Ep. 51: Herding Cats and Creating “Yes” Spaces

June 24, 2019

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In this week’s special segment “Checkin’ the Inbox,” Laura and Shanna answer listener questions about room sharing with cats and working from home with a baby. Also, Shanna talks about introducing formula into her baby’s diet and creating a “Yes” space for her increasingly mobile daughter, and Laura describes her first out-of-town trip with her son. Finally, they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s baby is 23 weeks old, and Laura’s baby is 19 weeks old.




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Episode Transcript


Laura Birek: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. This week on the show we have our weekly check-ins, we have our special segment, Check In The Inbox, where we try to herd cats and create some yes spaces and we have our BFPs and BFNs for the week. Let’s get to it.


Laura Birek: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 51 of Big Fat Positive. Hello, Shanna.

Shanna Micko: Hi.

Laura Birek: How are you doing? What’s going on with you this week? How old is your baby? Tell me everything.

Shanna Micko: I’m good. She is 23 weeks old, which is about five and a half months and oh my God, she is moving like crazy. I don’t know if I’ve talked about it before, but she always seems super motivated to try to move and crawl and get stuff, but she’s just been too little. On tummy times she gets and screams and cries. So I think we’re finally seeing some progress. She is rolling all over the place and it’s a little tricky, like when I’m working, because I’ll be involved in something and then I’ll look down and she’s rolled over by my rat’s nest of charging cables. I’m like, no. No. No. I have this big baby gate thing that I used with my first baby and I create a big yes space that she can really crawl and move and roll and I know she’s safe in there and so I’ve got to bust that out. Right now she uses the pack and play for that kind of situation, a yes space, like a safe space where I know she’s okay and I can walk out of the room and it’s just too small for her now. I can see she wants to move.

Laura Birek: Is yes space like a RIE thing?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, it’s a RIE thing. Janet Lansbury talks about it a lot and has some great articles on it. It’s basically a space where I think she says something like if God forbid you had to go out of the house for a few hours for something, you were locked out of the house let’s say, you would know that your baby might cry and get hungry in there, but you know that she’s safe. She’s not going to get hurt. She’s not going to go anywhere dangerous. That can be a section of the room that you set off and make completely baby safe or a pack and play, because a lot of times it’s really hard to baby proof an entire house or even my entire living room.

Laura Birek: Absolutely.

Shanna Micko: I’ve got so much going on. It’s really nice. Maybe I’ll link to it, because it’s awesome. It’s this really big gate system and I just make a big space for her and put all her toys in there and so I need to set that up basically.

Laura Birek: Sounds like she’s ready to go.

Shanna Micko: She’s on the move. It’s awesome. Then my other check-in. I don’t think I mentioned this, but I thought that I would. I actually started introducing formula with CeCe.

Laura Birek: Oh, yeah.

Shanna Micko: Probably a month or two ago just a little bit here and there to see how she likes it and how she takes it, because it’s never been my plan to breastfeed for a really long time and also I don’t really like pumping and I don’t want that to be part of my routine. So I actually feel okay about giving her a bottle of formula if there’s not enough pumped milk. My routine has just been I wake up in the morning, I have a ton of milk in the morning, so I’ll pump a little bit while she feeds.

Laura Birek: You’ll pump on the side she’s not feeding on basically?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I use a hand pump. I don’t even hook up to the electrical thing. I can’t handle it. I don’t know if I mentioned that. If there’s enough milk, Steve will give it to her in her dream feed. If not, we’ll do a bottle of formula and actually in one of her feedings in the middle of the day, I give her a bottle. Whether I have breast milk or formula, I give that to her just so I can have a break. So I’m all about trying to take it easy on myself, especially because I’m working and taking care of her. I’ve been doing that and she likes it. It’s going well. I don’t know how long our breastfeeding journey’s going to last. We will see. I’m not trying to wean her, but I’d mentioned that.

Laura Birek: I think it’s great that you mentioned that, because it also goes to show that it’s not like a brick wall, right? It’s not like you have to stop. The minute you give a drop of formula to your baby, you no longer are able to breastfeed.

Shanna Micko: No, not at all.

Laura Birek: I love this idea that you are being kind to yourself and you’re saying, you know what? I don’t think I can do the boob right now. I’m going to give her that formula and you rightfully shouldn’t have any concern about that, because it’s fine. You know what I mean?

