Back on the podcast today I have two of my very favorite people in the whole world: Natalie Dulaney and Heidi Bollard. We talked specifically about what our pregnancy and motherhood experiences were like, and what they taught us. Our experiences have all been completely different, and yours will be as well, and that’s 100% ok! So, let's get into it.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/183
Follow me on Instagram!
- We can normalize everything (9:30, 53:45)
- Getting healthy for pregnancy (21;14, 21:49)
- Being healthy is so individual (22:55, 24:07)
- Lifting during pregnancy (24:53)
- One’s experience of pregnancy does not reflect the one’s quality of motherhood (29:50)
- There is no right way and wrong way in experiencing pregnancy (32:00)
- Dangers of social media in relation to pregnancy (33:17)
- Pregnancy doesn’t ruin your body (47:09)
- Motherhood (55:55)
You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 183.
Hello and welcome to Biceps after Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps after Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And back on the podcast today, I have two of my very favorite people in the whole world and that's Natalie Dulaney and Heidi Bollard. Both of these ladies have been on the podcast before, but I bring them back because it's just so good because I love them so much. And I want to be able to share all of the goodness and knowledge and truth bombs that they have, and that they drop in this episode. So Heidi Dulaney and I went way back– I can't remember if we talked about it in this episode or not. But in the past, I had coached both of them when Heidi and I did one-to-one coaching, Nat, I did custom macros for. And that was when I lived in North Carolina and they lived in California, and we just were online friends. And then I moved to California, and I moved 10 minutes up the road from both of them. And so now, we become in-person friends and we CrossFit together. And we talk about business, and they're two of my very favorite people.
Amber B 1:50
So with this topic and this podcast episode, we wanted to talk specifically about being a mom and being postpartum and having children. And just what that experience is like, what it's taught us, what we want our clients who are in those phases of life to know. In this podcast episode, I share some kind of vulnerable things that I haven't always talked about. And I told Heidi and Nat before we started hitting record, that it was something that I wanted to share on the podcast in our episode that we're recording together. But that I felt very nervous about because I worry about how people will respond when I talk about this. So you have that to look forward to. I'll just entice you with that juicy tidbit that I get real on this episode. And so how do you not? And we really share what we think and what we feel and our experience and really make the point that our experiences have all been completely different, and yours will probably be different as well. And that's 100% Okay.
Amber B 2:52
So, without further ado, let's jump into the podcast with Heidi and Nat.
Hi, guys. We're so excited because we are hanging out with Amber, Biceps after Babies, on a double podcast because who doesn't like double your pleasure? Double your fun? Yeah, who doesn't like some efficiency? So, we are posting this on both of our podcasts. And today we're going to talk about a super sensitive topic actually. And we are going to throw out a couple disclaimers and some trigger warnings before that episode gets started because there is a good chance you might feel a little bit weird.
Amber B 3:26
So, I do want to give a trigger warning for this. If you're at that place where– we're going to talk about motherhood and pregnancy and babies. And if that's a sensitive topic for you, whether you are in that infertile space right now, or suffering from a miscarriage, or feel like your motherhood doesn't measure up, or you're just in a tender place right now, I just want to give a warning. It's okay to skip this episode. We're just going to be sharing our experiences. We had a long conversation before we even hit record about this because we want to do this topic well, and we want to do it proud. But we can only speak from our own experiences. And we're not experts in this field. We're just three moms with a bunch of kids between us and we're just going to talk about our experiences.
Exactly. And I think there's definitely going to be some vulnerable moments between the three of us that we're going to share and also understand that at the end of the day, we are very, very aware that our three experiences not only are not identical, or by any means. There's no right or wrong experience that either of us had.
Amber B 4:22
Absolutely, yeah, and I think leading with that because I think Nat, Heidi and I talked about this before the podcast. That kind of was the recurring theme that I want the listeners to get by the end of our conversation is we're going to share all our different experiences. We're going to share our different emotions and physical experiences and all of those things. But at the end of the day, all of our experiences are valid. None of them are the right way to experience motherhood or pregnancy. None of them are the wrong way to experience motherhood and pregnancy. It's just that everybody has their own experience. And so our hope is that you get to the end of this episode and just feel normalized. It's all normal. Like it’s all normal.
Absolutely. Exactly and none of this is meant to make you feel— maybe you'll feel a little bit better about it. Maybe you'll feel a little worse about it. And those are really just feelings.
Well, and what we're truly trying to get some leverage over is this kind of comparison trap that we get into as women. And I think, for us, it was particularly difficult in terms of feeling judged or being hard on ourselves. So, like Amber said, we want to normalize some of this experience for you and realize we're women, complex human beings just trying to do the best we can and the less we can compare and put unreal expectations on ourselves, the better off we're going to be both in terms of our own personal happiness and our ability to enjoy motherhood, and on and on and on.
And you might be wondering, “Why are we even recording this podcast to begin with?” We get a lot of questions from the three of us about, “What is the right way to be?”, “What way is the right way to do this?” like, “What about my body before baby?”, “What about my body after baby” and
weight loss, cutting calories, nursing
All these things. And so it's really just our opinions. We're the only kind of expertise we have that we've suffered through it all and enjoyed it all. Between the three of us, we have 12 kids, we've had five miscarriages, so we definitely have had a variety of experiences, but at the same time, very unique once again, to each individual of us. As we share our own personal anecdotes and things like that this is just literally what we've lived. So there's no–
And what we've learned through coaching as well. And this does not override medical advice. But perhaps, there might be things that you hear that make you question some of the advice you've gotten whether it's from friends, family, or from doctors, it's to have a better, more informed discussion about how you want to experience your body and pregnancy and all of those things.
And let's just say it out loud. You'll receive a lot of unsolicited advice in motherhood, pre-motherhood, post-motherhood, so this is just three, probably more, unsolicited advice and opinions coming your way. So just please know that we love you guys. We're grateful for you. And just this is just a little bit of a spirit of openness.
Amber B 7:11
And if you don't want unsolicited advice, just skip it.
Okay, so I think it would be interesting to kind of establish what it's even looked like. So, Amber, as your handle says Biceps after Babies, let's also talk about before babies. Let's talk about the Amber before babies during and then maybe a little bit after, and then we'll share our own so by all means.
