Ep 178: Preparing for Parenthood with Lindsay Garrett LCSW

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We talk a lot on this show about pregnancy and birth (of course!) but we don’t talk as much about what happens after that. That’s where today’s guest, Lindsay C. M. Garrett, LCSW comes in. An expert in the field of adoption, parent preparation, and child welfare, she has spent ten years supporting parents at The Gladney Center for Adoption.

Her background may be in adoption but no matter how you choose to approach parenthood she’s got great practical advice that I know everyone can find useful. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, this episode can hopefully remind you that it’s ok to feel your feelings and reach out to your support system.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How the challenges of adoption inspired Lindsay to focus her career on preparing parents to have children
  • Why it’s important to explore your fears leading up to parenthood
  • How establishing strong communication with your partner beforehand can help in coparenting later
  • What some specific strategies are for building a sustainable support system
  • What are some ideas for things you can ask for when you reach out for help
  • What it means to define your family’s mission statement and values

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Dr. Nicole (00:00): If you want some practical advice on how to prepare for being a parent, you are in luck because you are going to learn exactly that in this episode of the podcast. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OBGYN, who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Dr. Nicole (00:56): Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 178. Thank you for being here with me today. In today's episode of the podcast, we have Lindsay Garrett. Lindsay is a licensed clinical social worker. She's an expert in the field of adoption, parent preparation, and child welfare. She's known for her directness, witty sense of humor, loving others through sharing knowledge and always having a plan. For her entire career, children have been Lindsay's passion and by extension their parents. She spent 10 years supporting parents through adoption at the Gladney Center for Adoption, and the most inspiring part of her work is seeing the magic and mess of growing families. She actually started writing for Houston Mom's blog in the same year she became a parent and because her brain tends to sort through things by writing them down and her quest to sort through the transition to parenthood, she wrote her first book, Parent Goals: The Millennials Guide to New Parent Preparedness. When she's not working or writing, you can find Lindsay watching as much TV as her kids will allow, or she'll be organizing her life in her bullet journal or baking treats in her introverts ploy to make friends.

Dr. Nicole (02:20): We have a great, really informative conversation that's going to give you some practical advice on what you can do to prepare for being a parent. So we're gonna touch upon the importance of exploring your fears leading up to parenthood, how to do that, as well as how to manage those fears. We'll discuss some specific strategies on building a sustainable support system for when you're a parent, and sustainable is important in our discussion. And then finally, we'll end with defining your family mission statement and values. I really love that part of our conversation. Now, before we get into the episode, let me do a quick listener shout out. This is from Tinka four r m Texas, and the title of the review says So Informative and the review says, I love this podcast. I'm currently 21 weeks pregnant with my first child and I feel so informed already.

Dr. Nicole (03:25): I go into every appointment now with questions I've learned from this podcast. I started from the beginning and I had to leave a review. When I got to episode 91, Rick's Fatherhood story. It was so raw and real and makes me feel better with the comments my husband makes, ha ha. Thank you so much Nicole for this podcast. Keep it up. Well, thank you so much for that lovely review. I so, so, so enjoy hearing what folks think about the podcast and hearing that the podcast really helps you feel empowered when you go into your appointments. That's exactly why I created this podcast. Now, another thing that will help you feel empowered as you go into your birth is making a birth plan, but you really wanna be sure that you're making a birth plan the right way. Those templates, forms, checklist, just finding one of those online, filling it out, that doesn't really help you have the birth that you want.

Dr. Nicole (04:23): Making a birth plan really needs to be a process where you know that the people in the hospital where you give birth are really on your side for the things that you want for your birth. And if you wait until you get to the hospital and show up with this checklist or this form or this piece of paper that you've written and that's the first time that it's been introduced, then you are really potentially setting yourself up for huge disappointment cuz you're kind of in the situation, you're in labor and you can't, you know, back out at that at that point. Making a birth plan really needs to be a process where you discuss the things that you want for your birth and you wanna know well before you get to the hospital that your team and the hospital are really on your side for the things that you want.

