The BIRTHFIT Podcast: Jacki Carr
The BIRTHFIT Podcast: Jacki Carr
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What’s up, BIRTHFIT community? This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder and we have an awesome podcast for you today, my dear friend, Jacki Carr, who is co-founder of Rock Your Bliss and also Goals on the Rocks, which is her personal brand, but before that, let’s talk about the announcements. So if you missed it, BIRTHFIT Day happened last week, two weeks ago, April 4th. Write that down for next year because this is a day that we celebrate BIRTHFIT and all things BIRTHFIT and your favorite memories around BIRTHFIT, so be ready for next year.
We have seminars coming up. We have Colorado and North Carolina for the BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar happening in August. In September, we have the BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar happening in Dallas. We also have a BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar happening in New Jersey at the end of September and then a BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar happening in North Carolina in mid-October, so get signed up.
All of our seminars have sold out this year so far, so don’t be the ones left out wishing you could’ve attended the seminar because these are the ones on the calendar and nothing else will be added until 2018, so get in where you fit in.
We have Paleo f(x) coming up. This is the weekend of May 21st in Austin, Texas, so come see us at the BIRTHFIT booth in Paleo f(x) land. We will have a nice little lounge area set up, so if you are a breastfeeding momma, a new mom, just come hang out with us, take a load off, sit down. We’d love to see you and your babes. We will also be at MommyCon in Austin, Texas, June 3rd, the first weekend in June, so we hope to see you there. Put these dates on the calendar and stop by. Come say “hi”. We’d love to meet all of you in person.
Those are all the announcements we have for now, but you’re going to love this interview, Jacki Carr of the Rock Your Bliss Movement and Goals on the Rocks. Welcome to the BIRTHFIT podcast!
Jacki: Thanks! Good to be here.
Lindsey: Yeah. I want to make people guess who this is on the other side of your voice for a minute. Where are you calling from?
Jacki: I’m in Denver, Colorado and it snowed today, which is so weird.
Jacki: I know. Spring is here. It was like [0:06:43] [Indiscernible] yesterday and [0:06:45] [Indiscernible] today.
Lindsey: Oh my gosh! Did the snow stick to the ground?
Jacki: Yeah, it stuck a bit, not on the roads per se, but it definitely covered the grass.
Lindsey: Wow! It’s like 72 degrees and perfect in Los Angeles right now.
Jacki: Of course, it always is.
Lindsey: Awesome! Well, I’m so glad to have you on the BIRTHFIT podcast, the BIRTHFIT show. Why don’t you tell everybody who you are and what you do?
Jacki: Yeah. Thank you for having me. I’m Jacki Carr. I am a goal coach. I’m a leadership consultant. I’m a momma. My baby turns one in just a couple of weeks and I am the co-founder of Rock Your Bliss, which is a yoga-inspired coaching company. And I, as I’ve shared, live in the Rockies. I’m a hiker and I just got a Fitbit, so I’m a walker too. Getting my steps is real.
Lindsey: Amazing! You certainly wear multiple hats, huh?
Jacki: I do, actually with titles, but in real life as well. Most people are like, “Wow! You never don’t wear hats.” I think it kind of goes with the theme.
Lindsey: Amazing! So that’s really awesome that your baby girl — her name is Evergreen, right?
Lindsey: Awesome! She turns one when?
Jacki: On April 26th.
Lindsey: Oh, that’s pretty rad, so we can talk about the past year and everything, but I know you do a lot of goal-setting and stuff for yourself as well and I wanted to — I start off with random questions for everybody, but looking back let’s say at the 15 or 16-year-old Jacki, what would you say were your major goals, hopes, dreams then? Could you see yourself as a mother?
Jacki: I always know I’d be a mother, so yes, I definitely had that in my life. Actually, at 15, I had a one-year-old baby sister. My parents had a baby when I was 14, and so I definitely had this experience with having a baby in the home and wanting to be with her. People would be going to parties or graduations, things like that, and I would be hanging with a three-year-old because I just loved her. I’d be taking her to coffee or spending time with her because it’s just so special to experience humans at that age, so yeah, I’d always known I’d be a mother.
I think at 15 or 16, I was all over the map in regards to my mind space. I was definitely a fitness junkie. My mom and I would get up at 6:00 a.m. and work out together before school. She was a PE teacher and a fitness trainer, so I definitely had that in my blood and I also played a lot of sports, so super tomboy, really navigating that life. What were you saying?
Lindsey: What sports and were you in high school that you’re speaking of?
Jacki: Yeah, about to get your car at 15, freshman year; 16, sophomore year. I was playing — well, in my freshman year, I played volleyball, basketball and softball. I did all three.
Lindsey: Whoa! Wow!
Jacki: Yeah, it’s crazy. My dreams and goals at that time were to probably work at Nike and be a mom and marry and all those fun things you dream.
Lindsey: Yeah. That’s pretty amazing. So your exposure to babies and pregnancy and all that must have been a little different than the people in your class.
Lindsey: You can remember it then. So looking back at that time, what do you think — or if you remember at all, what were some of your first impressions of the birth process?
Jacki: I do remember. My mother invited my little sister and I in the room to watch our little sister be born and I remember standing in the corner and my little sister was in front of me and we watched our littlest sister come into this world, come earthside, and I remember it being the most magical, beautiful experience ever.