Amber B 7:32
Yeah, yeah. Many people who listen to my podcast know my story. I started lifting weights at age 14 when my mom was a group fitness instructor at the YMCA. Took me into the weight room like, “Here's a dumbbell”, “Here's how you do curls”, “Here's how you do overhead press,” and really showed me the ropes at age 14. And to me, I tell this story because it was such a pivotal time for me. We talked about being normal, right? To me, like normalized women lifting weights. That was normal to me. That was not a weird thing of having a woman go into the weight room and lift weights. That was normalized to me because that's what I saw my mom do. And that's what she just showed me like, “This is what you do when you get older,” so that really started my journey in terms of weightlifting and exercising. And that was always a big part of my life. I'm on top fitness classes from the time that I was born until the time that I got married. It was always a part of her life and so she just made it a part of ours.
Amber B 8:31
And when I went to college, I continued to get a little bit more into lifting weights. And when my husband started medical school, there was a gym nearby that I went and lifted weights at, and I got pregnant that first year of medical school. So I remember very, very, very much when I was getting more and more pregnant so that people could actually look at me and tell me that I was pregnant. I got the most unsolicited advice at the gym. “Are you sure you should be doing that?”, “Why are you lifting that much weight?”, “Oh my gosh, you get that bar off your back.” All of the things came up for me. And to me, it was really weird because my mom had seven pregnancies and I saw her workout through every single pregnancy. And my husband at the time was a med student, but he went on to become an OBGYN. And I will tell you from a physician's perspective, working out, it's one of the best things that you can do for your body when you're pregnant.
Amber B 9:30
Nat and Heidi are going to talk about their experience, but my experience is a little different because I've been working out since I was 14 years old. And that's been a normal experience of mine. And because of that, because of who I am, because I rolled dice a certain way. But yeah, like I got some genetic lottery. Pregnancy for me was a very easy experience. I mean, I got sick during the first trimester, but physically, pregnancy was a fairly easy experience for me and my deliveries. I bounce back very fast from my deliveries. In fact, I was telling Nat and Heidi that I almost hate to share these experiences because it doesn't win me any friends when I talk about them. And Nat and Heidi really encouraged me to share because, again, the hypothesis or the thesis of this podcast is that we can normalize everything, right? It's not a good experience or a bad experience. Just an experience. It's a normal experience. So for me, I actually walked home from the hospital. After I had my first baby. I remember when we were being discharged, we lived on the campus of the medical center, right? My husband's a med student, remember? So we lived on the campus. And I remember when they were discharging me, they were like, “How are you going to get home?” and I was like, “Well, we're gonna walk,” and the nurse was like, “What?,” Dude, we live really close, but they almost want to discharge me and won’t let me walk home, but I walked home.
Amber B 10:57
After my fourth baby, I remember I was in the hospital. Just had had my baby. I got a phone call. Any of you guys who are LDS? You know, like the bishop calls you to give talks and prayers, and I got a phone call from a bishopric member. And the bishop remembered, Hey, can you give us a prayer on Sunday? And I was like, Well, I actually had like, I'm in the hospital. Like, I just had my baby. And I paused, because I thought he would be like, Oh, nevermind.
Are you telling me you did it?
Amber B 11:28
You're fine. But he didn't, so I paused. And he, like, didn't say anything. And I was like, but we're going to be at church on Sunday. So sure, I'll give the talk, or I'll give the prayer. And so I did. Two days after I had my baby, I walked up, they announced my baby, I walked up, I gave the opening prayer. And like I said, that experience. And when we have a ton of friends, I was actually brand new in the ward to and…
So they really liked you
Amber B 11:54
Like, that's what I'm saying is like, Who the heck is this woman who is getting up two days after she had a baby and saying a prayer in church. And again, I think it's like, the experience is my experience and whether I rolled genetic dice, or that's just my personality, or whatever, like, it's not that my experiences are better or worse than anybody else's, it simply is my experience. And so I think it's, for those of you who are out there who are like me and are weird, like me, it's important to normalize that as well. So you know, those are my I had four babies, and the handle Biceps after Babies actually came after I had my last. And I was thinking about what I want my handle to be. And it was this idea that so many women think that their best bodies are behind them, when they have women. And I wanted to be an example that your best body can be ahead of you at any point in your life, whether it's babies or age or medical conditions or whatever, like your best, whatever you want to have, can be ahead of you. It doesn't have to be behind you. And so that's where the idea of Biceps after Babies came from.
I love it. Well, and I love that you're sharing this in the spirit of not only you're normalizing your experience, but you're also putting yourself in context, it does make a difference. We know that we know strength training makes a huge difference. Working out does make a big difference. And sometimes I feel like I don't know, for me, I am stepping into a different role like getting pregnant, becoming a mom, I wanted to change so many things about myself. And so I think that might be an easy thing for women to fall into a trap to fall into where they're embarking on a new trajectory, right? And they're like, I'm going to change mice, I'm going to be a super fit person or whatever, and put the things that you just mentioned, like, easy labors feeling, working, working out walking home, those things, and they compare themselves to that standard. Without all of the before that right? Like yes, genetics, but you also worked for that. And it wasn't like a huge surprise for you based on your, like the way you've lived your life and your life circumstances. Right. So I think
Amber B 14:05
And what I saw and modeled for me. This is what I saw modeled for me from my mom. And I also think that speaks to the power of what you are modeling for your kids of like, literally how to be but that's how my mom lived her life. Like, that's exactly how my mom lived her life. And so for me, that was like, why would you do it any other way? Of course, you're going to go back to church right away. Not to say that that's the right thing to do. Just saying that was what was normal for me. That was what was modeled for me. What is modeled for us.
Well, totally right. It's like how you think I was, my family didn't have any traditions until I got married. And I was like, What are you people doing on holidays? You're doing it all wrong. So like, yeah, it's like it's what is normal to you right? Absolutely. Right.
Let's hear yours.
