I’m sorry your Mother’s Day is hard.


I’m sorry if it downright sucks.


There are so many moms out there doing amazing things, and they deserve amazing Mother’s Days.


But the world gets so caught up in celebrating that if you’re having a hard Mother’s Day, it can feel really lonely.


If you’re feeling unseen, unheard, and unimportant today: I want you to know that I see you, I hear you, and you are important.


If you can’t be with your loved one’s today, I see you.

If you’re struggling to become a mom, I see you.

If you’ve chosen not to be a mom, I see you.

If you have a strained relationship with your mom or your kids, I see you.

If you’ve lost a child, I see you.

And if you’ve lost a mom, we share part of our story, and I see you.


Today, I’m thinking of you all and sending so much love.


I lost my mom to breast cancer just over 2 years ago. I remember everyone was shocked when they found out, they hadn’t even know she had cancer. But neither did we. She was misdiagnosed for too long. By the time we knew, it was too late for treatment.

I numbed out for a long time after losing her. I didn’t want to talk about her, because I knew I couldn’t hold back my tears. My coworkers were impressed out how quick I came back to work, but really I was just searching for a sense of normalcy and a way to numb out all the pain.


And so my first Mother’s Day without my mom – less than 2 months after loosing her – was just numb. I’m not saying it was healthy, but that’s just how it was. I let myself be numb and let Mother’s Day pass in hopes that the next year would be better.

But the second Mother’s Day without her was worse. The numbness was fading but it was replaced with anger. That day was the most bitter I’ve felt in my life. All I could think about was everyone who was having a great mothers day, meanwhile I felt alone and unseen. And on top of all of the bitterness, was a heap of guilt for feeling bitter toward all of the people who deserved great Mother’s Days.


I hid my bitterness. But inside I was angry. I was angry that an amazing woman had her life cut short. I was angry that people take their moms or their kids for granted. I was angry that I felt cheated out of that ‘best friend’ stage of a mother-daughter relationship that we had been cultivating. And I felt the angriest about never getting a proper goodbye.

The thing no one tells you about pain – whether it’s grief or something else – is how long it can take to get over it. I felt like I should have been over all of the pain, but that’s not how pain works.


Today is the 3rd year without my mom on Mother’s Day. And while most of the bitterness is gone, I still have no desire to partake in Mother’s Day this year. I’ll avoid the Mother’s Day section at the store. I’ll delete the advertising emails. And I’ll wait a few weeks before venturing out to buy flowers to plant in her memory.

This year, I’ll be thinking of my mom, but I’m not at a point where I’m ready celebrate her life.

And you know what? That’s okay.


If you’re having a hard Mother’s Day, I invite you to honor where you’re at.


It’s okay to be angry or sad or indifferent. It’s okay if other people are having a great day but you need to keep your distance.


Today, do what feels right for you. Take a moment to get quiet and tune in so that you can ask yourself what you need today. Now what other people say you should need, but what you truly need.


You might need a day of self-care. You might need to find ways to connect with the important people in your life. You might need to grieve and be alone. You might need to seek joy and gratitude in what you have.


Whatever you need today, take it. This is your permission slip. Honor this season that you’re in and know that it’s just that, a season.


I truly believe that we can find purpose in every season of your lives. But guess what? You don’t need to figure out your anger, your sadness, or areas of growth today.


Today, you can just be, let things be, and know that’s okay.


I meant it when I said you aren’t alone today.


Send me an email at shelby@thebeautifullifeplan.com or send me a DM on Instagram at @thebeautifullifpelan.


Much love,


Shelby



Hey there! I’m Shelby, content creator at The Beautiful Life Plan!


The Beautiful Life Plan is a guide for intentional living. But to be honest with you, this blog flopped around to a lot of different topics for a while when it was just a side project alongside my day job as an interior designer.

There was a point in my life where I didn’t really know what I wanted out of life. I had graduated college, gotten a decent job with coworkers I adored. But I wasn’t fulfilled by my job, and there were a lot of other aspects of my life that were, quite frankly, on autopilot.

But life hit me like a brick wall when I lost my mom.


