Life postpartum often surprises new moms—so much focus has been spent on the logistics of preparing for baby and birth. Following the excitement of our baby’s arrival, we’re soon left alone to care for our little one, realizing we also need gentle care.
That’s where Lindsay Forsey and Tenth Moon Mother Care come in. As a company created by a mom for moms, Lindsay recognizes that the village of support allowing a new mom to recover and bond with her baby is often missing. Tenth Moon’s carefully curated packages are designed to soothe the physical and emotional transition to motherhood.
In this Living Well in Motherhood interview, Lindsay shares her own story about becoming a mother as well as practical advice to organize your own postpartum care and ways to support the new moms in your life.
Lindsay, tell us. What in your life led you to Tenth Moon Mother Care?
My name is Lindsay Forsey. I’m the founder + CEO of Tenth Moon Mother Care, a postpartum wellness activist, a former doula and a mom of two. I live in Hamilton, Ont., with my husband and our daughters, Edie (6), and Leni Mae (3). We moved here a few years ago, along with the throngs of other young families moving west from Toronto, and we love the community we’ve found.
Tenth Moon creates postpartum wellness care packages for new moms and we ship across Canada.
I started the business three years ago, just before giving birth to my second baby. After I had my first baby, I struggled postpartum.
Our planned home birth became and emergency c-section when we discovered at 9 cm that she was breech. (I remember my midwife checking me and saying: “That’s not a head, it’s a bum.”) My recovery was difficult, physically and emotionally. Breastfeeding was a disaster. I was so overwhelmed and depleted, but thankfully has a strong circle of support around me.
A few months later, I started thinking more about traditions of new mother care in other parts of the world and pondering why we don’t really have anything like that. I started making care packages for new mama friends, and then I started to get requests.
Tenth Moon grew from there and now we’re creating a new tradition of postpartum care for moms in Canada.
Tenth Moon is an interesting name. What’s the story behind it?
I get asked about this a lot and I love telling our story: Follow pregnancy by lunar cycles – each being about 29 days long – and most women give birth to their babies in and around the 10th moon.
Tenth Moon Mother Care is all about supporting moms during this time, reminding them that their wellness matters, and celebrating the accomplishment of bringing another life into the world.
The 10th moon is such an intimate and raw experience. It’s a time to slow down and get cosy and really honour ourselves and our bodies.
What do you find the most challenging aspect of being a mother? What have you struggled with? What do you still struggle with?
Definitely the ambivalence; the extremes of emotion.
Finding peace with the reality that the same little people who I love beyond anything I could ever put into words, who I would literally give my life for, are the same little people who push me to my limits of frustration and anger.
The feeling of needing space and being touched out AND never wanting to let them go. And of course, there’s all the guilt that comes along with that, especially when those negative feelings get the better of us and we lose our cool.
It’s something I feel we need to talk about more, as far as preparing expectant families and keeping that conversation going as we journey through motherhood. It’s easy to share those joyous joys, but we don’t talk enough about how hard those hard days really are.
As a first-time mom-to-be, I remember people telling me a lot about the love I would have for my baby, and not so much about negative emotions. Those feelings are normal, but it’s hard for us to go there for fear of judgement. I think it’s great to see more and more discussion about things like mother rage – women sharing their stories so we know we’re not alone.
The more we honour it all – being honest about our experiences, good and bad – the better we can support each other as parents.
We love this thought, “Mothers shine brighter when we receive the same nurturing as our newborns.” What do you wish every mother did to set up her own self-care following birth?
Me, too. And it’s not just a nice idea; there’s evidence. Mothers who feel loved and supported in their postpartum experience are better able to cope with the inevitable challenges they’ll face, or to feel more comfortable reaching out for help if they’re not coping. To mirror that, mothers who don’t have social support are known to be at higher risk for postpartum depression.
So, I guess the first thing I wish every mother could do is truly recognize how much her wellness matters. It should be a priority and we shouldn’t feel guilty or burdensome about it. When a new mom thrives, it’s a boon for the well-being of everyone in her family.
The second thing is that you really do need to set it up. Make the plans before giving birth, because once a new baby arrives you’ll be too exhausted and overwhelmed to coordinate anything.
Gather up the personal care items you’ll need for your physical recovery and favourite creature comforts to soothe your soul.
Remember that this isn’t only about physical recovery – there’s a massive mental, emotional and spiritual shift happening postpartum and it all needs time and attention and care. Be ready to hunker down and shut the world out for a while. Those early days are so intimate and fleeting.
Talk to your family and friends about what support they might be able to offer you. Have at least one person – another mother – who will be your confidant. Someone you can call when shit gets real, because it will!
So, how can people support mothers following birth?
Bring food—and be ok with leaving it at the door and not coming in for a visit.
If you do come in to visit, do something: fold laundry, wash dishes, run a bath for mama and hold the baby while she soaks. Walk the dog. Take other children out to the park. Bring her coffee from her favourite shop. Let her rest. Reassure her. Listen. Hold space. Do not judge. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Make her laugh. Let her cry. Be someone she can open up to about how she’s really managing.
About 15 per cent of new moms experience postpartum depression, but that figure is based on people who actually reach out for support. It’s generally accepted that the number is much higher. Check in regularly to see how she’s doing.
Also, bring food.
How do you select what goes in your postpartum care packages?
Everything in a Tenth Moon care package serves a purpose – to soften the discomforts of birth, soften the transition from pregnancy into new motherhood and celebrate the accomplishment of bring another life into the world.
When I first had the idea for the business, I was a new first-time mom and I was also a doula. I talked to other moms and doulas and midwives and really thought about all of the things that a woman experiences after giving birth.
I created Tenth Moon care packages with all of those needs in mind, including postpartum taboos that people don’t like to talk about, like hemorrhoids and bowel movements and perineum recovery.
Tenth Moon care packages also include nutritious snacks and teas to support the postpartum body, other personal care items, like nipple balm and lip balm and lavender mineral soak, and things every new mom needs, like maternity and nursing pads. Most of the products are organic or natural and many are produced by other small Canadian businesses.
Personally, I don’t buy all organic all the time, and I don’t believe that’s necessary. But postpartum recovery is very sensitive and intimate, so I’m very aware of using gentle, natural products that are safe for mamas and babies.
Tell us about your own postpartum period.
When my first daughter was a few weeks old, I read somewhere that she should be sleeping for about 18 hours a day She wasn’t sleeping anywhere near that much. We had a chalkboard wall in our kitchen and I started tracking her sleep, tallying up the minutes, torturing myself over it. I was so sleep deprived.
I desperately wanted her to sleep more and couldn’t understand why my baby wasn’t doing what she *should* be doing. It was a good lesson in understanding that, when it comes to babies and new motherhood, there are no rules.
Every baby is different. Every family is different. You really have to take all advice with a grain of salt and do what works for you.
What does it mean to you to live well in motherhood?
Learning to appreciate the everyday. I’m sure that sounds cliched, but it’s true.
I’m turning 40 this year and my *babies* are three and six. My youngest will start JK in September and some days it hits me right in the heart: they’re not so little anymore. Time is zipping along. I’m getting teary just writing this, but it’s an overwhelming sense of wanting to soak up all of the snuggles and stories; to just love and accept the mess of it all. Because one day my floor won’t be covered in toys and puzzle pieces and lego. They won’t need me the way they do now.
Of course, there’s some liberation in that – children getting older and needing less of us – but for now I’m holding on tight. Tissue, please!