When a large cyst was found in my left ovary, a cyst that might be the first whisper of endometriosis, I felt shame: shame that I might not be able to conceive again, shame that this cyst had grown without my knowledge, shame that I must be broken.
Shame sauntered into that examination room, handed me a cold platter of pity, and said, “Infertility issues, huh? You should probably feel like less of a woman.”
And I did. As I walked out of the clinic I felt like a shaving of the whole woman who had walked in an hour prior. I eyed the other women in the waiting room, wondering what messages shame was feeding them.
After two hours crying in my car, and being the life of a raging pity party, I called bull.
You deserve to be nourished and honored as the radically capable and loving woman you are – and you’re just the person for the job.
But wait, is your inner “guilty mom monster” siphoning away all motivation for you to dip into the harmonizing waters of self-care instead sticking you in a perpetuating cycle of putting your own needs last?
Let’s be done with that – let’s move you up on your list of priorities.
Begin weaving the following practices into your daily way of being so you can blossom into the most vibrant version of you.
Separate Your Emotions from Your Child’s. Do you feel intrinsically linked with your child’s well-being? Do you hurt when they hurt? Do you fill with joy when they fill with joy? While these shared emotions can be a testament to the strength of the mother-child bond, they also prevent you from supporting your child without fracturing your equilibrium.
While the reproductive system has the capacity for so much magic, it also has the potential to cause debilitating physical pain and emotional suffering.
A common source of this pain and suffering is uterine fibroids. According to a study done by the Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Birmingham, 20-40 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids during their reproductive years.
Erin Robinson, entertainment host at Defy Media’s Clevver brand, became part of this statistic after unknowingly growing 13 uterine fibroids, some ranging in size from golf balls to softballs, over a period of five years. She finally discovered these tumors after being rushed to the emergency room with excruciating pain.
The journey that followed is portrayed in Clevver’s new docuseries, It Got Real.
I felt a heavy ball of mourning in the pit of my stomach the last time I breastfed my son; physically, it felt like there was a cheese grater scraping over my nipples (I knew it was time to stop), but emotionally, I felt like we could go on forever. My body had been weaning him for the previous six months, supplying less and less nectar, requiring heightened sucking and ample nip-soreness.
I began the cold turkey weaning with the white lie, “Not right now,” when he would ask to nurse. I was lying to us both, giving him the illusion that at a time that wasn’t “right now” I’d let him nurse, and I was giving my self the illusion that the most intense form of bonding either of us had ever known wasn’t really over.
After a week of “not right nows,” my son and my emotions caught on and we cried hard. Our relationship had forever shifted, and my relationship with my self was thrown into a blender.
Breastfeeding was like my parenting “fail safe”; what I could rely on to make myself feel like a decent parent even if I’d been distracted and totally un-fun that day. It was my mommy reset button.
I love being out in the world. I love connecting with people. I love getting out of my head and tuning into my heart: it lights up when I’m with people who make me smile.
But after awhile, I don’t love it, and I need to reset.
After I burst my introverted bubble and observe myself with others, questions begin to percolate into my awareness as I step out of the socializing: “Why did I say that to this person? Why do I feel nervous in those situations? I wonder what that person thought when I said this thing? Why am I such an awkward hugger?” Ugh.
My time in my nest, my time for resetting, isn’t really about answering those questions, but letting them flow through and out of me. Sure, I could sit for days analyzing every social situation I flubbed, but that much time in my head makes me nervous.
So, I let those questions do their thing, I avoid human interaction for a few hours (maybe days), and I reconnect to myself. For me, that reconnection looks like writing, meditating, staring at my Christmas tree lights (happy holidays y’all!), watching TV shows that do nothing for my intellect but are so yummy, napping, playing with my son (who could care less how smart or witty I am), and engaging in other fail-safe activities for my soul – and ego!
After a solid period of hibernation, I crave a flight out of my coop.
I used to resist this hibernation. I used to have difficulty enjoying my alone time. I used to think that avoiding humans made me a less functional member of society.
But, hibernation actually makes me better at being a human who interacts with other humans. My well runs dry when I try to push too much socializing out of myself.
I’m starting to find my balance, and it feels really nice: I’m working with who I am, instead of who I think I should be.
What about you? When does your “socializing well” run dry?
Maybe it happens after an hour of small, medium and big talk at a party. Maybe all your wells fill up when socializing and you could do it all day er’ day. Maybe you can only handle a few minutes at a time.
Let’s honor our individual limits and care for our authentic selves, instead of trying to fit into that one-size-fits-all “model self” society has fashioned for us.
P.S. Have a child? Begin noticing when their little well runs dry and let them cozy up in their nest to refuel: the tantrums (for all of us!) usually start to fade when we honor our boundaries.
Mamas who have survived the loss of a pregnancy and are newly pregnant with their rainbow baby (a child born after a stillbirth or miscarriage), have an obligation to themselves to honor their journey. These women have gone deep into the trenches of pain and had the strength to reopen their hearts to another child; they’re so deserving of worship and love, versus the guilt and regret that is often served on this path.
