Postpartum Anxiety with Chasity Holcomb


00:00:01    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 171. In this episode, I got to hang out with Chasity Holcomb who you might know as over on Instagram. Chasity is a therapist and we drove into postpartum anxiety. We looked at the difference between some postpartum mood disorders and how postpartum anxiety might show up for you or for someone you love. We talked about ways that you can access support or help somebody else access support. There can be so much shame or guilt in the postpartum season, if you are struggling and I want you to know that you are enough and that you're doing enough and it is hard and you do not have to do it alone. If you had a broken arm, you wouldn't hesitate to go to the doctor to get support to get it fixed. And if you're struggling with a postpartum mood disorder, I want you to know that reaching out for support is a strength postpartum can feel lonely and isolating and you do not have to navigate this season alone. All right, folks. Let's dive in. 


00:01:27    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.  


00:02:00    Alyssa

Hey everyone, welcome back to Voices of Your Village, today I get to hang out with Chasity Holcomb. She is a therapist and a mom of two little girls and I've been following her on Instagram for a while and Chasity, I love your Instagram stories that you do of like "take what you need" I love that. I love it. I'm like, oh I need, I just need these stories. That's what I need. It's such a nice little check-in, so welcome. Thanks for joining me today. How are you? 


00:02:31    Chasity

Yes, I'm good. Thank you so much for having me, always love having these kind of candid conversations, you know to talk about all things motherhood and kind of growing into what that looks like. So I'm so happy to be here. 


00:02:45    Alyssa

Yeah, I'm jazzed to hang with you. Can you share with folks a bit about your background and kind of what brings you into this work? 


00:02:51    Chasity

Yeah. So, okay. My name is Chasity and I do have two little ones who happen to be 13 months apart. Keep us very busy, my husband and I, we live in Dallas, Texas raising them. I also have a online therapy practice in Texas. I've been doing the therapy of course for years now, but after becoming mom and transitioning into motherhood, I realized that my heart was set on helping other moms through postpartum and really beyond because you know, I used to hear my friends and family talk about like motherhood is hard, and people aren't talking about like the realness of it. And I'd be like, yeah I bet and then I became a mom on my own and I was like, yeah, nobody's talking about it. 


00:03:41    Alyssa

We need to have a conversation. 


00:03:46    Chasity

We need to sit down. We need to talk about this. So that's kind of how I transitioned to seeing mom's solely then that also sparked me creating on Instagram. It's funny. Because I thought I was going to be blogging. I thought that was the only thing I was going to do and like IG was going to be my like side thing for that and it actually like flipped like so that like IG is like that main thing of how I connect and support other moms, and I do kind of a little bit of blogging on the side and trying to pick that up. But yeah, I just I realized the identity shift that comes with motherhood and that's really my heart and my purpose is to help moms kind of reclaim, you know their own identity, their independence and to be able to see that they can still love their children and also shower themselves with that same love and nurturance and they give out. So yeah, yeah.


00:04:44    Alyssa

Oh it's so so huge, I think there's such a history of giving of yourself until there's nothing left to give specifically in motherhood. Yeah. I think it's such an important conversation to be having because there's this idea, we do a Mama's Getaway Weekend every year through Seed and it's just like, oh, it's my favorite weekend. It's an in-person like retreat weekend. We bring in guest speakers and we just get down and dirty with this work and folks get to connect with each other Etc. But so many moms will reach out and be like I want to go so badly and I couldn't take a weekend away or I couldn't step...and that just this kind of like, you need, you are the one who needs this then right? Like so many of us I think are like, I can't step away or I'm not supposed to step away, I'm not supposed to take time for myself. Even if that's five minutes what you know, not necessarily a full Mama's Getaway Weekend, but like even if it's five minutes or I'm gonna go to the store alone and leave, I saw a mom the other day was saying like, how she just was craving like a trip to Target alone, and she was like, but I don't want to leave the kids with my husband because I know how hard that is and I was like, let's dive into this, does that ever cross his mind? I don't want to leave both kids with you because I know how hard that is. Right and she was like no I'm with them alone all the time. And I was like, yeah, and it probably it is hard and you figured it out right? And I think often we don't, we don't expect that for ourselves as moms. 


