This week we spoke with Juliana Featherman from the Making Authentic Friendships App. She has created a fantastic app that helps individuals with special needs of all ages find friends to connect with at home and on the go and matches them based on location and interests. She was inspired by her own brother and we got to speak with her about her unique situation as a sibling and a caregiver.
[00:01:10] We're super excited. Thank you for having me welcome. Absolutely. So Tiana is a clinical therapist working in a private practice. You focus on perinatal mood disorders and much like a postpartum depression and things like that. Is that correct? Absolutely. Yes. It's, it's an amazing adventure. Being able to work with new moms, expecting moms and dealing with all the things that happened, you know, after you give birth a lot of the mental health issues that come because once you have a baby, everyone forgets about you, right?
[00:01:42] It's all about the baby. So, so in our, in our private practice, we're really focused on the wholeness of the mom and making sure that she's physically, mentally, emotionally, uh, half her wellbeing so that she can. Go forth and, you know, do that mom thing and take care of her child. Yeah. I wish that was in like every practice.
[00:02:00] Like I wish, like I went to a midwifery place for my, for one child and then to the hospital for another child. And both times I had, obviously with Eddie, we had a difficult time just. Processing everything. But even with my daughter, we ha I had a tough time kind of, I was away from family and everything, and I had a tough time processing and you feel alone.
[00:02:18] And, you know, sometimes I think after you're done having a baby, the doctor's office is like, okay, move it on to the next pregnant woman. And you're not really, you're kind of just there for your checkups and making sure that everything's still working right. And the mental capacity, you know, the other than filling out that one little survey that just says, how are you feeling today?
[00:02:36] There really isn't a conversation. So I think it. Resource when you go to your doctor. Absolutely. And, uh, so I work with postpartum weld that com that's the website. You can go to postpartum well.com. Um, but postpartum wellness is really like, we like the seven 11 shop. I love it because, um, what we do is we make sure that women kind of have.
[00:02:58] Everything in this one-stop shop. So we do therapy, but we also have like sleep experts and potty training experts and people who do massages. So we really try to like give this all encompassing experience to women so that they can feel loved on because it's hard, you know, being that new mom. And like you said, if you don't have that family that's near, I mean, right.
[00:03:21] You don't have, you can't. Have, you know, mom come help you for a few months. If she was willing to do that, or, you know, have a friend come and cook a casserole at your house, you of got to be able to manage things by yourself. So really trying to keep your mental health in check is so important. Yeah. And I think like when you're pregnant, there's so much focus on taking care of your body and taking care of your wellbeing and you don't everything.
[00:03:45] There's so many things out there there's, you know, I can't even tell you when I was pregnant. How many times someone will go, I'll go get this massage. It's specially for pregnant people go do this yoga class. It's specifically. There's like, no, like, Oh, go take this yoga class. It's specifically for new moms, new moms.
[00:04:02] I wouldn't have needed that so bad after I had my child, like to just know I could go somewhere and just settle my mind and be ready. You're B you're preparing yourself as, especially when you don't have kids. I was just like, Oh, this is so great. It's going to be so easy. It's like, no, it's definitely not.
[00:04:19] There's no way to prepare you for what you're walking into as a new mom. Exactly. The transition is crazy. And I always tell people, no matter how ready you think you are, you're never ready. Whether or not it's your first one or like me, my fourth, I'm just like, you're never ready. Cause you got to add to that pot and you got to, it's never going to be that perfect temperature.
[00:04:39] It's never going to be like exactly how you planned it in your head and it's different every time. Like my experience with our son was such a different experience than with my daughter. There were so many similarities in my pregnancy and afterwards, but everything was so different and there's no way to know.
[00:04:56] So even if like, you know, your mother or anybody comes to you and says, this is what it's going to be, there's just not enough words to describe it. And get you to understand what changes your body changes. You have to get used to that your mental capacity, like everything just is adjusting like that whole, like I said, like three, I think my whole argument was like, after both kids, like three days in everyone goes through a depression, your whole body just like dumps all of this emotion three days in because you're in such a high.
[00:05:24] In the beginning. And then like, I feel like it was like, just after the day we got home, I just like dumped everything emotionally. And I just like sat in bed and cried for a whole day. And I was like, no one told me that's normal. Like you're, you're supposed to just dump all those emotions at some point.
[00:05:38] Like, I would have liked to have known that I wasn't losing my mind. I mean, your, your body goes through like this crazy, like. What the heck just happened. Cause I mean, you, Hey, you just birthed the human being. That's kind of a big deal. Right?
[00:05:52] Well, as a husband who honestly, in this conversation, I just feel like a lifeguard at the Olympics where I'm just kind of useless, but I'm there. Um, you know, that's kind of the thing, one of the things was we, we did discuss about like postpartum depression, being a potential thing after, you know, our, our first and our second, um, But what was kind of intriguing was I would have this conversation with other friends that were expecting fathers and he'd be like, Oh, you know, like, make sure you keep an eye on that.
[00:06:20] Or you think about that. And they're like, what, what is that? And you're like, Oh man, like, so there's a thing that can happen. You know, that when we kind of go through the, well, I go through my gist of it. It's like, you know, the mother has this child inside of her. And then when she gives birth, it's like, you kind of, you miss that comfort, but then you have this added stress of a new baby.
[00:06:39] You have all of these different. Things changing in your life. Also just trying to heal up and regain, you know, your self, as you know, cause now you're coming at nine months off of having a different body, essentially. And so it's just, I find it kind of a, a thing where I, I founded a mission to kind of have that conversation with my friends when they're expecting and stuff and be like, Hey, just make sure you keep an eye on these things and you know yeah.
[00:07:03] Either be the support system. Cause, uh, when it's just you and her that's, you have to be that 50% or if not more because she just did it most of the words. Well, I think it's important to, like, we talked a lot about it beforehand because I had some depression, anxiety, things like that coming. Well, like years it going on before we got pregnant.
[00:07:21] Yeah. So our biggest fear was what's going to happen. Well, there's no preparation of the fact that it's a whole different feeling. I went years managing anxiety and depression from what my norm was, but that postpartum was such a different feeling that you just, you don't know how to manage it. You don't know how to handle it.
[00:07:39] You don't know how to wrap your head around it. You think, okay, now something's wrong with me? Absolutely. And I mean, you made a great point when you are ready, are dealing with anxiety and depression. You are more susceptible or higher risk of getting postpartum depression. And so I'm glad that you were able to have those conversations and Mr.
[00:08:01] Because now it's so important to have that support. It's so important because nine times out of 10, the person who's going to notice that you're going through a situation is going to be that person who's with you. Who's not you because you're in this fog. You're not really seeing what's happening.
[00:08:17] You're not realizing that you're snapping more. You're not realizing that you're crying over Dorito. The retail commercial, you know, when your baby's eight months old, when the baby's two months old, that's totally normal. If you're crying at Doritos. Yeah.
[00:08:33] He's still crying. It's eight years later. So I'm not the only one that watches a Subaru commercial. And afterwards I'm like, where's my, now I want the Subaru that's Eddie, every time. Those horses were beautiful. Puppy balls. It's so great that you, as a spouse were able to like really get into and understand what postpartum depression is, and then tell your friends because letting them know, because it's something that it can really catch.
[00:09:01] It can really catch the husband off guard. It's just like, because you're like, Did she just like go exercise on me right now. And I have no idea. All I asked her is if she wanted, you know, a potato and so it can be really, it can be really challenging for you as the husband to really figure out what to do and how to support her the best way.
[00:09:20] And, you know, Men also go through a form of perinatal mood disorder. So it's all what is known as postpartum depression, but we've recently, the research has really shown that men go through a form of postpartum depression as well. So it's when you bring a new life into your home anxious change. Um, everybody's lives changed.
[00:09:45] So there may be times where even as, even as the partner, you're feeling more irritable, you're feeling, you know, more frustrated, more stress overwhelmed. He's like, no, no, no, no. You're like, not at all. That's what's really important just to really understand what the symptoms of perinatal mood disorders are.
