Essential Insight To Postpartum And Bundles Of Health

Questions about postpartum? Well, let me introduce you to Bundles of Health who had some questions for me...

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

When a smart group of Northwestern University Students launches a platform supporting the holistic health of mom's reaches out and say's we'd like some of your input... I say "how can I help?" Considering I love to write and have so many thoughts on being a new mom I want to share, their questions only helped propel me into getting information out to all of you even quicker. 

Why is health and wellness important to you?

Without health and wellness we have to ask ourselves, “what kind of life are we living if this isn’t important to us as individuals?” I would encourage it to be important to EVERYONE. I could go on forever about this… but in short; As I learn more about how nutritional food plays such a significant role in our mind, body and spirit health I challenge us all to take a serious look at how we care for ourselves. As a society, I wish we had nutrition, yoga & meditation courses throughout our education systems starting in pre-school through master programs that reached even the medical field more significantly. My personal journey has been transformative as a growing interest in the wellness industry had me asking questions about my value in the quality of life I was experiencing. Several years ago I fell into the pool of many, who get caught waiting until something is wrong to make changes. A scare with an auto immune disorder developing gave me great insight to how I could be living a much healthier, happier life. Curiosity and passions have led me to educate myself through literature, documentaries, courses, podcasts and even using social media as a platform to take better care of myself. I then ask, how I can pay it all forward? I want to live a long and vibrant life and I have control over the food I eat, how active I remain and the lifestyle choices I make to support that longevity I'm striving for. I hope to inspire others to do the same. Finding the recipe that’s right for you with things like; organic healthy food, yoga, exercise you enjoy, meditation and sleep are vital to our health and wellness. These important, quality of life elements often are the first thing we neglect and do not prioritize because we are too busy working or taking care of everyone and everything but ourselves. When we are living in a time where we are likely to die from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, I pray we honor the things we have control over and do our very best to live an abundantly healthy life.

 
Photo by Erik Almaa

Photo by Erik Almaa

 

While pregnant, did you think about how you would take care of your health postpartum?

I went into my pregnancy feeling great! I planned to continue on with my mindful lifestyle and listen for any adjustments that this special time might call for. I absolutely thought about maintaining this postpartum, with the addition of allowing myself to fully heal before jumping back into how physically active I usually am. My biggest concern was my emotional health. In my case, two months prior to our due date, I moved after living the past 17 years with a flourishing career and wonderful friendships in Los Angeles to Sonoma, California to settle into a quieter life with my fiancé. Moving in general is challenging not to mention doing it seven months pregnant with your new home under renovations. Leaving friends and my career naturally had me wondering how I would handle it all as I became a new mom. I mentally prepared with mediation practices at the forefront, focusing on all of it being a positive experience and how greatly our family would benefit from this decision. I was equally excited about the change so it made visualizing myself in a wonderful new environment that much easier.  Daily gratitude about it all still serves my mind so well. 

Not knowing what kind of birth experience my story would turn out to be also took some preparation. By about 35 weeks I referred to resources of what types of things would help your recovery period and made sure to have them at home ready. We also hired a doula who was an amazing guide during birth and gave great insight to what kinds of things we could expect and how she’d assist with postpartum. There are plenty of articles you read that can be scary as well so I chose to be aware, but not slip into a place of worry and anxiety. Most importantly I made a commitment that I would be very open about how I'm feeling as bonding with our baby girl and my loving fiancé took over our lives.  I’d continue eating healthy meals and ask for support with all the specific self-care I would need.  As independent as I’ve been, I trust that if there’s ever a time to really ask for help this would be it... and I do. 

It takes a village to raise a kid. How has your village helped you through both pregnancy and as a new mom?

