I had a lot of colostrum. And my hospital that I was in was wonderful, really supportive. They’re a Baby Friendly Hospital. So they encouraged breastfeeding a lot. So they set me up with a pump and I was able to pump often and then we kind of syringe fed him for a while, like a little baby bird as we continue to work on latching. But it was a struggle. We did nipple shields for about three months. I went through several lactation consultants. But the thing was I you know, I was persistent with it. And we were able to eventually latch and had a great breastfeeding journey up until 15 months, which is what I had to wean because I was getting ready to do another cycle of IVF and you go you, you hear different things on whether or not you can breastfeed while going through IVF or not. My doctor suggested that I didn’t, because I guess from their recommendation, it could potentially lower your chances. And when it’s a huge expense, and there’s a lot at stake for me, it just, you know, personally, it just wasn’t worth it. He was already 15 months at that point. 


And so, you know, we did kind of a slow, gradual weaning from just after a year, kind of slowly dropped the daytime feeds and then 15 months was when we stopped the nighttime feeds. So yeah, so it was it was definitely a struggle with my son, and then with my daughter, fortunately, our breastfeeding journey took off right away, and where we’re now having the opposite problem, which is 21 months, and we are like just starting that slow wean. And that is a struggle. But I ended up having a lot of other complications postpartum with postpartum depression. And it was funny because I had, I had my VBAC that I wanted, I was able to breastfeed right away. So I was like, what, what’s wrong? What happened? So?


Jacqueline Kincer  16:07  

Oh, yeah. Wow, you have you have been through so much. And yeah, I think everything you’re saying is completely valid, not just because it’s your experience. But yeah, like, even the IVF thing. Yeah, generally, you’re going to not want to be lactating anymore. If you’re gonna go through that. It can definitely lower your chances. And like you said, it’s a pricing process. So yeah, want to do anything to make that not not work correctly?


Ariellele Martone  16:34  

Absolutely. I mean, and time pricey as well, because to go through another round of I mean, luckily, we still had embryos, but you know, if, if we didn’t to go through another round of egg retrieval, and that whole process again, it’s just, it’s a lot. So. But yeah, there’s


Jacqueline Kincer  16:51  

a lot. Yeah. Physically, emotionally, mentally, which I love that you, you know, talked about right from the beginning, because that mental emotional well being is the piece that I feel like is always an afterthought, you know, I mean, I haven’t obviously attended a birth class in quite some time. But I’m assuming the curriculum has not changed a lot. Because every time I work with a breastfeeding mom, it’s, you know, the same story, right? I mean, unless she’s gone and sought out something, you know, other than the big, you know, Bradley method, le mas, hospital class, that kind of stuff. 


So, yeah, yeah, just, you know, from my experience, when I took a birth class, and it seems like, you know, from so many others, that it’s focused on, you know, these sort of like coping strategies, positions, Partner Support, creating your birth plan advocating for yourself, I’m not quite sure where you know why we can’t include anything about the mental emotional well being of even during the labor process, like, it’s going to be an absolute mind F for you, once you hit transition, and especially if you’re going on medicated, and I don’t think people are really well prepared for that. And that can create a lot of fear for people when they’re not ready, right? But there’s just so much going on inside you when you’re in that moment, let alone once the baby’s here and after that, and, gosh, you know, even if you take a breastfeeding class, right, it’s, it’s like you’re not really prepared for this crazy experience of what it means to be postpartum. And there’s not really things from other times in our life that we can necessarily apply to that timeframe, either. 


So yeah, I, for you, you’ve gone through, you know, two sort of very different journeys, right. I’m curious if there’s more that you’ve come to understand, especially with, you know, now your daughter is a toddler and your son’s older about postpartum depression and how that came to be for you. Because I think like you’re saying a lot of sometimes, you know, I see people who are kind of in denial, or they’re kind of going, Oh, well, why me? But everything was how I wanted why me? And it sounds like maybe you questioned about yourself.


Ariellele Martone  19:06  

Oh, absolutely. And to your point, yeah, why? Why don’t we prepare for postpartum, the way that we pair prepare for the birth? You know, we, we don’t talk about it much at all, you know, even beforehand with your doctor visits, you will talk about you know, okay, at six weeks, you’re gonna come in for your follow up. And then that’s basically it, but there’s really no preparing for it. I might my physician did give me you know, the signs and symptoms, you know what to look out for, for postpartum depression beforehand, and then you go over it again at your six week checkup. But again, there’s really, there’s really nothing else. And I think it’s a really big disservice, especially when we consider that you know, so the American College of, of gynecology, they actually recommend 12 weeks of postpartum care. or yet, who gets that 12 weeks of postpartum care, because I don’t know anyone who does, you know, we have that six week follow up. 