[00:10:08] You know, feeling that extra anxiety, feeling extra tearful, and sometimes just kind of, really not being able to focus in on things, having bad memory. Uh, you know, they always talking about, you know, you have the mom fog or you're like, Nope, I got that pregnancy brain. Well, after you have a baby, you also have that pregnancy brain sleep deprived.
[00:10:29] We call it mommy brain. It's smelly bringing the house like mommy brain going on right now. And then I blame it on my other kids. I'm like, I could not find my Apple watch. I'm sure one of my kids had hidden it and I did not just lose it and put it in the freezer. Right. I'm terrible. I, me, I tell you it and it's the ghost.
[00:10:47] Oh, I go straight. I've poor Annabella. I'm always like in a, cause she's this at that age where she borrows my stuff all the time. So it is a regular occurrence that I leave something somewhere or lose something and I'm like, Annabella took it. And he's like, are you sure Annabella took it? But then other times she's like, yeah.
[00:11:08] Oh, wow. Did you hear that? That's that's my brother-in-law and his ring tone is the damn right. Are you can cut that out. Fantastic. We should leave that in. That was great. I think you should leave. We've been getting more and more like. Well, it's also just the organics too much time to edit. Yeah, it does take a long time.
[00:11:32] Um, but, okay, so we're going to, we're going to dive deep into that, but w so tell us a little bit about you, yourself, your story. Where'd you come from? How'd you get here, all that kind of stuff. So one day there was a man and the woman who really loved each other
[00:11:52] so I am Michigan. Um, I am a, I am a person who loves to travel. So when I got out of high school, I was like, dude, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Like I was like, I want to help people. I know I want to be in service to people, but I have no idea how to do it. So what do I do? I joined the Navy.
[00:12:14] So I went into the Navy. I was in the military active duty for 14 years. I loved every minute of it. I was able to travel to all these countries. I went on ships, I deployed to different, different places, and it was amazing, um, when I was deployed to Afghanistan, right. So I'm sitting there and like full tactical gear and got a weapon on me.
[00:12:36] And there's like a rocket attack going on. So I'm like sitting in a bunker and I was like, I need to really figure out what I want to do with my life. Yeah. I think this is the moment where I really want to make that change. So while I was there, I was already working in the medical field. Um, so I was working as a behavioral health technician.
[00:12:54] So I already worked in kind of like that mental health setting. Um, but when you get deployed and you, and you have that medical background, right. When things hit the fan, they're just a mental health specialty working in and trying to save people's lives. Who were my age, you know, 22, 23 years old. And seeing what PTSD does to people in the moment like watching my, my.
[00:13:16] Uh, buddies, like come back into the wire into our base and like seeing the look on their face and you already know, like their life will never be the same because of what they just witnessed and being able to talk to those people and work with them right on the spot. Really, really pushed me to say, I really want to go into social work.
[00:13:34] I want to be able to advocate for, for these people. You know, my brothers and sisters in arms who are out there and, you know, I never, I never left the base. I was a medical, I was in medical. They brought them to me and I took care of them, but there are so many of them who were out there and, you know, they had no idea, you know, when they turned on their vehicle, if they were going to be able to.
[00:13:53] Come back and make it back into that garage. And so I really said, I want to work with, with this community. And I did it. I wasn't Afghanistan taking like six, seven classes at a time because when I'm going to do and the dirt, right. There's no such thing as working nine to five, you're always working. So, you know, I really pushed it.
[00:14:12] I already had some college credits and everything and, and when I came back, I. I jumped into school and I got my master's degree from university of Southern California, and I've been working with military with PTSD. Uh, and then I started looking into. Other forms of trauma. And I really fell in love with dealing with people who are dealing with trauma and birth.
[00:14:37] And so I was able to kind of push those two and two together. Uh, and so backing up just a little bit. When I, when I decided to go to get my master's in social work, I had also had just had my first child, my husband and I had our first, our first child Aria. And, um, this is once you came back, Right. When you came back, I was like, wow, you are really multitasking.
[00:15:00] That is, that is that it's a woman right there.
[00:15:09] taking classes. I was like, wow, she got pregnant there. I don't know. So, no. So once I came back from Afghanistan, uh, my husband and I, um, had our first child and, um, And I was like getting ready to go into my master's program. And I was so excited and because I had worked, I've worked with, with babies before and I was noticing, I was like, something is a little off with like, Almost everything that she's doing.
[00:15:41] Right. So, you know, I'm going through school, I'm watching her that's, you know, as we, as we kind of get into that and I'll talk about that a little bit later, I was noticing, we were noticing a lot of things that were basically mirroring what I was going to school for. And so I told myself, I was like, Hmm, this is my population.
[00:15:58] This is what I want to do. Um, because I'm getting it. I'm sitting here in this moment and. I am this parent that I want to advocate for. Because even as someone who spoke the language of healthcare, I was struggling to try to get people, to listen to what I needed them to hear from me. I was struggling with saying that I know you got the degree, but she's home with me.
[00:16:18] And I'm seeing something that's not working and something that you're, you're telling me, I have this window, but I'm telling you that she's not even in this window, she's still somewhere, you know, on the other side of the room and yeah. By the time she didn't hit those milestones, they were looking at me like, well, how come you didn't do this?
[00:16:35] And how come you didn't tell me? And I'm just like, Oh my God. Yeah. Well, like my mother knows best to like, that's what I've learned. That's we've done it. It's been so many times where I'll sit in a doctor's office and I've been sitting with Eddie. We've actually just recently stirring COVID I'm home with him all day long.
[00:16:53] And we've seen decrease in certain functions and things like that. And I'm like, It could be nothing, but I just, it doesn't sit right with me and I'm calling and they're just like, well, we're not seeing clinic patients yet, so you just have to wait. And I'm like, I don't want to wait. Cause I know it's, it's sitting in.
[00:17:08] I'm like, something's just an off, he's healthy spine, but something's just off. And I think it needs to be looked at. You tell me for years, if something changes call I'm calling and telling you something's changing. And you're like, eh, I think he'll be all right. I'm like, you haven't seen him. Right. And then the first response is, you know, we'll just watch it.
[00:17:25] And I'm like, no, I've been watching it. I, I, I did my part. Yeah, watch, I need you to do something. And so it, it took us, it took us a year to get her diagnosed. Um, and it took us another, another year for us to, you know, I. Get the services that we needed for her because, you know, and I really credited that a lot to me going to school at that same time, because I was learning all of this advocacy and all of this policy while I was, you know, doing all this advocacy about all this policy and it really just pushed me and pushed me.
[00:17:59] And so once I finished my, my, um, My masters, you know, every two years we just seem to start having kids. It's just how it just magic. It just never stops. It's like, I'm so glad that did not, again. I'm glad that did not happen in this house. Wait, we got another one. So, um, yeah, so every two years we had our children, you know, um, and.
[00:18:25] She was the only one who was still kind of like falling behind my other kids were, they were moving along there found that their, their milestones. And so I was like, yeah, yeah, I get it. I gotta make sure that this is a priority. I gotta make sure that women out there understand that. First of all, every child is different.
[00:18:43] Um, don't, don't try to, you know, put them into this category of, well, let me, let me follow, you know, their sisters or their brother's milestone. Let me, let me look at them individually. Um, so we have four girls. I'm sorry for my, Oh my gosh. I'm sorry for him too.
[00:19:03] Well, he shaved his head, so, you know, cause he doesn't wanna show off his gray hair. When you give him his home, give him a big hug and just be like, this was from somebody that interviewed me today. But. He says he understands. So you don't close funny because there for my, my oldest just had her seventh birthday, um, in June.
[00:19:23] And so I literally tell people I'm like, yeah, I literally have four girls, seven and under, and, um, It's it's, it's, it's funny. It's funny on daily basis, like I wake up and just get coffee to sit there and just like, okay, what's going to happen today because if I think about it too much, I'm just going to like do that.
