On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Amanda Armstrong, a Women’s Mental and Physical Health Life Coach specializing in anxiety, depression and postnatal recovery through her business Rise As We. She was raised in CA, but currently lives in Virginia with her husband, son, dog and countless house plants. Like many, her birth didn’t go according to plan, but in this episode, she shares how she used her physical and mental preparation to move through it all.
Amanda opens up and shares the emotional transformation she went through when she got pregnant quicker than she expected to. She talks about how, while she was grateful and happy to be pregnant, and excited to meet her baby, that getting pregnant so quickly, when she’d been prepared for it to take a little while was hard.
“I had a lot of mental work to validate that it was okay that it my hard looked different than other people, and to validate that it was a different flavor, and that it was still hard.” – Amanda Armstrong
“We’re humans. Our emotions are so complex! But they’re still valid.” – Elle Kennedy
Amanda also talks about gainly an above-average amount of weight for her body size during pregnancy, and Taylor discusses the medical concerns with “too much weight gain” and how it relates to gestational diabetes. The girls talk about how weight gain is not the be-all end-all of diagnosis for gestational diabetes, and weight changes in pregnancy can look WILDLY different for each pregnant person.
“There is a wide range of what is normal!” – Elle Kennedy
Amanda then shares her emotional birth experience, from how her labor starting with her water breaking through to her unplanned c-section, and all of the beautiful moments in between that led her to being peaceful and at ease with her decision.
“I had mentally prepared for, like, an hour of this, and not five hours of this!” – Amanda Armstrong
“’You’re pushing in a beautiful way! He’s just not moving. … We just need to have the c-section conversation.’ And I was devastated.” – Amanda Armstrong
“I was ready and I trusted my body to have a vaginal delivery.” – Amanda Armstrong
“I am so glad that you had a midwife there with you who was willing to have these conversations early and give you time to process and give you time to make that decision.” – Elle Kennedy
“I’m so grateful at this point for the meditation practice that I have, the meditation practice that I brought with me, to practice a level of acceptance.” – Amanda Armstrong
Amanda also talks about the things she did to continue making this birth feel unique and special and hers, even as she let go of control of the outcome. She discusses how she felt, her hopes for other pregnant people facing the same situation, and how she worked (and continues to work) on giving herself closure.
“This is the story that’s being written right now.” – Amanda Armstrong
“‘Before we head in there, you need to know these four things.’ She said, ‘One, you’ve already proven that you are an amazing mother, because you are choosing his needs over your wants right now, which proves that you are going to put him first time and time again.’ She said ‘Two, this is absolutely no failure on your part. You pushed – they were strong and they were beautiful, and I see no reason why you cannot have that vaginal birth that you want in the future. You have done incredibly well today. Three, you’re not only becoming a mother soon, but through all of this, you’re going to become a warrior as well. And four, you need to know that you’re not in any of this alone. We are all here, and we’ve all got you.” – Amanda Armstrong
“This is a huge, defining moment! Like, you don’t just leave home with a baby, you leave home a mother.” – Amanda Armstrong
“Acknowledging the disappoint, but also extending such a heart and such a hand to say ‘We’re here. We’ve got you.’” – Amanda Armstrong
“There is no such thing as failure in bringing a human into the world. A birth is a birth is a birth.” – Amanda Armstrong
“You leave with a scar that marks you as a warrior forever.” – Amanda Armstrong
“I created a space where I felt empowered internally, even amidst something I felt like I couldn’t control, and felt so empowered, and truly not alone.” – Amanda Armstrong
“I still tried to make it my own moment, and my own story.” – Amanda Armstrong
“I bought all of the things to recover from a vaginal delivery, and I just didn’t need those things. My recovery didn’t look like that.” – Amanda Armstrong
“You waited until you ready to hold that space for yourself.” – Elle Kennedy
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Amanda Armstrong is a Women’s Mental and Physical Health Life Coach specializing in anxiety, depression and postnatal recovery through her business Rise As We. She was raised in CA, but currently lives in Virginia with her husband, son, dog and countless house plants. She has a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology, specializing in Sport & Exercise Psychology and worked as a Personal Trainer at Google HQ in CA before leaving in 2018 to run her coaching business full time. She’s a lover of sunshine, nachos and a mint chip ice cream.
Resources related to today’s episode:
Family Centric Cesarean Birth Plan (if you are looking for more idea, it is also called a “Gentle Cesarean” or “Natural Cesarean”)
Who are Elle and Taylor?
Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.
Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.
Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography
Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC