The Blog

Anxiety in Motherhood with Dr. Julie Franks

Episode Summary:

I’m so excited to have Dr. Julie Franks, founder of Nurturing the Sisterhood, on the podcast today! Julie is a mental health therapist for moms and social work educator, she helps moms overcome overwhelm and anxiety online with education, resources, and courses. In our conversation today, we got real about what exactly anxiety in motherhood looks like and how you can work your way through it to curate a life that allows you to be a more confident, less anxious mom. I so wish I had this conversation and the resources that Dr. Franks provides when I was deep in the throes of new motherhood – they’re literally lifesaving! 

Topics:

  • Reframing motherhood being hard from feeling like a failure to noticing something needs to change
  • What mom anxiety is, how it can present itself from person to person, and tips for overcoming it
  • The impact that your community have on being able to care for yourself and bring attention to your anxiety
  • Small steps you can take to nurture yourself that don’t feel overwhelming and the power of a good mantra
  • How to work through sleep anxiety and prepare for it even before your baby arrives
  • Giving yourself permission to make the needed changes in your life that can help you be a more confident, less anxious mom

About Dr. Franks:

I’m Dr. Julie Franks, founder of Nurturing the Sisterhood. I’m a mental health therapist for moms and social work educator, I help moms online with education, resources, and courses. I am also a toddler mom who understands what it’s like to feel anxious, overwhelmed, stressed out, and burned out by the demands of motherhood. After the birth of my son, I was surprised by the level of anxiety and isolation I experienced because of the social and personal pressures of motherhood. When I started to use the tools I taught moms in my client sessions, things got better for me. Going through the process of coping with anxiety as a mom led me to realize how much support moms really need but aren’t getting. I knew I needed to empower moms beyond my small community and offer support on their journeys. That’s when Nurturing the Sisterhood was born!

Connect with Dr. Franks:

Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:01.2)

Hello, hello, I am so excited today. We have a guest that I’ve been so excited to interview. We have Dr. Julie Franks, and I will just have you jump in right now, Dr. Julie, and introduce yourself.

Julie Franks (00:16.367)

Hi, I’m Dr. Julie. I am a therapist for moms, and I also support moms in the online space with resources and tools to help with the overwhelming parts of mom life.

And really my goal is to help everyone feel supported in motherhood and feel like motherhood doesn’t have to be about burnout and being stressed out and being tapped out. That it can really be something enjoyable and fun. We just have to find out how to show up for ourselves and make that happen.

Brittni (00:47.736)

I love that and I love your message. And I also have to say that she is wearing her in my co-sleeping era shirt, which made me so happy. But I also wanna say, just kind of bring up shortly that we chatted before we started recording and just talking about how, I love how honest you are about how motherhood can be hard, but then you just followed that up right now by saying that it can be enjoyable. And I think that that’s such a beautiful thing to say that.

We can admit that it’s hard. We can admit that things aren’t working. And that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way, that we can make it enjoyable while still acknowledging that it’s really hard.

Julie Franks (01:26.286)

Yes, I mean, we don’t want to stay stuck in being hard. And I think the reason a lot of us are there is that admitting it feels so, so difficult, right? Like if to say this is really hard for me, it often feels like we’re saying I’m failing. But what we’re really saying is like, there’s something that needs to change. And there’s nothing that we’re doing wrong. It’s just that this world and this life isn’t made to make motherhood easy.

and that’s what we expect. And so when we can be really honest with ourselves about that, we have the chance to change things and that’s a huge strength and something that people don’t realize enough.

Brittni (02:07.74)

Totally. And I’m going to piggyback off of that because I’m sure we could all learn so much from you and ask you how you are currently finding rest in mother.

Julie Franks (02:20.426)

I know, right? Rest is just like that elusive word, you know? And I knew you were gonna ask me this, you’ve prepared me, so I have been thinking a lot about that. And I think for me, rest is about mental rest. I really need mental rest. You know what it’s like? I’m sure everyone listening knows too. Being a mom is just nurturing someone else all the time.

And that takes a lot out of our physical and our emotional energy and our mental energy. And then I’m also a therapist, so I’m nurturing other people as a part of my work. And I love doing that. And I don’t want to stop doing that. But what it means for me is that when I need rest, I need my brain to just be like silent. And to do that, I’m finding I have to get out of the house. Like I have to be somewhere where like nobody knows me. Nobody’s going to ask me anything.

