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[00:00:00] Meredith: Hello Krista, I'm here. How are you?

[00:00:02] Krista: Hello. Yay. I am wonderful. I am even better now that you are here jumping on with us to talk about all things mom life.

We're gonna get deep into the trenches and talk about our mom journey. So far we have kids that are pretty close in age. It was exciting and refreshing both of us working together in our day gigs. We were expecting just about the same time.

[00:00:30] Meredith: Yes. In fact, when you announced at work that you were pregnant I heard some people say, I thought something was going on, and I freaked out because I knew I was pregnant, and I was hoping no one knew what was going on quite yet. So it was fun that all the attention went to you so I could just keep my little secret of a little while longer.

I really appreciated you getting pregnant before me.

[00:00:53] Krista: Well, you know, I try to help out every now and then when I can with, with things like that. So, so yes, Meredith and I both have little girls and so hers is you? Yeah. You were right behind me.

So, like we said, just, just a few months apart.

[00:01:09] Meredith: Yeah. She just turned three on Monday.

[00:01:13] Krista: Oh my gosh. Yeah, and mine just turned three, just a few months ago. So yeah, we're just, just neck and neck with each other, so we're gonna get right into it. So at the very beginning of when I started this podcast, one of my first few episodes is me sharing my birth story. And as we all know, every Mama's birth story is unique and different and you plan for one thing, knowing that it might, it's probably gonna get derailed, but at the end of the day, we all just wanna come out on the other side of it as healthy mamas, healthy babies, healthy families. So if would, we would love to hear whatever you are open to sharing with us about your birth story.

[00:02:00] Meredith: Absolutely. Well, my initial birth plan was that Maxine would come early while I was at Beyonce concert at Vanderbilt Stadium. I was about eight and a half months pregnant at the time, and I was like, this would be the place, this would be the best. There's so many EMTs on hand. Vanderbilt is right around the corner.

Like that was my original birth plan. If I really could have snapped my fingers and had the baby anyway, it would be, you know, on site at the Beyonce concert... However, that...Honestly, that was the only real birth fantasy that I had. You know, I took a class, and they make you take a class and they really emphasize if you wanna go natural, you have to take additional classes because this is nothing to mess around with.

Like a natural birth has been really hyped up as like a thing every woman can do and they wanted to let you know. It is a little more intense than that. And so I think they were gonna make you watch videos and stuff like that, but I really had no plan. I just thought, let's see what happens. I have an estimated birthdate of Maxine, and if it goes over, then I'll go get induced and then I'll go have a C-section.

So as many bowls of hot red curry that I had, she never came early. She was two weeks past due. So we went in, I was induced and I held off on the epidural for like eight hours. And then I was just exhausted. I was like, okay, let's do this. Just gimme the epidural. And at that time, all the medicine really kicked in and I dilated from like, however many centimeters to 10.

And I just remember like squeezing on Jason's hand so hard that his fingers looked like he had arthritis at the end. And he was like, oh, that hurt. And, and the only typical pregnant woman thing I ever said was, oh, that hurts. Oh. You think that's painful?

And it didn't work out that way. So we ended up getting a C-section and she came out, she was so big, the whole room cracked up. They were shocked by how large this baby was. And they put her on a scale, and I see it go 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. And we're like we have a 15 pound baby and they're like, no, that's ounces.

She was eight pounds, 15 ounces. But we were convinced we had a 15 pound baby cuz she was so fat. But she's, you know, she was great. It's just leading up to that point. My whole pregnancy was akay even where the doctors had cut me open for the C-section. I have tattoos and they perfectly realigned them.

Everything about it was great. Once she was out of me though, that's when everything went crazy. So I don't think many listeners I hope will have to identify with this, but you know, I think in general people have some crazy members in their family. Like no family is just perfect, Howdy Doody, where everyone's best friends. Like there are some different relationships and different attitudes that people have. Well I come from a very outspoken family and so my mother and father are divorced and they hate each other, but they both really wanted to be there when Maxine was born and they both wanted to be there all the time.

