Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Wood.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
From my current vantage point as a mother of two young girls and novice business owner, my life feels likes I’ve lived along a spectrum of dichotomies. Jumping from a highly technical professional to a stay at home mom, I have lived both sides of the spectrum and in between of:
- Striving for perfection versus connection.
- Defining success by external versus internal measures
- Valuing masculine traits versus feminine arts.
- Being driven by logic versus feelings.
- Drawing from a mantra of: “That which does not kill me makes me stronger” versus “Take care of my body as it’s the only place I have to live.”
Of course, there have been constants, such as curiosity, a thirst to share knowledge that may benefit others and living with full intensity. I’m an “all-in” or “all-out” kind of gal.
On rough days, I blame motherhood for these radical, challenging shifts. But most days, I actually thank motherhood for what I’ve found to be the catalyst for growth and reinvention, a sort of “mothermorphosis.”
I’ll spare you the details of my childhood and begin with my “college” experience. The doors to the United States Naval Academy opened mostly due to my swimming accomplishments. I poured my curiosity into a physics degree, finding solace amidst the grueling schedule and expectations that I’d be guaranteed a job after college as a naval officer. During my five years of service, I studied and worked as a nuclear surface warfare officer, including navigating an amphibious assault ship carrying 995 men and four other women officers and helping supervise a nuclear reactor on a pre-commissioned aircraft carrier. Masculine strengths and logic dominated these years and the ones that followed my exit from the navy into the civilian nuclear power world, an equally male-dominated environment of strict protocols demanding absolute perfection. Through it all, I was able to adapt to the expectations and create “success” in whatever way the situation demanded, moving on to becoming a management consultant in the still male-dominated world of energy production.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The birth of my daughter was certainly challenging, but I’d researched the heck out of birth and felt largely prepared for what came. What happened afterwards, my “matrescence,” or the process of mother-becoming, however, was an entirely different matter. I felt fully unprepared for this unmentioned, unforeseen, and unanticipated life shift. In these early days and weeks after the birth of my daughter, the truth about my own self-identity became unavoidable; my sense of self was utterly entangled in my career like a flower that had become swallowed within a thicket of brambles. With my decision to stay home after the birth of my daughter, the thicket was ripped away, and my inner flower struggled to remember how to survive without it.
I felt like I was living in “opposite world.” Externally, my environment shifted from primarily men to nearly all women, plus a little baby. Internally, my brain chemistry shifted (as it does with all new mothers) to diminish my logical thought-processes and heighten my emotional ones. “Disorientated” does not come close to describe how it felt. I felt like I sucked at being a mom; I had lost myself, and I didn’t know how to change it.
Years later, as the fog of new motherhood began to lift, my logical brain began to function and I began to notice a troubling pattern. Nearly every new mom joining our mother-baby workout class after their 6-week postpartum checkup looked just as overwhelmed, depleted and exhausted as I had. This pattern rubbed me raw, and I began to ask, “What does a better reception into motherhood look like?”
This was the conception moment of the company I co-founded, Matrescence: 4th Trimester Planning and Support and my massive life shift towards the feminine side the spectrum mentioned above.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
Most classes for pregnant women focus on birth and what the baby needs. We approach things differently by focusing on mom, because we believe when mom is well, the baby will be well.
Matrescence: 4th Trimester Planning and Support proactively eases expectant parents’ transition after the baby’s birth. We know that when a baby is born, so is a mother. Growing into this new version of herself can be more challenging than the birth itself! During our enlightening “Beyond the Birth” workshops (abridged or comprehensive options available), we guide pregnant moms through a robust 4th-trimester support planning process to ensure they are prepared physically, emotionally, and mentally for their matrescence (e.g. mother becoming).
My heart is filled by seeing how the knowledge gained in our workshop, massively improves these expectant families’ experiences. We are able to show moms how to harness the golden opportunities of motherhood so they may enhance their own wellness, deepen or heal relationships, and begin an essential postpartum care tradition for their future lineage.
We offer our comprehensive and abridged workshops across the valley in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe with plans to expand to areas we currently are not serving. Our workshops:
- Broaden and deepen the family’s support network.
- Teach mom how to fully heal from pregnancy and birth.
- Provide your family with a gentler transition after the baby’s birth.
- Connect you with helpful, local birth-healing resources –AND-
- Connect you with other moms-to-be.
Workshop attendees can expect to receive a hard copy and online documents, videos and more to help facilitate discussions and provide ideas for practical application.They will also receive:
- Access to our wide-ranging 4th-trimester support plan library,
- Nourishing food samples and the recipe booklet,
- A diverse directory of birth-healing practitioners, and
- Exclusive alumni discounts and much more!
What is your favorite childhood memory?
It feels like any time I’m asked to choose my “favorite” anything, I struggle to elevate only one answer above another… unless we’re talking food. That’s an easy one pizza… always pizza.
When I was a child, my mom made these magnificently decorated cakes. One of the most memorable ones was a swimming pool. It was iced with blue frosting. She used candy Smarties for lane lines, cookies constructed into little starting blocks, fruit roll-up lane line flags strung on a thin licorice string and she even made a diving board and lifeguard stands. It was a true, detailed creative work of art. It feels even more special as I remember this now; as a mother, I can’t imagine the amount of time and energy she spent gathering the supplies and creating the masterpiece.
- Our Comprehensive “Beyond the Birth” workshop meets for 4, 2-hour sessions and is most appropriate for women desiring to connect with other moms, first-time moms, or women who have experienced perinatal mental health challenges previously (e.g. depression, anxiety, OCD, etc.). Investment: $299*
- Our Abridged “Beyond the Birth” workshop meets for 1, 4-hour session and is most appropriate for experienced moms or women who have NOT experienced mental health challenges, such as perinatal depression and anxiety. However, we understand that life is busy and if this is all the time you can carve out; that works too! Investment: $150*
- *Creative funding options are available, upon request.
- Website: www.4thTrimesterPlan.com
- Phone: 623-271-2960
- Email: info@4thTrimesterPlan.com
- Instagram: #matrescence_4thTri
- Facebook: @matrescence