I forget the pain. I know my mom was in pain, but she was also a pretty hard ass person, so she handled it like a champ. I remember going down into the rooms to look at all the babies when they all lay in the rows and I just had this really cool experience of yeah, you’re here, this is happening. You’re on the other side. You’re in mom’s belly and now you’re out here. Let’s do this! And so, birth at that young age was really beautiful and I think that created a sense of maturity for me at that age.
Lindsey: Oh, for sure. Do you think it changed the way or enhanced the way you thought of your mom?
Jacki: That’s a great question.
Lindsey: Because being a witness in that room —
Jacki: Yeah. I think I thought it was cool. I still hadn’t connected the dots. I definitely saw it happen, but I didn’t really take that “Oh my God, my mom is so amazing” until I was pregnant. I mean, she was always amazing, but in regards to the motherhood realm, there was a whole new level of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Lindsey: I love it. So fast-forward to grownup Jacki —
Jacki: Well, getting there.
Lindsey: Getting there. We pay bills, so we’re grownups.
Jacki: That’s so true.
Lindsey: So what was your hopes, dreams, goals around pregnancy and how did that conversation start for you and your husband? Was it like let’s plan this pregnancy or let’s see what happens or anything like that?
Jacki: We definitely did some research. I’ve read some books. We’ve watched some documentaries and we had a doula team that worked with us, which was a really beautiful experience, filling out a birth plan with their guidance as well. We did a lot of vision work. As you know, I do love the goals life and I set goals from a vision. Chris and I did some visioning of how we saw the birth going, how we saw our parenting style being obviously from a naïve place. I think you do sometimes have to get into it to really make those decisions, but I do think once you conceive, you’re already a parent. That starts right away, so that was what we were discussing around how is treating or speaking to my body, what I was reading, what I was exposing myself to or choosing not to read or watch, and all of our decisions were made together, which I thought was really cool.
I actually felt that in the birth process. We definitely wrote down a plan around a natural birth. We were going to deliver in a hospital. We had our hospital chosen. We’ve done the walkthrough. Our doula team was there or obviously was going to be there. There were many things. I had a diffuser with certain oils. I had a playlist my friend made for me, many things, of course. I felt very supported. And one of the most powerful things that Chris and I did towards the end of my pregnancy with this planning process was we went for a walk in Boulder actually. We went for a walk along this creek and we had a conversation about what happened if the plan went a different way.
And so, we did have a release of expectations in a really open conversation that would continue through the birthing process, open with our doula, with our doctor, and with our child, so including her in the process as we were making those decisions, making those plans, and being open to the way it would go.
Lindsey: That’s pretty powerful because one of the things we always tell people is birth or the whole process of birth, that transition is not something you can just check off all the boxes and expect for an A+ outcome or whatever you view the A+ at that time.
Jacki: Yeah, exactly.
Lindsey: It’s something where you have to surrender to the process and accept the obstacles that are thrown in your way.
Lindsey: You can share as much as you want or as little as you want, but were there any obstacles that were thrown your way, and if so, how did you all approach them?
Jacki: Well, I had quite a few obstacles. One of my biggest obstacles was post-delivery and we can get there if we want, but in regards to the birth, I definitely went in probably a little early, which I think is normal.
Lindsey: Yeah, for new moms for sure.
Jacki: Yeah, exactly. Oh my God, I remember riding down the alleyway and going over bumps and I was like, “Husband, if you don’t figure out those bumps, it’s over.” I wheeled in and I remember the pain being more than I expected. I had read a lot of Ina May, which I loved, and also I didn’t read enough perhaps about the pain or even my HypnoBirthing book, which I do love in regards to the breath. I loved that. However, they’re like yeah, if you breathe, you won’t feel a thing. And so, there were moments of like, “Liar! Those doctors are liars!” those moments.
I would say the biggest obstacle was the pain. I got ahead of myself, so I definitely wanted it to be over faster. I didn’t have the experience of walking around the hospital or bouncing on a ball. I did move from three to seven quite quickly, but getting to that three to seven — getting to that three was what really screwed my brain. There was a moment where I wanted to veer from the birth plan. I was ready to go a completely different way. I was telling Chris that it was too hard. Chris is my husband. I was asking him for the drugs — begging, I would say. I wasn’t asking. Perhaps demanding is the right word. I definitely got obsessed with relieving the pain and Chris made everyone leave the room at one moment, our doula, nurses, everyone out.
Lindsey: Smart guy.
Jacki: He’s so damn smart. He said to me, “Jacki, we have a plan. This was our intention,” and of course, this was in between contractions. “Remember why you wrote that,” and then he asked me. He’s like, “Let me ask you a question. What if we take it one breath at a time? Just get through the next breath and the next breath, and we’ll move like that one breath at a time.” This is where I was telling you about the teamwork. It was really important for me to lean on him versus thinking I had to do it all by myself, and that changed everything.
And so, we went back into that game and we stuck to our plan. Everybody came back in. My sweet doula got — I was laying on my side and she’s like hand in a fist. She probably punched my lower back for me for two hours. She deserves quite an award. We delivered that baby all natural and we did it and it was that moment of “everyone out”, “one breath at a time”, that was a big, big game-changer to get past the obstacle that I had created in my own mind.
Lindsey: I love that when people discover that, that it really is one thing at a time, one breath, one contraction, and it’s such a metaphor for life, I think.
Jacki: Oh my gosh, for sure. I need that metaphor right now in my email box.
Lindsey: Oh God. So start to finish, do you remember how long your labor was?
