Postpartum Care: Beyond the Fourth Trimester (Feat. Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson, MD)

Empowering Postpartum with Jessi Sletten is an inspiring show for expecting and newly postpartum parents looking to feel prepared, supported, and empowered for their transition into parenthood – without losing themselves to it. Education, inspiration, and support for everything you need to know for your fourth trimester! Watch Live every Thursday 10am MST (Zingo TV Channel 250 & 251)

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Featuring: Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson, MD, Board Certified OBGYN & Physician Mom Coach

In this episode of Empowering Postpartum, Host Jessi Sletten chats with Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson (aka Dr. Toya) about her personal journey and professional insights on postpartum care beyond the fourth trimester. Dr. Toya emphasizes the importance of advocating for oneself during the postpartum period, urging individuals to communicate their needs and seek support from various sources. Together, Dr. Toya and Jessi highlight the significance of planning for postpartum care during pregnancy, including building a supportive network and considering paid support if necessary. They also discuss the continued challenges of postpartum adjustment after returning to work and encourage individuals to give themselves permission to feel their emotions without judgment. Ultimately, Dr. Toya and Jessi drive home the importance of investing in self-care and seeking support, affirming that YOU are worthy of prioritizing your well-being.

Guest Info

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson, affectionately known as Dr. Toya on social media, is a wife, mother, board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Coach. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, she moved to the United States where she went on to earn both her Bachelor and Medical Degrees from Howard University in an accelerated 6-year BS/MD program. She completed her residency training at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and has lived in Northern California since.
After caring for pregnant and postpartum women as an OBGYN for more than a decade, she now focuses on the unique needs of physician moms who rarely feel supported as they navigate caring for their babies, a new identity, and the ongoing intensity of clinical medicine.
Dr. Toya helps Physician Moms set up systems, navigate complications, advocate for themselves in both personal and professional contexts, so they can feel good about themselves, with confidence and joy.

Discover more about Dr. Toya’s mission to empower physician moms with the tools they need
through digital assets and private coaching:
Coaching for Physician Moms
Follow her on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

Show Notes:

  • Introduction (0:00 – 2:05)
    • Host Jessi Sletten introduces Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson, a board certified OBGYN and Physician Mom Coach
    • Topic: The importance of postpartum care beyond the 4th trimester
  • Dr. La Toya’s Story (2:05 – 8:10)
    • Difficult postpartum experience after her 2nd child led her to start postpartum coaching
    • Felt unsupported, resentful despite having flexibility as a travel doctor
    • Took a break to reconnect with her husband and prioritize her own wellbeing
  • The Importance of Advocating for Yourself (8:10 – 19:30)
    • Use your voice to speak up when you’re not okay and need help
    • Don’t assume others can see you’re struggling – communicate your needs
    • Seek support outside your immediate circle if needed (friends, family, doctors, doulas, therapists, postpartum coach)
  • Planning for Postpartum (19:30 – 21:37)
    • Jessi advocates that postpartum care is preventative care – plan ahead during pregnancy
    • Curate your village and support system in advance
    • Identify gaps and find paid support if needed
  • Continuing Support Beyond the 4th Trimester (21:37 – 27:35)
    • Challenges continue after returning to work (childcare, pumping, mood issues)
    • May actually need more support at this transition
    • Don’t be afraid to hire postpartum doulas, night nurses, etc.
  • Permission to Feel Your Feelings (27:35 – 35:05)
    • It’s okay if pregnancy/postpartum aren’t fully joyful experiences
    • Don’t judge yourself against societal standards
    • Mixed feelings about body changes are valid
  • You Are Worthy (35:05 – 44:44)
    • Invest in yourself through paid support – you deserve it
    • Not selfish, it allows you to be present for your family
    • Model self-care for your children
  • Final Thoughts and Resources (44:44 – 50:04)
    • Be persistent in advocating for your needs!
    • Dr. Toya’s mental health resource list (website)

Episode Transcript

Jessi Sletten 00:25
Hello and Happy Thursday. My name is Jessi Sletten from Empowering Postpartum. And welcome to the Spanglish World Networks on ZingoTV channels 250 and 251. Please remember to download both the ZingoTV app on the respective app stores on iOS and Android devices. While you download make sure to rate and leave a comment, the app is free. And ZingoTV is also available on Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Fire Sticks, Roku and Roku sticks, and on all smart TVs 2016 and forward. And we are back this week for a very special episode of Empowering Postpartum with me, Jessi Sletten, your postpartum empowerment coach helping you feel confident prepared and holistically supported for your unique journey into parenthood. And I am so honored to introduce my guest this week, Dr. La Toya board certified OBGYN, and Physician Mom Coach. And we’re going to be chatting about one of my favorite topics, which is postpartum care beyond the fourth trimester. And really that importance of that continued care why it’s so important, and you know, what we could do for ourselves to advocate for that care. And I am just so excited to have you here. Thank you so much, Dr. Toya, I know it has been an adventure getting here today. So thank you so much.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 01:43
Yes, I’m so happy to be here. And we’re here. So it’s all good.

