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Episode 86: Finding Balance in Life and Motherhood with Annia Palacios

, , , October 12, 2022

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Jacqueline Kincer 0:38
Welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today I have a very special guest on, Annia Palacios. And she is so wonderful. I’m excited to bring her on because she’s a mental health therapist and a coach who has dedicated her career to working with moms. She’s actually transformed her therapy practice into primarily working with mothers after her own struggles with postpartum depression following the birth of her first child. And through that journey, and you realized that moms deserve better and shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. Girl, speaking my love language over here.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:18
Annia’s therapy practice helps moms tackle postpartum depression, anxiety, birth trauma and neonatal loss. And through her coaching practice Annia helps prepare expecting parents for the realities of parenthood beyond just the baby registry. She helps moms find themselves again, enjoy their partner rather than resenting them, and have the motherhood experience they deserve. Annia offers therapy services to clients living in Texas and Florida through her practice Tightrope Therapy and provides coaching services nationwide and internationally via Moms Playbook Coaching.

So today we’re going to be welcoming Annia to talk about all the things postpartum mental health, perinatal mental health, relationships with your partner, and self care, lots of exciting things. And I’m really loving this conversation because it’s a conversation that we cannot be having often enough. And it’s something where I find breastfeeding moms in particular tend to put themselves on the back burner. So let’s talk to Annia and hear what she has to say about all of that.

Welcome to the show Annia, I’m so excited that you’re here with us today. And for our listeners. This is Annia Palcios, and she is a therapist and she’s with Tight Rope Therapy. We’re gonna be talking about all things motherhood, mental health, and just getting through your average day or whatever it is. So I actually found Annia on Tik Tok. And I don’t know, somehow your content showed up for me. And I was like, yes, yes, resounding Yes, absolutely. I’m liking and emoji clapping for you and everything you’re putting out there. So I’m really excited to have you on and have this conversation with us. Thanks for being here.

Annia Palcios 3:05
Thank you, I’m so excited to be here. And the algorithm just knows what to do and knows how to find people and resonate with similar concepts and topics. So I’m glad you found me and glad to be here.

Jacqueline Kincer 3:17
Yeah, absolutely. Gosh,where you and I are doing,similar things, right? You Your focus is really, pregnancy and moms, and all that, obviously, I’m helping moms. And that’s what we’re here to do. bBeyond breastfeeding, there’s, there’s mothering. And it’s, it can be very challenging. And so yeah, I mean, this is your area of expertise. So I’d love for you to tell our audience a little bit more about who you are and what you do.

Annia Palcios 3:44
So I became a therapist about nine years ago and initially specialized in different things, but really came into the motherhood space, after my own experience and motherhood. When I became a mom, I experienced postpartum depression. And even in the therapist circles, I didn’t know what it was, I just knew that something was wrong. This wasn’t what I envisioned motherhood to be like, as in this, they have me the baby. And it’s this happily ever after love at first sight. And it wasn’t like that for me. And so that led to my journey of specializing in all things, momma’s and so now I have a therapy and a coaching practice to help pregnant person couples and new moms be able to find balance in life and motherhood. So they don’t have to struggle the way that I did.

Jacqueline Kincer 4:30
Ah, gosh, that is so needed. And it’s funny because,my, my journey,pregnant 10 years ago and had my son nine years ago, so I missed the boat with finding out about you. But,we all think it’s hard.when we think about like, if it’s your first time becoming a parent, and you read books about birth and pregnancy and babies and maybe even breastfeeding, if you’re are lucky. And,there’s all these things we can educate ourselves on. But I feel like the piece that we really need to learn more about is this transition to active motherhood, right? You’re just your mom when you’re pregnant, but then the baby’s here, and it’s a totally different level. Andyou just have not, I’ve seen, obviously, social media has brought a lot of that content to the forefront and whatnot. But I feel like we need to go deeper than that a lot of the time, right. So I think we can resonate a lot with the memes and tiktoks, and things we see online and see ourselves in those in those things and stories. But that’s maybe not a conversation that we’re having as moms with one another, or maybe elders kind of guiding us into this next phase of our life. And I’d love for you to chat more about that, because it’s like a big missing piece.

Annia Palcios 5:46
Absolutely. And I think,we’ve talked about how it takes a village to raise a baby. But the reality for most is we don’t have that village, it doesn’t exist, many of us are mothering in isolation, or with very limited social circles, and social media has actually been, it’s, of course, got its pros and cons. But in many ways, it’s been a good thing, because it allows you to sort of peek behind the curtain of what other people’s motherhood and parenting experiences are like, and be able to resonate and say, I’m not alone in this. And that’s really, really powerful for a new mom who may feel like I’m failing or something’s wrong, or like, I’m just not a good mom, because we have this expectation that this is just this beautiful, instinctual thing and that our motherhood instincts will kick in. And while there’s a certain element to that, of course, that’s not always the true 100% reality of what parenting is like.

Jacqueline Kincer 6:37
Hmm, I love that you said that? Because I think it’s like, very much the same with breastfeeding where people say, well, it’s natural. So it should come naturally. No, no. It is something your body does. But like, there’s so much more to it. And people are kind of,hit like by this train of Whoa, I had no idea, right? So it’s almost like we’re holding ourselves to this impossible standard from what you’re saying. And I’m assuming that you’ve seen this in your practice, and you’re coping with the pandemic, and you talked about that isolation? And do you see that things have gotten worse? Since 2020? In that time, and people not feeling as maybe connected to their communities or families and friends?

Annia Palcios 7:20
Yeah, I do. And I think it was already in play before that. But it was certainly front and center through has been through the pandemic of just everything mate needing to make decisions differently for our families, and with a new baby and what that looks like, and maybe not having access to the same type of support that we did before. And it was already a problem then. And it’s just heightened now.

