The Resource Doula

Be a Model Not a Martyr with Calisa & Holly of Moms Matter Now

May 09, 2023 Natalie Headdings Episode 32
The Resource Doula
Be a Model Not a Martyr with Calisa & Holly of Moms Matter Now
Show Notes Transcript

Show Notes

On today’s podcast I chat with Holly and Calisa of Moms Matter Now, a platform for educating and empowering moms in their mental health. We talked about sharing the load, what the deal is with intrusive thoughts, setting yourself up for success, ways to avoid maternal gatekeeping, and more. They’ve created a signature online course called Expectant Moms Empowered Moms.

Holly’s mantra: taking care of yourself IS taking care of your kids.

Calisa’s mantra: I can do anything; I can’t do everything.

Definitions:

  • PMADS: Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders
  • Matrescence: is the physical, emotional, hormonal and social transition to becoming a mother.
  • Maternal gatekeeping: a mother’s/primary caregiver’s refusal to let someone else perform care tasks for their child.

Resources They Shared

The Moms Matter Now online course: Expectant Moms Empowered Moms

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Natalie:

On today's podcast, I chat with Holly and Khalisa of Moms Matter. Now, a platform for educating and empowering moms in their mental health We talked about sharing the load, what the deal is with intrusive thoughts, setting yourself up for success, ways to avoid maternal gatekeeping and more. They've created a signature online course called Expected Moms, empowered Moms, and you can find them@momsmatternow.com and on Instagram and Facebook at Moms Matter Now. Welcome to the Resource Doula podcast. I'm Natalie, your host, and my goal is to equip you with the tools and information you need to make informed healthcare decisions while having some fun along the way through engaging interviews with experts, personal stories, and insightful commentary. I'll save you the time and effort of. Sifting through countless sources on the internet, consider me your personal resource dealer because if I don't know the answer, I can connect you with someone who probably does. So whether you're a seasoned to help guru or just starting your journey, I hope this show inspires and encourages you every step of the way. I'm excited to introduce my guest for today. First up is Holly. Holly is a sibling to triplets and a mother of twins. Her greatest fear in life has always been losing herself in the transition to motherhood. Her journey included infertility, pregnancy loss, and postpartum anxiety. Holly is a retired Olympic athlete, and today is a therapist whose passions include teaching women self-advocacy skills. It's her mission to spread her personal mantra, which is taking care of yourself, is taking care of your children. Next up is Calisa. Growing up, Khalisa played a motherly role to her three significantly younger siblings. When she became a mom herself to three girls each born at home, she expected it to come naturally, so she was surprised to experience postpartum anxiety following baby number two. Professionally, she serves as the executive director of a local nonprofit and is a small business owner. Khalisa has recently mastered unique ways of fitting exercise and self-care into her busy routine, and looks forward to teaching other moms to do so as well. Her personal mantra is, I can do anything, but I can't do everything. Holly and Khalisa, welcome to the Resource Doula podcast.

Holly:

Thanks for having us.

Calisa:

Thanks for having us, Natalie.

Natalie:

Absolutely. I thought it was so fitting that it's may we're when we're recording this and it's maternal mental health awareness month, so perfect timing. Um, I know a little bit about each of you, but I don't know how you guys met each other and decided to pursue this project, so if you could talk a little bit about that, it would be great.

Calisa:

Sure. Um, Holly and I actually met on the phone, um, in a previous life of, I was ski coaching at her alma mater Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. And she was, um, a high school in junior club coach here in Anchorage, Alaska. Um, so she would send some wonderful recruits my way and we would talk on the phone. So that was our, our first meeting. I think in person we might have met at a ski race, a national championship or something, a year or so later, maybe that same year. And then, um, a few years later, I can't remember dates, but 20, let's see, 2011, I guess. I was pregnant with my first child and my husband and I were both finalists for a job here in Alaska, ski coaching. And, um, I'll have to say I was, you know, as, as much as I love ski coaching, I was, uh, pushing for him to get the job because I had never been a mom before and, um, didn't know what that was gonna be like being on the road all winter. So, um,

Holly:

um,

Calisa:

He got the job in Anchorage and we moved to Alaska and Holly was one of the most welcoming people, um, for us as we came to this new, new place far away from both of our homes. Um, she was the first one to have us over for dinner and introduced us to, um, some fellow, you know what, who had also become friends. And, um, I guess, um, it's the rest of the story. Uh, we just, yeah, developed a friendship over the years and has gotten deeper as our, our, um, we both became moms.

Natalie:

Awesome. So did you guys have kids at the same, like similar times, similar age kids?

Calisa:

So I, um, was definitely, that was definitely hard to come to Alaska, being pregnant, not knowing very many people. And no one had, no one had kids at the time. So my oldest is 11. Um, my youngest is six and Holly's twins are, um, five months younger than my, my youngest. So those three are, are quite the crew. Mm-hmm.

Natalie:

Awesome. do they all ski? That's what I wanna know.

Calisa:

They do. They're all little rippers. Yeah.

Natalie:

Awesome. Um, okay, so you guys, you decided at some point like, moms are not getting enough care, enough mental health support and that kind of catapulted into creating this mom's matter. Now did you start with the course? Did you start with the concept? How did it all unfold?

Holly:

Well, to just back up a little bit, I think this is something that Khalisa and I have both been thinking about for a long time, just feeling the impact personally, um, you know, for ourselves, but then also just observing mothers and, you know, birthing people around us. Um, you know, I kind of share it in my, in my bio or my why on our mom's matter now website. Um, but I really observed my mom losing a lot of her passions and, um, her profession really, um, when she had my triplet siblings and I, you know, I've shared for a long time, well before having kids that one of my biggest fears in life was losing myself to becoming a mother. So it's something that I've been thinking about for a very long time, and then became a mother after a. Long, um, infertility and pregnancy loss journey. Um, so it was a, a pretty intense entrance into the process. Um, and then it's just really been on the forefront of my mind for a long time. And, you know, it's something that Kasa and I have like talked about on and off, uh, for again, a lo a long time. And then we were actually on a hike. Um, a bunch of moms went to Seward for kind of a retreat and Clea, I think it was your first night away from Siggy,

Calisa:

Mm-hmm. From all three? Yeah,

Holly:

from all three.

