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From Fraud to Feeling Fantastic – My Story

This here is a part of my book, to be published… when and how, that I don´t know. These days I´m good with not knowing. I feel it in my bones that my story can empower mothers and fathers to find their true selves, and ultimately become as loving and nurturing to themselves as they are to their children. I hope you enjoy this, and I would love to hear if you´d be interested in reading more?

It´s Never Too Late to Grow Up

For a very long time I was bitter and angry, always blaming others for my unhappiness. I was coldhearted and needy for outside validation. It was exhausting, having to appear to be perfect to be able to get the praise that would fuel my power for a while. I saw imperfection everywhere I looked, and it made me even angrier, since nobody else seemed to see it. I had to fix everything myself!

My two children never saw me sitting still. I was like a Duracell bunny, always cleaning the house, manically controlling everything and planning each day´s activities with military precision. I was sarcastic and funny (mostly making self-deprecating jokes about myself) and talking non-stop. I had a lively exterior with a permanent fake smile on my face, but on the inside I was crying. I realize now how scary and contradictory this must have been for my children. They saw right through me – their mother was faking it.

My daughter startled me once, saying she never wanted to get married or have children. On some level, I must have understood that this was because I wasn´t setting a very desirable example of what a woman´s, let alone a mother´s life would look like, but I was far from ready to examine the thought any deeper. I had my husband to blame for everything, and that was so much easier.

I was working at a maternity store, when my youngest son was born. I was already lecturing about birth and parenting, and I thought I knew it all. I was quick to judge, with no deeper understanding of… well, anything. My son was a fussy baby – to put it mildly. He had an expression of pure dissatisfaction on his tiny, judging face and rarely slept more than 15 minutes at a time. He made me question everything I knew, since nothing I did worked with him. I felt like a fraud and a failure. He started my awakening process, forcing me to feel deeper than the superficial anger I was always so quick to choose, for how could I be angry at a baby? I finally felt the burden of shame and guilt, and my batteries wore down. I was struck down with a level of exhaustion I didn´t know existed. I think I even cried. Once.

Things needed to change. I started by divorcing my long-suffering husband when my son was only eight months old. As a single mother I was forced to find ways to make our lives easier and more manageable, since I had no family around to help me. All my friends were like me – driven and angry. They had no time for me and my misery.

I had despised spiritual people, calling them useless airheads. I also couldn´t stand slow-paced, insecure, sensitive people. I had rejected so many people in my life and said NO to so many things. I was clearly avoiding something, but what was it? I started to read self-help books and, with my husband no longer around to blame, I started looking in the mirror. I didn´t like what I saw.

I had begun to read about the ego and understand how my anger was preventing me to internalize any life lessons, when life decided I was ready for a bunch of them. Out of the blue, my daughter, the almost invisible good girl, was rushed to hospital just before her seventh birthday and was diagnosed with kidney disease. My anger levels shot through the roof when I discovered there was no cure for the disease. The doctor´s couldn´t help us – so much for the easy and manageable life!

I sank into a bottomless pit of self-pity, taking my kids down with me. We were living in utter poverty, wallet and soul. For six months I played the role of victim with Oscar-winning bravado, only it was my daughter who was suffering and getting worse. There was no choice but to turn this around. For the first time ever, I used my raging anger to my advantage. Ok then, so AGAIN I had to fix everything by myself, so I rolled my sleeves and got to it – no more whining!

Another Chance at Life

I understood that if I wanted my life to REALLY change, I needed to do everything the opposite way than before, both inside and out. I started making big changes, using the fire from my anger to burn the old and to build something new. I made a list of what I didn´t know how to feel or do. I needed to focus on the things that were hard for me, to be able to find the peaceful balance I desperately needed to take care of myself and my children.

Less doing, more being.

Fewer rules and expectations, more freedom and curiosity.

Less making it all so complicated and dramatic, more making it simple and joyful.

Less impatience and excuses, more trust and taking responsibility.