Dr. Nicole (05:07): And that is exactly what I teach you in my class, Make A Birth Plan The RIGHT Way. It's a step by step process for helping you understand, um, ask specific questions of your care team to to know like their approach and their philosophy towards birth and if it aligns with what you are interested in. And then I also teach you how to actually write your birth plan in a way that will be most beneficial for you. Okay, so definitely check out the class. It's called Make a Birth Plan the Right Way. You can sign up for it at doctornicolerankins.com/register. Thousands of women have taken the class at this point and they all find it incredibly useful to just give some thoughts and information and really again, make a birth plan the right way so you can have the birth that you want. All right. Check it out. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com/register. All right, let's get into the conversation with Lindsay.

Dr. Nicole (06:12): Thank you so much Lindsay, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am super excited to have you come on and talk about this topic. I think it's gonna be really helpful for the listeners.

Lindsay (06:22): Thank you so much for having me. I am really passionate about this and I like your podcast and how it empowers people and educates them. So I'm, I'm very happy to come on and chat with you today.

Dr. Nicole (06:37): Awesome. So let's get into it. Why don't you tell us about yourself and your work and your family.

Lindsay (06:42): Okay. I am a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Texas. I live in the Houston area, um, just north of Houston. And I have worked in the adoption world pretty much since I graduated, uh, from my formal school. Uh, my, my extended family has, uh, adoption history in it. So that's something that I have always been interested in and was passionate about and got a job in that area after graduation and continued with it for over 10 years now. Okay. So I work with families. I've done a variety of things, but I work with families before they adopt in assessing them and making sure they're prepared and training them. And then I also work with families after they adopt in supporting them, uh, making sure things are going smoothly, helping troubleshoot, you know, challenges that come up, connect them with resources, all of that good stuff.

Dr. Nicole (07:46): Gotcha.

Lindsay (07:47): And then my family, uh, my immediate family is me and my husband John. And then we have two little ones. I have a four and a half year old and an almost two year old.

Dr. Nicole (08:01): All righty. And even though, you know, your work focuses on adoption, I think it's gonna apply to anyone who's having children. Really.

Lindsay (08:10): Yes. I hear all the time, especially in the trainings that we do from parents that have biological children. Like everyone should have to do this. Like everyone should talk about these things. I wish we'd had this before we had our biological children. Exactly. Which is kind of what led me, um, to writing about it because I just heard that from parents over and over. This is so useful. I wish everyone knew this.

Dr. Nicole (08:33): Yep, yep, yep. All right. So why don't we talk about, um, your training and education. I like folks to know the training and education of the experts I have on the show. So why don't you tell us a bit about that?

Lindsay (08:44): Yes. I have a Masters of science and social work. Um, the science always makes me laugh cuz it's like not, I mean it's social science, but it's not like, not do an experiment. So

Dr. Nicole (08:59): That's alright. It's still science though.

Lindsay (09:01): Uh, so I'm a master's of science in social work from, uh, the, uh, hold on, I'm gonna look at diploma, uh, University of Texas at Arlington. Um, and then I, uh, am a clinical social work social worker, which means after, uh, being in the field for a little bit, I went through 3000 clinical hours of like directly working with clients and being supervised and learning and growing. And then took a arbitrary test, um, at the end of it passed it and they, um, gave me a clinical social work license.

Dr. Nicole (09:45): Got it. Got it.

Lindsay (09:46): And um, I'm licensed in the state of Texas, uh, so licensing is different in every state. So I've met all the licensing requirements for Texas. And then I'm a big, big, uh, learner and grower. So I have, uh, training in, uh, trauma, uh, trauma and children I've training. I've done, um, part one of the Gottman couples counseling training. Uh, cuz that just fascinates me and I've done a lot of continuing education and mostly in the areas of like kiddos and adoption and trauma and parenthood. Um, and I've read a lot of books.