[00:19:41] Yeah. There's a lot of drama in that house. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it only gets worse. I mean, like, I already feel like I'm in a sorority, like on a regular basis, my four year old and my seven year old, like they plot against me on a regular basis in a safe, because he's like the fun guy. So they're like, they're like, Oh yeah, dad, he's going to like make a Fort with us and like throw us all over the couches.
[00:20:05] So we love him. Mom's going to like, make us clean our room, the Naval training in like, you know, battle and stuff is really going to come back. But, you know, it's funny. Cause my husband is also active duty military and everybody's like, wait, so you guys are like both Navy. I don't, I'm not seeing both of you because like I'm the type of person.
[00:20:26] When I had my first kid, I was like, I got to get back in shape. I'm going to train for a half marathon. That's what everybody says. After the first baby a year of me having a child, I have to, I have to register for a half marathon. Like that's my thought pattern. Meanwhile, my husband's like they make us run three miles a year.
[00:20:45] I'm running three miles a year.
[00:20:49] So it's so, but it works awesome. You balance each other well, Absolutely. Absolutely. So now tell us a little bit about your oldest daughters. Um, Diagnosis and how, where that came from. So, um, Aria, like I said, she's seven. Uh, she has a, she has a diagnosis called Soto syndrome. So SOTAL syndrome is a rare genetic condition.
[00:21:17] Again, we had no idea what it was. I just knew things were off. So it's characterized by just an overgrowth physically. So like even when I was pregnant, I'm telling you, like, you would look at me from the back. You'd like, Oh, she's banging. I turned around and went, Whoa, Whoa, you got like triplets. My kid was only like seven pounds something.
[00:21:35] And I, people said that, so that's, and that was just too much fast food and yeah. Really like an eat while I was sitting at home, he was always measuring big, even in utero. Uh, she didn't come out very big. She was only seven pounds, 14 ounces. Um, but after she, after she was born, she was, uh, developing a extra large head.
[00:21:59] So she was always like off the growth chart on her head. Um, and so doctors always concerned about that. She was a heavy baby, like I'm telling you like the bones in her were real. Like, and so she was growing really, really fast, but she wasn't being able to, like, for example, it took her like a week and a half to really keep her eyes open for any like long period of time, uh, of it, like she would open literally for like maybe five seconds and then they will close for the rest of the day.
[00:22:26] Uh, and I was like, that's. Pretty strange. I mean, like she, she's not looking at me. Um, it took her about six months to really hold her head for long periods of time without like having it drove. Uh, she didn't sit up until she was about 10 months. She didn't start crawling until she too, after. He was one.
[00:22:44] So it took the developments where we're swagging a lot. And I was noticing that very early, like she wasn't doing the cooling, it was hard for her to track check our movements and everything. So the whole time I'm telling the providers, I'm like, Hey, every time I'm coming, you guys are giving me this form.
[00:23:00] I'm marketing, no on everything. I'm letting you know that. I feel like something is off, uh, just weighed every bit. AB has their own different ways. You know, it's, we're just looking at it, keep checking it out and then let us know the next time. So finally, I just get on the computer and start doing my own research.
[00:23:17] Right. Which can be very scary because you hit Google and you like type in like headache. You're like, Oh my goodness, I have a week.
[00:23:28] So it can really, really like trip you out. So I was going down all these rabbit holes and it was really affecting my mental health because. I was so concerned that, Oh my goodness, something may be wrong with her blood. And something may be wrong, you know, with her, her ability to be able to function later in life.
[00:23:46] And it was all these different rabbit holes I was going down until finally I sat down with my doctor one day when she was about one. And I said, can I get one of your residents to come see, you know, like a training thing said, okay, so here's my, here's my thought pattern in that. So residents, right.
[00:24:05] They're just getting up to school. So they've just been looking at books like for like years, he just loves the bigger books. And so when I brought, when they brought the resonate and I said, Hey, like, so. I know you're in school. Have you guys like ever been like, looking at some stuff that you're like, wow, I've never seen this before.
[00:24:21] Like in one of your books, like if you look at her head and if I'm telling you all this stuff, literally an hour later, he came back with one of his medical books and like, yeah, he has Soto syndrome. And like, literally I had such a flood of emotions and I like just like start bawling right there. Like I'm holding her like away from me so that she can't see me crying.
[00:24:40] And I'm just like, I knew it was something. And I knew it would take somebody who was thinking outside the box because unfortunately, a lot of, a lot of times the doctors in the health healthcare system, the, I mean, they do the best that they can, but they're seeing so many people and they're just used to.
[00:24:56] To the flow that they're used to. And so sometimes getting someone who has fresh eyes and a fresh look on things is so important. And I'm so glad that I had that, that thought to just say, let me get somebody who's not been doing this for 10 years and is just completely Burling it off. Let me find somebody who's willing to look into it like an investigator with like fresh eyes and knowing, knowing that.
[00:25:20] I was right. And that there was something going on with her that not only, not only was affecting her physically, but Soto syndrome also affects them, uh, intellectually. Uh, so like I said, she wasn't babbling, the talking was not working. The walking wasn't even, she didn't walk until. A week before I gave birth to my second child.
[00:25:41] So she was about to, um, before she was able to even take a few steps on her own. And she was, her gate was still wobbly. She's seven and still like, there's no, like jumping down the stairs or something like she has to really maneuver herself and take her time much better, but she still, you know, she still has to work on it.
[00:25:58] So it took, it took me a long time and it lots of, uh, emotions to really push through that. And then because, so those syndrome is a rare disorder. It's not, it's not a, you know what, I consider it like a big disorder that, that people really pay attention to like autism or, you know, down syndrome. Having, getting those services was really difficult for us.
[00:26:21] We spent about a year and a half just paying out of pocket because I was like, I cannot wait for the healthcare system to catch up. To the needs that we have. So we were taking her to physical therapy. We were taking her, you know, to occupational therapy and we're like, you know what, if we have to just pay for it ourselves, it's better than letting her sit here for another few years, knowing that if you guys just work with her, you know, how do we stop?
[00:26:44] How do we stop? You know, the drooling when, I mean, she was three and a half and she was, I had to wear those like cool little bibs that you make out of shirts. I had to make those for her because she was three and a half and she was still drooling. Um, when she was four, she only had a vocabulary of. Less than a hundred words.
[00:27:02] And so it, it, it made us really push to get our own services so that we can, we can make sure that she's now she's in her second year of kindergarten. So she's getting ready to go to first grade. And I mean, she's thriving, she's doing so much better. Um, we're, we're still dealing with a lot, but wow. The, the.
[00:27:20] Just getting those services was just so important. Well, I think th th that you just hit the nail on the nail, on the head right there that get, you know, you pushing so early when she was so young is such. You know, a huge thing and it's not to take anything away from parents that just maybe didn't recognize a set, you know, a symptom or, or sooner because you know, we've been there too, and we've been in both spots.
[00:27:45] We were in a position where we, you know, got stuff for services for child right off the bat. Um, and we've been in a position where we haven't, um, and. Being on both sides of that. Like, I have empathy for both, you know, and I, in the challenges are hurting when you're running every day, you, your child is your child.
[00:28:06] So you don't always see anything different because like you said, every time, like the way the doctors explained, like every child is different and they're all on their own path. And so you kind of give yourself that same narrative and you're just like, Oh, well, they're just not great at, you know, gross motor skills.
[00:28:24] I wasn't either. I do that a lot. Like I was like, Oh, I wasn't either, you know, you compare myself to it. But then what I'm forgetting is that, that some of those things may be adding to a later struggle. And so catching, you know, we've said it many times that I totally believe like every child can benefit from birth to three and what we call it, what do we call early intervention here is huge for, you know, having little Eddie in that and seeing other kids thrive through that.
[00:28:50] And every time I was there, I'd be like, every kid should have this. Yes, absolutely so beneficial. I found that I found that also, you know, Like you said, uh, sometimes you just kind of running through things and you're going so fast and you're just kind of like, okay, well they'll, they'll catch up eventually.
[00:29:07] And it really, it really was, you know, me going into places where I would be exposed to other kids, her age, that it really kind of caught my attention even more because I was fine. Like, I'm fine. If I have to, you know, help you to make sure that you don't, I have food on your face. I'm P I'm totally fine with that.
[00:29:26] I'm I used to like, I tell her all the time, but even now, like she laughs at it now, but I'm like, you are so good. Dory, Dory, Dory, because like literally you can tell her something. And then once you tell her that like 13 seconds later, she'll completely forget that whole conversation. And then you have to like re re remind her.
[00:29:46] Okay. Remember we just talked about this, right? You were supposed to go upstairs and get some socks and then she'll go upstairs and then she'll come back down with like a book. And I'm like, no, we said, we'd go upstairs and get the sock. And so, you know, and so she left those executive functioning skills.
[00:30:01] We can only give one task. I can't say, go get your socks and your shoes and your backpack. One of our posters. You upstairs, get your socks on. Let me know when you have your socks on, did you put your socks on, are your socks on your feet? 12 times.
[00:30:24] Usually we're just staring at a mirror. I wonder where she gets that from now. She gets that from me. I'm super like narcissistic. That is hilarious. And it's it's so it's so funny and it's fun because I've learned to. To, uh, be okay with who she is. Okay. With who she is, how she is. Um, because she had, like I said, she can forget something in 13 seconds, but guarantee you, we play this game where like, my husband will play like a snippet of like Disney songs.
[00:30:54] She knows like 99% of them. Yeah. And so, and so I'm like, I know that stuff can stick. And so we just, we just, she is treated like every other child in our family. Um, I raise all of them on the Montessori style living. So, because I just don't have time to like, to like, be like, okay, let's make sure we do this.
[00:31:17] No, no, no. You know how to get your bowl in the morning. You know how to put your cereal in it. You know, how to, you know, how to make your bagel. Like they're like on it. My four year old will make my two year old, a bagel cream cheese in a heartbeat. Funny I'm over. I really teach them independence because what I found is that when you have a child with special needs, The key is to give them as much independence as possible, because that really helps promote their confidence because, you know, they're, they're already feeling like in their little minds and of course I'm just imagining, but they're already feeling like, wow, there's so much stuff that I'm just not sure.
[00:31:53] This is not easy for me. This is really hard and even simple things. I, uh, she went to physical therapy and it wasn't until later, probably last year where she was able to do a one for one walking up steps, because she would always have to like walk a second. The other walk up another step and the other foot has a step.
[00:32:11] And we have a townhouse. So do you know how long that takes and we're trying to get out the door and I'm like, okay, I don't want to, I don't want to fuss at you cause I know you're trying to get it. And your depth perception is off and I'm like, can you just hurry up? Like your, your two year old sister just ran past you, come on now.
[00:32:26] Like, let's just, let's just do this. And it really took me to be like, okay, For her. I have to let her know, Hey, we're going to the car now, despite the fact that I know it's gonna take me another 10 minutes to get everyone else ready. So I give her that independence to be able to function at her speed that works for her.
[00:32:45] And then it helps our whole house not feel frustrated. Yes. I, I don't, I don't play that. Oh, I can't do it. You can do it. You can do it. And I make her say that I make her say that mantra. So when she's struggling with like reading words and everything, like, Nope, you're frustrated. I, I see that you're frustrated.
[00:33:02] Let's do the, I can do it dance. And then we like dance for like seven minutes. That's great. And you know, like we've noticed, I've noticed this. And I think it, I don't, I do it. I'm so guilty of it, but it is so easy for if you're struggling with something. If you have a disability special needs, or if you just struggle with something you, but I think, especially in this community, like we've seen it with Eddie.
[00:33:28] Someone knows he has. Difficulty getting up and downstairs instead of just saying, all right, let's go. And now we're on Eddie's timeline. It's well, just pick them up and we'll go. And he's from such a young age. So used to, if he can't do something, it just means I can't do it. So someone will just, I'll say I can't do it.
[00:33:47] And someone will just jump in and take care of the situation for me that I even now have, like, it's like a Pavlov's dog. Like I'm trained for him to say I can't do it. And I'm like, okay, here we go. And I have to like reset and pull back and say, you know what, why don't you try that? Like this morning was a huge one because he wanted.
[00:34:06] Cereal. We didn't have milk. And he was like, well, what do we have? And I said, pop tarts. And they were like up high. And I was like, well, why don't you get this? I'm busy. We've got to get ready for this episode. I said, why don't you just get that stool and grab those pop tarts. And I look over and he's putting them in the toaster oven.
[00:34:20] I was like, what is he doing? And then he calls me down and he's like, I kicked them out. I burned my hand, but I was like, you did it yourself though. Like, this is huge. Please don't burn your hand again.
[00:34:34] Well, on the other side of the spectrum, I'm like, I'm the dad. That's like, no, you gotta do that yourself. I'm not going to be around all the time. And nobody else is going to be around all the time. And it's like, um, I, well, the most recent thing is, you know, like our nighttime, uh, Right, right. Bathroom routine.
[00:34:51] It's like, you know, so it would be getting, helping him get situated, um, in the beginning and then helping him get situated at the end. And I'm just like, no, you're, you're eight years old. You're like eight, eight other eight. I think I said it got to one month other eight year olds wipe their own butt.
[00:35:05] Yeah, so you can wipe your arm. And he was like, I can't do it big daddy, you know, um, reference sound like you're eight years old, wipe your own ass, man. I wipe my own ass. And so, and I was like, you can say that too, if you want, but like, whatever's going to make you, you know, I need that. You need that independence.
[00:35:22] I don't even need that. But like, and like the first couple of times, I think he's a very apprehensive and, or he'll say I can't do it. And he does it. It's a struggle and he's irritated and he's frustrated, but then once he. It's snap. You see that kind of light bulb light switch go off and they, they figure it out.
[00:35:36] And now it's just a thing they can do. They just want, they're just doing it. Yeah. There's no more like, this is hard for me. It, it probably is difficult. Whether it's mentally difficult, sometimes things are just hard for him to connect. The process, like, it's like, okay, I have to get on a school stool and then reach this thing and to connect all those steps are difficult.
[00:35:57] I can see his brain really trying to work it out. But once he's done it a couple of times, it's like, he's not even thinking about it. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I know that even with her teachers at school, I literally have to have this exact conversation with them to say, I say Aria we'll do as much as you make Aria do.
[00:36:17] When you started doing it, she will sit there and watch you do it for her. We always say Eddie is cute in terming. Don't let it fool you because every IEP meeting, every IEP meeting, they're like, he's so adorable. He's so funny. So charming. I'm like he's using you. I'm like how many times of the week are you getting him?
[00:36:38] His stuff out of his. Cubby. I may time. And they're like, Oh, well we do that a couple. I'm like why he can get up and walk to the cubby because it's also affecting his social skills. If he's the kid did that, someone's always taking care of in the classroom. It's going to do one of two things. Either. The other peers are going to treat him like the baby, and he's already half the size of everyone in the class.
[00:37:01] So he's just the little guy and he wants to feel like the big tough guy. And he's not going to feel like that if all the kids are cheating, treating him like the little kid in the class, or he's going to, they're going to do that. And these peers are going to look at him like, well, why don't I get attention?
[00:37:15] And he's getting this. And I would prefer that he just blends in. He's going to stick out enough throughout life. Let's just let him blend in and let him choose where he wants to stand out. Right. I love that. And that's so important to let them come into their own. And it's interesting because, so I am the type of, I'm the mom that says, you know what, all of you guys know how to do something.
[00:37:40] You watched me do it and now go do it. And so she is, she is, she is. Part of that system. And if there's something that she can't do, then I allow her younger sister, who's four, they work together. And so, so she's getting that, she's getting that peer to peer interaction where someone, someone, her age is helping her instead of always trying to come to the adult to fix something or to figure something out.
[00:38:04] Right. And. My husband on the other hand though. Cause he has all girls, right? Oh my goodness. So he's like, no, she can't put on her shoe. Let me just do it for her. I'm like, do she just put on her shoe in 13 seconds? When I told her she could ride her scooter? That's exactly. Well, it's like in this house, I'll just opposite.