So this is pre-Covid and my family wouldn't leave the room. And then there were issues with security. At probably most hospitals, just because the world's so screwed up, you have to put security tags on the babies to make sure people don't take them. And Maxine's chip kept malfunctioning.

So all hours of the day and night, the nursing staff would run into the room screaming, where's the baby?

Where's the baby? So that, that was very stressful. Also, like they include a meal plan. They like charge you $2,000 or whatever for you to eat crappy hospital food and so, We were locked and we were just limited to whatever Jason could walk to or whatever the hospital would give us.

And so, you know, it would take about an hour just to get some cold, wet toast. You know, it's like, if, if I could have planned ahead, I would make sure people brought me food, which luckily my dad and mom would go get, but it would also take them an hour to come back out and,

[00:06:30] Krista: with parking and traffic and...

[00:06:32] Meredith: And I'm figuring out is, are my mom and dad gonna be in the same room too long? Because that's another stress. Like, we're not sleeping much. My body's still healing. All this is going on. Well, then I'll keep this real short. My brother picks a fight with a nurse, a security guard, steps stepson. A few hours later, the security guard tells my mother and my brother that there's been a bomb threat and they have to remove their car.

And, and then the security guard says, haha. Just kidding. Once he could see, my mom was getting really upset and my mom lost her mind on the sky because you don't joke about bombs, you don't, you don't talk about bombs in a building with babies and loved ones. So that escalated to a point where the next day my brother couldn't let the fight go, couldn't let the situation go cuz it was inappropriate on both sides.

My brother shouldn't have picked a battle with a nurse and that security guard shouldn't have joked about a bomb threat.

My brother ended up getting evicted from the hospital. So here I am with a two and a half day old baby that's constantly running out of the room, they think, so nurses, nurses are screaming, where's the baby?

My mom and my brother are now fighting with the whole staff. My brother gets kicked out and now it's just me and my dad. And he is like, well, brother can just sit outside. I'm gonna spend a little bit more time with my grandbaby. It was the most stressful experience. Then I come home and my mother has moved in for a couple days to help us and her version of helping is a little bit different. So she thought, let me make this nice big meal for them. With every dish in the house. Cook with Pyrex on stove top. I'm grabbing my new baby, and like running into another room. There's no moment where we are alone or able to figure out.

Where to start with Maxine? I would say for anyone having a child now you might think it really sucks to be alone at the hospital, but I'll tell you, it doesn't. It's gonna be wonderful. You will have time to readjust your new reality. You'll have time to figure things out and your rhythms and just accept that space as a gift.

Because when you are surrounded by family, it can be a little intense.

[00:09:02] Krista: Yes. Yes. And if anything, maybe that's a important spot to highlight setting boundaries with family.

[00:09:14] Meredith: And I had no idea cuz my sister had a baby nine months prior to that. And she loved my mother coming in and doing everything and speaking up for her and all that. And I had to get up from my bed, with like, my organs still bare, still held in by one stitch. You know, I had to be like, everybody cool down, nurse, chill out, mom, chill out.

Like we are here. For me, I have had a baby. Like I really, I had to remind people what was happening and who the focus in the room was supposed to be, and it was insane, but I had no idea that that could even be a possibility.

[00:09:51] Krista: Who would've thought? Who would've thought?

[00:09:54] Meredith: so, yeah, I would just say if you could have people drop off, if you know someone is a great support and you can tell them exactly what you need from them, maybe this story will help you find what you need.

If you're a first time parent, if you're a second time parent, you'll know.

[00:10:09] Krista: You'll know you've been through the, you've been through it before.

[00:10:13] Meredith: Gosh, but my mom also, so like then, then we get back that day, she cooks with every dish in the house. So I start doing the dishes and instead of saying, don't do that, she says, I thought you might do that.

It's like, you're the worst. You're the worst right now. You're the opposite of help. And through the night, Maxine would cry cuz that's what babies do. And cuz she's freshly out of a womb it's like, what is this place?

And so my mother was trying to give her pillows and blankets and, all the stuff that they say don't do, and they said don't do in the eighties, but she ignored.