And that’s again, that’s usually it. If you know, sometimes you’re able to get a visit in sooner if you’re having some type of complication. But you need to know to ask for it. For me, I was having some complications with already having some pelvic pain. And so I, you know, requested a visit early on, and I think it was at four weeks postpartum at that point. So I had an earlier follow up and then again, had at that point that it ended up being an eight week follow up, because they did push it back a little bit. But that’s basically it. And, you know, to, to your point of everything went right, that time, what happened to this day, I don’t know if I still know fully what happened, I think. I think there’s a few factors at play, I think one is that with my son, even though I didn’t have postpartum depression, or at least it wasn’t diagnosed, and I think that there’s, you know, there’s something to it, because I that first three months, those first few months, when I was really struggling with breastfeeding, I was very, very mean to myself, and my inner critic was very harsh. 


It was a lot of, you know, how, you know, why aren’t you able to do this, you know, your body’s failing you again, because of, you know, the IVF, the C section, and now not being able to breastfeed, so I just, I just beat myself up a lot. And those first three months, and it wasn’t until our breastfeeding journey really took off that I started to feel better, but I never really dealt with that underlying harsh critic, and that, you know, the, the thoughts that were going through my head. And so I think, you know, two things with that, I think we, you know, this is why I think we need to be proactive, as opposed to reactive is because a lot of that I was kind of normalizing as well, this is just mom life now. And mom life is hard. And, you know, in my head, all of those statements were true, like your body, it did fail you with having to do IVF. And your body did failure with having to have a C section, even though it didn’t fail me because I had a beautiful, healthy son. And I was producing milk, and you know, and we were able to get it together. But I think you know, with that, it, I think it kind of normalized the negative talk in my head. And I didn’t normalize the fact that breastfeeding is a challenge at first. And I think I really needed to shift the two. Because, you know, it is a learned skill, it takes practice. And there’s, there’s no shame in that. And I feel that oftentimes, if we’re struggling early on with breastfeeding, we’re very quick as a society to just say, Okay, time to move on. And I think that that can be a disservice, especially if it’s a really strong desire and a strong, strong goal, that the mother has to just be like, Okay, well, that’s not working, let’s just, you know, there are other options, there are other things to do. And we almost brush it off, in a way to protect the mother’s mental health and to protect the mother’s well being. And I, I think that that’s a huge disservice. Now, I know that some people really are not going to be able to breastfeed, but I think that that’s a very small minority, that it’s not the, you know, the most, you know, the majority of cases, and I’m sure you can probably speak more to that,


Jacqueline Kincer  23:36  

ya know, I, I think what you’re saying is really important, that, I mean, I work with people who, you know, want to breastfeed, right? And, and many of them are, okay, if if they’re, you know, if they try everything, and it still doesn’t work out, you know, they’ve gotten some peace with it, they’re still maybe sad. But there’s a lot of moms who, you know, I don’t even think really even express it to me a lot of the time or someone like myself, right have that, it is something that they really want to do, and they don’t want to just simply hear that it’s okay, if you can’t breastfeed, like for them, they’re going Yep, without invalidates my feelings, because it’s not okay. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I dreamed of. That’s what I’d hoped for. That’s what I’ve been working so hard at doing. And I don’t want to just be, you know, they’re not looking for permission to not feel shame. Like they’re looking to feel understood and heard in support. And those can be really hard. And, yeah, I think, you know, that attitude of, you know, just well, it’s fine. You know, it’s it’s just one milk versus the other. Well, to that moments, maybe not. Yeah, you know, and I think it’s really, really important.


Ariellele Martone  24:46  

Yeah, and I think when we do that, too, you know, not only are you kind of invalidating what the mother really wants, but then we’re, we’re not getting to the bottom of what’s actually going on and I’m not talking about you know, The lactation piece and and the logistics of getting the baby to latch and talking about what’s going on within the mother herself. You know, what emotionally, emotionally is she going through, because we were always just looking for that quick fix. And we think like, Okay, well just using formula instead or using donor milk instead and just bottle feeding is going to be the way to go for you. And so now you shouldn’t have any of this emotional turmoil or struggles that you’re dealing with, it’s just going to be like, fixed and solved. And that’s not really the case, I think we always have to kind of get to the bottom of it and see what’s going on inside. Even if you know, in the case of like postpartum depression and stuff, it’s not enough to check off the boxes on your checklist and have your provider provide you with, you know, an antidepressant or an anti anxiety medicine, and then not give you any follow up care in that regard. Like, to me, I don’t think you should be getting any type of prescription without ongoing care. That’s, you know, and that’s just my opinion, and I know that that’s not always the case. Yeah,


