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Markella Kaplaini - Your Identity Crisis in Motherhood is REAL!
Episode 232 • 15th February 2024 • The You World Order Showcase Podcast • Jill
00:00:00 00:51:48

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In this insightful episode, Markella Kaplani, discusses the challenges of transitioning into motherhood, societal expectations on women, and the concept of "matrescence." The conversation emphasizes the need for support and flexibility for mothers navigating their unique identities through different stages of motherhood.

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Transcripts

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Hi and welcome to the You World Order Showcase podcast. Today we are talking with Markella Kaplani. Markella is based in Athens, Greece.

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It's kind of a surprise to me. I didn't expect that, but welcome to the show. She is motherhood coach and empowers new moms to recover themselves through motherhood. Welcome.

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Thank you. It's nice to be here.

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Did you get started on this journey? Kind of.

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Well, I've studied psychology so my background is in psychology. I've been counseling for over 15 years. At the same time, I also found myself as a young person looking for a job and counseling. I ended up in special education. It was the only position being offered to me. And so I took it.

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And fell in love with it.

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And so I continued on a path where I kind of did both.

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And this gave me a perspective of how the family works. So I was doing adult and child counseling and at the same time, I was also doing seeing parents and helping children in their academic the academic space and special education for me is very much emotion based.

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You need to tap into the child's emotions first before you can teach them any tool. You can teach them the tool. They won't use it if they're not ready. If they're not emotionally at the place where they.

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Can use.

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It and so.

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I was blessed in a way of to see the entire dynamic of how a child's psychology works and how parents feel, and then I would see also adults with self esteem issues. Usually I had more so of a of women come to my office.

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It was mostly working on self esteem content.

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Evidence and such matters. And so when I became a mother.

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The first thing that happened is it really hit me very hard because I was a an I am the type of person that's a go getter, ambitious, wants to do everything. I have a million hobbies and things I take up and books I want to read and all these things I do trainings.

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After trainings and.

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I was under the impression, like I think most women are, that motherhood is yet another role, and since I've aced the other ones.

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In a way.

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Then this is just another one that I'm bound to do well in, because that's just what I do.

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And it didn't work like that. Basically that's what happened. It just didn't work like that.

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Let's just say that.

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Never does.

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Exactly. It was a lie. That's not exactly how it works. And so I started to wonder what's happening after for a while, being in a state where.

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I found myself in the middle.

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I wasn't enjoying motherhood like I was, quote UN quote. Supposed to at the same time, I wasn't clinically depressed, so I didn't have postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. I wouldn't be diagnosed if I went somewhere, but I was stuck in this middle space where I felt like nobody got me, so I was either supposed to be at a.

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Clinical level so that it would be her hormones are out of whack like they say, and so she's excused.

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Or I would have to be in a place where I'm.

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Supposed to feel.

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Joy all the time and I was in neither of these places and I was just expected to snap out of it and go to the place of joy. And it I wanted to, but I couldn't get there. And I was wondering what's happening. So as I started to put.

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Things together, I realized that.

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I started bumping into things in my through my own experience and practice with other women in the past and thinking through the issues that I had helped parents with. And I realized what was going on. I started looking into it and became very, very passionate about helping mothers because I realized how just how much, even though I had seen this before.

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Becoming a mother, I realize it even more just how much we expect from.

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Others, but how little we support them, we are there for the pregnant woman and we don't let her do anything and we pamper her and then the minute she has birth, she gives birth. It's kind of like she's left to her own devices. She's supposed to figure it out. Nature will take its course. You're supposed to know what to do because you know there's been mothers for.

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Millions of years. You. You know what you're doing.

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So there's this. This huge expectation with this very, very low support system, everything that a woman gets support for as she becomes a mom is baby centered. How to help the baby, how to understand the baby, how to breastfeed if you choose to breastfeed sleep training.

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You know what to do, what to eat if you're breastfeeding. Umm, what to help your child eat. And all these things. There are millions of courses and books and seminars, but all of them are centered around helping the mom help the child, which is wonderful.

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But how about helping the mom herself?

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And how about the expectation that Mom has around all of these things? I can remember breastfeeding my first child and thinking I'm supposed to just sit here and stare at this child and awe and wonder.