00:06:26    Chasity

No, and you bring up a good point because it's like the mom should be the one that bears the brunt right? She should pick up all the hard difficult messy parts of this. You can even think back like whenever the doctors like whenever you're in labor right? And they're like this is the final push, they're right there, just give us one big push, you push that baby out and their attention turns to the baby, right? And you know, they're just trying to make sure the baby is all good, reasonably so, you know, they're a fresh new baby, right? Right and so they're doing all of that and then they're like checking on you and making sure you're doing some things right and then it's kind of like the and the gooey parts like, "Oh my gosh, the dad is holding the baby!" After you have just pushed your everything out, right? You just been through it. Okay, but then it's like the the pieces and the glory kind of comes in like, oh my gosh. Look at the way the dad loves them and so sometimes the very beginning we get the picture that you do the brunt and then they get the kind of the glory pieces of that. And society doesn't help with that either right? Like this kind of picture that Mom should be all knowing, and all sacrificing, and all giving and then they will have what's left over but it's like no, our partners, they can learn just as much as we can and a lot of that learning unfortunately takes place after we have relinquished the responsibility of it all. 


00:08:02    Alyssa

Totally, totally and I think this is interesting to look at from like a birth parent perspective of like maybe you're not in a hetero relationship and like how do different things show up? And one of the things I want to chat about today really is postpartum anxiety and when I'm looking at this, I'm really thinking today around a birth parent and really looking at like the hormones and everything that's playing into this, you know, because I think that's something that's really important to acknowledge that like physical aspects of carrying and birthing human and I say with like diastasis and like stomach pain right now, like right? Like there are so many things that I experienced as the person carrying and birthing the child that my partner doesn't experience and I think, I think that like that's okay to say and to talk about, you know. 


00:09:07    Chasity

It's a part of the experience and it's one of the things that makes it so difficult for us to share with non-birthing people or share with our friends and family that don't have children yet because it is a biological thing that unless you have experienced it. It's hard to, to explain that right like it's hard to explain what a cramp is to someone who has never had a cramp in their life versus right like contractions. To a person who has not had you know, those things happen. So the biological and the hormonal changes that happens, that we experience from the time we conceive right to the time that the baby is starting to grow up until a year after birth because that's postpartum right from from birth into one year. And really honestly past that but that's what the definition of postpartum is. Right? Yeah, but yeah those hormonal changes that we you know experience in our mood, there is a study and I need to be, maybe I'll look it up... 


00:10:16    Alyssa

Please send it on over. 


00:10:17    Chasity

Yeah so that you can share with your audience. But basically how the moms brain shifts, her focus grows to this kind of extension of empathy towards her baby, right so that she's able to tune in with their needs and what their, those hunger cry versus those like, you know, happy cries or whatever it is, right? Like the brain kind of switches. It goes through kind of a metamorphosis in order for the mom to be able to tap into that sort of thing. And if that's happening, there's gotta be some changes right? The brain and the body they have to adjust and if we are not aware of that and if we are also not in company of people who are talking about that then we might feel like something is off with us. Like we've done something wrong to be feeling frustrated because you know, someone didn't bring the right recipe home or something like that. So I know you got a lot going on.


00:11:17    Alyssa

Yeah, no kidding all the sleep deprivation and all that jazz. Yeah it all compounds it all compounds. There's so much like upheaval in the postpartum period. Can we chat about differentiating between like what is, would be considered like normal hormonal shifts that we're going to essentially navigate right out, allow yourself to feel and then what would warrant concern where we might be looking and saying like maybe this is postpartum anxiety and we would be seeking further support whether it's medication, therapy Etc. 


00:11:52    Chasity

Yeah, so kind of like you were just saying like there's so many different things that play a part in to the different, so like what we're feeling and what we're doing, right? So they're like sleep-deprived deprivation is at the top of that list, right? We need sleep in order to rejuvenate and function the way that we were designed to function. And if you're not having sleep it's hard for your brain to consume and process all of the information that has happened through the day. We all know there's a lot happening through the day especially in those first, you know few weeks or months in postpartum. And so if you do kind of this check in with yourself, am I feeling this feeling, am I frustrated, am I angry, upset, am I, you know tearful because I just need a little bit more sleep and you go to get that sleep say, you know, ask your partner your friends or family and it's a little different with covid at this time of the recording but you know, if you're able to get in an extra hour or two hours of sleep and you feel better you feel that your your emotions are a little bit more manageable? Then that kind of tells me okay. It was a sleep issue, right? If you also notice that your little bit more cranky and you are like did I eat today? Like it's 12 o'clock and have I put anything in my mouth, right and you eat and that also overtime kind of helps you, you know, feel better or going outside or moving a little bit any of those things. If you kind of assess and walk yourself through that and that helps you feel better that can kind of differentiate between the debilitating feeling of anxiety which brings on these onset of not only are you feeling on edge in your body but your feeling on edge in your mind as well because anxiety likes to play tango with both of those things your body and your mind so you're thinking constantly, you know, what if something happens to my baby what if you know I fall when I'm holding them, what if this happens, what if this doesn't happen? All these thoughts are debilitating in a way and you kind of feel like your actions follow suit from those thoughts meaning it prevents you from doing certain things or you find yourself trying to control in a way things from happening that could be an indicator that at this point it might be a little bit more than just the hormonal piece of it. You might need to consult with the doctor see a therapist to see if that might help kind of bring things to a more manageable and tolerable state. 


