Your Story – a little “About You” – How long have you lived in the Seattle area? Where are you from/why did you move here? What do you do for a living? Have you always done this?
I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington and have spent most of my life in the PNW. I got my undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Anthropology at the University of Oregon. After college, I spent some time living and traveling abroad. I moved to South Korea and taught English. While I was living there I traveled throughout Asia. Then I moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. I’ve always felt interested in learning about people and different communities. I returned to the US to pursue my graduate degrees in Nutrition and Mental Health at Bastyr University and I’ve worked as a Certified Nutritionist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 2012. I spent 4 years working as a therapist and nutrition educator at an eating disorder treatment center and in 2017 I started specializing in prenatal and postpartum wellness.
What is your favorite thing about connecting with your clients?
My favorite thing is helping women feel that they are not alone in their struggles. It feels so good to be able to offer support, both emotionally and with education and resources.
How has motherhood affected / changed / shaped your career path?
My interest in working with pregnant and postpartum women grew out of my own personal experiences related to self-care, mindfulness and community support during the pregnancy and postpartum period. It helped me realize the need and importance of supporting women throughout pregnancy and motherhood.
What does living a fulfilled and happy life mean to you?
Big question! I think that firstly it means living authentically as myself and true to my values. It means doing my best to be a kind person and embracing my imperfections.
Do you have any personal mantras?
What is a piece of advice you wish you’d received about becoming a mother?
It’s so messy, and that’s normal.
How do you practice self-care?
Cooking/eating nourishing and delicious food, exercise, yoga, meditation, sleep, time with friends
What does the world need more of?
Compassion and tolerance
How did your perspective of body image change after having your babies?
As someone with a history of disordered eating and poor body image, and who has also worked with hundreds of women struggling with those issues, I’ve learned that body image is complicated and it’s dynamic. It ebbs and flows alongside our emotional and psychological experiences. It definitely changes during pregnancy and childbirth when our bodies go through such an immense transformation. Some days I feel completely at ease and comfortable with the way I look, and other days I feel uncomfortable and disgusting in my own skin. Some days I can focus on how my incredible body grew and birthed my twins, other days, all I can see is how my stomach skin will NEVER be the same. I think that’s all normal. I’ve learned to notice the thoughts and feelings that arise about my body without getting attached to them. Most importantly is knowing that even if I’m having a “bad body image day” my body is still worth taking good care of.
What advice would you give other mothers struggling with accepting their post baby bodies?
If you’ve recently had a baby, it can feel extra challenging to feel positively about your body. There are so many changes that your body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth and they are all completely out of your control. Your postpartum body might feel completely foreign and uncomfortable to you. Here are a few things that can be helpful for navigating post-baby body image.
- Acceptance that your body has changed.
You are not the same after having a baby, so why should your body be? Having a baby is a completely transformative experience, emotionally, spiritually, and also physically. Your heart experiences a love it has never known before. You are different, and your body may be too. Accepting that your body has changed doesn’t mean loving it—it just means acknowledging that it is different and that it may never be what it was before having a baby.
- Focus on the incredible!
Remind yourself what your body has done. Your body built and nourished another human life and then birthed that life and then continued to make nourishing food for that new baby. I mean, it’s seriously hard to comprehend how incredible that is. ALL MOMS HAVE AMAZING BODIES!!
- Respect and kindness toward your body, even when it’s hard.
Even when you notice negative thoughts and feelings about your body, ask yourself what can I do to show respect to my body? Maybe it’s a nourishing meal, or a walk around the neighborhood for some movement and fresh air, maybe it’s a hot shower, maybe it’s a nap…. We can still choose to treat our bodies kindly even when we’re not loving them so much. By choosing acts of respect and kindness we are communicating to ourselves that our bodies are worth taking care of. And that, in and of itself, can help improve body image.