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As I had more kids, I realized, you know, you can read a book or watch television.

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It really doesn't matter. You're just feeding them.

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Yeah, right. Because.

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That there was this expectation.

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Yeah. And this is basically what led me to motherhood coaching. I decided I wanted to kind of combine all of the things that I love because I do love working with children, and I felt like it was very impactful to see children start to shine again. See that spark in their eyes again after they felt validated.

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After they felt that they were that there was nothing wrong with them and that they could conquer the things that they were told they.

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Couldn't. And so letting that go was difficult unless I would find a way to kind of combine what I wanted to do.

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And so I found that helping mothers.

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In a way.

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That's not critical because I felt like a.

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Lot of people that help with parenting are quite judgmental. Honestly, if we really think about it in terms of what they expect of parents so they're helping on the one hand, on the other hand, I felt like a lot of my.

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Colleagues, as I would speak to them.

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Had this kind of.

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Very, very particular way that parents had to be in order to be, quote UN quote, good parents.

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And I felt like.

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I wanted to give a little bit of more flexibility and a little bit more compassion and understanding to this space of motherhood because I feel that this in turn also affects the child. So we blame mothers, mostly mothers. We usually don't blame fathers. We usually blame mothers if there's something.

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That's troubling a child. So whether that is academics or that is emotional, it's usually the mother that we point to. All the mother didn't give enough attention. All the mother.

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Wasn't there, blah blah blah.

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But then have we helped this mother? Have we allowed her to give attention, or have we given her so many responsibilities and so little support that she couldn't possibly be there?

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What are we doing to rectify?

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Instead of just blame her for something that she wasn't able to fix, but now she feels guilt over and shame and this guilt and shame just puts her in a loop of behaviours that she doesn't want to engage in.

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So that's a very long answer to say why I decided to focus on motherhood coaching.

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I'm glad that you.

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Did it's I?

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Can see it.

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In my own daughters and daughter in laws, they just you. You become a mom and.

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And suddenly you're just expected to be.

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This different person.

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But you're not, and we don't have.

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We don't have the extended families or the large families that people used to have.

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Where you kind of learned about childcare and you learned how babies fit into the family and you could keep your identity still because they were just like.

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There were just another member in the family and they had their spot that because we have smaller families and people aren't having children until they're much later and they only have one or two, the siblings don't really understand what it is to take care of one another.

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And they don't understand when they experience.

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Birth and they bring another human into.

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The world they're like.

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You know, now, what do I do with it?

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That's exactly it.

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There's a lot of.

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Pressure to be different than the previous generation.

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And I understand because there is a lot of research that has helped us understand different parenting techniques in different ways of doing things. But at the same time, we are putting ourselves in a much more difficult situation now.

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So by on their in itself, like you said, society at this point is very individualistic.

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We don't have extended family and so we don't get enough support and we don't get to see it all happen and play out. When people lived in villages, you would get the parents and the parent in laws and the sisters, then the sisters in law and the brothers, everybody was just living around each other.

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In the same building, and it was so.

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Natural for let's say.

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Day your teenage daughter to watch your sister raise her baby and to be there and to take over at some points. And so then when she became a mother.

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Later on, not only was she also surrounded by a number of people who would just naturally take over, they were around. You didn't have to call them. You didn't have to feel like you're obliging. You didn't have to feel like you're a burden. Like many mothers feel now, even to their own mothers. So even those that do have support, do you know that I actually get mothers?

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Tell me. Ohh yeah. You know, I have my mother living in for a few months now that I gave birth. But you know, I don't ask her for help. I'm reluctant to wake her up in the middle of the night even though I don't get to sleep because I should be.

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Able to do it on my own. She's leaving in a month.

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I should be able to do it on my own. There are single mothers doing this. I should be able to do it on my own. Like you know, it's not her decision that I had a baby. It's not her responsibility. So I feel bad to wake her up even though she willingly came for this reason.

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So this we have this tendency to feel like we're supposed to do it on our own because we haven't seen this, this sharing of responsibility and also this and the in the example, this teenage daughter that was there and watching all of this when she becomes a mother, yes, she.

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Is a natural.

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At it. But what does that mean?

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Well, she's seen it in a way. She's raised babies. She's seen other women raise babies around her. She's taken some responsibility. She knows what it's like.