[00:38:25] Yeah. I mean. I want Eddie to have his independence, but Bella man, that's my little pumpkin.
[00:38:33] I'll Murray. You like, you know, it's, it's kind of like that. When you doing things for a 12 year old, she's basically a teenager. She can do that. Do you want to get, do you want me to get the fruit? Do you want me more Shirley temple? Do you wanna to brush her hair for her? Like she's fine. I taught her how to ride a scooter last month, right?
[00:38:53] Um, And so, you know, she had on her knee pads or elbow pads or her helmet, she was ready to go. But remember I told you, her gait is very unsteady. So like, she was like, Put the scooter in between her legs and then just still walk down the street. And so my husband was like, no, she's fine. Cause it's really making her nervous.
[00:39:12] And I was like, she's getting on that scooter. So, you know, I keep showing her how to get him to school, to show her how to give him a scooter. So eventually she gets it and she's getting the hang of it and she makes her first corner turn after she's like filling all confident and she falls. Hmm. So my husband is like darting down the street, go catch her.
[00:39:31] And that literally like grabbed his arm and I'm like, don't go get her. I'm like, all right, get up, brush it off. All right, go try it again. I'm like, if you go get her, you're going to make her feel that something has happened. That was scary. Yes. Leave her alone and she got up and she kind of had that look like she was waiting for us to give her the cue on how she should act.
[00:39:50] And I was like, yeah,
[00:39:54] we had a similar experience yesterday. We went out, we were out in the woods and there was like this rock. Like I say, cliff, it's not a class. It's all done. It's a very small rock bled, just like a formation rock formation. And he, it was definitely really steep. Like I wouldn't have been able to climb down it and he was like, I'm not going to go down that.
[00:40:13] And I was like, you're definitely not. That's really like steep and you're going to fall. Like it was a far, far fall and he's like, he's fine. I'm like, what are you doing? So they like made a joke to him as he was just starting at the top of it. They were like, you could just slide on your butt down it. And then boom, his feet went underneath him on accident and he just slid like halfway down.
[00:40:32] Then he got to the bottom, he climbed the rest of the way. And at the bottom he goes, I'm going to climb back up. And we were like, okay. And it was straight like rock climbing up the thing. And he, I mean, he can't even feel his feet. And here he is like positioning his feed and trying to get them into. And he slipped a couple of times at one point and he slipped and he was just holding on by his hands.
[00:40:50] And Eddie was like right below him. And Eddie's, he's like, you got it. And I'm like, just do this, pick them up. I'm like, he's fine. He's fine. I put my foot underneath his foot, push off my foot. You're fine. Get you me up. Become a second. He like waited there and looked at both of us. Like who's going to help me.
[00:41:07] And he kept saying, I'm falling, I'm falling. And Eddie was like, Find a place to put your foot and grab with your hands. And he kind of just waited a second and then he did it and he got up the rest of the way. And he was so excited. That he completed something like that. And he's like, I'm gonna do it again.
[00:41:22] And we were like, Oh no, well, like we're, we're, we're in a bunch of trails. We have a little, side-by-side like take it off road and stuff. And so there's, um, these Hill climbs that are for like, you know, buggies and Jeeps and stuff to it. It's a large array of different like trying to climb. So then he's like darts past us going to the next Hill.
[00:41:40] He's like, I'm gonna climb this one too. And then it's like, we're like sitting there talking, eating lunch and stuff. And then he's like, look at guys. And he's like, at the top of this huge Hill, I'm like, yeah, see. So, yeah, like you see the fear in this one's eyes, but I'm just like, he's fine. Like, that's the thing, like, cause she's like, what if he falls and cracks his head?
[00:41:54] I was like, that's how you learn. Maybe that's that them so much, because especially when you have kids who have a difficulty processing information, if you immediately start doing things for them, you don't help. Those NASA's really connect. And so, yeah. Even if it takes a little bit more time, like I always say it used to be really frustrating.
[00:42:16] It used to be, cause I'm like, I can do this. And like 13 seconds, it's like, yes, but I'm not the one who's struggling with it. Like I know that I can do it. It let them have that gratification that they can do something. And then. If they truly cannot then. Okay. Yes. We as parents, we stepped in and we walked them through it and we help them, but to allow them to try and to allow them to sometimes fail, I think that's so important because you don't want them to feel like their first failure in his life is like, wow.
[00:42:44] When they're like 23 years old and their internet girlfriend breaks up with them, like, right. And you want them to know what failure is while they have, whether they have that net of safety, um, in us as parents. So I think it's really important to really just allow them just to explore it, to be who they are.
[00:43:04] Because we know at the end of the day, like if he really started slipping down that, that rock climbing, scaling wall, that, that, that was going to catch it like that. Wasn't going to be like
[00:43:20] we were going to be there. And we as parents really have to give ourselves, give ourselves that grace to know that, you know, Even if they fail at something and they look at us and they're like, why did you let me do that? We know in our heart of hearts that we're only training them to be more successful.
[00:43:37] Yeah. Well, and I think that's a good point. Like the fact that even just like, I know Eddie would be there to catch them, but even just saying that out loud, I think it's a big deal. We live in a culture where everybody's mistake. Is right there on the internet. You make one mistake. Everyone's if one parent makes a mistake with the child and something happens, you see it all the time.
[00:43:57] Like, you know, and it's all, there's sometimes they're tragic, but you know, anything, things just happen and the kid gets hurt and it's right. On the internet for everyone to judge, they're such innocent, be like don't, there's so many times where we just can't judge another parenting fail, which is really, it just like we all, we make billions of them throughout their, their, their life.
[00:44:17] You know, like we're going to have tons of parenting fails. I, before you have kids, you're like, I'm going to do it different than my parents. No, there's I say it all the time. Like both of our parents probably made mistakes. Probably did things, right. We won't know till we're done in our kids are grown, which ones we did.
[00:44:33] Right. And which ones he did it wrong. Like you just do. I can't judge other people's. I just have to make choices based on my gut and go from there. And someone else is going to do the same with their family. And I don't know, there are there ways not wrong. Right. And with that too, I think it's really important for moms who are struggling with, you know, if your child does have special needs and you know, you're struggling with.
[00:44:55] How do I feel when I'm, you know, feeling judged? When I go on social media, you know, you go on these, you go on these mommy boards. And they're like, my, my daughter has been walking since she was six months old. And that can really like pull at you because you're like, Well, I'm somehow failing at motherhood or I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do.
[00:45:15] Um, I even struggled with that when, you know, I would go to the, go to the park and my three-year-old couldn't walk across the play bridge and I would literally have kids to be like, what are you saying? I can't understand you. Why are you drooling? Because you know, kids can be ruthlessly honest and, and I would also see like the looks of parents and they'd be looking like.
[00:45:34] Um, come on over here and play on this other side because they would feel uncomfortable. And, and I just learned that I can't take that in and internalize that and feel like it's somehow my fault. Instead, what I can do is say, you know what, you're having trouble. I'm about to jump on this jungle gym too.
[00:45:52] And we're going to do this together and, and. Be okay with you being enough for, for your, for your special needs child, because they are special. That's the whole point. Um, each one of our children they're special in their own ways. And whether you need to have help medically to assess what those specialties are, the key is you can raise them the way they need to be raised.
[00:46:14] If you just focus on you and your family and not on like, The barrage of, you know, what society says should be the perfect child and a lot. And I'm, I'm a true believer that like a lot of, like, I was on those, the mommy groups too. And I just feel like a lot of times I'd have to stop and think and go your kids walking at six months old.
[00:46:33] Is your kid walking at six months old or is your kids standing at the couch and you're cruising and you're like, my child can walk or like, you know, I remember. If we did this with Eddie and I was like, why didn't I do that? Like, he was like three months. He was very, he was a very early talker. We were like three months old.
[00:46:52] And he had like set a sound, came out of him. That sounded like data. And I was like, he says, daddy, now he'd already talked. He's talking at three months old. And everyone's like, I don't think he's speaking. And I was like, he's talks at three months. And that was like my brag for like a year. And then I was like, why am I doing that?
