S2E7: More Than You See
2:45PM Jun 24, 2021
Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the More Than You See podcast hosted by me, actor, filmmaker mental health advocate, Deborah Lee Smith. Every Monday, I come to you to share some resources, have a conversation, and generally just dive into all sorts of topics around mental health. I am not a licensed practitioner or therapist, but just a woman exploring my own mental health journey and sharing it with you, my listeners. My hope is that this podcast brings you some joy, some understanding, and some tools so that you can build your own mental health toolbox.
Thanks again everyone, for joining me last week for a really incredible conversation with Cecilia Tripp, Erin Stegeman, and Christy Elder Holmes about postpartum. We dove into postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, the effect that postpartum has on their partners. And I have to say, I have had so much incredible feedback from everyone about this episode, and I'm just so honored that I could bring it to you all. You know, this is something I talked about a little bit on the first episode or that past episode, but I am very much looking forward to being a mom one day. And it's ironic because I was talking to one of my dearest friends who has zero desire to be a mom. And she was saying she was listening to the episode and just felt so much sympathy and was like so resolute in her decision being like, Oh, yeah, no, I definitely don't want to go through, you know those things. And I listened to that episode, and was just inspired and in awe of my incredible friends, and also so excited for me to explore that chapter of my life at some point in the future. Thank you, friends so much for opening up and being vulnerable and sharing your experiences in such a beautiful and touching way, I know that I appreciated it, and so did the entire community.
Now, as I've said previously, I want to use these little mini episodes to kind of share some takeaways from the previous episode and provide some additional resources. So that if you're listening, you can maybe take what you've learned and share it with someone else or use it to help you on your own journey.
I think what was so incredible about last episode was about how, you know, obviously, we think and we talk all the time about how much pregnancy affects the body. And of course, in our society, we're very focused on the female body and it being perfect in some way. And we very much neglect the discussion of the mind, and how much our our body changes in our mind as well. And I'm so glad that we were able to have an open and honest discussion about that.
I think the, my main takeaway, though, from that whole conversation last week, which I know isn't necessarily mind blowing, I don't think that it's necessarily anything like a huge realization... but I do think it's important to state that every single person's perspective and story that they shared was different. Everyone's birthing story is different. Everyone's pregnancy is different, everyone's postpartum is different. And even though it's such a universal experience, it's still very solitary. And I think we need to put extra emphasis on that and give women so much respect for going through that in such a singular way.
I was talking with a very good friend of mine yesterday, who just recently also had a kid and she was actually supposed to also be on this episode, but she ended up having her child two weeks early, so she wasn't able to be part of this conversation. And she was saying that, this was her second child and the way that her body just knew what to do the second time...she was like, I was completely in awe of myself. And I think that's so special. But I think that's also you know, not even universal. And it's just like mental health. With mental health it's so important that we advocate for ourselves and that we remember that my mental health experience is very different, potentially from your mental health experience and your friends mental health experience. And that's why mental health is sometimes so difficult to explore and dive into because it is such a singular solitary experience. But I do think that continuing to have conversations like this, both about mental health and about postpartum allows people to find connections in their personal stories to everyone else's personal stories. And it just makes you feel a little bit less alone, which is exactly why I've created this podcast. And I think there is something really wonderful about the fact that even if your postpartum experience or pregnancy experience, birth experience was vastly different than what you've heard on the podcast last week, I'm sure that you still took something away from someone else's story. And that's really special.
I also, you know, thinking about the solitary nature of, you know, our culture nowadays, it's I mean, first of all, Cecilia discussed being pregnant and having her first child during COVID. I just can't... I'm sending you so much love Cecilia, I'm sending all of my friends who were, you know, on this episode, love. But Cecilia, it was, it was so important and vulnerable for you to speak to that. Because I think that, you know, I personally went through a lot of emotional distress being alone during COVID. But being, you know, even with just your partner and having a child during COVID, your first, it just, it kind of broke my heart a little bit, especially because we aren't meant to do this alone. You know, like we as a society have kind of gone into more of a solitary way of raising children and having, having our lives, and that's not the way that we were made. We were made to raise families with communities.
