Your Gift for Mother’s Day — Lauren Conrad’s Asking for a Friend
Lately, I have been loving podcasts. So I was really excited when I discovered that Lauren Conrad was going to be launching her own, “Asking for a Friend.” Like a lot of 30-something women, I watched her on “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” and kind of went through my 20’s with her — minus the traveling to Paris, working behind the scenes of fashion shows and being an intern for Teen Vogue (a girl could dream right?!)
Jump forward a few years and she became a mother to her son Liam in July 2017, just a few months before I gave birth to Vera. So when I heard about this podcast, I was kind of hoping that she would share her experiences of motherhood with us — and she did on the very first episode that came out this week!
New mamas, old mamas, mamas of multiples. Grab your ear buds and a cup of coffee because this was an excellent hour listen.
Lauren interviews her friend and New York Times best-selling author, Leslie Bruce — also a mom of two. Leslie launched a media platform in 2016 called “Unpacified” with the goal of connecting and helping women transition into motherhood (why did I not find this site before?) She is also releasing a new book September 10th titled “You’re a F*cking Awesome Mom” which I can’t wait to read!
In this episode Leslie and Lauren touch upon many feelings that I had as a new mother. I felt like it was incredibly relatable. Which just reminds you that even celebrity moms go through the same transition and our feelings and emotions are universal. *sigh of relief*
Lauren discusses her struggles with breastfeeding and not producing enough milk. The guilt she felt, the shame that she couldn’t do something that was supposed to be so natural. She said she felt like a bad mom. As I’ve shared with you before, my breastfeeding experience was not an easy one and an experience that I think contributed to my postpartum depression. Those feelings are so strong at the time, it can be difficult to manage them and realize that you are not a bad mom at all and that so much more goes into breastfeeding than we realize.
The ladies also dive into the age of social media and the effect the Insta-mom has on us as new mothers. They laugh about all the boho braids, crisp, clean white sheets, no baby acne, and frolicking in a field somewhere. Oh lord, have I seen so many of those images! As new mothers, we are often left to entertain ourselves by scrolling as a baby is attached to us or we are confined to the couch or connected to a pump at 3 a.m. And we soak it in. We know they are staged. We know that this is not a mother’s reality. But in our sleepless haze, part of us thinks we are failing somehow. So Leslie shared this really beautiful quote from her book: “My advice for new mamas is to take those beautiful Insta-mom photos with a grain of salt because a carefully cropped square leaves the rest of a person’s reality out of the frame.”
This is another reason why I will only choose certain people to follow on social media. It’s just better for my mental health if I see those that I can relate to. I appreciate the realness that others bring to their content and that’s what I try to do with mine.
Now, my absolute favorite topic they discussed was postpartum care. Before I had Vera, I did my research and purchased a lot of goodies from Amazon, trying to plan for how I would feel after birth, but really having no idea. My favorites included: Honest Company Nipple Balm, witch hazel pads, reusable bamboo nursing pads, and Colace. I was SO happy I did this for myself. Of course I took everything the hospital offered me too, but I did need some extras when I returned home.
This is something a lot of articles shy away from and Lauren and Leslie both agreed. There is so much literature telling you how to prepare for baby, but very limited information on how to prepare yourself, and that is such a disservice to new mothers.
Postpartum care also doesn’t stop at the physical stuff. You need emotional support as well. To this day I am incredibly thankful that my mom stayed with us for that first month doing the grocery shopping, laundry, cooking meals, and watching Vera while I napped. And even after my mom left, Anton’s mom stepped in and made sure all of us were taken care of. At the time I kind of felt like my toes were being stepped on, but now I realize how lucky Anton and I were to have all of that support.
Leslie talks about how she believes that millennial moms have a much harder time transitioning to motherhood, and how we tend to be more isolated. Family is not always around to step in, so it’s important to find who your community is and who your tribe is. She talks about how many cultures have traditions where a family member is always present to take care of the things in the home and the new mom’s job is solely to sleep and feed the baby. I remember my father-in-law telling me that was my only job and I didn’t believe him. I still felt compelled to do ALL the things. I realize now that it’s impossible. Take the help. Whoever offers it.
A friend of mine had her twins very prematurely and all of her family was out of state. Her pilates studio stepped up and started a meal train for her and her husband practically immediately. This is the kind of community that I’m talking about. As mothers we know the stress that having a new baby places on a family and you might be surprised by who comes to your aid. It’s a beautiful thing.
Lastly, and Leslie’s most important piece of advice for new mothers — give yourself grace. I couldn’t agree with her more.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I was talking about this, as part of my mental health series in my Stories. Leslie says: “Realize that just as you are bringing a new baby into the world, you are also giving birth to a new you. You need to acknowledge that and take the time to heal from that.” I couldn’t have said it better. You will find your new normal, but that takes time. For some it might happen quickly, for others it might take longer. I know I didn’t start to feel like myself again until Vera was almost a year old. This is okay. Allow yourself this time. Try not to compare yourself to your past self and feel as though you need to be doing everything you were doing before. You are in a new place. Move from the place that you are in now and be kind to yourself.
So this Mother’s Day, take some time to celebrate yourself too. You deserve that afternoon nap and extra slice of pizza! I promise, the house will not burn to the ground with the dads in charge … fingers crossed.