Mother, Nurture & Wild
Offerings from the heart to meet you exactly where you are
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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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I wonder if you ever find yourself searching for your sense of self.  Feeling around for where your edges are. As mothers we are often the centre of our family's universe, needed for so much, integral to all of it. But when you go to look for your Self in the midst of it all, it's hard to discern the essence of you from everything else. It's as though you've been swallowed up by your role.

Loss of sense of self in motherhood is something that’s so often present for women I coach with.

It's no wonder...

~ When the process of matrescence – a word that describes the multi-layered journey of becoming a mother – sees so much change take place within us.  Not only in our body, our hormones, our emotions, our home, our day-to-day lives.  But also, along the way, becoming a mother literally re-wires our brain.

~ When it’s generally still the case (in heteronormative relationships) that women carry the heavier load and are expected to do the most adapting around their family.

~ When societal conditioning would have us mothers running to keep up, second guessing ourselves, self doubting and forever over-giving.

~ When there’s barely a moment to go to the loo let alone tend to the things that make you feel you.

If you don’t have the sense of self that you used to, here’s what I want you to know…

(and what many of my clients have found)

You're still in there

You are. Maybe under some layers and the edges of where you end and they begin are blurred but you ARE in there and you are WONDROUS even if you don’t feel it.

It's ok to grieve

It’s ok to grieve what you’re missing in yourself. Sometimes the grieving opens up space to reconnect with buried parts of you.  Sometimes experiencing the emotions around that give rise to a tiny shift that makes a difference.

It's a process

Re-connecting with your Self is a process.  Begin with noticing your needs that are met or are going un-met.  Notice your emotions.  Notice the daily promises to yourself you keep and those you find harder to keep.

It can be bumpy

Not everyone benefits from you regaining your sense of self if you’ve been over-giving for some time, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong for needing to.  You are never wrong for needing to feel like you.

You're not alone

You are not alone in this. If I could show you all the mamas who’ve shared with me, in different ways, the sense that they’ve lost their edges you would see just how NOT ALONE you are.

(I won’t show you of course because confidentiality is everything in my work, but if I could... you’d see a big and beautiful group of women who also never thought they’d lose their sense of self and yet still somehow did).

It's not bad or wrong

It’s not. Changing, evolving, losing and re-finding are all part of being a growing human.  Matrescence and the ever-changing seasons of motherhood are ripe with growth periods in which we re-form who we are.  It makes complete sense that at various points we need to go on a journey to meet ourselves again.

It's not impossible

It may feel hard but it isn’t impossible – overwhelm, self doubt, mum guilt, shame might have you believing you’re a lost cause but you are absolutely not.

You're in there

You are.  Even if under a few layers. I know you don’t know how to unearth yourself yet, but there will be a way. And those layers you’re under make for rich compost.

You are worth unearthing, lovely one x

*

If you’d like to come on a supportive journey with me to find what’s been missing, I’d love to chat with you. I have 1:1 spaces available to begin in July and Sept and we can reserve one of those for you.

Contact me here or book in a virtual cuppa here to find out more.

The more I lean into the direction I’m taking my work, the more I see the possible places and depths I can take it to. It’s exciting and enticing to see the roads I can travel to better understand what’s going on for the people I work with and master the ability to help them makes the shifts they need. A vision is forming from all these lovely possibilities. The potential of a big body of fascinating work that’ll take me 10 years or more to create.

But shit, 10 years or more? I’m only just getting started!

The thing with possibilities, potential and big visions is that awesome though they might be in one sense, they have a shadow side. Standing where I am with mine at the moment, I feel like there are a few different ways this can play out.

Scenario 1

(not desirable)

I can let my perfectionism run amok and spend 10 years feeling crappy and lacking because I haven’t yet created entire said body of fascinating work. I can feed my self doubt with endless looping stories of not enough, never enough, not me, ‘may as well quit because you’re so not ahead’. And even if I can overcome my internal warning system that wants me to give up before I get hurt, these perfectionism-driven stories could continue to be a demoralising soundtrack keeping me company on the journey. Completely hampering my ability to pursue any of it with clear focus and stealing the joy from the process entirely.

