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How a Cincy Postpartum Circle Improved My Postpartum Mental Health

Updated: Feb 1

Learn about my recent experience joining a Cincy Postpartum Circle and how you can get connected to one for yourself.


Cincy Postpartum Circle Graduation in Clifton, Cincinnati, Ohio

 

The postpartum time can be such a whirlwind of emotions, as well as a new kind of stretching yourself and growing into a new person. Motherhood has a way of shining a bright light on your worries, fears, imperfections, and it also has a way of grounding you and anchoring you to something larger than yourself, if you let it. Joining a Cincy Postpartum Circle was such an impactful way for me to not only feel held and safe to express my feelings, but also allowed me to hold space for others that are smack in the middle of that grey area of immense joy and painful grieving as we navigated such a tender time: postpartum with a newborn in the year of 2024. Find my thoughts and reflections on the experience in the following article.


The Structure of Cincy Postpartum Circles

Amanda, the creator behind Cincy Postpartum, is a postpartum doula, a  lactation educator and mom to two girls so she definitely gets it. She has a really special skillset of holding a community space that allows for difference in opinions and ways of parenting. Upon registering, I received clear communication from Amanda, describing details about the location, parking, what to expect, and a link to a resource guide.


Circle Facilitator and New Mom

Also worth mentioning, Amanda does not "teach" or "coach" as a routine part of circles, but allows for discussion, questions, peer sharing and learning. She definitely contributes to discussion, sharing things she heard from other parents, as well as what's worked or not worked for her as leans into her own experience to share back with the group.


This felt like a breath of fresh motherhood air.


Are we not so bombarded with all the information, all the 'right' ways to do things, making us feel like raising children is an exact science with a standard operating procedure that one is not to veer from? Even as a self-proclaimed seasoned mom (I have 3 boys that came from my body and a gaggle more of older bonus kids), I learned so much from the other moms in the group.


There was a lovely mix of deep, soul diving topics and discussion, and then the very shallow which may have included talks of choosing colors that work best with your skin tone, which in my opinion, are of equal importance during this time!

The Deep

Amanda facilitated groups based on different topics over the five weeks. She also invited a few practitioners to come and sit in on circles and share some about their expertise. For my circle, Elevate Physical Therapy and Christin from Purposeful Path joined us for a few sessions. Although having experts in the room to discuss important topics was useful, the real magic of the postpartum circle was the other moms in my group. It was so incredibly refreshing to be able to have a prompt to get us started, such as expectations around postpartum, or sleep, or baby feeding, and then share something, and have head nods and acknowledgment from many others in the group.


Themes that helped me feel seen were talks of how we know it's vain to care so badly how our bodies are different, but it is really affecting us and we know it's dumb, and we know all the things we should care and not care about related to our bodies but dang it we still are bothered by the flabby pooch or the fact that our clothes no longer work for us, a struggle that is more than just vain. Many of us in the room were breastfeeding, and having access to the boobs is a big deal.

We discussed the frustration with clothing not fitting after pregnancy, but also, clothing not being breastfeeding or pumping friendly.

One circle mom shared how she narrowed her closet down to a capsule wardrobe and how it helped immensely with this struggle. I went home that day after circle and put items in storage tubs that either didn't fit or weren't breastfeeding-friendly. It was such a small, simple shift but it eased my stress as I was trying to find clothing (especially as I was returning to work, which is a whole other thing). Other deep areas that we dove into were partner and spousal relationships, birth experiences, the 'new' us and how it feels weird or unwanted, feeding struggles, fear of returning-to-work, and real trauma around some of these things.

mom and newborn baby wearing

What I loved most about the circle atmosphere that Amanda carefully curates is the fact that we could share, and sometimes hear that others are experiencing the same, which creates a normalcy of this weird postpartum time, or people just held space. No fixes. No products. No selling. Just seen and known, which is priceless during the postpartum time. This Cincy Postpartum Circle improved my mental health as well as helped me practice my new normal tasks, like getting out of the house with a newborn!


 

The Slightly Shallow (but oh so necessary and fun)

Okay, so now for the slightly shallow. The deep was so important, and the shallow was equally important for me. We chatted about real life things, that maybe seem unimportant to others, or again, vain, but when you are in the raw and emotional postpartum state, the


graduation day for mom and newborn

pretty things or the I-am-still-a-human-not-just-a-mom things were necessary and added some fun to our chats. For example, discussing color matching to skin tones was such a fun chat. A circle friend shared how she attended a party where a specialist runs a business to help you find the best clothing and makeup colors for your skin tone. Um, this is the exact conversation a mom wants to have and dream about during postpartum, where much of life is lived in yoga pants, a nursing bra, and messy bun. Yes, tell me all about the colors that you should wear for your skin tone, and then let's discuss creating that capsule wardrobe to match.


 

I was also able to share a major challenge during that time, which was the fact that Kobe hated the car. He screamed bloody murder every trip from about 2 weeks old - 4 months old. It was so terrible. The Circle was helpful in just processing that, having friends check in on how it was going, and also to get a great product recommendation! One of my circle mom friends shared an affordable camera for the car seat to where I could see him from my dashboard, ensuring he wasn't choking when he was crying so hard he was gagging himself (drama has always been of chief importance for my children). Find the camera that saved my sanity here.


Join Your Own Circle: Your Postpartum Self Will Thank You!


If this sounds like support that would be useful in your journey (it will be),  you can join the notification list now and you'll get notified when a 4th Trimester circle opens up for you and baby! Amanda opens new circles monthly, so for example if your guess date is in April 2024, you'll hear from her mid-March, and would book a circle that starts in May or June (most moms are between 3-6 weeks postpartum at circle start, and most moms do book prenatally). She also offers gift cards, which would be a great item to add to your baby registry! If baby is already in arms, learn more about 4th Trimester circles here


moms connect with babies for mom group circle

 


Jodi Cunningham, Author

Dr. Jodi Cunningham

BWS Doula Agency Co-Owner

Certified Doula & Evidence Based Birth® Instructor



*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.


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