By Dr. Angela Potter
Amy has a huge passion for educating others about babywearing. I've watched as her business has grown and she offers really wonderful services to families; not only with babywearing but also childbirth education and car seat safety.
Where do you call home?
We're just outside Portland in beautiful little Gladstone, OR.
How many kids do you have?
3 - our son is 14, our daughter is 5, and our "baby" boy just turned 2.
What was one of the hardest changes for you physically during your postpartum journey?
Waiting to recover from birth and get back to my normal abilities was difficult for me. I had never been admitted to a hospital before or been inconvenienced by injury so I'd never experienced what is it like to be sidelined. It was both humbling and frustrating to respect time and allow my body to heal.
What was one of the hardest changes for you mentally/emotionally during your postpartum journey?
This has shifted with each baby. For my first, my emotional challenge was to figure out who I was as a person again. I was 22 when my first was born and none of my friends had babies - most of them weren't even in relationships. So it was a struggle to identify with my peers but I had to be really honest with myself: what was really ME?
Then with my second baby I was almost a decade older so my anxiety was not so much in my identity but a plethora of other things like self-doubt. I barely noticed it with my second baby but with my third it has definitely been more of a burden.
What has been your greatest joy in motherhood?
When I had my first baby, I didn't think I would like motherhood all that much. Unlike my own mother, I didn't have dreams of becoming a mom. To my great surprise, and joy, I actually really like being a parent.
The best decision we ever made was to have more children. Watching them interact, discover life and become like real people is quite fulfilling.
How was your postpartum experience different with each baby?
With each baby I've had increasing anxiety but the experience of the last always informed the decisions I made with my partner in the present, and I felt more comfortable making and sticking to those decisions.
For example, I knew to take it easy postpartum and let myself recover. Mentally I was okay with the down time and asking for help but sometimes it was hard to accomplish with all the kids running around. With each baby I honed in on what I actually needed during the postpartum time.
In some ways things have been easier with each baby and in some ways more difficult. My family and I know better what we need but with more children to care for it can be hard to accomplish.
What is one resource that felt invaluable to you during the postpartum time?
Babywearing is a really important tool for me. It keeps my baby supported while my hands are still free for my other children, but it is more than that for me. I have a lot of postpartum anxiety that has gotten more intense with each baby.
There's something really soothing to me in wrapping myself and my child together in fabric. The connection with my baby is great but it's really the ritual of wrapping and the compression of the fabric that provides so much relief for me postpartum. Even now, more than two years since my last birth, babywearing helps me focus and gives me confidence as a parent.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to pregnant moms in preparation for their postpartum journey?
Take any and all advice with a giant grain of salt. :) You are the expert on your body and your baby, so listen to yourself first and everyone else a distant second. When things are overwhelming and you don't know what to do, spend some quiet time with yourself and your baby. Often we want to apply complex fixes to a problem but sometimes the most simple solutions can be the most effective.
In addition to being a mom of three, Amy Rainbow works as a childbirth educator, babywearing consultant, and car seat safety tech. She can be found teaching for Adjoyn Baby Services and at hospital childbirth classes. She volunteers locally with Babywearing International of Portland and at local car seat clinics. She also runs a new parent support group, "Beers + Babies," meeting the last Sunday afternoon of the month at breweries around town.
Website: Adjoyn Baby Services