Jessi Sletten 01:46
That’s all that matters, right? Well, I would really love for you to just kind of kick us off with just introducing yourself a little bit more. Tell us your story, how you got into the work that you do. And, you know, really just kick us off about this really important and passionate topic for the both of us.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 02:05
Yes, thank you. So I am Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson. I’m originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. And I went to Howard University for undergrad and medical school, trained in OBGYN in Philly. And then came out to Northern California, which is where I live currently. And I was practicing normally. And then I had my second baby. And that postpartum experience was rough to say the least. So that’s really what got me into postpartum coaching and coaching for women who have little kids. It’s because though I had been practicing obstetrics for over a decade, I have been informally coaching my colleagues in this time because of that expertise. I never really understood the depths of the challenges during this time until it happened to me, so often happens like that, right? So yeah. So you know, I had my baby, and I thought that everything would be great. You know, I would get back into my work. I was doing entrepreneurship. I was working as an OB non traditionally doing travel doctoring. So I had full control of my schedule, you know, I’ve done this before everything was going to be great, right? Not so much. So I, you know, I got back into things a little too quickly. And at the same time, I was in a lot of pain, physically, because my daughter was huge. I had issues during the pregnancy that persisted, some new ones came up. And I felt like the people around me though, they loved me very much. Just were not taking care of me the way that I felt like I should be taken care of. And I grew very resentful. And I stood in my resentment without saying anything. So they didn’t know what they were doing. I knew what I thought they were doing. And, you know, just decided, well, they should know, they should see what I’m going through and they should be able to act, right until it all came crashing down. I had speaking engagements and all these things planned that I just had to cancel. I said, you know, I can no longer do this and put on this kind of forward facing, everything is okay, act. Yeah. So I told my husband, you know, I just I need a break. I’m gonna go on a trip. And you all stay here. And I will be back whenever, like, I just need a break. So he’s like, that’s no, no what’s what’s going on? Because he had he had no idea, right? So my sister actually had to come over from Trinidad to help my mom who was here at the time to stay with the kids. And my husband and I actually went on that trip to really just kind of reconnect and figure out what was going on really talk about what was going on. And I had to realize that my priority needs to be me, I’m making sure that I am okay. Because if I’m not okay, nobody else will be. Right, I was still breastfeeding, like, I’m caring for my toddler and my family. Like I need to be well, physically and mentally for them to be okay. And everything else, all of my commitments were really secondary to that. So I had to take a step back, really focus on that feeling that the therapy physical and psychological that I needed. And, you know, really talk about what I needed to be okay, during this time. And as I came out of that, I was like, I don’t, I don’t want to have anybody else go through this. And as an OB, like, I’m always looking for ways to care for people to make people’s lives better, especially in this season. So I started off with just education online. And I was like, There’s something more. So I started doing webinars. And that was great, because I actually got like interaction, which I love. And then I was like, there’s, there’s more. So I created this medical program, because that’s what I do like. So, you know, it was funny, because I would tell people, This is what I want to do focusing on postpartum care for women, particularly beyond the fourth trimester, because that’s that transition back to regular life is where it’s most difficult, and it’s where it hit me. Yeah. And everybody I told about, it was like, This sounds like coaching, like, does it? Is it a medical program? I was like, No way. Yes, it’s medical. I’m a doctor. That’s, that’s what doctors do you know, every people just kept saying, I was like, Okay, let me let me take a step back and really evaluate this, what am I going to do that is medical. And when I think about the way that I practice, when I was in traditional office practice, a lot of what I did was counseling, and talking and, you know, coaching. So I felt like what I usually did to me, but there was really no practicing of medicine that was going to happen, right? So I just pivoted, and said, Okay, I’m gonna have this coaching program, I’ve been kind of doing it already, let’s make it official, and really focus on professional working moms, in particular, physician moms, because we have a very unique set of challenges. We all only have to take care of ourselves and our families, we also have the responsibilities of other people’s lives, right. So there’s this extra layer of pressure during this time that can be so pressured. So my entire mission is just to let people know it is okay to seek help, it is okay to receive help. We are not supposed to be in this period alone. You know, the, there’s a reason I say it. And that means for you as well, right? You have to be okay, healthy, killed, loved, cared for and rested, for everything else to be okay. And I just want every mom to know that you deserve that. So that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. And that’s my mission.