00:14:31    Alyssa

That's so helpful to like make that distinction, essentially like is it affecting how you, your actions, your choices and how you're living. And as you were naming those things that just sounds like like really being like stuck in that fear. Where like it wasn't the hangries where like, all right. I was feeling scared about something, and I ate something or I took that nap or whatever but really beyond that like I'm stuck in it and maybe when I lay down to go to sleep, I can't take that nap because I'm stuck in it. 


00:14:59    Chasity

Yeah, exactly, right it doesn't, it doesn't lift right? After you've had that snack or you've slept in, it's kind of still lingering there and other people are also probably mentioning to you. Like hey, are you okay or you know something's off, sometimes when we have a third eye on on our behaviors that can be very telling as well. 


00:15:20    Alyssa

Yeah this, Rachel who runs our sleep program, she has shared openly about her experience with postpartum depression and anxiety with her last baby. And her first baby was like the opposite she was like cloud 9, felt great whatever and so it really caught her off guard right? She came into her second baby and was like, what is this and I went to visit her maybe about three weeks postpartum and was staying and like she also had a sensory sensitive babe, pretty challenging and I was there and things were like more chill with extra hands, right? As we often find especially in the early days and he was like doing pretty well that point while I was there and I just noticed like even when he was doing better, there wasn't a shift for her right there like having me there, she was just like don't leave, please move in, but also like even when he was like down and she like had that like, oh she would say like, I just need him to sleep and then he would sleep and it wasn't like that weight had lifted and that was like the sign for me where I was like, hey, babe, I think it's something more here, but it was like it was really wild to see that just kind of play out right in front where I was like, there's nothing that it seems like could happen that would make this feel better for you right now. You know what I mean? 


00:16:42    Chasity

And that's so important to have like that indicator because you can like you can say right the baby's not fussy at this moment or you know, I was able to get a little more sleep last night. Why in the world am I still like this? Which you know, and if you're kind of in that stuck feeling it might also bring up feelings of shame, especially if you you know are on social media and you see, you know other moms who are doing well, maybe they're not experiencing these same types of scenarios that you are and you might feel like well, my baby is the same age as they are and why can't I just get it together, right? Like we have the same amount of, our kids are the same age or you know, blah blah blah, right all these kind of comparison things and you can feel like it's something wrong with me and what I tell my clients all the time is that anxiety or really any other emotion that you feel it's not about you. It's more so the experience that you're having right? So if you can take like take the weapon out of the emotion and then I think that puts us in a place of empowerment like I can seek help because I need help with this versus I need help with me because your already approaching the situation with a little bit of shame. But if you see it, as this is a difficult situation that I'm experiencing and other people, other professionals might be able to help me with this. It kind of helps us, right. We already have a hard time asking for help as it is, but we're definitely not going to want to ask for it. If we think that it's a "us" problem versus it's the issue of it in and of itself. 


00:18:25    Alyssa

Totally I mean it's so interesting that divide of like if you fell and broke your arm postpartum, you wouldn't be like gosh that other mom didn't break her arm. And so I should just sit with this broken arm like you would go and you would get it, get support from a doctor and move forward and move through it. Right and it's so interesting that divide between the physical and the mental and how we approach them and I think yes the comparison game in the shame, but also nobody wants to be in that space right in the space of like this is really hard and I'm not enjoying this and it can feel embarrassing. We're guilt-ridden to say like I'm not enjoying these days. 