Dr. Nicole (10:27): Awesome. Yeah, I think it's so important, um, for everyone to hear that, like who, when we're in a field, we should all be ongoing learners. It's not like a set and done kind of thing. We all like need to continue to read and grow and take classes and things like that so that we can stay the, the best at what we do. So that's great. And also I'm chuckling at the arbitrary test. My god, there's so many arbitrary tests and things that we have to do in order to get licensed or whatever, but we do it. We do it. We do it. Yes. All right. So how did you come to focus specifically on that aspect of preparing parents to have children? Was it just because of your, um, history in your family of adoption or what, what led you to really be interested in that particular area?

Lindsay (11:17): I, it was a part of my job at working in the adoption world. We do something called a home study, uh, which is basically a social worker comes into your home and asks you a bunch of questions to make sure that you're ready to have a kid. And the reason behind it is, one, you wanna make sure that that child you place in that home is going to be well cared for and that these parents are ready to, um, to parent them. And then also there's the liability of, you know, we're an organization that's placing children, so if something goes wrong, you know, that liability is on us. But what really got me passionate about it is when I started working with parents after their adoption process and started seeing the challenges that came up, uh, the things that they hadn't talked about or the expectations they had that weren't realistic.

Lindsay (12:09): And then that started to inform my work on the front end of seeing the challenges that happened on the back end. Gotcha. And starting to apply those things with future families of like, this is, these are the things that I'm seeing coming up over and over and over and over. After parents get a kid and let's talk about this now so that you're not talking about it, you know, when you're sleep deprived with a newborn. Yes. Or when I put a six year old from foster care in your home and they're running your family ragged.

Dr. Nicole (12:42): That makes perfect sense. Yes. Yeah. So you were paying attention to what you were seeing and like, Hey, let's, let's focus, or let's try to approach this a bit differently so folks don't feel so blindsided by things. So you suggested, uh, a variety of potential topics that we could talk about. And three caught my eye that I thought we should touch on. One is exploring fears about leading up to parenthood. The next one is building a sustain, ugh, sustainable support system as a parent. And then finally defining your family mission statement and values, all of which I love. So let's start with exploring fears leading up to parenthood. Why is that important?

Lindsay (13:22): Yes. This was one of the first things that I did. So a lot of my work in this area has also been informed by my transition experience of preparing and becoming a parent. And when my husband and I were talking about, you know, trying to become pregnant and have kids, I made a list of things that I wanted to talk about because I'm very type A and like to be prepared. Right. And also a therapist. Um, it's super fun for him. I know. And I wanted to talk about our fears and I came with a list, like a list of things and it was so cathartic for me to actually like sit down and voice those things to my partner and hear about his fears as well and get those out in the open. Um, instead of them just being things that were swirling around in my brain.

Lindsay (14:19): And then when we actually got into it, when we got into pregnancy and birth and parenting, we already knew those things about each other. So we had the context behind, you know, why I felt the need to hyper prepare for birth, uh, because it made me feel like I was more in control around that process. Yeah. Or, you know, why I had a hard time after our child was born with the, the way my body looked different and felt different. Mm. Uh, because that was a, a relatively new experience for me. Right. And something that I was nervous about. Uh, and we were able to support each other in those fears and be extra gentle with each other in those areas.

Dr. Nicole (15:09): Love it. Love it. So you mentioned literally that you just created a list and talked about it as a way to explore those fears. And you said you did it with your partner. What are some other ways that people can explore those fears? Or do you feel like that's like the primary way to just keep it simple, make a list and talk about it?

Lindsay (15:27): I mean, I think ideally that's what you would do since communicating with your partner is really important. Like that's kind of the angle. But for some people that may be too intimidating to go off of, uh, right off the bat. So you could do a lot of things. You could journal so you could make your own list, but just never show it to anybody. You could talk to, you know, maybe you're not ready to share with your partner yet, but maybe you can share with your best friend or, uh, your sister or your mom or I don't know, a coworker you're really close to. Right, right, right. Uh, talking the, the goal is to get them out. Got it. Whatever way helps you to get them out if, um, you know, post to an anonymous Reddit thread on the internet and have people support you that way.

Dr. Nicole (16:20): Right, right.

