This is a story about a Mother and a daughters relentless love, about what to do in the most challenging moments of our lives, about the promise of each-other in helping us stand again, and ultimately… about the kind of foundation Mother Well will stand upon.
Ladies… I’m not one that wades comfortably in the surface so I’m going to dive right in.
It begins with you, and your choice to say yes to your life.
My Vision for Mother Well began with me. My Heart’s Desire is to connect Mother’s back to themselves and the communities in which we are biologically wired to be a part of.
And it started with my intention to connect to myself, to love (the inner experience). That love would extend to my home, (the immediate outer experience) and then to my community (the surrounding experience). It was my life’s own pain points that were the deepest catalysts for taking every “next step” of this journey. Two devastating losses, and one wildly deconstructing postpartum experience.
I’m going to share something so powerful with you today. I’m going to share what happened when I began with me, and landed in community. When I loved myself enough to sit with my pain and let my purpose speak through it. Because that lead to the conscious ways that I now hold and love my family, and it sparked the fire that ignited my pursuit toward our greatest healing – each other.
My sister was killed in a car accident one year postpartum. After struggling through a Sadness that lasted close to 12 months, and just as I was beginning to see a new horizon, my Sister, my Jami, my heart and soul, she was gone. And with her went all of me for some painstaking time. In the days, weeks, months, and years following her death, I was torn down and rebuilt many times over. I knew that I would survive the postpartum darkness I was in, and that I would use my experience to help other moms navigating these now familiar-for-me waters. I then came to know that IF I survived my sisters death, I simply HAD to share my experience. Because, I knew, if I were still living it meant that I would have found meaning beyond the pain, and purpose beyond the devastation.
The combination of no seat belt, and over correction, not only cut Jami’s life here short but severed a connection in our families hearts that we have been learning to live, move, and breathe around ever since. Because that’s what our pain, what our profound disconnections, do to us. They rearrange our inner experience to such a degree that it forces us to either succumb in defeat or to grow right through what it’s appeared to make of us.
This encountered pain is strikingly similar to what postpartum, or motherhood, can be experienced as in today’s culture for many of us. Isolation, overwhelm, and lack of support have become our standard of care, but this is a radically new concept. Our consequent depression, anxiety, and mania are often a direct result of everything we’re lacking in our culture today. Our emotional pain is not a sign that something is wrong with us, it’s a symptom. It’s our bodies way of communicating that “something is not right here.” Just as grief is not a disease and the sadness that accompanies it is our bodies way, in all its wisdom, of processing the unimaginable. When we carry this sadness in the same intensity two years postpartum, two years post grief… it’s not an indication of our personal failure. It’s become a very loud signal, expressing as a chronic unmet need for proper care and support – beginning with ourselves.
And if you think I’m exaggerating, take a look at the statistics:
- 1 in 7 mothers get diagnosed with a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder – that’s over 23 MILLION moms
- Overdose and Suicide are among the LEADING causes of death in new moms
- The two top Google search hits for “Postpartum” is depression and psychosis
“Just in case you think postpartum depression doesn’t affect you, or you’re not a woman, or a mother – The way that we regard our mothers in our society is, in my opinion, a great barometer for our level of disconnection. Disconnection from nature, disconnection from culture, disconnection from community, from each other, and even from this concept which is stripped from every aspect of conventional medicine – of the soul. Disconnection from the soul.” -Kelly Brogan
So let me ask you… how are you being supported? And know, this isn’t about blaming the world around us. In a perfect society our needs would be so lovingly, immediately, and thoughtfully anticipated prior to our asking, then promptly fulfilled. Disconnection simply would not be. But, we live in an imperfect society with wonderfully imperfect beings often trying to do their best. So do let me remind you… this process begins with yourself, simply – but so profoundly, by owning that you are worthy of love and belonging. Don’t let your pain and disconnections become the worlds problems to fix, because too often you’ll feel neglected and betrayed. Let me tell you: there is no greater betrayal than that of being disloyal to yourself. YOU hold the power to rise in your life. Oftentimes you’ll find that to truly have your needs fulfilled by those around you, (because we do matter to and for each other after all) you have to recognize them in yourself first.
