Motherhood is difficult, especially for women who are giving birth amid a global pandemic. Nobody is more aware of this than American entrepreneur and mental health advocate Lina Forrestal, who recently developed the popular “New Mamas” podcast as a safe space for first-time mothers to connect and have real, authentic conversations.
A survival guide for the fourth trimester
The fourth trimester starts immediately after a woman gives birth and ends at 12 weeks postpartum. Since many expectant mothers only research and prepare for the first three trimesters, they often don’t know what to expect during this vulnerable period when they’re left on their own for the first time with a newborn. Some American mothers may also have to return to work after six-week maternity leave.
Forrestal initially felt frustrated and overwhelmed after giving birth in the summer of 2020 due to the limited resources available for mothers in the fourth trimester. This inspired her to take action and start a podcast to help first-time mothers survive the newborn stage and beyond.
Making taboo topics the new normal
Previous generations painted an idyllic view of motherhood where certain “taboo” topics were not discussed freely in public. Miscarriages, infertility, anxiety, postpartum depression, and other serious health issues were either ignored or talked about in hushed voices within the privacy of the family’s home.
Forrestal seeks to reduce the stigma and normalize conversations about “taboo” topics on her podcast. She hopes other women will be able to recognize their own struggles in someone else’s story and realize they are not alone and don’t have to suffer in silence.
The birth of a mama empire
After months of preparation, Forrestal launched the “New Mamas” podcast in January of this year. Her weekly guests range from high-profile CEOs and other public figures to busy stay-at-home moms. Each episode shares insightful tips and discusses important topics like how first-time moms can successfully transition back into the workforce or manage SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) anxiety.
Forrestal, who developed a strong work ethic at a young age, quickly rose through the ranks in the technology industry while in her early 20s. She took a leap of faith and moved to Bangkok, Thailand with her husband in 2017 so that he could pursue a Ph.D. in Thai music. Forrestal started a food blog and YouTube channel to document her travels throughout Southeast Asia. Eventually, she decided to transition her creative talents into a videography and photography business called Forrestal Creative.
Once the husband and wife team realized their passion for sustainability, food, and animals they traded in their high-rise Bangkok apartment for a six-acre New Jersey farm in 2019. They welcomed a baby boy named Archer the following summer.
Now Forrestal’s food blog has evolved into the ultimate destination for new mothers and future homesteaders who want to learn more about sustainability. She believes her ability to embrace uncertainty and be comfortable with imperfection due to years of living abroad has greatly benefited her parenting and entrepreneurial journey.
The rise of authenticity in social media
New mothers yearning for a sense of community and parenting advice may initially gravitate towards “mommy influencers” on social media. However, their mental health may begin to suffer after they begin to compare themselves. The influencer’s facade of perfection can also make it difficult for mothers to form an authentic connection with other women online. This can be incredibly isolating for first-time mothers during the fourth trimester who are still trying to figure out how to juggle multiple responsibilities.
Forrestal is part of a growing movement of social media influencers who share unfiltered moments of their life instead of a highlight reel with only the best moments. Her social media feed is an eclectic mix of beautiful family portraits, motivational messages, and unique glimpses of her homestead adventures in New Jersey.
Why mothers need to have their own voice
Forrestal is passionate about giving mothers a voice because she recognizes how easy it is for them to sacrifice their innermost thoughts, feelings, and needs for the sake of the family. Although we live in the twenty-first century, there is still a societal expectation for women to work a full-time job, raise their children, do routine household chores, organize the family’s social calendar, dote on their husband, and perform other tasks. Regardless of whether a mother works or stays at home, Forrestal believes both roles can bring with them unique challenges. She’s hopeful that the “New Mamas” podcast will not only provide useful resources to first-time mothers but also offer a safe haven where every woman’s voice is heard and contributes to a larger narrative about what motherhood looks like in today’s society.