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Like, but now we're not naturals at it because we at when we were young, we were never exposed.

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Exactly. That is my point exactly. And if you're disconnected from your mother, as some of us were, you're really at a loss. When I can remember when I had my first daughter. And she's like 41 now. But I didn't know anything.

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Babies. I wasn't around other people who had babies at all growing up because we moved around a lot and I didn't have any extended family that I was particularly close to. So I had this new being and I had a job and the working.

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Moms, when you throw that into the mix, the guilt is just like through the roof. It's like I have no idea what to do.

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With this being.

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And I don't.

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Even know who?

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Who I am anymore? It's like a my mom. Am I a work person? Am I?

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Right when in the past, before motherhood, the identity was quite clear because everything else is just a role. But going back to what I was saying when motherhood smacked me in the face as I started to look into it and I started to specialize in this, I even did a training.

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I figured out about this thing called mattresses.

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Which is purposely named like and sounds like adolescence. It's a term that was first coined by an anthropologist, Dana Raphael, and she was basically describing this passage. This rite of passage into motherhood and what it's trying to say is that.

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All these things that adolescents have the hormonal changes and the physical changes and the emotional changes that are accompanied by mood swings and all these things.

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Am women goes through as she enters motherhood. So we're talking about an entire identity shift like an adolescent tries to figure out their identity during the teenage years. The mother is figuring out this new identity that forms. So it's not just another role that you add and you say, OK, I'll conquer this one. Like I've conquered the others. And I'll.

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Adjust. Then I'll balance. And so, so many mothers have such guilt. About the fact that they're not able to find this balance in life, that they're told they have to find. But this is not an added role. This is a whole identity shift. Who am I now?

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And by identity shift, that means that all the other roles will be affected. So my identity was A and I had these roles and this is how everything functioned. But now my identity is B. How do these roles function around this identity? We're talking about a huge transition and by not recognizing this and the fact that you know, I speak about mattresses.

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And everybody is in awe like ohh you know, most people will say I've never heard.

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Of this before.

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The fact that we're not aware that this is the process means we're not supporting mothers through this process. We're making them go through this alone and to feel like they're.

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Experiencing something very strange and so a lot of them end up feeling like they're bad mothers. I wasn't meant to be a mother.

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I've heard women say that I have said that myself, like I had a baby, but I obviously wasn't meant to become a mother because I'm having such a hard time transitioning into this, this this like, you know, if I really wanted it and if I really was ready, wouldn't I? Wouldn't this have been more natural and flowy?

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That's what we're led to believe, but it's not natural and flowy because we don't get enough support. We are not told that, hey, you know, your entire world will change, everything will shift and you will need some time to adjust.

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And it's OK to take the time. That's the one thing that I stress with anybody that I come across that's pregnant. It's like it's OK take that month after the baby comes.

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If you bathe three times that month.

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There's like rocking it, girl.

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You know, let some of the things that you hold yourself accountable to slide all you need to do is just, you know, keep that little thing alive, sleep when it sleeps.

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Be awake when it's awake. Let it rule your life for a little while, until.

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You get your.

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Footing because you can drive yourself crazy trying to be the perfect everything and.

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Figuring out who you are as.

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A mom it just like.

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So hard.

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It's a lot. It's a lot to juggle, along with the perfection that is expected of mothers.

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And a lot of times the difficulty lies in the fact that the perfect mother is very different from the perfect woman.

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By societal standards, the perfect women after feminism is a woman that is able to take care of the home but also rise to the top of her career and be able to do it all on her own. And even if she has a partner, she doesn't depend on the partner and she has her finances sorted.

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That's the perfect woman.

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The perfect mother is one that is fully fulfilled by motherhood. She only wants to be with her baby all.

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The time if, especially if she doesn't need to financially, she doesn't want to go back to work. She doesn't care about her job now because she's become a mother all of a sudden, all the things that she was passionate about.

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Are gone. Her hobbies don't interest her anymore. They they're, you know, she doesn't need.

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Them. So all of these things for me, for instance, being a person that I took up a different.

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Hobby every year.

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The minute that I became a mother.