Jacqueline Kincer 7:42
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s It’s so true.I will say that at least I’ve been targeted with ads, maybe because I need it. And I do want I’m totally getting it. But with like telehealth options for therapy,there’s so many things that have sprung up for that. And that’s great, right? Because,also, when you’re a mom, it’s like, leaving the house is a whole big deal. Or deal, at least, I mean, sometimes you want to get out the house, right? And you’re like, let me go somewhere and be me. But then other times, you’re like, This is too much, and I just can’t make time for it. And that’s that constant balance, I think, like a push and pull, right? And that’s something I would love for you to speak to is like identity. So when you become a mom, how do you become a mom, but not be only a mom, like, I hear people say things like I’ve lost myself in this, or I don’t know who I am anymore. Or sometimes you hear about,people, their kids are 18 they’re going off to college. They’re empty nesters, and they have no idea what to do with themselves. And that’s great that you can immerse yourself in that right. But for some of us, it can be kind of unhealthy. And so what are some of the pitfalls or trappings and like just talking about that, because that’s something that I think kind of sneaks up on us.

Annia Palcios 8:55
It does. And I hear that so often from the moms I work with, and most say I don’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Like I just don’t recognize that person staring back at me because both my body doesn’t look the same because it’s changed a lot through pregnancy and postpartum. And I just don’t recognize myself because I don’t know who I am anymore. And it goes back to these expectations that we have of motherhood of diving in 100%. And the thing is when we in a heterosexual relationship, we think about fathers traditionally, of course, not forever, but the father has a baby and he maintains often his identity and he’s a person who happens to have a baby. For a woman. The experience is often now you’re not this independent woman who has a baby, you are a mom, and everything even like we talked about mom rage and mompreneurs and working moms like we are our identities become center societally around moms, and it’s very easy to lose that and to lose sight of who am I that when we look back, and after they’ve gone to college and all of these things, we look back and say, I don’t even know who I am anymore because has it’s been so long since I’ve connected with myself. So the ways to really do that is we have to prioritize ourselves and protect our identities protect our well being by protecting our time, and making sure that we have time to cultivate those relationships, to maintain our friendships, to do things for us, that bring us joy in the small moments. And then the big moments and having supportive partners makes a huge difference in that, and us just being okay, and doing the mental work to know that it’s okay to prioritize ourselves. And it’s like, when you get on an airplane, and they say,you have to put on your oxygen mask on first before you help somebody else that applies for an emergency. And that also applies for everyday life. When mom is healthy and feels good and is mentally stable and doing well and takes care of putting her oxygen mask on first, then she’s able to care for her children in a much better way.

Jacqueline Kincer 10:55
Huh? Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. And I’d love to really dive into this. Because when I became a mom, I did not put myself first and I took everything upon myself. And I think that’s for a number of reasons. One is that,I probably didn’t know how to ask for support. What I really needed. I didn’t realize that was something that I could do.I had taken some time off of work my husband had not. And so I was kind of like, oh, well, I have to do all of the things. I just didn’t, I didn’t prioritize myself,and it was okay, because I was madly in love with this baby. Andthey were my world at first. And it was,that immediate postpartum birth bliss that I was lucky to experience. And also, there was some birth trauma there. So it might have been my way of coping with things and what have you. But then as time went on, that was my pattern in my habit. And I didn’t start reaching out for more help. And then as the baby got older, I almost felt like, well, what’s my excuse? He’s not a newborn anymore. Like I don’t, I shouldn’t need as much help. And it was all this internal stuff. So I didn’t reach out and I didn’t ask for support, and now I see it. But if there’s like a mom listening to this, who’s feeling similarly, like, well, that all sounds great. I would love to put my oxygen mask on first, but I can’t, how do we help that person move from the place of like, I can’t, or it’s impossible for me, or I don’t have a supportive partner, like, how can they still try to move forward andput themselves first in some ways?

Annia Palcios 12:30
Yeah. And first of all, it’s never too late to do that no matter what season a parenting were, and are thinking that because my child isn’t a newborn anymore, like maybe that’s not my experience, but it’s never too late to make them changes and be able to prioritize ourselves. And then how they do that, when we think about, we’ll say, self care, which is kind of,a topic out there that people have a love hate relationship with because sometimes it feels so unattainable like a day at the spa, feel so unattainable for me. But the reality is, that’s not actually the most beneficial type of self care, self care can be saying no, setting boundaries, having realistic expectations,just managing our workload, rest is a huge one for self care. So looking at all of those pieces from a different line of, say, noticing, so that gives me space to say yes. And then when I have that space, it’s often what can I do in 15 minutes to really care for myself and put on my oxygen mask. And that’s often 15 minutes, either in the morning or after bed after the baby’s gone to sleep or,just what are some some things that I can do for myself in 15 minutes, whether it’s just a mindfulness, just deep breaths, and the breathing exercise, whether it’s reading something, and looking at what is it that I need right now? Is it that I need to be intellectually challenged? Because I’m around the baby all day, like maybe that’s what I need is something that’s stimulating for me. Maybe I need respite, I need 15 minutes for somebody does it need me and isn’t touching me because I am overstimulated and touched out? Because there’s somebody always leading me in on me all day long. But it’s looking at what do I need? And how can I get that in between them that increments, and that makes you more manageable, whether we’re a single mom, we don’t have support, depending on our relationship status and all of these things, then 15 minutes, maybe more manageable, and those little things start to add up and make a big difference.