Shanna Micko: It is. It’s really fine and going through it with my first baby really helped me realize that for this one, because I agonized over this with Elle and she’s three and a half now. She is so strong. So smart. She’s just great. I don’t think formula did her a disservice and so I feel okay about it and I know that that’s a journey for some people and that’s fine, but I thought I’d put it out there “admit” that I’m doing it. So I could be real about what I’m doing with that whole situation.

Laura Birek: Well, I think that’s great. I applaud you. I think obviously it’s great that there’s so much encouragement for women to try to breastfeed, but I think the flip side of all this sort of breast is best and all this focus on baby friendly hospitals that sort of essentially force you to breastfeed at the beginning.

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: I feel like the dark side of that is that it makes moms who either choose to use formula because whatever reason, literally we shouldn’t have to talk about what the reason is. You know what I mean?

Shanna Micko: Truly.

Laura Birek: I feel like everyone always justifies it. Well, it’s because I didn’t have enough supply. It’s your choice. You don’t have to justify it to me why you’re doing it.

Laura Birek: But all this pressure to breastfeed has got to create a sort of culture of shame around formula. I don’t feed my baby formula mostly, because I find it more convenient to breastfeed, but I can tell that my mom friends who haven’t had a good supply or switched to formula or just didn’t fit into their life it’s like, they don’t want to admit it in public, because they’re afraid of how people might judge them and that’s really fucked up.

Shanna Micko: I agree. With my first, Elle, I remember like I said, I was agonizing through all of this and I joined some Facebook groups and one of them was a big group called I think Formula Feeders and Beyond and it was a big support group for moms who were formula feeding for whatever reason and there was a lot of shame, but also I learned to take a lot of confidence and pride and it’s okay and so that’s a great support resource for anyone who’s maybe feeling weird about that at all.

Laura Birek: We’ll try to find it and link to it if we can, if it’s not a private group.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I don’t remember. But that’s pretty much my check-in for this week. Otherwise, things are going well. She’s still sleeping through the night, knock on wood.

Laura Birek: That’s awesome.

Shanna Micko: I’m getting more sleep. In general, I’m feeling good. So there you have it.

Laura Birek: So great.

Shanna Micko: Yay! What about you? Where are you guys?

Laura Birek: We are at 19 weeks and gosh, we had a kind of busy week. It was my birthday this week.

Shanna Micko: Oh, yay! Happy birthday.

Laura Birek: Thank you. So we actually did our first out-of-town trip with the baby.

Shanna Micko: That’s right. I still haven’t gotten an update on this. I’m excited to hear.

Laura Birek: We went to Ojai, which we picked it, because we had never been to Ojai before. It’s this beautiful sleepy little town sort of inland from Santa Barbara, basically. We had never been there, heard it was lovely and we realized it was only a 90 minute drive from LA. So we’re like, perfect. We’ll go there. It’ll be a good dipping our toes in the water of car trips and we found a really great deal actually, because we went midweek. We went Tuesday through Thursday I want to say to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, which is the five star resort in Ojai and oh, I have a hot tip for everyone.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: If you are going to a location where there’s only one five star hotel, book it on Hot Wire, because you can sort by hotel rankings and you will know exactly what hotel you’re booking. The whole deal with Hot Wire is you don’t know exactly what hotel and you’re just getting a good deal.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: I think on the Ojai Valley and Spa’s website it was $500 a night for a room. We got it for $250 a night I want to say.

Shanna Micko: Oh, dang!

Laura Birek: We actually ended up upgrading to a nicer room, because we’re like, hell, we’re going to splurge because we got this deal and it’s like a mystery hotel. 

But it’s the only one in a 40 mile radius, so I highly recommend doing that.

Shanna Micko: That’s awesome.

Laura Birek: I might even work with four star hotels, because in a lot of areas, especially these little sleepy towns, it’s not like there’s a lot of hotels. So it’s pretty easy to figure out what you’re getting. So that’s my hot tip. That’s what we did. We got to do that and it was really nice. The baby slept the whole drive out there.

Shanna Micko: Nice.

Laura Birek: It was awesome and we brought the SNOO.

Shanna Micko: I was going to say I need to know the logistics of sleeping in a hotel room. What happened?

Laura Birek: Okay. Because it’s a fancy hotel, we could have gotten them to bring a crib to the room and I actually thought maybe we should just do that. But then I chickened out and I was like, no, we got to bring the SNOO and I was like, I have an SUV. So we packed up the SNOO. We show up for two nights with an entire car full of crap and I’m glad we brought the SNOO, because I think also being in the unusual environment, it just helped them to have that sort of normal thing, normalized it. But here’s the other thing we did when we were there is we got a babysitter so that we could go out to dinner.