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And it became very difficult. I had, uh, quite a vanity baby. I felt this pull toward my hobbies at some point, and I thought, Oh my God, what's wrong with me? I shouldn't want this. I shouldn't need this, like, in all of this chaos. What I'm thinking about is how do I go back to my jewelry?

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Speaking you know, but it's it. It was a part of me. It was my way of expression and creativity. It was my way of.

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Tell me and to deny myself. That also meant that.

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I was taking a bit away from who I was and not finding other ways right it. It wasn't making it OK to find other ways, so maybe I.

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Couldn't do jewelry.

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But I did need to be OK with the fact that I need to channel my energy some kind.

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Of way.

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So this this becomes a very big issue in motherhood that we're supposed to be this perfect woman and this perfect mother. And there's a very big gap between those two. And reconciling it takes up so much energy.

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Yeah. And it's the expectations of others.

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That you're thinking because you're right. There are like these two things and you can't. They're diametrically opposed for one thing and no one.

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Fills both roles.

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No one really fills either one of those roles.

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Perfectly. Either it's not possible to be that perfect feminist woman who has a job and rises to the top of her career and raises, you know, children that are well adjusted. That doesn't happen.

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I can tell you personally experience it doesn't.

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Happen I used to be that woman and then I was the other woman with my last three where, you know, I was home all the time. We homeschooled, we did all the stuff.

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Just being a mom is not a fulfilling role as a human being. It's part of.

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It's part of a.

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Of an identity, but it can't be your whole identity, because when those kids grow up then, then who are you? And you find a lot of women when they hit the empty nester stage.

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They're just like.

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They don't love their husband anymore because they haven't known their husband for all of these years where they were just focused on the kids and everything was around the kids and doing stuff with the kids. And there's also stages through motherhood. You know, nothing is ever static. And as the kids grow.

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Their needs change and you're able to do more things in your life and pursue other interests. And if the mom can be empowered to do the things that fundamentally are who she is.

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And she can she can.

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Retain some of.

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That it makes the kids life more rich and.

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And they start to see that it's OK to be who you are. You can have children and children can enhance your life, they.

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Don't have to like.

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Become your life, I guess.

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Right.

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You're describing it very well that that is part of mattresses that we were talking about before because mattresses basically says it's not just the so adolescence is kind of, it's finite it. It starts at some point and is set to end at some point. However, mattresses, because exactly of those stages that you're talking about the child.

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Growing becoming a toddler, going to school and then the second one coming in possibly and 3rd or 4th and then the kids leaving the house altogether.

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All of these are stages that children go through, but the mother's identity shifts because her role in their lives keeps on shifting. So these transitions keep on happening within motherhood. So what I do is a lot of it is focused on new mothers, who tend to struggle more, and usually I work with women.

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That are multi passionate that are multi talented that are very ambitious. And so that was a big part of their identity was achieving the next thing and the next thing and the next thing and then motherhood comes in and it just feels like ohh God.

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You know, I I've lost the game already. And so you know, I help them come to terms with the fact that you do need to work on the underlying issues that have led you all your life to be like this. And motherhood doesn't have to be a slap in the face and a failure. It can be a transformation where you.

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Are finally faced with the fact that what you were doing before no longer works. It wasn't good for you then, but it's not cutting it right now at all.

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And so you can use motherhood as a healing process really to look at stuff that you were hiding under that overachieving kind of attitude instead of feel like a failure and be disillusioned and suck it up. And also do the same thing you were doing before trying to be.

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Perfect in this area as well.

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So where was I going with this? So yeah, I was saying what you're saying is perfectly aligned with that because you end up at some point.

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Being left with nothing if your full identity shifts to children to your children. I don't necessarily believe that it's wrong because there are women that all their lives, since they were small girls, they thought of getting married and having kids. And so maybe what's fulfilling for them has always been.

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In raising children and being devoted there, I don't doubt that there are women out there that definitely feel fulfilled by this. But before getting into motherhood, who were you and what fulfilled you? And it's very important to keep part of that intact and to see which part of that.

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You're taking with you.

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So that as you described, when the children leave, how do you still if your need was to take care of children? How do you deal with that then?

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Do you maybe then go into a field of work where you get to work with children?