Jessi Sletten 08:10
I love that so much. We’re, our paths to this point have been very different. But I’m very similar in nature, as far as, you know, having this passion ignited from our own experiences, and really seeing the first time with open eyes, how neglected, I want to say we are as birth givers, you know, it’s kind of like this thing where we become an extension to our baby. And we’re not really, you know, prioritized in this time. And so because that is what we see, we kind of, you know, kind of take on that idea within ourselves too. And so I think that there’s this extra layer of society expects this therefore I’m going to expected for myself. And anything outside of that is just seen as selfish or I’m not enjoying motherhood, I’m no good at it. We tell ourselves all these negative things right? And we have these stories are spinning in our mind that keep us from getting help. Right. And I think that with especially the population you work with physician moms, it must be that even more intense, I would assume because of that expertise that you carry, you know, especially as an OB I’m sure that like was it must have been so off balancing for you to experience I’m an OB like, this is what I do I help women, birth givers who are coming into their parenthood Who are you know, connecting with their bodies in this way? So I just I want to just say that is so admirable for you to be able to realize like wow, you know, I need to prioritize myself and I don’t know everything and I do need help. And I think that that’s such a strength to be able to be that person for others now, who I’m sure have those similar feeling Things like I should know what I’m doing right? I am I’m, I know, these are my goodness, I can only imagine.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 10:06
And that word “should” is one of the most dangerous words for new parents, because it just puts so much pressure on you, from yourself your own thoughts about how you should be as a parent, and then society, right? They’re telling you all of these things from family, and then we have social media, like I should be able to handle this, like, she’s doing it. So why can’t I? It is a very difficult place to be.

Jessi Sletten 10:42
Yes, yes, I can only imagine. Yeah, it’s it’s one of those things, I had kind of the opposite, where it was my first postpartum experience that was very difficult for myself. And I’m not a physician in any way. But I, you know, studied human development and family studies and psychology and was a teacher. And I had this experience of working with children and parents, and I just assumed, like, oh, this will just be like, the next step for me, right? Like, it’ll just be the smooth transition. I know what I’m doing. I know that I will breastfeed, and it’s this natural experience. And

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 11:14
oh, my gosh, don’t get me started. Don’t get me started on that one. Yeah, that was part of the issue with the second one, because it’s my first I breastfed for 22 months, it was great. Like, I was hoping he would stop he just didn’t. So I just kept going. And I assumed that it would be the same, but the second, but it was a challenge, not in a supply type of way. So when I looked at the challenges that people have in this phase, actually, it was actually pretty good still. But it was still challenging. And it was frustrating. And it was tiring, and anxiety producing. And all of these things you don’t usually associate with breastfeeding. And in my opinion, I feel like the messaging that it is this great thing that will come naturally, your body was meant to do this, you know, that thing that seems so empowering, can really be damaging, if you think that this is a universal experience. And if it’s not your experience, and something is wrong with you, right, I luckily didn’t have that issue. But I knew this could happen sometimes because of my work as an OB. But it was still like, come on, like what is going on, I did this before, this shouldn’t be this hard. And eventually I had to stop because it was just it was overwhelming me it was taking over my life. And I you know, I made it to eight months. And it was such a relief. It was just a relief to be able to stop. And she didn’t even care. Right? It was fine.

Jessi Sletten 12:49
Right? She’s like, as long as my belly is full Mom, I’m fine.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 12:52
Right. So you know, I I’m a huge proponent of breastfeeding, as the benefits cannot be overstated. But I’m also a huge proponent of letting people know that it is okay. If you don’t like it, it is okay, if you can’t produce enough, and it’s okay. If you just say, you know, I can’t do this, my mental health is suffering. And I need to stop.

Jessi Sletten 13:16
Yes, I’m 100% agree. You know, I’m a CLC as well. And so like the people when I work with, you know, who are having this internal battle of the guilts versus I know, the benefits are there, you know, and it’s one of those things where I often say, you know, but you know, your bond with your baby and your connection with your baby, if that is being diminished, because of your struggle, and because of the anxiety or the rage or whatever emotions you are feeling because of this part of parenthood. It’s not the whole, right, and it’s the the piece that’s more important is your connection to your little one and how you are doing like mentally, physically, emotionally. That is where that being the parent centers from right, being able to produce milk does not mean that you’re a parent, you know, like, that’s not what defines it.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 14:11
That’s not it. Yes. And I also think that’s an important message for people that cannot, you know, if somebody had a mastectomy, and they can’t, or they had some other issue and they can’t do it, it’s okay for you to feed your child in a different way. And they will be fine. Like, I’m a big fed is best person, not because it’s breastfeeding is whatever it is not important. But it needs to be okay for everyone who has the honor of giving birth or being a parent I should say, because all parents give birth. So, you know, I just feel like it’s important to spread that message.