00:19:11    Chasity

Yeah, and that's why people don't talk about it right? Because it's supposed to, according to society, you're supposed to enjoy this, this is a beautiful blessing, this is a beautiful thing that just happened to your life, you've been waiting for this, you know, all of these types of things and why isn't it fun for you? It's fun for everybody else. And so it's like well, I'm not gonna say anything but what happens with anxiety, what happens with depression, what happens with anger and frustration if we don't bring it to the light if it's hidden, we can't heal it right and if it's just tucked away. It just it grows into this big things, this big mountain that really feels like you can't conquer it when when we pull it out into the light we kind of realize oh, that was just a shadow. I have the tools that I can overcome this thing now that I've gotten support, reached out for help, sought out a professional right? And not to downplay those feelings at all because they are very valid, right? But to say that sometimes we can get to our healing of those things quicker if you're able to shine the light on them and kind of be honest and candid about that experience. 


00:20:22    Alyssa

Totally and just the reality that you don't have to do it alone, like we at this point so many folks are parenting in isolation. I mean even outside of covid but covid for sure, but even outside of covid just like are parenting solo or are parenting with one other partner when we used to raise kids in this Village and have folks to call on and have other people up feeding your children throughout the night or bringing them to you or taking them so that you could nap, all that jazz used to happen and now we're like do all the same things. But by yourself. 


00:20:56    Alyssa

By yourself, yep, you can do it. It's fine. You're just a mom, it's fine.


00:21:07    Alyssa

Gosh it's bonkers, and don't have access to any of the things like going to library going to the playground. Whatever. Well, yeah, no, covid adds a whole other wrench.


00:21:20    Alyssa

What we're saying here is that self-regulation for adults is essential because our kids are going to co regulate. In a world of free information on the internet, it's amazing. We have access to so many of these tools, but there's something different about live events. It really is powerful to be able to carve out time when you don't have a tiny human on your body or calling your name and to really focus in on creating these tools to bring back to your life. To like pause and reflect without distraction and that's what we really get in these live events, you get to focus in for a couple hours or for Mama's Getaway Weekend, you get a whole weekend of stepping outside of your routine to build tools that are hard to see when you're living in it every day. What I love about Alyssa's approach is she's just very down-to-earth and she relates so well to people and she just has so much knowledge and experience to share about working with little kiddos and she's just taught me so much about how to interact with my sons, but also just to have grace for myself and how to kind of work on my own emotional intelligence to be able to better communicate and work with my boys as well. It's a safe space to be able to talk about the challenges of motherhood and how to both look at the things like anxiety and guilt that so many moms to bring to the table and really build their emotional toolbox so that they can respond with intention to their tiny humans. It was really born from a mom who reached out and said "I want to gather with other moms in person to have like a retreat weekend, a time where we can dive really deep and rather than a one-off workshop, we can continue to go into this. So Mama's Getaway Weekend is four workshops from me, two guest workshops, it's lunch, it's breakfast, it's everything included for Saturday and Sunday and then at night there's a "mama's mingle," a time where you get to take off your mama hat and just go hang out with other moms. Right, like you just get to be a human, out and mingling and chatting and building your village in person with other folks who are coming at this from a similar approach, who also want to raise emotionally intelligent humans. If you're ready to take time for you and dive deep into this work come join us for Mama's Getaway Weekend in September in Watertown, New York, September 25th and 26th. You can head over to to snag your ticket today. 


00:23:50    Alyssa

One of the questions that came in from folks was what's the difference between postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression? Like do they go hand in hand or kind of can you dive into that a little bit. 


00:24:02    Chasity

Yeah, so postpartum depression and anxiety differ. I mean they have definitely a lot of similarities, right? They both affect the way that you sleep, your appetite and your mood but sometimes depression looks more or feels more like you probably heard this before, more like a cloud that you're under, you know, and it's almost like you don't have the strength to rise up against it like it's hard for you to get out of the bed in the morning. There's a whole lot of lack of motivation to do things even things that seem very small, brushing your teeth, I know that's hard for us anyway, but like the thought of doing very small things could be very like, what's the point right? You can have this kind of just low energy, low mood, not wanting to get out of the bed, not wanting to communicate or be around people that usually would bring you joy or you would usually spark something inside of you, right? Just not really feeling any of that almost like this numbness that can come from with depression. Postpartum anxiety on the other hand again affects the way that you eat and sleep and all that kind of stuff. But it also it's like your thoughts on fire, is kind of how I explain it sometimes. Your thoughts are on fire. You are ruminating which means you're thinking either the same thought or a lot of different thoughts over and over again. And so I think you mentioned it earlier when you go down to go to sleep or to take a nap. Oh my gosh, did I put the bottles in the thing? Did this happen? Oh did I change that? Let me call him. Oh, I didn't call this person back I need oh, she asked me... And your mind is just on fire. Now sometimes, especially those early postpartum days or months, there might be things that you worry about because this is a new experience right? Whether it's your first child or your third child. There's something new about the experience that will bring you worry, but the crossover between worry and anxiety is again the way that it affects the way that you behave right? And so are you able to kind of turn down the volume of your worry? Or is your worry like controlling what you're doing, what you're saying, how you're presenting to the world. So I think that those kind of like, anxiety you feel like you're on fire, depression feels like you can't move you feel kind of paralyzed in a sense. 