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Right. So there are options, but it is very important that we give ourselves this option and that for those, because the woman that I speak with definitely had a very strong identity before becoming mothers it when they, especially when they go into motherhood and decide that I need to devote myself.

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Completely. And they drop everything else.

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Then they've they're at a point where they become self sacrificial. They deny themselves pleasures that they used to have. They deny themselves parts of their identity that are very important and align with their values, so that when motherhood is not something that's that needs their daily attention anymore.

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It becomes very difficult to tap back into that.

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And it.

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Sometimes can cause the kids to actually be more dependent and less independent as they grow up. Also the helicopter mom that doesn't ever let their kids run around and skin their knees and.

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Climb on rocks and do things that.

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They probably shouldn't be doing a very dangerous, but you as a mom.

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Just should not know about.

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They need some of these experiences and.

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If you can help women understand that it's OK, you don't have to know what your kid's doing all the time.

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I know when I was growing up.

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The signal was the lights went on in the neighborhood. You needed to be home when the street lights came on. But beyond that, there were times when I lived in Japan when I was young, I was a teenager and I would go to Tokyo.

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Arguably the largest city in the world.

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And my parents, wouldn't I?

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Would we lived on a base?

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About a couple hours away from Tokyo and my parents would not even know.

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Where I was.

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They would not have any idea that I was in Tokyo.

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No cell phones.

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Yeah, that's my last.

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A foreign country.

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But there were trains, and I had a.

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Pass go anywhere I wanted.

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Right. Things are a little bit different than our society now things are less innocent. I think not like there wasn't crime rates before, but I understand parents who want to have a little bit more control. But like you're saying it could go to a point where your child can't breathe. But even if we don't talk about extreme cases.

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Like a mother that feels like she has the helicopter around her child, even if we just talk about a mom who is very careful about these things because she's read her books and she's been to a psychologist because I know parents and I applaud.

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Tell them I know parents that the minute that the woman is pregnant, they go to a child psychologist or a therapist and they start just.

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Preventively, working on things so that they can be up to date. And so let's say we're talking about this scenario.

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It's still something that your children see that you've denied yourself everything, and as much as you want to be fulfilled by motherhood, there is quite a bit of a chance that you're not fully fulfilled. It's only natural.

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And this does come out somehow, even by the example that you said, even if it's not on an emotional level and you really have found ways to be fulfilled in motherhood, your daughter, your son, watching you be completely there and do nothing else. What example is that setting? So what I try to do in my work with mothers is.

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Is because a lot of them are baby centered and that's part biology because we're wired to be centering our child 1st and so on. A positive note that makes us as we become mothers, our brain starts to work in we rather than I.

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And even the more selfish will become much more in tune with the world and the needs of others, especially as it pertains to their child. But.

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Even so, what happens is that they see.

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A mother that doesn't do anything else that doesn't have an I it's only a we. It's never an I. And what message does that say that? The mother that I absolutely love and adore and thinks she's, you know, she's the example for everything. She's my model, my role model. Well, she doesn't. She sacrifices herself for us.

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That's what true.

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Lovers. And then you see your child in a relationship that is not healthy. You see your child trying to gain love. And how do they do it? By sacrificing themselves. And then you wonder why.

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But that's the example we set and so I tried to take away the guilt from the mom that you know, you're not being selfish by keeping parts of you, you're actually teaching your child the things that you want to instill. You want them to be happy or you happy. You want them to do things on their own and keep parts of themselves and be independent even when they're in a relationship, do.

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You do that.

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They want them to take care of themselves and love themselves and be compassionate and not beat themselves up for mistake.

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Do you do that? Do you show them this?

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And boundaries.

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We have this.

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Illusion that you know, because I don't tell my child how I berate myself. I call myself stupid in my head, but I don't. I don't call myself stupid in front of my child. And I'm a perfectionist. But you know, I allow my child to do anything like, you know, I'm not perfectionistic. Ally on top of them. If they make a mistake.

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Yeah, but they see you how you treat yourself. It's an, it's the vibe. It's the energy. You are setting the ground for it. And I'm saying and I'm hearing it myself because.

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That's always something that I have to keep in mind that I have to keep working on myself, knowing that I do have that tendency to perfectionism and as much as I consciously have it in my head, it will come out.

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Yeah, it will.