[00:47:07] He talked when he talked, like he talks, who cares when he started talking, he just is talking now that's all, it's important. Same with walking, like shut up now, do you want him to talk so bad? You definitely had your wish. He was like two and a half before he walked independently. And you know, there's so much PR everything on all of these, every commercial.
[00:47:29] It's like your child's first steps and it's going to be like, none of those parents even give a crap that their child's there took her first steps. Great. Okay. Moving on the difference between someone who now you have to keep watching that happen and then your child isn't walking until they're two and a half in a Bentley.
[00:47:44] One, what that feels like. But two for us, that milestone is huge. Like, it really is a map to this day. I can tell you exactly where it was, how it was, what I guarantee you, any other parent whose child took their first steps were like, Oh yeah, I think it was around this time. I'm like, but you probably made a big deal about it.
[00:48:04] So if it's not that. Integral to their life in their development. Then why are you putting it out there for everyone else to feel like they haven't caught up to you? Like it just is, let's just take the big things and let the big things be big. And let's live, you know, through our kids' lives. And I am guilty of doing it, but I feel like.
[00:48:26] I do it in the opposite. I'm more like, Oh finally, we're there. Every time we hit a milestone because I've seen the struggle he's gone through to get to that point. And like, there's, it's really hard to explain, like if you only knew the year struggle, he went through to get to. Climbing up that mountain, like, which is not a mountain, but the rock, but it's huge.
[00:48:47] It's a metaphorical mountain. Yes. So to switch gears back a little bit, um, working in your specialty with perinatal mood disorders, um, do you see a significant amount of, or do you see a difference in. You know, P P mothers who have typical, typical quote unquote, we're not super politically correct, but you know, typical children or children with special needs.
[00:49:14] Do you see a difference or is it something that can just affect anyone? You know, However, I will tell you, uh, the stress of parenting in general is, is, is there, um, and I don't really see a lot of difference between those who have children with special needs and those who are just like WTF. This is my first kid.
[00:49:34] And like, what do you mean I don't get a date night anymore. That actually feels good. I feel like as a special needs parent that went through it both times more, the first time when we didn't have a special needs child, but. To know that, like this can, this it's just overwhelming and this is different.
[00:49:51] It's just overwhelming. Because like, you know, for me, I was having this struggle of, you know, I don't, I don't know how to get her to crawl. I dunno how you know, she's about to be one years old and she's not crawling. But then I, I deal with parents who are like, I can't get my baby to sleep in her own crib.
[00:50:09] And like, for them, that is stressful. And I always tell people that. You have to understand that what your what's, your stress point is, is not what your neighbors just pointed. So, you know, what's some people, you know, the hardest thing they've ever had to do in their life to another person, it's like really, that's the hardest thing you've ever had to do in your life.
[00:50:29] But to them, that's their, that's their struggle. And, you know, I feel like. When you, especially, if you have a child with special needs, know that just because you're feeling stressed and you're feeling overwhelmed, it doesn't mean that you, you should sit there and ruminate over off the grass would be so much greener on the other side.
[00:50:47] Like if my child didn't have special needs, I wouldn't have to deal with this, or I wouldn't have to, you know, have to struggle with this. No, but you probably would have to struggle with something else because no matter what a seven year old was a seven year old, like my seven year old, who, you know, two years ago could only say a hundred words is like now a chatter box.
[00:51:04] And like, she beats me at debates about one time she needs to go to bed and I'm like, you're not even using those words in, but you're talking. So keep going. And so, you know, we really have to like stop and take a step back and just realize that. One, if you're feeling stressed out and you're feeling overwhelmed, have that person like have that have somebody that you can talk to, you know, your mom, your sister, you know, your partner yourself in the shower.
[00:51:32] That's where I get my best advice from. I feel you, we can hear you well, then you agreed. You must've exactly. And, you know, just, just find some way that you can really have that outlet and the most, most, most important thing. For every mom, but especially those who have children with special needs take time for yourself.
[00:51:55] Like, don't forget about yourself because we so often do. Right. I know you're looking at me because this has been a conversation. Well, you know, I think that's good advice because it, the, the harder thing is like putting that into action. Cause I know. You become a, you know, for lack of better words, like a warrior mom, you end up on this journey of fight, fight, go, go.
[00:52:21] What do I have to do next? What I have to take care of next? Who do I have to take care of next? And when you're doing that regularly for such a long period of time, It is really hard. And that's any mom, that's not a parent special needs. Like any mom, the minute you birth a child, you're you're in, I got to protect this kid.
[00:52:40] Cause you were protecting that baby for nine months in your belly. And now the baby's out for anyone else to kind of. Touch hold be a part of their life. Something could happen to them at any point. You, so your life just becomes like warrior I've take care of you have take care of my husband and take care of my other kids I take or whatever.
[00:52:58] And as life goes on, you just keep you don't stop. You're just like, what's next? Who am I taking care of next? What am I taking care of next? And I think that, you know, is just probably, you know, in our blood as females, it's just what we. Are ingrained to do. I probably don't know another female that doesn't on some level do that.
[00:53:19] And when you do that, it's just really hard to just go. I have to stop now and be sell the words. It's really to be selfish in a positive way, but you feel guilt no matter what choices you make, but then like, In my opinion. I feel like I'm being selfish by not, not really enforcing that. You should, you need that time.
[00:53:40] I get that time. I need that time. And you told me I need that time, but then it's like, that's kind of the thing where I'm like, you need that time to told me I need it because you do lose your sense of self. So it's hard to stop and go, Oh, what would I like to do? Right. You all of a sudden, like, don't know what you like anymore.
[00:53:57] You worry about what, this is a time where, where you have to put down your warrior weapon and you have to, especially when you're, when you're in this amazing partnership. Um, because you know, you, I haven't seen you throw anything at him, this whole thing, so, Oh man, you missed the 20 minutes before this meeting started.
[00:54:15] That's why my husband doesn't get to be wipe that eye off. You're fine. But, but, um, That's why it's so important to listen to your partner. And if you're going to tell, if you tell him that he needs to mow the lawn and he begrudgingly goes in most salon, then you two have to be able to do that same thing.
[00:54:35] When he tells you to go take self care, go shave your legs. Yeah.
[00:54:45] So important. It's so important to be intentional and to do something, you know, sometimes my husband tells me, okay, you know what you need some time. I can tell you're a little bit stressed. Go ahead. Especially in this whole COVID thing. Cause let me tell you, I, I teach them all day and I'm home all day and then I have to work.
[00:55:03] I work from 10 to 2:00 AM, 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM because that's the only time I have work. And he still has to go to the hospital every day. And so it's interesting. Cause he's like, go take a break and I'm like, okay. I'm going to go upstairs and fold the laundry and he's like, or not go outside, go drink a glass of wine.
[00:55:23] It's actually relaxing. And so sometimes I have to be like, okay, I need to listen to him because what I feel like is, you know, Me taking time to myself is actually me just going to do some more work than that. I'm like, I need to take care of this. And he's like, that's not the point of self care. Go sit down and go take a bath, go like, go for a walk, do something that is for you.
[00:55:44] And that's not work. Yeah. Well, and that's the thing is like, it's you think, Oh, I have a moment. And I've been looking at that laundry. I eat all that guilt starts to set in and you're like, I got to take care of that laundry. I gotta do this or do that. And then I trick myself into saying, Oh, I feel better now.
[00:55:59] Cause I did the laundry, but really I feel better ish. Cause something's at least in you just feel more comfortable that something's got accomplished in the house. The house is cleaner and stuff. There's like a huge thing. And then, you know, I think you said it well when you said like it's necessary to do it.
[00:56:16] And I think once you do it, you are you're then still taking care of everybody in the house. Because if I'm not in that position, I'm irritable, I'm snapping at everyone, which is then setting off everybody in the house. It's not productive for anybody. And then if I get some self care and I feel better mentally, and you know, even if it's a half an hour or an hour, I go have a drink with a friend at a restaurant or something.