Jacqueline Kincer 14:22
Hmm, I love that. So true, honestly, and what you said about what self care really is, right? I love that’s always my favorite answer to give people is like,how do I like how do I get more self care and I’m like, just start eliminating things from your life. Like you probably have things going on that are not an absolute must butthere you would like to have those things going on. But you could say no, right? You could decline and that’s okay. And that to me was like revolutionary because I was a person that just, I guess was maybe a people pleaser. So I didn’t want to let anybody down and I was like, Yes, I can come to that. Meanwhile, I’m no panicking to get there on time. And oh my goodness, who needs to do that to themselves, but what you’re saying about all of this,with with self care and whatnot, like, I also hear a lot of moms saying things like, I think they’re quick to self diagnose, and they may not be incorrect, right? But because they’re struggling, because they have challenges, they’re not finding that time for self care, and they’re feeling anxious, or they might be,feeling depressed. There’s all of a sudden, this idea of, well, I have PPD or I have PPA or postpartum anxiety, right, I have this. But that’s not true for everybody that experiences those feelings. So I’d love for you to just kind of tell us what’s the difference between someone who’s,going through something,they’re in the thick of it right? Or they have some feelings? And how do we kind of know if that’s a chronic thing? Or is truly something else going on?

Annia Palcios 15:56
Yeah, that’s a good question and important distinctions to make. So let’s start first with baby blues, because that’s often the first indication that something that’s happening in those first two weeks postpartum and doesn’t go beyond the first two weeks. And what we’re seeing in that period, BABY BLUES peaks at three to five days postpartum. And we’re seeing lots of crying hormone changes, feeling like I’m all over the place. I don’t feel like myself a lot of ups and down emotional roller coasters, as they’re frequently referred to. But the baseline emotion of that is happiness. I’m happy, I’m grateful to have my baby. But I’m also and I’m also,tearful and scared and anxious and sad and all the things so that’s baby blues, it doesn’t go longer than two weeks, then we start to look at postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. So postpartum depression, were the baby blues, the baseline was happiness. For postpartum depression, the baseline is often feeling numb, or feeling sadness, or just feeling like I don’t connect. I feeling shame. Like maybe I’m not a good enough Mom, I’m not cut out for this. I may have made a mistake, did I make a mistake being a mom, because I don’t know that I was ready for this. Feeling a lot of shame, not feeling like I can connect to the baby in the way that I want to and that desire is there. But I just the baby feels like a stranger to me, the baby,how do I react when the baby’s crying, I don’t feel this urge maybe to go to them. I feel like it’s like needles on my skin. And I feel like I want to hide away from it more times than not, because that can be a common experience. After especially for witching hour and babies crying, we can frequently feel like not again, please, I don’t know how to make the baby Stop. But if it’s more often than not, all of these things can be signs of postpartum depression. And I will also say a lot of the moms that I see what’s interesting is when we, when we are not moms out in the general population, and people come in for depression, they’ll often identify I think I’m experiencing depression, moms will actually rarely say that it’s more that they don’t think that there’s something external wrong with them. They think that it’s me that I’m failing that I’m not good enough. And it’s a shame that drives people to seek help or other people to recognize it when it’s actually likely. Postpartum depression. Now, postpartum anxiety often shows up with a lot of intrusive thoughts, what I call the what if thoughts, what if I hurt myself? What if something happens to me? What if something happens to the baby, no desire to act on those things? But the fear that something would happen? Like what if I dropped the baby going down the stairs, and that we try to do all of these things of having somebody else carry the baby, or I’m gonna bet scoot down the stairs to make sure that I don’t hurt the baby. And it’s something where not only is the thought coming in, but now it’s impacting my ability to function right? Because now I’ve made adjustments I am but scooting down the stairs, so that I am not going to hurt and fall down and hurt the baby. Mom rage I see a lot with postpartum anxiety, some depression too. But the overstimulation, feeling overwhelmed, something that I call the hyperactive Mama Bear instinct, meaning that we have this mother bear instinct, this mama bear. But when we have postpartum anxiety, it’s on overdrive. And this is often other people will begin to notice this and say things like you’re keeping the baby from us, like grandparents or other people, you’re not letting us see the baby. This is kind of showing that mom is doing everything herself, often not leaving the house because of now I have to have these interactions or what if something happens. So we’re staying home, we’re avoiding a lot of those things that we’re afraid are going to,make us feel overwhelmed. So we avoid things. And just having all of those racing thoughts are those can be signed up postpartum anxiety. And the other piece too is when we talk about mental health in general is sometimes these things exist during pregnancy too. It doesn’t just start At the moment that the baby’s born, we can have called perinatal mental health because it’s all of the perinatal period from pregnancy all the way through that first year postpartum, and beyond them time.

Jacqueline Kincer 20:11
I’m so glad you really brought up the whole spectrum. And I was totally going to bring up for age because,that is a real thing. And I really don’t hear a lot of people talk to talk about it. That was one of the things that really,obviously impressed me about you is that you do talk about it. And it’s a piece of the puzzle, right? And the way you describe depression, it’s not necessarily some feeling of sadness, or lethargy, orwhat people might sort of think it means it’s this feeling of, you’re doing something wrong, something’s wrong with you, you’re not good at this. Why can’t you do better? Like, why is everyone else doing it? Right? And I’m doing it wrong. And that really is what it is, right? So it’s really important to to get to the root of that. And to figure out what’s going on. And like you said,we all have our moments, right? But if it’s more often than not, then it’s really something that you might want to look into. Just so we know, here, we’ve all got stuff going on. Okay, like me personally happy to admit, I definitely have those thoughts and times, I have a nine year old and a six year old. And I’m like, No, I have no idea what I’m doing. Like, hopefully, they think I’m a good mom,but that doesn’t mean that I have a larger issue at play. But it does mean thatwe all have these thoughts from time to time. So I don’t want people to immediately think I’ve had one anxious thought, and now I have anxiety, no.