I’ve worked with many women who have emotionally kicked themselves when they became pregnant with their rainbow baby by thinking they didn’t deserve this new child, believing that the passing of their last child was somehow their fault, and that if they expressed even a breath of excitement for the new pregnancy, something would go wrong.
I want to wrap all these women in my heart and tell them it’s OK to be excited; it’s OK to celebrate; it’s OK to have hopes and dreams for this new life while simultaneously mourning the loss of your past child’s life.
It’s launching! Ya whoo! My newest course on Daily OM “How to Handle Life Like a Badass” launched today and it’s currently mega-super-duper affordable. Youll find its spiel below. Let me know if you have any questions.
Sending you love!
Do you dwell in the darkness, even when your life is full of light? Do you live in dread of mistakes, or perceived misfortunes? Do challenges eclipse your ability to see the forest for the trees?
Would you like to feel excited by the growth opportunities in your challenges? Would you like a metaphorical flashlight to guide you through the darkness, out into a brighter reality? Would you like to open your spirit to a knowing that the life you are meant to lead is colorful, dynamic, and blissful?
This course will help you step into that brighter world. It will adjust the shade of your challenges from murky blacks and browns to vibrant blues, greens, purples, pinks, reds, yellows, and gold. Together we will unravel the tight belief that challenges are wrong, bad, or debilitating. The exciting bumps in life are not to be feared but examined, explored, and honored. A road with rolling hills, sweeping curves, unexpected dips, and steep inclines is much more thrilling than a straight flat road leading to more of the same.
In the space of this course you will learn to awaken your inherent ability to take a skilled mind, body, and spirit to this bumpy road of life. You will not only learn to see challenges as benefits but will tap into your inner knowledge of how to pull the insights, epiphanies, and enlightenment from life’s struggles. On the other side of this learning you will find yourself freed from anticipatory fear and anxiety, waking each day with an excited curiosity for what is to come, and a knowing that you can roll through it all- expanding your beautiful soul in every moment.
Each lesson will be complimented by a Guided Meditation recording, serving to integrate the core elements of the lesson with your subconscious mind.
Solidifying Your Self Worth
Detangling from Anticipatory Fear and Anxiety
Honoring Unpredictability and Giving It Sacred Worth
Changing the Color of Challenges
Having a Dialogue with Challenges
Writing Out the Challenges
How Body Awareness Can Lead to Acceptance
Relearning Your Ability to Have Unconditional Fun
Now is the time to step into your renewed life, where all good is coming to you.
Loss of control is a primary fear many women feel when considering the possibility of a cesarean birth. “I’ll have to give up my power to the surgeon. I’ll have no say over how the birth unfolds. I’ll feel like a piece of meat on an operating table.” But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can reclaim your right to empowerment throughout your baby’s birth by creating a cesarean birth plan — even if you’re planning for a vaginal birth.
Creating this plan doesn’t set the intention that you’ll have a cesarean birth, it sets the intention that you’ll be prepared, regardless of any unforeseen circumstances that may pop up in your birth journey.
Below are preferences you can use to create a simple one-page cesarean birth plan (that you’ll create in addition to your vaginal birth plan), which you will present to your care provider around the beginning of your third trimester. I recommend discussing each preference with your care provider to determine if they, or the facility you would be having the surgery in, would put up resistance to any of the preferences. If so, discuss why there would be resistance, and what can be done about it.
When I woke up on my first Mother’s Day, I forgot I was one of the women being celebrated. I prepared breakfast for my own mom and mother-in-law, and I made them both a “We love you!” video, all while spending an hour trying to convince my baby to leave on the clip-on tie we’d bought for the occasion. And then my partner asked me if I wanted to take a break. “Isn’t this supposed to be a day to celebrate you too?”
When I took my break before the “real” mothers arrived for brunch, I sat on a swing chair on our porch and cried. It was the first time I’d had a quiet moment since giving birth 11 months prior, a moment to think about how I felt about being a mother, to consider what “being a mother” even meant. Here are seven thoughts that went through my head.
I gave up fast food because it was killing my spirit, and probably my body too.
Fast food used to be my crutch. Each time I’d receive disappointing news, get into the headspace of not being “good enough,” feel fat (ironic much?), or have a hangover, I would buy fast food. It was so easy.
When I was younger, I had become idle in pursuing my passions, I was addicted to harmful romantic relationships, and completely detached from my body. I used to have a ritual of starting each Sunday like this: Brunch with my girlfriends, which would turn into mimosas on the beach, followed by a movie, so we could take a nap.
On my route home, feeling tired, hungry, and sad, I would pass a McDonald’s, a Taco Bell and a Wendy’s, side by side. For a while my pattern was to go to Taco Bell and order a few different options. If I was in the mood for sugar I would also stop at McDonalds or Wendy’s for a shake.