Jacki: Man, when did we go in? It actually wasn’t as long as some people. I shouldn’t say it was too bad, so I think we went in around noon or 1:00 p.m.
Lindsey: And then?
Jacki: I delivered Evi right before 10:00 p.m.
Lindsey: Oh, that’s pretty awesome.
Lindsey: So how did you establish your support team?
Jacki: Chris and I were pretty clear that it was going to be only us in the room and the doula team we met with beautifully was a woman I had coached when she was younger. I was her goal coach and she had taken a different path and become a doula and she truly wanted to hear about my pregnancy and catch up. I coached her when I was living in California. She was living here in Denver.
Jacki: Yeah. So when we met up, she was telling me all about what they do and how they do it and why there’s a team of two women and why they have a team. I was like, “You know what? Let’s meet with my husband.” I had an idea that I wanted to have a doula. I didn’t know if I’d go through. One, it was provided by the hospital or my doctors, and to be honest, I knew it was going to be her after our first meeting, and so that built out that holistic side of the team to help support in our decisions, help be that go between when some of the doctorspeak got a little crazy and really be a voice of support for both me and Chris. Ironically, I thought she would support Chris more, but she ended up supporting me more, which is obviously the way it goes.
And then our team of doctors, we knew Rose Hospital here in Denver was a great hospital and ironically, I had met all of my doctors at my doctor — I have quite a few that support one another. We got there and the doctor-on-call was this super cool woman from Boulder with the shaved head that I’d never met, and this might throw people coming in. “Where’s my doctor? Where’s my person I’ve been working with?” This woman came in. She met my doula. She was so chill and my doula looked at me and she said, “We lucked out with this one. She’s so cool!” and we were telling her all our planning. Boulder has that hippie vibe and it was just serendipitous that she was on call and really such a cool vibration when she walked in and out of the room. I hated when she walked out of the room because I knew it wasn’t time yet, but whenever she walked in, I was pretty happy.
Lindsey: That’s true statement.
Jacki: Yeah, and my nurse had purple hair, which you should know I didn’t notice until after Evi was born. I looked at her and I was like, “I didn’t know your hair was purple.” She had been there for ten hours, poor thing.
Lindsey: She’s like, “Now, you see me.”
Jacki: Yeah. I had quite the crew. That was my team and we had our sacred team of Chris and I and our doula, and then the doctors came in to support when ready.
Lindsey: That’s awesome. If you could describe your birth experience like that experience right there in one word, what would it be? Maybe how it felt or smelled or anything like that.
Jacki: I would say Amazonian because I just heard the noises that came out of my mouth.
Jacki: It felt though very primal. I felt very connected to what is natural. Nature is one of my values, so I very much was deeply connected into this really awe-inspiring moment of being a woman.
Lindsey: Yeah, I love that. So knowing you — and you just spoke about nature as one of your values — there are different exercises out there where people discover their values or their three words or anything like that, but would you like to share any of your values and maybe how they were enhanced through that process like you just did?
Jacki: Yeah. I lead values work. It’s part of the work I lead as a coach and it’s week one of our Rock Your Bliss programming, so it’s very much embedded in who I am. I have a core values deck of cards that I created, so it’s like all over the map. For me, my values are family, nature, connection, and knowledge. I’m a big book nerd, so that one belongs in there. I usually like to have five, but I will tell you, that fifth one, I actually just did a workshop with my cards and I am not ready to declare my fifth at this moment in time, which is exciting. I get to fill in the blank.
And so, I’m working with four and I’ve had such a run with some of these and most of them have stayed the same. Some have changed. Family has always been one of my values and family is truly that unconditional support system. I see myself sitting on a red couch with my family not worrying about what people think of me, which is such a nice change from when I was a teen. That was my escape. And then my family, us being redefined, as we evolve, my values have been redefined moment after moment. My family also is Chris and Evi and our sacred unit that we’ve really co-created. Our dogs are included, too, [0:25:56] [Indiscernible].
The other layer I’ve been exploring is friendships that feel like family. I used to never do that. And I found that community, especially living far away perhaps from some of my family, has been really powerful. Living in California, I have such a powerful tribe there and meeting people here who totally stepped up when I rushed off to the hospital or the dogs needed care for. There were people that dropped everything and there were definitely family moments there, so family is obviously, if you can hear it, my number one. It’s everything. I find that the rest of my values really intrinsically connect to that.
I have nature, which I really look at obviously the Rocky Mountains and the trees and the sun. I also look at our human nature, our human nature to want to collaborate and connect with others, our human nature of being human and not getting it right all the time. That’s a super powerful lesson for me in motherhood.
I’m a book nerd by truth, truth, truth. I have a book club online. I love, love, love, love, love to learn. When people ask you that question of, “When was the last time you lost track of time?” it’s when I was learning something new that I really cared about. Connection is one of my values as well and this is connection via a hug, connection from a vision to a goal. This is connection online or offline, which is a slippery slope. I travel often. Connection around really being present, so eye contact, listening, actively listening and being able to contribute in a way that is purposeful. So those would be my top four in a very shortened dictionary version.
Lindsey: Would you say that those were enhanced or solidified throughout your pregnancy or the birth experience or did you gain those? Because you mentioned that family has always been part of your values.