Jacqueline Kincer  26:04  

I, I see that a lot. And, and I think that there can be an urgent need for someone to get a prescription, but then, you know, making sure that you know, the continuing of that is met with something that’s really going to solve things. Because, you know, I don’t know how to, I feel like what you’re saying is, is what I’m going to say, which is that becoming a mother, being postpartum can really be this lens through which everything that was going on beforehand is magnified. Right. So like, like you’re saying, like, the issue is, you know, breastfeeding is really important to this mom, but it’s not working out the way she had anticipated. And she’s in this boat of, you know, maybe this is yourself, right? My body filled me. So I had to have IVF, my body filled me once again, because I had a C section. Now all I want is for my body to not feel me and be able to breastfeed this kid. But then it’s like, well, what’s underlying all of that, though? Why do you feel like unless you meet the certain standard, you set for yourself that you’re a failure failure? Where does that come from? You know, do we go all the way back to an issue from childhood with one of your parents, or both? Or, like, there’s something there, right, that’s always been there, but now it’s coming out. And you know, we just chalk all these things up to well, your pores postpartum, or there’s hormones or, you know, of course, you would feel that way. And, you know, sometimes we’re validating to the point of not even solving things, either. And all of this is like, what will Whoa, you know, so I see postpartum depression and anxiety very often when there’s a very unhealthy relationship. But that did not become apparent, or was sort of overlooked by one or both parties of that relationship. And now, the baby’s here, and things are not as they were, and there’s not good communication, there’s not good harmony between the partners, there’s not good support. And, you know, unfortunately, that manifests in that way, too. So there’s so many reasons why, and I feel like yeah, we’ve got to look at these, you know, and, and it’s, you know, in a perfect world, right, we’d all just like get therapy, and it wouldn’t cost us anything, and we’d be like pretty mentally and emotionally resilient humans, and then we would become parents. Right?


Ariellele Martone  28:20  

Right. But it doesn’t happen like that. And I think, you know, to your point, it’s because postpartum does kind of crack you open, and it’s this, it is this big magnifying glass on, you know, on your emotional wellness and well being and, you know, so I guess to a point, it is a little bit more reactive than proactive, which is why you kind of need to start as soon as possible postpartum before you really wait for it to snowball into more of an issue. Yeah, but you know, and I, you know, I think that’s physically and mentally that it just kind of cracks you open and that’s why you need to really allow for your body to heal and allow for your mind and your emotional state to heal. And, and yeah, to your point, not just normalize everything so much and yes, you want to feel you don’t want to feel alone in it, because you already feel so isolated, postpartum. And you’re not alone. But just because something is common doesn’t mean that it’s normal. And just because something is normal, doesn’t mean that it’s okay. And, you know, we hear all the time that it’s okay to not be okay. And yes, absolutely. Like everybody’s going to have those down days. You know, the days where things aren’t okay, and sure that’s okay, but it’s not okay to be stuck there. And it’s not okay to just, you know, resign yourself to oh, well, no, this is my life now. This is mom life. Everybody says it’s so hard and it you know, it is I like to kind of reframe it and say it’s challenging because I feel like to me it sounds better a challenge I could come up and I can meet it and I can you know, address it when something’s hard. It’s just kind of weighing on you. But yeah, there you know, there’s so many reasons for for postpartum depression and you know why with my daughter Again, when everything went really like I had a much quicker labor with her, I was able to have you know, that that vaginal birth, were able to do you know that skin to skin lab straightaway.


But I think, you know, again, like I said there was a few factors, I think the fact that I never really resolved what was being brought up with my son during that postpartum time period, because I kind of just, I did just normalize it, you know, and I was like, Okay, well, now, now the issue is resolved. And you know, even though even though it kept kind of creeping up as he came, went into toddlerhood, it creeped up a little bit more with the tantrums is another time where you’re really like, oh, this, this is what’s going on in me. Because whenever you’re triggered, you’re really made aware of, of how you’re feeling and what just what’s coming up for you. But I think because I never dealt with it after him. And there was also, you know, we were planning a move that year after she was born. And so we were starting to talk about it. And so like that was a big change. There’s just a bunch of other different things at play that probably affected it as well. Generally, if you are doing IVF, you are at a higher risk of having postpartum depression. You know why? I’m not exactly sure. Is it the fact that you’re doing all these hormone fluctuations prior to and then after? Or is it the fact that you’re struggling with, you know, the thoughts of, you know, was I supposed to be a mom, that didn’t happen naturally to me, like all of that, so it brings up a lot. So yeah, I think there was, there was a lot there. And you also feel like, well, no, at least I felt like, I should be so grateful, because not only did I have one baby through IVF. But I had to, and I was grateful, but it didn’t negate all the all the other failures that I was feeling and you know, all of all of the way of doubting myself, and and then that kind of leads to some shame, because you feel like, well, I should just be grateful and happy all the time. But I’m not. So it kind of snowballs on it. So