Calisa:

Mm-hmm.

Holly:

And we were on a, a hike with, uh, lots of, lots of other moms. And we, I don't know exactly how we got into this conversation, but you know, essentially Khalisa and I both, uh, disclosed that we had, um, you know, some postpartum anxiety, um, and specifically. Experienced some intrusive thoughts, and that I think was a pretty connecting moment.

Natalie:

Hmm.

Holly:

Um, because it's a highly stigmatized issue. No one really talks about it. And then we started talking about it more and there's a lot of power in being able to talk about hard things to destigmatize, hard things, to normalize hard things. Um, and then it's kind of gone from there. So we talked about it for a long time. We talked about wanting to do something and then the pandemic hit, right? We all know 2020, and we were just observing. I kind of think is like a, a crisis, um, to feminism. You know, it seemed like, um, moms or if, you know, a, a female partner, um, you know, if it was a heteronormative relationship, they were the ones giving up their jobs to stay home,

Natalie:

Hmm.

Holly:

um, for online schooling. And, you know, it was just a really hard time for, for everyone. And so, in a weird way, the Covid Pandemic was a catalyst for starting moms matter now,

Natalie:

Wow. Yeah. 2020. It feels like it was yesterday and like 10 years ago at the same time.

Calisa:

Absolutely.

Holly:

Yeah. Yeah.

Natalie:

So if you're comfortable sharing, um, I'm kind of curious as to your own journey into motherhood and your, your journey with infertility and pregnancy loss. How do you feel like you were supported by, by the people around you at that time, and how do you want that to change for people? Going through that now?

Holly:

You know, it's a, it's a good question. I think a lot of, um, that suffering happens in silence and no one really talks about it. And I think that there are some studies that have essentially concluded that infertility and pregnancy loss can be more stressful than a cancer diagnosis.

Natalie:

I believe it.

Holly:

And Absolutely. Absolutely. And so that's really hard, and I think that everyone has their own process in terms of how they deal with it. There are internalizers in the world and there are externalizers in the world, right? People who want to be very private about their process and people who. Wanna make an Instagram story about it every day and everything, and everything in between. And so, you know, I would really hesitate to say, Hey, this is one thing that we should do. Um, but I, I do want to say that it is really helpful to share with people in your trusted inner circle. And, you know, I will say that, um, probably after, after both of my pregnancy losses, like Khalisa was the one who was there. She was, you know, dropping off care packages in my mailbox and she was the one who just knew intuitively, like how hard that was. And that was, that was really powerful to, to have her support.

Calisa:

And I, you know, I'll just say too, like, I, I didn't have that experience, you know, I didn't have infertility, but went through, went through what? What goes through my mind when I hear of it is just like I. What you can imagine, you know, you, you can just imagine what that person is feeling and so just trying to think what would, I don't know, you know, what I would need, but I can, again, imagine what could be a little bit helpful, just recognizing, I might not have the word right words to say, but you know, I think, I don't know, I think I sent like tea and BA salts and chocolate or something. Like, you just, you don't really know, but you just want them to know that you care.

Holly:

care and that was perfect. And, and you know, and I've, I felt seen. Right. Even though she hadn't had the same, the same experience, but I felt seen and I felt really loved.

Natalie:

And that's important. I feel like a lot of people just don't talk about miscarriage or pregnancy loss aid. And so they, like you said, they suffer in silence and then people around them also don't know how to support if they haven't heard them share about it. So, um, yeah, if we could shift the social norms and constructs around what it means to be supportive of, of moms and birthing people, I think the world might be a much better place. Um, I'm sure you guys agree.

Holly:

absolutely.

Natalie:

Yeah. Um, okay. Can we like pause and do a little bit of a definition of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, postpartum depression. There's a lot of terms being thrown around, especially this month. So if you could kind of give like a rundown of what means what and. Maybe what what to look out for

Holly:

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. That's a lot. I'll try.

Natalie:

I know it's a long question. You can break it down.

Holly:

Well, I mean, may is mental health awareness month in general, but then it's also maternal Mental health awareness month. Right. And I think at this point, most people know what postpartum depression is. Right. And people actually even just use the term postpartum for short, right. As this, like all inclusive term. Um, but p a s stands for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. And the perinatal period is everything from pregnancy to one year post post-birth. Right. Um, however, a lot of these issues can happen well outside of that time window. And so peds is this all inclusive term for all of the mood and anxiety disorders that can be brought on by pregnancy. And so this includes postpartum depression, but it also includes postpartum anxiety, O C D, um, P T S D, right? Psychosis, um, birth trauma, right? Like they're, it, it's much more than postpartum depression. And so, you know, I think a lot of people don't understand that and they might think in their mind, well, I'm not feeling depressed, so it's, you know, or, or, um, I've never been a mom before. This is just, I guess, how it is. Right. And there's so much normalizing because you might not really know. And our society does a really good job of glamorizing motherhood and doing all these things, um, such that if you're not having that like picture perfect IG experience, you're hesitant to bring it up because there's a lot of shame involved. And no one wants to be a bad mom or a bad birthing person, right? And so it, it gets really complicated quickly, and it's really important to know that, you know, a lot of these issues can be spurred on during pregnancy, during those hormonal changes. So it's not just in that, After baby arrives that after that postpartum period, um, uh, you know, it can, it can happen, um, at really any time in this process. And what people don't understand is that peds are the most common complication of childbirth and pregnancy, right? We, there are, there are so many precautions taken, um, you know, for gestational diabetes or you know, this or that, right? There are so many tests and things that we do, but really no one is talking about the emotional and psychological changes and clea. And I like to say, when a baby is born, so is a mother, right? And there's a term for that. It's called trence. No. And most people that we run into have never even heard of that term. And what it means is it's like adolescence, right? Everyone knows what adolescence is, but it's characterized by a changed in identity and a huge hormonal shift.

