I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but even as I entered my 30’s it felt like a faraway part of my life… like a forever “one day” version of myself.
As a child of a messy divorce and family dysfunction, I carry wounds that require attention and work not only to build a resilient marriage, but also to be the kind of mother I deeply desire to become. It wasn’t enough to me to “just do it differently” than my parents… As a coach, I believe that who we’re being is underneath how we do anything, and I wanted to do the conscious and unconscious work to choose new patterns of relating and parenting.
So, truth be told, I’ve been consciously preparing for pregnancy for the better part of two years. Emotionally and spiritually, that is.
This blog post might be my most vulnerable yet, because it speaks to an intimate journey of emotional and spiritual work, as well as the physical journey to prepare my body for pregnancy – a topic that was shrouded in so much mystery for me (and many women) before entering this process.
My goal here is simply transparency about my process, but my hope is also that someone reading this who dreams distantly (or yearns actively) of becoming a mother takes some powerful perspectives, resources, and inspiration into her journey ahead.
And if you’re not on that path or you’re a man reading this, I compel you to share it with the women you know who are approaching this chapter in life. It helps tremendously to not feel alone.
I will break it down into three sections: my therapeutic process (emotional healing and spiritual growth), my entrepreneurial process (coaching and life design), and my physical process (my body, resources, and dietary changes).
Healing for Motherhood
My intentional emotional and spiritual healing work began in 2020, in my first year of marriage. Now that my husband and I had stepped into this new level of commitment as a couple, my mind starting opening up to the realities of starting a family… and what I discovered terrified me.
I was crystal clear what I was unwilling to pass on to my children, but had absolutely zero idea how much work it would take to address my traumas and dismantle my multi-generational unhealed heritage.
You see, I am recovering from deeply, deeply suppressed rage.
The anger passed down from powerful woman to powerful woman in my family is infamous.
I’ve heard the women in my family described as “bombs with a long fuse.” We burn slow and long, patient and understanding for a time, until BOOM. Explosiveness. Fury. Hell on earth.
We reach a point of no return, and the beast is unleashed. Screaming to the point of lost voices, holes punched in walls, throwing things, physical violence… Generations of women in my family have been known to “snap” when pushed so far beyond their boundaries, needs, and capacity.
And it is worth noting, that rage is never without justifiable reasons. Any person in their right mind should be enraged by some of the things the women in my family have gone through… and still, we play our part in setting up the dominos.
So for the past 2.5 years, I have delved into the darkness of my personality with the help of two extraordinarily skilled therapists in order to meet the beast and eventually free the beast – with a goal, of course, to avoid being eaten alive.
I’m still very much in process, but I would say my recovery journey has been wholly life-changing.
If I were to break the process down into the most essential components, here’s what I would say:
- Acceptance and Forgiveness
I did a lot of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy, psychotherapy, and exercises to create closure where I had none. Core memories and relationships that formed the very definition of what it means to me to love and be loved (and not to be loved) were taken out of the mind’s eye of my 8- to 18-year-old self, and then addressed and handled with the gentleness, maturity, and safety of my 30-something-year-old mind. It was unsettling work to do, but well-worth it to move forward in life without repeating my trauma cycles.
I also experienced totally new levels of acceptance and forgiveness when I embraced the spiritual path of a soul. I believe that our souls (or energies, or chi, or essential natures, etc.) entered these physical bodies in this lifetime in order to grow. We each have a foundation of what we “came here knowing” in our souls about ourselves and the world, and we each walk a path in learning new lessons. What lessons my soul is here to learn looks different than what Matt’s soul is here to learn, or my parents’, or yours.
Ultimately, it was deeply liberating for me to surrender the need to “walk the same path” as anyone else in what I am here to learn, and it gave me access to endless grace when I accept and even celebrate that others are here walking their own paths and learning the lessons their souls are here to learn.
- Communication and Boundary-Setting
At a certain point in my work, I was able to start communicating to my husband, “I can feel my rage surfacing,” or even, “I’m having a trauma response,” before it arrived, which gave us a whole different set of tools to use. When I could feel it coming and say it out loud, that meant I could engage in a specific way – we became informed to my trigger, used safe language that identified the feeling without embodying it, and then could retrace our steps to where a boundary had been crossed.
Boundaries were and are such a struggle for me to wrap my head and heart around. My family programming associated boundaries with conditional and transactional love, which were to be avoided at all costs. So boundaries being unexpressed, ignored, or actively defied were baked into the very foundation of relating for me. Identifying my boundaries, expressing them, and honoring them, even (and especially) when others didn’t, was and is my greatest ongoing challenge in healing. I have come leaps and bounds, and there is still much work to be done.