Jacqueline Kincer  32:14  

yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, what you’re explaining is, is, you know, at some point, you know, various circumstances, what a lot of moms go through in terms of like, different thoughts, cycles on things and feelings. And, you know, I think it’s so important to, you know, really put our healing in whatever various ways we have to heal as something that’s at the top of our list. Right. But then I think there’s this idea of like that, you know, that’s something that can happen rather quickly. Even with the body, we know that it’s not, and, you know, yeah, I’ll just, you know, take some medication, and I’ll go to therapy for this many weeks. And then like, I should be good, right? Well, you know, I mean, maybe not, and that’s okay. And so I’d love for you to talk about, just, you know, what kind of time do we really mean to heal and rebuild postpartum because, you know, it’s there’s this, you know, sort of getting your body back thing, which still persists, you know, thankfully, that’s become a lot less, right. But then it’s even this bouncing back in terms of like energy levels, or in the US where we don’t have maternity leave, that’s just something that’s provided, you know, certain employers, you can have it, and that’s great. But it’s not like something that’s guaranteed to all of us. And so, you know, that kind of, you know, we’re transitioning moms so quickly back into the workplace and away from their babies, and they’re not healed. And so yeah, I think there’s just like a lot there. And I’d love to hear your perspective on what that really looks like.


Ariellele Martone  33:49  

Yeah, thank you for bringing that up. Because I I 100% agree that our bounce back culture one needs to go but it’s it’s not just physical, it’s pervasive into every aspect of our life, from from your right from being able to get back to work as quickly as possible. And part of that being the lack of maternity care and maternity leave, but then I feel like the other part is, culturally we are, you know, we’re proud of the careers that we’ve created. And we tend to start to identify ourselves with that career. So if we’re taking extra time off, like if we’re fortunate enough to have the maternity leave or or haven’t more of an extended period of maternity leave, there can then be that struggle with re identifying yourself outside of that role. And you don’t want to, you know, it all kind of comes back to really trusting your instincts, trusting yourself and being really clear on your values to be able to make the right decisions for you and your family, but you’re not going to be able to get there if you’re just rushing right into it. And I feel like what happens is we end up fixating on, I don’t want to say all the wrong things, because to a certain extent, they are important things as well. But the feeding, getting the feeding down right away, getting the sleeping down right away getting baby on some type of schedule right away, because we’re doing all of this in preparation of getting ourselves back to work. And with my son, you know, initially I didn’t know exactly, I knew I wasn’t going to do full time, but I didn’t have like a per diem job lined up right away. And I my initial plan, and what I thought would work out in my head anyway, was doing more of a part time on a schedule, but either two or three days a week as opposed to a full five day a week schedule. So I think that was one of the reasons why. Another reason why I guess I should say that the breastfeeding challenge was really weighing heavily on me, because I didn’t want to introduce bottles, or pacifier or anything until I really got the latch down and then go figure, he never, never took a bottle. 


Neither of my kids which honestly, it’s fine. And, and I, you know, I was it worked out exactly how it should, but at nine months, he was drinking out of the 360 Cup the breast milk, so it was it was good. But there’s, you know, there’s so much pressure on getting everything right, so that you can have your baby again, on this perfect schedule where they feed at exactly the right times, and they sleep at exactly the right time so that you feel good, and that you’re able to get back to work. And it’s that’s just not reality. And you know, no, back to our, our body bouncing back to, you know, physically, we do need time to heal, you know, our, our pelvis head was stretched out or muscles are stretched out. And then they get really tense a lot of times there’s a lot of muscle tightness and weakness. But there’s also a lot of pain that goes along with it, whether it’s pelvic pain, which is really common, and you know, pelvic pain is really broad term. So depending on where specifically the pain is, whether it’s in the joints, whether it’s in the ligaments, the muscles, know, the the range is about five to 50% for Women postpartum to have pelvic pain, so it’s it’s a really high percentage. And we’re expected to just kind of gloss over it. And again, we just kind of normalize it. And so when we, again, when we normalize things, we don’t address them, we don’t get to the root cause, we have this idea that we have to get back to looking a certain way. And that plays on our mental emotional health as well. And then we start to do things that are detrimental to our healing, like either rushing into workouts too soon, where you’re not, you haven’t let your body heal and rebuild meal for me, I’m a runner. And it would be great to just, you know, pop back to it and get back out there. It’s my me time, and I do my best thinking when I’m running. But again, that’s not reality. And, you know, fortunately, for me, I knew that I needed to wait the 12 weeks before I got back to running. But that’s not, that’s not common knowledge. 


