Meet Lacey~ a doula and a sex, love & relationship coach for postpartum women and couples struggling with their relationships after having kids.
I have 4 kids – 2 that I birthed myself and 2 that I inherited as my step-children after marrying my soul mate, Kris. My first boy was born joyfully and peacefully at home and my second boy was born 5 weeks premature at an inner-city hospital in Denver, CO.
Surprisingly, my youngest son’s pre-term birth was just as empowering as the one I birthed at home because I was educated, I knew my options, and I made decisions for his birth from an empowered state, not from a place of powerlessness or feeling out of control.
For 6 years, I’ve been teaching other women how to gain trust in their body’s ability to birth and helping them have clarity and courage to make key pregnancy and birth decisions so they can birth their baby on their terms instead of someone else’s.
My super power as a mama is creating a safe, judgment-free space for my kids to talk with me about anything. As a sex coach and a doula, they learned anatomically correct words for their body parts and how things happen in an age-appropriate manner early on. I believe being open and honest with them sets an example for them to be open and honest with me.
One of my favorite things to do with my kids is read with them every single night to teach them about things they will not learn in the public school system. We love discussing money, philosophy, and spiritual practices and traditions from around the world. My hope is that they grow up to be open, honest, emotionally intelligent human beings with a global perspective on life and the capacity to experience exquisite love.
When I get some alone time, I enjoy playing the piano, going to the movies by myself, attending a yoga class, or going out dancing with my husband or with a group of girlfriends.
Topic- Postpartum Sex
As a doula, labor coach, and relationship support person, what are some common challenges patients run into postpartum?
The most common challenge for postpartum women – and the challenge no one is talking about – is a couple’s relationship after having kids. Two-thirds of couples will report a decline in their relationship satisfaction within 3 years after the birth of a baby.
Unfortunately, most couples aren’t equipped with tools, practices, and resources to navigate life transitions such as the birth of a child together. And because of this, they end up seeking satisfaction and fulfillment from external sources such as excessive shopping, porn, cheating, alcohol and other various forms of addiction.
Another common challenge that I see that no one is talking about is that we have no systematic rehabilitation process in the United States to restore a women’s pelvic floor and sexual health post-birth. This leaves women feeling like there is no help for them so many suffer in silence for years before seeking treatment for prolapse, incontinence, or low sexual desire.
SERIOUSLY! Our post-partum care is a joke! Pelvic floor physical therapists recommend seeing women post partum as soon as 3 weeks after delivery. We are behind other countries in this!
And we can’t forget about postpartum depression…the numbers are striking for women in the US and are still on the rise. Although postpartum depression isn’t my area of expertise, I find it incredible that 1 in 7 mama’s experience postpartum depression in the US, but only 15% get help. That’s 400,000 women EACH year.
What do you recommend to prevent postpartum depression? Or once its happening, in your experience, what can help support the mother best?
I recommend the ancient practice from Traditional Chinese Medicine of encapsulating and consuming the placenta to prevent postpartum depression.
We have both had wonderful experiences with a local encapsulation specialist. We will provide her links at the bottom of the interview.
As hormones change to adapt to pre-pregnancy levels, some women will find that consuming the placenta, as all other mammals do, allows their body a smoother postpartum transition. Other benefits of consuming the placenta by a certified placenta arts specialist or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner include increased energy levels and increased milk supply, which is awesome for obvious reasons.
If a mother is already experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, it’s best to seek help from a medical doctor as soon as possible. It’s a serious illness and can be potentially harmful to mother and child if left untreated.
Other than emotions being wonky after childbirth, there’s the sex drive that has changed. Bodies change, hormones change, healing happens, and it is a highly emotionally driven topic and experience. Can you offer some insight into what’s happening in the female body and why postpartum sex can be so touchy? (or not!!)
There’s a reason that doctors give you clearance for intercourse around 6 weeks as long as you don’t have any medical conditions such as prolapse or infections. It’s because your body is physically capable of having sex.
But…it’s the experience of many new mama’s that they aren’t up for sex by 6 weeks postpartum because they’re exhausted or simply don’t have any desire for it. A lack of desire is pretty normal, but it does put stress and strain on a relationship if the couple doesn’t express other forms of intimacy outside of intercourse.
Lack of desire for postpartum women usually occurs when care-giving and work-related responsibilities aren’t balanced. So, if the woman stays home with the children while the man works outside of the home, it’s very common for the woman to feel depleted, stressed out, and touched out by the end of the day.
But, when a couple distributes care-giving and work-related responsibilities between the two of them as evenly as possible, both partners are more likely to be satisfied and retain sexual desire.
But, this is an ideal hardly attained in our culture that pays white women $.79 on the dollar to men for the same job (and even worse if you’re a minority woman). So, it usually makes sense for the woman to stay home and the man to work. But, this structure is far from ideal when it comes to relationship satisfaction.
If it doesn’t make sense for the family to evenly distribute care-giving and work-related responsibilities, it’s super important for the couple to learn intimacy practices other than intercourse that I teach and for the couple to make a conscious effort to work on their relationship.