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And having boundaries, having boundaries for yourself with your children, but also allowing them to have boundaries with you and respecting those boundaries.

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So important.

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For moms to understand, it's OK to have boundaries.

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It's really important that you teach your children how to set boundaries and to hold their boundaries.

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And to for you as a parent to respect those boundaries.

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It's an interesting shift in dynamics.

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That it allows a child to be powerful.

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Right. I think that the 1st way that we teach them when they're young is exactly like you said that we have.

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Boundaries and that we keep those boundaries so that, for example, when my son would say that he's disappointed that he's feeling sad when I would start working because I went into work slowly.

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But surely, uh, if I would say OK, I'll cancel today because you're disappointed.

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Then I would not be showing a clear boundary. I would not be showing dedication. I would not be showing consistency. These are all things that we teach by example first and foremost. But then as they grow older and they try to set boundaries, that's also what you're saying is yes, you have to respect those boundaries. So long as we're not talking about a life or death issue.

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It's very important to help them become empowered in having, like when they say no, it's a no and let them.

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Right.

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Figure it out themselves. What we're trying to say that this is going to be harmful, so if we're not talking about something dangerous, then let them figure it out.

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It's critical, but we've been told that a good parent is on top of everything and you know we I think at some point we became very critical with the previous generation.

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And yes, our parents have made mistakes. It's a given. All parents make mistakes. There were some things that they were taught by behavioral psychologists. And so part of it is not even their fault. Behavioral psychology told them to do certain things that they did. They told them that a baby crying is manipulating.

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So let it cry it out. And so we've got a lot of adults in our generation with lots of trauma, not knowing why they're carrying this trauma that dates back to a point where they don't remember. They don't remember that they were probably just left to cry it out, not from a mother that didn't care.

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But from a mother.

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That was shamed into thinking that if she were to respond to every cry, she would be allowing her child to manipulate her, and she would be making her child dependent. But because the baby doesn't know this, the baby was led to believe that it was unimportant, that it was not loved. And so we see a lot of adults.

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Hearing this trauma, and now that we know better.

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We've gotten to the other end of the extreme where we don't allow ourselves any part of us to exist. We think that any part of us is.

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You know too much is going to take away from the child is going to make them feel that they were not important. It's going to make them feel neglected. And so we've taken it to the other extreme, which is usually how it works.

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We usually go from 1 extreme to the other extreme until we reach equilibrium, and so I find that at this stage in our generation of parents, we do have the other extreme of.

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Trying to prevent all the stuff that we.

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Had to go.

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Through, but overdoing it in the process to the extent where we burn ourselves out as parents and as especially as mothers, because it we're still the main caretakers, caregivers.

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And this is where I try to come in and kind of bring a little bit of a balance that it's OK just because.

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You are giving yourself some space and some time, and you're slowly, you know, weaving your core identity back into your maternal identity. That will always be there and shape things just because you're weaving back your whole identity just because you are missing it sometimes doesn't make you a neglectful mother. It's not black or white.

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Exactly it.

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It's all a process and we feel our way through it and it's OK.

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Mostly moms need to know it's OK to be you. It's OK to do the things the way you want to do them. There's not a right or wrong way to be.

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A great mom.

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Just love your kid.

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And however, that looks for you, it doesn't have to be staring at it. Gazing into his eyes.

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OK.

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You know, if that's not you, that's fine.

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Your kids will be OK.

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Yeah, I think there is this unspoken rule that there's a manual out there that people aren't sharing and that's hidden in the dozens of books that we try to read until we give birth, which is like I'm talking about myself right now, right now that I was trying to having been.

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Having worked with children, having worked with children in the counseling space, having worked with parents having all that knowledge, so I even I have the background and I still.

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Fell into the trap of I need to read all the books and that I haven't read still and I need to understand what's currently going on and I need to know I had this this book of a week to week how a child is supposed to be growing up and showing signs of, you know, what their sleep pattern is and what their eating pattern is and.

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I wanted to have everything in a book so that I would be reassured that I was not breaking my child and I was doing everything correctly.

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And then at some point it just nothing was going by the book. And I felt like, oh, my God, I'm doing an awful job.