Jessi Sletten 14:49
Yes, I agree. 100% Yeah. And, you know, I’d love for you to give us a little bit of perspective, from like a clinical standpoint, you know, just because you are of both worlds. You’re among medical professional and a coach, you know if you could walk us through like that process of you really understanding you’re at this turning point of, okay? I’m okay with the fact that I can’t do this all on my own, and then how that looked for you to get the help you needed and reaching out. I know that that trip was a turning point, it sounds like for you. But if you could just if you don’t mind, whatever you’re comfortable sharing with, I think that that would be really eye opening and helpful for others to hear your story and your journey.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 15:31
Yeah, so I always tell people, don’t be like me, learn from my experience. Not to deal with quite like this. But, you know, coming to the point where I had to just say, I need to step away from everything. It was just like a build up a build up of really the anger and the resentment. And it’s feelings that I was surprised about, you know, people always focus on, you know, when you say I had postpartum, like I had postpartum depression is what you mean. But there’s so many other things that you could be feeling, though all those feelings are valid, and they’re no less impactful on your life. Right? So if you’re feeling any type of way, speaking up is the first step to it. Because that’s what I did. I just kept it all inside. And I feel like it’s a very easy thing to do. For many reasons, right. Like I said, I felt like everybody should know. So I shouldn’t have had to say anything, right? Y’all can see I just had this baby. She’s, she’s huge. She drinks a lot. You know, breastfeeding hurts, like, all y’all not seeing me like what is going on? So it’s very easy to think that way. Like, hello, I’m struggling here. Why don’t you see? And while they, maybe they should, maybe worrying about what other people should do. To me, it just it it doesn’t make any sense. Because it puts an unfair burden on them. And really, it’s important to use our voices to speak up and say, I’m not okay, this is what I need to be okay. And usually speaking up is going to affect some change. Everybody’s household dynamics are different, right? So you may get negativity, you may get, you know, a family member that passes judgment, but having and finding the strength to continue to say, I am not okay, and this is what I need, is really important. And then if you are getting pushed back, going outside the immediate unit, do you have a friend? Do you have an extended family member? Can you reach out to your doctor? Do you have a doula that you can contact? Do you have a therapist, like it is the persistence to prioritize yourself and to get the help that you need? That is really important, because I understand that people have barriers, right? It’s not just I speak up, and everybody’s like, Oh, I didn’t know, let me help you. Not everybody has that. Right. So I wanted to make sure I touched on if you have that barrier. And also if you think you’re going to have that barrier. And maybe the reality is not I think we also tell ourselves a lot of things that was… Well, they’re not going to understand, they’re going to think I’m a bad mom, they’re going to take my baby away. You know, they’re going to judge me because my mother in law did this with 10 children. And she was fine and had no help, right there all these barriers that we put up for ourselves before we even give people a chance to disappoint us. Right? Because it’s better if I just don’t say anything, so I don’t have to feel the disappointment if they disappoint me. So I think it’s just really important to just use our voices, get the support that you need, and really talking about these things during pregnancy. Like, what am I going to do if I don’t feel well? Who is a trusted person I can reach out to, to, you know, say, I’m not okay. This is the help that we talked about when I was pregnant. So planning for postpartum I think is just the most important thing. And it’s one that nobody thinks about everybody’s think about the baby, right? And really need to think about how am I going to make sure that I’m okay during this time?

Jessi Sletten 19:30
Yes, preach. That’s like my whole thing. I really do believe that, you know, postpartum care is preventative care. And we have to approach it from Oh, I love that. It’s so true. Because it’s like, if we don’t plan for we plan for our birth, like we do weddings, right. And we’re like, oh, this is the big events, the birth, you know, like, have that all planned out to a tee. Yeah. And then we’re like, we get the baby or we get the marriage and the relationship afterward. And we’re like, what do we do? You No. But so it’s like all this effort and money and preparation. Yeah, big events. But that’s just the beginning and postpartum is forever. It truly is birth is temporary, postpartum is forever. And so the fact that we aren’t planning is a huge detriment to not only our, our babies, but also ourselves and our family as a whole. And I couldn’t agree more that having those plans before emergency is where the tools and strength and ability to pull ourselves out of the trenches really is the key. Because if we curate that village, ahead of time, and we understand where our gaps are, we understand who our ride-or-dies are right within our, in our like close knit family lens, and then what they can’t offer us which is okay to recognize, we find that person somewhere else, whether that’s a professional like you and I a coach, who can be there and not pass judgment and make sure you feel seen and heard and in control and certain aspects where you can be, that’s where it’s so important to be able to fill in those gaps and not feel so defeated about well, I have no one in my life who can fill that role. That’s where we really need to empower ourselves and advocate for ourselves to say, well, I’m going to seek that out then right so that I don’t have to scramble when I’m deep in the throes of depression, or I’m in pain physically, because my pelvic floor is not functioning or whatever that looks like, you know, whatever it is, ahead of time, it’s so powerful. It’s there really is.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 21:37
It is so important. And I like what you said about curating your village. Because I see that all the time as well, in this age of people not living near their family, I mean, my family’s. And so it you, you really have to be intentional about about creating this village and curating it. And I like the word curating because there are people that you don’t want in there. Just because they are close to you, proximity is not the qualifier to get into your village. Right, they have to actually be helpful, they have to be non judgmental, they have to have a little bit of understanding. So sometimes, your friend who is child free and hates kids, not that there’s anything wrong with that, that’s great for you, but maybe not the person that you want in your village, right, right there for something else, right. So you know, being really intentional, and discerning about who you have. And it could be virtual, you know, we, we, this is a different world post COVID. And the different ways and we can be creative, and just be intentional about making sure that we have the support that we need beforehand. And I just want to say one other thing, because we’re talking about all of the things that postpartum people can do, right? I always tell people, if you know anyone who has the ability to bear a child, you need to engage in these topics and in my content, because you need to know how to take care of these people.