And there’s nothing that I can do to like improve the cleanliness of the house or take care of one of our pets or something like that. So I’m getting out of the house every single day and just trying to go somewhere that nobody knows me.

Brittni (03:29.852)

I love it. Nobody knows you, nobody needs anything from you. And I cannot even imagine, I can a little bit because since I do work with families with baby sleep, I often joke that I feel a little bit like a therapist, right, as I’m working with these very tired, stressed out parents. But I cannot imagine taking on the mental load of caring for yourself, caring for your partner, caring for your child, and then…

taking on that huge mental load of caring for your clients, your therapy clients like that, I cannot imagine. So kudos to you. Hehehe.

Julie Franks (04:06.794)

Oh, thank you. I mean, you’re definitely in it too. And I think most, a lot of women are there, right? It’s, that’s, I think why we’re so tired, why we’re so burned out is that we are just, we’re just wired to nurture and it feels great to us, but it also wears us out. And, and that’s okay. That’s why we’re talking about being so honest, right?

Brittni (04:26.844)

Totally, totally. So I wanna jump in. When I found your Instagram page, one thing that really stood out to me was your, how candidly you talk about anxiety and motherhood because I am 100% an anxious mom. I would probably say I had a little bit of anxiety before motherhood, but then once motherhood came, it’s like a whole new level. And I will say four years into motherhood, I feel like I have a pretty good handle.

on it now. But so I just want to ask you what is mom anxiety?

Julie Franks (05:04.265)

So mom anxiety is really what you would think it would be, right? So it’s anxiety that moms are experiencing. And for some moms, that’s a little bit what you described. You’re an anxious person, you have these anxious tendencies, and it was okay, but then you became a mom and your anxiety skyrocketed. For some people, that’s really unbearable. And then for other people, it’s just a little bit worse.

But the key idea is that the anxiety doesn’t feel good. And it’s different for everyone. So it’s hard to say, here’s how I would define anxiety. For some of us, it’s gonna be all about our mind and our thoughts. And a lot of times we have a stereotype that those thoughts are about worry, like we’re worried about things. But, and it can be that, but it’s also

feeling like you have to be perfect. It’s feeling like you’re failing. It’s playing a tape in your mind of what you said to that person in the mom car line or how you interacted with the teacher at drop off. It’s all of those thoughts and a lot of times for moms it’s just all in their minds.

For other moms, it’s in their bodies. So they don’t have these worries. They don’t think about things they’ve said to other people, but their body is just tense. It’s stressed. They’re not sleeping. Their eating has changed. Their muscles hurt, digestive issues, all sorts of things that can be about mom anxiety. And we often see that both of those things get really worse, especially when you become a mom, because you’re not sleeping.

you’re 24-7 caring for someone else, your hormones are changing incredibly, your body is changing. And then on top of that, most moms are not getting the support they need in their like family life. Even with the best of intentions from our support networks, we just don’t have enough support. We often don’t have that village. And so because of that, our anxiety just skyrockets and it’s really, really hard.

Brittni (07:16.336)

Thank you for sharing all of that. And there were so many things that you said that I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s me. Like the tape recorder on repeat, I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s me. Like, and I think that we don’t even realize probably a lot of moms that it’s anxiety. We might just think like, oh, I’m stressed out, right? So I think just knowing that this is a real thing can help a lot of moms. And you kind of touched on it already, but.

Can a person or a mom who didn’t have anxiety before motherhood now have anxiety?

Julie Franks (07:51.35)

Yes, that I see that all the time in my practice. I’m not one of those moms. I’m like you. I’m worried I’m probably got worse anxiety than you. I always had really extreme anxiety, but high functioning to where I don’t think I even realized I had anxiety until I went to graduate school and learned more about it. And so my anxiety got worse. But there’s lots of moms who experience it for the first time and new motherhood and

Brittni (07:56.581)

Hehehehe

Yeah.

Julie Franks (08:19.374)

For a lot of moms, I think that’s the lack of sleep. It’s that all of a sudden, their body isn’t getting this rest and this restoration. And so because of that, these tendencies come out that never happened before. The other reason I see new moms developing anxiety is that pregnancy and birth was not what they anticipated or expected. It went differently. The plan didn’t work out.

They went through some type of trauma that sunk in and is coming out of their body as anxiety. Their body is just trying to deal with it and not knowing how.