And she was trying to help in her own way, but it wasn't the way that I needed it. And Jason too. He is someone that believes he can only learn by doing something himself. So my mother constantly inserting herself and offering help was not helpful to him either because he was trying to figure out Max's rhythms and he's like, we're gonna have to figure out what to do eventually your mom's gonna leave.

And my mom offered to stay longer and I, I had to find a polite way to say no.

[00:11:18] Krista: Yes, good intentions. Lots of people are going to extend their help in their own ways, right? And so, yes, definitely an important reminder to don't be afraid to establish those boundaries on the front end. We don't think about these things.

All we're thinking about is birthing this human and trying to get our sea legs under us with being a new parent and everything. So the last thing we're thinking of is, Boundaries. And you know, you are looking for the help, but again, sometimes you need help. Often we need help in the way we want the help, right?

Because when it's, when it's in a way that's well intended, but not helpful, sometimes that can only escalate things. So but here we are, Meredith. We have made it this far three years later, our little humans, our flourishing toddlers. Just getting, getting into all of the things.

But before I get ahead of myself, I do wanna ask what is something no one told you about being a mom besides the importance of boundaries for

[00:12:31] Meredith: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I do wish. I do wish, yeah, I, I will say like I did have a hard time when I was pregnant, I had the easiest breezy pregnancy. My skin got better, like my butt looked better. Everything that was happening internally, it was fine. I got really into meditation, which helped with stress in general, my pregnancy story was great. But yeah, I, I didn't think about what happened after this baby came. I would say if you're a first time mom, it'd be really good to start therapy before your baby comes because it might help you unpack some things. When Maxine came outta me, I had postpartum anxiety where literally as soon as she came outta me, I started to worry about all babies everywhere, like.

The horrible things that happen to children that you can't control, that children that aren't your own stories of hear in news people that accidentally run over their kids. Like everything just flooded into my brain and I think if I had started therapy before that I might have been able to kind of address some anxiety before it manifested in that way.

That's something I would recommend. That no one really talked about it. They talked about postpartum depression, but I wasn't depressed. I was just freaked out by the lack of control of what happens to children in this world, you know?

[00:13:59] Krista: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:00] Meredith: But yeah, therapy did help after, but it might, it might have been beneficial to dive into that.

And the thing is, it wasn't even something on my mind. It's just something that Was pulled outta my mind as soon as she came there so that the anxiety was there. I just didn't know it, but it, it can never hurt to talk to someone beforehand. It's kind of like when people get married, a lot of people will, for different religious reasons or just other reasons.

People go into marriage therapy, marriage counseling before they get married just to make sure they're knocking, knocking some things out. So I think if you wanna see a. Therapist that specializes in family planning that could really help you out, give you a leg up, even if everything's fine. Just, just a little checkup.

[00:14:44] Krista: I've never thought about that because again the inspiration behind this podcast is all of the things I've figured out on my own or that happened to me as I was pregnant or right after having the baby and I think with, with something like therapy, I'm sure most of the people listening to this show are moms or parents, regardless of whether you are a parent or not. I think therapy is good for anyone truly at any time, especially these times we are living in now, but then you throw in starting a new live chapter, like having a baby into the mix of it. I am such a huge proponent of therapy and I know you are too. I'm glad you brought that up and well, maybe this is now following that response, maybe this is a good time to ask the question of what are you doing?

For you, how do you fill your cup? Because we know, especially as mamas, we want to and try to be there for everyone else and everyone around us, but as we know, it's really difficult to be there for other people if we're not there for ourselves. So what are you doing for you?

[00:15:54] Meredith: Well, that is something that it took a pandemic to get me to accept that I really have to carve out time for myself because I was in survival mode with Maxine for the first two years, especially when Covid hit. She was only a year and a half, so it was just like, keep my head down, everything will be fine.

And times chasing would be like it just. Sucks to think I'm the only one that's having a hard time with this and it's that I wasn't allowing myself to feel those feelings cuz I thought someone had to be the quote unquote strong one here and just power through. So when I started to seek therapy, I learned I had to do it and it was the hardest thing for me.