Natalie:

Hmm.

Holly:

And Tressen, it's the same thing. It's a huge change in identity and a huge hormonal shift,

Natalie:

Makes so much sense.

Holly:

all of the focus is on the baby, and none of the focus is on the mom or the birthing person or the partner, right? So that was one of the big driving forces for creating mom's matter. Now it's like, hey, moms matter too. And you know, if the mom, um, is doing well, chances are the baby will benefit from that, you know, in, in terms of having, you know, developing a secure attachment and being cared for in, you know, a positive way. So, I don't know, did I answer all the questions or maybe please has

Natalie:

think you did.

Calisa:

Well, I just had one follow up in that. You know, Holly mentioned when we shared our intrusive thoughts with each other. I mean, that was years after our kids were born and for me that was, you know, I'd had them after my second, but, Um, this trip was after my third. So, um, there's so much shame and during those thoughts and feelings, like there's no way I was gonna tell, um, my midwife, my partner, my best friend, my primary care provider, because you, your brain immediately goes to what will happen to me, what will happen to my baby if I share. Um, and so I think just like a message to get across is like, there's so much regret and not getting help immediately, you know, because then you live with that for forever. Um, and just think of what that motherhood experience would've been had I gotten help right away, um, and realize that that's normal and just on a path to more joy, um, rather than it, you know, I guess who knows why. Like we happened to be in that same trip at that time and that happened. But just to think back to like had, had I shared earlier, um, it would've been a more positive journey immediately after that birth.

Natalie:

Yeah.

Holly:

we have a whole video on that

Calisa:

That's right. That's right. Yeah.

Holly:

cause we want people to know in advance.

Calisa:

Mm-hmm.

Natalie:

Yeah, I was just gonna say, awareness is probably the best thing to do. Like let people know that that is maybe not normal, but very, very common. Um, during, during,

Holly:

would say it's normal. I would say it's normal and common.

Natalie:

Okay. Yeah.

Holly:

Not everyone's going, going to experience it, but, um, but people need to know that it is normal and common. So, like Khalisa said, they can say something about it and, and get the help that they need.

Natalie:

And it's not gonna be a scary consequence if they admit to those thoughts.

Calisa:

Yeah. Yeah. Your brain goes to worst case scenario, like, I'm gonna be taken away from my child. Um, and that's not true.

Natalie:

Yeah. So what is the approach to someone who's having those intrusive thoughts? Like what is the, I mean, treatment plan is probably not the right term, but what is the, the approach to healing that or feeling better or getting the help that you need?

Holly:

Well, I think it really involves talking and sharing with the right person. Um, because yeah, for sure if you, um, share some of those thoughts with someone that has no idea, um, maybe they, they might actually be, um, worried or upset and you never really know what someone's gonna do. So I think it's important to go to someone that you trust and someone that has training and experience, um, in, in this field. And so, I know, I think we were talking about, um, Talking about resources later. But psi, which is Postpartum Support International, they have a helpline. Um, there's also a maternal mental health, um, hotline. Right. But also if you go to the postpartum.net, their website, they also have a list of providers, um, that, uh, of therapists that have, um, what's called a PM M H C. It's a certificate in perinatal mental health, um, right there. Um, and so, yeah. Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, maybe that first disclosure is to someone that has training in this area, right? And they can help you navigate that. Um, because it can be really scary just going and talking to anyone, um, because they might have no idea. They might have no idea what, what to do. So I would go to postpartum.net find. Um, You know, find someone that has training in this space and start there.

Natalie:

Perfect. Perfect. Um, and then what might that look like? So if somebody is currently pregnant, listening to this and maybe starting to get worried, like, I'm, I might experience that I need to have things in place and people in place and I need to know where to go. Um, I always have people ask me like, how long until I'm better, like, how many months will it take for me to feel like myself again? Um, so I don't know if you guys get that question as well. Um, but is there a timeline for, for anybody.

Calisa:

Hmm.

Holly:

every, every timeline is, is different. Everyone's, everyone's different. Everyone is an individual. But that is also the reason why Kasa and I spent a year, um, building our Moms Matter now, course called expectant moms. Empowered Moms. And it is really, um, Bringing together everything that we wish we knew as an expectant mom or a mom with young children. Um, and combining that with evidence-based practices and exercises. Um, and that's, that's why we created that. And in theory, um, Pregnant people would take this when they, when they are pregnant. And so I think of it as a proactive preventative measure, right? Because we know that early intervention for mental health really matters. And our society has a tendency to be very reactive, right? Like, we're not gonna do anything until things are dire, right? And it just shouldn't be that way. It shouldn't be that way. People should have the support from the beginning. And so, you know, of course we're biased, but we would love, you know, for, for people to be able to take this course and know in advance, Hey, what are the things, uh, it's called coping ahead, right? What are the things that I could encounter and how can I feel empowered to go get the support that I need? So I would say if someone's really worried when they're pregnant, get a therapist now. Right. Line up that mental health support now. Right. And create that care team now. Right. Um, but postpartum, you know, after, after the baby comes, there are huge hormonal changes. Um, right after, you know, it probably, you know, as well or better than us. Right. Um, you know, big hormonal changes around, you know, day 2, 3, 4, 5. Right. But then there is this time window where it's normal to have what's called the baby blues. Right. And that can, you know, usually last for two or three weeks. Right. And then in theory, Maybe people should be feeling a little bit better, but if they're not, you know, we, we always look at the timeframe. We look at severity, right? We look at how it's impacting your ability to be an active, nurturer and caregiver, right? And at some point it goes from being, Hey, this is someone experiencing the baby blues to, hey, now we're getting into the realm of a perinatal mood or anx anxiety and, and or anxiety disorder.

Natalie:

Okay. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for clarifying that too. Um, Can you guys talk about your course? Like what is, what is inside of your course? Um, how long is it? Is it video based? Is it like reading based? Um, yeah. How much does it cost? All of the things.

Calisa:

Do you want me to take that? Um, so our course is 10 modules or, um, yeah, nine modules, 10 hours of content,

Holly:

content.