Lindsay (16:22): If we keep those fears inside, they're going to continue have power over us. If we get them out in some way, if we get them on paper, if we voice them out loud, then they're out in the open in their power lessons. Name what we're fearful of. It can help us to not be as fearful. Uh, so if we're fearful of, you know, birth, then if we name that, then it's out in the open. And then there's also maybe some practical things we can do about it, rather than if we keep it all bottled up inside, then no one knows that we're having a hard time to begin with. And there's not a whole lot you can do about it. Yes. If we don't put it out in the open.

Dr. Nicole (17:11): Love it. That's so important to realize that. Um, even sometimes just the act of naming things is gonna be enough to help you manage it. And then if you need to take it a step further, like you said, there are other ways that you can help manage those fears. What are a couple strategies that you think are, uh, useful? You said maybe talking about them with the partners or anything else that you think may be useful to help you deal with some of those fears about parenthood?

Lindsay (17:38): Yes. I think talking about them with whoever your safe person is, your partner, your therapist, your doctor. Uh, sometimes I think educating is helpful. Uh, if a lot of times we're fearful of the unknown. So we don't know about something, we just make up worst case scenario in our head. That's what our brains are designed to do for survival. So doing some research, educating or uh, reading a book or asking someone who's had that experience. You know, if you're really nervous about newborns and you're like, I'm gonna break them.

Lindsay (18:18): They're fragile. Um, you know, talking with someone who's been there who can reassure you that, like they're pretty resilient. It you can't, it's hard to break them actually. Uh, and knowing yourself is important as well because I know some people who more information is helpful and I know some people that more information is just overwhelming. So knowing what you need, but the number one thing I would advise to do if you can, is to try and identify what's underneath the fear. Cause more often the fear is just a symptom.

Lindsay (18:56): So if my fear is I'm really scared of having a newborn and that whole time period and newborns freak me out and well what do I even do then? What's underneath that fear? Is it that I've, that I don't really have experience with newborns or babies and I'm doing something brand new and that feels really daunting. And what if I do something wrong? Uh, then that's something that you can actually do something practical about. Right. You can learn about babies, you can ask a friend with a baby to hang out with them. Right. You can get a little more familiar. You can ask someone who has experience with babies to maybe come support you during that time period so that you have someone there that can tell you like, Yeah, this is normal, or you're doing fine. Yep. Um, if you can get to the root of what your fear is, what's driving that fear, then often you can do something about it rather than just having the fear drive your behavior.

Dr. Nicole (20:06): For sure. For sure. For sure. Excellent, excellent. Excellent advice. So let's talk about building a sustainable support system as a parent. The first question I wanna ask is, you said sustainable. Is that intentional?

Lindsay (20:24): Yes. Because I think you can have a support system that works in a season or maybe that works for a little while, but if we're talking like long term support, then you have to be intentional about how you're setting that up. So you want it to work for you and you want it to hopefully grow with you and your family. Over over your lifetime of parenthood because you know, parenting isn't just the first year, it's forever.

Dr. Nicole (20:55): Yes it is. Yes it is. So how do folks build a sustainable support system?

Lindsay (21:02): Yes. I think this is two parts. You've got kind of your extended emotional support system and then you have more of your practical support system. Okay. So emotional support can be much more broad. It can be, you know, your friend that lives several states away, but you text and talk all the time and you know, they check in with you. It can be online groups if those are helpful for you. I do caution people to be careful about those because they can get real weird real fast. So if you get in one, you don't like it, get out.

Dr. Nicole (21:40): Um, yeah, I think that's a really point. I just wanna pause for a second there, because community is important, but please don't stay in communities that are like not aligned with your values or things that you believe in or people are like judgy or things like that. Yes. You don't have to stay in environments that don't support you.

Lindsay (21:57): No. There are so many options. Like if you don't, if you don't like it, bounce.

Dr. Nicole (22:01): Yeah, exactly.

Lindsay (22:02): Everyone.

Dr. Nicole (22:03): Exactly.

Lindsay (22:04): They can be, you know, family members or even, you know, coworkers, people who maybe you have connections with but you're not seeing all the time. And maybe you wouldn't invite them in your home to lend you practical support, but you have an emotional connection with them and they can help emotionally support you.