Annia Palcios 21:36
Thoughts can exist on a spectrum, right? It’s i It’s not a yes, no, I have anxious thoughts, or I don’t drive anxiety, or I don’t, we all have anxious thoughts, but they exist on the spectrum. And it depends on how much is it impairing my daily functioning? How prevalent is it? Am I able to do other things go about my life focus on other things? Or does it feel like it’s this invasive, or this constant thing that’s experienced?

Jacqueline Kincer 21:59
And maybe because you mentioned functioning? Like what what does it mean? Like, is this a relevant term clinically, when someone says, I have high functioning anxiety? Like, what does that mean?

Annia Palcios 22:09
Yeah, so this is somebody who is going about their day, meaning on the surface, it does, it looks like everything is fine. She’s on top of it gets everything done plans, these elaborate birthday parties, or does all of these things, and it’s high functioning. You see her out on the bow, it looks like everything is right, going well on the surface, but it’s high functioning, because we’re suppressing those emotions to not let anybody else see that we’re experiencing that. But often underneath is this perfectionism where this comes out. And it’s often if we look at how do you respond when things don’t go the way that you anticipated. And often in those experiences, we lose it. And we have a really hard time adjusting to that because it’s this all or nothing kind of thinking that can exist. Like it’s either all i success, or I failed, right? And so those kinds of things can be present, when we have high functioning anxiety is we go about our day, and we do all of the things but there’s this perfectionism, there’s these compulsions that can happen catastrophic, thinking about anticipating the worst and trying to really control and control being at the center of this control everything in our environment, so that things go our way. And we feel like that helps her anxiety is by having control.

Jacqueline Kincer 23:21
Hmm, yeah, I can see it just manifests differently depending on the person, right? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And,we’re talking about the person who’s experiencing this, how does this tend to affect others around them? Whether it’s the baby a partner in the household,their environment in general? And are there things that,they could be doing to let people in their life know, to be on the lookout for some of these red flags, if you will? Like, because sometimes we don’t see these things in ourselves until it’s too late. I’ve totally been guilty of that. And so I’m like, Man, I wish someone would maybe like, I don’t know, just give me like little info sheet. And I was like, your husband, like,and I’m sure that exists somewhere online, but like, just,we don’t often know these things about ourselves right away. It’s it’s hard to look in the mirror. So if we’re struggling with that, first of all, maybe what areyou’re mentioning some of the things we can recognize in ourselves. But how do we get others around us to maybe help support even recognize these things?

Annia Palcios 24:27
Wow. And this is why I love doing coaching because I like helping expecting parents. And we have these conversations of what to look for how to support your partner and what to look for when it comes to mental health challenges. And just in general signs that somebody may benefit from getting some additional support and finds that we’re taking on too much. Maternal gatekeeping is often one that can begin to indicate that something’s going on and this is where I have to do it all. I do it all myself. I don’t allow other people to to offer any sort of support or help with the baby very much, I’m taking on a lot of those roles and responsibilities intentionally. And in this gatekeeping. It’s not that there’s no other person present, but I want to be the one responsible in charge and back to control, I want to be in control. So that’s definitely one that shows up. The other piece may be the avoidance anxiety, we often try to fix it, or fix it through avoidance, I’m just going to avoid the things that make me anxious. So when we look at those behaviors, we’re really looking for change, what has changed, that feels a typical for my partner, and this is going to be individual to each person. But maybe she’s somebody who likes to see her friends and his social and has maintained these relationships throughout time. And they go and get together every other Saturday. And now she’s not going why. Right? And looking deeper. What’s beneath the surface? What may be going on here? And is there some anxiety about going out and navigating social situation? Is there a fear of being away from the baby? Is it that she’s having some of these scary thoughts of what if something happens while I’m driving in the car, and I can’t come home to the baby? Right? And it’s not. And it goes back to being on the spectrum, right? Like we’ve all probably at some point had that fear of like, this little person is completely dependent on me. Right? And so we have those thoughts. And that’s a natural thing. But it goes on the spectrum of is it preventing me from going through the actions in my day to day life? Am I having trouble sleeping, because I have anxious ruminating thoughts are thinking about things over and over and over again, all of those kinds of things, a partner can really just pay attention to those changes, that my partner, my wife, my significant other doesn’t seem the same as she used to. Now let’s talk about it. Let’s take it a step further.

Jacqueline Kincer 26:47
I love that. Yeah, absolutely. I think the big one is, is kind of summing up about that you’re a different person. Right? Like, yes, it is different to become, and you will change, you will grow. But you should still have this core kind of you are who you are. Right. But now you’re also a mom, not Whoa, what happened. And II’ve seen that, right? I’ve seen that my clients, andI don’t do what you do, but II’m trained to recognize it, and then to give those referrals when appropriate. Andsometimes,it really is just an acute problem. And they work through it, you’re like, oh, okay, I can tell you’re like back to your normal self. Now. Other times, you’re like, oh, yeah, this seems to be like not really shifting for you. And so let’s, let’s dive deeper. But not everyone is working with someone who is trained to recognize that. So you just gave some great tips. And,along the lines of having someone else knowing what to look for,for that mom who’s feeling like I have to do it all or else, it’s just not right, or it won’t get done, or I’m the only one that can do it or,just taking on so much. How can she start to let go or even just prevent herself from getting there? And just,from the get go, right? asking for support? What are some things that she can really,bring others into the fray to do this with her where she’s not just acting on an island?