So much support is necessary during pregnancy and as you become a new Mom. Having a village is crucial. I’m blessed with an incredible man who has tremendous communication and has fully supported my ever-changing emotions during everything so far. If I was to itemize the things he’s done since we found out we were having a baby to make this time so joyful and easier on me, this blog would be really lengthy. He’s present and helpful every step of the way. The only thing he can’t do is breastfeed if that gives any indication to everything he does to help out. I know how lucky I am with him. Both sides of our parents have come to visit since our baby girl arrived and been incredible with respecting our time for bonding and taken on house chores, making meals and grocery store runs. They’ve allowed us to be completely hands on with our baby and let us guide them when it’s ok to take her for a walk or hold and play with her. We are so grateful for Emerie’s Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and all they do for us. The support and guidance from girlfriends has been a delight. From paying forward baby registries, sharing lists that helped them and girl talk about the entire process has kept me smiling and pointed in the right direction if I’ve had questions. Two of my very best friends just gave birth right before me and we’ve had a ball sharing stories, tips, photos and the miracle of becoming new moms all together. Erik, my fiancé, and I had decided we wanted to do as much as we could all on our own and that hiring Kate Coletti, our doula would be the only outside help we’d have until we felt we really needed more. Kate is special and having gained our trust and a natural comfort upon meeting her we knew she was aligned with our needs in the birthing process and postpartum. I think the most magical thing about having her expertise is how she helped the bond between Erik and grow even stronger before, during and after we welcomed our baby girl. Her guidance has created an overall wonderful experience for us especially as questions or concerns arrive.     

Photos by Kate Coletti

Photos by Kate Coletti

EssentialinsighttopostpartumandbundlesofhealthJPG

 What’s the hardest thing about being a new mom?

For me it’s not so much about being hard, as it’s just full of adjustments. There is joy beyond words in being a mom and holding a tiny life that you created with another human. I always hoped to be a mom and with a partner like Erik, it makes it even more amazing than I knew it could be. Some of the adjustments that are challenging me are things like; the posture my body has taken on breastfeeding 24/7… it’s a terrible slump, I’ve tweaked my neck, my back and shoulders are suffering and since I’m slowly getting back to my yoga and everything I’m used to doing, I feel stiff and tight, not normal for a yogi. As much as I love slowing down and relishing in just holding our baby, I have to remind myself I’m not juggling work like I was and to just enjoy being a mamma. I’m a creative being though so I crave keeping that flowing but it takes blocks of time to focus and that isn’t always possible right now. Learning to trust your instincts and not google search everything you may have doubts about is something that I struggled with right away and thankfully has really settled now. You spend so much time with this little person you do just naturally have all the instincts together that help guide each other. And everyone does say sleep is the hardest… It’s no joke, I could feel myself whimpering like a 5year old some nights not knowing how I could sit up in this terrible posture and breastfeed one more time, but you see their sweet little eyes and face just communicating to you they're hungry and then you do and I can fall back asleep pretty easily so I have that going for me. I’ve felt more rested than I thought I would but I thank Emerie for that, so far she’s been a pretty darn good sleeper for us and we are the queens of naps. 

Photo by Mike Byrne

Photo by Mike Byrne

How could you see Bundles of Health being beneficial to new moms and the people who care about them?

There are not a lot of companies out there that are focused on the postpartum aspect of how to help mamas holistically in these new roles and I love that about Bundles of Health. I can see how a lot of mom's may not care for themselves the way they'd like to or perhaps once did when a baby arrives, as it is incredibly hands on and the hours can just drift by with loosing site of even the simplest things, like drinking enough water. Having a place where healthy, mindful gift packages are put together to send to a mom in need or for a mamma to refer to is so wonderful. I bet most mamma's out there would trade a $75 bouquet of flowers sent to them for an organic salmon dinner or an at home massage or even a snack pack filled with nutrient rich products any day. Offering a virtual doula is another resourceful component that I can see many new moms using. Many like me, don't have family living nearby and that's difficult at times, when you wish they could be closer.  When asked, "what can we do" or "how can we help",  I would love to refer family and friends to a place like Bundles of Health just as I would like to choose things from there to send to the mamma's in my life I can't be with. The convenience of giving mom's the Add To Registry button is handy as well. You have some wonderful items already listed that I have used during my pregnancy and postpartum. I think you're on a roll and have a beautiful business that will flourish. 