[00:56:40] Now I come back in a much more relaxed mindset and I can focus on what everyone needs to say, what everyone needs for me now they're better and I'm better. So I'm still taking care of them, even though I feel like I'm only taking care of me and being selfish. I can't wait for
[00:57:02] therapy session. This is great. So next week, same time, but no, really. So like, I really challenge anybody who is, who is, you know, Just being a mom, just like going through with going through the motions of doing all of this stuff, this journey that we have in our lives to really be intentional about your self-care like pay attention to it.
[00:57:26] Like, you know, how you schedule these podcasts or you schedule a meeting at work scheduled time for yourself and, and make it intentional and say, I'm going to give myself this amount of time. And whatever I do is not going to be something that I would normally do. Right. When I'm in the chaos of my house.
[00:57:44] So, you know, finding for mother's day, I told my husband, I was like, make me a cup of coffee, meet me in the closet and give it to me. I'm going to read a book for 45 minutes. Don't tell the kids I'm in here, he's sneaking coffee, like upstairs. I'm like passing it through the thing, but that was my way of, you know, being able to really take that time to myself, read a book that I really.
[00:58:10] Wanted to read. I didn't have to read goodnight moon for the 50 million pie. I got to read something that I wanted to read with adult words and it made me feel good. I know that it's our favorite one is go the F to sleep. Yes. Sunday. Is that right? She know the great thing about the great thing about the 21st century.
[00:58:31] Alexa now reads good night moon to my kids. Oh, there you go. Favorite thing is Alexa and it is like a Gajen cause I'm just like, Oh guys, when you guys want to read, you want to listen to this, the rabbit who doesn't want to fall asleep and then Alexa, can you go here? Well, and the war or the little lady that was obsessed with it, but he is now.
[00:58:52] I can't say it too loud. Cause we have one in this room and it's just going to start talking if I say the word, but. He has figured creatively figured out that he can ask it to fart and it will fart for like a straight hour. It will do like fart songs. And then it tells you like the classification, like when it's like a cheeky fart, like there's, we'll just be, and he'll set it so he can get it to do it.
[00:59:20] So that it'll start in like 10 minutes. So he'll do it. And then we walk in the room and we're just like, you know, doing the dishes and all of a sudden. There's just fart noises like random and he's giggling in the corner. I'm like, Oh, constantly. Hello. And then he's like, Alexa, what is this? This isn't that he has like all these questions for it, like random questions that are like, not even, but I'm like, whatever.
[00:59:40] It's like when I was a kid, I just picked up an encyclopedia and opened it to whatever page. It's basically the same thing, but you know, you should be grateful for the Alexa because if he wasn't asking Alaska, him and dad was like being the quarter fart challenges. So luckily
[00:59:58] I do the armpit thing. So that's pretty fun. It's exactly what would happen or he would be at, instead of asking her everything, he'd be asking us. In turn, he still just tells us about it. He's like, well, you know what I learned today? And I'm like, well, good. I'm glad 35 more times. I can't believe it. Hasn't said, what can I help you with?
[01:00:21] So, you know, to kind of wrap it up, um, I'm actually really curious. What, what techniques do you use with mothers that are going through postpartum that have children with special needs stability? Do you have any like, As much as it affects anyone. I feel like if you, I know for myself, there's that element of like, my body failed me or I failed my child because even though there's two of us to make a child and it takes both of our genetics, I carried that baby for, I created that baby in my belly.
[01:00:59] I grew it. So then I have a lot, I had a lot of guilt of my body failed me. Right. And so I think that probably had a lot to do with the anxiety and depression that came after we had him and I was on go mode. So I wasn't even in a place to even take care of wherever my head was at. Do you have any specific techniques to help mothers and special needs diagnosis or especially early?
[01:01:24] I would say people get a diagnosis early. Absolutely. One of the biggest, uh, techniques I utilize is called cognitive reframing. So basically learning how to reframe what you're thinking and not changing. You're not changing your thoughts, but really thinking of them in a different way. So. To the mother who, you know, has just realized that her child was diagnosed with autism and they're, they're devastated.
[01:01:50] Cause they're like, Oh my goodness, my child is always going to have this, this diagnosis on them. And they're never going to go to college and I've somehow failed as a mother. I will have to always, you know, follow them everywhere they go. Instead, reframe that and say that my child has autism. I know now.
[01:02:09] It's as opposed to not knowing, and these are the things that I can do for them. And I am going to be helping him or her to succeed in life because I am going to be advocating for them. I'm going to be that voice for them, and I'm going to teach them to have that voice for themselves. Um, so really just changing the way that we think about things and realizing that yeah.
[01:02:29] Even if we get, we get something that's devastating news to us in the moment we can take that and we can still allow our children to thrive the way that they can thrive. Um, and I always, I always tell people that whether even if your child never walks their entire life, If you have a child that's never able to walk, you can still teach them confidence.
[01:02:52] I've I've watched people with no limbs, no limbs be able to function on their own and have that confidence. I've watched six year olds be able to walk through their school. Completely blind. Because they were taught that confidence from their parents. So you can teach your child to do what they need to do to feel, to feel as independent as possible.
[01:03:15] And the biggest thing is independence. And when it comes to their emotional state, as a parent, I like to really work with people with grounding, grounding yourself in the moment. And not feeling so overwhelmed because when you're a mom of a special needs child, you're always thinking like seven years down the line.
[01:03:32] Like you see, you see the situation that your child is going through now. And you're saying, Oh my goodness, when they're 15, they're not going to know how to walk there. But like, you're, you're so stuck in that moment and you take that and you immediately all the way down, like half a decade. And so what I teach them to do is ground yourself in this moment.
[01:03:52] Stay in this moment with your child and realize just like when you had that other situation, when they were six months old and you know, maybe they had to get a major surgery. And now they're six years old and they've been able to, to they're better now. They're better now. They're they're able to thrive now more than you ever thought they were when they were six months old, six months old.
[01:04:14] So staying in that moment is so important, right? Because we can easily overwhelm ourselves and we can take ourselves. We can create a larger form of depression in our minds, just because we follow ourselves down into these dark places. And once you get down into a dark place, you refuse all help. And, and it's, it's almost like our nature.
[01:04:36] It's like now it's dark and it's cold and it's lonely. So I'm going to sit here and I'm going to hug my legs, my knees, and I'm not going to move because I've, I've created this for myself. So I somehow deserve. To be down here. Yeah. Yes. So, so really it really trying to keep yourselves out of those steps.
[01:04:54] And if you do find yourself in those steps, I'm telling you, and I tell all the people that I work with simply just put your hand up in the air. Yeah. When you're in school and they tell you, if you have a question, raise your hand. I tell people that if you're feeling major depression, if you're feeling major anxiety, put your hand up.
[01:05:10] Why? Because there's always someone up there who is willing to, to help you. And sometimes we don't see that when we're in the darkest, deepest places, but the person who's looking in can really see that you need the help. And all they're asking you to do is put your hand up and they will pull you up.
[01:05:23] Yeah, well, I mean, that's a great metaphor. It makes me think like I. Heard a similar one where it was, you know, that deep dark hole you think you are in probably isn't that deep down. So putting your hand up, someone could probably see your hand, you know, like you're not that far into the hole. It's dark to you.
[01:05:42] You don't know what's above you and, you know, reaching up for help. It is hard. I mean, I know I'm probably, and especially when you are one of those like warrior parents and you're on. You're the one taking care of everybody. So it's a lot harder to say, well, now I need something it's almost impossible.
[01:06:00] Impossible. You know? I mean, you have to find that like one person in your life that just kind of is a support system. I mean, and I think people think that there's no, not, you know, but I think like people think their support system needs to be. Their spouse or their parent or whatever. And it's helpful if you have that, but if you don't have that, it doesn't mean you can't have a support system.
[01:06:23] I think you just need to find the right person that's out there. And sometimes you don't realize that they're there looking like to help you. Absolutely. It's so hard to take just like that first step and, and go from. Man I'm in this really dark place too, man. I really need help getting out of this really dark place.
