A physician at Tempe’s Desert Wellness Center
When I think about women’s health and postpartum health, the first things I think about are pelvic health, hormone balance, and mental health maintenance.
When you Google women’s health and postpartum health, headlines nearly always only point to mental health factors. There’s probably a lot of positive things to be said for this focus as mental health is still often put on the back burner, but I would argue that we’re forgetting the realities of the rest of our bodies.
When women age, have babies, and go through all the hormonal changes associated with the female life, a lot can shift.
I recently met the folks at Tempe’s Desert Wellness Center and was so encouraged by their approach toward women’s health. I took some time earlier this month to talk with Dr. Barbara Ezrre. Our Q/A is below.
And all the other stress that comes with periods of unknown
We're officially a million years into a case without a concrete timeline. I know there's nothing new to our struggle over here at the Zehring household. Anyone who's been in a period of waiting-- for a pregnancy, for wellness, for finality in a foster care case, for closure in a relationship-- knows that the limbo period is the worst. We also know, or at least many of us could say that this place of in-between is also where the growth happens.
All of this is true and Nick and I know this in our hearts, but it just doesn't make it easier.
So here I am, writing this all out and asking myself: in this space of foster parenting (insert all other challenges) how do we navigate the most fundamental part of this journey without becoming overwhelming inward focused and negative?
Delegation and Communication Rule the Day
Nick and I used to fight every night around 7p after the littlest of kids were sleeping because I'd be getting ready for the next day while Nick was ready to relax.
I felt overwhelmed by the duties of the house and I hated when Nick asked how he could help. I remember thinking and probably in many instances muttering under my breath, "Oh, you know. You can help me with EVERYTHING I DO EVERY NIGHT."
It was stupid. The fighting was petty. The exhaustion is/was/(will always be) real. We really just needed to figure out how to better communicate.
I figured out that if I could label each individual task that needed to be done every night or before hosting friends or before a parent visit, the playing field could be leveled. Nick wouldn't have to ask how he could help and I could give him the opportunity without having to have a conversation about all of our nightly to-dos.
With magnetic popsicle sticks, I can put each to-do on the fridge each afternoon and by the time bedtime rolls around, both Nick and I can tackle the tasks 'listed.'
Here's what it looks like in real life.
One Reason Trauma-Informed Parenting is Key
Let me start by prefacing this: every case is different and every child needs different things.
We are over a year into foster care and we’ve only ever known the needs of one precious boy. His needs have drastically changed since he came to us and that’s been a great thing. Less needs means improvement.
What I’ve outlined below is a brief breakdown of what it can mean to be trauma-informed as a foster parent.
The simplest thing has changed the game for our marriage
When I first started staying/working at home, I read everything I could on schedules and activities. When I talked to my friends who already stayed at home, I asked them for their best practices on managing the balance between playtime and house chores.
I looked at staying at home and working from home with my kids full-time as a new job. Technically, that is exactly what it was.
If you're tracking with me so far, you understand that I was going from working full-time out of the house with two babies and one on the way, to working very part-time at home while caring for these kids and preparing to give birth. I really don't think there's a more drastic change to be made here folks. I had no idea what to expect and really no understanding of Nick's expectations and desires through this transition.