Andreas Most Essential Postpartum List

Thank you for stopping by and a special thanks to Bundles Of Health for reaching out to me and having me share some of my story & tips with all of you. Please check out their site and support one of the mamma's in your life. If you have any questions or comments for me, bring it on... I love hearing from you guys! 

xo Andrea

HELLO LITTLE PERSON GROWING IN MY BELLY

Hello to all my lovelies who've experienced the joy of having a blossoming bundle of joy grow inside your belly. How truly magical is that feeling?

Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

I often find myself just staring at my tummy waiting for any sort of movement that instantly makes me giggle and shockingly gasp like it's the first time, every time. It triggers a love fest with my belly that I simply cherish right now. Somedays I'm in disbelief that I'm going to be a mom and a wife and that there really is a tiny human inside there growing everyday. And as things have progressed, I catch a glimpse of my newly shaped profile looking like I've swallowed a watermelon, feel her fighting for space to stretch her tiny limbs and I relish in happiness again and again. She's just waiting to bless us with her presence and say "hello world, I am here." Gush right?  

A grand adventure is about to begin
— Winnie the Pooh

It seems to be quite common that many women in their last trimester have made those decisions with their partners to see how many things they can do at once with the hopes to be settled before the baby arrival day. Anyone else move, change jobs, get married or perhaps did all three during your nine months of preparing for mommy hood and can relate to this? I'm bearing witness to it not just being a cliche the pregnancy books write about but I genuinely feel my body and mind begging for everything to slow down. Widely referred to as the "nesting" period. I'm listening loud and clear now and getting settled is wonderful and something I truly am grateful for.  I hope the same for any of you.

Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

I've delighted in my yoga practice and have continued to teach as much as I can for the calming aspect it brings to my soul regularly. It's lovely to know I'm getting a gift from my classes and private clients as we share in something that remarkably benefits my mind, body & spirit during this process. I give major props to all the women out there juggling whatever various tasks, jobs & activities you may be involved in during pregnancy– you are truly women of strength and courage. 

Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom
— Harriette Hartigan

Sending so much love and blessings out there to all the women embarking on a dream of being a mama, those whom are and those currently preparing... may we give each other support & inspiration always. Let's make magic. 

xo Andrea

What Happened When I Unplugged From Social Media?

Let me start by saying whooo hooo! Unplugging from social media is G L O R I O U S. 

Photo by  Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

For anyone who's missed my announcement... my fiancé and I are having our first baby and decided to take a much needed break from all work as best we could to be together, relax and create a family plan before our little bundle of joy arrives in July. I've been intrigued by the friends I've seen take a month off from social media and decided that this would be the perfect time to take a break as well. Our seven days may not seem like much but it served us both so well. Kauai is a magical place to embrace & explore and really sink in to it's beauty. Now I'd like to pay it forward. 

Have you guys ever unplugged in any kind of way? I've definitely limited use of phone at times and shut things down for a day here and there but since the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.. I've become pretty consistent with posting content I enjoy sharing and don't often miss a day. I find myself most active on Instagram. With my own posting commitment I also spend time looking through feeds of those I follow for all kinds of reasons; motivation, happiness, a good laugh, style, friends & family, education, shopping, world news... it can be an abundant and overwhelming time-suck at times right? 

I would be remiss if I didn't admit; somedays creating a post is far too time consuming. Checking to see who's viewed or liked it happens periodically out of habit and I often catch myself going directly to Instagram when I picked up my phone to make a call, put something in my calendar, send an e-mail and such. It’s apparent how easy this monkey mind subconscious can take over. Is anyone else with me on this?  Now the key is to use these unplugging tactics to sustain new habits.  Limit yourself to be on social media for an allotted time that serves you well but doesn't end up highjacking you of precious time that would be better spent elsewhere. 

My mind is often blown when I see how many followers some individuals and brands have and I wonder will I get there, do I need to, does my brand become better if I do? All logical questions I guess when you are a blogger looking to grow your audience and reach to the masses in an inspiring way... but really how important is this pertaining to what I truly value in my life? I hope we're all questioning this at times. 