Calisa:

uh, over 30 videos. And we cover, um, we start with introducing ourselves. We want everyone to hear our own stories. Um, and then we talk about, um, per perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, cognitive distortions, mom guilt, mom rage, body image. Um, very, very thorough course. Um, covering content that, to be honest, like. Even going through this course, like as we were building it, I didn't realize that a lot of my own experiences had even names to them. Right. And definitions. And so I think that's where a lot of this course can really be helpful in, um, normalizing, eliminating the shame and, um, yeah, putting, putting definitions and names to, to experiences for expectant and, and new mothers and, and birthing people. Um, the course is$197 and it's take it at your own time. Um, really we try to eliminate any mom guilt wherever we can. Um, so you have an a year to take it and, um, can also be earbuds audio. Um, Every module has, uh, tools for action. So there's homework, um, homework and parenthesis, hub, uh, um, and, uh, a lot of resources. So we try to, you know, reread all the books so you don't have to like, all the highlights from all the, the books out there. Um, you know, all in included in, in the course. So, um, it's, yeah, we are biased, but it's wonderful in really everything we wish we would've had. So creating this, you know, positive change for the next generation of mothers. And, you know, for our own kids, if they become parents, that things can be different for them than what we had.

Holly:

Mm-hmm. I will just add that, you know, with the 30 plus videos, it's really digestible and that it's kind of like, Hey, I wanna go learn about this one thing. Right? And so some people take it from start to finish and take a notes and all that kind of stuff, right? Um, but other people are like, I, I just had a huge episode of rage. I wanna go see what like Holly and Clea have to say about rage and like what I can actionably do about it today, right? And how I can think about it. So it is kind of ego pick and choose. Um, you know, Clea mentioned that you can do like audio only, and so you can have it ear, butt in, you know, while you're doing the dishes or multitasking. Um, yeah, yeah, we wanted to make it comprehensive but digestible at, at the same time. And

Natalie:

Yeah.

Holly:

maybe this is, uh, a good opportunity. To share that we actually received a grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, um, with help from Recover Alaska. And this is really, really, really exciting. Um, because the grant allows us to share the course with 250 individuals. Lusa sharing the low flyer there. Um,

Natalie:

I brought it out.

Holly:

oh, thank you. Yeah. Um, in an equitable fashion because, you know, we, we do think that, um, if you purchase the course, we do feel like you are getting, um, an amazing deal, but we also don't want financial barriers to exist. Right. And so we are so thankful to have these grant funds to give it away for free. And, um, two, two people, we do have some qualifying criteria, so it isn't like a, a free for all. Um, But then we're also able to, um, give people gift cards for taking the course, which is pretty awesome when you think about it. And so this is a proactive, preventative, maternal mental health strategy or course. And what we know is that if we can prevent things from happening or catch it early, you know, there's less suffering, but it's also a lot cheaper for our healthcare system,

Natalie:

Right.

Holly:

right? And so, um, imagine that, and, you know, paying people to take it, it that, that still works out financially as well. But you know, from a therapist perspective, there's something called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, right? And it's kind of like this triangle and it's kind of like you can't really afford to. Engage in education if you don't have your basic needs met, right? That, that's at the bottom of the triangle, right? So at the bottom of the triangle is like food, shelter, safety, you know, all, all of these things. And so we recognize that not everyone has like this extra time to watch and listen to these videos. And so that's why we're actually, um, with some of these grant funds, paying people. To ingest this information. And then in theory, you know, the vision is maybe they're buying diapers or formula or something that they need for their family, um, with, with the funds. And so we're ecstatic about it. And, um, you know, we're, we're hoping that we can find ways to further this process. Um, I will say that, uh, criteria number one is you do have to be Alaskan. So it's only, this is, the grant is only available to Alaskans, but the course is available available for purchase worldwide.

Natalie:

cool. Cool. What an incredible resource. Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to know about you guys. I think I saw you on Instagram and um, and then it wasn't until I met Holly in person at the Baby Fair last month. I was like, oh my gosh, now I know who you are and what you do and you know, I like to distribute resources, so I will definitely be recommending all of, you know, all of

Holly:

Well, well, and we're so, we're so happy to know about you and your services, right? Because all of the emphasis is on the baby and, you know, your whole, you know, program and approach to, you know, pelvic floor health and getting back to being physical. That is, that's self-care for, for the mom. So we're really happy to, you know, support your work and know about what you're doing as well.

Natalie:

I love it. Love it. Yeah. And I think, I mean, you guys would probably agree with me. I'm just gonna assume here that this course would be an amazing baby shower gift or a Yeah, or even a postpartum gift, like whatever it may be, rather than some more, you know, cute clothes from Target.

Calisa:

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Natalie:

We have enough of those. Right?

Holly:

Clothes. Clothes, cute. Baby clothes are not, not gonna, it might give you a little dopamine hit, but that's, that, that's about it. It's not, it's not, uh, sustainable for, for mental health.

Natalie:

Yeah. Um, one question I did have, do you guys have in the course strategies for improvement, like you're learning about all of the different conditions, all of the different diagnoses, um, and how to deal with them in that moment, but do you also include like tools that I can use for the years to come to deal with this, you know, postpartum anxiety or if, you know, if somebody has another kid down the road, um, and they've gone through the year of your course, can they still, you know, utilize those tools that they, they learned?

