In an interview with Mediaplanet, speaker, writer, four-time cover girl, and weekly podcast host Sarah Nicole Landry shares her experience with her post-pregnancy body and discusses the importance of self-care and body empowerment for both mothers and children.
What is your best advice for moms who are struggling with their post-pregnancy bodies?
The season of postpartum can be so filled with joy, change, excitement and also grief, loss, and a complete identity crisis. We are expected to birth, bleed, grow, change, lose sleep, have a complete lifestyle change and remain the same? Impossible. Evolving is not only inevitable it’s incredible. When we struggle it’s often because of this internal narrative happening that we can’t possibly LOOK like anything else but having it all together, all the while falling apart and learning to put yourself back together again…with a baby in arms. For me, the key part of this is not making it joy or grief, but both. When we allow the opportunity to feel it all, we allow the opportunity for actual acknowledgement of feelings and fears and process them as we go.
As an extremely busy entrepreneur and mother of four, how do you manage to take time for yourself?
Let me just start by saying, I don’t. I do try, a lot, but the reality is not there yet. This is ok. I think I’m a bit burnt out that I’m somehow going to do it all and also take care of myself and also make sure everyone is fed, and laundry is done, be a perfect wife and mother. It’s a lot of expectations vs reality and I guess I don’t want to feed into the narrative that I somehow am a unicorn woman who figured it out. I haven’t! I’m figuring it out. Again, this is ok. Small wins are it for me. During a season where it feels very minute-to-minute, I find those little windows, even if they are 5-minute windows.
Additionally, learning to advocate for myself and my needs this round has been a big deal. Using language like “I’m really touched out, can we give the baby formula for this next feed?” has been helpful. Also recognizing that mothers are not the be-all-and-end-all of the journey in raising a child. Village, community, however, you may find it or have access to it (if you can) is important to participate in.
Do you have a go-to self-care routine?
As I said, 5-minute windows in a minute-to-minute world is everything. I love to start and end the day the same. I love quick skincare and a fresh face in the morning, I love to take it off and do skincare again. Begin and end my day with a bit of self-touch and self-love in these 5-minute windows that I have. Recently I’ve also been really into aromatherapy steam rinse-off showers (because, gosh knows, hair washing is a luxury for an hour-to-hour kind of day!).
Do you think children should learn the importance of self-care and body empowerment from a young age?
YES! All caps YES. Children don’t always naturally fall into those rhythms of figuring out what that looks like and as a person but a parent it can be just as much a journey into figuring out what works best for them, too. My kids and their self-care is all so different, so what I’m learning is that teaching self-advocacy is really a journey into discovering your kids. Now, this doesn’t look like “sorry Mom, laundry in the basket just isn’t part of my journey today” it’s more like “I really need some downtime, can I go take some time in my room for a bit to reset?”. When it comes to their bodies, well, I have a bit of a work-in-progress as I learn to speak into my own.
I think learning to deprioritize appearance as our complimenting factor for kids is huge, while also removing the negative narratives around my own body that I speak out loud. At the end of the day, the first language a child learns is from their parents. That language can become their inner voice and their very first influence. I want to take that seriously. I want them to have tools and language and narration that guides but doesn’t direct. I want them to speak gently to themselves, because they witnessed me speaking gently to myself, too.