00:26:32    Alyssa

Yeah, that's helpful. I think that word numb really stuck with me with the PPD. Someone had, a mom had reached out a year ago and was sharing she was like I think I have PPD or whatever and she was saying like the thing that stuck with her was that she was I'm just feeling no joy, and she was like, I'm just going through the motions of the day and I find myself just like getting through the day, but I'm not enjoying my days. Like I'm not enjoying these, this season in any manner and that like really stuck out to me of just like really going through the motions. 


00:27:12    Chasity

Yeah. Just trying to get through the day and sometimes it's you know, it's barely surviving for some moms like I've heard, you know, I couldn't get out of the bed. I have to have to call, you know, a partner or my friends and family. They had to come over and take care of the baby because I just could not do it. So yeah.


00:27:29    Alyssa

Totally and again, I think there's so much shame around it and it's such a bummer because it like truly is a hormonal imbalance right? Like yeah, you can't mantra your way out of this like... 


00:27:42    Chasity

And I'm all about right, these good affirmations, I think that they are great. However, there might be some roadblocks, right? Some tangible roadblocks that are getting in the way of us actually believe that those things are true, which could also bring more shame, right? Like why can't I just believe this? I printed this darn quote out and I put it on my wall and not helping me. It's not working. But yeah you're right, you can't mantra your way out of it there needs to be a different process to helping you get back to a place where you're not numb and you know, when you're numbing, not on purpose, but when like the difficult parts of that experience are trying to be, kind of numbed, so are the good parts, right? So it's like this total numbness of that experience and I've heard a lot of moms talk about like looking back and not remembering anything, not remembering the happies or you know, just that they remember like feeling like ugh, but not really knowing, you know, the day ins and the day outs of what that experience was like. 


00:28:52    Alyssa

Totally and that makes total sense from like preservation standpoint. Yeah, just trying to get through, when you're in the thick of postpartum anxiety. I think for so many folks. It just feels like who you are. Right? And I think this is true with anxiety in general, but I think especially in postpartum where there's the added layers of everything else going on. How can we help parents like build awareness around recognizing symptoms for what they are as symptoms, does that make sense? 


00:29:26    Chasity

Yeah. Yeah, so I have a whole course on this because of this manner because it, you're right. It becomes a part of your identity and anything we put on as a part of our identity. We kind of work our life around it. Right? So it's kind of like, oh, I have anxiety about, I'll just use going into the car for example I have anxiety about riding in the car. That means I'm not going to ride in the car. So then you're like, well, I need to learn how to ride a bike and then we need to move closer to the city so that can ride a bike places, right? You see like your life decisions are based on this identity that you've put on that in relation to anxiety. And so when you see yourself, talking yourself out of experiences that might actually be really good for you. Be really good for your family. But anxiety is telling you it's not going to be good. It's actually going to be terrible. What if something, what if this happens, what if it happens to really kind of ask yourself a series of questions. 


00:30:31    Chasity

Like you know, where is this coming from? Where is this thought coming from? Is it rooted in something that is good for me or is it rooted in something that is going to actually not make me feel very good. Like how do I feel about these thoughts? Do I feel excited when I hear these types of things go through my mind or does it make me very fearful right? And if it's the latter then if I do I want to believe that? If the answer is no what are some things that I can do to help myself in this present moment not to believe that this thought about riding in the car or whatever that thought is, right? What can I do in this moment to help myself not believe that for some that might be taking a deep breath in this moment. I am safe. In this moment, my kids are flourishing in this moment. We ate mac and cheese, but that's okay, right? 


00:31:26    Alyssa

It was delicious actually!