Shanna Micko: Ooh, smart. How did you go about that?

Laura Birek: I used Helpr, H-E-L-P-R. It’s an app that was actually started… Do you remember when I lived in that little fourplex in Echo Park forever ago?

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, yes.

Laura Birek: My first apartment that I lived in for like seven years. The woman who lived above me ended up starting this app and it’s like a babysitter finder app.

Shanna Micko: Ooh.

Laura Birek: So that’s how I knew about it and so downloaded the app and asked her. I was like, “Is it in Ojai?” She’s like, “They usually drive in from Santa Barbara, but it’s fine.” I didn’t get a discount. I was kind of angling for a discount code. I’m just going to do this. I didn’t get that, but she did tell me to call customer support and tell them that I knew her to make sure they send me a good person. Anyway, it was a pretty easy job I feel like for the lady who came and babysat, because he was already asleep. So she just sat in a fancy hotel room for three hours and got paid for it.

Shanna Micko: That’s awesome. Did you guys get a suite? Did the baby have his own room?

Laura Birek: No, they called it a mini suite, but there were no walls. But it did have a little balcony.

Shanna Micko: You put him on the balcony?

Laura Birek: Yeah, we put him on the balcony. We just let him fend for himself. The first night when we didn’t have the babysitter, we got room service and just ate on the balcony.

Shanna Micko: Oh, nice.

Laura Birek: That was good. So first babysitter and first trip and it went really well.

Shanna Micko: Cool.

Laura Birek: On the way back, he woke up. He didn’t sleep the whole time. He cried a little bit, but it wasn’t bad. Neither of us had to sit in the back, so I called it a win.

Shanna Micko: Success.

Laura Birek: I think we’re ready to go on another trip, but maybe not before we wean him off the SNOO.

Shanna Micko: You take your SNOO to Paris.

Laura Birek: Oh my God.

Shanna Micko: Your rented SNOO that you don’t even own.

Laura Birek: Right? I know. I was really worried about it getting damaged or something on the trip.

Shanna Micko: True.

Laura Birek: But I think it managed. The other thing about having the SNOO on hotel Wi-Fi is that it doesn’t really connect to the Wi-Fi properly. It was a whole thing. So you know how most hotel Wi-Fi’s you don’t have a password, but you get to a screen where you have to log in?

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Laura Birek: That doesn’t work with the SNOO. So we only had the basics. We had to use the buttons. Oh my God, we didn’t have the app. We didn’t have the chart to see how well he slept, but we survived.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: Anyway, but it was really fun and it was very relaxing and I had a nice birthday.

Shanna Micko: Yay.

Laura Birek: Yay. Anyway, shall we take a little break and then move on to our special segment?

Shanna Micko: I think we should.


Shanna Micko: We’re back with our special segment, which this week is Check In The Inbox in which we respond to messages that we’ve received from you, our listeners, and we’ve got some good ones this week. Let’s start with an email that we got from Carrie and I think Laura, this one might be aimed a little bit more towards you than me.

Laura Birek: Okay.

Shanna Micko: So here we go. Carrie says, “I’m curious about how room and bed sharing works with cats. Do you keep them out of the room/let them share the bed? All my friends with babies only have dogs and they just keep the dog outside their room. But my husband and I have two kittens and they love to play and join us on the bed and sometimes like to play in our bedrooms. So I’d love to hear what you guys do.” Laura, tips for Carrie.

Laura Birek: Oh, yeah. I have two cats. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it many times on this show and they were my babies before I had a baby and I love them to pieces and they actually do not sleep with us. They didn’t even before the baby came. So before I started dating Corey, I had two cats and they actually did sleep in the bed with me. But then when I met Corey, I was worried that he was going to think I’m some kind of crazy cat lady, which is such a stupid stereotype. But I was like, I can’t be this person who has two cats who stay in the bed. So I started kicking them out when he would come over for overnight dates. Is that what they call them: bachelor overnight dates?