And so many women don’t know until they try to get out there sooner than they should. And I think everyone knows that, you know, they’re not supposed to do much during their six weeks. But then after that people are kind of given the green light. And so they jump into lifting too heavy right away, or getting back to running or high intensity workouts to try to, you know, drop the baby weight. But again, it’s not reality, in general, yes, some people lose the weight quickly. That’s the minority. That’s not that is not the majority of people. And you have to look at to like, is it just their, you know, inputs, Lucky genetics, or are they you know, at what cost? Are they getting back to their pre baby size that quickly, because in general, it takes really six to 12 months. And you know, it can take a lot longer i For me, I I’ve never found that breastfeeding dropped the weight, I don’t really get back to kind of like looking more myself, you know, kind of the distribution of weight to being more myself until really after I stopped breastfeeding fully. And I find that that’s, you know, it’s not just myself, it’s a lot of women that I work with and I speak to as well find the same thing. So if you are trying to bounce back too soon, again, whether it’s jumping into workouts too quick and then you risk either if you didn’t have pelvic pain before, there’s a really high chance that you have it now. Because you know the numbers that I was mentioning before in runners and postpartum runners, that incidence of pelvic pain is as high as 80% And, to me, that’s a huge red flag that most women who are getting back to running are doing it too soon. And, or before their body is ready. So you know, it should be at least 12 weeks, but then they’re, you know, there’s kind of a checklist that you should be able to go through to let you know, to see that your body is ready. So I have


Jacqueline Kincer  40:19  

a checklist, right? Versus a time a date. Right? And it’s the same as like solid foods, you know, saying, Well, you know, your baby can have solid foods at six months. Okay, well, it’s not like the day that they turned six months, you have to feed them a solid foods, it doesn’t mean that if they are reaching for them, and grabbing for them and trying to put them in their mouth at five weeks and three months that you can’t let them have it. Like, were there signs of readiness, right? Like, just like, there’s signs of readiness for you to return to or start some new regimen? Like, you’re like you’re saying, and, you know, I feel like, this is like a solo episode that I need to do. But there’s so many lessons that I’ve learned from going through the spine surgery that I went through earlier this year. And the spine is fixed, but the muscles aren’t. And like, I think of all the things you’re saying with birth about the pelvis, you know, being expanded and stretched out and what have you, like, I had my surgery in January, I’m gonna be doing physical therapy through December, and then my deductible resets. So we’ll see, but like, but just like the unfortunate pneus of living in the US, like, this is the first time I’ve met my deductible. So super excited, I’m doing all the things, but it’s just so funny. Like, if you have a baby and you’ve met your deductible, like go get all the things like every time you’re sick, go to the doctor, like just go get get the meds saving for a rainy day. I don’t know. That’s not medical advice. I’m just kidding. But like, I your body takes so long, right? Like, there’s these patterns that you’ve had, and you spent nine or 10 months or less if you got a preemie, you know growing this baby inside your body hormones change, you’ve got different hormones during lactation, all these things are going on. And we’re going, Yeah, let’s just act like before the baby? What? No, like, oh, it’s I don’t know, it’s like, what do you really think about it logically, like does not compute?


Ariellele Martone  42:03  

No, it doesn’t. And to your point of, you know, when or how long do we have to do these things. So in case no one told you before, with your back surgery, once your therapy is completed, a lot of times, you’re gonna have to continue at least some of the exercises kind of indefinitely, to really keep the core muscles and the muscles of the back that support the spine to keep them strong, and to keep your keep the segments mobile, that are able to be mobile still, while not making them hyper mobile, because you know, once a spot is fixed, then the other areas tend to move more, which is why you’re going to have to continue with those core exercises. And it’s not any different for postpartum.