Annia Palcios 28:13
Yeah, here’s the thing that happened. And it’s a bigger problem when we think about maternity leave for those of us who are fortunate to have it first of all, in this country, particularly, but it’s often the moms moms are taking that maternity leave and become the sole the default parent responsible for caring for baby. And fathers. And heterosexual households may take just a little bit of time off sometimes literally a few days. And then they go back to work. So from the beginning, we’ve established this baseline of mom is the caretaker, and Dad is like a an extra support person. And so it’s a natural thing that this comes up of, I’m the one that knows the baby. I’m the one who the child is most comfortable with, and who finds comfort and connection. And so I want to normalize that this is something that is out. It’s nobody’s fault, necessarily this happens. But if we can have access to that maternity leave, or paternity leave or familiar leave as to please take it because it makes a difference in how we’re bonding with the baby. And that then can help when we talk about this maternal gatekeeping is we have all probably been there or will be there if you’re an expecting Mom, where we have the diaper blowouts, and it’s everywhere, including on my shirt, like it’s everywhere. And maybe I didn’t have an extra change of clothes or diaper but what, we become resourceful and we figure it out and out of wipes. There’s always something that happens and we figure it out. When it comes to our partners. We have to give them the same opportunities for them to figure it out. And that piece often doesn’t happen. Maybe Dad is taking the baby and it’s just gonna give mea few hours. So we we change the baby beforehand and we pack the diaper bag and we try to prevent all of these issues from coming up for them by Horses, allowing the natural learning curve that we have also experienced,outside of safety concerns, of course, and making sure that,baby can be provided for, but we have to allow them to figure it out. Right? That is how they learn. That’s how we learned, why are we any different. And when we try to have all these things that we think are helpful and protective, and making sure that they have everything,what a baby comes home, with just a diaper on, or they have to swing by target to get a new outfit. We’ve all been there too. So with giving them the opportunity to learn, just like we have,

Jacqueline Kincer 30:38
I love that, oh my gosh,mistakes if you want to label them as that they are learning opportunities. And yeah, promise,you did not get it right the first time for everything either. So like, just, yeah, How is anybody supposed to learn and feel empowered as a parent, if someone else is always doing everything for them, or telling them how to do it? There’s,it doesn’t give that same opportunity, like you’re saying, and I think that’s so, so potent. I remember I struggled a bit with that, with our first child, definitely not the second one, I was like, no here taker, like, I’m done. You got this, okay, I’m gonna be back in like three hours by, like, the first I like did not leave him. Andhe was also like, a very clingy baby, and really, really just wanted me and so,different baby is well, right. But I remember one of my friends going,just,let your husband take him, let him fail. Let him make mistakes, the baby is not going to die. And I was like, Oh, I don’t think the baby is gonna’s like about thinking that and they’re like, yeah, just let him mess up. Let him figure it out. Don’t tell him where the wipes are. Don’t tell him where this is, like, just he’ll figure it out. And she’s like, if he calls you don’t answer, just let him figure it out. And I was like, Okay, I like where we’re going with this. And sure enough,and he felt like such a good dad, right? Just was like, Oh, my gosh, I can do this. And I got it, even now to this day, right? Like, I’m more of the one who’s generally doing things with our children and whatnot. And,then he’ll,have some more time. And he’ll be like, Yeah, I’m going to take the kids and take him here and whatever. And there’s always some story, because,kids, right, he’s like, ah, and this happened. And then,she forgot her water bottle and, and this and that,but he figured it out. He figured it out. And sometimes he comes up with creative solutions that I never would have come up with. And I learned from him. So what I’m trying to say is just reinforcing your message of you actually don’t know at all. Like, you could learn from others, Grandma babysitting might teach you something, you might not like her ways, either. Totally fair. But like,that’s how we learn. We could learn from each other, too, we can learn from just doing and being set with this responsibility. And I think there’s like this possibility that it could go a lot better than we think, right?

Annia Palcios 32:54
Oh, absolutely. And so just the act of letting go can be very anxiety inducing, I get it 100%. But these are the types of things we work on is being able to let go to offload a task from start to finish, whether it’s bath time, start to finish going out and packing the diaper bag and having to figure it out, start to finish. But this helps make sure that you get a break, right and reduces that mental load of motherhood. And it’s also really healthy for our relationships, because that’s another piece in parenthood where we struggle in adopting to what our relationship looks like what that looks like, sometimes the partner dads will say,you’re mothering me, or moms say, I feel like I have two parents, like I have another child because I have to pair up my husband. And it helps us manage that dynamic when we give someone the autonomy to be fully independent, and let them figure it out. And we may Yes, to your point learn things from them, too.

Jacqueline Kincer 33:47
I yeah, I love that,and kind of isn’t, that’s like, another thing is we can talk about, like,the motherhood stuff. And I think sometimes,moms who are breastfeeding, they get kind of trapped in the doing it all thing, because yeah, on those early days, that baby really does just need your body, unfortunately. Right. And it is what it is, and it does start to get better. And itspaces out and it becomes less of a an intense demand. But we can kind of get,stuck in this loop of thinking we have to do at all. And so I think that’s a very common thing that I see. But even recognizing all of the challenges we’ve talked about, there’s these challenges in your relationship with your partner, if you do have one, and your dynamic shifts, andyou need more of them, they need you in some different ways. And I’d love to hear more about like, what are those changes,you can go through that pregnancy together. Andthat can be a really great experience and then baby comes and it’s like, oh, what happens right? And you can have a great relationship. But sometimes we just maybe I don’t know is that we don’t know how to communicate our needs, like what’s going on? Why does it change so dramatically for so many couples?

