Tiere Hessert has all the cool mom vibes. Not only does she have four kids, but she recently decided to add ducks and chickens to her family. While her days seem joyful, albeit joyfully chaotic, now, motherhood hasn’t always been easy for her. She founded MamaCollective, a unique gathering for new moms, after her first pregnancy to help her cope with postpartum anxiety. Drawing on her background as an educator, she facilitates intimate and thought-provoking discussions on taboo topics in motherhood. We’re also incredibly grateful to have her as one of our MyNestwell advisors. We sat down with her before the birth of her youngest girl to chat about what she was doing differently to prepare for postpartum this time around.
Nourished. Restful. Peaceful. I might need to get ear plugs for the latter two ;).
I have set up a meal train and have a close friend sending it out. I have collected postpartum supplies and stocked up my bathroom cupboards and have created a little sanctuary in my shower – oil, new loofah and body wash. It’s the little things during that Twilight Zone!
I have prepared the nursery not just for baby but for nursing. Long phone cord, nursing pillow, kindle, water bottle, basket of snacks, nipple cream—all within arm’s length.
I hired help. All day. Since we don’t have family nearby, I need a hand with the other three boys and/or baby. I will have someone come in the morning, and then another person in the afternoon. It shakes it up. I almost hired a postpartum doula, but I found a young woman who loves babies and cooking and is great with the older boys too. Win! It’s so important to think of all options and the energy you want in your house when hiring someone. I feel really lucky we can do this, and wish all moms during the postpartum time could have someone to lend a hand.
The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger
What No One Tells You by Alexandra Sacks, MD and Catherine Birndorf, MD
Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Johnson
MamaCollective has introduced me to incredible local moms. It’s a true honor to be surrounded by the women in MamaCollective, as their wisdom, compassion and empathy go miles.
I have to say at the end of the day, the support I have in a few close friends really gets me through tough times. It’s so important to spend time cultivating friendships that are deep—the friends you feel comfortable calling at 2 am or being your hangry self with at 5 pm. I am so grateful for my friends who have taken the time to invest in our friendship. They are the ones I’m calling at 3 am when my water breaks!
I have been practicing asking for help. Easier said than done, right?
I try to remind myself that friends and family want to help. I have a neighbor who often asks me what I need from the store, how amazing is that? I used to say,”No thanks, I’m all good!” Now, I take the time to think about it, and take her up on it. Learning to receive help is difficult when our culture has a message that we should be able to do it all alone. This fourth time around though, I have learned—I need to ask for help because I don’t just want to survive, I want to thrive. I know that I can lean into my community now, and I hope they will ask me for help whenever needed as well.
Not beating around the bush. Being clear if I don’t feel like having a visitor —a simple text like, “I’m going down for a nap now. Let’s try another time!” I plan to put a sign on the door that reads, “Mama and Baby Resting. Please knock softly and/ or leave item on doorstep. Thank you!”
I give my husband the job of gatekeeper and I feel absolutely zero guilt if someone does come over and I sneak upstairs or don’t come down and continue to rest. I’ve also learned that this time passes quickly and friends (especially those with kids) know that this is not a normal time to “hang out.” So, if someone comes for a visit and asks how they can help, I hand them the baby and go jump in the shower or take a 20 minute snooze. Put friends to work and then make sure to return the favor when they have a baby!
Not alone. We have in-laws who are a couple hours a way to help here and there. My parents will come for about 10 days to help and stay with us. We have paid help from amazing caretakers and babysitters I can call on if we need extra hands. My husband is very hands on.
As for juggling the mental load as a mom, organization is just as important as letting go and prioritizing. I don’t have my boys over-scheduled in activities because this season of life, I just can’t keep track or schlep them around. So, we keep it simple and don’t overanalyze. Sometimes we spend a whole week playing outside and going to the woods, and other times they watch a lot of TV because I have stuff to do ;). In terms of juggling, I drop the ball—a lot. Or I say no to adding more!
Oh man, that’s tough because it feels like it is 24/7 that I think about MamaCollective. I’m going to give myself those first forty days to focus on baby and healing. But, I also love what I do, and it makes me happy, so I want to honor those feelings. I will be reading a lot, thinking of topics to discuss, brainstorming, planning.
I want to try to set an example of what CAN be done with the postpartum time and how moms NEED to take the sacred postpartum window to heal. Yet also, not shelving what brings me joy and helps feed my curiosity. Just knowing that I can say no to anything, get a pass for any social event, that is a bit of a relief as it is rare. I love being social yet also need time to recharge. I think of the postpartum time as that time to recharge.
I’m excited to not be pregnant! The fourth time has been much harder on my body in the third trimester. I’m excited about getting this show on the road and also setting an example to other mothers on how to say YES to help, NO to what doesn’t feel right and placing a priority on resting and healing in a peaceful environment.
Bone broth, hearty soups, smoothies, lots of snacks, rice bowls, warm food. The First Forty Days has an amazing ginger fried rice recipe that I will most likely be eating every week!
Taking long showers or baths. Releasing control and trying to go with the flow. Eating well. Honoring my changing needs and desires—whether it’s one night I’d love to go to a mom’s night out and rally, or the next morning where I just can’t have a single visitor. Being honest with my changing needs and leaning into those with self-compassion.
The postpartum time is such a beautiful, vulnerable time in a woman’s life. A critical transition into a new chapter. Not only is a new life being welcomed, but also the birth of a mother. The more we talk about how important this time is, the more our culture will honor it and support mothers the way we deserve. If we look at our postpartum time as setting an example for future generations, future mothers, for our daughters, I think we can make positive change. I often hear the phrase, “We can’t do it alone!” but we CAN— the difference is, it is not HEALTHY to do it alone. What a gift a postpartum mother is to each community—our care for her brings people together, brings hope for new life and creates a thread of support that is part of the wider fabric of life!