Brittni (08:59.552)

Thank you. And what would you say, I mean, this is the million dollar question, but what are some real life tips, and I know you can’t go super in depth, but some real life tips for dealing with anxiety and motherhood.

Julie Franks (09:14.562)

So my overarching tip for every single person, because I know that anxiety is different for every mom, is to find a support network. And a lot of times we talk about that as finding your village. And I like that phrase because it’s popular, it feels good, but I don’t know how representative it is all the time. So if we were gonna talk about it as far as a village.

I think we want to talk about it as people in our personal life and then getting some support that isn’t necessarily a doctor or a therapist, but is some kind of support where somebody’s been through it before. So I think it really helps for everyone to have someone that they can lean on that says, hey, I know what anxiety feels like too. I know what anxiety is and I can help you figure out what anxiety is for you and I can support you in having time to do that.

So I know for me in very early motherhood, I really needed space to just rest and feel like I could even figure out why I wasn’t feeling great. And in order to do that, I needed support because my husband had to go right back to work. He didn’t get a paternity leave. And so

it was kind of getting creative, like, where can I go? And I actually found that one of the places I could go was acupuncture and going to a chiropractor, which cared for my body and helped to release some tension because they allowed my child to go with me. Whereas, and so it was like finding ways, like how can I care for myself? I need this support network. And for me, it was during COVID, so people couldn’t come over and hold the baby, people couldn’t come over and help.

clean the house and give me some space. For me, it was really finding people outside of the home, professionals, that didn’t deal with anxiety at all. They dealt with bodies, but getting a support network from them. So I always say, let’s start with building a support network because that gives you time to have space to figure out what you’re even feeling, what your body is feeling like, what your mind is feeling like, and to look at your thoughts.

Julie Franks (11:32.03)

in a way that you can sort them out so that you know where to go next.

Brittni (11:37.264)

That’s so insightful and I gave a big smile when you said that about acupuncture and chiropractor because those are my two biggest tools for regulating my own nervous system. And the only reason I actually started those was because my therapist brought them up. Well, why don’t you try like doing something for yourself? Go to the chiropractor, go get acupuncture. And I will tell you ever since starting them, it didn’t like.

I don’t think you can ever cure anxiety, right? But it didn’t make my anxiety go away, but what it did do was it gave me a baseline of like, oh, like this is what I can feel like. So now when the anxiety comes, I can actually recognize, oh, I’m feeling anxious. Whereas before I was just so anxious about everything, it felt like that was my new normal. So it really helped me get to a baseline. But I like that thought of like,

finding your support system because I think it makes you focus on yourself, which we forget to do as moms. And then, then it also like for those two examples, they really actually do help with the nervous system. So that can help with anxiety, but that is so insightful. I love that.

Julie Franks (12:50.678)

Yeah, I love to start there. So I always say, let’s start with a support network. Give yourself some space. Figure out what is even happening for you because it feels so jumbled when you have anxiety. It’s like everything is so jumbled up inside and your body gets tight. Your mind is so confused. So if you get a little space from that, then you can decide what to do next. And I think that moms don’t have enough time. They don’t have enough time for themselves.

So we can’t make an elaborate plan and we need something that’s doable. We need something that usually that kids are allowed to be involved in, right? And we need something that also nurtures ourselves. I think that’s a really good place to start too is with nurturing ourselves because it won’t solve the anxiety, but we can’t, there’s no way that our anxiety can go away if we aren’t caring for ourselves at least a little bit.

Brittni (13:45.916)

Totally. So here’s a question for you. I was, I probably didn’t start caring for myself until my daughter was around 18 months. So if you had a mom in front of you who is like right in the thick of it, like in the first, we’ll say in the first year, but I think even more specifically, like those first six months where your life has totally been flipped upside down and you wanna be a good mom, but you also are.

drowning either in anxiety or just fear. I guess that would still be anxiety, but fear of screwing up. You wanna be the best mom you can. What would you say to that mom in terms of how can she make small steps to take care of herself that don’t feel overwhelming? Because I think even sometimes when you have anxiety, doing something different like going to the chiropractor or going to get acupuncture can even.

trigger your anxiety more because you’re afraid to leave the house, you’re afraid to do something new. So that was a long-winded question, but what would you tell that mama?