Jessi Sletten 23:10

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 23:10
we can’t all do it alone, as the people who are in this situation, right? We need everyone around us to be able to understand because it’s, it’s I get it right, you don’t really know what’s going on. It may be hard to admit, even if you’ve had a child before. So it’s important for everyone to hear these messages, so that we can all come together and give the support that people in this season really need.

Jessi Sletten 23:38
100% agree. Yeah, the responsibility shouldn’t solely ride on the birth giver, right? Because like we really are a family unit, we’re a community what that might look like for who’s surrounding this birthing person. But you know, they they need somebody to feel safe with right and so if you are not proactively learning about what do I need to know if things aren’t right, right, like Yeah, everybody should be educated on postpartum you know, mental health and, and even perinatal mental health as a whole. Right? Like, what are the signs? When do I need to really check in with this person because something just isn’t right, you know, and, and it might look different for everybody. And you know, I always say like, postpartum depression doesn’t have just one face right? Or anxiety. You can be like, for me, my example postpartum depression, postpartum, anxiety, anxiety were very present. And as a perfectionist and as a high achieving person. I never showed it. I was always just on it. I you know, and then internally, I was just suffering and it lasted a very long time. And I never shared because I was afraid of being seen as less than, you know, like, well, you’ve always had it together. You can control what’s going on, you know, and those same degrees of are they going to take my kid away from me because I just am so incompetent, you know, and those thoughts just race. And so being that safe person who can truly see you is so important. And really please, you know, as the support system, don’t make them do it alone. And yes, they might need to raise our voice. Yes, we need to advocate for ourselves. But sometimes we just don’t feel safe to do that. Right.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 25:23
Right. And I love what you said about the personality types. Because you know, it’s the same right? Professional, high achievement, achieving women tend to be type A, you are so used to being in control in charge and a boss, I was gonna say a different word, but we’re on TV.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 25:49
And then this feeling of inadequacy, and uncertainty in motherhood is just like, What is going on? You know, I’m not used to feeling like this. So there’s just this added layer, that just makes everything feel worse. And then, as you said, you know, I usually have it all together. So it’s not just in comparison to other parents, but it’s in comparison to your former self. Right, but just recognizing that this is a new you, it’s not a worse, you, it’s just different in this new context. And it also you can get back, but it may be to a different version, maybe even better. But, you know, comparing yourself to even yourself can sometimes just be as damaging.

Jessi Sletten 26:33
Yes, I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, it’s that shifting an identity, you know, it’s, it’s so prevalent, like we’re unbecoming who we were and becoming who are going to be now. And yes, there are some things that we could see as a loss and recognize those mourn those, take a moment to have that feeling and sit with that for as long as you need, but don’t stay there, you know, then it’s time for us to say, okay, that’s who I was, I’m honoring that piece of me. And that’s the piece I do need to let go. And that’s okay. Because what I’m reaching for now and who I’m developing into now, that is the better version of who I am, and who I can be as a parent, as an individual, and really allowing yourself to feel the feelings but then don’t stay there. You know, don’t stay there. If it’s in a place where it’s like, depressed or anxious, when we really need those, those connections to pull us out.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 27:32
And if you can figure out how to not stay there, that’s when he reached out for help.

Jessi Sletten 27:35
Exactly, exactly. Because we don’t know sometimes it’s just like, we need that lifeline. You know, cuz we’ve never done this before. Even if we have had other kids like your experiences. Yeah, that’s prepare you for anything, right? Because each unique is you can each postpartum is unique, and you’re going to be different person going through your second postpartum than you were your first. And so it’s really interesting to see that we may be wiser, we may have these tools that we have developed from our experiences, but we don’t know everything, and we cannot do it alone.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 28:09
Yeah, and you have so many new dynamics, even though you’ve done it before you have this toddler, you have two other children, you know, your body is older. You know, there’s so many different things that are new, because you’ve done it before, that it really needs to think about them as each separate individual circumstances and prepare for them separately.