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Here and so we've been fed this lie, that there are books that will tell us how things will go and when things don't go, as we heard other mothers say, or the books say, we feel like we must be doing something awful. We don't trust our instincts anymore. We think that there were. We weren't fit for this. And so we need somebody else to tell us what it's supposed to look like.

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And then come in all the experts, right, so who do I trust? Because I had one mom come in and tell me that she had five or six breastfeeding experts come in.

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And it wasn't successful. And she heard very different opinions from all of them and.

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Their opinions?

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And then another one who had hired 3 sleep therapists and thankfully didn't listen to the first three and they kept on telling her very different things about the way that she's supposed to respond.

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To her child needing her in the middle of the night, and how she's supposed to train her baby to sleep. All these things we need to be very wary about and to be able to listen to our instincts about.

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What's going on?

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A little bit more. I'm not saying don't trust anything. I'm not saying don't read any books. I'm not saying don't see any experts, but what I'm saying is listen and follow with what feels right for you and your child and the specific child. Right. Because children from the same mother are quite different, right? And.

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They're all different.

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I have only one you can attest to. You have 5.

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I'm 5.

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They're all very different than we need to adjust every time.

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And when it comes to sleep?

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The three younger ones slept with me. The oldest was 12. When he they finally, like, decided they could sleep in their own rooms.

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Oh, oh God. I have a.

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Long way to go, huh?

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Yeah, and it was perfectly.

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Fine. My husband's a truck driver was gone most of the time, so I didn't mind. We had a king size bed and three of them slept with me. And it was. It was nice. I have a really close relationship with him. We.

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We had a.

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Lot of fun, but it was it was just exploring what worked for us and what works for one individual doesn't necessarily work for another and it's OK.

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Yeah, you know.

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How many parents get shamed for Co sleeping?

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I know it's so ridiculous and breastfeeding is another one that.

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You know.

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Oh, you can't get it right with breastfeeding, if you.

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Don't breastfeed. You've ruined your child forever. You didn't give them the advantages that breastfeeding gives, but then if you breastfeed, did you breastfeed too long? And then you got them too attached. And if you go into psychoanalysis and it's a, it's a specially if it's a boy, then it just they I think it's.

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Very detrimental, all these theories floating around and for people not.

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To be reminded a lot of times that these are all theories. They're theories and we get to choose which theory will work. And if you don't want to choose because you don't feel like you're an expert enough to choose, I feel you.

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Look at the research. Look at the most current research and see what's being said.

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And try it on and you don't have to like stay in it.

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I have a daughter-in-law.

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Who's she's breastfeeding? Her idea of breastfeeding as she pumps. She has this portable pump.

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And she just slaps them on there and goes about her day and she feeds her baby a bottle and it's great. He's getting breast milk, which is really important.

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But she's not having to sit there with the baby. She can have other people do it, but Nanas can do it. And I love it. But you know, he's used to being passed around a little bit and having other people help him. But he's.

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Getting breast milk and she's pumped a lot and I have another grandson coming in a couple of months and they've got like, milk for them because she had problems breastfeeding and she didn't know about the pump.

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These pumps that my other daughter in.

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Law had, though she's this other daughter-in-law is getting them this time.

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She's like I'm.

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Going to try that, but it's just the freedom of yeah, this is working for her. Great. And she shared it with her, her sister-in-law.

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But you know it's.

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It could work.

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It might not, and if it doesn't work, hey, I got a ton in my freezer and I'll just ship it.

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For example.

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Right over to you.

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We don't we.

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All live in the same town and.

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Right.

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Right, there's no one way. And then when we think of things that this way, that there's one way and that's the right way, then we become very trapped. When things don't go our way. And I see it a lot that there's this lack of flexibility.

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There's one way to do things, and for each mother it's a different way. So it's very interesting that they think there's only one way of doing things, and each one comes in with a very different expectation. If my expectation is, for example, to breastfeed, but to do it with the pump, if it doesn't work with the pump, because, for example, for a lot of women, they have enough breast milk.

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When they pump, it looks like it's.

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Little. And then there's this discrepancy, and they don't get it that, you know, no, you have enough breast milk, but the pump doesn't necessarily extract as much as you would have instead. So if they have a low supply and they want to pump and give it so that they can do the system that you're talking about, which you know, if I were to have a second.