My purpose on social media is inspiration and branding; seeking and providing. I hope to connect in a positive way with those that may enjoy a little insight into what's helped me along my journey as an actress, yoga instructor and human who seeks sustaining happiness, acceptance and pleasures in everyday joys. I made a deal with myself when I entered the social media craze that posts should be; kind, fun, inspiring and thoughtful and even a little goofy at times... never straying from my authentic self and integrity. It wasn't a place to rant complaints, judge or be negative. My fiancé, Erik and I hope to instill these same morals as we expand our family. We remain curious and interested in how to be great partners and parents with our digital lives. It's fun to connect with family and friends on this level. In addition, those I follow are aligned with my brand Inspirational Addict and provide intentions that support my mind, body & spirit well. 

What I learned:

  • I am far more present in my surroundings and conversations when I'm not scrolling and posting.
  • There is a sense of contentment that arrives when you let go of needing to share everything or see what others are up to.
  • The voices of comparison and questioning how good or useful my content is dissipated. 
  • You pick up where you leave off. Nothing changes, I never felt as though I was missing out... I loved not caring. 
  • How enjoyable it is to listen intently, talk and feel heard and connect organically to each moment of your day.
  • It feels darn good to simply take a break from it all. Meditating and yoga felt even calmer & more connected to myself.

tips for mindful social media:

  • Ask yourself why you're on social media? Get clear about it.
  • Decide the allotted time you should spend per day and stick to it; brand versus personal fun (if you have a brand)
  • Be authentic to who you are with honesty, integrity and wise intentions in your posts.
  • Create content that you enjoy sharing and the audience that loves you for you will come.
  • With-in your allotted time you've established; like and comment with the things that bring you joy.
  • Take a break from all social media every so often. Schedule power down's and observe how that can help you grow. 
Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

This has been a particularly special time in my life. Feeling this baby girl growing in my belly day by day and being with Erik traveling to yet another beautiful place I'd never been. I cherish that we both took time to just be together and get connected to what's most important in life; LOVE and FAMILY. No matter where you are geographically or spiritually you have an opportunity to pause and let go of the chaos that being on social media too much can bring and create a healthier digital life. It will not only help you grow as a person but will deepen your connection to everyone you cross paths with. Delight in that.... it's just lovely.

fun fact:

I'm happy to report amongst the long list of National Day's the www.NationalDayCalendar.com added National Day for Unplugging.  It's the first Friday of March every year as of 2017. 

Thank you guys for popping by, I love hearing from you so if you have comments or questions or tips for me, send them my way! Share your unplugging story back with me... Biggest Hugs! 

xo Andrea

 

OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE YET, A LITTLE ONE IS ON THE WAY

What has been your greatest adventure to date? Has it been visiting a place, a crazy experience, a milestone event or ____________ ? You can fill in the blank.

ADVENTURE:

An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.[1] Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger such as traveling, exploring, skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting or participating in extreme sports. The term also broadly refers to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, or other major life undertakings.

Life has certainly been filled with a multitude of great adventures thus far. Each in their own element. Often life changing, empowering, liberating, humbling, powerful...etc. I can't imagine that anything will compare to the adventure of becoming parents! Yes, you heard me correctly. Erik and I are graciously embarking on the adventure of a lifetime as we prepare and step into becoming parents this year.  We feel incredibly blessed and share our excitement with all of you. 

Photo By  Mike Byrne

Photo By Mike Byrne

This news completely rocks your life in the best way possible and suddenly every decision you make is now with thoughtful intentions about becoming a family. All of you who've experienced this know what I mean right? With a glorious, deep breath in and out, I look forward to this journey.  Erik and I are over the moon!

As a mamma-to-be in my late 30's there are a lot of varying circumstances that can add worry and fear to what's suppose to be a blissful time. So far yoga, meditation and mindful eating have helped me every step of the way with staying healthy, vibrant, accepting of all the emotions and changes I'm discovering. Having support from an incredible partner, family and friends makes this process even sweeter than I knew it could be. I'm thankful. 

As I continue to share life's greatest inspirations here, this will be another wonderful way I get to connect with you. For you amazing humans out there considering, trying, already experiencing parenthood... I send you oodles of love and light in your adventure and always know this is a shared space of community supporting each other.  I cherish hearing from you guys, comments and tips, fun stories... you name it, they're always welcome here. 

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body
— Elizabeth Stone

XO ANDREA