Jacqueline Kincer  42:48  

No, the core is so important. Your core has been changed dramatically. And then suddenly the baby came out. And it changed very quickly again, like, yeah, the course so important. I mean, I am learning that the hard way. What it’s not like I It wasn’t my fault anyway. But you know, I’m really learning that lesson of Oh, my goodness, the course so important. And I have to maintain this for life. I would love if we had more postpartum moms look at it that way, as opposed to a certain shape, or size, because that does not indicate your strength, your well being your health, right. And I know people know that. But it’s like, no, your core is so important for not just having a more toned and flatter stomach, and being able to hold things and carry your child as they get older. Right? It’s for your spine, it’s for your pelvis, it’s for everything above and below that, that you really have to take good care of yourself. Because if you don’t, you know, some of these things that we attribute to getting older, right? Like, oh, well, you know, I’ve seen all these memes going around about millennials and back pain. And it’s pretty sad. Like, I don’t think we should be just having, you know, low back pain as we get older. So yeah, anyways, we could go off on a whole tangent, but I’m like, yeah, it’s a lot. You’ve been through a lot. If we emphasized you getting you know, really healing right, doing the things that your body needs to do to function really well. The shape and size come with that, you know, I have I have like really great abs right now, guys, so just, you know, just a testament to that.


Ariellele Martone  44:24  

Absolutely, yeah. So yeah, so many things that I want to say off of that statement is, I guess the to your point. So if you’re focusing just on what your body looks like, and so you’re getting these really toned, firm abs, but then you’re holding them all the time, or you’re flexing in them all the time. I mean, I think we know by now we shouldn’t be sucking in our stomach, right? Like that’s not good. But if we’re flexing all the time, too, like that’s detrimental as well, especially if you’re early postpartum, because you’re going to be putting too much pressure down on your pelvic floor. And you know, which is may or may not be healed at that time. But again, that constant pressure can be detrimental and cause issues. And you’re also not using your diaphragm enough. So you’re not getting that rib, you know, expansion and contraction when you are breathing like you should, which indirectly affects the pelvic floor. But it also can then have an effect on your back pain. And when you’re breastfeeding, or even bottle feeding, when you’re in that forward, kind of holding your baby feeding your baby rounded position, it is really common to get back pain in that area. And so you want to be able to use your diaphragm, you want your ribs to be mobile and not just stuck, because we’re constantly flexing because we think we need to have our stomach look a certain way. 


And yes, you do want to engage your core and have it kind of, you know, in that flexed position, when you’re going to do certain activities, like lifting your baby up, pushing or pulling a heavy load, but not constantly, you know, our body is meant to move. And so we need to move it, you know, generally speaking, and there’s not a lot of hard and fast like, don’t do this position, don’t do that position there used to be. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore. As you know, as we learn more about our body and what our body is doing now, yes, right after surgery, they’re gonna, you’re gonna have certain restrictions on like, what not to do. But for the most part, if your body can move in a certain way, you want to be able to, to keep that up for as long as you can. But yeah, and to your point of really focusing on how your body feels postpartum is so important, because, and again, this is where we really bring in that mind body connection. Because you’re starting to pay attention to what’s going on inside your body, how is it physically feeling? But then also, you know, symptom wise? Are you feeling anxious? Or are you feeling a little bit more, you know, down and depressed, and how can you kind of work through it or move through it and using the breath is a really good way of kind of moving through that. But then it also helps with the physical healing that needs to happen postpartum as well, when we’re really taking full deep breaths when we’re, as we’re inhaling as we’re allowing our diaphragm to really drop down and then our pelvic floor to drop down so that we’re easing some of that tension that happens after after childbirth. You know, there are studies that show that women postpartum who have a lot of pain and discomfort at six weeks postpartum, they’re more likely to have postpartum depression. 


And then women who don’t have pain postpartum. So again, it’s just, you know, not necessarily one causing the other but that it is correlated. And I think, you know, it’s just another example of how connected our body is. And when, you know, when you think of what your body’s feeling in a really anxious state, the position that you’re holding your body in, and then now Now what is that doing for your mobility and your healing? Your you know, where are you tight, are you putting more tension, you know, a lot of times we think of when we’re anxious holding tension in our shoulders, and that is a really common place, but we have, you know, another really common place is our pelvic floor. So if we’re putting a lot of tension there, then we’re just either making ourselves prone to or kind of making symptoms worse of pelvic pain, whether it’s pain with intercourse, whether it’s, you know, SI joint pain, just from everything kind of being a little bit tighter and having tension and you know, it really, it really is all connected. And so often, again, we just kind of normalize it, chalk it up to just just postpartum, like, just gotta deal with it, you’re gonna, you’re gonna leak some you’re and if you’re jumping on the trampoline with your kids, and you’re like, No, no, you don’t need to be doing that. Like that’s not normal. pain with sex isn’t normal, it’s really common after having a baby, but it’s not normal. So, you know, there are things that you can do to fix it. So why not, why not try to try to move through it and move out of it. And to your point, as you really do focus on again, feeling your body and taking care of yourself and not rushing to diet. 