Jessi Sletten 28:34
Yes, I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, that’s that planning piece to you know, really taking that time to connect with yourself before the birth and just honoring who you are, what pieces maybe do you want to bring with you? What pieces are you okay with saying, You know what, I already know that that’s going to shift, I’m going to make peace with that. Now, you know, and then as you go, you know, you you just continuously recognize those feelings and honor them, and then let them go right as you move forward, so that you can step into this new version of yourself with love and compassion and kindness, and appreciation, you know, and this can be for your identity it can be for your relationships can be with how you view your own body, you know, there’s this complicted array of things that we deal with.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 29:23
Let me just talk about that for a second. So I will have thought of several things as you were talking about the body piece. This is another soap, I have a lot of soap boxes. So more from my story. I was somewhere on a beach. So I was in a bathing suit, and I took a selfie. And I was like I looked at it I was like, Oh, look at this belly because I was closer postpartum than I am now. My daughter’s one. I don’t know if I mentioned that. But she’s one so I’m only just no longer postpartum. My friend who was with me said, Oh, but you know, it’s it’s fine. You gave birth, you grew this life inside of you, don’t worry about it. Yeah. And you got really irritated. Because there’s this general feeling that because you did this amazing thing. You just have to accept, however you feel in this new body, and it should be a good thing you should feel empowered. You know, those aren’t stretch marks, they’re tiger stripes, or whatever the thing is, you know, and it’s great if you feel that way. But it’s also okay, if you don’t. And if once it’s not a, an obsession, once it’s not from external forces, then I think we should allow people to feel how they feel. Yes. And not pass judgment, because it was like a little bit judgey, right. Like, I shouldn’t be upset, upset, but I shouldn’t say those things. I have those feelings, because I grew this life, where it could be that I have these feelings, and I grew this life, and my feelings are valid. And it is a source for me to have motivation to get back to how I was because I loved my body before I had kids, and that’s okay. I’m not trying to conform to any societal norms. I’m not trying to please a man. I’m not doing anything. But it’s, it’s for me. And I feel like that’s okay. So if I had one more person, tell a pregnant person in your body, it’s a great thing. Don’t complain. Like that’s, that’s not helpful.

Jessi Sletten 31:36
No, that’s toxic positivity at it’s finest. Like, just know, I can feel both things. Right. I know I’m, a you-know-what.. Yeah. But warrior, right. Yes, but I am more than just a vessel. Okay. Like I’m a human being with valid feelings about who I am my own body, all those things. And you can both exist at the same time.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 32:00
Exactly. Yeah, it’s like not that we’re shaming or, you know, it doesn’t have to be all of that it can really just be had a bangin body before and I want to get back there. It’s a sign of self love. Right? I love myself. I love how I look. And I would like to get back there. And that’s

Jessi Sletten 32:20
okay. Right, right, finding that strength and focusing on how to nourish your body and embrace how your journey but also how do I want to shape how I move forward, and I can be in in a powerful place to be able to do all of that. Am I going to get back to the pre pregnancy body? No, that’s impossible, our body has changed on the cellular level from pregnancy, right? I can get to a place where I feel good in my skin, and I am proud of what my body has done. While still working on, you know, just getting healthy and improving how I feel about myself, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 32:58
Yeah, and I love the focus on getting healthy, because I feel like it can be an extreme. And that’s where I think a lot of the pushback comes from because we don’t want to shame people, we do not encourage harmful habits. So doing this in a healthy way is also possible. Also while breastfeeding, you know, like you can get healthy and maintain your supply. So making all of those things, okay, I think opens up a lot of opportunity for people to feel better and not feel guilty. Like the guilt in this period is enough. We have enough to feel guilty about we don’t need extra. You know, like I’m prioritizing how I look over feeding my child. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Jessi Sletten 33:44
Right? It doesn’t it doesn’t. And I feel like that’s the case for so many things. Like you said, you know, in pregnancy and postpartum. I had a dear friend who you know, was very honest with me because I was a safe place for her to share her feelings. And she was like, I hate being pregnant. This is torture like that. I literally hate it. I am sick all the time. I am in pain. She was a very fit, you know, person, a personal trainer. She did all these things. And so it was a very, like disconnected feeling to her body and what was happening. But so many people were like, Oh, you need to enjoy this time you’re glowing, you know, like you’re growing a human and she was like, but I don’t feel that way. Like I’m not unhappy that I’m pregnant. I love this baby. And this baby is already loved. But I don’t love what’s happening to me. And that’s okay, you know?

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 34:34
Yeah, I think we well, we probably just need to stop commenting on people’s bodies in the first place. Exactly. Just baseline. Don’t. Stay away. But yes, I like the message that not every part of this journey and that includes pregnancy and postpartum is joyful. And it’s okay to feel how you are feeling because anytime we have this standard that we’re comparing ourselves to, is a recipe for disaster.

