On Friday it was Mother’s day here in Mexico, and yesterday it was celebrated in Canada and the USA.

At the beginning of last week, I spent 3 intensive days in a healing retreat with 7 other women (8 of us total). The healer/guide was from Spain, and the participants were from Mexico, Italy, Canada, and the US. The focus was on healing the heart-uterus connection, and it was probably the most profound and insightful healing process I’ve ever experienced over such a short period of time. We held space and held each other as we healed years of residual pain/trauma/fear/abuse, release unfelt and unexpressed anger, and forgiving ourselves.

As I mentioned in my last email, I’ve been healing from some serious health issues, one of which is an infection in my uterus. Ever since being pregnant, which was high risk and stressful with multiple stays in the hospital and ended in an emergency cesarian at 33 weeks, I’ve had a slow journey back into loving myself wholly.

My recent retreat experience once again affirmed for me the importance of coming together as women. It was also very timely, with the impending celebration of Mother’s Day in various countries of those participating.

We were an interesting group, not only in our diversity from countries represented, languages spoken and life experience but also in our relationship to having children. Some were mothers by choice, others by accident, another by force, and others not mothers not by choice (ie they wanted to have kids and hadn’t been able to have them yet) and one without child on-purpose.

What was fascinating to me was that after one of the visualization sessions and debriefs, the childless on-purpose person, a woman from Italy, exclaimed, I just realized something – “it’s really true what they say – we [women] are ALL mothers!”

You would be hard pressed to find a woman who isn’t or hasn’t been some kind of caregiver at some point in her life, therefore embodying the “mother” archetype even if she doesn’t have any of her own biological children.

It is in that vein that I am sending this love note and a gentle reminder- to all the caregivers and mothers.

Feeling the responsibility of looking after another life is tiring. It doesn’t matter how much we love it or whether we chose this life, being a caregiver requires energy.

This is why it is CRITICAL to commit to our own self-care.

WHY is this so important? Because when we push ourselves aside and don’t make ourselves a priority THROUGHOUT the day and week, one of two things happens. Either we consistently numb out from the pain of self-denial, or we have a blow out because we are looking for escape, permission to turn off/shut down/or need a “reward” for our good behaviour of being good and taking care of everyone else all of the time.

When we are not consciously and consistently making sure our own needs are being met, we are more likely to reach for or resort to the try-and-true and often unconscious choice of alcohol, food, or some other habitual form of numbing out.

Does this sound familiar << Test First Name >>?

A theme that came up recently amongst my clients was how self-care sometimes feels selfish.

During one of our group coaching calls, it was inspiring to hear my co-coach Matthew encouraging us as women to shift the story from self-care being selfish to selfFULL.

Here are some examples that clients have committed to this past week: (names changed to protect privacy)

– Robin is going to be loud and proud about how good things are. Her training has been to shrink and downplay her accomplishment or adventures. As a mama of 3 and successful entrepreneur, she’s decided to step fully into celebration mode after a recent divorce and separation from her husband of 18 years.

– Lara’s husband often comes home from a stressful and demanding day at work resistant to connect and needing alone time. Lara, on the other hand, has spent the entire day at home and is longing for connection. She has committed to asking for a connecting hug and kiss hello from her husband before he retreats.

– Megan is going to YES to annual company concert that she’s wanted to go to for years but hasn’t because she didn’t want to leave her daughters (who are now 6 and 9)

– I committed to a three-day healing retreat last week and then traveled to Mexico City this past weekend to meet with another healer and do some “me things” in the city. I did have some “mom guilt” come up – should I be away twice in one week? But ultimately, I am healing myself and prioritizing myself and I haven’t really done that in a long time, and I KNOW that this is necessary to continue with both my work as a parent and coach.

Other examples include:

  • Getting up 30 minutes earlier to prioritize self before taking care of the family needs
  • Stocking the fridge and pantry with healthy and tasty treats to indulge in after a long day (because you DO deserve it)
  • Doing something mid-week that you would usually reserve for the weekend

I can promise you something. When you start to take more control of your own well-being, of taking breaks, of treating yourself, of meeting your own needs, of clearly communicating to those around you how they can support you or what your boundaries, you are much less dependant on others to meet your needs or become mind-readers to somehow know what it is that you want or need. Which also means that there is less room for disappointment and frustration.

So tell me << Test First Name >> how do you commit to being more self-FULL?

What is one shift that you can commit to this month?

I know that Mother’s Day can come with a whole mix of emotions. Be gentle with yourself.

Remember – you are LOVED!! You have support. By being here, you are connected with a sisterhood of other women committing to ourselves and by doing so, each other. This is no small thing. There IS strength as we collectively shift and stretch and grow.