I love the little synchronicities life throws in our path and I’m quickly discovering that when we are open to them and follow them, amazing things start to happen.
I’ll be totally honest with you, like I always am. Since my second daughter was born in June 2012 motherhood hasn’t been the blissful experience I expected it to be. It’s been hard, very hard at times. My children are my world, I love them more than any words can describe but there have been times when I wished I could just hide away. Being a mother is the most amazing and rewarding thing I have ever done but it’s also the most challenging, demanding and exhausting. However, there is a voice inside my head that nags at me, telling me it doesn’t have to be this way; it can be the blissful experience I thought it would be. I’ve learnt by now that when that little voice inside me starts to question things that life is about to take me on a journey of discovery. Here is how that journey goes…
Last year, just before my daughters first birthday, the doctor diagnosed me with depression, as soon as he said it I thought ‘what does he know!’ but as his words began to sink in the reality hit. Oh. My. God. I have depression. After 10 years of personal development, working on my mind and manifesting some amazing things in my life I could not believe I had depression. How could this have happened? So, I did what I do with every challenge I face, I asked myself what could I learn from this and how can I help others going through the same thing. I turned down the antidepressants, I was determined to make myself well.
There was one thing that surprised me more than my own depression and that was that when I confided in people, sheepishly telling them under a whispered breath ‘I have depression’ as if I was telling them a guilty secret, they all responded with a blasé ‘oh I’ve been on antidepressants for years’. They were all mothers. Why are so many mothers depressed? When I looked back over my year with truth and honesty, without judgement and blame it was clear to see why.
In my role as a mother, as a wife, as an employee and a business owner, I had given my all. Life had become a big routine of washing, cooking, cleaning, tidying, working, and worrying. It was non-stop. It was relentless. In all this time while I mothered my children and juggled all the things that come with the title of ‘mother’, who was mothering me?
When my children fall and hurt themselves I rub the invisible mark on their knee and with a gentle kiss I tell them ‘everything will be ok’. When they are hungry I feed them, dirty I clean them, scared I comfort them and anxious I reassure them. When they are bored I play with them, I make sure each and every one of their needs are met and the whole time I’m worrying that I’m not ‘good enough’. All the time the voice in my head speaks negatively to me, when I shout I worry I’ve ‘damaged’ them in some way, when I’m too tired to play I worry I’m pushing them away and not giving them enough of me, this voice is constantly judging and comparing, bringing me down deeper and deeper. No one is there to tell me ‘everything is going to be ok’, when my husband complains at the state of the house I hear ‘you’re not good enough’, when I’m just too tired to play I hear ‘you’re not good enough’, when my daughters writing isn’t as good as her peers I hear ‘you’re not good enough’. This voice inside my head, this inner critic is a bully. If I heard someone else talking to themselves or anyone else this way I would be disgusted. Is it any wonder I ended up with depression, when despite doing my very best, giving my all and getting no thanks for it, that all I hear is ‘you’re not good enough’. So, what to do about it?
First of all is acceptance. Accepting that good enough is good enough and I am more than that! I don’t want to spend the next 18 years worrying that I’m not good enough only to discover in hindsight that I was. So I accept that good enough is good enough and each day I tell myself ‘I did my best today and tomorrow will be even better’.
Secondly and most importantly, it’s time to mother me. The main thing I’ve learnt from this past two years and from my depression is that I can’t give all that I have to give, be all that I am meant to be and do all that I want to do when I am empty. When my mind, body and soul aren’t nurtured and loved I give from an empty well. I’ve discovered that to give my children everything, I first have to give to myself. I have to talk to myself in the same loving way I talk to them; I have to find ways to rub my knee and heal the wounds motherhood can create. I have to find time to play, laugh and grow as me, not just as a mother. Then I can be the very best mother to my children, when my cup is full, so will theirs be.
I’ve known all of this for a while, the words ‘mother me’ have echoed in my mind for over a year but I ignored them. I kept getting drawn back into the daily routine and by the time the girls are asleep im to tired to do a thing for myself, sometimes even running a bath is just to much effort but I know if I always do what I’ve always done, I’ll always get what I’ve always got. They say you have to be the change you want to see in the world, so I’m taking action. I want mothers to give from a full cup not an empty one. I want my girls to love and nurture themselves so I need to teach them how, children do as you do not as you say. To love myself more is to love them more and for them to love themselves too.
The first part of healing and nurturing for me has been writing this blog. As I pour my heart onto the page, as I ‘confess’ to not being perfect it takes a huge weight off my mind, it releases something and it allows my soul to express itself creatively, something we all crave deep down. Writing nurtures me in a way I would have never of known had I not taken the first step.
As the words of this blog were echoing in my mind, a local doula and healer, invited me to a workshop she was running called ‘the wounds of motherhood’. Something in that title spoke to me. My first response was that I couldn’t go, it was on a Sunday afternoon which is our only family time in the week and I was working the rest of the weekend, but my ‘inner knowing’ told me I had to go and I listened. I followed that gut feeling, you know the one we all ignore too often. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was amazing, I healed a wound I didn’t even know existed and I have felt the shift these last few days. I left the workshop knowing that it was time to nurture myself fully not just the odd moment here and there; it was time to write this blog and take action. After the workshop I had a dream, it’s a reoccurring dream I’ve had for years. In it a tiger is on the loose and it stands face to face with me and i’m scared, I’ve never got to see how the dream ends because I wake with my heart pounding and i’m thankful to be alive. This time was different. As I saw the tiger escape I ran and hid. I found myself in a tiny room full of women, there was a large window with rickety blinds and the tiger stood snarling, saliva dripping off his hungry jaws, he was inches from me but my gaze was fixed on one woman. She was ready to scream, she was terrified, I held her gaze and with one hand raised reassuring her I whispered ‘everything is going to be ok’. The tiger left and I watched as the keepers caught it and put it to sleep.
It’s no coincidence that I had this dream the day after the workshop and the night I started writing this blog. The fear I have held for years has been released, I’ve faced it head on and now it’s been put to rest. In facing my own fears I was able to help other women do the same and we can now step out of the box, unafraid. Unafraid to nurture ourselves and follow our dreams; it’s time to let go of guilt for taking a rest, it’s time for us all to fill up our cup. It’s time to express yourself creatively, whatever that means for you. When we take steps to nurture ourselves and we refill our empty wells, we will be able to give so much more to our children and we will teach them how to give to themselves. Life shows us the way, it speaks to us through our intuition, our ‘inner knowing’, it talks to us in our dreams and it brings things into our awareness just at the right time. Learn to follow these little synchronicities and amazing things will start to happen.
It is time to mother me.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this; share your story or tips on how to you create time to nurture yourself. I’ll be sharing my nurturing tools over the coming weeks and months so if you want more please sign up using the follow option on the right handside and you’ll never miss a post!
With love, gratitude and nurturing