Jacki: Yeah. Well, I have to tell you something interesting. I loved being pregnant. I loved it. I felt really grounded, which I hear a lot is part of the course. I can’t say I was always the most grounded person, so it’s always nice when you have a phase that’s very grounded. And then nesting came along with the pregnancy process and I became an introvert for ten months. I’m very extroverted, Lindsey, and I really for the first time created a home that I wanted to be in and I spent so much quality time with Chris.
I often spend a lot of time with my husband, but not this much time. I usually have a friend here, a wine date here, a meeting here, and how pregnancy was just too good. I put my feet up and I think it definitely actually taught me new things about my values, connection in your home, family that you’re creating in your belly. I truly cried every day in awe of what I was doing. I think I was very mean to my body when I was younger, and so my pregnancy taught me how to love and be proud of my body. I had never known, so that connection within, the appreciation of the nature of a woman’s body and what’s possible, and me and Chris coming together the way we did, knowledge, reading the books, but also trusting my intuition.
So instead of knowledge being something that I perhaps read, I really listened in. I want that to be something. I still do and I definitely get caught in my computer, books, and stepping away from those and listening to what I truly believe or listening to rest. I rested a lot during my pregnancy. I’m very active and I thought — I think you and I talked about this during my pregnancy. I thought I’d be doing so much more working out and my body literally said rest, slow down, put your feet up, and I did. I did. I’ve been working out probably every day since age nine, so that was quite a shift of that knowledge of the body and listening to it.
So I think my values really were flipped on the head in the most beautiful way. Even having this conversation, it’s nice to remember that because I think now I’ve almost probably reverted back to what I knew my values to be, my comfort zone. “Oh, this is how I operate” and it’s actually nice to hear what I learned when I was pregnant and grounded and rested and peaceful.
Lindsey: Yeah. It sounds like you learned a different side of each of the values that you have for yourself.
Jacki: Yeah, I totally agree. Good question.
Lindsey: What are some of the ways that you connected and got to know baby Evergreen while she was in the belly?
Jacki: I talked to her. I talked to her quite a bit.
Lindsey: I love it.
Jacki: In the car, I would turn off the radio and have conversations. I definitely sang my favorite songs. She’s going to be an ’80s buff whether she likes it or not. Her lullabies are nothing like Mother Goose. They’re more Steve Winwood and Journey, and that’s beautiful and that’s what she listened to in my belly. Chris talked to her a lot as well and I thought that was really beautiful. He read books to her, which was sweet, so our connection of really acknowledging her presence already, instead of being like, “I can’t wait until you’re here,” recognizing you’re here. You’re here now.
Similar to how I shared about listening to my body, it was listening to how do you want to be cared for and there was a moment when I knew I wouldn’t run anymore. Okay, great! That was fun. Now, I’m done running. Cool! It was around the five or six-month marker. I was like, whoa, that’s it.
Lindsey: Yeah. What did that feel like to you? Because being fitness as one of our four pillars, some people have a hard time just knowing when to stop certain things.
Jacki: Yeah. I knew when to stop because it didn’t bring me joy anymore and I knew enough from my yoga life and really around emotional intelligence that how I feel matters to Evergreen’s development. So when I was forcing something that didn’t feel good, I was like okay, good, done with that.
My last run was actually with my sweet dad in Texas. It was warm and we have pictures and I remember being like “That was so hard” and I’m done. What’s cool though is I explored different things. I really thought I’d do a ton of yoga, but I switched to Pilates for a little bit, having a machine that supports me. I can’t say I did it all the time, but I definitely dabbled in ways to sweat that — okay, I didn’t sweat that much, but really just ways to open up and stretch my body. I think you and I talked about I was doing a lot of Crossfit before I got married, and then I got pregnant and I slowed down. Obviously my running really slowed down.
Even sitting in meditation or going for walks was similar to how we just talked about flipping our values on our heads. I looked at flipping my mental fitness and my physical fitness on its head and looking at what feels good. You know what? I really didn’t worry about the weight. I really didn’t. I thought I would more, and again, I told you, I was just so proud and inspired by my body that I gave it whatever it wanted and was really conscious of Farmers Market food and things like that, and also having a hot chocolate when I needed one even though I read the BIRTHFIT outline. I was like I better slow down on the hot chocolate.
Lindsey: Slow down on the sugars.
Jacki: It’s truly. I really did. I remember being like, “Oh wow. Okay, Jacki, shape up.” In my mind, it was good, a really good reminder.
Lindsey: But you’re in Colorado and it’s part of the experience.
Jacki: Yeah, exactly.
Lindsey: Awesome! I think that’s really good advice because if it’s not going to bring you joy or it’s not going to make you happy or enhance your body then what’s the point of doing it? Because like you said, the baby feels that.
Jacki: Yeah, amen.
Lindsey: And that’s huge. So speaking of some of our other pillars, you touched on briefly meditation. Mindset is a huge pillar of ours and I’d like to say it’s the foundation of everything. If you would’ve got to me like five years ago, I probably would’ve said chiropractic or nutrition is the foundation, but just being me and being inside the birth room for numerous births, it’s mindset above all. How did you develop your mindset practice and maintain it throughout pregnancy and what were some of the benefits that you saw with that?
Jacki: Even now, I think I found meditation even more as being a mother, which feels kind of backwards, but I do make time for it and my husband knows it’s important to me, so he built me a really beautiful meditation altar. I got the gold pillow. If you’re going to do it, you might as well get the stuff, I say, and that supports me. I’m that person. I’m like, “I’ll probably get a new tennis shoes if I’m going to start running.” It’s terrible. I love rewards, but you’ve got to know yourself.
