Karissa Whitman

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Karissa is a mother of two little boys who shares the raw, real, highs and lows of motherhood, self acceptance, and all the in-betweens of life as “mom after baby”. She was born and raised in beautiful Southern California where she lives with her boys, husband, and their two dogs.

Location San Diego, California
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Motherhood overload is real. Between keeping our children safe, fed, and comforted, we sacrifice a little bit of ourselves so that everyone and everything else can be fulfilled. When you add postpartum into the mixture, things can get heavy REAL FAST. The good news is, you don't have to carry this weight alone. Turn into your friends, your family, and your partner. Turn into yourself, and allow yourself to meet your own needs. 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱??

Do you feel the need to be PERFECT at all things parenting? Here's a little newsflash for ya: ✨Perfection can steal your joy by making you hyperfocused on things that really don't matter✨ Your babies love you because you are their safe space. You are their mother. You are their world. Don't forget that mama. 💜 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆? 𝗧𝗮𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄.

*Re-sharing this post of mine for all the pregnant mamas out there**⁠ ⁠ 36 Weeks with this big ol’ bump!⁠ ⁠ I’m not sure Jax truly understands he has a “baby brother” in there, but he’s been giving me more belly kisses which just melts my heart!⁠ ⁠ As for baby, he’s going to be a big boy just like his big brother!⁠ ⁠ The doctor we saw today gave me the OK to start doing things to help me go into labor naturally such as:⁠ ✨Bouncing on a yoga ball (to help baby descend further down into my pelvis)⁠ ✨Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea⁠ ✨Deep Squats⁠ ⁠ Because of COVID - she emphasized really trying to get labor going on it’s own to avoid needing any kind of induction or cesarean if at all possible. Currently 2cm dilated, 50% effaced, -3 station, so pretty standard for this far along!⁠ ⁠ Before leaving my appointment she went over the labor & delivery rules for our hospital which are:⁠ •I’ll be taken straight to triage alone & get tested for COVID.⁠ •Brad will have to wait in the lobby & get screened⁠ •Once my test result comes back & I’m admitted, Brad will be able to stay in our delivery room w/me but can’t leave for anything, otherwise he will not be allowed back in. No exceptions⁠ •She advised we bring lots of our favorite non-perishable snacks, toiletries & a cooler for any favorite drinks.⁠ •In the event we need a cesarean, he will have to wait in the delivery room while I have the surgery alone.⁠ •In the event baby goes to NICU, only one of us can go with baby. Then we can switch out one at a time between the two of us only.⁠ •Since we have a toddler who will be at home, it’s recommended whoever stays with him needs to be quarantined as well for the safety of him and our newborn.⁠ ⁠ It was definitely A LOT of information to take in as we prepare to give birth during such a weird time in life right now. All I can hope for is a smooth delivery & NOT needing an induction/cesarean for the sake of getting in and out of the hospital 🤞🏼 For all you other mamas out there preparing for birth during this time, I’m thinking of you all ♥️

Often times Postpartum Anxiety gets overlooked and mistaken for PPD. The thing with most anxieties, is they're full of crippling (typically irrational) fears and worries. Though in your mind they're very rational concerns. The tricky part is that they share some VERY common overlapping signs. Sometimes, you end up with both. In fact, according to various experts, about 1 in 5 women will experience some form of a perinatal mood & anxiety disorder (PMAD). That means you can experience this as early as pregnancy, too! Paying close attention to the signs can help you identify if and when to seek help: - Restlessness - Irritability or Rage - Constant worry, fear or anxiety - Insomnia - Lack of appetite - Feeling excessively overwhelmed - Constant worry, fear, or anxiety For me, I had found myself constantly worried about my first. Even when my husband (someone I wholeheartedly trust) would take him for just a few minutes I'd obsess over minuscule things, unable to get any quality time for myself because of those irrational thoughts and worries. These thoughts can drag you so far down, potentially even leading to depression if it wasn't already present. This is why it's so important to be aware of the signs. It's crucial to understand your mental health, to know all your needs & limits. Most importantly, don't be afraid to seek help from a licensed perinatal therapist, your doctor, or anyone you feel you could talk to. 𝗗𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗣𝗣𝗔 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗺? 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝗽𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝗿 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲? . . . . . #postpartumblues #postpartumanxiety #bumptobaby #thisispostpartum #lifeafterbaby #postpartumlife #postpartumjourney #maternalhealth #tiredmama #worriedmom #newmommylife #motherhoodislonely #fourthtrimester #thisismotherhood #newmommy #honestmotherhood #motherhoodunplugged #motherhoodjourney #newmomstruggles #newmomtips #postpartumbody #birthrecovery #anxietysupport #momswithanxiety