So I grew up. My family's pretty athletic, but I always felt like the runt of the litter. I was never really involved in sports and pretty disconnected from my body overall. I definitely felt like an ugly duckling for most of my life. So really, I tried to be kind of invisible with my body to be honest, like I was kind of more focused on being smart or having a trying to be dynamic and my personality, that kind of a thing. So I really did not appreciate or try to get strong or try to get in shape, but it was never really my thing. So I got married and I had a baby a couple years later, I was 28 I think. I gained about 85 pounds in that pregnancy. So that was intense. And I definitely felt a ton of pressure to get that off. I was super uncomfortable and felt really, really bad about having postpartum depression. And then it was this is this is the space I'm talking about Amber, it's like it would have been very easy for me to compare myself to you and be like she's doing it right. I'm doing it wrong. She's perfect, I'm a mess. And just compound that discomfort and misery within myself. Right? When and that is also what has led us to be so passionate about what we do too, because there's just a huge education missing piece for me. It was like if you'd asked me before macros what sounded good to eat, it would have been like grilled cheese sandwiches probably too. And not that there's anything wrong with that. But if you have just been empowered with the knowledge to make changes is really huge. Because without that knowledge, you just assume well, there I'm just broken. There's just something fundamentally wrong with me. This is all I'll ever be. Right? So yeah, I did. I did love becoming a mom. But I would love it if you were saying to model for my daughter, for my daughter's like, a much more connected and appreciative relationship with their body that would really lend itself to like a great starting off place with motherhood.
Amber B 17:15
So did you say you were 28 when you had your first? So I think that's important, too. I was 23 when I had my first and I was 30 when I had my fourth. And what is it that makes a big difference? How it impacts your body. My pregnancy at 30 was way harder than my pregnancy at 23. None that is better or worse. It's just that that makes a difference.
Oh, totally. And I noticed that with each one of mine afterwards. I was not a very hearty pregnant person. However, this chick right here was let's hear your story Nat.
Well, so it's interesting because like, I have always been overweight my whole entire life. So I think I kind of leaned into that when like, it was time to have babies. It's like, I didn't really care about the whole weight gain thing because I was already overweight. So it wasn't anything about there's no prior there was no preservation involved, there was more just like, This is my body, we're gonna start to try to have our family and I have my very first baby at 26. And I have to be completely honest, like, I kind of feel like maybe I have a little bit of a hybrid of both of you like I had great pregnancies, I actually had my water break my first baby and I still went to work. So I was still doing hair. I was on my feet the whole time. You know, I'm a hairdresser by trade.
Amber B 18:23
So you had your water break, and you were still doing hair? You got like leaking all over?
I mean, it was like, I didn't really know I woke up and it was kind of damp. And I'm like, It's fine. I still have another couple days of work to go. So I'm gonna go in. So I did and then later that night, we did go to the hospital the other day, you have a slow leak. And I'm like, I mean, this is just kind of what I always worked literally right up until I gave birth, I have five kids. And my last baby, I went back to work two weeks later. So I have like, you know, maybe I didn't have the bounce back body or the bounce back whatever that Amber had, but I definitely have had, I never got sick during my pregnancies. They were really great. I think maybe in some weird way. Like, you know, I knew that I had to be able to work. I mean that I am the breadwinner of our family. So, being able to work up until and take as little time off and come back to work and do things like that was just kind of like the trajectory of it.
And so as you can see, like the three of us have very, very different like baby experiences and none of them are right you know, it's like everyone has a labor of love or a war story and you know, things like you know, whether it's nursing or you know, or postpartum depression like all these things are very, very real. And to feel that you have to match someone else's recovery or match someone else's pregnancy story can be really really damaging. Right? Yeah, I mean, you have no control over what your hormones are doing right and I don't even know that it was the right call to go back to work or whatever. But you know, every pregnancy is different. But I wasn't really active there. I think I started walking after my second just because I had heard that labor was easier if you would walk all the time. So that was definitely something that I was like I could walk but there was definitely no weightlifting. There was no strength training or anything like that and to be completely frank like pregnancy has been the only time I've ever had a rock hard stomach. I mean, for those of you who are like, Oh, I better have abs before or after it's like, you can have a really firm stomach during, you know, but I think what I would love for us to kind of go to into the next is like how people have these expectations for their pre baby and post baby bodies. And in reality, it's like you've given birth to a miracle. I think we need to be a lot more kind about what that looks like, right? Like, some of us, like you hear when we look, I've never had any stretch marks, and some of us do. And some of us had really bad varicose veins. Some of us don't. I mean, and I'm sorry, but all the creams in the world, just for like a legal disclaimer. It's just a lot of genetics, right? And so let's talk about women and their weight expectations and their pre-babies, we hear a lot of times like, Oh, I gotta get in the best shape of my life before I have a baby. What are your thoughts on those guys?
Amber B 19:24
Plenty. So I think we have to, we have to clarify what the best shape of your life means. Because I think for a lot of women, that's the best aesthetic shape. Like, to them best shape of your life means like a certain weight and a certain aesthetic,
and probably the leanest and the lowest.
Amber B 21:14
Right, exactly. Whereas I think getting in shape for pregnancy is actually really smart. I think the healthier you are the healthier the pregnancy, you're going to have the easier it all comes together. So I totally support you getting healthy. But when you say healthy, do you really mean healthy? Do you realize you like going right? And you just go to the gym more days of the week?
Well, and can you get healthy for pregnancy without weight loss? Like has anybody had that even occurred to you that that's a possibility or potential? Like are those of you women out there who are complete under-eaters getting healthy for pregnancy maybe…
Amber B 21:49
Yeah, yes, yes. And so I think we should get healthy for pregnancy? Yes, I think we should. But we should actually focus on getting healthy. And not losing weight, or getting a six pack or like being in the look that you've ever been.
And that I think is a huge information piece. Because I know, I'm sure you've experienced the same thing in your coaching practice as well. But a lot of women just have absolutely no idea how much they're supposed to eat. So it's, if you're, you know, we had somebody ask us recently, if we recommend they eat at a maintenance level during pregnancy? It's like, well, yes, of course. Absolutely.
Amber B 22:26
Yeah. And do you even know what that means? Right? Like, when we use these, like, we know what we mean by getting healthy. We're talking about being like, reasonably active, getting good sleep, drinking plenty of water, fiber, you know,
Prioritizing some self care.