Annia Palcios 35:01
Yeah, and first it goes back to expectations, right? We expect that like we wanted a baby together, we created this life. And this is happily ever after adding this new little person into our family. But that’s often not the reality. And so much changes, we’re not the same person, like we’ve talked about, there’s an element of grief to that. I don’t know my wife in the same way anymore. But it’s finding ways to love her for who she is today for what her body looks like today, to connect with her support her validate her and that experience, and how to connect with each other. So a couple of things that that can help with that is number one, just balancing the childhood and housework responsibilities and making sure that we are having those conversations about both before baby. And certainly at any point really, we can have the conversations of how are we dividing up tasks and responsibilities. And it doesn’t mean that it has to be 5050. But so that it works for everybody, because moms even today, handle two and a half times the amount of childcare and housework responsibilities compared to their male counterparts. And this doesn’t even include like all the mental load of motherhood of all the things that we carry. So moms are taking on more, even when we also have a job. This doesn’t just account for stay at home moms, even when we work outside the home, we carry two and a half times the amount of childcare, and housework. So it’s looking at that, what kind of impact does that have on our relationship, on our intimacy, on our connection on how we feel about our partner, because a lot of that can begin to breed resentment, understandably, right, like, it’s always me that has to be doing this. So we’ve got to have that communication and talk about who’s doing what, who’s responsible for what tasks, how do we both carry the load, so that we are actually supporting one another.

Jacqueline Kincer 36:51
So important, like you said, because,we each can have our own different loads, but when one person is, is two and a half times more, I mean, that’s, that’s a lot more. Right. That’s, that’s not insignificant in any way. And,maybe that’s what you wanted. And that’s what you signed up for. But I would say that resentment does start to creep in when you really don’t have more of a balance, and it cannot be two and a half times more all the time. Right. And it’s like, not sustainable. And so yeah, I think that resentment is fair. And it tends to come from both sides, in my experience,and even like, just in the context of breastfeeding, where,I will hear from moms, and they’ll say,my husband,really just wants me to be done with breastfeeding.he feels like he just wants me back. And I’m like, well, but he has you, doesn’t he, I mean, this is just a thing where you feed the baby, and then you’re done feeding the baby, and thenso it’s like an interesting dynamic that can arise. And unfortunately, some things sort of get blamed, like Breastfeeding can be one of those things. But I’m like, well, the core issue might be a bit deeper than that, right? It’s not, well, if you were formula feeding, your relationship would be better. And I don’t know if that’s something you encounter in clinical practice, if you if you have those discussions where people bring that up, and,it’s, well, we should sleep train, so that we can have our time together, we should formula feed, so I can,have my wife back or whatever it is, what are some of those things that you hear a couple say? And then how do you help them navigate those challenges.

Annia Palcios 38:31
And both of those scenarios come up so often, of wanting to make changes so that we can, and intimacy is a big part of that, right? Or just that connection in the relationship so we can have some time for us. And while some of those may be true of okay, how can we make adjustments to protect our time together, because that’s important. But if we look beneath the surface, it’s probably deeper than just breastfeeding. Right? If I don’t feel connected to my partner, maybe this is avoidance of this, lets me have this extra time where I don’t have to be as close to my partner, or if I just don’t feel connected anymore, or I don’t feel good in my body, and competent in myself in order to be connected and be intimate, or just be close with my partner. So it’s looking beneath the surface of what’s happening here. Sometimes new parents, we get to that point where we are just coexisting. And some parents describe it as we are just roommates. Right? And maybe I’m not attracted to my roommate. And this was a person who I,want to spend and have intentions of spending the rest of my life with, but I don’t feel connected to them right now, because Parenthood has changed. And when we it’s just part of the hormone changes that we experience, moms are often now attracted to their partner because of how they see them as a father and as a caretaker, rather than just an individual male that they were attracted to before. And so it all starts to come together, right? If if we are maternal gatekeeping and if they are not stepping up and helping and if they’re not actively contributing, and so how are we viewing them now? And that feels our partner may change drastically than what it used to be before baby was here. So we have to find a way to connect the two to go deeper beneath the surface of what’s really going on here and help them feel connected to each other. And it goes back to like we talked about prioritizing our self care in our time, we’ve also got to strengthen and maintain not just a relationship, but our friendship, because even beneath the relationship, there are some elements of friendship there, right, this is how we got together. And we have to be able to strengthen that to spend time together to have conversations together, to be feeling connected to one another in order to really strengthen that. And the number one tip I have for that is to invest a tension in one another. And this is a skill that we teach that if we’re looking for the fear, or the dream and what somebody’s communicating the fear or the dream. So as they’re talking about something surface level information, why does a topic capture their attention? What is it about this that’s important to them? There’s a lot of meaning a lot of deep meaning that can exist in the small things. So if they’re creating Pinterest boards, let’s say are doing a deep dive on tick tock, and they’re on tick tock for gardening, skin care, trauma, healing, all the things that tick tock drives as to what is the fear or the dream attached to that? If it’s gardening, for example, are they wanting to like what are your partner’s dreams and that they want to be outside? They want to do something, they want to cultivate something, learn something, grow beyond where they are right now? How do we invest that attention in them, and the things that seem like trivial on the surface, but there’s so much meaning that we miss when we ignore those little things that are going on. But if we’re saving Pinterest for, it’s about all of these destinations and travel and what does this mean? And then maybe this is a dream that my partner wants to go here. And it’s this travel, and this opportunity to connect and kind of get away from the everyday and just looking at how we can invest attention, and our partners interests, and all of those small moments to build that connection back.