This was a birth story I related to so much after also giving birth during the peak of the pandemic. ⁠ ⁠ Thank you to @best.self.mama for not only sharing your birth story with us, but also using your expertise to help moms all over the world find their best self throughout the challenges of motherhood ♥️⁠ ⁠ ——-⁠ ⁠ “She was a lockdown baby 💔⁠ ⁠ I planned my entire labor and delivery out to a T⁠ ⁠ ✅ Saw a Pelvic PT⁠ ✅ Hired a doula⁠ ✅ Hired a birth photographer⁠ ✅ Reviewed hypnobirthing concepts⁠ ⁠ I was READY! I had done it before. This was going to be an incredible labor and delivery...I just knew it.⁠ ⁠ Now if only she would come⁠ ⁠ As the weeks passed, I started hearing more and more about this thing called "coronavirus" ⁠ ⁠ Little by little things started shutting down⁠ ⁠ We all got sent home to telework ⁠ ⁠ My toddler's daycare shutdown⁠ ⁠ What on Earth was happening?!⁠ ⁠ With each passing day, I BEGGED my sweet girl to just come already⁠ ⁠ But she didn't ⁠ ⁠ I got the call from my doula that the hospital officially changed it's policy. Only one support person was allowed in the room⁠ ⁠ I cancelled her services⁠ ⁠ I cancelled the photographer⁠ ⁠ I told family they wouldn't be able to come⁠ ⁠ I was heartbroken and SAD⁠ ⁠ March 24th I woke up at 4:30am with regular contractions. I called my mom and asked her to come over because today was the day! ⁠ ⁠ Ed and I headed to the hospital at 7:50am. By the time we got there, my contractions basically stopped⁠ ⁠ We left, had lunch, and walked around a nearby park, hoping they would start again. Sure enough, they did!⁠ ⁠ By 5:05pm, I was checked into triage⁠ ⁠ At 7pm, I was 5-6cm dialated and got a room⁠ ⁠ I chose to have a natual labor and delivery with no medical intervention⁠ ⁠ I knew I could do it⁠ ⁠ In the midst of all those contractions, I couldn't help but feel ALONE⁠ ⁠ My birth support team wasn't there, my best friend wasn't there, the nurse and midwife weren't around⁠ ⁠ I felt sad ⁠ ⁠ I didn't want to feel sad!....”⁠ ⁠ Read her full birth story over on @best.self.mama⁠ ⁠ -•-•-•-•-•-•-•-•-•-•⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Want your birth story to be featured on my feed? Be sure to tag @mom.afterbaby & #momafterbaby to be featured n

I swear toddlerhood feels like a never ending “how many times can you repeat yourself” battle some days 🤪⁠ ⁠ One day, you’ll find all those repetitions have paid off. Because who ever learned anything without repeating and studying it multiple times, right?⁠ ⁠ Until then, drop a 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️ if you feel like a broken record lol

“If our loves insanity why are you my clarity?”⁠ ⁠ ~ Zedd, Song: Clarity⁠

You’ve seen the advice time and time again for how to prepare for birth, but what about the things you shouldn’t do?⁠ ⁠ ❌ DON’T wait until your last weeks of pregnancy to take a birth class. A refresher, however, can come in helpful at this time!⁠ ❌ DON’T make a birth plan with only ONE way for birth to play out.⁠ ❌ DON’T keep going to a provider that doesn’t see eye to eye or support you with what you wish your birth experience to be. (But don’t ignore medical red flags just to have a dreamy birth experience either).⁠ ❌ DON’T assume your partner doesn’t want to be involved in the baby stuff! ⁠ ⁠ ✅ DO take a birth class well before your last weeks of pregnancy & watch a refresher as labor gets closer to get you in the right head space for the big day!⁠ ✅ DO make a birth plan that has some options. Birth always has a funny of way of doing it’s own thing, so minimize the stress of the shocks & surprises if you can.⁠ ✅ DO take the time to interview providers before choosing one. Having a provider who supports your birth goals while putting yours and baby’s medical health first is a fine balance; or you can also consider a midwife!⁠ ✅ DO take the time to include your partner in all the baby & birth prep! If they’ll be your labor support person, it’s important they learn the best ways to do so.⁠ ⁠ Need more birth prep tips and tricks?? Head over to www.momafterbaby.com for even more support throughout your entire pregnancy & don’t forget to SAVE this post if you’re expecting ♥️

7 Things NOBODY Tells You About Life After Baby

It’s true, life after baby will bring many priority shifts and life changes. So yes, becoming a mother is challenging, and you deserve ALL the support you need from your partner and your support team, but don’t forget to take some time to check in on your partner periodically too. If you find yourself walking on eggshells trying to let friends and family know you prefer a no visiting policy after birth, check out these tips to help you let them know! Children or not, different seasons of life usually bring different changes we at some point grow from, it’s just parenting seems to expedite the process for some.