Yeah, getting protein strength training, like whatever, but it's but um, you know, do you fundamentally, do you even know how much your body is requiring, energy wise, calorie wise,
I love the points that you guys brought up. Because we have to say this, every woman is going to be different, you are going to have women who really do need to eat into a surplus in order to have a healthy, sustainable pregnancy. And then you have women who maybe don't, but there's no way for you to know that just by you assuming that like, well, I am probably the person that doesn't get to eat anything. Right. So we went from this,
Amber B 23:11
Why is that the assumption we always make?
Well, and this is a tricky thing, you know, we had this whole thing like, Okay, well, you know, there's the whole eating for two things, right like you that we've heard, especially for those of us who were pregnant in the 90s and 2000s. But it's like we've swung the other pendulum where it's like, you're barely eating for one now. Yeah, like, it's like, so many women are like, oh, so we're not really eating for two, that I better not even eat for one, which is myself, because heaven forbid, I put on, you know, outside of the recommended you know, “weight range”. And it's like that those generalizations are definitely out there for a reason and for a purpose. But at the same time, you have to remember, like every other study, it's a very small demographic of people that those kinds of studies are on you. And you don't really know that for yourself. You don't know that if you are like, you know, Heidi , you had to gain 80 pounds to have your babies, right. Some women might only have to gain 25. There's really no way for you to know that by yourself or decide that for yourself and to try to control those variables. Because you're like, Oh, well, I better make sure that I stay within this.
And that's the key right there. Is it? I mean, maybe I didn't need to gain all of that weight, but at the same time, what's the cost? What would have been the cost of me micromanaging my intake during that time? It probably would not have the mental space I was in. I don't know that it would have been super helpful at that time. Right. But being healthy is so individual. And this is another just a sidebar, I want to add to what you're saying that if you're a woman that has extra weight, and you're assuming that you're not included in what I'm saying like glue in terms of finding out what your maintenance level is, we find that women with extra weight are typically the greatest under eaters of all.
Amber B 24:47
And what are your thoughts about Amber about the food thing?
Amber B 24:53
The food thing? Well, I actually want to say something about lifting because I have people ask me all about lifting during pregnancy. And first of all, okay, so we're talking about getting healthy before pregnancy. I do think starting lifting before you get pregnant is really valuable. If not for any other reason, then almost every physician or provider will tell you to not do anything new during pregnancy. If you've been lifting before pregnancy, you can then usually continue on what you've been doing. And if you have a provider that isn't supportive of you lifting during pregnancy, my advice for you is to find a different provider. To me, that was something that was so important and having a husband who is an OBGYN, there's plenty of research out there to support the benefits of weightlifting and strength training during pregnancy. And it was important enough for me that I found a provider that supported that, but I was willing to interview people to find somebody who was willing to support me continuing to lift weights. I taught fatty fumble until the day I delivered, like all the way until the day I delivered I was lifting weights. So if I've had women say that their provider is not supportive of that. And my advice to that is get a new provider, if that's something that's important to you. So that's what I wanted to say about weightlifting, because I think that is something. Again, as a husband, who's an OBGYN, who specializes in urogynecology, who's all about the pelvic floor, the best thing that you can be doing for your pelvic floor is squatting. And sound Yeah, key goals, whatever squatting, like everybody needs to be squatting more. That's how you're gonna be able to support that pelvic floor.
Well, and generally, you know, you want to make sure that you're relatively as active as you were before your pregnancy, but also it's okay to start adding things in and exploring things too. I mean, you're definitely probably not going to be, you should probably not be starting to do box jumps right? But I mean yeah, we like we even have a girl at our gym who was like still attempting to do burpees like with her like eight month pregnant belly and like she figured out a way to like do them on our side but at same time it's like she had been doing that
Amber B 26:58
Yeah, yeah, it was like don't do it right away.
Right but at the same time she had been doing she has also been doing that for eight years so it's in a way makes way more sense for her to attempt that than someone who had has never done anything in life or anything before in our life you know, so like, let's also be realistic about what you're taking on and in your pursuit to like have this like you know, picturesque healthy pregnancy too. And I think that social media can also make that really damaging to you like it's okay if you literally just walk also guys. Yeah, you know, I mean train absolutely and like get to a place if that's available to you but if it's not don't also beat yourself up that your pregnancy is not ideal or you know, picture perfect because you don't have the same circumstances like in a perfect world swimming would be great to swimming have you to swim during your pregnancy you know, low impact stuff lists, things I believe, such as yoga stretching, I mean, great for sciatica, all sorts of things that are beneficial right along with strength training, but if those are not the circumstances of your life, do not beat yourself up about it.
Totally. Fitness is a lifelong pursuit.
Amber B 27:57
Yes. And pregnancy is nine months of that, like, you know, 80 years that you're alive. Heidi, I'm curious. I felt like I had stayed within the weight gain, you know “guidelines”. Yes. And I felt like there was definitely like for me there was a pressure of like, if you stayed in that was like you got a good grade like you did pregnancy well, and if you went outside of that range, and you gained 50 or 60 or 80 or 100 or however then it's like you did it bad like you did it wrong. Did you have that experience? I can only imagine you did because I feel like I had it on the other end of life. Girl you did good, you only gained this amount of weight.
We love our Gold star showing. I actually wasn't really a thing until my last pregnancy and I mean I gained like 85 with the first I went. I can't really remember like 60 I think with the following too. And yeah, I did get chided by my doctor for my weight gain with the last one. She told me that my thighs looked like loaves of Wonder Bread.
I don't even know. But anyway, it was like she was subbing it out. I was just a tizer midwife, so you're always seeing somebody different. Yeah. But anyways, yeah, I do that. But I know that it has been such a hard thing, like 30 pounds like don't 30 to 35 pounds. It's like, and that is exactly. I'm so glad you brought that up, because that is exactly the kind of thing we're talking about. It's like, that's a standard. Okay, but like at the same time, like if you have 45, does that gate 45 pounds of weight gain or or whatever? Does that mean that you're, you're not doing it right or wrong? And also like, what's your starting weight? Do you know that? You know, to me, it's so arbitrary at the same time.