Are there tips or exercises (damn those awesome Kegels!) that can help a mama feel more normal down there?
If you’re wanting to feel more normal down there after having kids, I always suggest ruling out any medical conditions you might not be aware of first.
If something is medically wrong, you’ll probably be referred to a pelvic floor physical therapist who will provide an expert evaluation and provide practices and exercises tailored specifically for your healing.
If nothing is medically wrong, you’re likely to find your doctor’s advice to do kegels very inadequate. In that case, that’s where I come in as a sex and relationship coach.
Having studied practices form the ancient Taoist and Tantric traditions extensively over the past 2 years, there are tools and practices from these traditions that I disseminate to my clients in a modern, culturally relevant way regardless of religious or spiritual background.
The Tantric and Taoist practices are universal and, taught in context for improving postpartum sexual health, are totally relevant, adequate, and effective.
The practice that I most suggest if a woman is experiencing a lack of desire or if she is in need of reestablishing great pelvic floor health is the Taoist jade egg practice.
The jade egg is actually a small egg-shaped stone that you put up your vagina to help regain strength, feeling, and sensitivity within and around your vaginal muscles.
It’s way better than doing kegels alone because the jade egg activates energy channels in your body and opens you up to pleasure, sensitizes you, reconnects you to your sexual and creative power, and tones the heck out of your pelvic floor muscles.
It does this by massaging reflexology points in your vagina within your pelvic floor and encourages balance, beauty and youth.
The jade egg practice is really like yoga for the vagina.
Another practice that I teach my clients is the tantric practice called yoni massage, or pussy massage if you’re not familiar with the Sanskrit term “yoni.”
Yoni massage is a dedicated healing practice that’s intimate and sensual, rather than sexual. The important thing to know is that it works on the physical, emotional and mental levels and can transform a women’s view of herself, as well as her sexual being.
If a woman comes to me that’s experienced a traumatic birth either physically or emotionally, often, yoni massage will help her release her sexual blockages and any association of her sexuality with the traumatic birth.
What communication tools can help partners understand each other? How do you guide patients through this process in your professional setting?
Good communication requires creating a safe container for what’s said to be received fully without judgment, blame, or attack.
To create a safe container for communication to flow and be received, I often teach my clients an intimacy practice called Fears, Loves and Desires.
This is a verbal sharing practice that’s super simple when you get the hang of it. It allows you to let your partner know what’s really going on inside of you without the need to discuss or fix anything. It’s also great for teaching each other how to ‘hold space’ for one another.
The best thing about this practice is that it takes away the power struggle, sets aside the hurt feelings and creates a safe container to truly listen, be present with each other and connect instead of taking everything personally.
By creating a safe container to share honestly with each other without feeling like you’ll be blamed, he’ll get upset and try to fix everything, you’ll be practicing how to sit with each others’ emotions and feelings no matter what they are instead of feeling constantly judged as ‘right or wrong’ for feeling what you’re feeling.
In our collaboration, you mentioned many mamas seeking balance, and creating balance with their new baby. Can you share the aspects in your life you feel in balance with, and other areas where there needs some improvement? What gives you peace when life throws curve balls your way?
Creating balance in life with babies and toddlers is one of the biggest challenges I hear from new mamas. I find that the reason they feel imbalanced is because they think they have to do it all at all times, by themselves.
One way that I’ve found great balance in my life is by giving my kids a set bedtime that allows my husband and I time by ourselves, off the clock, so to speak. Our youngest child is 6 and we still have a 7:30 bedtime for all children. This doesn’t mean that they have to go to sleep right away, but it means that they have been read to and tucked in by that time.
The youngest ones will actually go to sleep right away, but the middle one will read silently in his room or doodle or do whatever. Having this bedtime/silent time has allowed my husband and I balance in our relationship because there’s a clear distinction between kid/family time and adult time.
I think that too many women lose themselves in motherhood because they don’t allow themselves time “off.”
The thing is, kids need time “off” from you parenting them and always being on top of them too. They need time to think, doodle, dream, be alone with their thoughts for a while just like you do. It’s a win-win for everyone when you can create a kid vs. adult time balance.
When life throws a curveball my way, I find peace in self-care. I’m a self-care queen. And when I say this, it does not mean that I go to the spa every week or spend a ton of money on myself. That’s not necessarily self-care.
I mean, I give myself the most luxurious hot, candle-lit, Epsom salt bath about every-other day and top it off with an essential oil-infused breast massage or jade egg practice. Treating myself like a queen, not necessarily spending money to have someone do that for me, is self-care, in my opinion.
So, when I’m down, feeling like shit, or things simply aren’t going my way, I give myself tons of self-care and love to get back on track. And I celebrate the hell out of all that IS going right or good in my life.
We are so honored to have connected with you, Lacey! Your interview shares a wealth of helpful information that I know many aren’t comfortable sharing at a dinner party but would benefit from greatly! Ladies, please check out her Jade shop on her website where she is offering free shipping!
If you are local and are interested in placenta encapsulation, please check out The Placenta Mom.