Photo: Mariela De Santiago | Credit: Z Logue Photography

Mama Wears Athleisure Founder Helps Women Conquer Postpartum Challenges

Mariela De Santiago's Mama Wears Athleisure podcast shares motherhood and postpartum insights to help women emerge stronger and more resilient.

Motherhood is a beautiful and transformative journey that comes with its fair share of challenges, especially during the postpartum phase after childbirth which can last for several weeks or even months.

According to the American Psychological Association, up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, a condition often intertwined with intrusive thoughts. These unwanted and distressing thoughts can vary, spanning from worries about the baby’s safety to vivid and disturbing mental images that suddenly invade the mind.

Mariela De Santiago, a California-based mompreneur and podcast host, wants to bring this significant, yet often neglected topic, into the limelight with Mama Wears Athleisure.

Mama Wears Athleisure is a podcast that focuses on providing support and guidance to new and expecting mothers, covering topics such as breastfeeding, sleep training, newborn care, and postpartum wellness. The podcast is hosted by Mariela, a mom to a toddler and host of the Carlsbad Mom Walks, and features expert guests sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Mariela, a former fitness instructor, creates insightful holistic well-being podcast content and collaborates with experts to provide practical strategies to manage common motherhood challenges for new parents seeking support.

For instance, in a recent episode Mariela invited guest expert Jessica, a perinatal mental health therapist, to discuss how to navigate intrusive thoughts during postpartum. Together, they provided invaluable advice for new moms who face postpartum challenges. A significant takeaway from their conversation was a reassuring reminder that intrusive thoughts doesn’t make you a bad parent; it’s a common experience shared by many mothers.

Mariela’s podcast helps new moms overcome postpartum blues and here’s a sneak peak at some of her key tips:


Seek postpartum support

“One of the most important steps in managing intrusive thoughts is seeking support,” says Mariela. Struggling through postpartum intrusive thoughts on your own, even if you’re toughing it out, isn’t the best choice if it makes things worse. Asking for help is often the strongest thing you can do for yourself.

Opening up about intrusive thoughts can be done in various ways. New moms might consider therapy. Talking to a trusted friend or family member is another option. Reaching out to a healthcare provider is also helpful. Doing so can alleviate the burden and provide much-needed validation.


Externalize intrusive postpartum thoughts

Mariela highlights the effectiveness of externalizing intrusive thoughts. “By giving these thoughts a name and personifying them, moms can create distance and gain perspective,” she explains.

When you assign a name or identity to intrusive thoughts you can reduce their intensity, which can make thought patterns easier to navigate. It’s a technique aimed to create distance between oneself and intrusive thoughts, which helps you handle them better.


Explore expressive arts therapy

Expressive arts therapy is can help new moms cope with intrusive thoughts. Expressive arts therapy is a form of therapy that uses various art forms, such as music, movement, drama, writing, and visual arts, to help individuals express and process their emotions, thoughts, and experiences. This type of therapy is often used to promote personal growth, healing, and transformation.

“Expressive arts therapy allows moms to release pent-up emotions and gain a sense of relief through movement and creative expression,” Mariela adds. Taking up activities like drawing, painting, or dancing can offer a valuable pathway to express and work through tough emotions.


Connect with your partner

Connect with your partner as a new dad. He may also encounter similar experiences, and together, you can share and seek support from each other. Mariela emphasizes how “encouraging mutual support and fostering open communication between partners can be immensely beneficial for both parents.”


Embrace imperfection in motherhood

“In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty of motherhood, it’s crucial for moms to remember that perfection is unattainable,” says Mariela. Embracing the “good enough mother” mindset acknowledges imperfection is not only normal, but necessary. Moms should listen to their gut feelings, take care of themselves, and remember they’re doing great, even when things are tough.


Heal through postpartum

The duration of postpartum cope, which includes postpartum depression and postpartum recovery, can vary and last for months or years if left untreated. However, with effective treatment, it’s possible to manage and overcome with proper support and therapeutic interventions.

Seek help from trained professionals and access resources (e.g., support groups) to expedite the healing process. These resources can provide much-needed guidance and reassurance.


Conquer intrusive postpartum thoughts

Navigating postpartum intrusive thoughts can be challenging, but it’s a journey new moms don’t have to tackle alone. With guidance, coping mechanisms, and a positive outlook provided by resourceful content creators like Mariela, mothers can conquer intrusive thoughts and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Remember, asking for help shows bravery, not weakness. Every mom deserves to feel uplifted and capable as she navigates motherhood.


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