I would then drive home and eat all the stuff, half of it in the car.
My heart crumbled when I watched the older boy shove him down, grab his toy, and run away with the other children. My son’s lip puffed out, then was immediately sucked in and bit down on as he balled up his tiny body and fought back tears. I rushed over to him as I pushed down my own ball of tears lodging itself in my throat.
I wrapped my arms around my son and rocked him, feeling so helpless and triggered by my own memories of rejection.
Then, the little boy who had pushed him down returned, handed my son his toy and asked him if he wanted to kick a ball. My tiny man hopped up smiling and ran after the boy howling the toddler cry-of-joy.
Having a baby sent a surprising jolt through my sex life. I was expecting that aspect of my life to be as dry as the Mohave until my child left for college, but I was wrong.
Sex became a forbidden fruit I constantly craved. The strange sex dreams pregnant women often have started for me after the baby came out.
Before the baby, sex was a daily staple in our relationship. It was lovely and relaxing–and it was totally expected. Throughout pregnancy it did slow down a bit, but could still be done on a whim and without limits, with the exception of my protruding belly.
The constraints of a baby spiced things up and taught us to pre-plan our sexcapades, which was actually sexy. And while the anticipation was delicious, there was also another feeling: guilt. The guilt was horrible.
Crisis: a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
Yes, there is a set definition in the dictionary for the term ‘crisis,’ but it has varying meaning for each individual. For me, a crisis is when my honey, my partner, my boo, ruptures his spleen snowboarding, spends his birthday in the hospital, and our toddler spikes a 104.1 temperature. Crisis.
If you were to ask me the day before said crisis, how I thought I would react to said crisis, I would have come up with a PG way of saying, “I would lose my s***.” Hypothetically, I didn’t think I would do well during crisis, especially when the lives of my nearest and dearest were in jeopardy. But, I’m shocked and pleasantly surprised to report that I handled the s*** much better than expected, and most certainly did not lose it; the hypothetical s*** that is, there is some very real s*** awaiting me in toddler’s diaper.
Back to the handled crisis at hand, we had traveled to Mammoth to enjoy the barely skiable layer of snow that had accumulated on the mountain. What happens when non-winter temperatures hit minimal snow in a winter-sports recreational hotspot (pun intended)? Ice is formed, dangerous ice. As we were sliding down the ice, Eric hit an especially icy patch of ice and unintentionally performed numerous somersaults. I witnessed this, and being the sympathetic lady I am, sailed past thinking, “Eh, he’s fine, I’ve seen him do worse.” As I waited, and waited, and waited some more, at the bottom of the run, my growing anxiety consistently heightened, until I saw him gliding down the mountain, unassisted. ‘Oh good, he’s fine.’ If those were indeed my last words, I’d label them my ‘famous last words.’
He pulled up in front of me looking a little pale, but “okay,” then collapsed. Not okay.
This is when “hypothetically” I would have lost the poo, but I didn’t, my mind cleared, my legs moved and I found medical assistance. I then filled out paperwork, traveled in an ambulance, filled out paperwork, waited for the results of a CT scan and blood work, filled out paperwork, and waited. All the while, somehow maintaining a calm, cool, and collected demeanor. I held it together, did what needed to be done, went back to our temporary Mammoth home, put the baby to sleep, and cried. And cried.
My being, my collective mind, body, and spirit had held it together until it was okay to let it go.
Throughout the following week of more hospital, healing honey, and fever baby, I got through it by attempting to follow the wisdom below, that people much wiser than myself have passed on to me:
-Take Care of It: Don’t dwell on the fact that there is a ruptured organ in Eric, an Eric in the hospital, and a really warm and perturbed baby attached to my chest. Take care of it. Make sure Eric has what he needs, comfort the baby, feed us, and fill out paperwork. Move through it Bailey, move through it.
-Release It: These circumstances were scary and far from ordinary. I’m not just not a robot, but not someone who easily represses emotions, sometimes to my detriment, but that’s for another blog post. I allotted myself a private hour at the end of each evening to cry, journal, or eat some leftover Thanksgiving pie, something cathartic. The catharsis transformed me from a pressure cooker, to a frazzled-hair, fairly stable, ‘let’s take care of it’ doer.
-Grow From It: I’ll be trite, and remind everyone that there is something to be learned from everything, even crisis. I’ve had a hefty dose of ‘life is fragile’ and have soaked in the importance of slowing down and really savoring all the amazing people in my life, Ruptured Spleen Eric and Fever Baby Hudson in particular. Going through crisis reminded me that nothing matters nearly as much as the health and happiness of my big and little honey, and myself. “We” rarely include the word ‘myself’ when writing the previous sentence, but how can we give anything good when we haven’t replenished our own supply of good.
Take Away: Live, love, laugh, eat, breathe, do, smile, cry, release, shower, and take caution when sliding down ice.