All I ever wanted to be was a mom.
Until it happened. I got my wish and it was NOTHING like I thought it would be. Having my son nearly destroyed my life.
The depression, anxiety, trauma, panic, flashbacks – numbness, rage, fear, pain these are the things that motherhood brought me. There was a wall between me and the rest of the world. It was summer in the south and suddenly everything in my life was too bright, too hot, too much. I closed the door to my house, my heart, and shut the world out.
Fall brought recovery. Doing the work in therapy and at home. Taking my meds, eating, sleeping, learning about my broken brain and learning to mend my broken life. Fall was a time of rebuilding for me. It is still my favorite time of year.
And yet it was a summer day a few years ago when I came to the revelation that led me here. I met therapist Kate Kripke at a conference for survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and she said something that changed my life. She said that the next part of our journey was to “recover from recovery”. I don’t know if she was the first to coin the phrase, but she was the first to say it to me and I will be forever grateful.
We became mothers in the midst of trauma. We bonded with our children while we battled our brains. We know how to mother through the fog of war. Now that we are healed (or healing) how do we create new ideas of what healthy motherhood looks like? It looks like taking the time to discover who you are as a healthy person, as a healthy mom.
It looks like consciously designing your life to play to your strengths.
It looks like building community and connection.
It looks like being flexible and learning to trust ourselves.
It looks like having realistic expectations of ourselves and others.
It looks like being able to communicate our needs.
It looks like being able to manage strong feelings (and knowing when to get help).
It looks like finding confidence and courage.
It looks like having purpose and meaning beyond our children.
It looks like being able to see the big picture.
It looks like being able to laugh and to embrace humor.
It looks like being able to care for ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally.
It looks like being able to set boundaries on what and how we give to others.
In short – it looks a lot like resiliency.
We have done so much work to heal ourselves, our relationships, our families. And even still a lot of us are walking around with fresh new skin covering those wounds. We are sensitive, we are careful, we know exactly what there is to fear. Focusing on building our resilience and adding some layers to that fresh new skin is something that we all need, but is another thing that no one warned us about.
I created Recovering From Recovery to help mamas like me. I was recovered. I had my life back. But I was terrified of losing it all. My only experience of motherhood had been trauma, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and recovery. I felt like a brand new mom again learning to navigate life as a healthy mama. Focusing on resiliency led me to a new level of recovery and a new understanding of myself.
Then, I started focusing on it with my clients.
I wanted to know if these principles would still help mamas with kids who were elementary school age, middle school aged, and beyond. And the answer is yes. What ties us together is how our motherhood began – not how old our children happen to be now.
So how will this all work? We are going to work through it all together. Recovering From Recovery is a group coaching program for mothers who have experienced a mental illness. You do NOT have to have been officially diagnosed. You NOT have to consider yourself fully healed. You do NOT have to be ‘finished’ with therapy, medication, or anything else that helps you to be healthy.
You DO have to be ready to:
Meet with a group of fewer than ten moms once a week this Fall (September 9 – Dec 2). We will meet by video conference on the weekends. You can choose the Saturday morning at 10 am Eastern or Sunday evening at 8 pm Eastern group. Each week we’ll work through one of the Pillars of Resiliency together.
Week One: Welcome – Meet and greet your group, talk through our recovery stories, set our intentions for the Fall.
Week Two: Self-Care In Community – what are your strengths and weaknesses? Who in your life can remind you of the first and help eliminate up the second? How do we create community online and in real life that supports and fills us?
Week Three: Flexibility and Fear – are you locked into a routine? How well do you deal with change? How is your reaction connected to your experience of anxiety, panic, or mental illness?
Week Four: The Real World – setting realistic expectations of ourselves, our children, our friends, and families. Are we expecting too much? Too little? How to find that Goldilocks space in our lives.
Week Five: Communication – how to speak up for what you need and want, how to say no with courage and grace. What mode of communication suits you the best?
Week Six: Feeling the Feelings – what are the feelings that trigger you? How can we accept our feelings without getting lost in them? How do we know we need help with strong feelings? Who do we reach out to?
Week Seven: Confidence vs Courage – what is the difference between the two? Which one do we need to focus on? How can we cultivate them in our lives?
Week Eight: Wide Angle Lens – when you pull back and look at the big picture where is your life headed? What is it that you want?
Week Nine: LOL – a sense of humor can be the biggest weapon in our resiliency arsenal. When was the last time you were silly? Ridiculous? Absurd? What is your humor style and how can you integrate that into your life?
Week Ten: Self-Care – How can you care for yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually? What do those concepts mean to you?
Week Eleven: Boundaries – What boundaries do you need to set or need help holding? How can you model healthy boundaries for your children and your family?
Week Twelve: Wrap-Up – Where do you go from here? Next steps.
Each week we’re going to spend between 60 and 90 minutes in community with each other. Groups will be made up of moms who are survivors of postpartum depression, anxiety, or OCD (or a mix). No group will have more than 10 members. This is a space to be honest and brave with each other about where we are and where we want to be. We need to keep groups intimate for this work to happen. I will lead you through these discussions and yes, there will be homework each week!
Who Is This Program For?
This is for you if you consider yourself a survivor of a maternal mental illness. If you use the word ‘had’ to describe your experience.
If your experience was years ago, your children are older, and you know it still affects you this is for you.
If you are newly healed and just beginning life after recovery, this is for you.
If you never were formally diagnosed this is for you.
If your postpartum anxiety is now generalized anxiety or if your postpartum depression is now clinical depression, this is for you.
If you never told anyone about your experience, this is for you.
If you are an advocate and peer supporter, this is for you.
If you are a therapist or coach who is wonderful at helping others but needs some help for yourself, this is for you.
If you lived through postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis or a traumatic birth and you want support to help live a happier, healthier life this is for you.
Our meeting space will be on Zoom. You’ll get a link from me to join the group and you can do that from your phone, tablet, or computer. It is a video chat format, but if you’re more comfortable not being on camera that is perfectly fine – the video can be turned off and you will still be able to join in.
We will also have a space on Mighty Networks. It is a group space similar to Facebook Groups. I’m setting up over there so that you have space where you can focus on YOU without getting notifications and pop-ups. It’s free and can be added to your phone or accessed online.
Are you ready to do the work, mama? I’m always excited about Fall, but this year I truly cannot wait. The cost for the program is $200 upfront or $75 per month. If you need a payment plan that is more flexible please let me know and we will work something out. If you would like to sponsor a mom in the program that would be wonderful! Email me: email@example.com.
After you choose your group and payment method you’ll get an email from me with a link to set up an intention call. We’ll hop on the phone (or on video chat if you prefer) and talk over some of your recovery experience and set intentions and expectations for the program. You’ll be able to “meet” me and get any last minute questions answered. I will be closing registration for Recovering From Recovery on August 19 at 9:30 (my bedtime) so that I have enough time to speak with everyone who is enrolled before we start.
If you have questions about who this program is for, how it will work, payment plans, or anything at all please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can click here to read what others say about working with me!