Holly:

Absolutely. Um, you know, as Calisa shared earlier, you know, we have like P D F attachments to a lot of these, these modules. Um, and you know, I think a lot of these skills are lifelong skills, right? So even just being aware that thoughts are thoughts. Right. And that you don't have to, I don't know that your thoughts aren't like reality, right? And so in one of the videos, for example, we introduce like, what is C B T, cognitive Behavioral therapy, right? It's this idea that, you know, our thoughts create our feelings, which then create our actions, right? And, you know, we, we have like entire exercises and worksheets about like, writing down your thoughts and then, you know, creating kind of a thought record and then learning how to like, reframe and rephrase your thoughts, right? And, you know, that is, that is a lifelong skill. C B T is the gold standard with the most, you know, the ev the most evidence-based, um, You know, evidence, you know, for, for lots of mental, mental health issues. But, you know, it, it's, it's absolutely a skill. Um, and, you know, these are not temporary lessons. These, this is not temporary information. Um, again, we're biased, but I do think it's potentially life changing. And, you know, we have had, people have, you know, people who have had baby number one, have had a really hard experience, then they engage in the course, they have baby number two, and they're like, wow, that was an entirely different experience. Right? have also had moms that maybe are done with their child bearing, but in fully engaged in their child rearing, right? And, you know, going through the course, it actually gives them skills that they can use for the rest of their lifetime. And, you know, um, moving forward, but also, You know, one of the definitions of trauma or trauma therapy is creating meaning from your experience. And so sometimes, like having these concepts explained to you, all of a sudden your brain has a way to organize your experience in a way that it's never done before. And that can be really healing and really impactful. So, I know I got a little cut up with your question, but Absolutely. These are lifelong skills, um, that will help you for, for the rest of your life.

Natalie:

Amazing. Yeah, I just kind of wanted to talk more about that. I know, um, with online courses sometimes there's hesitancy, um, to purchase something if it's not going to benefit for the long run. I mean, you guys, it's an amazing deal, the 1 97 that's like incredible. So, um, yeah. Thanks for sharing more about that. Um, So I got to see a little video of Khalisa in a shirt that said, be a model, not a martyr. And you guys talk about this a lot. So can you explain the meaning behind that phrase and, and, um, what you're tr the message you're trying to get across with that?

Calisa:

sure. Yeah, I'll start. I'm sure Holly will have things to add. Um, it definitely was her mantra, um, to begin with. And I guess maybe subconsciously one that I've tried to live without not having the, the official name, but, um, it's so easy to fall into this trap of when you become a mother to. Just care about those around you, your kids. And, you know, we forget about who we were before we had children. You know, were we an athlete, an artist, a, you know, whatever our interests were, um, why did they go away? You know? And so we really try to live by, you know, we're still a person. We still matter and we still have interests outside of being a mother. And what are ways that we can, we can keep those? And also modeling that for our children so that they don't see, wow, I wouldn't wanna become a mom if this is what motherhood is about. Like, I want to remain, you know, interesting and have, um, passions too. And so we, we really try to, um, instill that, you know, in our own lives. But yeah, model that for our children, that their life doesn't have to stop once they become a mom.

Natalie:

Awesome. So you're basically saying you're a cool mom. That's what I'm hearing.

Calisa:

Oh.

Holly:

I, you know, I mean, we, we try, but it's this idea, and I, I see this all around, um, that, like Clea said, mothers are just giving up their interests. They're giving up their passions, right? And we know that, um, being a mother is time intensive, right? We know that sometimes, like you have to put your own. Interests and passions, um, to sleep for a little bit. But how can you touch on them and, you know, experience them every now and then so that you don't become this ultimate martyr? Because I will tell you, I mean, just observing clients here in the therapy room, or even teenage clients, I'm hearing about, you know, what their moms are, are saying, and you know, they're full of resentment. They're full of resentment for giving everything to their children. And just because Khalisa and I are focusing on being models, not murders, doesn't mean that we don't love our children less.

Calisa:

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Holly:

Right? And, you know, I think it's okay to love our children. And also I want my daughter to see me going out for a run because, you know, it's important for my mental health. It makes me a better mom. And if she chooses to have kids, I want her to do that too.

Natalie:

Right, right. And one could argue that you're loving your children more by taking care of yourself and making sure you're not, not losing who you are.

Holly:

So one of the, uh, videos that we have in our course is towards the end, you know, we want everyone to create a motherhood mantra,

Natalie:

Ooh.

Holly:

and, you know, it has to be aligned with your values. And, you know, we have a whole video on cre, you know, like becoming clear on what your values are and creating some like individual values, but then also family values. And then we walk people through the process of creating their own mantra for motherhood. And CLEs and I both, both share ours, but mine is taking care of yourself, is taking care of your children. Right. And I cannot tell you how many thousands of times I have told myself that, right? Because, and it's almost a thought correction in a way, because that mom guilt starts to seep in because maybe my kids want them, want me to read them a story or something like that. And I'm trying to get out the door for a run. And that guilt is just gawing at me, right? And I have to say, Hey, nope. Taking care of myself is taking care of my kids. Right? And that is, you know, that thought, that phrase right? It allows me to get out the door so that I can be more present with them so that they see me doing the things that are important to me. And that, so I don't, I don't lose that. And I'll tell you that, you know, physical exercise, you know, being a, um, you know, a former professional athlete and you know, it's, um, living in Alaska, like, this is what I live for, right? And if I like, didn't do all of that stuff, not only would I be a shell of my, my former self, right? But it's really important to me to be strong and to be competent because guess what? Kids grow fast and I don't wanna be left, left behind, right. I wanna be able to hike up the mountain with them, and I don't wanna be sitting in camp because I can't do it, so I have to take care of myself. Right. Pelvic floor included. Right. Um, and it's, it's so important because, so taking care of ourselves also allows us to have more years with our kids.

Natalie:

Yeah, I say motherhood is the ultimate strength workout, and I truly believe that

Holly:

Yes, yes,

Natalie:

like a Spartan race a little bit more while you're carrying a toddler, but Yeah. Yeah. No, I love that. I kalisa. I wanna hear more about your mantra.

Calisa:

Oh yeah. Mine is, I can do anything. I can't do everything. And I think I just realized over the years, like I, I'm very handy. I, um, I do a lot of things. Um, I've got that from my own mother. You know, if the dishwasher needs being fixed, she was the one to fix it. If a woodshed needed to be built, she was one to build it, cooking nice meals, like it, it definitely came from her and that instilled in me. But just because I can do anything doesn't mean I have to do everything. And so, um, you know, finding ways to delegate, um, or divide out, you know, tasks that I know that my partner can do. And now as my kids are getting older that they can do, um, and just reminding myself that I don't have to take it all on and do everything.