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That's probably how I would have done it because I breastfed exclusively without pumping without a bottle. And so my son never took the bottle and at some point when I wanted to continue breastfeeding but not have to be the one that's exclusively doing.

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It uh, he wasn't. He didn't want it so.

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If you have that in mind, so let's suppose that I would have wanted to do this for the 2nd, but what if they didn't take the bottle anyway? What if even if I had tried it, if I try it very early on, what if they don't take it? What happens then? My plans are ruined. Oh my God. I'm going to be stuck again. Now. I'll have to do this. Or do I have? Do I stop breastfeeding? And is it OK to stop?

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To just deny breastfeeding even though I have milk and you know, and there's all this thing when.

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There could be flexibility and to be able to say that you know what it didn't pan out the way I wanted. What's the other best case scenario that also keeps me healthy?

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We think that the ultimate motherhood like you know, the ultimate mother, will sacrifice.

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All her needs.

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But there is a world where the child is perfectly cared for, and the mother also takes care of her.

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Needs and she does something that's not necessarily perfect by the book or by the best friend or by the expert next door, but it works well for her and it works just fine for her child. Yes, they could have had something better. So the child that's not breastfed. OK, yes, we know there are benefits to breastfeeding for sure.

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And I'm an advocate for breastfeeding, and I have a breastfeeding specialist that is amazing and I recommend to mothers. So the mother that came to me with five experts in the past, I sent her to mine and she was like Hallelujah, you know, however.

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There are mothers.

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Who will choose not to breastfeed, or they'll end up not breastfeeding and they'll feel so, so guilty and so shameful for not having been able to do it as if they ruin their child. But they're more healthy psychologically by not breastfeeding, and what the child needs more than anything is a mother who's able to be there.

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And is not breaking herself down, and that is so much better than the benefits of breastfeeding. So if you can be well and breastfeed, sure, go ahead.

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But if you're going to be completely misaligned, you're completely disillusioned and you have to sacrifice yourself to the extent where you're broke, breaking down. Then what good does this breastfeeding do to your child?

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Exactly I.

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So well put, I know you have.

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An offer for people that visit your website. It's called the five day miniseries to reclaim your identity.

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And we're going to put that in the show, notes the link to that in the show notes below. Marcella is there one thing you'd like to leave the audience with today?

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I think that as based on the conversation that we had, if I would leave one note, it would be that motherhood is an entire identity shift, that it's OK to feel like it's taking a while. And if that while is, you know, a few months or a year or two years, it's fine. It's part of the process.

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And that everything is going to change. So we need to kind of.

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Be more flexible in our.

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Understanding and our expectation of how things are supposed to work because we're basically taught somehow that everything goes is supposed to go back to normal and normal with quotations. Everything's supposed to go back and that actually keeps us from moving forward the expectation that.

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Everything is supposed to go back to how it was and that's the good thing.

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Is not allowing us to see motherhood as a beautiful transformation that we can use to our advantage to really move forward. We're not supposed to be going back. We're supposed to be evolving into something even better. So that's what my the what you talked about the free five day mini video series is.

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All about is kind of snippets because I know that moms are busy and so I created.

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Less than 9 minute videos where I introduce mothers and you know they can share it with their partners so that they're also aware of the processes where we I talk about mattresses and then I talk about the changing relationship with ourselves and the new identity, the changing relationship with our partner, the changing.

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That relationship with our work, our boss, and how we feel about work and how we can actually leverage this.

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Mom brain that we think is so bad to actually become even better. Our brain does change our brains. Chemistry changes the neurons are wired a different way. That actually makes us better at organization, better at prioritizing better at management.

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And so, even though organizations will treat us like we're less dedicated and devoted, and we'll expect that of us.

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And we'll usually put a ceiling over our head after we become mothers. We can actually leverage so much from motherhood in becoming even better at what we do. And lastly, I talk about the changing relationship with the world in a spiritual and existential way. So that's what the guide is about. And I think it's very important in one way or another. It doesn't have to be through.

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This video series, but in one way or another, that mothers or expecting new, even seasoned mothers yet to explore a little bit about this identity shifts and validate their feelings and normalize the process.

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So beautifully put, thank you so much for joining me today.

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Thank you for inviting me. It was lovely having a conversation with you.

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