LA Mama and Doula, Brandi Sellers-Jackson On Letting Go, Having Her Third, And 40 Days Postpartum

 

Pregnant with her third, Brandi shares how her miscarriages and pregnancies have taught her to let go, why she went vegan, plus her plans to practice the 40 Days of rest postpartum. @bstereo

How have your three pregnancies varied?

Overall this pregnancy has been entirely different. To begin, I was not on bed rest with the other two!

With my first, I had virtually no symptoms of being pregnant other than I missed my period. I was full of energy, worked up until the end and overall I was super relaxed.

With my second, again no bed rest and carried him until the due date. The entire pregnancy was very easy all in all.

However, with this one, everything is different!

Before I had my second child, I had a miscarriage, followed by another miscarriage between my second and my third. Therefore, after two miscarriages, I was nervous about this pregnancy. It was a weird balance of celebration and grief at the same time having lost a baby and then getting pregnant again only a month later.  Also, with social media, we often share so much, and I’ve decided to keep a lot more private with this pregnancy. With all of that said, I’ve been my most honest self with this pregnancy. The culmination of age, being a mom of nearly three, plus having to navigate loss, has made me super real with people. I’ve put up more boundaries with this pregnancy and filtered whom I speak to about it as I don’t want unsolicited advice or projected fears. I feel as though I’ve had to guard my heart.

  

Surprise bedrest?

I’m not on bedrest anymore, but at 35 weeks I was having intense contractions, and since I have to be at least 37 weeks for a home birth, they had me go on bed rest for two weeks. Now, of course, I’m at 39 weeks, and he’s not budging!

How did you handle being on bedrest?

Patience! Of which I realized that I really don’t have any! I always want to go, go, go, and I was forced to slow down. I was told not to do anything aside from using the bathroom or making a snack. When I factored in that it was only two weeks, I adhered to the scheduled. It felt very long, but I tried to look at it as a preparation for the 40 Days of Postpartum practice that I’m planning, wherein you rest your body for over a month after having a baby.

Also, I learned to let it be. If you have a robust community, then let them be around you. If people offer to help you, take them up on it!

  

Wellness hack?

I would love to say that I’ve been doing yoga, but that’s a lie. I wanted to, but I haven’t, and that’s OK. Therefore, I would say, the most important thing you can do for your wellness is to check in with yourself because that’s what I’ve had to do. How does that REALLY make you feel? That, and drink a ton of water. Truth is, if you’re drinking the amount of water you need to drink throughout the pregnancy, then you won’t have time to worry about anything else.

How did you become a Doula?

After my second was born, something shifted. I worked around the clock as a textile agent, and I loved my job, but seeing as my industry was mostly men, it was difficult to be a new mom. Therefore, I left my job as it felt like the season had passed and I was wearing a fur coat in the summer. A week or two after I quit I hosted an event for Black Breastfeeding Week with one of my co-creators Kelly Mcknight. It was packed and a confirmation that I was going in the right direction. Erica Chidi Cohen moderated the panel and later suggested to me that I become a doula and so I trained with her.

The way doula training works is either with an organization like Carriage House or some doulas give individual training. Typically, it’s a four-day intensive with homework and books to read. After which you usually shadow a few births.

I started as a postpartum doula because Jedi was so young and still breastfeeding, then later I became a birth doula.

  

What are you eating throughout pregnancy as a vegan?

I became plant-based after Jedi was born because dairy irritated his stomach and stuck to it. Eventually, I eliminated meat too. I eat a lot of protein-packed veggies like legumes, greens, and vegetables, plus I’m craving rich, hearty foods these days. For example, I’m making a mushroom based soup with lentils, red wine, and potatoes. I don’t typically eat this heavy, but this last trimester has ramped up my desire for more substantial food. This morning I ate vegan chili cheese fries from Swingers! I’d consider that a craving. Plus, a bowl of midnight cereal always hits the spot!

What does 40 Days Postpartum look like for you?

With my first and second, I didn’t know that it was essential to take time after birth to heal, as this wasn’t readily talked about back then. With this baby, I plan to accept support from my tribe and stay home to take rest. I had all of my friends bring over food that could be frozen, this way all I have to do is toss any one of those freezer items in the crockpot and have a delicious meal ready in moments. Plus, I want to focus on being present, everything else can wait for 40 days.

Any advice…

Let go; you control nothing in this. The truth is, I didn’t even think I was pregnant as we had just experienced the loss, but then we got pregnant again! Therefore, I’ve come to know that If I don’t have control over the conception and I don’t have control over how/or when he comes, then all I can do is let go.

  

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