And you know, with that risking depleting milk supply, especially if it’s early on, or rushing into workouts that you’re not able to do at the time, or at least do appropriately. Then, again, you’re building that connection, you’re building trust within yourself, as you start to really understand what’s going on in your body. And you start to take care of yourself better. So yes, ultimately, you’re going to start making those better choices of what you’re eating of moving daily of doing like joyful movement every day as opposed to a rigorous workout necessarily until you’re ready to do that. If that’s really enjoyable for you, you know, but doing some type of movement every day as you feel good in your body, both physically and mentally. You’re going to want to Do those things more. And it’s going to just become a natural part of your day when you allow it as opposed to just like beating yourself up trying to kind of push through it, push through it, and then it you know, it just it just doesn’t go anywhere. Good.


Jacqueline Kincer  50:14  

From there. Yes. Oh, my goodness, all the things. And I think there’s something that we like, keep missing when it comes to this conversation about everything that you’re saying. And the larger really kind of issues surrounding women and society and women in health care and the status of US versus the male gender, because there’s still a huge amount of disparities. And even though I feel like we’re, there’s messaging out there on social media and otherwise about, you know, it’s okay to ask for help you deserve this. You know, and that is becoming like, really common now. I think that there’s still this issue that women have internally about asking too much, or asking for too much. So like, what I mean by that, is that, you know, they’re saying, Okay, well, so I have to, you know, take this time, away from my normal daily responsibilities to recover from the birth to care for the baby to get breastfeeding off to a good start. And, and I will slowly, you know, get back into certain things. But then, like, they’ve, they feel like, they’ve already asked for so many concessions in terms of life, right? Like, it could be from their partner could be, you know, somebody else family wise, work wise. Just, you know, in general, like, Okay, well, I have to put that off, I’m not going to do that at the same capacity, or I’m not going to do that at all anymore. And you know, they’re already, quote, unquote, asking for these things that are seen, I feel like they’re framed is like extras, like it’s just this Oh, temporary, like special time. But then one day, you’re gonna go back to like, not doing that anymore, and we’re not going to treat you special anymore. And I think that’s like messaging that comes from society, but it’s internalized. 


And I just, I see it, like where it’s, like, postmenopausal women are the ones who are going, No, I can ask for whatever I want. It’s never too much. In fact, I’ve held back on asking for things all of these years. And now that I’m 60, I’m done with that nonsense. But we’re not doing that at the younger ages yet, right? Like where, you know, you will never have the same body again. And that does not have to be a bad thing. And you will probably never be the same person again. Again, not a bad thing, right? Like, is the goal to get back to some old version of you? Or is the goal to become this amazing new version of you? And I think if we start looking at it that way, and going, Yeah, I always wanted to be a mom, right? Like you went through IVF. This was like a dream of yours. You wanted to have children, you work so hard to make that happen. There are so many moms out there, they they can’t think of having a life without children in it. Right? They have these children. Your goal isn’t to have the children, right? Isn’t your goal, also to be the mother. And being a mother means a different version of you. So I don’t know everything you’re saying it made me think of that is I just feel like, you know, this idea of like, Oh, I’ve already asked for this, so I can’t ask for more. That’s nonsense. That is absolutely nonsense. Yeah.


Ariellele Martone  53:18  

One, you’re probably not asking for too much. So whether you think that you are Yeah, probably not. Chances are you’re you’re not asking for, let’s say


Jacqueline Kincer  53:26  

that, you know, they’re like, oh, sorry to ask you another question. What? You’re literally paying me to ask me questions. But like, that’s what I’m here for the the apology for everything. I know that. I mean, not everybody does this, right. But it’s just, it’s still so pervasive. I would just love to see that stop, because I think I think that’s something we could heal, right? Like, if we just go you know what, yeah, being a mom means being a totally different version of myself. And it means me growing and transitioning, and all of these things and like, yeah, things are gonna be different from here on out. Okay. Yeah. Like, we can work with that.