Jessi Sletten 35:05
Yeah, exactly. Just back to when we were talking about each journey is unique, you know, and it’s like, it’s not going to be the same experience for everybody, you’re not going to always, you know, be able to breastfeed right away, if that was your goal. And, you know, as long as you have that curated village where you’ve already identified, feeding support, if that still is a goal that’s important to you, and you want to still continue down that path, have the resources there and available for you so that you’re not, you know, sitting there in pain or struggling, or whatever that might be. But really just, you know, understanding that there is no one right way to navigate birth and postpartum. And yeah, it’s going to be different for you. And that’s okay, your journey is your own. You, you are powerful, you can do this, but you can’t do it alone. So make sure you do have that village surrounding you before you’re drowning.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 36:00
Right before and I just want to talk about, you know, that transition back to work, or you always use work, because I serve professional moms. But it’s it’s that time and it usually ends up being at the end of the fourth trimester, a lot of my physician moms are blessed enough to have 12 weeks off. And the support that we’re talking about doesn’t end, because you’re three months out, because you’ve gone back to work, like you still need support postpartum, by definition last one year. Right. So that’s just medically, right. A lot of the issues you may have in the early part of postpartum may persist. And you may actually have some new issues, right? So. And if you think about it, the support tends to be less, because everybody was around before helping with the newborn, then they have to go back to their regular lives. They have they and they assume oh, she’s fine. But there’s so many new challenges, right? And it usually surrounds getting childcare, how are you going to manage your milk supply, if you’re pumping, when you go back to work? Like all of these things? And then if you had any issues with your mood before, and you were waiting to feel better, you’re realizing, Hey, I still don’t feel better? What am I going to do? Right? So there’s so many new challenges that I feel like we need to remember, we still need support beyond the fourth trimester.

Jessi Sletten 37:33
Yes, I Oh, I love that so much. Because that continuity of care is not there, just structurally, right? We don’t have that in the society that we’re in. And so knowing that you’re going to still need that support in different ways that might change like you’re saying, whether you’re going back to work or whether you need to learn how to use your pump now and how to manage your your supply. If you’re, you know, chestfeeding, all these things, you know, are just a new way of needing support or continued support. And you still don’t need to do it alone. You know, just because your baby is a little older, and you’re going back to work and everything’s “normal”, and you just have your baby and you’re now that’s not true. That’s not it.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 38:15
Right, I would argue you need more support. Because the baby’s older, walking around, you know, you are not there. If you’ve gone back to work, like how are you really think, tell me? How are you going to do it alone? You can’t. And if you don’t have that village, look for it. If you don’t have anyone, you really just have anyone then pay for it. Like, there’s this, I was actually told by someone, I won’t say who when I was going to get childcare, like, Oh, you’re gonna have somebody else raising your child? Well, no, I will be doing that. I’m just carrying childcare. That’s that’s all I’m doing. Right. So it may not be easy. There may be lots of judgments about it. But I’m a big proponent of hiring what you need. And I will say sometimes having paid help is better than free help, depending on the quality of the free help.

Jessi Sletten 39:16
Completely agree.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 39:19
So, you know, I don’t feel like once it is financially feasible, yeah. Then I think that is a very reasonable and sometimes needed option.

Jessi Sletten 39:29
Yes. And know your resources. You know, that’s one of the services I offer my clients is I sit down with them. And I say, Well, let’s look through your local community resources because so many people don’t realize what’s available out there. And one example comes to mind with a client. She was a single parent and so her curated village was very lacking. And so we really worked on that piece together. And one of the things that I found near her was a basically like a scholarship program for a postpartum doula. And I was like girl, we got to get you applied. And she got the scholarship. And so then she was able to have that free service come in. And be there with her because I was virtual, obviously, and I’m still a huge part of her team. But having somebody on the ground in home helping you make meals. You know, I mean, you don’t know what’s available until you research that and look and see and apply, go for it. Don’t think that Oh, whatever. Because that’s how she felt at first. And then she did it happens, you know, and I’m not saying that every time. But there are things out there for sure.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 40:32
Yeah, there are options for every person in every situation. And, you know, there’s some people that really have no options, right. And that’s the state of this country that is a conversation for a different time, but you know, when I think about the clients that I serve, the, there’s more to it than the actual spending of the money, right? Like, it’s a more complicated thing. Because it comes in with the level of functioning that you usually have in your life. And as a professional and as a doctor. It’s almost like, well, I shouldn’t need help. Right, right. So there comes well, I can’t afford this, or, you know, I can spend it on different things. And money is always like a very touchy topic. Because there’s so many layers, right? Not just because you’re a doctor means you have money. There’s that’s one. And there’s a matter of priorities, right? So you’ll have people saying, well, I can’t afford a postpartum doula or a night nurse or a regular nanny, but I can afford a $250 stroller, right? So it’s just like, where are the priorities, I’m not saying don’t get a nice stroller. But are there ways that you can rearrange things to be able to prioritize getting the help that you need, and really just seeing it not as a luxury, but as a necessity, and it can actually, like give you back time that you could invest in other ways, you can work more if you want to, which I don’t recommend, you can, you know, if you have a side hustle, you can do that, or you can just rest or spend time with your baby like it’s so it’s an investment that, I feel like the return on it is just so so high, and it doesn’t have to be monetary, that to me, it’s the number one thing you should be spending money on, right? If you don’t have that strong core village to help you. Right? Outsourcing. Everything that you possibly can will give you back so much of yourself, that is just worth more than anything else.