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Laura Birek: I suddenly realized how much better I slept when the cats weren’t in my bed with me. My boy cat, Magnus, he would literally run circles around my head at night. He would do laps and I have pictures of this. He would try to sleep with his belly across my face and it was very sweet. He was a very sweet cat, but he was also big. At the time, he was probably like 14 pounds. He’s a big cat. So that wasn’t going to work. Once I had that revelation, from that point on I made sure they were out at night. During the day, when I lived in a bigger house, we would keep the door to the bedroom closed and just make that like no cat zone. But now we live in a really small house and it kind of seems cruel, because we live in less than 1200 square feet and I just feel like they need a little space to roam. So I basically leave the bedroom door open during the day, but we make sure they’re kicked out at night when we’re sleeping and when the baby’s sleeping next to us, because we don’t want him to get smothered in his sleep and I have to say it’s worth it. I know it seems hard to kick the cats out and they’ll probably scratch the door for a while, but it really does lead to better sleep and you just don’t want to be worried about the cat sleeping on top of your baby’s face or scratching.

Shanna Micko: I was going to say scratching. I would be worried about.

Laura Birek: You know my cats are really gentle, but still they’ll occasionally jump off my lap in a weird way and leave a scratch on me and little delicate baby skin, you just don’t want that to happen. So we keep them out of the room unless we mess up and I actually have a video from our nest cam of the time my cat Cal was being sneaky and hid in the room and then we looked at the monitor and saw him peering into my baby SNOO.

Shanna Micko: Cal, oh my gosh.

Laura Birek: It’s like a super creepy video, because he’s a really sweet cat and he doesn’t look creepy in person in normal lighting conditions, but in the night vision, it looks super creepy and then you can see Corey come in and have to wrestle him. So we’ll make sure to post that on Instagram, because it’s too funny.

Shanna Micko: Yes, that is too funny. Poor cats, don’t they have a bad reputation or stereotype for being like steal the baby’s breath or whatever that means?

Laura Birek: I will say they’re awesome. I know every cat’s different, but Cal is the younger one and he’s still a little nervous around the baby, but he kind of keeps his distance. 

But Magnus is my old sweet, stupid man. He’s the big love bug and he loves the baby. He will come and sit next to him and my baby will legit grab chunks of his hair and I try to stop him, but you’re multitasking and next thing the baby is grabbing onto the cat and Magnus is a long-haired cat and he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t even get mad. He just literally just puts his head to the side and it’s so cute and they legitimately love each other. Magnus rubs up against his head and licks the baby’s head and the baby will reach out and pet him. It’s so cute.

Shanna Micko: That is so precious and even if Magnus did have a bad reaction that cat has no teeth, right?

Laura Birek: He has four teeth.

Shanna Micko: Are they at the front?

Laura Birek: Yeah, they’re the sharp ones, but they’re not that sharp let me tell you. He’s a bit of a lemon. He’s a rescue that I’m pretty sure is pure breed based on how many health problems he has. He’s dumb as a rock.

Shanna Micko: I love him.

Laura Birek: But he’s very sweet and he’s very beautiful, but he also had chronic gingivitis from the time he was a kitten. So that’s why he has only four teeth left. But we love Magnus and he’s great. Anyone who’s worried about cats with babies, every cat’s going to be different, but it’s been pretty easy for us.

Shanna Micko: Awesome. That’s great.

Laura Birek: Okay. I have a question for you or actually I don’t have a question. I’m curious about this, but we’ve gotten so many people writing in asking about this and the question is essentially how is working from home going? How are you able to juggle work and watching CeCe? You’re all dying to find out.

Shanna Micko: That’s a great question. I do have an update and some tips for anyone else who’s embarking on this. First of all, it’s going pretty well. So the first two weeks I dove in from maternity leave after maternity leave was crazy busy. I worked for an entertainment company and it was upfront, which is when all the networks and everything announced their new TV shows and so that kept us really, really busy and so I had a lot of deadlines to meet and a lot of tasks coming in. So I was constantly having to ignore her and do my stuff and it’s chilled out since then, which is really nice. I have a job that most of the time I don’t have hard deadlines. I can do it as I need to do it, which is really, really helpful. Some other things that have really helped first is getting her on a routine. More or less, I still kind of go with her cues on napping. But we have kind of an eating schedule and she more or less has a nap routine, so I can kind of guess when she’s going to be resting, when she needs to eat and I can work around that. Speaking of which I try to cram in as much work as possible when she’s napping even if it’s on lunch break, even if it’s before work, after work. That’s when I try to cram in as much as I can. I will be working furiously and she’ll start to whimper and I’m like, not yet.

