Mother, Nurture & Wild
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Take a moment for yourself this Imbolc, Mama. Imbolc is a cross-quarter festival, marking the midpoint between the Solstice and the Equinox.  It’s a threshold time.  A time between time.  And in this way Imbolc can remind us...
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The Mama Journal

- Journal Post -

Seasons of motherhood

There are seasons within motherhood. Nobody told me this beforehand and it took me a few moves between one season and another to really notice them.  And when I did, it was something of a relief to understand.

There are seasons where you’re needed more - more than you imagined possible sometimes, so that you wonder if you can continue meeting it all - and others where you’re needed less intensely. Or just differently. Differently can feel like relief and like loss, sometimes both at the same time.

There are seasons where you have less space or more space or just a different quality of space. Seasons in which how mothering looks and feels from the inside shifts and evolves into something new. 

Sometimes a new season gently rolls in, in a way that was predictable. You had time to anticipate and ready yourself. It arrives and it either is or isn’t how you imagined but you knew it was coming. 

Other times, you wake one day expecting everything to be mostly the same and inexplicably it’s all shifted. Without warning or agreement. 

Space for you

As a Mama there are seasons where you feel more diluted than you’ve ever felt. Your edges floating away almost entirely. For a time that's ok perhaps, necessary even in order that you can mother the way you want to. And at some point you long for a clearer, more separate sense of yourself. 

Sometimes a shift brings more space for you. There’s more childcare, less night duties, school begins, they’re a certain age now, perhaps with older teens you're anticipating them being busy with their own stuff or leaving home for university. When space looks set to open it inevitably comes with anticipation of what that means for you. 

Sometimes you’ve longed for this space - all the things you’ll do with it! - yet when it comes it’s more disorientating that you imagined. You might have become so used to not having space for you that it doesn’t feel like the exhale you thought it would straight away. Despite all the anticipation and future-forecasting you find yourself somehow not getting to the things you thought you wanted.

With less obstacles standing in your way it ought to be easier, right? But self doubt may have chosen this time to raise it's head. Maddening as that is, it makes sense. Bringing something to life in your present feels way more risky than daydreaming into a future time.

Or maybe it just all feels very odd. Did you even really want this, you wonder. You question whether you're ready for this new season you thought you wanted after all.

There's the kids too. They may sail into this new season, seemingly flying. Or maybe it’s a rough ride and you’re extra-needed while they transition.  In that case, you might not always get to be present to your own transition into this new season.

This opening up of space that seemed so simple from a distance feels way more complex up close.

I've learnt that

Seasonal shifts take time to bed in.

For me, at least. Even when my children barely blink before galloping on in, I take more time to look around and feel all the things. 

I see what we’re leaving behind. The joys and the trials. The grief, which is often present, even when I’m so ready for the change. Because like all thresholds I see that moving through also means letting go

I see who they are now. I know them so deeply and there are new things now to learn about who they are, what they need and how I mother them.

I see what’s now possible. For me. The excited catch in my throat of that! But it can take a while to be ready to really lean into that possibility. To trust it. 

With each seasonal shift, I learn more about me. I experience my edges differently, have big feelings to process. There’s the opportunity to become more myself if I take the time to honour what feels important and listen within. 

False starts...

There are plenty of false starts. One foot in one season, one in the next, not fully getting going. Going out thinking it’s sunny and warm and realising I should’ve grabbed a jumper. It’s different now. I’m not sure how to get used to that yet.

And that's ok. Transitions need space and compassion for ourselves.

...new normals

In time it all settles into a new normal. And I’ve learnt this new normal either happens of it’s own accord, with me as passive passenger. Or, anticipated seasonal shift or not, I put myself in choice as I navigate the beginnings of our new season.

Being in choice

In each new season, I can meet myself again: who am I here now and how do I want this to be for me?

I might not have a whole answer right off, but what do I know? Maybe I want more of something and less of something else. I remind myself more knowing will be revealed as I move forward.

If it's been an intense time and you're feeling overwhelmed, let your answers be simple and small to begin with. You can allow this to be a really gentle inquiry. For now, just be curious and wonder.

Things that help

Having navigated a few of my own seasons so far, I want to offer up the three things that have helped the most when I'm transitioning:

1. Self compassion

You can’t always choose or predict a new season of motherhood, whether it drifts in on a Summer breeze or blows in with an Autumn storm. But you can always choose meet yourself in it with massive self compassion. 

~  Understand the disorientation - it makes total sense that you don't have a handle on it all yet. Whichever way a new season arrives it can take a while to adjust.

Allow for the confusion, you’re figuring out this new territory. If there are decisions to make in this new place, it makes complete sense that you feel uncertainty around them to begin with.

Offer yourself space for the grief if there is some - space for all the feelings this shift brings up. They are important. 

Give yourself time to acclimatise - take your time breathing into this new season and getting the lay of the land, don't expect yourself to be aceing it the moment it arrives. There's time.

Put the stick down - it’s ok to not have it all sorted immediately, for it not to feel how you thought it would or how you want it to. It's ok to need time or some kind of support.

If self compassion isn’t easy to access, think about how you would hold space for a beloved friend who was navigating a transition and feeling all the same feelings as you are. How would you speak lovingly and supportively to her? And how could you extend that same compassion and holding to yourself?

2. Nourishment

Transitions are taxing on your system, even if they're wanted.  Be mindful of what you’re needing to give mentally, emotionally and physically.  Know that you'll always feel more resourced if you can find ways of feeding back into the pot.

Reach over and over for your favourite ways to take care of yourself.

3. People to bear witness

I wonder how you could feel supported as you navigate this shift and who could be the best support for you now.

It might be a partner, friend or trusted loved one or maybe others who know your children or understand this place you're in well.

If self doubt, confusion or paralysis are present when you really want to be moving forward, you might find working with a coach supportive.

And if this is a tough transition which is bringing up unresolved stuff from the past, a therapist might be worth exploring.

You are so worthy of the support you need.

And finally...

Shifting season is a process. A messy and imperfect one most often. The best gift you can give yourself is to meet yourself just exactly where you are within it. Allow yourself be on the journey - in the process of becoming - in each and every one of your seasons. Call in the support, speak to yourself gently and take as much care of yourself as you can.

*
Coach with me

I love to work with women who are moving between seasons on their Motherhood journey - or wanting to feel more established in the season you're in. If a new season has you confused, self-doubting, disorientated or excited for what's possible here but lacking direction, you might find the support of a compassionate coach really helpful.

Take a look at my coaching journey ‘the Unfolding’ where I walk alongside you for 3 or 6 months to help you root into your next season, create more of what you want for yourself and feel more full you. 

You're so welcome to book in a virtual cuppa with me here to talk about what's happening with you, what you need and see whether we’re a good fit to work together.  I would love to meet with you x

November 15, 2022
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All things self-care in the deep, nourishing sense of the word.  How we honour our whole selves as women & mothers
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Seasonal & Wild

A collection of my writing on seasonal rhythms, festivals and connection to the more-than-human world .  And the wild inside of us
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Thanks for reading The Mama Journal 

from Mother, Nurture & Wild

Hi, I'm Lisa

Coach for Mums, Self Belief Specialist, Self-Care Advocate, Re-wilder and Supporter of Women

I write here about the messy experience of being a human, a woman and a mother in a patriarchal world, with all the layers of self doubt, confusion, mental load and disconnection to Self that can bring.  I write about how I navigate my own journey and how I work with these themes with the women I coach.  I weave in all that inspires me along with some of the practices, habits and choices that keep me rooted to the Earth and tethered to my whole and wild Self.

You can read more about me and my work here:
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© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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