Julie Franks (14:51.762)

I’m all about these, like, I call them, like, micro doses of self-care. So I’m all about these finding these 30 second moments. And that’s what really has worked for me as a mom. And I will say that as a therapist who primarily worked with moms before I had my own child, I did not recommend this. I was like, take a half an hour for yourself. Take an hour.

Brittni (14:55.776)

I love it.

Julie Franks (15:15.254)

Find someone to watch your kid, right? All these unhelpful things that don’t really happen. And since becoming a mom, what I found worked for me and has really been working for moms I work with in my practice is finding these 30 second time increments and committing to trying one new thing just for the day. So for example, something really easy that all moms can do is find a mantra that represents something they really want to embody.

So for me, sometimes it’s just, I’m a really, really good mom. Or sometimes it’s, you deserve a break. And when I notice throughout the day that things are getting tough, I will just say, you know what? Nothing bad can happen in 30 seconds, whether my son’s napping in my arms, or he’s playing, or whatever. I just say, take a deep breath, and I repeat it to myself for 30 seconds.

And then I’m like, okay, I’m gonna go back to my day now. And so I just take these 30 second breaks. I use mantras a lot because everybody can use one. Sometimes a mantra can feel like too much. So it can help to just use a word. Some days my word is like patience, I need patience. So that’s my thing is let’s find 30 seconds and let’s use a skill. Sometimes it’s a breathing exercise.

Sometimes it’s a mantra, it’s trying to be kind to ourselves in those 30 seconds. Sometimes I’ll take those 30 seconds and just go outside and stand on my porch for 30 seconds and just breathe and listen to what’s going on and come back inside. But the 30 seconds work. It doesn’t seem like that much time.

But if you think about it a little differently, instead of 30 seconds of self-care, if you think about like 30 seconds of your child having a tantrum or your baby crying, it can feel like an eternity. And so if we can…

Brittni (17:12.868)

Hey.

Brittni (17:16.088)

or at bedtime when they’re taking three hours, it feels like, to fall asleep and it’s really 10 minutes, right?

Julie Franks (17:21.766)

Yes. Yeah. So it’s like, there’s times where motherhood kind of sucks and the 30 seconds feels like forever. And so if we flip that script, and we say we can use this forever 30 seconds as a way to care for ourselves, do that three or four times in a day, notice when you’re starting to get worked up and just be like, Okay, here’s my 30 seconds. If you have a Siri or an Alexa, tell them to set a timer. And

Just focus on yourself for those 30 seconds. And then go give yourself permission to go back for the day and notice how you feel. That’s all it takes is these 30 seconds. You don’t need a half an hour. You don’t need the ability to run, go run a mile. You don’t need the ability to even have time to walk around the block. You just need 30 seconds. And that is enough time to reset. And that is what I use every day. That’s what I teach moms to use. And it really, really works.

Brittni (18:19.632)

That’s so powerful because I do think even moms who are moms and they’re giving this advice, like take some time for yourself. And I would say maybe I’m even a little bit guilty of that too, but the 30 seconds is so powerful because we can all find 30 seconds in the day. And I’m a big mantra, my current mantra right now with a toddler who likes to scream and whine and do all the toddler things.

is her emergency isn’t my emergency. Meaning I don’t have to let my nervous system go way up the charts just because hers is. I can stay calm, I’m safe, she’s safe. So, and I do say, I will say mantras are a huge help. So, and like you said, it doesn’t have to be the mantra, but I love that 30 seconds. One specific question that we have to talk about because I obviously work with baby sleep is sleep anxiety. And

I see it so much with the families that I work with. And I will say, my thought around why sleep anxiety happens is a little bit twofold. First, because we’re given these unrealistic expectations about what baby sleep should look like. So then we’re constantly trying to compare our baby to the internet or the other babies in the Facebook moms group, whatever the case may be. But also,

we lose a lot of control over our lives when we become moms. And for some reason, I think that we have this thought that sleep is something we can control, which we know that we can’t control it, but I think that sleep becomes this thing that we can track, right? Like we start feeling like we can control it, but then we actually spiral further into sleep anxiety. So…

if you would just dive a little bit deeper there and talk maybe about like why it happens or what we can do to kind of work through it.

