Kristen and I met in an online business group. It took us several months to connect but once we did, it was like I was talking to a long lost friend. It was apparent to me rather quickly that she and I were supposed to be in that group together- we needed to meet.
I think of this lady as my business soul sister. Not only is she one of the most positive individuals I've ever met, but she's inspiring, witty, and always on point with her thought and advice.
When talking to Kristen you can tell that she cares deeply and has amazing compassion for those around her. And her patience... I strive for her level of patience one day. I know that these qualities make her an amazing coach, wife, and an awe-inspiring mama.
As a psychologist, women’s functional nutrition and hormonal specialist, and energy worker, Kristen is an expert in helping women naturally restore digestive, hormonal, and mental health without 'rules' and 'strict' plans. She dives deep into hormonal, spiritual, and energetic blocks that keep you from nourishing your body in the loving way you know it needs, but can’t seem to connect to.
You can read more about Kristen and her amazing work at www.mykindofhealthy.com.
Love you much, my friend!
And to our readers: ENJOY!
1. When you were a younger did you dream about being a mother? What did you see for yourself?
Absolutely, YES! Being a mother was the one thing I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted more than anything.
2. How did your own upbringing reflect on that dream?
I am the oldest of 5 kids and also the oldest of all of the cousins (more than 20) within a very big extended family. This gave me the incredible experience of watching a true ‘tribe’ of motherhood unfold. My mother and aunts played such an enormous role in my up bringing and life. Even now! I learned how to trust my own instincts- even if it meant going against the ‘popular’ trends. I learned why I wanted to breastfeed, that co-sleeping wasn’t evil if it meant we all got to sleep, how to have incredible strength and endurance, and how to love more fiercely then I ever knew possible.
Growing up in my big family meant I knew that I wanted to have at least 2-3 kids of my own some day. There is nothing quite like a growing up in a big family.
3. What discussions did you have about starting a family? Do you remember telling your husband the first time you were pregnant? Was it a surprise or a long-planned event?
Oh my gosh, this was something my husband and I both wanted! He was an only child and I from a big family. But our journey to pregnancy was not an easy one. We spent over 3 years working with reproductive endocrinologist, acupuncturists, and holistic doctors to try to get pregnant. I went through many surgeries and procedures, ultrasounds to monitor ovulation several times a week for months at a time, hormones, injections, IUI and let downs. Infertility is something that is just now beginning to receive more attention, as a shockingly high number of young women find themselves unable to get pregnant without much of an explanation. But while I was going through it, it felt very lonely. My body, that I had worked so hard to take care of for years, suddenly was letting me down. I remember feeling broken. But my experience with the highs and major lows, watching close friends get pregnant after just one try, while others were miscarrying changed me forever. It lead me down a path of learning how to deeply tune in to, advocate for, and nourish my body in ways I never realized mattered. I learned how vital our periods are, our hormones, and our emotional/stress management. I learned how to advocate for my body and my deepest desires, refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer. I am so grateful that my journey to motherhood also became a journey through my own womanhood.
After 3 years of trying, my husband and I decided to take a break. Our bodies were tired. And of course, only a month after ‘quitting’ the doctors and procedures and only working with an acupuncturist and nutritionist, I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test. I waited until my husband went to work one morning, after I kept feeling nauseated by my eggs, and took the test. I was terrified. Only seconds later I was staring at two pink lines. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried. After work I went to the store and filled up a tool box of baby gear. I left it on the counter for when he came home. When he saw the tool box, I casually told him my dad had dropped off some extra tools and to take a look at them. When he opened the box and saw the baby items and test, he just started crying (he never cries). It was a really special moment that I will never forget.
4. What did you love about pregnancy? Hate?
I was SOOOOO sick for my first trimester- so that was brutal ha! I had food aversions to everything, meat, eggs, smells, pheww buddy it was something. The last few weeks were also a bit rough, Braxton hicks, sleeping and trying to turn over was quite the process! LOL!
But overall, once I made it into the 2nd trimester, I loved being pregnant. I loved watching my body grow, change, and move. It was the first time I felt completely at home in my body. The curves...the femininity... it was empowering.
5. Did you enjoy giving birth?
I DID! This was a shocker to me, there was a lot of joking and laughter as I seem to use sarcasm as my coping mechanism of choice! I had to be induced a week early due to leaking fluid. Once I was induced, labor started FAST! WHOA. Contractions and back labor are no joke and I was not enjoying that level of pain. But we did not know what we were going to have- boy or girl- so the surprise and anticipation made the experience more fun. I was only in labor for about 3 hours and pushed for a very short time. We had a GIRL which I did not see coming for some reason! I swore I was having a boy. Overall, I felt empowered by delivery and amazed at just what our bodies can truly do. I felt incredibly blessed to have gone from 3 years of infertility to the moment of holding my daughter on my chest. A moment that I had never ever, even for one second, given up hope would happen.
6. What was the transition like when you went from being someone’s child to someone’s parent? How long did it take you to really get used to the idea?