[01:06:41] And that's, those are huge steps. It's easy to say it, but to really go ahead and take that first small step. Um, it's really difficult, but once you do, and you actually have someone in your corner that can really help guide you out of that place, that is not healthy, and that is harming your everyday functions.
[01:07:00] Right? You will definitely feel such a burden lifted off of you. And then you can continue to be that warrior mom that your child needs. Because if you, if you're not there, if you're not there, you know, physically, emotionally, if you're not there mentally, you can't be the warrior that they need in their life.
[01:07:19] That's awesome. So it's like the best like therapy session ever. We're going to leave here and be like, wow. Okay. We needed this one, I'm going to give you guys homework, so, okay. I'm not going to end up doing it because I'm just a procrastinator on everything and I'll be like, you need to do your homework.
[01:07:37] Yeah. So we'll just go through,
[01:07:42] but what I, what I really, I really challenge you guys to do. Um, so first of all, You know, self care, self care, self care, self care, very important. I cannot stress that enough, the importance of self care, right? Like self care needs to be done, needs to be done. Um, but then also, also, I, I challenge you to really just enjoy that grounding.
[01:08:04] Please put yourself in that, in this present time. And like the next time, the next time your kids do something like really just like sit back and really take it all in. And, and really just like, put that into your memory bank of just like amazing this like in this moment, because when you look back, you know, maybe like two years ago, you're, you'll probably be like, wow, I never thought.
[01:08:25] Yeah, that we wouldn't be in this place at this moment. Like, look at them, throw popcorn at each other. Like this is so amazing. Like, like really it really take it all in because each moment is just so important and so precious, especially when we're dealing with special needs children that, you know, when we first found the diagnosis, our first thought was, they'll never be able to do exactly what they're doing in this moment.
[01:08:49] Right. That's huge. Well, I've always been very optimistic, like a very, very optimistic. You're definitely the grounding one in the situation. That's always been my, my kind of go-to like, um, cause we all battle with, I bowed tremendously with anxiety. And so like for me, it is like, I have to take that moment.
[01:09:11] I have to, I have to bring myself down. I have to be connected and know that. This moment's happening right now, but it's not going to be forever. This is just one thing. And there's going to be another stage after another stage after. And I think Kristen, like, I love you, but I struggle so hard with that.
[01:09:28] You're like, this is it. Now it's never going to happen. We're never going to have kids. We're never getting married. We're never at my home. It's like, Oh, well the kids are upstairs and you know, we're in our house, but those are the things that like, I feel like have made us. Strong and stuff, but it's been, it is, it is like, I still feel like I constantly have work to do on myself.
[01:09:48] And, you know, Kristen does, you definitely need to take that time. Like you need some self care time. Sorry. Oh, I'm so glad we had this conversation. I'm going to get yelled at after this couples therapy, I'm loving the communication tasks like this, and it's so beautiful to be able to. To hear this, this ying yang, because that's so important to really know what your strengths are.
[01:10:12] And to know that the person who's supporting you, what their strengths are so that you guys can really thrive off of one another. So if there's things that you're struggling with, you have that person, your ear saying, you better go take a bubble bath and shave those legs. You know what I mean? Like it's, it's great to have that person telling you, and then on the other end, so have somebody that tells you that, you know, I can, I can.
[01:10:35] Be able to feel great if I'm just sitting here making cookies with everyone in my family. Like that also makes me feel good. Like I don't always have to go isolate myself sometimes just having that medium of saying this is really emotionally like wealth wellbeing for me, for us to all like sit together and, you know, roll out some dough and make some cookies.
[01:10:54] I mean also roll out some other dough and make millions, but yeah,
[01:11:00] for sure. So tell us a little bit just. About your podcasts that you have. The premise of it and kind of what you've got going with that. Absolutely. So I recently started a podcast it's called the well a mother's journey. And so this podcast is pretty much a lot like what we're talking about right now.
[01:11:19] It's, it's everyday average women sharing their stories about childbirth and about motherhood, about the struggles that they've had. And then we also deal a lot with, you know, bringing guests on, you know, other providers and OB GYN and people who are, who are. Experts in the field to talk about a lot of the perinatal mood disorders that we as women go through, that we may not even realize that we're going through.
[01:11:42] Um, sometimes people have never heard of, you know, of certain issues that they're going through and they they're like, wait, this sounds like. I'm wait a minute. There's something that called that's called baby blues, and it's different than postpartum depression. So like, how does that work? And I have, I have a voice when I'm giving birth and it's amazing how many stories I've heard of women who say that they didn't know that they could say no.
[01:12:05] When you were in the delivery room, like you don't have to do everything with Dr. Tosha, just because they say, Oh, we're about to take you back for a C-section you have a, you have a chance to say time out. Why can I know more information before you put that needle in me? What, what are you giving me? And, you know, so, and that will really help you to create that power.
[01:12:23] So we talk about all of that in our. Podcast is about the voice and the power and the strength of women as we go on this journey, because, you know, you hear the saying, it takes a village to raise a child, right. It also takes a village for us to be strong women. And, and that village includes our spouses and our partners and our family and our friends and our children and each other, because no matter what, what walk of life we come through, come from, you know, Motherhood is motherhood.
[01:12:49] Motherhood is stressful and it's tiring and it's taxing, but it can also be beautiful. And you can learn so much about yourself as you journey through. The journey through those pieces of life. Oh, I'm excited. That's awesome. So that is the well a mother's journey. Oh. And plug that in everything like Instagram, Instagram it's on Spotify.
[01:13:11] Yeah. So, um, we have it, it's on iHeart radio and all that buzz sprout, all that. Wherever you find your podcasts. I know it's all business trying to be in and out. Everything. Um, okay. So we asked this a lot, our guests, although this whole interview, I feel like has been a massive amount of great advice. Um, but we ask all our guests, if you had 30 seconds to speak to our community, what advice would you give them?
[01:13:40] I would say simply. Be okay with not being okay and understands that there are times in our lives, whether we have kids, whether we don't have kids. And we're just thinking about having kids that we're going to struggle, um, whether you have special needs child or whether you have a quote unquote child with no issues, um, You're going to struggle.
[01:14:02] So be okay with not being okay and being okay for reaching out when you need that helping hand, because I guarantee you you'll never reach your hand out and feel as if there's not anyone there. To grab you as the key is to find the resources, to find the people, uh, therapy can help family and friends can help taking a walk, can help opening your curtains can help really, really take that time to find what you need and then ask for it.
[01:14:30] Awesome. That's a great I'm so, Oh, this is my favorite episode. Don't tell everybody else.
[01:14:43] Um, so you got the podcast and then tell us again, what is the website for. Is it the practice or what you had said it to me, I'm located in the Maryland DC Virginia area. Okay. So the name of our website is postpartum wealth.com and we are also on Facebook and Instagram and all that fun, fun space stuff.
[01:15:06] Um, so. We really, even if, even if you're not from the DMV area and you're looking for resources, please come over to our website, let us know, ask the question so we can help you find the resources in your area, because there are, there are people everywhere, nationwide who are really trying to help mothers dealing with things, especially if you're having, you know, if you're really struggling with things with parenting and, and.
[01:15:29] How to kind of go through this journey. So postpartum well.com definitely go on there. Ask a question that you need. And then, like I said, the well, a mother's journey, uh, you can also go to the well a mother's email@example.com. If you want to send me an email, if you have questions, if you're looking for resources, like we, we just gotta, we have to be that community to help one another.
[01:15:49] Awesome. Awesome. Well, we really appreciate you coming on and chatting with us and giving us our little therapy session that we clearly needed. The check is in the mail and that was covered by insurance insurance.
[01:16:11] Awesome guys, we really appreciate you having on everyone. Go check out all the sites. We'll link them on all our social media and on the site with everything. I really appreciate having thanks for coming to thank you so much for having me all right. Have a great day, Tina. Thank you. Wow, that was awesome.
[01:16:26] Thanks so much, Tiana. Well, thank you so much for listening. We really hope you enjoyed this episode as always, please make sure you share with a friend and leave. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode, on our Facebook or Instagram on, at special about special. Thanks again. And we'll see you soon.
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