Maranda has been involved in this area of expertise for nearly 12 years, shortly after having her first son. After experiencing severe postpartum depression and anxiety with her first son, she started looking for answers. She had done everything “right”. She had had a homebirth with the care of a midwife. She didn’t understand why this was happening to her. She was well prepared for labor and birth, she had read all the books and taken all the classes. She was well educated, working towards her degree in biology. She was inundated with all things involving the birthing process and labor, so getting hit with the postpartum struggle was almost like a smack in the face.
“I remember asking the question: Why is this happening to me and how do I get better? I refused to tell a single soul about the struggle I was enduring. I was ashamed. I was living at home with my parents. I had no job. I became a single mom. I feared losing my son.”
She began attending conferences, discussing postpartum with physicians, midwives, and other mothers in an attempt to understand the whole picture. She knew the [postpartum] statistics and she wanted out of it.
“I began asking questions: ‘How are you? How was your birth experience? No really… tell me how you are doing?’”
Very quickly through this process, Maranda became a childbirth educator and a doula. She began attending births and teaching classes on the regular in Anchorage and the MatSu Valley. What she began to realize is that what she was teaching, and learning was great, but it wasn’t enough. When it comes to maternal mental health there is a lack of education. Maternal mental health is not taught in psychology courses or counseling programs. There was something missing from the overall care. It didn’t seem to matter where a mother went to receive support during the postpartum period, there was still a missing piece to this puzzle. The most fundamental missing piece was nutrition.
No one talks about healing after childbirth. No one talks about the mother. Everyone always talks about the baby. The missing chapter at the end of a book. We need to talk about how to heal a mother.
In an interview with Maranda, we were able to learn more about her journey to becoming a Postpartum Bliss Coach.
A period of time in which a woman experiences an intimate shift in who they are. Postpartum is not a disease. It is not a disfunction. Postpartum is purely a period of time in which you learn and rediscover your body. You define unconditional love. You find what it is meant to be a mother.
How would you prepare an expecting mother to take care of herself after birth?
In an ideal world, we would reflect on postpartum experiences generations ago. For generations, new mothers had a village, a team of people to support her, to massage her, to help her breastfeed. To a new mother, build your community and build connections.
What are some of the common signs for depression and anxiety that a woman and her partner should be aware of?
In terms of postpartum depression and anxiety, be aware of feeling overwhelmed or not being enough. Listen to what she is saying, if she is saying this is hard and I cannot do this, then we have a problem. Watch how the mother is eating, sleeping, and ensure she is well supported. We need to nurture the mother. Address the trauma and find how to support and heal through the time period.
Who inspires you to do what you?
My children were the biggest source of inspiration throughout my journey. My first birth was quite extreme. With my second, I thought I had it figured out, but it was a slow recovery. I endured a slow progression through healing and learning how to take care of my body. I have four children and the last three births were beautiful. Each of my births and postpartum periods has been healing, gorgeous, and unique experiences and each of those experiences shaped my journey in this field.
Tell us about your business start-up.
I started my work in 2010 as a childbirth educator. I became well-known as someone who presented evidence without bias. I have one of the most in-depth childbirth educator programs in the state of Alaska. I became a doula and was providing care to women during their birthing experiences. I felt like I was helping women cope not heal. I was only able to help mothers during a short period of time: during birth and the six weeks after delivery. Postpartum lasts for years. Healing goes well beyond the six weeks that we have become accustomed to.
The work that I do and the reason that I do what I do is because I didn’t have a support system after the six weeks postpartum period. I work with women that are 3-4-5 years postpartum that are truly struggling with their physical and mental health and have been struggling for years. No one has been there to support them. They’ve been told by providers that what “they are experiencing is normal, this is motherhood, this is just your life now.” They are falling apart inside. Usually, I am the last straw—they’re the last bit of hope. They have no one else.
What is your primary target audience? What sort of services do you offer?
There are two segments to my business. I do work with moms directly who are struggling with fierce postpartum experiences, the first six years after their child, not just the first six weeks. I also work with providers to educate them on holistic postpartum nutrition. I really emphasize the importance of support from all angles during the postpartum time.
We are supporting women and supporting the providers that are working with new mothers.
We offer two programs currently. The Holistic Postpartum Nutrition Training focuses on the physiological shifts that the body undergoes after childbirth and how to support the client during these shifts. This program is a very informative, 90-minute course for anyone. The next level up is a certification program for providers who would like to understand holistic postpartum nutrition more in-depth to be able to provide adequate care to their clients. In this course, we only discuss postpartum. Most programs combine pregnancy and postpartum, completely overlooking their unique physiological differences. Postpartum is commonly seen as an afterthought of pregnancy. We discuss important details about how the body is shifting and changing, things that we are not taught in medical school, nursing school, and nutrition programs that are specific to the postpartum body. Postpartum should not be an afterthought!
Visit https://marandabower.com/ to listen to her podcast & read her blog!