My meditation practice really when I was pregnant was around finding a calm space to go, especially towards the end. I did dabble in fear of the unknown, which I don’t think is uncommon.
Lindsey: Right, it’s there.
Jacki: My place that I meditated was — actually, two places I went. There was this vision I saw the hammock in the trees on a hike, so I’d go there. We actually had a hammock set up in the backyard and I’d envision myself there in a calm space, and I also had a beach with ocean waves that I use for breath. Those would be the two places I would say when I got mindful that I really went to. I wanted to have a place during birth that I could go to and I found I needed to create that practice quite earlier. I might have gone there a couple of times inadvertently. I did fall asleep during a couple of major contractions, which Chris said I was snoring. I have no idea how that happened, and so I imagined I was in my hammock in the trees at that point, but I did need a place.
And then I would say the rest of the meditation was really talking to Evi and being quiet within, not out loud, but talking to her within, and those were my mindful practices that I created. I can’t say I sat on a pillow every day cracking. I definitely didn’t. I sit on a pillow more now, but I did it in ways before I went to bed or like on a sunny afternoon where I could find space to think or not think.
Lindsey: Yeah, just be.
Jacki: Yeah, to be.
Lindsey: I really like how you said that you had to create those spaces early on in pregnancy like the hammock and then listening to the beach waves, and I think that’s so important because you just can’t show up to birth — I guess it would be very difficult to show up for birth and not have that space created in your head even though it’s maybe not real or you’re far from the beach or whatever, but at least that trigger or that thing has been planted in your head and you know how to access it a little bit.
Lindsey: It’s huge.
Jacki: It is huge and I posted those pictures. You can print them out and have them visual as well. I did post one on Instagram and I was like, “This is where I’m going when things get hard.” And to be honest, I know I mentioned the fear of the unknown and there was some comparison. I definitely looked at how other people were perhaps being pregnant or I did have people in my life that perhaps had a miscarriage and I felt that very deeply when I was pregnant. I allowed myself obviously to be sad and be with them through that and I found though that I had to be very clear on my boundaries to know that that is not my journey in this moment because I think I had built up a lot of fear of what if that happens to me.
And that is that openness of the birth plan, and having that calm, quiet space to go was a beautiful space to release comparison and meet myself in the now.
Lindsey: Yeah, that’s huge.
Lindsey: So when Evergreen was born, was she exactly who you thought she would be?
Jacki: Oh no, I had no idea.
Lindsey: What did you think when you first saw her, when you saw Chris with her? Do you remember emotions —
Jacki: Oh my god, Chris caught her.
Jacki: Yeah, so Chris caught her out of the womb. He was down there ready. Before my doctor was ready, he was ready. I pushed a little too hard at the end and she was like, “Wait!” I’m like, I’m not waiting. So Chris was ready and he picked her up and he put her on my stomach. There’s a picture that actually our doula, she had stepped away and she caught these moments with my eyeballs literally popping out of my head. I’ll have to text it to you in a moment. I’m happy to share it, but it was this surreal moment and I remember I repeated “I love you” like four times in a row. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”
I just loved her before I even looked at her. She had a full head of hair and huge, huge eyes. It was just this magical experience. I think I expected her to be much bigger and she was so sweet and tiny. She was a little less than seven pounds and she was glorious. I had no idea what she was going to look like. I had seen baby pictures of Chris and of course with myself and she was just her own person and I was so elated to meet her.
Lindsey: Does she look like anybody now?
Jacki: Everyone says she has my eyes and I do think she’s starting to look a lot like Dad, getting Dad’s hair and some of his features. And then of course there are parts of her where I’m like, where did that come from, this cute little button nose that points up a little bit? We have no idea. It’s so sweet.
Lindsey: Oh, okay. So let’s talk a little bit about postpartum.
Lindsey: Yes, so you’ve mentioned — and I think I’ve read it somewhere, maybe it was your blog that things didn’t exactly go peachy keen.
Jacki: That’s where the plans definitely went awry.
Lindsey: Okay, so yeah, talk to me about it as much as you want.
Jacki: Of course. We came home with sweet Evi and my family actually showed up quite quickly because she was four days late past her due date and they had booked a week buffer, so they were right on time. They showed up the next day and we’ve had Evi for a night and it was wonderful. We’d take her for walks and you just stare. You truly just stare. Everybody talks about it and you’re like no, and you do. You just stare at this child. We were having a great experience. Interestingly enough, I had probably some major expectations set up for myself around losing the baby weight in one day and I wasn’t, and that was fine. I was actually really okay with it and okay with it in regards to letting go of expectation.
A few days after Evi was born, my friend, Ann, who was a pregnant mom as well at the time, came over to take some pictures. She’s a photographer. She wanted to share her gifts and I said, “Of course.” She came over and captured some photos of my mom and dad, their first moments as grandparents, my sister as an aunt, and of course me with Evi. And in the middle of the photoshoot, I ran downstairs because something didn’t feel right and I had started bleeding. I was like, oh, it’s fine. I had the big maxi pads on and I’m like oh, this is what it is, so I just changed all the dressings, the crazy underwear you wear. I sprayed some spray and I came up and I was like yeah, we’ll finish. And then all of a sudden, I just want back to the bathroom and I didn’t feel right and I hadn’t stopped bleeding. What was happening was that I was hemorrhaging, which I didn’t know.