Laura Birek: How long does she nap generally?

Shanna Micko: She usually has a good nap that’s anywhere from an hour and a half to two and a half hours at least one of those per day.

Laura Birek: Oh my God.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I know. We’re really lucky.

Laura Birek: What I would do with two hours.

Shanna Micko: What I would do too.

Laura Birek: I got a crap napper.

Shanna Micko: He’ll get better.

Laura Birek: I’ll have to ask your tips on how you got her to nap so well.

Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh, that’s a question for another day for sure. Then a couple more here and there. They range from 45 minutes to a couple hours, so that’s really been helpful. Another thing that’s super helpful, which I mentioned earlier actually is setting up a yes space.

Laura Birek: Yes.

Shanna Micko: Sorry. Yes space. Right now it’s her pack and play, but I know she’s going to be moving more, so I need to set it up bigger and when I worked from home with Elle that’s what I did and it was awesome. I could put her in there and take a conference call and I knew she would be safe. So that’s huge. If you aren’t familiar with the concept or want to learn more, definitely look up Janet Lansbury’s yes space articles. That’s huge. Her jumperoo has been super helpful. I think I posted a video about her and her little jumperoo the other day.

Laura Birek: So cute.

Shanna Micko: Just things that can keep her occupied without me needing to be there.

Laura Birek: Can I tell you we got one of those?

Shanna Micko: You did? How does he like it?

Laura Birek: My mom got me one as a mother’s day present. It was awesome.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: He freaking loves it.

Shanna Micko: They’re so fun, especially for the ones that really like to move and groove and I know yours likes to be really active. So I imagine he loves it.

Laura Birek: He never stops moving. Yes, loves it. Okay. So you have your yes space, you have your jumperoo. So that keeps her occupied when you have to focus on work?

Shanna Micko: Yes, this is embarrassing to admit and if you work with me please don’t judge me. I do occasionally have to call into meetings and most of the time it’s fine. She’s napping or she’s playing in her jumperoo but always I get on the call, I say, “Hey, Shanna is on,” and then I mute that call immediately, because anything could happen.

Laura Birek: Of course, that’s a standard protocol even without a baby I just want to say.

Shanna Micko: True.

Laura Birek: I feel like everyone should do that. You unmute when you have to say something. Maybe it’s because I do a lot of conference calls where everyone’s remote, but you got to be on mute. If I’m hearing you typing, no.

Shanna Micko: But I do panic sometimes, because I’ll have to pick her up and I’ve got the phone in one hand, because it’s attached to my headphones and my biggest fear is that my thumb is going to hit unmute and everyone’s going to hear me being like, “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” I’m just like, I’m out. Then my last one, which is huge, because I do go into the office. I try to go in once a week to be there in person for meetings and stuff and my company offers something called backup care. They subsidize a backup daycare center, so I can take her to this daycare center and it costs us $15 for the whole day.

Laura Birek: What?

Shanna Micko: I usually don’t take her for the whole day and I put her in there. It’s a wonderful facility and I can go into the office and come back and get her. Usually, I do about five hours or so and that is huge. It’s been amazing.

Laura Birek: Wow.

Laura Birek: That sounds awesome.

Shanna Micko: We’re allowed 20 days of that. That’s the benefit.

Laura Birek: That’s amazing.

Shanna Micko: So that’s going to get me through about half the year and I’ll figure it out then what I’m going to do then hire a babysitter, whatever. But I love not having to find a babysitter and I take her to the center and everyone’s nice and it’s awesome.

Laura Birek: Is it on site or is it nearby work or what’s the deal there?

Shanna Micko: It’s not on site. It’s nearby, but it’s the same company that runs my other daughter’s daycare. I know their protocols and systems and it’s only about six minute drive from my office. I love it.

Laura Birek: Awesome. That’s so great. It sounds like it’s going pretty well

Shanna Micko: So far so good. I continue to feel so grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity. I love being able to spend extra time with her and watch her grow and move and do all these things and that I’m not missing out. I know that’s so hard when you work. So I’m really, really grateful.

Laura Birek: That’s awesome. Hooray!

Shanna Micko: Yay! That’s my update. Do we have anything else or should we move on to our BFPs and BFNs after the break?

Laura Birek: I think we need to hear those BFPs and BFNs.

Shanna Micko: All right. Let’s do it.


Laura Birek: So we end every show with our big fat positives or big fat negatives of the week. Shanna, do you have a BFP or a BFN for us?