Julie Franks (20:19.458)

So I first wanna say that I definitely fell into sleep anxiety myself as a new mom. I had lots of plans for what sleep was gonna look like. I had no plans to bed share. I had no plans to be nursing to sleep. I had lots of plans. And most women do because the whole time you’re pregnant, people start talking to you about sleep. It’s like people just love this topic. And

you know, there’s this narrative that as soon as your baby hits four months, they just start sleeping through the night. You can, you can teach them to do that. I do know people who have been able to do that, but I was not one of them. And I really fell into that trap myself. So I want to say that first, that I’m approaching this from the perspective of I know how that feels. I also just want to share that we often think of sleeping the

Julie Franks (21:17.982)

newborn mom issue or under 12 month mom issue. But in my practice I work with moms who have eight-year-olds and nine-year-olds who are also stressed about sleep. Sleep is really hard for grown-ups right? Like if you think about yourself, how well do you sleep? And as a new mom or toddler mom you probably aren’t getting as restful sleep as you want.

Brittni (21:39.248)

Hehehe

Julie Franks (21:41.782)

But even before you came a mom, was your sleep really all that good? Was your sleep really that healthy? Were you really doing the things you needed to do? And we have the ability to reason and logic. Our kids don’t. And so sleep is really hard for them, just like it’s hard for us. But we don’t expect that. And I think that we put so much pressure on ourselves that when we already tend to be anxious, that pressure feels unbearable.

because anxious moms tend to want to do things really, really well. The anxiety comes from a good place. It’s not always harmful. Not everything about anxiety is bad. We are worried about our baby’s sleep. We are stressed about it. We’re obsessing about it because we want them to sleep well. We wanna get rest. We want them to get rest. We want people to get off our back. And we wanna play into this narrative of what we expected.

So I think that when you’re already somebody that worries about what you’ve said to somebody that worries about what somebody thinks that tries to do everything right so that you don’t have to worry about doing something wrong, that when your baby’s then not cooperating with this plan that they don’t know anything about, it feels terrible. And then on top of that, you are not getting good sleep when your baby’s not getting good sleep, right? Or your baby’s not.

sleeping through the night, you’re not sleeping through the night. And that tends to fall on the moms. And when our threshold for rest is low, anxiety skyrockets. We see mental health emergencies in moms because they’re not getting enough sleep. And I think that can be really scary to hear as a mom. But it’s so hard to be gentle with yourself when you haven’t had any rest.

And that just perpetuates a cycle. So you’re in the cycle of being worried about sleep, feeling like you’re failing. And for whatever reason, I think the biggest thing for moms is that we feel like it’s our fault. We internalize that. I’ve never had a dad come to me and say that they feel like they’re failing as a dad because their child isn’t sleeping. But I hear that from moms every single week. And I felt that way myself. So I think that is the biggest part of sleep anxiety.

Julie Franks (24:11.262)

is that we’re just so focused on it. And I don’t wanna say like we should be less focused because we should care about our child’s health. We should care about their sleep. We want to get rest. But the way we’re focusing on it is not healthy, I think as a society. And I think you see that all the time, right? You work really hard to change that narrative and you are a part of changing that narrative for me. And changing the narrative is a way to get out of anxiety as well.

Brittni (24:43.192)

That’s so powerful and it’s so true, right? Because when we’re already tired and then we go onto Instagram and we see a post that’s like, oh, your six month old should be sleeping through the night or six hours stretches and you’re like, I was up every two hours last night nursing my baby, then the spiraling starts. What am I doing wrong? Or a mom who wants to sleep with her baby in her bed because she physically cannot transfer them into the crib.

And then she goes onto Instagram and sees a post that is pretty strong. Like if you co-sleep, your baby will die, right? Like those things are out there and then those kind of spiral that anxiety too. So to kind of piggyback off of what you said, some of that we can’t control, right? Like we know that we’re not, like we’re going to get disrupted sleep probably, at least in the first one to two years of life.

So that piece, I mean, there are parts of it that we can control, right? Like that I work with families to help them get to a place where sleep feels sustainable, but kind of muting the voices that are triggering that anxiety. So like if you have to go unfollow every sleep training page that you’re currently following, that’s telling you need to have your baby on a strict schedule or that they need to be napping at least one hour for every nap.

Go and follow those accounts, go mute them and kind of curate if you’re going to be on social media, curate it to content that kind of brings you peace instead of ams up that anxiety. Or maybe it means you get out of the Facebook moms group that talks of like, I don’t know your thoughts on Facebook moms groups, but I think that they can be a little bit toxic. I think that they can create a lot of stress.