I actually called my mom and probably ten minutes later, I called my doctors. I’ve made phone calls and I had my mom look in the toilet and she said, “ER, now.” I had filled the toilet bowl, so it was time to go. I was passing clots. Evi was so young. She was I believe four days old.
We get in the car. Chris was actually already at work because my family was here, so he’d gone back to work and was going to take off time after they left, so I was really honestly so grateful my family had to come and been here with me. We drove to the ER. Chris was already there. They wheeled me in and I had to go through all these tests. I was passing way too many clots in way too little time. I was hooked up to all the IVs and they had given me saline because I was just losing a lot of my blood. It was such a weird moment of not being able to provide because I was breastfeeding Evi, and not having answers.
I had what was called a postpartum hemorrhage, PPH, and usually that does not happen as late as mine did. Usually it happens within 24 hours. That’s why they keep you perhaps at the hospital. Mine happened later. I went in to get an ultrasound and I got up to go to the restroom and I completely passed out off the toilet. Chris caught me and carried me back to bed. I had one of those moments where all the doctors were around me. It was surreal. I was talking like I was hammered. It was very interesting. It’s just surreal moments of like I just had a baby. Am I okay? And so, being wheeled to different rooms and in this moment, we’re making very strong requests. We’re new parents. Chris definitely went into a very bold move of asking for doctors specifically and it was really cool to actually see him step up. “This isn’t the room we want. This is the room,” and not diva style, but empowered style.
My parents had Evi. She was being perfect. What happened is I had — I’m going to botch it doctor style, but one of the vessels inside had not closed and I had built a very large clot in my uterus that I couldn’t pass and my body thought I was still pregnant, so it was sending blood to a placenta that wasn’t there. And so, they had to go in and remove it. They had to take that vacuum up there and remove it and I went under. It’s such a surreal moment. I’m signing the paperwork with the anesthesiologist. You might die. Sign your name. It was such a surreal moment. I went in and I actually knew before they wheeled me into surgery that I was going to be okay. I knew. Chris didn’t. We had switched. Chris was strong the whole way through and then we switched at the end.
I told him, “I’m going to be fine. I’m going to be absolutely fine,” and I was. They removed it with what’s called the D&C. I woke up. I had the oxygen in my nose. My parents brought up Evi and she breastfed within five minutes. It was great. It was really a powerful experience.
Lindsey: Yeah, just a wide spectrum of emotions in those four days.
Jacki: Totally. You’re like so elated. You’re like, look what I did! Oh my god! There’s a human here and then you’re back to the hospital. It was so crazy. I believe that my notes from the universe or God or whatever you believe are never subtle and I was ready. I was like, “When can I take the baby for a run? When can we go hiking?” It was such a cool reminder to slow down.
Lindsey: Yeah, heck yeah.
Jacki: I lost a third of my blood. It took me 30 days on the couch with a lot of weird food with iron in it to recover, and Evi and I just hung out. It was absolutely the opposite of when you talk about a birth plan or you talk about your —
Lindsey: Postpartum plan.
Jacki: Life with the baby plan, yeah, those are just the opposite of what I had thought, and it was okay moment to moment. I experienced people pushing Evi in the stroller for the first time and it wasn’t me, but that was okay.
Lindsey: Knowing you, I don’t know you “too well” too well, but you seem like somebody that just gets shit done and it definitely seems like it made you slow down and ask for help, which may have been a little like, “I’m going to have to learn to do this.”
Jacki: Yeah, totally, so much help. What was really cool, there was a moment in the bathtub where in my recovery of regaining my blood — I couldn’t even walk up the stairs. I’d walk up two stairs and almost faint. Chris caught me a couple of times.
So Chris was carrying me up the stairs because we live downstairs and there was a moment in the bathtub where I recognized that I was trying to rush my healing. I do like to get shit done, so let’s get this healing done. I was wearing these boats of maxi pads, the super size. Man, wearing those is quite uncomfortable. A lot of people — you can’t compare. Some people are done with the maxi pads within ten days of delivery. I was in a maxi pad for six weeks.
Jacki: I know. What happened in that bathtub though was I had to create a new vision for my recovery. I kept waking up thinking I’d snap my fingers like usual and I could power through it, and this was something I could not power through. So instead of my vision being I’m better and I’m pushing the stroller and I’m fine, you know what my vision was? My vision was in one week, I’ll wake up and I’ll get to wear a light days pad. A light days will be the best day ever.
Of course the next morning, it wasn’t a light day morning. However, I did get there within five to six days and it was nice to actually give to myself a vision of five days where I do a lot of ten-year visioning. You start your birth plan and it’s a vision a couple of months away. I had to do a week vision to make sure my mental state was positive, supportive, and not in overdrive.
Lindsey: Yeah. That’s huge especially in that immediate postpartum window. Some people think the immediate postpartum is two weeks or six weeks, but in reality, it’s basically three months like that immediate postpartum. And then the whole first year is like postpartum rehab and then you’re postpartum forever because you’re a mom.
Jacki: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking.
Lindsey: But what you said about — okay, looking at a week at a time, where am I going to be five days from now, six days from now, seven days from now? What can that look like? What do I want it to look like? That’s huge because most moms don’t even look at the postpartum side or they get thrown an obstacle then it’s just survival mode and they don’t know how to get out of that.