Dr. Nicole (22:26): Gotcha. Gotcha.

Lindsay (22:27): And then practical support is gonna be more of like the hands on stuff. Who are you going to have come help after your baby is born? Who, um, have you considered for childcare? Um, if that's something that you're going to need. Are you, is your child gonna go to daycare? Are you gonna have in-home care? Are they, um, you know, are you gonna have a family member care for them when you need a break, who do you have that can come give you a break? Um, having that practical support system in place is also really important. And depending on your situation, many of us, you know, don't live near family anymore.

Lindsay (23:10): So you have to really work to build that support system of people that you trust and are comfortable with. And because it's not just built in to family and depending on the dynamic of your family, even if they're close by, it also might not be built in to

Dr. Nicole (23:27): Very true. Very true. And I think also, um, women sometimes can have a hard time asking for support. So what are your thoughts on like being intentional about like, making the ask?

Lindsay (23:47): I think first acknowledging that we can't do it alone is helpful. I don't, I've not done like the actual research on this, but like, humans are community creatures. Like, we're not meant to live all alone by ourselves. We're not meant to do things in isolation. And I think that includes parenting. If you try to do it all by yourself, you're gonna burn out real fast. Uh, and then that's gonna affect your child eventually. So knowing and kind of making a plan ahead of time of what are you going to need and then who can you tap or ask for that need, and it's gonna be different for everybody. Maybe you need, you know, time to yourself. That's something that's really important for me. Uh, because I'm an introvert and I need that alone time to recharge. So I might build in, you know, my sister or my mom or you know, or you know, my husband. That's actually what we do. We have like designated time to ourselves during the week that we blocked off and, um, our worked into our schedule because that's something that we need. Maybe that's not a need that I have time to myself isn't really that important. Um, maybe I get really overwhelmed with just making meals and that's something that, that stresses me out. And if I could have someone like bring me a meal once a week that would give me a break.

Lindsay (25:27): Well then I might tap a coworker to set up a meal train or a friend that I know loves to cook and ask them if they would bring a meal over or even add, um, like door dash gift cards to my baby registry Yep. So that people can gift us things that are going to be useful and then we can use those down the road.

Dr. Nicole (25:48): Gotcha. Gotcha. All great, great advice. You, you will quickly, quickly burn out for sure if you think you can do it all by yourself. And I, and you know, in our modern day society, we've lost some of the connection of families as being a community affair. So I think it's important to, to bring that point back home that it really family, it was never meant to be like a, a solo sport. It's a team effort for sure.

Lindsay (26:16): Absolutely. And I think it's so interesting that we think this about parenthood cuz we don't really think it about anything else. Like no one at their job is like, I do everything myself. Like I will never ask anyone for help ever.

Dr. Nicole (26:31): Right?

Lindsay (26:32): Yes. And if I do, I'm failing. Yes. Yes. And no one thinks that about their job. We delegate and we work on teams and we, you know, share that load with our coworkers. But when it comes to parenthood, I think especially mothers, there's this pressure to do it all yourself and do it perfectly.

Dr. Nicole (26:48): For sure. For sure. All right. So let's talk about defining your family mission statement and values. Why is that important?

Lindsay (26:59): Yes. So this is my, one of my favorite things to talk about cause I think it's incredibly useful. Yeah. Especially in this day and age. So our generation of parents is just inundated with information, which is good in some ways because you can find an information about just about anything

Dr. Nicole (27:21): Right, Right.

Lindsay (27:23): But also is extremely overwhelming. Where our parents might have, you know, asked a real life person that they know for advice if they were having an issue with their kid, we're gonna Google it or post in an online group and we're gonna get, you know, a hundred responses or you know, a thousand Google results or seven books that all have a different opinion about what we should do. And that can get really overwhelming really fast. And it can make us question our ability. As parents because we're, we're hearing so many conflicting ideas and we are comparing ourselves to everyone all the time because we have the ability to with social media. Right, Right, right. And that's where defining your mission statement and values comes in. So the concept is basically you can't care about everything. You just can't. Like everything can't be the most important.