This one feels really bleak and spirit-sapping.

Scenario 2

(even less desirable)

I can bust a gut, run myself ragged and squeeze 10 years of work into 5 years just so I can get the big tick in the box that says ‘finished’. Missing the various opportunities for growth a longer period gives, many interesting and rich twists and turns, much of the rest of the my children’s childhood and all of life’s daily pleasures. Creating stress. Choosing overwork over all else. Feeding my self doubt with the lie that I am only my achievements and since I haven’t achieved the entire thing yet I haven’t achieved anything.

This one makes me feel like I’ll burst into hives.

Scenario 3

(I choose this one)

I can see and accept my wonderful reality. That I’m working on something I love. That inspiration is calling. That there are many possibilities and the journey will be so fun. That it feels like I’m just getting started and I get to be in the process of creating this body of work. Learning and growing as I move along the path at whatever speed feels right, following my interest as I go. Whilst not running myself ragged. Being in these precious days with my children where they are right now. Being with myself where.I.am with my needs mostly met and a regulated nervous system. Soaking up the daily pleasures (and frustrations) of life. And who knows what it’ll look like at the end of it. Maybe – surprise! - there is no end point. So maybe I give over to the process and allow myself to be here. Inside it. Instead of standing outside of me judging all the bloody time.

Doesn’t that sound like a relief? And yet, so often we find ourselves wrapped up in our stories of perfectionism, heading down scenario one or two.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a sneaky form of self doubt that can masquerade as high standards, ambition and beautiful compelling visions. It sometimes gets tangled up so closely with inspiration that we can’t quite separate the two all that easily.

It whispers enticing stories of how ‘perfect’ it will all be when it’s ‘finished’.

Think about your house

As anybody who has ever decorated a house knows, there is never a ‘finished’ and there is no ‘perfect’.

With house renovation (as in life) there’s a lot more ‘close enough’, ‘did the best we could with what we had’, ‘changed direction’, ‘found something better’ and ‘shit, that plug socket right in my eye line is going to forever incense me but I cannot face another wall being ripped up so I’ll live with it’.

And there’s a whole heap of messy and imperfect along the journey plus the deep satisfaction that it’s YOUR journey. Your home.

It doesn’t look completely like the Pinterest board, it took an AGE and you’re going to re-do that part at some point but you love it anyway.

Not forgetting - thank god you couldn’t get it all finished within a week of moving in because you’d never have realised how the light falls so beautifully just in that spot there and you’d never have had that idea to do that thing that made it all so much more awesome.

It's the same in life

House, big life vision, body of fascinating work… we can get so hung up on the finished article that we forget to allow ourselves to be in progress.

I hear a lot from Mamas I work with that they can’t begin because it’s too big. They feel they’re failing because they’re nowhere near finished yet. They’ve started but berate themselves for not being further along. Their self doubt has rocketed because they compared themselves to someone years further along a similar journey and made the perceived gap mean something about their worth or ability. They can’t really see how far they’ve come because they’re disappointed to not be ‘there’.

the Antidote

I want to offer that whatever this speaks to in you - it’s ok not to be finished. You likely won’t ever feel finished and that is ok.

It can be so freeing to allow yourself to be IN THE PROCESS.

Instead of berating yourself for not being there yet, what if you allowed yourself the experience of being just exactly where you are on the journey.

This kind of self acceptance invites ease, perhaps opens you to the joy of where you are and allows you to be more present to the experience.

Trust that you are in progress. Even when it feels slower than you imagined it would be.

Allow yourself to absorb yourself in the next part without the incompletion hanging over you and enjoy it for what it is.

It’s safe to be in the process.

You and your story are still unfolding.

You’re not meant to be finished.

Photo with grateful thanks - Annie Spratt via Unsplash

© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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