Natalie:

Yeah. Awesome. I think I need to create one for myself. I'm so inspired.

Holly:

Yeah. Yeah.

Calisa:

Mm-hmm.

Natalie:

um, okay. Also, something we've talked about before recording is maternal gatekeeping. Can you guys expound on that, what it means and what we can do about it?

Holly:

So this is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite topics. And of course we have a video on it. And, um, I think it happens subconsciously to most of us without understanding it. Um, and essentially maternal gatekeeping is a mother or birthings birthing person's refusal to let someone else, even their partner, um, perform, uh, tasks such as feeding, changing. Clothing, putting kids to bed. So it's this idea that I'm the only one that can do it. I'm the only one that's allowed to do it. And I mean, it makes sense, right? Because we're the ones who are carrying the child, right? And often the partner is sometimes in denial that a child is going to appear until it actually appears, right? When we've been like feeling the kicks in our bellies the whole time, or you know, whatever, half the pregnancy. Um, but what happens is all of a sudden we become the expert on, on the child, and then the partner, um, gets, you know, just becomes disengaged, right? They lack confidence because the mom or the birthing person doesn't allow them to do it. And then all of a sudden, then we become the only one that can do it. Then the partner, you know, loses confidence and just then, then those, those habits just happen time, after time, after time. And then the kid will only go to bed with one person, or only be fed by one person, and then guess what? That person's trapped. That person's stuck. That person has no, you know, no capacity or room to engage in their passions. Right? And then that other person is sitting there and they're saying like, Hey, well darn, like I'm not good at this. Okay, I'm just gonna go do something else. Then person A, the mom gets super resentful and mad at the at person B for not helping, but they've engaged in gatekeeping and they've locked the other person out, right? And so there's so much discussion about the mental load, the emotional labor, the domestic duties, right? And what we know is that. You know, there is a big disparity, right? But it's not just the partner that's to blame. It's sometimes the mom and the birthing person has created that environment. And so we want people to know about this concept in theory ahead of time, right? And it's so hard, but guess what? Like the birthing person needs to leave and they need to leave the partner with the baby because it's not fair for that partner to learn how to become a parent. With the mom peering over them and micromanaging and all of that. It's not, it's not fair, right? And so I know that maybe this is a controversial thing, but like, Hey, when the baby's two weeks old, mom needs to leave the house. Maybe it's only 20 minutes, but guess what? Like that partner needs to have time alone, and they need to learn how to be a parent too, without an audience and without someone telling them that they're doing it wrong. We, we have to learn it too. But that is how you create an equal partner, and that's how you, you know, stay away from what we call the volcano of resentment.

Natalie:

I wanna hear more about that.

Holly:

Well, I mean, it is just, it's just like that. It's like, you know, the moms, they're the only ones that can do all this stuff. So then you get stuck doing all this stuff. Then you don't get to do the things you care about. Then you're mad at your partner. Right. Then you're doing all the things, then you become the ultimate martyr. Right. Without, without meaning to

Natalie:

And you explode at some

Holly:

And then you explode. That's where some of the mom rage comes from. Right. That's where, you know, some of, uh, the divorce comes from or, you know, the, the wanting to, you know, wanting to get a divorce comes from. Right. And so we can get ahead of that by being aware. Of maternal gatekeeping and just being like, Hey, am I, am I, am I gatekeeping right now? Like, and what do I, what do I need to do? And of course, like moms and birthing people, we are the ones that breastfeed if you choose to do that. Right. But that doesn't, that, that's not the only thing that that needs to be done.

Natalie:

Right. Right.

Holly:

Right. And so, you know, what is the division of labor? Can you figure out some ways to empower your partner, um, so that they're engaged and so that they're an active part of becoming, becoming parents?

Natalie:

I love it. I love empowering other people, and I think that's, that's huge. Um, can you, I'm gonna ask you a hard question. What about single moms?

Holly:

Well, I mean, I think a lot of these skills can be used, um, you know, for, for single moms as well. And we always, we have entire videos about partners, but we always say a partner if you have one. Right? So we want to normalize single moms. We want to normalize families that have two homes where we, you know, there are lots of ways to create a family, right? And so a lot of these, um, maybe the partner module won't be as applicable to that person, but the module about body image, about cognitive distortions, about p mads, about creating a motherhood mantra about values, about all of these things, like, so much of it is applicable,

Natalie:

Yeah.

Holly:

And you know, sometimes if you're a single mom, like maybe you have other people who aren't. Blood related, but you have other people who are involved in, in your child's life. And so maternal gatekeeping doesn't just happen with, you know, the, the sperm donor or the dad. Right. You know, I know single moms who are raising their children with grandparents. Right. And maternal gatekeeping can easily happen with a grandparent too.

Natalie:

Yeah.

Holly:

So it is absolutely applicable.

Natalie:

Cool.

Calisa:

I think just being okay to ask for help. You know, maybe you have a friend, you could do some childcare trades or just getting creative with like what Holly said, what family is or what your community or village is, and, and be being creative, um, because single mom needs childcare and so do you know, uh, families of, you know, couples that are together. And so just finding ways to Yeah. Create that village.

Holly:

you know, and I'll just say, um, Khalisa, and I love the concept of aloe parenting

Natalie:

Oh, yes.

Holly:

and it is just this idea that, uh, you know, it seems like everyone is just, Parenting in their own bubble. Everyone is just, Nope, this is how we do it in our family. Don't enter our bubble. No one else can do it. Right. And my family, or our family and SSA's family, we spent a lot of time together. Um, my kids had their first sleepover at SSA's house when they were two years old. were too, you know, and I'm not saying that everyone else needs to do that right. To, to each their own. However, you know, we have spent enough time together where my kids are comfortable with her. They see her as like their second mom, you know, and vice versa. Right. And so this aloe parenting is this idea that like, hey, if a kid falls down and skins their knee, like that kid is comfortable with lots of different adults. Maybe not lots, but at least a small handful. Right. And I'll just riff on this for a second. Um, You know, ACEs, which is Adverse Childhood Experiences. Um, I think maybe some people are familiar with that, but I wanna talk about positive childhood experiences, and that is like, how do we create children who have secure attachments and you know, who are resilient and who can deal with hardship. And at the top of the list for positive childhood experiences, it's having adults that are outside of their family that they trust and that they know love

Natalie:

Hmm. Wow.