Well, and as somebody who gained about 30-35, and I was in that like A plus rating range didn't give me anything different. It didn't make my body any less like bounce back or “whatever” it is like, I mean, it's like it. That's once again, it's like it's so it's such an arbitrary number based on where you're at. Right. And I know that there are recommendations, of course, like I get all that because there are real health ramifications for, you know, all all sorts of things for sure. But at the same time, it's like, the Gold Star doesn't really actually affect how great of a mother you are, or how great your recovery processes are, sorry, it's just the truth. It's like the same thing with epidurals and natural births. It's like I think we women like to collect badges of honor based on like how much you know, we suffered through a pregnancy or we didn't suffer through a pregnancy or how hard it was or how, you know, like, you know, I know, one of my sisters like loved the idea of like, not having an epidural, because she thought that that was like the way to do it. Because that meant like, you were like, robust, right? And I'm like, the second I can get an epidural. Put it in me, like, I want the NOS button, I want the drugs. I understand there's a risk of paralysis. It's fine. Like, this is me, like, I'm like, give me him. And I think, but at the end of the day, like, is she a better mother? Or am I a better mother? Either way, because of it? No. And I think that's what we need to realize, like all these expectations that we put on ourselves for like, pre baby post baby getting in the genes, things like that, like, they really don't, they really don't make a difference in as far as like the quality of motherhood
Right. And like you mentioned, Amber feeling like feeling maybe judged or not well liked, because of the way you bounced back from pregnancy. It's like that, what we're talking about all this stuff, like are we talking about? We're not talking about being healthy. We're not talking about? We're just talking about aesthetics, and judgments. And if we like, at the time, I would have thought, Oh, you're doing it right. And I'm doing it wrong. But at this point, like we're both great mothers like, what did it even impact what if there's no lasting ramifications like you had maybe you got a gold star at the time. But it's like this point, I have just as many as you like, we're the same.
Amber B 32:00
I think that one of the most damaging things is that idea that there's like a right way to do it in a wrong way. I think that is so damaging. And I think you know, you guys do a lot of this work with your clients to when we can get to the headspace where it just really is neutralized. It's like, oh, that's the way she experienced pregnancy. And this is the way I experienced pregnancy and neither of us has, right. And yeah, that was the best way to do it. It's just the different experiences, then we don't have to get into that comparison of like, who's better. It's just like, neither of us. It's just, she had a different experience than I did. Awesome.
Even though it was emotionally pretty tough for me. Like, I feel like I did need to go through that. And I did need to experience that. And if I could go back in time, I honestly wouldn't do it differently. The only thing I would tell myself is you're gonna make it Peanut.
Amber B 32:48
You're gonna make it through this. Yeah,
Let's talk a little bit about the dangers of social media, especially at this time, like I am for one. I'm so grateful that there was no Instagram when I had kids because maybe I was like, oh, maybe there was stuff to worry about. I didn't know about it. Yeah, the most it was was like, like you said, like maybe a girl that you know, got pregnant with at the same time or maybe, you know, a celebrity in the magazine. I mean, like I've had babies like Angelina Jolie and a lot of them are Melissa, Joan Hart, by the way.
You mean Sabrina? The teenage mother,
You're keeping tabs on directly but like, you know, Shiloh and Corgan are the same age and, like Angelina Jolie. I mean, who wants to be pregnant with Angelina Jolie by the way. I mean, you want to talk about like, really like getting in your head about something is like watching her, you know, as well as I but I think I would love you know, for women, if being on social media does not feel good to you. Do not be on it. Like, it's not going to somehow this you don't need to haze yourself into like, feeling good about your pregnancy by watching other women, like, you know, there are like 3.5 to 4 million babies born in the United States every single year, please stop comparing yourself to like four girls on Instagram. Like, if we had a composite of everybody's pregnancy, all 4 million every year, guaranteed, you would feel way more content about your experience, instead of trying to fit it into this girl's you know, ideal.
And unless you're living her life, it's not applicable, you know, it just isn't
Well, and this is the thing that we do as women, right, we want to make this we want to create this illusion that motherhood has a pinnacle of perfection that you can actually reach, right? Whether like, you know, your kids eat this certain way, or your house looks a certain way or they're your kids are dressed a certain way. And the interesting and most ironic thing about it is that the longer you're in motherhood, you realize you have very little control over really the outcome of stuff, no matter how much you really want it or how much you really try. And like those things like the, you know, even looking at them as somebody who doesn't use not going to be pregnant or have babies, it's like it is kind of just like, oh my gosh, like look at that, you know, and every now and again, you'll have these real women who actually show what a real postpartum belly looks like and I'm like, Thank you. Thank you for showing girls that you can walk out looking nine months pregnant because I did. Well arguably, I will actually, you know, not arguably like I actually weighed more on my way out, then I'm like, I lost a placenta fluid and a baby and like, like, Why do I weigh more when I leave, but that might not be Amber's like, Amber might have really, you know, weighed it all out and like literally lost all that too. And it's like, just like everything, whether you have the ability to get, you know, visible abs or you get your upper body jacked to your lower body. And a lot of this comes down to genetics and life and like the circumstances of your life. And, you know, remember Sarah Jessica Parker, you know, saying, like, if you didn't have my body before you had a baby, you probably won't have my body after and she wasn't being rude about it. She was just stating the facts. She's like, I have a nanny. I have a personal trainer. I have somebody to clean my house. Like, if somebody makes my food. Yeah, if you have the circumstances of my life, then maybe, and this is also like a big heavy, maybe, maybe you could have that. But you also like, you know, did you have like Amber, were you working out since you were 14 lifting these weights? It's like, it's just the expectations. I think that we're not being and not even let's not even talk about the kid like does your baby have colic? Do they sleep through the night? Oh, my gosh, are you nursing? Are you not nursing? Like, you know, like, do they have like, horrible diaper rash that you have to be up for? Like, are you sleeping? Well? Like?
Do you have a partner? Are you at home? Or do you have to go back to work? And do you have somebody that can watch the kid? Or do you take into the daycare lane, all these things are just like stress upon stress upon stress.
So to pattern yourself after like some idyllic mom that you follow on Instagram is really unfair to you and frankly, your kid too?