00:31:27    Chasity

It was delicious. I guess I'll make it again tomorrow, whatever it is right. Bringing yourself back to the present moment because inherently anxiety is not a bad thing. It is designed to help protect us and keep us safe. But I use the analogy of like a coat right like if you, a coat wants to keep you safe and warm. But if you wear this coat in the wrong weather or even in the right weather, but too long. It starts to feel like you're suffocating, it starts to over do it, right? And so if you're able to kind of ask yourself these questions like is this more of like a protection thing or is this more fear-based? Does this help me in a way that feels good to me and my family. Or is this actually hindering me from experiencing the joy of this moment and then tapping into you know, those deep breathing taking a walk or just creating a pause to say actually I want to believe this in this moment instead of that other fear-based or anxiety based thought. 


00:32:36    Alyssa

Totally and I think it's so hard because it really, that identity portion can become so real. I was talking to a Mom in my life recently who was like at a point where she was like having my kid in my room with me for sleep is not working for me. Like I am waking up to every grunt and every roll and every whatever and I check on her and she's fine. She's sleeping but I keep waking up and the babes bedroom was right across, literally directly across the hall and so I was like, do you have any thoughts on like just moving her there you can keep her in the bassinet and everything too, just like there, and to see if that separation will help you sleep if she's sleeping fine right now and she was like I'm too anxious to have her that far. And I was like, oh interesting. Let's dive into that. But that like is what came up for me just now when you were chatting where it had become her identity that like I'm too anxious for that. I'm an anxious human and that shift. I mean, I lived with anxiety for a very long time as a part of my norm and I had a therapist over a decade ago who was like Alyssa, you don't have to live like this. Like I had gotten to the point where it had dictated so many choices and it was so much a part of my identity that I didn't even see it as separate for me. You know what I mean? It was so powerful and like now when I see folks actively living with anxiety. I just want to like give them that big hug because I'm like man, I know how that feels and I know that it's so hard to see yourself separate from it. 


00:34:20    Chasity

Yes, right, right and it's almost like I was talking to a client a couple months ago, and she was grieving the loss of her mom and she was talking about she described her grief as like this blanket like kind of not wanting to process through this, almost like this is comfortable for me to kind of hold this in right? And that's kind of how we do other emotions especially anxiety, even if we know that anxiety is not comfortable for us. It's like what what what else is out there? What it's going to take? What do I have to do to get through it? All that's gonna bring your anxiety. I don't want to be that. 


00:34:59    Alyssa

That's exactly it. 


00:35:01    Chasity

I don't want to talk to a therapist and tell them all the things that I'm anxious about, that's going to make me anxious and so we'll have this kind of comfort blanket. That's actually really just not, it's not going to get you to that side of freedom that you want and I know it can be hard even for moms that might be listening to this. It might be hard to envision a life without anxiety right? Or a life that you are able to manage anxiety well, but like you said your testament of it, I've experienced anxiety before, I've walked with other clients who've experienced that and it is something that you can come to a place of managing. Now it's not something that you won't ever experience before because anxiety is a natural emotion. Every person will experience some form of anxiety, right but coming to this place of like I can get some tools to help me with this? I don't have to just suffer with this? I don't have to base my decisions on what I will and won't do on this? And once you kind of come to terms with like this other life right outside of this, you'll start to see like man, all of that stuff I did was because I was running away from anxiety, right? 


00:36:17    Alyssa

Yeah totally. 


00:36:18    Chasity

So yeah, there's definitely a life outside of it. It takes some work to get there but I think is so worth it, so worth it.


00:36:24    Alyssa

Totally, and just like helpful to know that it exists and like was achievable. I know for me like what was really helpful was getting to separate fear from anxiety and for me like being stuck in fear was what anxiety was, where I just couldn't get out of the fear part and I had to learn how to let myself feel fear. Without trying to make it go away because when I tried to make it go away, that's where I'd end up in that anxiety spiral, where I'd be like oh, I'm feeling scared about going like doing X, Y, & Z so I will scroll my phone or I'll go this way around so I don't have to do that and like would circumvent feeling the fear, would stop myself from having to feel it and would just never liked allow myself the freedom to feel, so then when fear would come up in other areas where I couldn't control it. I would just spiral in it because I didn't know what to do when when I felt fear right? And how to calm my body and it was such a game changer for me being like oh, I can feel fear and not spiral into anxiety. 


00:37:37    Chasity

Yeah, I can feel this emotion without being overcome by it. 