Holly:

And so in order to do that, we also have to give up control. Hey, guess what? Like, Calissa might not know exactly how I put my kids to bed, but she can do it. can do it. And, and it creates some cognitive like flexibility for, for everyone. There's more than one way to do it. And, and you know, that creates resilience, which is a lifelong skill.

Natalie:

Yeah, it's really interesting to kind of reflect on that. And also, I don't know, are you guys on TikTok?

Calisa:

No.

Holly:

Not for mom's matter now, but we, in theory, we would be, but

Natalie:

I don't post very much on TikTok, um, working on that, but I consume a lot of TikTok just to kind of figure out what's going on. And I ended up in, um, teen pregnancy TikTok, uh, single mom TikTok somehow. Like I just watch all the pregnant videos and, you know, they get fed to me. Um, and it's so very interesting and also like the, the stay-at-home mom TikTok, because that's who's making tos on what they do all day with their babies, right? And so there's kind of like a whole culture of you have to be able to do all of these things if you're staying home. Um, Which is a, I mean, it's a dangerous road to go down. Um, but like you were saying, the Instagram lifestyle, like if your life and your motherhood doesn't look perfect like this, then maybe it's wrong, maybe it's bad. And we get all in our head about that. Um, but then I've also been seen, which is very encouraging. People are responding to those videos and saying, Hey, I stayed in bed all day today with my child and I still have like, spit up on my clothes and I didn't go to the store and have a perfect laundry day and have a perfect meal prep day. And everything isn't white in my house. There's so much of that, like all of the kitchens are perfectly white. Um, which makes me laugh, but it's an interesting time of our culture when we're all, like you have said, parenting in our bubble and posting like, this is what my bubble looks like and other people are posting, this is what my bubble looks like. And people are relentless in the comments. And so I wonder. What impact that's gonna have in 10 years. Like if people don't have their villages in person, but they're relying on, you know, what other people are doing online. I don't know. This is a whole

Calisa:

And I think

Natalie:

train.

Calisa:

so many, yeah. I think so many people forget that majority of social media is, it's people's highlight reels. Right? How often are we posting the tantrums or Yeah, the messy houses. Um, all of our algorithms are those perfect houses and yeah, the, you know, hundred Pinterest activities that a stay-at-home mom got through in a day with their kid, and it's just not real. And um, I think, you know, my message is unfollow those people, like, get that out of your algorithm because it's not healthy for us to be following that. And um, you know, it's hard for us to, for it, for us to believe that it's not real and that's really how these people are living. But, um, it's just, yeah, it's not true. And so I do appreciate that people are commenting, um, With the realness, and I think that more of that is popping up. Um, I know one of my favorites that I follow is mom life comics, and I just love how real her stuff is. And I, I find that, I share that, um, mostly with my friends and even on our mom's, men are now Paige. Just yeah. The realness of, of motherhood. It's, it's really important.

Natalie:

Yeah.

Holly:

I will say we have entire videos about, um, comparison and what we call what's called performative motherhood, right? When you post that perfect meal or kitchen or whatever, right? So even just putting names to some of that, um, can create a lot of meaning and a lot of, a lot of power

Natalie:

Yeah. I hadn't heard that term before, so.

Holly:

perfor, performative motherhood. And, you know, we also have an entire video about ambivalence in motherhood, right? I mean, this is going off on a little bit of a tangent, but just this idea that like everything isn't always perfect. We don't always actually. Like being a mom all the time. Right. Or I mean, in theory, like, I like it, but there are times where like I am like, wow, if I didn't have kids, I'd be doing this right now. Right. So we have an entire video about, you know, ambivalence in motherhood, right? Just normalizing that we have to normalize the real stuff, and that is really one of our, our biggest goals with moms matter now.

Natalie:

Cool. Okay. Speaking of uh, social media accounts and other resources that you are sharing and giving people, what are some of your favorites? You already mentioned postpartum support, international, um, and mom life comic. Is that what it was? Um, what are some other, like books or websites, articles, blogs, whatever you wanna share that you would like to, to give out.

Calisa:

You

Holly:

Well, I thought I'd share two of my, yeah, two of my favorite books. And, you know, we did, um, as Calisa said earlier, you know, we've read a lot of these and actually integrated a lot of, um, the court concepts in, into our course. Um, but one of'em is Fair play by Eve Rodsky, and so a game changing solution, um, for when you have too much to do. And so, um, this is, there's actually a documentary version

Natalie:

Ooh.

Holly:

as well. Um, it's, it's like an hour and, you know, I've had lots of clients, um, watch it and actually even encouraged, um, male partners of clients to watch it because it's all about, um, the documentary is about how some families kind of reevaluate, um, how they. Operate as a, as a family. And they've really gone through this process of making their partner a true partner. Um, you'll see a little bit of a theme here, but, um, this is, I love, love, love this book by Kate Mangino. It's called Equal Partners, improving Gender Equality at Home. Um, it's no secret that, um, I'll speak for myself, but I know Kasa too. We are, we are feminists, right? And, um, we want to raise strong daughters who can be models, um, and not martyrs. And, and you know, we're, we're that, that's a, that's a good theme for, for us.

Natalie:

Yeah. Cool. I'll have to add those, those books to my list.

Holly:

they're fabulous. And you know, they both, um, fair Play has a great Instagram account. Um, they also have a secondary Instagram account called Unicorn Space. And I don't know, say you wanna talk about Unicorn Space or you want me to.

