Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind, and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month, we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work-life, wellness rituals, and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
In honor of Women’s Health Month this May, on the Vibrant Health blog, we got to chat with OBGYN-DNP Dr. Serena Rosa. As the woman behind “The Postpartum Doctor,” Serena is passionate about helping women navigate the postpartum period with ease — combining medical science with spirituality and mindfulness practices.
In this insightful interview, we got to chat with Serena about tapping into your feminine energy, her mission to redefine what self-care looks like for women, and her love for peanut butter & banana toast. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
I am evolving.
What does a typical day in life as “the Postpartum Doctor” look like for you?
My son wakes up around 7 am, and my husband and I take turns on who wakes up with the baby. If it’s my turn to wake up with him, we cuddle on the sofa while he drinks milk (and I wake up). I start making breakfast for him and get his clothes ready for the day, etc. I drop him off at daycare looking like a mess, usually still in my pajamas, because I can’t seem to figure out quite yet how to get him and I both ready. I drop him off at 8 am. We are extremely lucky that his daycare is a 30-second walk from our house!
I work in private practice three days a week, so if I am going into the clinic, I leave around 8:15 am. (Yes, that means I get myself dressed and ready in 15 minutes.) This takes some preparation from the night before. I see about 20 patients a day and finish around 5:30 pm. I also always take at least a 30-minute lunch break and go on a walk. I am home by 6 pm, and we eat dinner as a family around 6:45 pm. My husband and I also alternate between who does the bath and who cleans the kitchen. Usually, on days that I am in the clinic, I will do a bath to spend more time with the baby. Every night I rock with my son while we sing, meditate, and pray. It’s a very relaxing moment in my day, and I find that I need that “wind-down” as much as my son does. He’s asleep by 8 pm.
8 pm-10 pm is what I call my “sacred hours.” I spend this time listening to a podcast that I love or mentorship (that I am a student in) calls. I find that this relaxes me more than watching T.V., And while I am listening, I am preparing for the next day (light cleaning, lunches, clothes, laundry, etc.). I disconnect from everything around 10 pm. My husband and I take time at the end of our day to talk to each other about what we’re dreaming of, our goals, and what we’re thankful for. He is also an entrepreneur, and we really feed off of each other’s energy.
The days I don’t work in a clinic, I dedicate them to my rest. I cannot serve my clients if I am in depletion. It just cannot work. So, on Tuesdays and Fridays, I do yoga, I walk, I journal, I read, etc. I am extremely selective about what I say yes to these days. On Fridays, I hold space for The Postpartum of Ease Mentorship soul sessions which is probably my favorite hour of the week.
The weekends are family-oriented. My husband and I may still take turns throughout the weekend with the baby. For example, he will take the baby on a walk in the morning while I relax, and I take him to the park in the afternoon while he relaxes, etc. We find that this really works for our family also because it gives our son the opportunity to have quality time with each parent.
May is Women’s Health Month, encouraging women to make their health a priority. What’s something you want to shine a light on when it comes to women prioritizing their health and wellness?
I am on a personal and passionate mission to redefine the notion of “self-care.” When we think of self-care, people often think somehow it’s selfish; it’s a luxury or a reward we get only after we accomplish something.
It’s important for women to understand that the love they can give to their children and partners is simply an extension of the love they have within themselves. It’s like if you were to ask me for a piece of chocolate, and I had a chocolate bar in my hand, I could give you some! But, if I didn’t have any chocolate and you were to ask me for a piece of chocolate, I wouldn’t be able to give you any. The same goes for energy.
As an OB/GYN and Lactation Counselor, are there any common misconceptions you see when it comes to women’s health and/or the postpartum period that you’d like to debunk?
I can’t tell you how many of my patients and clients have told me that they were absolutely unprepared for the postpartum period. That they had no idea how “hard” it would be. I have come to understand that most women, being that they are high achievers and hard workers, go into postpartum with a masculine hard-working mindset. It has worked for every area in their life in the past. The notion of, “If I just work hard enough, I will achieve success.” And so, they focus on the products they need, the “stuff,” setting up the nursery, etc. The issue then becomes present when in postpartum, none of the masculine, hard-working energy really matters.
Postpartum is truly a time of feminine energy — of rest, relaxation, healing, returning to nature, etc. So many people have a hard time doing this because they are wired with cortisol (especially if you spend your pregnancy planning and hustling). In the ayurvedic school of medicine, it’s suggested that for the first 40 days postpartum, women should do nothing other than rest…completely rest. So, if you’re pregnant, rather than thinking about the “stuff” you may need, I would invite you to think about how you can create a sanctuary of rest.
What’s something you wish more women knew as they step into their new role as a mother when it comes to self-care?
It’s possible for them to have a life that is centered around self-care. That self-care does not take any more time than self-neglect does. That self-care essentially is listening to the language of your body. What is a yes and what is a no for you.
Mindfulness is such an important part of the work you do. What are your favorite ways to infuse mindfulness into your day? Any tips for our readers?
Gratitude. Gratitude is the immediate antidote for stress or overwhelm.
My tip: get curious about your emotions. It is so important not to sabotage yourself with negative self-talk. I cannot stress this enough. Your body will believe your thoughts, and your reality will show you evidence of your thoughts. So, if you are creating a narrative of “not-enoughness,” your subconscious mind will show you evidence of that everywhere you look. Rather than being hard on yourself, or believing your thoughts, get curious about them. Think, “Hmmm, why am I feeling this? Is this true?”
Another tip: NSDR (non-sleep deep rest) or yoga Nidra are great practices for deep and restorative rest when you only have a few minutes of downtime. Here is a good one on YouTube I like.
What’s one of your favorite healthy lunches or snacks to fuel your workday?
I like to toast Ezekiel bread on high (almost to the point that it’s burnt) with peanut butter and banana. I find it delicious and also very filling.
What does “wellness” look like for you?
Wellness is living in alignment. I believe that everyone has a gift. When you can create a life in which you are tuned into your gift and you are putting love into the world, there you will find your alignment.
One of the first things I do with my clients when they enroll in The Postpartum of Ease Mentorship is an alignment call. We get very clear on what alignment looks like for them and strategic ways in which they can call that into their lives.