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Mothering the Mother Podcast

media postpartum pregnancy Jan 24, 2019

Dr. Sterling is an OB/GYN in San Diego. She combines her passion for taking care of women with her drive to understand the mysteries of the brain and the mind-body connection.

Dr. Sterling has been meditating since childhood and over the last decade has studied Buddhist, Transcendental and Mindfulness techniques. She is an expert in the cutting-edge science of the brain and well as the ancient Eastern philosophies of the mind. Her background in neuroscience and meditation plays a large role in her approach to women’s health.

“The idea that becoming a mom is just instinct and that it is just natural is not the full picture. Yes we all eventually figure it out but lets talk a bout that transition and what that transition feels like and provide women with tools they need to get where they want to go”
Dr. Sterling

Episode highlights

  • Dr. Sterling's role as OB/GYN and how her whole perspective in relation to her practice changed when she went through pregnancy, birth and the fourth trimester.

  • Dr. Sterling used to see issues which presented in her practice in the first trimester patients as “normal” and “common” and would move the conversation on but after going through them herself (nausea, sickness, fatigue) it doesn't matter that it is common or that medical intervention is not needed – it is the person that is experiencing it that matters it can be “life-altering”.

  • Dr. Sterling’s role involves providing emotional support and empathy to patients.

  • The importance of holding space for women and truly listening.

  • The reason Dr. Sterling shares her personal story on Instagram.

  • Wearing a white coat Dr. Sterling alludes to the fact she may be someone who may be seen to be “more immune” to these struggles but this is not the case.

  • Planning for postpartum needs to start in pregnancy - “Prenatal princess and postpartum peasant”..

  • An acknowledgment of the spiritual journey in pregnancy so we can learn the lessons needed for postpartum.

  • The need to have a robust understanding of what you need to feel whole as a mother before having your baby. Dr. Sterling sees this as a golden opportunity to tune into ourselves to understand what we need to be fulfilled and whole

  • Power of sharing authentic stories around birth and postpartum.

  • Falling in love with our babies can be a gradual process it does not always happen instantaneously.

  • Cultural change needed around the etiquette of visiting a new family. Anyone visiting new baby should first go to the new mother and ask her how she is doing before going to the baby. The mother is going through a lot and you are being invited into her space and home so acknowledging her presence is so important.

  • Matrescence – the need to give new mothers a level of support in the same way teenagers are supported in adolescence.

  • Body shaming – bouncing back is deeply ingrained in our celebrity culture – exalt people who can go back to pre-pregnancy body. Dr. Sterling shares her personal journey in relation to body positivity and discusses a Body Love meditation she uses to express gratitude for one thing that each particular body part does for her e.g. eyes being able to see, I Love you. This was the switch Dr. Sterling needed to flip the switch from what her body looks like in the mirror to what it does.

  • The message young girls receive regarding the importance of how they look.

  • We discuss the need to turn inwards, rather than turn to Google as it takes us out of the present – away from our intuition. Dr. Sterling mentions that introspection is something we need to practice. Mental stillness can't be accessed by looking at a screen. We discuss how quiet minds can help us parent – there may not be an answer on the Google search bar – it may be that we just need to make eye contact with our child.

  • Favourite food: baguette and stinky cheese.

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