00:37:40    Alyssa



00:37:42    Chasity

Which is the life mission, right? Because we're gonna we're gonna feel no, we can't take these feelings away. Unfortunately, he's right. I mean, I think that's why the drug industry is the way that it is sometimes like the sex industry is the way that it is because it provides this pseudo escape from these feelings or these emotions that are very uncomfortable. But when we're in a place where we can say, oh it doesn't, it might feel very painful, it might have a sting or kick to it, but it's not going to kill me? Okay. 


00:38:22    Alyssa

Yeah, it was so comforting. It seems like almost counterintuitive to like when I let myself feel fear than I don't enter into anxiety, you know, like it feels like no, I'm supposed to avoid that but really allowing that was so huge and I think that you know, when we're in this space and in postpartum with all the other layers, you know this sleep deprivation the probably feeling touched out a lot with a human who needs you all the time, all that jazz, going alongside anxiety. I think trying to do that alone. I mean so close to impossible right like I think having places to turn, therapist or medication to support you as you're building your toolbox, whatever that looks like I think is so crucial for navigating it. 


00:39:09    Chasity

It is, that support piece, is so, it's just a big thing and you talked about it earlier like being a part of a village and that's why you know community is so essential really in all aspects of life. But especially when you are transitioning into you know, the role as a mom or you’re, you know, having multiple children because community allows you to learn in new ways because you have different perspective. It allows you to get help and hopefully the help that you actually want right like if something is not helpful for you. Like if you have a family member that comes over and they just like sit there and they don't want to, they don't want to bring you the things that you asked for, or maybe that's not him, if you could ask for you know things or I'm recalling a friend who she's like the first one in our friend group to have a baby. So she was like the ringleader. She knew all the ins and out and I would just say yeah, I don't need anything and she would come with like some cozy socks or she would come with something like "I needed this!" I know baby. I know. That's what community can do, I know it looks different now with Covid, but maybe you know community is, you know, having someone, a safe place that you can say. This is the person I'm gonna call, text, FaceTime, Zoom, however you want to get down. This is the person I'm going to go to when I'm feeling scary thoughts when I'm feeling like it's just too much when I have these, you know questions, instead of going to Instagram or YouTube or Pinterest. I'm going to ask this person because they're safe. I know that I can go to them and they wont make me feel shame they'll actually give me the help and the support that I need at this time. 


00:41:03    Alyssa

So huge we have a membership program called The Village Membership where folks can, there's two components that I love in terms of connection about it. One, we have like an app where people can drop in questions, we have a psychologist who's on our team who supports everyone but then everyone else supports each other too and sometimes it's just people showing up not looking for advice just saying I had a hard day, you know just need to share and to see the like empathy and compassion from folks all around the world supporting each other through that is so delicious. And then we have an empathy buddies program where you can just like pop your information into this spreadsheet and pair up with somebody where you can text. You can call, you can whatever, you can take it outside of there to have a one to one person. Because so many people were like, I don't have a person in my life, you know that like that doesn't try to solve my problems all the time or doesn't whatever that can just be that listening ear. Yeah. I love seeing like the community and connection that comes from it, it think it's so huge. 


00:42:05    Chasity

It's such a beautiful thing and I'm sure for you guys to witness it and probably from your own kind of experience of being like, this is what I needed, right? This is what I needed and want and all mom's kind of deserve the ability to have that connection and we are living in a very different time to where like you were saying earlier. We don't have that same kind of community or village feelings so we have to create our own version of that and nowadays and probably many many days and months and years to come it looks like a virtual community. And so I 100% agree and can attest to that. 


00:42:43    Alyssa

Yeah. That's awesome. So if there's somebody here that like has, I'm thinking of you know, like when I went and saw Rachel was like oh man, this isn't adding up like so many humans postpartum and it was like, oh there's, this is a little different like we need more support here if there's someone who has a friend, has a loved one in their life that they are like, you know, what I'm feeling concerned for them. What are some ways that they can best support that person. 