Cause I thought it's selfish to take time for yourself, you know, to not do things for everyone else and, and your family. Like it's bad, but it's not. It's very, very good. And the one thing that I found that is always something that's gonna make me feel better. Rain or shine. There's this park in Madison right at the end of Neely's Bend.

It's called Peeler Park, and it looks like you're in a completely different country. Like it doesn't feel like you're anywhere in the Metro national area. It you'll often see like 10 times more deer than you will see people. And it's just a great windy path where you can get a lot of what the Japanese call green therapy, where you'll just be surrounded from below your feet to on top of your head with just greenery and sunshine.

And they have all different kinds of paths. You can go on the quote unquote safer paths with the paved paths so he could get lost in the woods for a little bit on these horse trails and these pedestrian trails, and he could see an old barn and silos and it took about six months for me to stop freaking out when I heard twig snapping. Cause I just wasn't used to being in, in a wilderness setting like that. But now it's become my place, the only place where I know I can go to recharge. And it helps to be completely alone because then I can just focus on my thoughts and process my feelings because there's no outside stimuli that's gonna make me think about.

My daughter, Jason, work anything else, it's like you're just out in the woods for a little bit and that's, it's great. So it takes me like 20 minutes to get there. I can walk the three mile path and, you know, 45 minutes, an hour or so I could run if I want, but these days I'm like, jog walking. But it's just nice cuz you barely see anyone else and you just feel like you're left to your own devices.

And it, it helped me find some more trust in myself and in my feelings to just be alone out there in the woods.

[00:18:43] Krista: Alone. Time in nature. I think we could all use a little more of that. What would you say is a piece of baby or kid gear that that's been a lifesaver, that you're like, this must be at the top of every mom's list. What is that for you?

[00:19:04] Meredith: Absolutely. So when Maxine was born, she had a hard time sleeping and so she wouldn't sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time for the first two and a half weeks of her life. And it, we were wrecked. I mean, we were delirious, we were hallucinating, we were so tired. And I called my sister and she said, get a swaddle, the little Velcro swaddle.

And a white noise machine. And Maxine slept for three hours. And now every time someone invites me to a baby shower, they get that, they get the white noise machine and a swaddle, it might not work for every kid, but it definitely worked for our kid and it definitely worked for my sister's kids.

[00:19:44] Krista: 100% agree. Worked for my kid and a handful of the other mamas I've talked with have actually recommended the same thing. So everybody listen up. Swaddle and sound machine magic combination for a good night's sleep for everyone.

[00:20:02] Meredith: Absolutely.

[00:20:03] Krista: What would you say is something that you've gotten that, that did not live up to the hype, that had the rave reviews and you're like, oh, yeah, okay, we've gotta get this, and then you used it, or Maxine used it, or whatever, and you're like that just didn't, that wasn't what I expected.

[00:20:23] Meredith: There wasn't anything in particular that I can think of that Jason and I were wanting for Max. Like I don't remember having something on a registry, like something we need.

Something I was envious of that I'll say is your wireless breast pumps. I love that. And I think if I knew of that, I would've begged for that to been on my list. But I don't think you had those until after I had Max and I couldn't tell anyone.

Can you go back in time and buy me those really nice wireless breast

[00:21:01] Krista: Right, right. Yes. Those wireless pumps were a lifesaver. I, I would not have been able, especially working, again, obviously all this is pre covid. If you're going into an office every, every day and you're trying to breastfeed, you're trying to pump those wireless pumps were gold.

[00:21:22] Meredith: Yeah, they looked like gold and, and that if I had a time machine, I would've gone back and put those on my list.

[00:21:28] Krista: When it comes to technology, that's probably like the highest tech thing I had. Probably still have, I guess.

[00:21:35] Meredith: it's the highest tech thing I could think of. Honestly,

[00:21:38] Krista: Yeah. Yeah. So how we've talked about, we've talked about meditation, we've talked about therapy, we've talked about time alone out in nature. To reflect

[00:21:50] Meredith: this makes me sound really healthy. But those, those are some good practices that I would encourage other people to practice themselves.