Lindsay (28:29): So identifying what is the most important for your family and your child will give you a filter to run all that noise through. So if I decide like an example of a value, if I decide that healthy meals are really important to my family and the type of parent that I wanna be and what I want for my child, then that's something I'm gonna put a lot of effort and time into. I might, you know, really be choosy about what I buy at the grocery store. I might meal plan, I make might make food from scratch. You know, I might follow people, uh, on social media who are in that area. I might read books about it. Like that's something I'm gonna put time and energy into. But if I decide that that's not something I really care about, that like if I'm feeding my kids food that's reasonably nutritious and I'm not, you know, I don't care about cutting in it into tiny little shapes or making baby food from scratch or having everything be organic, then I'm not gonna put a bunch of energy into that, I'm still gonna feed my kids.

Lindsay (29:43): Sure. Because you have to to keep them alive. Yeah, absolutely. But I'm not gonna, you know, go down the rabbit hole of making this a very important priority. It's gonna be something that I can let slip a little bit and it's not a big deal to me.

Dr. Nicole (29:56): Yep, yep, yep. I love that. I love that. So then, do you have a specific process that you recommend that folks go through to create a mission statement and values like what to include or when to do it, those kinds of things?

Lindsay (30:11): Yes. I think doing this ahead of time ahead of when you have a kid is helpful, but you can do it at any time and it will change as your season of life changes. Sure. You know, it might be different when you have little bitties versus when you have school aged or teenagers or whatever. So the mission statement is kind of your overall goal. Like what, what are you wanting to accomplish in your parenthood? It's just like a mission statement for an organization. Like what do we wanna do? Big picture, what do we wanna do? Um, so your mission statement might be something very general, like, um, helping my child explore who they want to be and teaching them to be a responsible and productive human. Like something very general. Right. Right. And then your values are the how. So your mission statement is, what do I want to do? What's the big goal that I'm trying to work toward? And my values are how am I gonna do that? So values might be things like allowing my child to pursue their interests, whether or not they align with something I think they should be interested in.

Lindsay (31:27): Or having open ended toys in my house because I wanna allow my child the space to pursue those interests. Not, you know, making my toys hyper gendered or, um, you know, having more general things like crayons and blocks and cars rather than like this one toy that does this one thing. Um, or it might be teaching my child life skills. Um, you know, my almost two year old helps unload the dishwasher. Right, Right. Um, and like puts puts the child safe plates and silverware away

Lindsay (32:08): Do they do it? Well, Absolutely not. Do I have to go back and do it every time? Right? Yes. Right. But that's a start towards learning life skills and responsibility, and that's a value that we've, uh, decided is important to our family.

Dr. Nicole (32:23): Gotcha. Gotcha.

Lindsay (32:24): So big picture mission statement, and then I would say less than five of, you know, values of how you want that to play out in your family. If you get too many, you're just not gonna do it.

Dr. Nicole (32:35): Okay. That's what I was gonna ask. Like, is there, is there a specific number and then do you talk about this in more detail in your book?

Lindsay (32:42): Absolutely, Yes. I kind of walk through how you can do this and even a simplified version of it because for some people like making very specific, like, you know, I will teach my children responsibility by starting household chores as soon as possible. Like that's too overwhelming. Sure. So you can even break it down to more just value words. So maybe I just say responsibility and define what responsibility means to me, and then filter that through the things that I, um, am choosing in my day to day. Gotcha. Does this align with this specific value for me in more of a theme than like a specific action item? Um, and simplify it even more in that way.

Dr. Nicole (33:28): Okay. Awesome. Awesome. And at the end we'll have you tell folks where they can grab your title of your book and where they can grab a copy. So as we wrap up, what would you say is the most frustrating part of your work?

Lindsay (33:41): Probably when I'm working with a client or a family that's having a really, really rough time and the only thing I can do is support them. I can't fix it. I'm such, I'm such a ti I'm very much a type A fixer. Yeah. And I have had to really, really work on sitting with the discomfort of just being with someone when they're going through something rough and not being able to fix it.