Today’s Inspirational Birth Story & Photo are by @laurenbarrettwrites Be sure to head over to her story highlights to read her entire story ♥️⁠ ⁠ “ My pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated in regards to both my son, Henry, and me being healthy. But the pregnancy symptoms were brutal. Around 8 weeks, I started throwing up. ⁠ And around 36 weeks, I finally got my results from my brain MRA back from my neurologist. My brain aneurysm was bigger than expected. She said the words I dreaded, “You’ll have to have a C-section.....⁠ ⁠ I went to the hospital. Things seemed to move really slowly until they checked to see how much I was dilated...⁠ ⁠ Everything happened really quickly after that. Henry was out in no time. It was amazing! All the doctors and staff were incredible. Because I had known I was having a C-section, I had practiced taking deep breaths and concentrating on my arms which I was the one thing I could move. I had also heard that some women get the shakes after a C-section, which I did. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t hold Henry until about an hour later. But, other than that, the C-section wasn’t bad at all. I’ll probably have to have another one, and I won’t mind one bit.”⁠ ⁠ -•-•-•-•-•-•-•-•-•-•⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Want your birth story to be featured on my feed? Be sure to tag @mom.afterbaby & #momafterbaby to be featured next!⁠ ⁠ ⁠ ⁠

Labor Tips For First Time Moms

You’re a first-time mom and you’re overwhelmed by all the information surrounding childbirth. Now that you know what my top 10 labor tips are for first-time moms, let’s break these down a little further and help you figure out how you can apply them to your childbirth experience! If you’re stuck because the pandemic has made it nearly impossible to find a birth class in-person, don’t worry, there’s plenty of online birth classes taught by labor nurses and midwives that are just as good (in my opinion, even better). Squatting: Moms love the squatting position for labor because it’s awesome to help you open up your pelvis and birth canal to get ready for baby as he/she descends down!

It’s true, being a mama looks different for all of us. ⁠ ⁠ Some of us work.⁠ ⁠ Some of us stay at home.⁠ ⁠ Some of us have multiples.⁠ ⁠ Some of us have one.⁠ ⁠ Some of us experienced trauma.⁠ ⁠ Some of us are alone.⁠ ⁠ But there’s ONE thing we all have in common:⁠ ⁠ ALL of us are in this together.⁠ ⁠ 💗 Tag a mama to let her know you’re in this wild journey of motherhood together 💗⁠ ⁠

Even though I worked in the Veterinary field for years & grew up with lots of animals, introducing our dogs and babies for the first time was always a little nerve wrecking.⁠ ⁠ So here’s a few pointers to make that transition a tad bit easier & less stressful for all (including your doggies):⁠ ⁠ 🐶 Have someone at home who’s familiar and able to handle your dog calmly (preferably on a loose leash) while you’re preparing to bring baby inside.⁠ ⁠ 🐶 Greet your dogs FIRST as you normally would before introducing baby. ⁠ ⁠ 🐶 Stay calm. It’s easy to feel nervous and anxious, but our doggies can sense those feelings, so keeping calm, cool, and collected is important for a smooth introduction.⁠ ⁠ 🐶 Don’t force your dog to meet the baby. Whether your holding baby or have baby in their car seat, if your dog walks up, gives a quick sniff, and walks away, let them. Give them time to adjust to the new situation from afar if needed.⁠ ⁠ 🐶 For safety reasons, it’s best to NOT place your baby (in car seat) on the floor for dogs to run up and sniff freely. Place them on a slightly elevated surface with your hand always on the seat while your dog can sniff while on a leash. ⁠ ⁠ How many of you have pets and babies? What did the first introduction look like for you?

Is your milk supply drying up? Simple ways for mom to tell!

Though signs of dehydration can come on fast, if it’s a milk supply issue, you will likely see the progression of signs increasing throughout your breastfeeding journey. So a good rule of thumb about “wet diapers” to follow is that baby should have 1 wet diaper on day one, two wet diapers on day two while continuing to increase to at least 6 wet diapers by day 5. Your baby won’t sleep through the night Night-waking is normal for ALL babies. In fact, most babies barely start consolidating their sleep around the 5 to 6-month mark, but it still doesn’t guarantee they will sleep through the night.

Pump and dump breastfeeding rules nursing moms need to know!

Thankfully, I learned soon thanks to the CDC, “Generally, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing. Generally, 1 small drink/day is not known to be harmful as long as it’s kept minimal and moderate ( according to the CDC ), however many experts don’t recommend drinking more than 1-2 drinks per week. The same way it got in, it’s slowly making it’s way out as time passes. Lastly, if you’re really worried or uneasy, use the , there really is no better way to be sure if your milk is safe or if you need to wait a bit longer before nursing or pumping.

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