When my son, Dylan was born 8 years ago I was so unprepared for what was to come with a newborn – every day was a challenge.
We were not expecting to get pregnant. We had just returned from 6 months backpacking in India, and had many exciting plans for the near future, none of which involved dealing with a screaming baby, managing the ups and downs of breastfeeding, or being stuck at home, bored out of my mind in the long, and wet Vancouver winter.
As the years passed , and my newborn became a toddler, and then a preschooler – my depletion took on a different form. It changed from the mind-numbing, and physically challenging newborn phase to a low-level inertia, and deep dis-satisfaction.
I was un-inspired. Everything bored me. I felt stressed-out, and consistently left out of life.
I held on tightly to the responsibilities that came with caring for a child, and completely forgot about the rest of my life.
By the time my second child was born, I was thoroughly distracted with the busyness of life to pay any attention to my own unhappiness.
My relationship also suffered the effects of neglect – we were cohabitants on the good days, and opposing warriors on the bad ones.
But I was used to it.
So used to it in fact, that it never occurred to me that I was suffering from Depleted Mother Syndrome (DMS). The same common condition that I was guiding my clients through – helping them find their own voice in the daily chaos of “mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy…”.
Somehow I managed to convince myself that MY situation was different than everyone else’s, that MY situation was out of my hands, and that there was nothing I could do to make MY situation better.
In Therapy lingo we call that Hopelessness & Helplessness. It is a dangerous combination (and a precursor to depression) – the belief that there is NO solution to the problem, and that there is NOTHING I can do to create a solution.
“When they’re out of the house… then it will be my turn again”, I would say to myself.
Seriously? Do you understand how insane that statement is?
I was willing to wait 20 years to be happy! Me – the woman who was telling her clients to take care of themselves, to honour their bodies, and nourish their spirit.
What a hypocrite!
But then something happened.
One day I was having an argument with my husband in the kitchen. I was complaining (as usual) about how much I had been doing around the house, and blaming him for for me feeling tired, and unsupported.
Dylan was playing nearby, but I could tell that he was listening to us. Then I noticed him sigh.
It was a deep sigh – full of sorrow.
My heart broke.
At 6 years old, the little wires in his brain were configuring, and creating pathways that would last a life time. He was learning how relationships work by watching us turn our sadness, and helplessness into anger and blaming. He was watching ME go through my days brooding on the negative – quick to blame, and let my temper get the best of me.
And worst of all (as if THAT wasn’t enough), he was watching me do nothing (productive) to change my situation.
This was unacceptable! This is HIS life, not some dress rehearsal. There are no second chances here.
(don’t think the irony here hasn’t escaped me – I realize that it took my son to bring me back to loving and caring for myself , but in life, messages come in roundabout ways. And anyway, it wouldn’t be the first time one of my children has taught me an important life lesson!)
Here is what I did:
I needed to look at WHY I was not taking care of myself. WHAT was underneath my excuses? What were the REAL reasons for being stuck in a perspective that was making me, and everyone around me miserable?
I already knew the surface reasons: I was tired, bored, under-supported, over-worked, and over-stressed.
I also knew that those were NOT the core reasons. The core reasons were much deeper, and truer than that.
I took a gentle, and honest look at myself using the same tools I had been teaching my clients for years.
I started with removing the emotional blocks that were preventing me from creating more support in my life. My need to be in control was one of the first blocks to appear (and consequently be released).
I asked myself some powerful questions about my priorities, my beliefs, and my values. It turned out that I was NOT living in line with what was in my heart.
I paid closer attention to the sad under the mad in my disagreements with my husband. That made a huge impact on how I was able to react to his words, and gestures.
I loosened the tough, protective layer that had been keeping me so alone (even as I was surrounded with people all day). Instead, I allowed for more gentleness, kindness, and patience for myself.
That quickly spread throughout my life.
I created reminders that still help keep me aligned with my gut level experience – my true north. So that when I stray from my path again (and I will), I can quickly, and effortlessly find my way back.
I am so thrilled to now offer these important tools in convenient video lessons. It would be my honour to guide you on YOUR path to patience, confidence, and energy.
Start TODAY with a FREE sample lesson:
- Are You Depleted, Mama? Take The Quiz
- Asking For, And Accepting Help
- Increasing Intimacy and Safety in Your Relationship
Hope to see you there!