Jessi Sletten 42:49
I completely agree. It’s that other piece too, of really, truly believing you are worthy of this investment. And I think that can be a barrier to as we just say, Oh, I can’t possibly spend that when my kids need XYZ or, you know, we need to plan for this trip as a family or whatever. Are you going to be present? Are you really going to be present for that? Because you aren’t well? No, you’re not. And so that is you are worthy of this investment, you are worthy of the help and support just as much as your children are worthy of the same. You know, and really embracing that. And having that mindset is powerful.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 43:27
I literally had a client tell me that like last week that she was struggling with it, she was really worth all of these things. And I was just like, yes, like, even it was, it was surprising to me. Because when you have these interactions with your clients, and it’s such a special relationship, because you see them, you see all of them, and they can’t see it. So just be that mirror that just reflecting all of their awesomeness back onto them. And it’s, it’s, it’s a good feeling. But sometimes it can just be like how do you not see this? How do you not see how amazing you are? And just getting under that and breaking through that can be just so transformational. It just really makes me feel like, this is what I was meant to be doing. And I’m able to reach my clients and just through my messaging and public presence, so many other birthing people on such a different level than practicing obstetrics that it is it surprising but also like empowering that I can do this work and have this impact in this new way.

Jessi Sletten 44:44
Yes, and the domino effect right? Because that because of the special like you know group of people that you work with, I’m sure that they’ll carry these things with them through to their clients and to their family. And it’s, I always say like, you know, as the birthing parent or the primary parent it you’re in, it’s not just about your little family group, right, our impact has far reaching effects into our community into our world, you know, because we are bringing forth the next generation and showing them that they’re worthy to, they see that you are a good model of self care of self love, of investing in yourself and your family, that’s going to leave a very big and influential memory for them to say, I’m also worth that, I want that when I create my own family, right. And so it is a it’s a gift for yourself, but also a gift for your children and your family as a whole.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 45:38
Yes. I love that. And I think it’s important for every child to see that, mommy, my parent prioritizes, their care, their rest, and it sets up the stage for when they get in a relationship or become parents to not have these outdated, unhelpful ideas about how this time is supposed to go. Because if my son sees that, sometimes I go away and have a girls weekend, or I go and get massages to take care of my body. He’s gonna think that that’s normal. Right? Like his partner in the future is going that’s that’s what they do. You know? And so like you said, it’s effects not only out in your community, but for the future.

Jessi Sletten 46:28
Right? Right. It’s breaking that generational trauma in ways that we don’t normally think of it does, but it really does, it’s showing that there is a better way to enter into our parenthood and to create these families of support, and understanding and care and nourishment, you know, and it’s not reserved just for a baby, or, you know, the little ones in the family. It’s truly a fully healthy functioning family unit, when we are all caring for ourselves and each other. So it’s powerful. It really is. Oh, my gosh, I’ve been loving this conversation so much. I just feel like we are like, on the same wavelength with everything. Awesome. Um, but I would love to see if you have like, one last piece of advice, or I know you shared your, you know, should is the most dangerous word you can have, which was so much, but I don’t know, if you have any other little tidbits of, you know, inspiration that you’d love to share? I’d love to hear it.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 47:25
Yeah, I mean, there’s so many, I want to reiterate something that you said, actually, you are worthy. Right, you are worthy of all of the care and the love. And the rest that we are talking about. This is not for like, it’s easy to see me talking and knowing that I serve professional women and physician moms and say, Oh, that’s not me. Yeah. But if you have had a baby, you deserve all of these things, you are worthy of all of these things. And it is not selfish, you are not a bad person if you pursue these things over your children, because we I think we need to reframe that prioritizing ourselves as a selfish thing. Right? I use my cliche all the time, on the airplane, they tell you put on your oxygen mask first, before you help anyone else. There’s a reason they tell you that you have to be alive, you have to be okay to then care for this baby that is here with you. Right? So it is not a luxury. These are not to people that you can’t relate to talking about things that you don’t know about. This is for you, whoever you are, right. So I think that’s like the most important thing that I want to leave people with. And just going back to be persistent about talking about how you feel. I know it takes courage, but you are too important again, you you deserve to be well. Right? And that includes mentally.

Jessi Sletten 49:03
Yes. 100% Well, how can people get in touch with you? Dr. Latoya, if you don’t mind, just sharing where they can reach you?

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 49:11
Yeah, of course. So I’m on social media on every platform at Dr. Toyo Coaching. So that’s D-r T-o-y-o coaching, and that’s Facebook, tick tock and YouTube. And on Facebook, it’s my name Latoya Luces-Sampson, and my website is stopped tutorial And since we’ve been talking about mental health, I actually have a mental health resource list that goes through like resources and not just for the person that just gave birth, but for families as well. So there’s lovely resources on there that can be found on my website to help everyone just be well.

Jessi Sletten 49:50
Awesome. That’s great. Well, thank you so much. Remember, the show can be heard on the Spanglish Radio Network. Please check out for the news and programming. Spanglish World: Watch it, hear it, read it, download it and live it. Thank you so much, Dr. Toya.

Dr. La Toya Luces-Sampson 50:04
Thank you. This was a pleasure. Thank you.