It's so fascinating, because a couple years ago, I was in Africa. And I was visiting my sister who was in the Peace Corps, and she lived in a village in Africa, like in a very rural rural area. And we were there when one of the Chief's wives had just had a child. I mean, this baby was less than a week old. And it was fascinating because, you know, in Western society and my society, you know, that I'm most aware of that mom would not have her less than a week old child away from her for a second. Or you know, very little like, you pretty much just have your child on you. That's the way that it is. In Africa, when we were visiting the wife of the Chief, she, we would see her sometimes and she would have the child she'd be feeding her child, but then sometimes her child wouldn't even be with her. And I would say to my sister, like, where did the - where did the baby go? And she's like, oh, one of the other women has her. And that's just the nature of the way that they raise children in other areas of the world - is that it's, it's still more of a communal effort, and experience. And I think that there's something so beautiful about that.
Again, it's just so important to continue having these conversations, because we are learning more about ourselves, we're learning more about others. And I think that that's the way that we can, you know, really focus on acceptance and love for each other, and appreciation for everyone's experience. So again, ladies, thank you.
I want to very quickly wrap this up by providing four books that I think are really incredible resources for anyone who is going through postpartum, especially if you have some kind of pre existing mental health difficulties. The first book is actually one that Erin mentioned, and it's it's kind of a nutrition book in relation to having a child it's called "The First 40 Days". And it's specifically for women who are transitioning from postpartum or from childbirth to postpartum. And it's really about the essential body care, nutrients, minerals that your body needs in order to sustain itself in this postpartum few months. It has recipes it has, yeah, all sorts of really incredible things. And it also offers advice about, you know, what's going on in your body at a physical level. So I think it's really incredible. Again it's called "The First 40 Days", all four books that I'm going to mention are up on my website in the blog. So if you go to morethan-yousee.com and click on books, you'll find these are the first four books that will pop up for you. And that will - that link will be in the show notes.
The second book that I think is really incredible is called "Nurture". It was written by a doula and a co-founder of the Los Angeles based birthing center called Loom. And it's really about a holistic approach to self care when it comes to postpartum and birth. And it's really about, you know, learning to trust yourself and trust your body in a really beautiful way. I think that's also really important.
The third book is called "The Fourth Trimester" and it's about how to heal your body and your emotions, as you are in that fourth trimester, which is, you know, kind of a joke, but it's like the postpartum. And so it's really about, you know, transitioning into motherhood, like what does it mean to be a mother, and also manage what's going on with your body and hormones and everything going on. So that's what the fourth trimester is about.
And then the last book is called "Awake at 3am". And this book is actually written by a therapist, and it's specifically for women who are really having a difficult time experiencing joy in motherhood. And I think this is something that we don't necessarily talk about is the fact that sometimes women are, you know, that like, especially if you've been predisposed to depression or anxiety, sometimes it's really difficult to get into a loving state when it comes to your child. Like, of course, of course, you love your child. But sometimes there can be some, like, additional grief or just difficulties when it comes to parenting. And that's what this book is really about, is about anyone who is facing some, you know, really serious mental health concerns, and addressing those concerns with transparency and love. And it's, it's a guide for anyone who's going through that.
So I really hope that, you know, those four books may potentially help you again, they're on my website. And I just want to say thank you again, to my four or my three incredible friends who participated in this episode. I think it's so so incredibly important to be open and honest about our experiences, especially around something like postpartum. And I hope that if you know you're listening and you either have a friend or you yourself, are going through something like this, I hope that it - that it gives you some peace and knowing that you're not alone. Whatever you're feeling when it comes to postpartum or birth or potentially having children - anything that you're thinking, I guarantee that there's someone who's thinking some something similarly and that's what this community is there for for you.
Next week I'm really excited to be diving into an episode with a very dear friend of mine, Sara Tomko, we really talk about mental health for actors as well as the you know what it's like to go through a really horrible divorce as well as spirituality and, you know, connecting with the earth. It's, it's a really beautiful episode.
Again, I want to thank you for being part of this community. Please. Rate review, subscribe, all of the things, please share this episode with a friend that you think might resonate with them. I want to thank my incredible editor Jen for her tireless work to help bring this season to life. It's been wonderful working with you, Jen. Please be kind to yourself this week. Remember that you and everyone around you is more than you see. Thank you so much for listening. And I will see you next week.