Yeah. We throw that one in there. Women won't believe in themselves, just to love themselves. But if you throw a kid and you're like, Well, maybe, yeah, maybe, maybe I could try to love myself for them. So let's have a place to start.
I want to know your thoughts when you guys hear a lot of women are like, I want to get healthy for my kids. I want to lose weight for my kids. What does that bring up for you?
Well, I mean, phrases like that, I guess my question would be like, Why do you think they care? And what are the judgments that you were imagining that they have about you? Or what is it they using that that like losing weight would do for them or show for them? Like I mentioned before, what I want to model for my daughter's is a good relationship with your body and with food. I mean, I'm not counting. My kids are not counting macros, or like, you know, it has nothing to do with body fat. I mean, if Elsie gains 80 pounds with her first pregnancy, so be it like it. It's not about that, it's just about loving and appreciating what you have. And you're already setting an example for your kids. So kind of like what we said earlier. It's like, why are you assuming it's so bad? Right?
Yeah, like, Why does having a baby make you automatically look worse? Yeah, actually worse off?
Yeah, absolutely. No,
Amber B 37:44
I think also, again, when people say that they're confabulating aesthetics with health, and I think a lot of people, they use this idea, I want to get healthy for my kids as a cover for what they really want, which is to lose weight, or to like, look leaner, or look smaller. And I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that. But I think it's really important too. We take these two things that are not the same, and we confabulate them, we collapse them down into one thing, and we say I want to get healthy, and when we can split those out again, right? So it's like take that one thing and split it out and realize that like, like you said, Heidi, you want to have your kids have a good relationship with their body, that can happen at a size 20 out of size 40 And that can happen at another size four.
and so it can happen whether you gained 85 pounds in pregnancy or whether you gained 10 or whatever
Amber B 38:36
Exactly! So when we separate that out when we get clear on what we really mean when we say I want to get healthy for my kids or I want to you know, whatever you say that's for your kids, when we can really tease that out of like what that actually means to you. There's a lot of clarity that comes from it because what you say that you want and what you actually want aren't always the same things.
So well so
Right and my question also be like, Why can't you do it for you? Yeah, why can't you say that I want to lose weight?
Amber B 39:08
Because if you do that, then it's not a good goal. Like that's a vain goal. That's selfish. That's like all these words that we put on women and it goes back to patriarchy like we've put on women to like to try and keep them small and playing small. Rather than it's admirable to say I'm going to do it for my kids it's selfish to say you're going to do it for you
That it actually shows your kids that like you should totally do things for other people despite why really want to tell
Amber B 39:35
you kids don't do drugs when your friends tell you to drugs but try to please everybody else
Yeah, yeah burn yourself down at the expense of other people that's really what we're here for
But also be confident in yourself but
What's so interesting is like you know, with women and this excuse and this and I'm not meaning excuse in a bad way guys, like we've all said it before. We've thought the same things like maybe if I do this, like you know, it'll be better for my children or whatever. Like, I mean, being selfless as a mother is a very real thing, but at same time, there's a level of selfishness that most of us don't employ and realize that when you are a little bit selfish with what you want in your time, you're actually a better mother for it. But I think what's interesting is you spend time picking yourself apart. That's the example they see, they see that you're not good enough as it is, therefore, they might not be good enough as is. That's what that tells them. When you just talk about like how fat you are, or how you want to lose weight, or how you know, won't do this, this or this or this, because you feel like you're limited by certain things, that shows them that that's something that they should be aware of that like, maybe I need to change, maybe I'm not perfect as it is. Maybe there's things that are wrong with me and accepting of where we're at, also lets them know that they're accepted where they're at too. 100%. Forget that. Because a lot of times, let's be real, nobody knows how much you weigh. Your kids, I guarantee you don't know when you've lost five or 10 pounds. They know if you're happy though. Well, if you feel good, they know if you feel confident. They know if you're being loving and supportive to yourself and loving and supportive to them. If you're kind of you know, whatever they notice that for sure. But guarantee they don't know how much you weigh.
Well, I'm Brene Brown. She says a lot of parents reject it because they don't want to believe that you can't. They like this statement that you can't, you can't give what you don't have or you can't love someone else more than you love yourself. A lot of parents take issue with that because they're like, no, no, I do. I love my kids, more than I love myself. But it's like everything that we're talking about here. It's like, you can't pour from an empty cup. Right? If you can't set aside boundaries, just if you can create a boundary space for yourself inside of motherhood if you like, you can't keep some sort of like, self concept denoting if you just give you like if you just let her win if you lose yourself in motherhood. It's just gonna be a lot harder to find yourself after they leave.
Amber B 41:51
Yeah. Can I share a really weird metaphor but I was thinking about this as Nat was talking. In business, I've heard the tip often. People don't like to be salesy and entrepreneurs, a lot of beginning entrepreneurs really struggle with being too salesy. And one of the tips that I've heard when it comes to copywriting is to write your first draft and be like as salesy as possible, is gross and whatever you want to like say that you think is too salesy, do it that way, and then pull it back from there, because the tendency that people have is to not be salesy enough. And it made me think of the same thing in terms of being selfish, so many things, so many women are so far on the side of like, I don't want to be selfish, I want to be selfless, that if they would just like try to be selfish, and then maybe pull it back a little bit, they would actually probably land in a much more happy, moderate place, the insanely far on the side of like, I want to do everything for everybody else, I don't want to be selfish at all. And I think there are some, you know, there're some people who struggle with being selfish, but I think the vast majority of women are way far on the other side of the spectrum, totally just come a little bit closer to the middle, you're gonna find a lot more happiness and self fulfillment.
I fully agree.
It's so funny. There's another marketing principle that, like, if you don't tell your customers why you're making a change, they'll make up their own maybe their own story, and it won't be as flattering as, like, the truth or whatever. And I think the same thing goes with kids too, it's like being like, you were saying, it's not just about being careful about what you say, because kids remember, they observe and they remember what you do, not just what you say, right. So it's like, if you don't want to be in the picture, or if you don't want to wear the thing or those kinds of things they pick up on those subtle messages. And they might make it exactly may mean something about them or make it mean way worse than what you had intended.