It was INTENSE. My daughter screamed bloody murder from the moment she was born until I think she was 4 months old. I was not expecting that to happen and it quickly turned my into a mother within the first 3 hours of her life. It was like, welp, it’s you and me kid… we gotta figure this out. I remember having this incredible respect and new perspective for my own mother as I sat there trying to figure out what the heck I am supposed to do now with this little person who relies on me for every single aspect of their life. I knew I needed to keep her safe and flood her with love to help her thrive. But it took me some time, like when she was 4 months old, to really be like oh my god, I am a mother… I am this kids mom. When the heck did this happen!? I still have those moments now that she is almost 2.
7. What has given you the most joy as a mother? Describe it.
There are two great joys that I have. One is sitting in the very quiet of the night or early morning hours holding, rocking, nursing my little baby and feeling their little hands on your chest. It is this oneness that is almost indescribable. I took mental snap shots of those moments as much as I could. The other joy, now that she is almost 2, is watching her just embrace life in every way! From the “please and thank yous” to the kisses and “I love yous” I can’t get enough of seeing this little person put love out into the world. Watching her overcome hard things, sing songs, take care of her baby dolls, laugh at her own jokes, and show nurturing towards others makes me know she knows how much I love her.
8. What advice do you have for:
a) A woman in her 1st trimester:
Keep crackers in your nightstand, helps with the morning sickness when you can’t even get out of bed. Also, It is normal to burst into irrational tears and scream at your husband because he changed the channel before you were ready (or sobbing during commercials). It will pass.
b) 2nd trimester:
Enjoy this BUMP time. It is the time I felt the best and most excited, energy levels came back and it is so fun to just embrace the curvaceous body that is starting to happen.
c) 3rd trimester:
Take it easy and rest. Schedule 1:1 time for yourself and also with your husband. Go on dates, eat a meal slowly, and enjoy talking to one another as a couple. Enjoy the present before there are three.
d) Just gave birth:
Okay- everyone is different here- but it’s okay to feel like a bag of applesauce and all jiggly. Things will settle back down. Don’t rush it. It is also okay if your baby feels a little like a strange alien that you are not sure what to do with. This doesn’t make you a bad mom. Allow a ‘get to know you period’ to happen. And yes, this shit is WAY harder than anyone warned you about (for some- unless you have a great sleeper- I know nothing of what those are LOL) but it GETS easier, I promise.
e) 3 months, 6 months and 1 year postpartum (if you remember):
Postpartum depression is real. Sleep deprivation is real. Not feeling like yourself anymore and not even recognizing yourself in the mirror can happen. Don’t be ashamed to talk about it or ask for help. Lower your expectations of what is ‘good’ for the first year. Your house might be a mess, and workouts may be minimal, but life is full of seasons and our bodies are capable of more than we can ever imagine. Trust you will feel like yourself again in time (and wine can help here too).
9. What is the most important thing you wish someone would have told you about being a new mom?
That the stress can wreak havoc on your physical, emotional, and mental well being if you do not have support systems in place. I ended up getting incredibly sick because I was not slowing down, asking for help, or taking care of my stress/sleep levels. By trying to push and keep up with the same approach to life I had ‘pre-baby’ I found myself in a dark place. I felt like all the other moms were doing it “right” or “better” and I was failing because I had a baby that never slept through the night and was fussy A LOT. It was through this experience that I learned the true value of family and friends, letting other people help me with my baby, and allowing myself some grace. We are all doing the best we can, and we must remember that our family is only as good and healthy as the mama is. We must take care of ourselves!
10. Have you changed since becoming a mom? How?
YES! I am 100% different and I would never go back. I am stronger on every level. I care less what people think and know that my daughter is learning who to be by watching who I am. I am more aware of self-care, love, joy, and emotional well-being. I am also WAY less type A than I used to be. We roll with the punches now. Sometimes we both don’t have pants on until 1pm on a Sunday afternoon and eat fruit snacks off the floor. If laundry isn’t folded, but we went to the park to play, it is a good day. Lowering expectations has been a great lesson for me.
11. Emotionally, was there anything you were unprepared for going into motherhood?
I was unprepared for the intense level of mama bear emotions and chronic guilt. Was I doing it right? What if I went to the store without her? Working mom guilt was HUGE for me too. But I have found that as she has gotten a little older these emotions have subsided.
12. Physically, has your body changed? If yes, how so?
Yes! My hips are wider, my joints ache more sometimes too. My hormones need more nourishment and my gut health is way different. I see my body as something to care for very differently than a ‘pant size’ now.
13. If I was giving birth tomorrow, what would you say to me?
That it is the most incredible and empowering experience you will ever have. You have no idea your body’s true strength until you have experienced giving birth. It is amazing, embrace it!
14. In what way do you think you are great as a mother?
This is a great question- WOW! .. I think I am a great mother in that I trust my own instincts with my child and then ask for help when I need it. I listen to my gut with her and do not fear spoiling her with hugs, nursing, or bedtime cuddles if she needs it. My experience so far is that all of these things made her feel more securely attached. I also feel that my ability to tune in and understand her needs from an emotional level helped me to nurture her emotions rather than squash them or suppress them.
15. What do you feel most proud of in life?
Overcoming obstacles and becoming a mother and ultimately finding myself in the process.
16. If I asked you what the most amazing thing about you was, what would you say?
Ah! Okay, hmm. I think I would say it is my empathy and ability to do whatever it takes for the
people I love.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Mama-Crush Monday!
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