- Sameness does not equal safety
One of my core memories that surfaced early on in therapy was of my mother quoting my great-grandmother, who said, “Opposites attract, but they don’t stay together.” So in my family, it was safer to agree or enmesh than it was to disagree or to individuate. This also applied to how I related to my parents’ divorce – being “too different” was what my 8-year-old brain absorbed as the thing to avoid in relationships, because that led to heartbreak and a broken family.
If you know me and my husband, you know that we are very different people. The truth is, that is one of our greatest strengths because we each possess strengths where the other person is less confident or capable. Matt’s steadiness to my waves, my patience to Matt’s velocity, Matt’s systems to my creative inspiration… the list goes on and on in ways we balance each other’s gifts. But to someone with a core context that to be the same and agree is to be safe in relationship, it took a lot of healing to be able to (1) celebrate differences, (2) have compassion and respect for disagreement, and (3) design the blueprint for our marriage and coparenting style based on how we want it to be, rather than how we’ve seen it go.
Creating Space for Motherhood
Designing the blueprint of my marriage, business, and life is the crossroads of where therapy stops and where coaching begins.
Therapy is crucial for healing my histories (personal and ancestral), understanding my parts of self and how they formed, and safely working through trauma of the past and present.
Coaching, however, is all about looking forward.
I have connected almost every decision I have made in business and life over the last two years to what I want to be the source of for my family.
You see, I believe that how we choose anything in life gets to be a playground for a breakthrough. We don’t have to choose anything just because it’s what we’ve done before or what makes the most sense.
I try to make choices that not only align with who I am now, but who I want to become.
The areas that were most affected by this focus were:
- Time – maintaining impact and ease in my business, but requiring less hours from me has been the name of the game!
- Creativity – prioritizing free creative time as part of my “work hours” has helped me stay consistently inspired and fulfilled in my business and life
- Diversifying income – by starting a new business as an Airbnb owner, I now have a steady passive-income stream that doubled as a creative outlet
- Clientele – I’ve gotten crystal clear on the types of humans I want to coach (and NOT coach), and released the urge to say yes to working with every lead I meet
- Stress management – someone recently reflected that I represent “radical self-care” to my audience, and I have my commitment to stress-reduction to thank for that! Figuring out what I actually need to feel well, fulfilled, and happy is always a work in progress, but I’ve made huge strides.
Preparing my Body for Motherhood
The process to prepare my body for conceiving started a few months before we planned to start trying.
The funny thing is, pregnancy was not at the front of our minds when we made these changes… it was all intuitively led. Matt and I just felt like we needed to make a change to our diets and do some research on what would optimize our health and well-being this year… and it just so happened to align with what would foster our conceiving journey and my healthy pregnancy. Call it divine timing or really on-point planning!
- We cut out anything that contained “seed oils” – which essentially is the same thing as eliminating processed food. There are hidden oils in basically everything packaged, and many of those oils cause inflammation in the body.
- We prioritized seafood as our main source of protein (daily), and for the rest incorporated a combination of lean meats like chicken and turkey, occasional red meat (my body craves it like 1-2x a month), and vegetarian sources of protein (like eggs and tofu).
- We cut out alcohol. Matt cut it for 30+ days, and then returned to a very occasional consumption. I cut it out entirely. Sobriety was a HUGE source of our overall health improving.
- We spent 5-15 minutes every morning watching the sun rise, and 5-15 minutes every evening watching the sun set (or at least we tried our best). This greatly impacted our sleep patterns and overall mental health.
- We stayed (mostly) consistent with our sleep schedule. We used to sleep drastically different hours during the week vs. weekend, but we started evening out our schedule and saw loads of benefits to our stress and energy levels.
- My daily supplement regimen includes: Fullwell Prenatal Vitamins (with folate instead of folic acid! Very important distinction when starting a prenatal), B complex, Vitamin D, CoQ10
- I read It Starts with the Egg, which opened my eyes to not only what supplements would best support my health and pregnancy, but also changing some things in our environment that I would never have thought of – like plastics. Plastics (in food containers, water bottles [yes, even BPA-free ones!], and even household items like cleaning materials and coffee machines) are correlated to higher susceptibility of miscarriage and/or difficulty conceiving… so cutting down our plastic usage was a big lifestyle change that I believe made a big difference.
- I stopped birth control more than 18 months before planning to conceive, and I discovered my hormones and cycles were really out of whack. I struggled for a while, until I hired Emy Ruth Health Coaching, where she helped me understand and track my cycles, balance out my hormones, and recommit to healthy nutrition and movement.
- I stopped consuming weed one month before trying to conceive.
I hope my sharing this behind-the-scenes process of my journey proved helpful and provided not only some grace and empathy for those working through their healing, but also some resources and starting places for those on the path to a healthy pregnancy. Whether or not you are becoming a parent, I believe we can all benefit from implementing something from each of these areas for our own greater well-being.