Amber B 43:50
I have a funny story about that. So we have a gym in our backyard. And so my husband and I lift in the gym, and sometimes our kids will come out and lift with us. And my son came out and he was like doing deadlifts with like this trainer bar that we had, and I was dying. Because before every rep he would go over to the chalk bag, and he would chalk his hands up, and then he would come over and then he was and then he would pull, he would pull and stand up and then we push it down. And then he would roll his shoulders back and kind of shake himself out. And he would like to do this breathing thing. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that's exactly what we do. When we perform. Just like watching it over and over and over. Like I like to see him roll his shoulders. Like it was just hilarious. And it was such a reminder of me like, yeah, kids care what you say but they really care what you do and what you model for them.
Okay, so let's talk like, post-baby. And like, the things I'd like women tend to chase you know, whether it's losing weight before they have their next kid or, you know, before they're even done nursing or like this, you know? Or like, yeah, you know, how soon is it to go into a deficit or getting back into my pre baby jeans and, or like looking what I did, like, when I got married before I had kids and how I want to look like I never had a baby, because we, for some reason, put value on looking like we've never had children. And even though we have had children. I want my house to look like nobody ever lives here.
Oh my gosh, good. Comparison. Seriously. Cool. And also, like, you know, like we were talking earlier about, like, oh, no, pregnancy is gonna ruin my body. Like, oh, no, just like turning 40 my metabolism is gonna crash. Like, neither of those are true.
Amber B 445:36
You said something, before we hit the record , that I thought was really interesting. That you, I had the experience of working out before I got pregnant and you didn't have that experience. And you said that part of you is actually glad that you didn't have that experience, because there wasn't this longing for the body that you had before. And I find that that is an experience for a lot of women that there is this longing or this expectation that is unachievable. Like, I want to get back to that exact place that I was before I had babies. And you said you didn't have that, because you didn't find like macros or lifting or working out until after high school, you kind of just like, speak to that a little bit? Because I think yeah, I have a good perspective on this.
Yeah, so I mean, it's, I don't know, personality to learn everything the hard way, I guess. But, yeah, I didn't. You know, a lot of women do glorify their high school number or their pre-baby weight. And I get that a lot of women view that as their personal best, like in their late teens or early 20s kind of thing. But that really wasn't my experience at all. Again, just feeling like, I just, I had a very rocky relationship with my body, I felt like it was a big disappointment. And again, something that I was always trying to keep hidden. And in fact, pregnancy was almost like a reprieve from that because it felt like well, this is a pregnant body so it doesn't get to be evaluated by like, regular standard brick that
Still have those groups of women who are like, I just want to hurry up and look pregnant already. So no, I just think I'm fat. As if that's a problem. Right?
Right. Yeah. Great point. Yeah. So yeah, it continued to be the case really, until I didn't really start this whole fitness journey or what you want to call it till I was done having kids and that and I really didn't know what to expect. So it has been really fun, honestly, because it's continual. I continually feel like I'm hitting my best I mean they're yeah, they're like okay, so maybe last year was my leanest year or whatever, but there are things about that that I do not envy and I do not miss right and I think that maybe because I know what it may be because I know what it takes whereas like some people are just genetically gifted to be lean and small or whatever, during those years. So yeah, I have been spared that and I mean, I think you as well, right? Like just kind of how you feel as well.
And how good does it feel to think that your personal best is behind you? Yeah, Like a lifting weights perspective, or like I mean, let's be real Like God willing, we have at least another 40 years and it's like, Am I really going to be like, missing my 20s Gotta be completely as I don't miss my 20s Naturally, you know, like anything I maybe missed my 30s Only because like, that was such a great decade, right? All of our studies were awesome. But can we be 40s in our 30s? It's, it's, it's the things that you don't really realize or learn until, you know, back to the unsolicited advice. There's a reason why that exists out there is because people do want you to learn from their experiences, or they've had this experience and they're hoping that like, you won't make the same mistakes at the same time, like just know that they're all part of your experience your life experience, whether or not you have really great pregnancies, or you don't get pregnant at all, or you or you have really awful pregnancies like those are all your own personal experience. You get your own narrative, just like everything else that we do as women, it's like, this is why once again, like the comparison game is just so toxic, because there's literally no two of us who have had the same exact experience, even amongst the three of us. And every single child is different. I mean, if you look at like, the composite of our kids, like no two are alike. And every pregnancy was different. Every pregnancy was different. And in every way, raising them even just to like, you can dress yourself, I really don't care what you wear, and there's a whole me, whatever, it's fine. Or like if you'd leave without your hairbrush. It's fine. Where before, like maybe you are definitely more likely to be leaving brush, shower every night bed every night sleep routine. It's like, from kid to kid and body to body and age to age, like everything about our lives changed because the composite of our lives change and that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Oh, we need to stop thinking that like someone else's. Like, you know, we always hear like, Oh, don't compare yourself or like, you know, someone's day 560 like you're day one. And the same thing goes with pregnancies and babies. It's like, that might be her life right the second. It might always be that way. So it's really dangerous to be like, oh, gosh, I really wish that my day. My pregnancy looked like Amber's first pregnancy. It's like what to? How did I get you Amber's first pregnancy? Well, and does it get to you her fourth? But yeah, but at the same time, it's like, what good is it for you? Like how does that benefit you as a mother? And as somebody who is going to actually like, raise and hopefully, you know, curate like these really beautiful humans that we're allowed to be like, how does diminishing what your experience was benefit you as a mother? It doesn't really pull?
Absolutely. So well said. And similarly, even if the person you're comparing yourself to is a prior version of you, like what you're practicing is this thought pattern that like all the good stuff is behind you. And that's like, are you going to be like, are we going to be if I'm 40 wishing I was in my 20s? Am I going to be 60 wishing I'm in my 40s? Like way, like, take, as Carly Simon would say, these are the good old days. It's like, you know, what, practice enjoying the now and the present moment and all of that. I mean, if I yeah, there, I guess maybe I will edit my previous statement. And if there is something I wish I could go back to as I wish I could release some of those maybe those body concerns and just lean a little bit more into enjoying motherhood. But again, those are the things man, that's the plight of the first time mom, right? It's, it's like, every experience mom wants to come over and be like, it's gonna be okay. Just relax, like, enjoy it, let it be. But you have to learn that for yourself. You know, time may be the same thing with fat loss. It's like, you know, we have all these dreams about what it's going to cure for us. And maybe you have to lose some of the weight to realize, like, oh, wait, I still have some of the same issues, or gain it back to realize you have some of the same issues. So it all starts in, you know, thoughts.