00:43:14    Chasity

I would say as much as possible try to support them in a way that doesn't come off in or via command. So like just try to get up and blah blah blah just try to eat for just try to whatever those commands again can bring up shame. They already know if they could do those things it would make them feel better. Right? And so if you see that, you know, if you know this person well, And you know that walking has always been their jam. It is always made them feel good, right because you guys used to do it together or whatever. Maybe help for that would be tomorrow at 10:00. Let's do a social distance walk, right or what is it sound like if you know we were to do that? More of an ask right? In that situation they may tell you no and that's okay, right? That's okay. Okay other point, other kind of support you can provide is just your own story telling, your own experience about it, without that, you know without like it leading to this huge Kumbaya moment. And they're like you're right I'm gonna make my appointment right now! Because that might not be where they are, right, but you can just say oh my gosh. I just remember, you know, when I was, when my postpartum, and this happened and I was just so shocked and man this is, this can be just be a crazy season in motherhood. So I definitely understand, you know, if you're going through that or something like that so storytelling and then the other is just encouraging, you know, bringing out what they do have going well for themselves what the strengths that they are exhibiting even if they don't realize that they're there right, you know say that they haven't been able to get out of the bed in a couple of days, you know, and so that's very concerning right and you are able to get ahold of them and just kind of showering them with kindof words of encouragement, being very kind-hearted and genuine with you know, the strength that you're pointing out about them. I'm so glad that you answer my call. I've been looking forward to talking to you. I'm so proud of you. You're such a great mom. No, I'm not. Well, even if you don't feel it, these are the things that I know about you, you have great tenacity, you go after what you want. I remember the times when you would just light up the room right like those strengths that you want to bring out of them and you know again, it doesn't have to end in this like, that was the conversation that saved the day right? Like no just be genuine about it, meeting them where they are and when they're ready, when they're in a place to receive. And kind of make that transition they will. If you fear on kind of the other end of that spectrum that someone is contemplating doing something harmful to themselves or other people then that would be a more direct and a little bit more serious conversation about their health and their safety and so that could be a like I said a little bit more of a direct conversation. I'm concerned about you you've made these statements or this has happened and then asking, how can I support you and then just create a pause, some silence. Sit with that and allow them to say or not say, maybe it's just that they need to hear that someone else saw what they were experiencing. 


00:46:52    Alyssa

Oh, yeah. I think it's so huge not going in with that goal. Right? Like I mean the first time I chatted with Rach about it. She didn't make an appointment that day, right like, you know that's not how that ended up. It was weeks. It was weeks until she made an appointment. It was weeks of her having medication before she was ready to take it like and I for, as the person on the outside, it can be hard to watch like this could make you feel better and I want to fix it. I want to fix it and it's hard to hold space for that. And I think that I love that advice Chasity of just like being able to go in without the goal of all right, I'm going to, we're going to have this conversation and we're going to leave with a human who has a plan and is ready to go and being able to hold space for like we're going to have a conversation and we might have a million more of these conversations before anything moves. And what I want them to know is that I'm a safe space for them to break down and I see them and I'm not adding to their shame. 


00:47:56    Chasity

Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. I had a friend who was going through postpartum depression and I actually didn't know it at the time and she would always always ask me to come over and just like hang out and I would have like a million things going on, but I was like, okay, she wants me to come hang out, so I will, she has the baby, you know, and I would just go we would just sit on the couch and sometimes it's like girl, why did you ask me over if you don't want to talk? But she needed another presence in the room. And after she was out of the thick of her postpartum depression, unbenounced to me. She said you helped me get through postpartum depression and I was thinking wait what? First of all, I didn't know you had postpartum depression second of all, how did I help? All I did is come over to your house and sit on the couch, you know, and she said just by being there right? So don't ever underestimate the power of just being there. 


00:48:57    Alyssa

Yeah, it's so huge, I mean right back to like the tiny humans, right? We're like, yes, same the book The Rabbit listened is one of my absolute favorites and it's literally about this rabbit who just listens doesn't do anything doesn't change just sits. That's awesome. Thank you so much. Where can folks connect with you, learn more about your work dive into what you have to offer. 


00:49:19    Chasity

Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram at I'm also on YouTube and apple and spotify, so it's like a video podcast. So it's basically like a video recording of my podcast. So YouTube, Momfully You, podcast Momfully You. And then my website, there I have my online membership community to help moms reclaim their identity and fully love the authentic version of themselves. It's my passion to help mom's kind of really know who they are and eventually learn to like and commit to loving themselves as well. So yeah!


00:50:00    Alyssa

I love that. That's so awesome. And so powerful. Thank you. Thank you for hanging out with me and sharing your time and brilliance and experience with us. 


00:50:11    Chasity

It's so fun. Thank you so much for having me. 


00:50:14    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


Additional Resources provided by Chasity Holcomb

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