Dr. Nicole (34:10): Gotcha. Gotcha. I can understand that For sure. For sure. So then on the flip side, what's the most rewarding part of your work?

Lindsay (34:18): Oh, seeing people grow. You know, parents grow in their confidence, in their skills. Uh, but then also kiddos. I work with a lot of, uh, families that adopt older kids. So, and often they've been through significant trauma before they get in a home. So they've not had the experience of just being a kid, of just being able to play and be silly and not have to worry about surviving and watching kiddos blossom. And sometimes honestly, learn how to play and be a kid because they've never been able to before. Right. Is really, really cool.

Dr. Nicole (35:01): Gotcha. Gotcha. I bet, I bet that's, um, yeah, I'm, I'm sure it's a, it's a, it's not an easy choice. Necessar Well, maybe it is for people to say that they're gonna adopt older children and or children that have difficult backgrounds. So I can imagine how rewarding that would be to see things work out in a, in a good way. Yeah. Yeah. So what is your favorite piece of advice that you would give to expectant families?

Lindsay (35:27): I would say for new, especially for new parents, so much of the pressure is on knowing what, what to do with a new baby and going into this new, new, over full-time job, that you've never done before.

Lindsay (35:47): And the learning curve. And we focus so much on the child, being prepared for the child, knowing the child with apps that, you know, give us week by week of what your baby should be doing, all that stuff. But really the most important piece is you. And what you bring to the table as a parent and what your history is and what your experience is and what your expectations are. And you already know all of that stuff. Like, you know, you better than anyone. Right. So when you feel daunted about what you don't know and what you're not prepared for, coming back to really, you do know because you are the most important piece and you already know you. So, um, I guess, you know, you know more than you think you do

Dr. Nicole (36:42): Yes. 100%. 100%. So where can people find you? Tell us about your book, all of that. Good, great stuff.

Lindsay (36:51): Yes. I, for social media, I mostly do Instagram. Um, I, as an introvert, I do it begrudgingly

Lindsay (37:04): I, uh, uh, I love, I love participating in Instagram and what other people do, but I am not like the person who's gonna do like tiktok dances and so you need it. Um, I'm just like, here is an Instagram post. Right. Because I'm supposed to. Um, so do, and I post like bits and pieces from the book and, um, preparation tips and, uh, freebees like worksheets, like the mission statement and values. I have a, an actual like download for that if you wanna have like a worksheet to walk you through it. Um, what's your, your Instagram? Oh, my handle. That would be helpful, wouldn't it? Remind me there. Um, it's Lindsey, um, l i n d s a y, Um, c m Garrett. Uh, and that's it at Lindsay Cm Garrett. That's my, Okay. Um, that's my name. Got it. And then, um, my website is, um, Lindsay, Lindsay Garrett lcsw.

Dr. Nicole (38:12): Okay. And we will link that in the web, in the notes as well. And tell us about your book.

Lindsay (38:17): Yes. So my book is called Parent Goals, the Millennials Guide to New Parent Preparedness. And it is basically a, a prep book for if you're a new parent, if you're expecting a baby, if you're trying to decide if you want to expect a baby, um, if you're having another baby and kind of need a refresher, um, it walks you through how to practically prepare, you know, setting up your support system, um, divvying up, uh, responsibilities with your partner, deciding what kind of childcare you might need, um, but also emotional preparedness of, you know, exploring your own history with your parents and how that might come into play in your parenting. Um, how you can make a plan for being, uh, staying connected with your partner if you're parenting with a partner during a stressful transition time when the research shows your relationship is going to be affected, um, you know, exploring your fears, exploring your expectations and how those might align with reality of getting you ready practically and emotionally for parenting so that when you jump into that new job, as a parent, um, you're set up for success, you know what your strengths and weaknesses might be, and you feel a little more confident and prepared going into that.

Dr. Nicole (39:48): Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And we will link the book in the show notes as well. So thank you so much Lindsey, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. Super helpful information, and I know folks are gonna find it useful.

Lindsay (39:59): Yes. Thank you so much for having me. It was lovely to talk with you.