[00:22:01] Krista: How do you keep it all together?

[00:22:04] Meredith: I don't, I absolutely do not like I internalize and this is something you can absolutely keep in, but I think I've shared with you my anxiety has manifested itself into irritable bowel syndrome.

So like I literally can't keep my shit together sometimes. So, just continuing to try. If you continue to try to help yourself, don't worry about perfection, but just know that every time you do talk to a therapist or every time you do, go walk in the woods every time you do something to help yourself or make a really good salad, or make a pizza.

You throw some vegetables on it. Like just know that helping yourself is important, but perfection is never the answer or the end goal. Never make perfection the end goal. And with that, I've allowed myself to accept a lot of things about me and to work on myself without looking to make myself a perfect person.

[00:23:03] Krista: What would you say is a tip, a trick, a piece of advice that would be timely for another mama listening right now.

[00:23:14] Meredith: always make time for low key friend hangs. If you like to have wine on the porch with your friends, make sure you keep a consistent. Date with your friends if that's once a month, if that's for me. It's on Tuesdays. I meet up with my friends for a walk in. It's beautiful East Nashville neighborhood that my friend lives in.

And he found some bats. And so now we time it with when the bats come out, which they're gonna be hibernating soon. We've learned a lot about bats, but you gotta make time for your friends because your friends are your connection to who you are now and who you were before your kid, and I think it's important to maintain that connection yourself.

To that person, cuz if you lose that, you're gonna start to feel like you're losing a lot. So keep dates with friends, keep consistent, friend. Hangs with the really close ones. Even if that's a zoom call, just make sure you keep those friendships and work to maintain 'em, because everyone's getting busy.

Everyone's got their own things. So if you just. Make that a priority for yourself. They'll make it a priority for themselves too, and everyone will win.

[00:24:25] Krista: Meredith, this has been such a fun conversation with you and appreciate you sharing your tips and tricks and wisdom and your journey thus far. It's been fun to be a part of it with you and cuz some of my other mom friends on this, on this podcast, they're many, many miles away. They're friends from school or just however we've connected on social media. So I haven't necessarily gotten to engage with them in.

Their mom journeys, aside from just seeing things on social. So I'm very grateful for your friendship and that we've been able to lock arms and things together it's been fun to be on this journey with you

[00:25:04] Meredith: But we had a good, you know, almost two years of like being pregnant and then having our kids and seeing each other five days a week and having someone to commiserate with or share things with, because even the cute stuff sometimes other people don't care about. But as fresh moms, we were, it was so wonderful and so rare to have that with someone, especially in a workplace.

I mean, how many times? In a small company of 50, do you get the opportunity to be pregnant with someone else? So it, it was really special.

[00:25:37] Krista: Yes. You will forever remain a dear friend and someone that I always look forward to talking mom stuff with. It's very special. I'm very grateful for you

[00:25:49] Meredith: Same. Both good Krista and Bad Krista are my favorite kind of Krista.

[00:25:55] Krista: Yes. You, you have some fun, you have some fun stories. Well, what else do you think it's important for the other mamas to know out there? What did I not ask that you wish I would have?

[00:26:06] Meredith: You know, you hit, you hit all the big buttons for me. I mean, I would say besides this podcast, stay off the internet. Like, just ask, ask a friend, ask moms. Ask moms of all ages. I think it helps to talk to parents. Ask dads of all ages too. Like our other coworker, he has two teenage boys, and I would ask him questions and sometimes he'd say, oh gosh, I don't even remember that.

Like, trust me, it won't register. When you're at this stage with your kid, it won't matter or this part does matter and make sure you do this. It's nice to see from different angles and get different advice from just real life human beings and not, not the highest ranking blog cuz someone has search engine optimization, like, Again, besides this podcast, don't get any advice from the internet for kids.

Just talk to your doctor, talk to your friends, talk to other parents.

[00:27:08] Krista: Meredith, thank you so much for your time today. Mamas and any daddies too who may be on here as well.


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