Jacki: Yeah, exactly, and I think I was in survival mode at that point. I was very beaten down mentally around how I thought I would heal faster, and it was great. Chris again was very clear that the nurses said it would take a long time. They said the road was going to not be easy. We were very clear about not doing a transfusion if possible. I finally got up and walked to the bathroom, so I didn’t have to do one, and yet not doing one meant much longer in the long run to recover.
I really find that teamwork and supporting each other is the natural rhythm of being human. It was again a lesson I had to learn. Talk about knowledge, the experiences you go through to show up and sit in that bathtub and choose a new vision versus beating yourself up day after day, and what I was doing was I actually started to mistrust my body. I had thought my body had tricked me. I’d just fallen in love with it. What happened? It was really interesting, even months after, to rebuild that trust and connect again and again and again.
Lindsey: Yeah. The body is so wise. The body knew you best. It knew or the universe knew you best in that okay, we’re going to have to slow this one down here.
Jacki: Right, to like a snail’s pace. I get it. I made a pact. I was like, listen, I would start listening to the signs earlier if you can lighten up. Let’s make some type of deal, and I think that might have probably been a catalyst for my mediation, the pillow, the table, the slowing down to connect in, and have I rocked it every month? No.
Have I done the best that I can? Yeah, and do I have a partner to remind me perhaps when I’m getting all crazy again? Yeah, that’s what we agreed on in our vows, so a good thing we’re living up to them.
Lindsey: Good thing. So you’re almost at a year. Isn’t that wild?
Jacki: It’s super wild. I started to get really weird last week and be like, oh my god, she’s not going to be this small forever. Maybe I should let her sleep in bed now. Chris was like, “Whoa, don’t revert on everything. What are you doing?” So it’s been really funny around getting so close to this one-year mark and really celebrating her and her evolution every month, but also me and Chris in our parenting.
Lindsey: Yeah. So I’ll go back to birth and postpartum and everything, but I want to ask basically how do you and Chris stay connected because that’s a huge part and oftentimes that relationship between mom and partner, mom and husband, mom and boyfriend often gets neglected.
Jacki: Yeah, it does, and ours has. I have recognized many months where I have created boundaries. I’m a big boundary buff and perhaps Chris has been pushed too far out on the boundaries and Evergreen’s taking up a lot of room. I think there’s a normalcy in that and yet also you want to recognize and have awareness of prioritizing your partner.
I would say for me and Chris, I definitely can get wrapped up in work and asking him for support in how to close my computer. Yesterday, he came home early. He’s a teacher and we picked up Evi together. She goes to day care twice a week, which she loves babies, so it’s so great to get her socialized. She’s obsessed. We went for a run together. It was a two-mile run, still so slow, which is par for my new life, I guess, slowing it down. Maybe it’s my new normal and it was really, really wonderful to connect in nature. We both value nature, so whether it’s a hike or a run. Something where we’re all together has been really powerful, and committing to being in communication.
So when you feel something, say something, and that’s been something we actually just talked about last month around if you aren’t feeling prioritized or if you don’t feel loved, really being able to speak it out loud so that when — and I’ll speak for myself because Chris is on the line — when I fail, and I don’t mean fail as a bad thing. I fail all the time. I’m a fail-forward human. When I perhaps fail a month or a couple of weeks in a row, you can get me back on course. You can set my sails straight.
I know I have a “get shit done” tougher exterior than some and I can only imagine what it’s like to be married to that. I chose Chris on purpose because he has intuition and wisdom and softness that I don’t have. And if we forget to be that for one another, it’s very detrimental both to how we show up to Evi but also to ourselves. So let’s say the communication, doing things together, and then planning for the future. We have these big dreams we’ve been talking about around owning a pop-up camper and looking at a new way of camping. I’m not going to do the tent life with a nine-month-old, if you will. We took her out in a pop-up camper when she was six months and it was bliss. I was like this is our new way of camping. That’s great for me. There’s an outdoor shower. I also find that communication can be in the now, but also in what you’re dreaming of creating or doing together.
Lindsey: Yeah. I like that.
Jacki: And I will say we’re a work in progress always.
Lindsey: Aren’t we all. So looking back over the last year, getting back to you, how would you say your identity has changed or evolved as you transitioned and entered this new motherhood chapter?
Jacki: I would say there are elements, of course, that are the same. And then there’s a whole new evolution as if we’ve turned into another chapter.
I like to look at my life in phases, Jacki 3.0, Jacki 7.8. I’m probably on Jacki 42.3. I’ve had a lot of chameleon lives. My identity has definitely, definitely changed. I’m an entrepreneur and I own a couple of brands both Rock Your Bliss and my own and I remember being like, oh man, what can I share? What if my audience isn’t open to me sharing all my mom stuff? And there was this weird moment of shift in regards to what you’re writing, what you’re putting out there, who you’re being.
My relationships and my friendships even looked different with how we go out. I don’t know if anyone — I’m not going to speak for anyone else. I don’t know how anyone could ever be hung over with a new baby because it’s so much. It’s a midnight wakeup call. She was up this morning at 4:30 and wanted to read books and I did because it’s what we do. And if I had my old life of partying or wine, it would be different. So it is. I’m different. Just this past month, I called forth my best friends on the phone and I said I’ve changed and I feel perhaps that I need our friendship to acknowledge that. I feel that I’m assuming I might not be being the best friend I can be and I need you to tell me if you’ve recognized the change and what we need to do. It was really beautiful. Two of my friends actually said I’m a more present person now that I’m a mother, which is cool. And then another friend of mine said, “Yeah, we need to talk about the change. It is different.” It’s not a bad different, a beautiful different, and acknowledging it is where we then move to our new place together, and I love that.