Calisa:

I haven't, I, I guess I haven't looked in that too. As much as you have. You probably know more

Holly:

well, I mean, unicorn space is just this idea that, um, and, you know, and there was even like a New York Times article about this, like a week ago, and it was talking about how men have more leisure time than, than women, right? Just due to the sole fact that women are doing more of the domestic duties, right? If I'm doing dishes and laundry and feeding the kids all the time, I don't have time to read, I don't have time to engage with my friends. I don't have time to pursue entrepreneurial, um, tasks and, and whatnot. So unicorn space is, it's, it's synonymous with leisure time and the ability to be a real, a real person. And so, following the Fair Play account, following the Unicorn Space account, which is, you can find it via the Fair play, um, Instagram account, uh, are things that I highly recommend.

Calisa:

I think one book that was really pivotal for me, um, in finding ways to ad advocate for myself as a female was, is, um, Glennon Doyle's book Untamed. And she also has a podcast called, um, we Can Do Hard Things. And she has always has amazing guests. And I just, that mantra of hers and even her podcast title, we Can Do Hard Things, has definitely is on repeat in my brain, in my work life, in my mom life, in my athletic pursuits. So, um, I highly re recommend that one as well. Podcast and, and the book.

Natalie:

Cool.

Holly:

Mm-hmm.

Natalie:

Awesome. I also wanna know, well, I have to always ask your number one piece of advice for the listeners. What do you want everyone to know? a hard question. I know.

Holly:

If I had one piece of advice for listeners, it's this idea that like, you don't have to marty yourself in motherhood. That's my, that's my one piece of advice. There's another way.

Natalie:

Perfect.

Calisa:

And I think mine is just, you know, motherhood is hard and we alluded to it earlier, we discussed that, you know, social media is in our faces and highlight reels are all around us, but you are strong and capable. Earn exactly the mother that your kids need.

Natalie:

I love that. Okay, so you guys went on a weekend trip to the mountains and you wanted to share?

Calisa:

I've just been seeing lately more in families, um, a, I guess a lack of energy to, you know, plan and do something. And it doesn't even have to be something expensive, something simple like taking your kids sledding or going for a hike. But we both understand it is so much work, it's so much work to prepare the food, to pack the gear. Um, but once we are to that destination or on, on that adventure, it is truly a vacation for us as mothers and enjoyment for the kids. I find that when my kids are out in nature and I've got everything with us that, that we need, that, um, they're, they're not arguing. Um, and you know, for somewhere like we're camping, we're able to sit in that camp chair. Um, oftentimes the food is somewhat prepared, so we're not having to, to do much preparation and it just, it's, it's really a win-win of us getting to where we wanna be. And in this situation, and we can explain more where we were and what we were doing, but the parents got to do some physical activity. The kids were, it was kind of a, a natural babysitter in this, you know, environment. And, um, we know it's a lot of effort to get there, but once you're there, it is so worth it. And just a tip for families to, if you can find that energy ahead of time to, to plan and prepare that, um, the payoff is just, it's so grand.

Holly:

Mm-hmm. And just a little background, we were, um, we were doing some spring skiing, so, you know, and this is a privileged thing to do, but we snow machine to the back of a valley and we were spring camping, um, which was really fun. And it, but it doesn't have to be, it doesn't have to be something like that. It can be, you know, the effort that it takes to get to out to the playground or, or something like that. Um, like Calisa said, it doesn't have to be expensive. Just get into the mountains. And it was so cool. Our kids were climbing trees and swinging back and forth, right? It was a natural teeter totter. They were seals sliding, they were sliding on their bellies, you know, down the frozen snow in the morning. It was awesome. And then we had, you know, one little instance where, In the afternoon or one day, you know, I booted, I hiked up with my skis to the top of Mount a mountain and skied down and it was really fun. And the next day, um, Lesa's oldest daughter, um, hiked up, uh, with a friend and some parents and skied a bigger line than I did. she comes down to me and says, Holly, how does it feel to be outs skied by an 11 year old? And you

Natalie:

that.

Calisa:

The appropriate sass. That was good. Yeah.

Holly:

the appropriate sas. And she was, she was expecting, you know, me to, I don't know, say whatever. But my response to her was, I am so proud of you. That is exactly the

Natalie:

Hmm.

Calisa:

Hmm.

Holly:

she just was silent.

Calisa:

Mm-hmm.

Natalie:

Yeah.

Holly:

I think she realized like, oh, okay. That was, that was cool.

Calisa:

Yeah. But also too, like if we're, you know, we've discussed this already, but if we're not taking care of ourselves, like our kids are gonna come down and say like, how does it feel to be beat? You know, if we're just not able or capable to do anything near what you know, what they're doing. And so it just reiterates like taking care of ourselves. You know, we're able to do these adventures and. Yeah, it's really hard to keep up with, especially my 11 year old already. But that's something to be proud of, right? You want your kids to be doing bigger lines than you ever have been able to, and, and modeling that for them, and you know, and they're not getting to that bigger line on their own. Um, you have to take them there to get them there. Um, and so, yeah, it's, it's a very like prideful moment of that this is happening and that, you know, our mantra is working.

Natalie:

I love it. You guys are amazing. I so appreciate the time and energy you spent with me today. I feel like we could continue our conversation. We may have to do a part two and part three. I have more questions for you already, but we will, we will end here. Um, can you tell our listeners where they can find you online, um, will link all of your social media accounts and websites as well. Um, and then how would someone get in touch with you?

Holly:

It's pretty simple. It's just moms matter now.com. Um, for our website, we're at Moms matter now on Facebook and Instagram. Our dms are always open, um, and if you're in Alaska or Anchorage, you can find us in the mountains or at a trailhead.

Natalie:

Awesome. Thank you guys so much for being here today.

Calisa:

Thanks for

Holly:

so much for giving us the platform to talk about

Natalie:

Absolutely. I so enjoyed learning more about maternal mental health issues and how moms matter now can help you prepare for what's normal while giving you strategies and tools to overcome those common motherhood, mental health struggles. I love how committed both Holly and Khalisa are to educating others so they don't have to go through those issues without support. Please remember that what you hear on this podcast is not medical advice, but remember to always be an active participant in your care and talk to your healthcare team before making important decisions. If you found this podcast helpful, please consider writing a five star review in your favorite podcast app. Thanks so much for listening. I'll catch you next time.