One year ago, I saw my son’s birthmom for the last time. She had come to spend the weekend with us for Noah’s 6th birthday, and it is a weekend I will never forget. We explored the mountains near our new home, roasted marshmallows over a summer bonfire, and poured love on the amazing little boy who had brought us all so much joy.
Before she left, we took photos on our front porch at sunset, and I marveled at the miracle of open adoption. I snapped a photo of her kissing Noah’s cheek, never imagining that it would be the last photo I would take of them together.
Three months later, November 2017, Katie took her own life after a long battle with mental illness. I recorded this episode a few days after I received the news of her death. As I grappled with how I could possibly face this loss, I decided to share “Three Messages of Hope for the Darkest Times.” Within this episode, I talk about my journey with infertility, which ultimately lead me the miracle of Noah and his beautiful birthmom, Katie.
I re-air the episode today in honor of Noah’s birthday, which I always shared with Katie.
Infertility and Adoption Grants: bundledblessingsfertility.com
I want to meet you!
-Rediscover YOU! Workshop in Utah (September 28-29): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rediscover-you-workshop-tickets-47833978718
-The Pearl Conference In Las Vegas, NV (November 17): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-pearl-conference-a-conference-for-mothers-tickets-48097368524
The past few weeks at our house have been so busy that I’ve slipped into some negative self-talk and coping behaviors. Whenever this happens, I feel so frustrated with myself, thinking, “Rachel, you know better than this! You’ve learned great strategies in counseling over the past six years to help you stay in the positive!”
That’s when I remind myself that recovery isn’t linear. We can have little setbacks along the way, without being all the way back at the beginning. Yes, I’ve come a long way since the beginning of my therapy journey, but I’m still learning and practicing–and that’s okay.
This Encore episode is as much as reminder for ME as it is for you. I’ve recorded a new intro to tell you what’s going on in my life right now, and then I re-air what I consider to be one of the most important episodes I’ve ever published.
Whether or not you’ve listened to this episode before, I hope you will listen!
“The Surprising Way I Confronted my Eating Disorder” (narrative therapy): https://powerofmoms.com/eating-disorder/
“Listening to and Loving your Body through Intuitive Eating” (podcast on Power of Moms): https://powerofmoms.com/intuitive-eating/
Five years ago, I realized that I needed to go to counseling. I had been coping with stress and heartache through both undereating and overeating for almost ten years, and my negative thoughts about myself had become debilitating and all-consuming.
I sought treatment from an outpatient eating disorder clinic, and I fully expected my counselor to teach me how to control my eating; instead, my counselor went to the root of the problem and taught me how to control my thinking.
I learned that destructive behaviors (such as eating disorders) are part of a three-part cycle: we have a negative thought about ourselves, we then feel a negative emotion about ourselves, and we then cope with that feeling through a destructive behavior. In order to stop this cycle, we must have strategies to stop the negative self-talk that starts it all in the first place!
Whether or not you’ve ever struggled with an eating disorder, I think this episode will benefit you. I share three of the best tools that I learned in counseling:
1) Reject “filtered thinking” and embrace “big-picture thinking.”
2) Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend, sister, or daughter.
3) Use “coping statements” to help you re-center and stay calm in moments when you might spiral into despair.
I truly believe that almost no topic is more important for women and mothers–so I hope you will listen, and let me know what you think in the comments.
Listening to and Loving your Body through Intuitive Eating (podcast with Power of Moms): https://powerofmoms.com/intuitive-eating/
“The Surprising Way I Confronted my Eating Disorder” (full narrative therapy): https://powerofmoms.com/eating-disorder/
My experience was a little different than most mothers—I wasn’t the one in the hospital bed that night. I was standing beside my son’s brave birthmother as Noah came into the world.
After years of failed infertility treatments and adoption possibilities that didn’t go through, I was finally a mother.
Three years later, this time on a hot summer morning, we were blessed a second time. After going through Invitro Fertilization and an incredibly difficult pregnancy, my second little miracle was placed in my arms.
Sally Grace was bruised and battered from a posterior delivery, but she was here and she was ours.
And the focus of life just zooms in for a moment—for a day or two—and everything feels clear. There’s peace and perspective and happiness when a new baby joins your family.
But then the focus zooms back out, because it has to—because there are meals to make and families to support, and very complicated, very real adult challenges that come to us in life—
And even though you know that those babies in your arms are what you most treasure and what you want more than anything, there are moments when you wonder if you can really do this. There are times when you hardly recognize yourself in the midst of your discouragement or your yelling at your kids, and you mourn a little bit for the happy mother that you wanted to be—that still you want to be.
Motherhood is beautiful, magical, and good—but it is also very hard at times. We all have our own unique situations and struggles and heartaches.
The hard stuff will never go away completely, but what if we could minimize it? Manage it a little better? And what if there were simple things we could do as mothers to maximize the joy?
That is the premise and the goal of this podcast: to give moms like you and me practical, doable takeaways to try with our families each week—strategies that will help us create more meaning in motherhood.
Please listen to the entire introductory episode to learn more about being a part of the 3 in 30 Podcast community of moms!
Rachel’s writing on Power of Moms