Postpartum Planning

In December we had the honor of attending an event at Roots Birth Center where we got to listen to Heng Ou talk about her new book, The First Forty Days- The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. We went into the night with the hopes of learning and understanding more about healing in the postpartum time. Not only did we leave with a better understanding of the practice of lying in, we also left with full hearts ready to bring these practices to the families we serve.

In her book, Heng talks about The Five Insights to Reclaiming Wisdom.

  1. Retreat
  2. Warmth
  3. Support
  4. Rest
  5. Ritual

Over the next five weeks we will dig in deeper into each of these insights. How they can greatly impact your Postpartum time, or the “4th trimester”, as well as recipes, handouts and practical guides on how to achieve these.

In western culture we have this idea that after we have a baby we should jump back to being Superwoman. We should be back to work in no time. Running errands, getting to the gym, “getting your body back” (what does that even mean? It never went anywhere.) And managing to sleep, feed yourself, a newborn, possibly an older child, nurture your relationship with your partner, all while trying to stay sane. While I do believe Beyonce is right when she’s talking about how strong women are when saying “Strong enough to bear children…then get back to business.” I think one key part is left out of that, the 4th trimester, the time where we allow others around us to nurture us, a time to just bond with our baby… to just be.

After the birth of my first, I tried to embody this “modern superwoman”, I thought it was what we were supposed to do. After leaving the hospital we stopped at Target, and within a week we were on family vacations. We were back to “normal life” right away, or so I thought. After not healing properly, and feeling achy for long after the magical 6 week marker it finally occurred to me that maybe my body was telling me something. And that if I quieted my body and mind, it might be able to tell me what I needed.

Fast forward to our second pregnancy when our midwife brought up Postpartum Planning. We talked about our postpartum time the first time around, and what we wanted to change. She told us about the “one week in your bed, one week around your bed” rule, to which I thought there was no possible way we could do. I had a 1.5 year old running around! She explained how as a society we plan so much for our upcoming birth by taking Childbirth Education Classes, talking about labor and reading books. But then hardly any time or emphasis is put on that 4th trimester. So, with the birth of our 2nd we practiced the “art of lying in” as Heng Ou calls it. And let me tell you, what a difference that made! We felt much more attended to as a family, I felt more confident as a parent, breastfeeding was much easier, and the healing time was 3 times faster. And because of the planning we had done (thank you to our supportive families for that!) our daughter was still attended to, and it turned out to be a beautiful bonding experience for us as a new family of 4.

Now, as a birth professional I take the “one week in your bed, one week around your bed” theme pretty seriously. We have seen and experienced first hand the beauty of resting and nurturing your body in that time and the lasting benefits for families. We are excited to share the ways we have adapted these insights, and can’t wait to hear how the art of lying in has influenced your 4th trimester!

Mental Health Support now at Birth & Soul!

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

— Neil Gaiman

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After a year of thinking/hesitating/strategizing and doing other things, I’m happy to announce the beginning of my counseling, support and education practice for parents.  I couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Ellee Owen & Jolynda Anderson at Birth & Soul. Starting in April I will be offering individual & relational counseling as well as monthly support groups! I am so fortunate to be working with those who share my passion for childbirth & parent education, coffee, and out-of-the-box thinking. 

My earliest thoughts of starting this began at Familywise while finishing my undergraduate at the University of Minnesota in 2011.  I worked with parents, infants and children on optimal emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development.  I carried over this interest and experience into Marriage & Family Therapy program at the Adler Graduate School.  The Adlerian principles of individuality, social connectedness, and social equality only sharpened my focus and desire to help families.  In 2015, I started at the University of Minnesota Health’s Recovery Services and spent a year helping families & couples.  During that time, I provided education and counseling to families and couples on stress, anxiety, healthy relationships, and communication. 

Throughout all of this I became a father…twice.

Becoming a father at a young age is what made this work even more personal for me.  I have felt that same feeling of being overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated during this life transition.  As a father, I have felt my feelings and experiences were ignored.  I have dealt with the sometimes contradicting and confusing expectations from society and loved ones.  I have had to learn to better maintain my mental well-being and relationships with the daily and ever-changing demands of my kids.

However, while preparing for my second child, I was fortunate to not only be more experienced but more supported emotionally, physically, and socially.  We had consciously decided on a doula & midwife and actively engaged and were supported by them throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum.  We slowly began to unlearn the belief that asking for help shows “weakness” or “inadequate parenting,” and actively sought out our caring, reliable community of friends & family. These sort of experiences dramatically changed my outlook on becoming a father and mental heath professional.  This also pushed me to explore and understand other important topics that impact fatherhood including brain changes, social problems, mental health, relationship health, and paternity leave.   Eventually, I cumulatively wrote on these topics and more in my thesis on “The Impact of Paternal Perinatal Supportive Services: An Integrative Model Proposal.” Processed with VSCO with acg preset

While finishing graduate school in 2015, I had the opportunity to talk about my thesis and experience as a father at the Minnesota Fathers and Family Conference in St. Cloud.  I was able to share and discuss with other professionals my research on a biological basis for fatherhood and the need for a more integrative model of maternal care for families.

While this was just one discussion and presentation, the interest and excitement from both father and birth professionals in the room validated the need for this kind of support.  I am thrilled for this next phase of my journey in helping families and parents.  I look forward to giving the encouragement and support all parents and families deserve.

-Tim Neumann, M.A; of Minneapolis Postpartum Support & Fatherhood Science


Father Support Groups

1st Sunday of Every Month from 11am – 12 pm at Birth & Soul

17390-10200999247205056-726915161-n-1Tim Neumann M.A. of Minneapolis Postpartum Support & Fatherhood Science is hosting a donation based support group where fathers will have the opportunity to learn more about and discuss issues related to fatherhood including fears about their birth participation, couple conflict, stress management, child development, and their experiences
during the birth. The purpose of this group is two-fold – to receive support for yourself and support other fathers.

Male gender norms have held that if there is an issue for a man, they need to fix the problem, not deal with the emotional effect.  The accumulation of unexamined emotional disturbances begin to negatively impact their emotional well-being. In this support group, fathers can express these feeling and challenges of becoming a father in today’s world. This group is open to all fathers whether you’re expecting your first you’re already a father.


Birth Worker Support Group

1st Sunday of Every Month from 9:30 am- 11am at Birth & Soul

Birth professionals provide some of the most crucial support to expecting and new families. While it can be a miraculous and joyous experience, it can often be a very emotional and traumatic experience as well. This support group is a safe, non-judgmental space for birth professionals to both express and listen to others feelings and experiences.


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