Shanna Micko: I have a BFN this week.

Laura Birek: Quack. Quack.

Shanna Micko: I haven’t mentioned this before, but my C-section, I don’t want to say incision, because I don’t think it’s exactly the incision. But the area around it, like my abdominal area still hurts five and a half months after my surgery.

Laura Birek: Really? Oh, no.

Shanna Micko: This did not happen with my first. I had other complications, but this, I’m starting to worry about it a little bit. I don’t know if it’s normal or not.

Laura Birek: What kind of pain? Dull pain? Sharp pain? Pain when you move? Describe it.

Shanna Micko: I would say mostly it’s in the area above the incision and below my belly button. What did I call it before? The fat pouch or C-section shelf or whatever. That area almost like internal. So especially if I move a lot or now that CeCe’s more mobile, I will stand her up on my lap and she’ll kick her legs. I notice and hit me there and then for the rest of the day, it just aches. It’s tender. It’s super achy. I don’t know what’s going on. So I think I might have to go see the doctor and see what’s going on.

Laura Birek: I think that’s a good idea.

Shanna Micko: What about you? How old is your area?

Laura Birek: I’m taping it right now. When I push on that area, it, it’s a little bit tender, but I wouldn’t call it pain. It still has a little bit of a feeling like there’s a very minor sunburn almost, but it’s very superficial.

Shanna Micko: On the skin?

Laura Birek: I think that’s kind of the nerves still kind of growing back. But no, I don’t have internal pain. I remember very early maybe at about two months, I was officially healed. But if I would go on a long walk or something, I would definitely be achy in that area, but it’s definitely gone away. Then again, I’ve only had one C-section and you’ve had two. So I definitely think it’s something you should bring up to your doctor, because you want to make sure nothing’s going on, especially with you have the history of your last incision not healing properly.

Shanna Micko: What’s so weird about it this time is that, like I said, it’s not the actual incision that’s a problem. That seems like it’s healed up nicely and there’s a little numbness and kind of that superficial sunburn feeling. But this internal stuff is definitely new to me and God forbid, I tried to do some crunches, Laura. I think I did like 10 the other day, because I was down on the floor and CeCe was moving around. I was like, do some crunches. Just fucked myself.

Laura Birek: Really?

Shanna Micko: I shouldn’t have not done that. That made ache a lot.

Laura Birek: You used to be a fitness instructor. You know how to do a crunch properly is what I’m saying.

Shanna Micko: I don’t think it was because of poor alignment or anything. I think something is definitely going on and I’m so reluctant to like I’m too busy. I don’t want to go to the doctor. He’s far away.

Laura Birek: We just went to the doctor so much. We’re finally just not going to the damn doctor every like two to four weeks.

Shanna Micko: It’s wonderful, because my doctor is not convenient to where I live, but I know I have to suck it up. But also I’m going to the doctor all the time with my kids. My older kid is sick all the time and I’m just like, I’m taking care of everyone else except myself and so of course, Steve’s like, “Shanna, you’ve got to take care of this. That’s really important.” I’m like, “All right.” So I’ll give an update whenever there is one.

Laura Birek: It’s funny you say that because the thing I’m about to talk about addresses this issue very closely.

Shanna Micko: Interesting. What do you have?

Laura Birek: I have a BFP. It’s a book called Burnout and the subtitle is The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle and it’s by these twin sisters, Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. I don’t know if I’m saying their last names right. It sounds like a self-help book. If you look at the cover, it’s this pink cover and it looks like a fluffy dime a dozen self-help book.

Shanna Micko: Why did you pick it first of all?

Laura Birek: Our friend, Marilyn, she listened to a podcast about it, sent me the podcast, I listened to the podcast and I was like, I got to read this book. Actually, I went on Libby, which is the library app and it was like a six week wait or something. So I was like fuck it. I’m just going to get it on Audible. I had Audible credit. So I got it on Audible. I listened to it. It’s read very well. It’s read by the authors. They alternate chapters and it blew my mind, Shanna. I was texting everyone I knew in the middle of the book, like screenshots, you have to read this, you have to read this. This is amazing. I’m sure I texted you about it.

Shanna Micko: Sounds familiar.