So like, final thoughts and takeaways, Amber's like, at the end of this, like, conversation, which I really enjoyed, by the way, ladies, what would you want them to hear? Or what would you want them to know?
Amber B 51:56
So I think the thing that's coming up for me, and it came up for me at the beginning of the episode, and I think it just kind of summarizes what we're saying, one of the questions that I hate the most, and I asked this question, too. So like, this is not me saying that like, oh, I don't ask this question. The question, “Is this normal?”. I hate that question because I think underlying that question is this belief that you are abnormal? This belief that like everybody else has it together or whatever your experience is the wrong experience. I think that's the underlying belief. When somebody asked that question. My experience must be wrong and I want to normalize it by finding out there's other people like me, and that's a very human phenomenon. Like there's nothing wrong with that. But I think how amazing it would be if we were able to just own what it is that our experiences and normalize it, doesn't like nobody, nobody else has to have the same experience for it to be normal for you. And so if we can just stop asking ourselves, is this normal and just say, No, this is normal for me. I'm okay. I'm fine. Whatever I'm experiencing is what I'm experiencing. And that makes it normal. It doesn't have to be nobody else has to share it for it to be normalized.
Yep. And even if that even if those feelings are being kind of sad or overwhelmed or disappointed or whatever it is, like, instead of telling yourself like you're feeling wrong or you're doing it wrong, like what we're talking about here with motherhood and parenting, what do we all want our mothers to do, just like I was talking about with the first time mom that we want them to reassure us and tell us that everything is going to be okay. And it's all going to work out and that they've got us, you know, and similarly, you can do that for yourself, when you're, if you're struggling with extra weight or with pregnancy or with not being able to get pregnant or those other things. It's like, have some compassion for yourself, what would you say to your daughter, sister, friend who was struggling with those things and try to extend that to yourself. that's what actually builds your relationship with yourself, that's what grows your confidence is knowing that you'll have your own back no matter what negative emotion you're experiencing, or positive. But
Amber B 54:04
Yeah. Nat, statements…
You know, it's actually been really interesting, just kind of chatting with you guys. Because like, as I think about it, it's like, I don't know that I want anyone else's baby experienced than my own. It's like, I mean, I definitely think that yeah, you know, we think it would have been great to like, you know, do this and then have it look look like this and look like that, but like, do we really even know that, like, the quality of life, your life experiences cannot be someone else's, then they would not be your own? Right. And it's just like, as individual as like, the little humans that we brought into the world and experiences we had in, you know, trying and having them. I mean, I remember just like, I mean, I don't know what your guys's like, you know, trying stories were, but I remember, like, there was a point where you're like, Man, I really, I really want to be a mom, like, I'm ready for this. Right? But how easy is it for us to diminish that desire because it's like, oh, but it's got to look this way. It's like, remember, when you first got your first house, you're like, oh, but you know, the brick is orange, the cabinets are funky. And like, you know, it's like we're diminishing these life experiences that are really formative for us. And like, really, at the end of the day, it comes down to like, what do you want your life to look like because you do get to curate that for yourself. But it's really about waiting for those 10 pounds to come off in order to feel better about your life. You're missing kind of the point of it all, you know, and motherhood is like the ultimate sacrifice it is. Like you don't even really know who you are until after you're like you're in a puddle and pool of tears with very little sleep. And like, you know, like trying to figure out like, what am I doing here? Like, what am I doing with this? And those are the things that, no matter weight loss will prepare you for and no amount of esthetics will get you. It's like those vulnerable moments where you feel like, goodness, I just want to make it like that comes down to like really the culmination of like, what motherhood and like pregnancy is to me, it's like, it is a really, really tumultuous emotional place. At least it was for me. Yeah, for me, it's hormones, lots of changes, but at the same time, like beautiful experiences and like, let's not diminish those because they don't look like someone else's.
Yep. All the food comes with all the fluctuations, right? Scale emotions, all of it.
Alright, that was such a fun chat. We really wax poetic about all the things. I mean, I think you guys know that we have been hanging out with Amber, Heidi and I. It's like, we really just want you to like, be excited to like, figure out who you are, like what your life looks like.
Yep. Appreciate and love yourself. You deserve it.
And that is the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids. 100%
Amber B 56:46
I hope that you enjoyed that unfiltered, raw rant from the three of us. We, it's what we feel like, it's like inviting you into the gym with us. We CrossFit together every morning at 5:30. And we are in between sets and in between wives, we have conversations like this, where we'll talk about what's happening in our business or things that we've experienced with clients or things that are you know, are blowing up our DMS, and we have these types of conversations and we just thought, hey, it'd be fun to include other people into it include the podcast listeners into it. You can also check out we co release this episode so you can go listen to it on their podcast, or, you know, maybe go listen to another podcast episode on their podcast, but they have a fabulous podcast. It's called The Butter Dish. Let me just tell you that Natalie's creativity is about 1000 times more than mine. She has really great ideas for really great names. So their podcast is called The Butter Dish. And definitely go check that out wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like my podcast, and you've run out of episodes, chances are you're going to love Heidi and Nat's podcasts because they're freakin amazing. That wraps up this episode of biceps after babies Radio. I'm Amber now go out and be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.
Hey, friend if you heard the news. We have a biceps after babies radio insider list. If you love Biceps After Babies radio, you don't want to miss a thing. Head to bicepsafterbabies.com/insider to join the group. You'll be the first to know all things about the podcast, see some behind the scenes and get special messages from yours truly. We want to make this a special community for those who are fans of the podcast. And last, did this episode particularly resonate with you? If so, will you please share it? Either send the link to someone who would find it valuable or take a screenshot and post it to your social media and tell your friends and family why they should listen. Make sure you tag me @biceps.after.babies so I can hear your feedback and give you a little love. And you know, if you aren't already following me on Instagram or Facebook, that's the perfect time to hit that follow button. Thank you for being here and listening to Biceps after Babies radio.