Another friend of mine was looking at how we show up for one another differently now especially as most of these friends I’m speaking to don’t have children. My closest bestest friends aren’t in this chapter of their life and some of them might not ever want to be and that’s totally beautiful for them. They’re going to be the best aunts or uncles ever to my sweet Evergreen. I find that acknowledging the change was really powerful, so I know where I stood, making sure I’m showing up the best I can and I’m not assuming stories of failing as a friend or it being too different and what now, so communication has been clutch.
The way I manage time looks very different. I very much live still in this idea of nine to five even as entrepreneur. I feel like I need to be on my computer, answering emails very efficiently from nine to five. And when I step back, meditate, go for run, take a pause, I actually remember that I am an entrepreneur so that I can enjoy time with Evi on a Tuesday afternoon. We can go to a mommy and me yoga on a Thursday morning because that’s a schedule that I’ve created and that would be a big shift for me, is to continue to disrupt the status quo. It doesn’t have to look like the social norm. It doesn’t have to look like this. What do you actually want it to look and feel like, so that inquiry into the self, the family, my partnership with Chris, how I show up for my dogs and take them on walks because those first couple of months, they didn’t get any walks, and really recognizing that personal power, the power within to make those choices that are best for your family.
I think most of my life, I was looking at choices that were best for others or best for my career or best for the dollar bill and that’s really been a huge identity shift for me and still is. I’m still very much in it. I would not call myself an expert in that just yet.
Lindsey: It’s probably a continual practice as everything, as mindset practice. I think those are some good things there, good answer.
Jacki: Oh, thanks!
Lindsey: Good answer. So before we get off, let everybody know just a little bit about maybe each of your brands and what you do and what you offer so they can check you out.
Jacki: Yeah. Rock Your Bliss is co-founded by myself and actually an LA-based yoga teacher, Mary Beth LaRue. We lead online programs and workshops and retreats all over the globe in the US of A mostly, and we really create a space for that inquiry of the self, and similar to what we’ve touched on around knowing your joy and activating your bliss. We have programs — I love the programs online so anyone can do them without hopping on a plane to Colorado or Mexico, and yet it is sweet, sweet, sweet journey to get out of town, so those are offered.
My own brand is Goals on the Rocks because I live on the Rockies and I love goals. I work one-on-one with clients. I also offer group calls. I’m certified in a body work called Lightyear Leadership and it’s all about personal legacy and project management, so I lead those in groups as well as companies, so working with companies around work-life balance, personal responsibility and legacy. It has been really cool to be a part of especially outdoor and fitness companies that I relate so well to.
I have a goal this year to speak once a month, so speak on a microphone — I mean, I’m pretty loud, so I don’t really need a microphone, yet speak in front of an audience if you will on this work, vision and goals, your legacy, that you matter, that you have gifts to offer the world, balance, how you show up for yourself and who you are at work, how we create the environment. And so, I’m on that trajectory to get myself in this amazing knowledge that has changed my game out into the world game.
Lindsey: Awesome. I love that. Where can people find you at? Do you have social media?
Jacki: Do I? So my websites are my name, jackicarr.com and my Instagram is @jackicarr. My Facebook is facebook.com/goalsontherocks and then Rock Your Bliss is rockyourblissmovement.com and the Instagram is @rockyourbliss and similar Facebook.com/rockyourbliss. I find those to be such fun channels. I’m actually on a cleanse this month. I only post Monday through Saturday and Sundays are my social cleanse days, which I’ve done one. It felt amazing, so I’m going to keep going. I’m announcing it more for accountability.
I love how those sources connect me to someone in Europe or someone in Madagascar and we can Skype. It’s the coolest thing and really being able to continue to keep the conversation alive past the podcast and into our real-life games. I love it, so I’d love to hear from anyone.
Lindsey: Awesome! Well, I’ve certainly enjoyed having you and chatting with you. Is there anything that’s come up that we’ve missed or that you want to add? This will go out in not next week, but the following week.
Jacki: Beautiful! I would end with the song I always sing to myself with my values, the way I set goals, the way I birth a child, the way I mothered my child, the way I show up as a wife, as a sister, as a daughter, is a note from Fleetwood Mac and you get to “go your own way”. That has been the most beautiful permission slip I could continue to give myself and offer up to your beautiful audience.
Lindsey: I love that. Awesome! Well, thank you so much.
Jacki: It’s a good song. You have to play it.
Lindsey: Yeah, heck yeah.
Jacki: Thank you for having me. Thank you for letting me be open and vulnerable and share the way I shared. It’s actually very healing to continue to share, so thank you for the space.
Lindsey: Thank you and I definitely look forward to — the years have flown by and I’m so glad I thought of you. I was like, “I’ve got to get her on the podcast. It’s been too long.”
Jacki: Absolutely. I was so happy to see your note. I was like, hi!
Lindsey: Yeah, but we’ll be in touch for sure. I’ll be in Colorado in August.
Jacki: Oh, well then I’ll see you soon.
Lindsey: Yeah. Thank you so much for showing up and all your courage and for what you do in this world.
Jacki: Thank you. Back at you, sister, Keep up the good work.
Lindsey: All right. Have a good one, Jacki.
Jacki: All right. Thanks, Lind.
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