I encountered tragedy and made a choice to live. And mind you, it wasn’t personally so much because I felt this kind of ember inside beckoning me life. I saw mine. His name is Eli and he was all of one year old. As a bereaved mother named Grace so openly explained her choosing to live, after the death of her child : “I’m still standing because people loved me alive again. I didn’t want to live but they wouldn’t let me go. Love wins.” So, this life that I said yes to showing up for extended to how I show up for my family. The momentum created from staying awake, staying present, and staying “in love” to my immediate kin, generated an energy that awoken my need for each other at large. Because I hadn’t yet encountered the kind of peace that comes from “knowing we belong to each other” (Mother Teresa) and because there was still suffering in my family, namely my mom who was being swallowed by her grief, I reached out for support. (AKA I “recognized my needs”) I did this 2.5 years ago, looking to the church. When they didn’t respond I looked to the “obvious” community. In the physical location in which my mom lived. Preparing to write letters to 100 neighbors, 50 of which I began with, and zero of which responses I received before I *almost* gave up.
Until I sat with the pain of that disappointment long enough to lay down with it, or for it to turn into a fire that fueled me to keep pursuing what I was looking for.
Because I’ve noticed a common theme over these past couple years when it comes to mothers and women whose wounds have turned to scars, giving hope to others that our deepest afflictions can heal.
These women have been held in their grief. They have been held in their transitions, and their rebirthing. They have been seen, they have been loved, they have been supported and encouraged, and they have been lifted. Because a mother or a sister or a father or a person who is suffering, shedding, and awakening to their new life should never be expected to stand on their own. This is the responsibility we carry for each other as humans. That is our PRIVILEGE in being human – helping each other rise.
& so in a fiery and fierce attempt to claim support, I reached out to an organization called Together Rising. (Literally, I later found out, “To Get Her Rising”) and what we received was a response so loud and loving and determined, so strong, and brave, and willing that it overwhelmed me (and my mom) to tears many times over.
The (hundreds of) messages that came from those who chose to raise their hands for my family, messages that are now for you too, are this:
You are loved.
We belong to each other.
Your village is here.
We can’t do this alone.
People don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything. I say “I know,” but what I really mean is “I hear you.”
You are not alone.
You are so brave.
THANK YOU for reaching out.
Mama, your pain is valid. Mama, let us (all the other Mamas) carry a bit of your pain.
You are still meant to be here.
We are here.
“there is a whole world of support available for you simply because you asked. You asked and when you didn’t find what you were looking for, you asked again. And again.” Keep asking.
This miracle, is the kind of foundation I intend for Mother Well to rest on. The relentless conviction and deep knowing that You. Are. Not. Alone. And you were never meant to be. Your tribe exists. I am humbled, honored, proud, grateful, and inspired by the community that chose to raise their hands.
This is the same power, security, and “seeing” that belongs to each and every one of us.
This is my mission to bring this truth to your attention, as this kind of togetherness is what transforms lives.
Loving myself to life lead to being the greater expression of “me” for my family, and it led to a greater awareness of the kind of belonging and support we need from each other at large.
Beginning with me, ultimately lead to you.
And truly, there is no formula for belonging. Beginning with you, could have lead to me too. There is no one size fits all for connecting back to Love. You just begin. By saying yes, and yes again, and yes again, until you feel that yes within you and around you. Until you feel it so powerfully that you must give it away.
It’s the same current of pain that we all touch, differing only by various levels and stages we are in, in our lives. A mother’s grief over the loss of her child, and a new mothers grief over the loss and reintegration of her “self”, both ask of our environment the same thing. Love me. See me. Support me.
I claimed my yes in my greatest pain, and it’s there for the taking. When you can’t see the ember, you can still make a choice. Choose yes, because you belong, and someday you’ll understand why you didn’t give up.
Whether blissed out postpartum, finding challenges in your transition, or downright falling apart… You are worthy of love and belonging. If you are interested in hearing more from me, as I am on a mission to reclaim the postpartum period as a time of not just transition but transformation, drop your email in the form here. You’ll receive my free E-book: 5 Ways to Transform your Mental Illness to Mental Wellness. The pillars I describe in this honestly game-changing read have helped to transform my own experience in life. I made this for you with so much love and passion, because you were designed to feel good and to know your power. You have so much available to you to begin interacting with your life and health in a glorious new way. Also, if you’re not a mama? Sister… this was created for you too, in profound honor of mine. My mission here at Mother Well is of course for the Mamas, but the mission in my heart extends beyond all barriers. Motherhood gives rise to the rest of us, and it always counts the Sister.
I would love to hear how this post impacted you, so feel free to comment below or email me. For any readers here that have been apart of sending letters to my mom THANK YOU, and I hope it warms you up to see these photos and the love you have generated.
In so much love, Jessi
P.S. – Stay tuned for a Well Wednesday post each week and connect with me if you’d like coaching or further (local to WNC!) support.