Jacqueline Kincer 42:11
Hmm, oh my gosh, like, wow, the fear and the dream thing is so huge, right? That’s why my husband spends hours on YouTube watching car reviews. He just got a really nice car this past week. Sohe’s manifested the dream now. But that’s why right?it’s not because I mean, yeah, he probably does just want some time to himself, too. Buthe’s doing something with that time, like you’re saying, and for some of us, we need that intellectual stimulation, or there’s something else going,right. And yeah, we’re spending this, we’re investing our time somewhere. And it’d be great if,we are interested in where our partners are spending their attention and their time. And if they were interested in ours, and it’s so easy, right? All we have to do is ask,hey, that’s interesting that you’re looking up a bunch of gardening stuff,did you like have some plans to create a garden? Wow, you could just ask a question,and that person, what feels so cared about? Feels like you’re interested in them,and this is not something super hard to do. Well, not.

Annia Palcios 43:15
And I like to give those tangible skills, because then it feels like, okay, I can do this. And if we think about what we were like, when we were dating each other, you probably ask lots of questions about his cars, even though you may have zero interest in that. We entertain the topics because we’re trying to get to know somebody and build a relationship. But then we get comfortable over time. That’s what happens, right? But it’s how do I get that back? Well, by dating our partner again, and they might even be going on dates, oh, that’s a part of it. But just by showing interest and giving attention to the things that they are interested in, even if we’re not, it’s okay. But we could just give that attention and help somebody feel seen heard and understood.

Jacqueline Kincer 43:54
Yeah, that’s really fair, that’s totally fair. What do we how do we navigate these times when, like,there’s relationships beyond just this immediate one. And,maybe it’s just,in laws, or parents or somebody else that likes to sort of get involved and you can’t always just go, I’m cutting this person out of my life, right? Those are some interesting relationships to manage. And they can definitely come to the forefront when you bring a child into the world, because some people like to interject their opinions on things. And,there’s sort of been this idea of,that’s a toxic person, and I don’t want to talk to them, and we’re never inviting your mother in law or your mother over again,like, Well, okay, maybe sometimes,people are truly abusive, and we should,really exclude them from our lives, but other times it’s more nuanced than that and not quite so severe. How do we navigate those changing relationships to

Annia Palcios 44:50
and it goes back to it doesn’t have to be always or never, right? There’s so much that exists in that gray area, and it really comes down to boundaries rather than when ever having your mother over? How do we set boundaries, to protect the relationship because that’s what boundaries do, it gives us the space to be able to love you and me at the same time, and be able to maintain this relationship by having some guidelines that we put in place. When we get married and start a family. I mean, we leave our family of origin to now the family that we chosen that we create it. And so it’s helping our family of origin or parents kind of get on board with that, right? Because there’s their own grieving process to that. And now you are independent and having this family of your own. And sometimes they think like, oh, we are all this family. And certain cultural beliefs may be different of how we view family. But it’s also looking at what do we need to do to set some boundaries in place that work for us? And so that’s not telling other people what to do? Because that’s generally not going to work? Well, that’s not what boundaries hit. In response to other people’s behaviors, what is my response going to be, for example, and a common statement we use when teaching boundaries is, when you blink, I will blink meaning like, when you make unsolicited comments, I will remove myself from the situation, or I will,say, say something in response, I will stop the conversation, I will take a pause to kind of remind you, that that we’re not asking for feedback on this, I’m just sharing information, as an example. But it’s setting those boundaries. And the most important piece of that is making sure that you and your partner are on the same page with that, communicating with each other so that you all were on the same page, it just helps so much in navigating external family and support systems and all of those relationships so much better, because otherwise, it’s going to introduce conflict and resentment into your own relationship. And there’s enough going on as new parents, we don’t need that, too.

Jacqueline Kincer 46:56
Oh, that’s so true. That’s so true. And yeah, down. I mean, it’s boundaries, right? Boundaries are just so important. And even for ourselves, right, like you mentioned about just not not trying to be the one who does everything for for everybody. That can be,just an excellent starting place there. Andwhat you said about navigating those, those familiar relationships is so important. And I’d love to hear,because you do this coaching as well, right? So, there’s therapy, and then there’s coaching, and how important do you find it to be for moms to have community with other moms, or other people that are maybe in like, the same stage of life as them. I know, when I became a mom, I really didn’t have any friends who had had babies or kids. Everybody,was a lot older and sort of unrelatable to me, or,I didn’t have any siblings that were in that stage of life. And I kind of felt,a little a little out of the loop, right?my friends, like two weeks later, they’re like, Hey, come to happy hour, come pump and dump. And I was like, Whoa, still healing from birth over here. Like,but I didn’t know how to say that to them. Because I was like, You have no idea what I just went through. And for me to even explain it to you is like, just,that’s a lot, right. I don’t even know how to put that into words. I’m just exiting baby blues over here. So like,and I don’t want to be seen right now. I’m still wearing my depends or whatever. Like, it’s just, they don’t get it. So I find it was really powerful for me to connect with other new moms, right? And be like, Oh, I’m not weird. This is we’re all doing this. Okay. Like, how important do you find that for people’s mental health stability, feeling confident as moms

Annia Palcios 48:42
support is so crucial to our mental health. And I say it’s finding people who support you, and the way that you need to be supported, because it’s not going to be all the same, like, like you talked about, as you may have have great friendships, but in the season in my life, they’re not supporting me in the way that I need in this moment. It doesn’t make them a bad person, it doesn’t mean that that friendship will have a time and a place,again, in the future, but right now, I need different kinds of support. And that’s okay. It’s giving myself permission to know that it’s okay to need different friendships or people in my life. And it’s also sometimes part of the motherhood journey is that we lose friendships or that things change because we’re a completely new person now, right? The person that you weren’t going to happy hour, three weeks ago is different than the person that you are today after giving birth, oreven some time beyond that. And it’s okay for that to change. But that support is so crucial, because mental health and the challenges that we experience often thrive in isolation. We talked about that anxiety of not wanting to leave the house, or the depression that drives us to not want to go anywhere. We talk about mom rage, and that anger that Rich was really it’s a lot of overstimulation and it’s a lot of anxiety that fuels mom rage, and a lot of that is coming from the heart. Things support not having outlets where we can just be ourselves, not being able to leave the house and have that connection and somebody that’s like, oh my gosh, yes, this is exactly what I’m going through. Thank you for,for saying that out loud. Because sometimes I have these thoughts that I feel so ashamed to admit out loud, and community gives us that safe place to be able to share those things, whether it’s finding community and person and local mom groups and mommy and me, whether it’s finding that community, even as wescroll along, tick tock or find funny memes and being able to share them with each other. But it’s just building that community and having support and the way that we need to be supported.