Laura Birek: Pretty much everyone I messaged was like, “You know what would stress me out? Having to read a fucking book right now. I don’t have time to read a book,” but I really encourage people to read it, because it was cathartic to read it. This book looks like a normal self-help book, but I believe it to be a feminist manifesto and I mean that in the most pure way. I know that a lot of people have problems with the word feminist, but what I mean is that it’s there to empower women and it’s really written for women. You can tell by the pink cover basically and they say it in the book, like women are much more likely to be burnt out and we are the ones who need this book, especially mothers. It’s just a brilliant book. It breaks down sort of why the whole world is sort of built to make us completely stressed out all the time and also tells you very practical ways to try to counteract it in your life.

Shanna Micko: Okay.

Laura Birek: But the thing that really was revolutionary to me is that they have this idea they call it the stress cycle, because they separate the stress sore from the stress. So they say the stress sore is the thing that’s making you stressed out. Like your kid is crying and won’t stop crying, that’s the stress sore. The stress is a physiological response to that. So the stress itself is a thing that is happening in your body like any other emotion, happiness, sadness, whatever. It’s there and it has to be addressed and you can address the stressor. You can put your baby in front of the TV and that stressor goes away. But that doesn’t mean the stress has gone away. It’s still in your body.

Shanna Micko: Oh God, yes. Like I’ve mentioned before, CeCe will stop crying at night and my whole body is buzzing with anxiety and stress. So it does not stop.

Laura Birek: They address that very specifically and give you a lot of really good ways to actually get that stress out of your body. I’m telling you it’s already changed my life. I want to read it again. So I just have to share it with everyone. But one of the things that they talk about is how mothers are giving, giving, giving, giving. They call it human giver syndrome.

Shanna Micko: Makes sense.

Laura Birek: They really are trying to emphasize that we need to take care of ourselves that it’s not selfish to take care of ourselves. I think there was a quote in there. I think it’s Audrey Lorde. I don’t know if it’s Audrey Lorde or Audre Lorde, A-U-D-R-E that says, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” I literally cried when I heard that.

Shanna Micko: That’s good.

Laura Birek: Highly recommend this book Burnout by the Nagoski sisters.

Shanna Micko: I’m getting it immediately.

Laura Birek: You got to get it. It’s so, so good and I’ve been trying to use the techniques to practice some self-care and put my own oxygen mask on first. Right? Like this idea.

Shanna Micko: I think self-care like the way that people throw it around to moms, especially I’m thinking like get a pedicure, get a massage for a couple hours. Is this the kind of thing they’re talking about? Because to be honest with you, that doesn’t really work for me. I’m wondering if it goes a little bit deeper than that.

Laura Birek: Much, much deeper. It acknowledges that getting a massage or a pedicure that can be self-care. But the other thing that’s self-care is getting sleep. The other thing that’s getting self-care is actually having that hard discussion with your husband about how he’s not pulling his weight around the house or another thing about self-care, self-care can be actually volunteering in your community, because it’s something that’s nourishing to you. So they get very much into detail about what self-care really is and it’s not this fluffy like, go get a facial. It could be, but that’s not what we’re talking about when we’re talking about self-care.

Shanna Micko: Cool. I need some inspiration on that level. So that sounds awesome.

Laura Birek: I really want to get the authors on the show. I’m going to work on that, because I’m obsessed with them now. So anyway, that’s my BFP and I wanted to say this is how I listen to it. Everyone’s like, how the fuck did you read a book? You have a baby.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: One AirPod in my ear while I was either rocking him to sleep for a nap or when we would go on walks. That’s how I got it done and on 2X speed, because I listen to audio books two times speed and I got through it pretty fast.

Shanna Micko: Awesome. Good tip. Cool. All right. Let’s read that book and take care of ourselves.

Laura Birek: Let us know if you’ve read that book or if you read it and have something to add to the discussion, let us know on our Facebook community page. Just search for Big Fat Positive on Facebook. We also are on Instagram and Twitter and we have another Facebook page. Just search for at BFP Podcast.

Shanna Micko: Thank you guys so much for listening. If you would like to rate and review us on whatever platform you listen, that would be amazing and so helpful and we’ll see you next week.

Laura Birek: Also, your referral is the best thing that we could ask for. So if you love this podcast and you have a friend who’s newly pregnant and looking for something to listen, tell them about our show. We would love if you spread the word about Big Fat Positive.

Shanna Micko: Big Fat Positive is produced by Shanna Micko, Laura Birek and Steve Yager.

Laura Birek: Thanks for listening, everyone. See you next week.

Shanna Micko: Bye.

Laura Birek: Bye.