Dr. Nicole (40:09): All right. Wasn't that a great conversation? I really love her practical approach on preparing for parenthood. And I also think it's important, you know, there's a lot of focus on pregnancy and birth for the birth of the baby, um, and not like actually being a parent. So I think it's important to really think about these things and I'm glad we had this conversation with her today. Now, after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the conversation. Here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Lindsay. Number one, it really is important to explore your fears surrounding birth and ideally to do so with your partner. You can't address the fears if you don't talk about them. And I know that sometimes there's a lot, especially on social media of like, you know, you can slay birth and you can crush birth, like somehow.

Dr. Nicole (41:08): It's, um, like not anything that you shouldn't be afraid of, but it's really normal to have fears about birth. You've never done this before or you've seen the unfortunate instances of people being mistreated or, um, the increasing maternal mortality rates, especially the health disparities of maternal mortality for our black mothers. So it's normal to have fears and you really need to address those fears head on so that you can manage them well. This is something that we do inside of the Birth Preparation Course. The Birth Preparation Course is my online child birth education class. And really the first lesson in the course is really about like getting into the mindset piece of birth. So before you learn anything in the course about like what happens in labor and cervical dilatation and pushing all of this, that stuff, all of that is important of course, but there's so much about the mindset piece that's important for birth, including your fears.

Dr. Nicole (42:12): So that's one of the things that we do in the Birth Preparation Course, even before you start learning anything about labor and birth, because again, it's just really, really important to do that. So you can check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll, because of course that's not all we do is explore fears, I think go or to teach you how to manage those fears. So check out the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right. Point number two is ask for help. Just ask for help. I I, I say this a lot, be comfortable asking for help our society, the way we exist today. We don't live in the same communal, um, space, family spaces where we, you know, traditionally had a lot of people around us family, um, maybe even like small neighborhood communities, things like that to help support you during your birth.

Dr. Nicole (43:09): So you have to be a bit more proactive about asking for help. Sometimes that may mean even paying for help in the form of a postpartum doula, if that is something that is available to you or something that you can ask for as a gift, you know, as a, as a registry gift. Instead of asking for, you know, that pack of diapers, ask for help with the postpartum doula, but just feel comfortable asking for help and being specific about the things that you need help with. Okay. And you can ask for help in different forms. Again, it may be like from a postpartum doula, it may help with groceries, it may be food, it may be help in an online community of asking, you know, what did you do to manage this particular issue? Help can come in different forms. That is one of the good things about technology is that it connects us in ways that we weren't able to be connected before.

Dr. Nicole (44:03): And it's really about using those connections in a way that serve you. So don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. And then the final thing that I wanna say is that the things that, the thing that I love so much about the mission statement and values is that doing that is a way to filter through the noise that's out there and really connect with who you are, who you and your partner are together, who you and your partner want to be with a child. And as a family, social media so often tells us how you should be or plants all these seeds. You see all these things about what is supposedly important, but you know what is important for you. And if you think you don't know, you do know, you do know, you know what is important for you. And doing this mission statement and values is a way to connect with the things that are important to you, not what's important to social media, what is important for you and your family.

Dr. Nicole (45:19): So I really, really encourage you to do that and then readdress it at various points, you know, maybe every couple years, every few years, and kind of filter things through that lens. I just think it's really important to connect with, with the things that are important to you and not what's important to the outside world. Okay. So there you have it. Share this podcast with a friend if you enjoy it. Sharing it helps me reach and serve more people. It is my passion and purpose to reach and serve as many pregnant folks as I can. So please share it. That helps me to do just that. Also, be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcast or wherever you are listening to this podcast right now. Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon I think Audible. You can listen to the podcast anywhere these days and leave me a review in Apple Podcast. I love to hear what you think about this show. And from time to time, I will do shoutouts from those reviews. And don't forget to check out those additional resources. I talked about my birth plan class, Make A Birth Plan The RIGHT Way. That is drnicolerankins.com/register or the Birth Preparation Course, drnicolerankins.com/enroll. So that's it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.