Ariellele Martone  54:00  

Yeah, they should, they should be right. We don’t want to be the same. And we don’t necessarily want our bodies to be the same either. Like, do I want my body to be how it was like pre puberty? No, I don’t like. So yeah, I don’t know. Like, there is no going back. And you know, that’s the thing with postpartum like, clearly, it is more than six weeks. If you look at definitions, it’s kind of like the time for your body to get back to its pre baby state. And you’re right there, there really is no going back to that pre baby state. Like your weight is going to stabilize, but your setpoint might be a little bit different. And, you know, to your point who like your priorities shift sometimes as they should, you know, and you can still do a lot, you know, you’re still the same person. But absolutely, there’s growth there if we let it and if we’re willing to sit with the discomfort of it, and pause for a little bit to allow for the healing to happen. and know that it is a process. And just like with every home exercise program in the world that any therapist is going to give you, it is ongoing indefinitely. Sorry, but it’s so hard and nice for the yes, that goes for, like the mental emotional support to, you know, one thing that was really helpful for me was journaling. And I still do it not every day, but a lot of days. And when I’m feeling again, a little more stuck, or I’m having those off days, like, I have the tools and the skills that I know that I’m going to need to get myself out of it. And that I think is the point it’s not getting to this magical fix, like, Oh, I know what I’m doing now. Oh, I’m, I’m the best mother in the world. And I feel amazing again, and I’m back to my pre baby weight, or I you know, I look better than I did post kids like, short, sometimes that can happen. Absolutely. But, you know, the point is to, to really embrace the process of it, to embrace the growth that comes with it. And again, to know that it is it is ongoing, and there’s going to be maintenance, and that’s okay. Like there’s no final destination.


Jacqueline Kincer  56:13  

Oh, wow. That’s beautifully said. I mean, that’s it right there. That really is it. And I just gosh, I hope that people have made it to the end of this episode, because it’s just it’s wisdom, right? Like everything that you’re saying, like you’ve clearly been there. But you’re also clearly incredible at supporting others who are going through this. And there’s no two experiences that are alike. And, gosh, I think you bring so much to the table and the work that you’re doing is incredible. If it’s half as good as this podcast episode. So I’d love for you to tell listeners where they can find you. And if they’re interested in working with you how they can connect.


Ariellele Martone  56:52  

Yeah, so again, I’m Ariellele Martone. And you can find me on Instagram at just Arielle Martone. But what you know, if you’re looking to connect with me, I do have the postpartum revolution, which is my eight week program. So again, eight weeks is not necessarily that magical number, but it is the timeframe that you’re going to need to really get the tools that you need to make you feel stronger in your body allow for the healing to occur in your body in your mind. So you can feel really good in your body and feel really confident in who you’re becoming and really starting to trust yourself again. So that’s my postpartum revolution, which is just find your way revolution. And I do have a free training that I think is helpful for pretty much every mom out there. So if you’re not, you know, fully ready to commit to an eight week program. Chances are, if you are in early motherhood, you’re probably a little tired. And I think the first step to really, you know, reconnecting or being able to reconnect mind and body is to have the energy to do it. So I do have a free training, you’ll have the link in the show notes, I guess for exhausted to energized without sleep training. So it it really, it really is about you, you’re going to feel less tired, have more energy, and just a couple of simple steps, five steps that you can do that have nothing to do with your baby or baby sleep. It is it is all things that you can start implementing today. And start feeling more energized moving forward.


Jacqueline Kincer  58:19  

Awesome. Yep. And like Arielle said, we’ll have those things linked up in the show notes. So that’s easy for you to find. You can get full show notes at breastfeeding talk Thank you so much, Arielle for being here. This is just a wonderful conversation. I could talk to you for like five times longer than we just did. So this was great. And I appreciate you sharing all of your wisdom and expertise with us today.

In this episode, Jacqueline is joined by Arielle Martone to discuss postpartum wellness and healing after childbirth. Arielle is a physical therapist and postpartum wellness coach, who shares her own experiences with postpartum depression, pelvic pain, and breastfeeding challenges. Together, Jacqueline & Arielle examine the lack of focus on mental and emotional well-being during and after pregnancy. They also talk about the importance of listening to your body’s needs and allowing yourself time to heal rather than rushing back to work or pre-baby routines.


In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Why you need to allow yourself enough time to heal physically and mentally after childbirth.
  • How to listen to your body’s needs and don’t rush into workouts, diets or going back to work too soon.
  • Ways to address any underlying issues that may contribute to postpartum depression and anxiety.
  • What you can do to embrace the changes that come with motherhood instead of getting back to how you were before.
  • Actionable tools you can use to support yourself in postpartum recovery


A glance at this episode:

  • [4:26] Transitioning into a postpartum wellness coach
  • [11:12] Arielle’s experience with having an epidural during labor
  • [16:07] How to prepare for postpartum depression
  • [23:26] Identifying underlying issues with mom when it comes to location success
  • [26:37] The importance of self-care during postpartum
  • [32:14] Arielle’s postpartum healing timeline
  • [40:19] Mapping out a realistic timeline
  • [45:13] Back pain and pelvic floor pain
  • [50:14] How to ask for help when needed


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