Julie Franks (26:31.122)

I think that too, and I like this idea of curating on social media. And I, that’s something I did myself. The other thing I did and that I encourage all moms to do is to curate your support network in real life. Right? Like we are talking about support network as the place to start with anxiety. And for me, my son changed pediatricians. The pediatrician we were working with, she’s a wonderful doctor. She.

was not supportive of the way we were sleeping. And I feel that we had really good reasons. My son was very sick as a young newborn. He has food allergies, but we didn’t know that at the time. And the only way he could sleep was on me. He would just otherwise cry. And she was very, she had a very different take on what his sleep should look like. And it was really stressful to me to the point that

I did not want to go to his well child pickups, checkups. The well child checkups felt to me like somebody telling me that I was doing it wrong. And I think that is actually what was happening. But I didn’t have, I was so tired. I did not have the ability to deal with that. It just skyrocketed my anxiety. And I was really lucky that a family friend who I

doesn’t even agree with how we’re doing our baby sleep. She said, you’ve got to change pediatricians. And I thought, can you even do that? Right? And then I’m anxious about that. What are they gonna think of me? I live in a small community. I’m gonna be, you know, I’m gonna have to break up with my pediatrician. But once I did that and I tried a new pediatrician and I was honest with her about what we were doing and she said, I totally get it. I did the same thing.

Brittni (28:05.38)

Hehehe

Julie Franks (28:24.618)

And it was like, I found a new support in my network. I found somebody that could say, you know, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m not going to try to criticize you. I’m not gonna try to change you. I’m gonna support you. And so I think about curating the professionals that we’re interacting with, not just for ourselves, but for our kids and finding childcare. If you need childcare, finding childcare that works.

That’s the other thing I did. I changed up our childcare. We had a spot in daycare and it wasn’t going to work because of the sleep. They weren’t going to be able to accommodate the way sleep went for us. And I, it was really hard and very expensive for our family to make this change, but we made a change and we created a new support network. And I think that’s hard to do because when you’re pregnant.

Brittni (29:09.232)

No.

Julie Franks (29:20.03)

And before you meet your child who has their own unique needs that interact with your changing needs, you have no idea what you need. I had no idea that I was going to need a pediatrician that felt this way. I had no idea that my child care provider was going to need to be okay with baby wearing naps. And I just had no idea. And most moms don’t. And so you can’t prepare for everything, which makes sleep anxiety worse, right? We can’t really prepare. We don’t know how our kid is going to respond.

Brittni (29:37.264)

Hehehe

Julie Franks (29:50.114)

And we can’t prepare ourselves very well because we don’t even know what we’re getting into. And so I think that once we figure it out, then we make these intentional choices of curating in real life and social media. And when we do that, our world changes. Our world becomes a place where we fit in and that lowers the anxiety.

Brittni (30:13.66)

Totally. Well, and it goes back to what you said at the beginning, which is you create your, what did you call it? Your support system or your support network and instead of a village or a village, but that is so powerful. And I work with so many clients who same thing. They’re like, the pediatrician says, we have to sleep train the pediatrician and I’ll remind them the pediatrician works for you.

Julie Franks (30:38.479)

Okay. Thank you.

Brittni (30:39.92)

just like you could fire somebody else that worked for you that maybe just didn’t align with you, you can. You can fire a pediatrician. You don’t have to make it a big deal, you just switch. And I think that’s so important because if going to the doctor’s appointment is going to give you anxiety every time because you know sleep is going to be brought up, why not make it an experience that you just get to go check on your child’s health, you don’t feel like you’re being interrogated or shamed for what you’re doing?

And I also love that about the childcare piece too, because I think so many families feel stuck with, oh my gosh, they won’t do this. And I do want to acknowledge that some people, whether it be for financial reasons, or like I know I’ve had a lot of clients in Canada where it’s like cut throat to like get into some daycares and like the risk of not getting childcare can be hard. So I want to acknowledge that piece, but if you can.

I think that that’s so important. And also, I just have to say, I think that we could make that like a slogan line for motherhood. I didn’t know, right? Or what did you say? I didn’t know this before, right? Like, we don’t. And then it comes and then we grow, just like our children are growing.

Julie Franks (32:02.294)

Sorry, I missed the last thing you said. I heard the slogan and then it cut out.