Jacqueline Kincer 50:41
Hmm, oh, man, these distinctions are so powerful, they’re so simple. And you have such a great way of communicating everything with with simplicity and clarity is just amazing. And I love everything you’ve shared, because I think it’s, it’s all so tied together. It’s never just one piece. And I’d love for you to just take a moment and tell us how you work with people. Because,obviously, you do the therapy. And so,that’s limited to licensing, but then you do the coaching. Tell us a little bit about that.

Annia Palcios 51:10
Wow. So my therapy, both of my practices are completely online. So to add in the accessibility to those services, my therapy practices in Texas and Florida. So for mamas looking for therapy, for postpartum depression, anxiety, birth, trauma, navigating grief and loss, infertility, that’s where that therapy comes into play. And it’s all virtual. And for Mama’s looking for some support through coaching, what that looks like, also virtual, and that’s accessible throughout the US nationwide and internationally as well. And it’s a place to be able to let’s just talk about and have raw and real conversations about what motherhood is like, right now, let’s talk about how what a yoga my kids say. And I didn’t show up as my best self. But I want to try and I want to do things differently. Let’s talk about how we can talk about anxious thoughts, because they do exist on a spectrum, right? Maybe it’s not completely impairing my day to day functioning, but I’m still having some anxious thoughts. I don’t feel like myself anymore, I need some help in navigating my relationship, because my partner and I are not on good terms. I,I’m resentful. I don’t recognize myself, I don’t recognize this relationship anymore. I just want things to look different. I have to transition back to work, I don’t feel like myself, when I’m pumping all day long, right in my body doesn’t feel like it belongs to me anymore. And just helping somebody transition in the jobs to all of these pieces that we navigate in motherhood, so we can manage the mental load, and just find ourselves my practice is all about finding balance in life and motherhood. And this is what we do is to have these conversations and let’s peel back the layers of everything going on unhealthy. Just find yourself again, and feel confident in your motherhood journey, we’re not always going to have all the answers, there’s always things that come up, that will help you feel empowered to be able to tackle these things. Because I’m feeling like I’m just winging it, and just pretending like everything’s okay. So that is the work that I do with moms, all virtual practice to just help things feel accessible. And to just help moms know that parenting is not an instinctive skill, it’s we have to learn to be a good parent. And this is what this journey is about is let’s just learn that together and help you have the motherhood experience you want and deserve to have.

Jacqueline Kincer 53:22
Huh, oh my gosh, I love it. And I think virtual truly is just such a wonderful option to have,it breaks down a barrier for a lot of people. And,it’s really great that you’re able to offer what you are, especially with the coaching, because like you said, there’s a spectrum and not everybody has some, fully diagnoseable condition, they just want to work through some challenges and some things and get some support. So that’s amazing. And I it’s so funny what you said about your last comment there about parenting, and I forget where it was, oh, yesterday. Yeah, it was a baby shower. And I had my kids with me and my nine year old, we’ve had the conversation about how babies are made. And so,we’re here to celebrate,this friend of ours. And he’s like, So mom, like,do you have to have like,you get like a license or certified like, what do you have to go through to become a parent and I was like, Oh, nothing like there is no barrier to entry, other than just the pure physical stuff. And he was like, Oh, he’s like, I thought it was like a whole get to go through a lot. And I was like, Well, I feel like that’s a compliment for me because clearly you feel like I’m qualified. But,there isn’t right and to expect of ourselves that we would somehow be experts in this just because we weregranted fertile bodies or were able to adopt or whatever it is, right. That’s kind of unreasonable. So I just love your message. I love how you really just seem to get it right and and you really get what the modern parent is facing and the modern mom and it’s just so powerful it needed and so if you guys are looking to connect with Annia, she’s got some incredible content that she posts over on social media. So I’ll have that all linked up in the show notes. And of course, I’ll include the link to her website where you can connect with her if you’re interested in therapy, if you live in Texas, or Florida or her coaching. So thank you for being here today. Annia, it’s an absolute pleasure. I think I’m gonna go read listen to this episode. And also, I would say that,without being passive aggressive about it, I think if you, as the listener want to share this with your partner, this might be a really good episode to open up a conversation that is long overdue. So I would say feel free to share it. Not in a passive aggressive way. Like, you should really listen to this. But like, Hey, I found this episode helpful. And I think you might, too, and I’d love to chat to you about it. So that’s my tip. Do you have any other last minute tips on?

Annia Palcios 55:48
Yeah, I think just really having the conversation is so important. And I echo what you just said, and being able to come together and share these messages and open up the dialogue. Because if we don’t we breathe in that resentment and preparing for parenthood and navigating parenthood goes so far beyond just the baby registry and the baby shower and the wife Swarmer that we’ll never use, right? It’s having its real conversations about parenthood and supporting one another. Because your relationship matters. You deserve to have that support as individuals as well and happy if this episode helps you. I’ll start that conversation.

Jacqueline Kincer 56:23
Oh, I think it will at least an internal one. So thanks again, Annia, and thanks everyone for listening.