Simply put: less fear and more joy. I started doing all the things the old me would have rolled her eyes at, judging them as pointless and childish. We started our own brand of “Giggles meditation and yoga”, we spent time in the forest hugging trees, participated in a GMO protest and just said YES to everything that came our way. Someone told me cat purring was healing, so we immediately got a cat (and now have three, one for each child!) People started saying I had gone mad.

My timid daughter was blossoming into a courageous and opinionated young girl, and even though she was still ill, the illness had no power over us. The more wild and adventurous I got, the more my old friends unfriended me. I didn´t care, because our life wasn´t just easy and manageable, it was better than ever! I started allowing love into our lives and met my husband-to-be. I started asking for help and ended up gaining a tribe full of like-minded women. I had a new family.

The worst thing that I could imagine, my biggest fear of my child getting seriously ill, ended up being the best thing that happened to me! My daughter let go of her fear, and I let go of my anger, by enforcing the opposites. I had opened up to all the emotions I had suppressed all my adult life: shame, guilt, apathy and sadness and by becoming whole, I had learned to love, trust and accept myself. I had finally grown up, taking full responsibility for my words, my actions and my emotions! After a year of relapse after relapse, my daughter finally went into remission, and has been healthy ever since.

I felt like I was given another chance at life, a chance to grow infinitely. I felt like a little kid with enormous amounts of energy, ready to conquer the world! I believed I could do anything I wanted. I trusted in a higher power that only wanted good things for me and my children and I was ready to FEEL my life – every single second of it. The power I felt inside of me gave me the courage I needed to take an even bigger leap of faith. I was so grateful for my second chance, I felt like I had to give back.

I quit my job and started helping other mothers who were stuck in a rut like I had been. Through my smack-in-the-face awakening I had developed a deep level of empathy and intuition. I sensed mothers´ unconscious needs and recognized their children’s often quite visible needs. I became successful through this quite natural talent I believe we all can master. I started my company Babyjoy by making postpartum home visits, blogging, giving lectures, helping in any way I could. I soon had the reputation of being a baby whisperer!

Sitting down with hundreds of women in the dozens of women´s circles I held in the first two years of my new career, I noticed the crying need for emotional guidance. All these amazing women were in the midst of an awakening in their new roles as mothers, unsure and trying to understand the process. They were feeling lost in the throes of deep and often scary, never felt before emotions – and they didn´t even have a vocabulary for their feelings! “I don´t even know what I´m feeling,” they would cry. At least these mothers had each other now, but father’s didn´t have anything! My anger fired up again – this can´t be right!

I took some time off to study emotions, with the belief that they couldn´t be bad for us or intentionally cause us suffering, since they were a natural part of our experience as humans. When I say study, I don´t mean I only read a bunch of books about feelings. After being a know-it-all and feeling miserable for it, I didn´t want to just take anyone else´s word for the truth. I wanted to find my own truth, to live it, to FEEL it to be true in my bones. I opened up even more and listened and learned. My biggest teachers have been my own children and all the children and the parents I have had the pleasure of working with in the past five years.

I grew up to be an adult when I was 38 years old and I have my daughter getting ill to thank for it. I had been suppressing my deepest feelings for so long that when I finally gave them permission to come out they came with force. I could stand to be still for 15 minutes at a time and then I had to start doing something. But I learned to be with my emotions, and today I can easily stare at a wall for a whole day. I am so proud of that! I am comfortable being alone, and my emotions don´t scare me, they are the source of my energy and creativity.

I used to be a know-it-all, now I´m a feel-it-all, and my life has never been so rich and fulfilling, both wallet and soul. I found my purpose in life by trusting my emotions, and today they are my most reliable guides in life. Accepting my incompleteness helped to heal my wounds, making it easy to forgive myself and connect to my loved ones on a deeper level. The lessons and stories I have shared about these eight emotions have touched thousands of people´s hearts, and I hope they will touch your hearts, too. Don´t just blindly believe in what I write, surrender to your emotions, listen to them and see how what I write sits with your truth. There is no one truth. I want you to find YOUR truth. There is no right way to be a parent, I want you to find YOUR way of parenting. I believe you can find your way by understanding your emotions.

Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your comments!

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