Brittni (32:07.2)

Okay, I’m this part won’t be in the podcast. I don’t know what’s going on Julie. It keeps cutting out But I can hear like it’ll cut out and then I’ll hear you but if I cut out and you need me to repeat myself Just let me know So what I said was oh my gosh now, I this is mom brain. I can’t even remember what I said

Julie Franks (32:20.206)

Okay. Well, you were saying like we should make that a slogan to curate a what I didn’t know.

Brittni (32:28.82)

Oh yeah. Oh, the slogan. You said something like, um, I didn’t know before, or I didn’t know this before. And I was just saying that our children are this, we’re just like our children were growing right along our children and we’re learning new things every single day and then we can grow from what we’re learning.

Julie Franks (32:51.25)

Yes, and the other thing I want to say about the curating is don’t try to curate everything by yourself. Like give yourself some empathy for the fact that having anxiety makes life really, really hard. And it also means that life has to get creative, right? So like if you all of a sudden developed a new physical health problem, like you started getting really bad headaches all the time.

you might have to make some changes to your life. Like maybe you’re gonna have to wear sunglasses every time you drive in the car because the light makes it worse. Or maybe you’re gonna need to change your diet. You’re gonna make changes in your life and you’re gonna work around the headaches. You deserve to do that for anxiety too. And so that process of figuring out how your life needs to change because now you’re a mom that has anxiety, that can feel defeating and hard.

And when you’re in the throes of the anxiety, it can also feel like you have no idea what to do. And so if you can be honest with somebody, like you don’t have to say, I have anxiety, sometimes that doesn’t feel good, but you can say something like, I feel really stressed. I need to figure out something to do. People love to give advice and their advice might not be very good, but you’ll get to decide that. And people will have ideas, right? Like the idea to go to the chiropractor was not my idea.

Brittni (34:08.539)

Hehehe

Julie Franks (34:15.306)

It wasn’t your idea for you to go either. Somebody else gave you that idea. And so I think that if we can be open to re-imagining what our life is gonna look like, that we now have a different sleep situation than we imagined, we now have a different way of feeling in this world, these different emotions than we imagined, and we can be compassionate to ourselves for that, and we can recreate the way our life is structured and structured around that like we would, I think.

Brittni (34:17.435)

Totally.

Julie Franks (34:43.246)

for any kind of physical health problem, then I think we can be successful. And life gets easier when you feel like you fit into your life instead of you’re trying to force yourself to be someone different to make life work. Really, I think that’s really, really important.

Brittni (34:57.11)

Yeah.

Brittni (35:00.304)

That’s, I love that. And I, one last thing I wanna talk about in terms of the curating is one thing I find helpful too can be like curating your conversations, right? Like if you have a family member who is avidly against bed sharing or is going to judge you for breastfeeding past 12 months, that’s just an example.

Maybe you curate your conversations with them, meaning like if sleep gets brought up, you keep it short and simple and you say something like, yeah, sleep is going great, or yeah, there’s not really much to talk about there and kind of curating what you’re willing to open up about to people that you know could bring more stress to you.

Julie Franks (35:41.698)

Yes, that is a really good way of setting limits because you often don’t want to be confrontational because it just makes things worse. But at the same time, you’ve got to shift the conversation.

And I would also invite you to have anyone that is in your support network, bring them in on this idea like, hey, every time Aunt Suzy comes over, she is so focused on breastfeeding. She makes me feel bad. If I need a breastfeed, I’m going to go to another room. I need you to shut down conversations that happen when I’m not in the room. If you hear her bring it up, like, can you just…

ask her about something going on in her personal life to change the conversation. So I think it can help if you’re gonna be in group settings to get your support network in on it, so that they are also trying to be a buffer for you and you’re not feeling like you have to do everything yourself because you’re already doing so much.

Brittni (36:41.244)

So true. And that’s, I was just, I kind of got goosebumps thinking about it because I’m like, there’s so much to learn from what we just talked about. But the biggest like thing that I’m hearing and is kind of an underlying tone is like that support network is so important that like we don’t need to do it alone. And I think that we get this in our minds as moms that we have to do it alone and we need to remember.

We were not meant to do it alone. We physically can’t do it all alone. So finding that support network is, I think, a very big gold nugget from this conversation today.

Julie Franks (37:21.802)

Yeah, I think it’s the most essential thing we can do as a mom with anxiety.

Because when you have anxiety, you already feel alone. It already feels like you’re the only person struggling. And it looks like other people are doing a better job than you are, and they’re not. But they have different, maybe they have different struggles. We don’t know. We, you know, people have a private life that they don’t show, and people have a public life. And publicly, things often look a lot better than they are. And for anxious moms, things often look really good on the outside.

Brittni (37:39.932)

Totally.

Julie Franks (37:56.734)

And so it feels really lonely on the inside. And if you can get that network that knows what it’s really like for you, you have the chance to start getting better. And will your anxiety go away forever? I can’t promise that. But your anxiety doesn’t have to feel so bad. It doesn’t have to feel like it’s running your life.

Brittni (37:56.924)

Totally.

Brittni (38:17.776)

Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure chatting with you. You’re so knowledgeable. You’re such an amazing resource. I’m so thankful that you came on today. Do you have any last, you already gave some beautiful last minute parting words, so if you don’t, I totally get it. But do you have any last minute parting words or wisdom that you would like to impart on us? And then also, can you share with us where we can find you, how we can work with you or learn from you?

Julie Franks (38:47.758)

One thing I want to share is that if it’s feeling like it’s too much to create your support network right now, that there is a support network with Nurturing the Sisterhood. My goal really in creating this community of moms online is that it is a community of moms who get it and who you can be a part of.

it’s 24 seven, right? It’s on Instagram. So it’s 24 seven. And when you’re awake in the middle of the night, and you’re feeling lonely, you can go on there. Same with your page, it really, to me, has always felt like a community of people who really get it. And so as much as we’re saying, curate your social media, there are places on social media that you can go where you get that sense of belonging. And belonging is different than fitting in, we don’t have to be the same.

Brittni (39:23.678)

Oh, thank you.

Julie Franks (39:37.75)

but we belong in this community where we support each other. So I think those would be my parting words. Belonging is important. And then what was the other thing you wanted me to talk about?

Brittni (39:48.101)

Thank you.

Brittni (39:52.224)

how we can learn more from you, where we can find you, how we can work with you, learn from you.

Julie Franks (39:59.322)

Oh, that’s a great question. OK, so my, let’s see, what should I really say about that?

Brittni (40:07.088)

Hehehe

Julie Franks (40:08.302)

It’s like very complicated, right? So I guess what I can say about that is that there’s two different ways that you can work with me. One is in my therapy practice, I support moms in Washington as a therapist. I specialize in anxiety for moms, but I support moms who are going through transitions and different parts of life to try to make life less overwhelming.

And that is what I do in my therapy practice. But then in my online community at Nurturing the Sisterhood, there are self-paced resources that you can walk through yourself. Some of those resources are about really learning what anxiety is for you. And then some of those resources are about how to do these micro doses of care for yourself throughout the day. So me walking you through that. And then the other thing I do there is one-on-one consult.

that I can help you with a specific issue you’re facing around mom anxiety or the transition to becoming a mom. So there’s different options, hopefully for everybody, but without having to purchase or be a part of anything, I would love for all moms to just come and join the community and help create that support network for other moms that I think is so essential and that I think moms will benefit from so much.

Brittni (41:29.212)

Perfect. So yes, nurturing the sisterhood. And I think you just released like a 21 day, what is it, anxiety. I’ll let you say the name so I don’t butcher it.

Julie Franks (41:41.726)

It’s the 21 day anxiety reset and the inaugural cohort is launching on December 2nd. So, and then it will run every so often. So we’ll be doing it all together. I’ll be with you every step of the way for 21 days, but every single day in the morning in your inbox, you’ll get a coping habit of the day sent to you. And it will be something that you can use in that 30 second increment to just

shift your perspective, shift the anxiety, and start feeling more like yourself. So I’ll teach you a skill and then I’ll give you instructions on here’s how you can fit it into your day without any extra work. And the goal is that after 21 days, you leave with a toolbox of 21 different things that you can do in those 30 second increments to really lower the temperature of your stress.

Brittni (42:35.904)

I love that. Such a valuable resource. Thank you again, Dr. Julie, for being here, for spending your time with us, and just giving us so much wisdom and support.

Julie Franks (42:48.394)

Of course, I had a great time. Thank you for having me.

Brittni (42:50.596)

Thank you

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