Eventually, after the sudden blow, the realization kicked in that I was living a life that didn’t feel whole and purposeful, and that it could end at any moment. The only way I can explain it is that I needed to find purpose and create a life worth living – because otherwise, what was the point of it all?


For me, waking up to life is a slow awakening. I eventually left an unhappy relationship and dove headfirst into everything personal growth. Then, I quit my job to head out on a 7 week solo road trip across the U.S. And the whole time, I only had a vague plan for growing this blog when I returned home.


Right now, you’re meeting me in the ‘grow this blog’ phase. It’s messy, but it’s beautiful – just like life. In everything I’ve learned in the past 2 years of this wild ride, the thing that’s stuck most is the idea of intentional living – living life on purpose. It’s what helped get me off autopilot so that I could start living a life that was full of meaning, and that makes me feel whole. 


It’s not perfect, and it’s not easy. But it’s what truly resonated with me, and I knew I needed to share ideas on intentional living with the world. My intention for this blog is to help connect other people with ideas and plans to help them get unstuck so that they can start living their life with purpose. 


I run on coffee, yoga, and cat snuggles. Most days, you can find me writing with one cat sitting on my lap, and the other curled at my feet. In my office, there’s always a diffuser running, a yoga mat on standby, and a big pile of books next to my great-grandpa’s rocker. 

I’m so glad you’re here and that you want to live your best, most beautiful life.

Updated: May 15




What are the facts about maternal mental health?


  • 2 in 10 women have a mental health problem

  • Over 75% of women do not get diagnosed and do not receive adequate treatment and support

  • Not having adequate treatment has consequences for the mother, the baby, the family and society in general


Why should maternal mental health be a priority?


  • To give more visibility to this problem

  • To combat social stigma

  • To improve detection (diagnosis) and treatment

  • To earmark more resources to maternal and infant mental health


I think it's important to shed some light about our struggles with mental health. One of my favorite quotes is "Dark is a way. Light is a place," from a poem by Dylan Thomas. It's also the title of an album from my favorite band, Anberlin. I think what it means is that there is going to be so much pain in this lifetime, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth losing a single moment of it because at the end of the day there is going to be Hope. There is a better life out there you just have to find it for yourself. It's up to us to create meaning by intentionally making the most of our time on this earth.


Life isn't black and white. It's light and dark. Physically, there can’t be light without darkness. We are literally floating in space through the vast and infinite darkness. We are all connected through the universe and are collectively going through a lot around the world during this pandemic. We can't truly appreciate happiness unless we've understood pain. Life is cyclical. The moon cycle. Sleep cycles. Life cycles. Season cycles. Hormone cycles. All the planets are shaped like the clocks and we are constantly rotating through infinity. How fascinating is it that we are part of this beautiful experience?


When we look up, past the clouds and night sky the moon can only be seen as a result of the Sun's light reflecting off it. It does not produce any light of its own. Our children can’t thrive without us, like the moon needs the sun to illuminate the sky at night. Every morning the sun rises without us asking to. Flowers die, animals, die, and sadly people we love die. Seeds can be replanted. People and animals are born again. This life is precious and beautiful. It can also be dark and traumatic. Our spiritual beliefs draw us to a higher purpose and ultimately, we can make the world a better place, no matter what our beliefs. Our souls can still live on through love and spiritual impact.


From my experience, it's not always been a spiritual one, but as I grow older, I am open understanding life instead of staying stuck in "why did life happen to me" mode. It's a negative cycle to break but life is meant to be lived abundantly and with intention.


It ultimately took losing my dad unexpectedly to suicide, watching my mom relapse through a mental psychosis multiple times with schizophrenia and almost losing my husband to peptic ulcer disease. In that order. I lost one very important person in my life but it took losing almost all three to change the trajectory of how I became intentional with how I live and love others. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride that I couldn't get off of. It was a constant cycle of allowing life to happen to me, feeling burnt out, depressed, and at some points ready to get off of this ride of life. I wanted a refund for my admission ticket to this world. I was stuck. It was terrifying to stay stuck for many years through childhood through my late teenage years til I turned 24. I'm only 25 now, and hopefully 25 years down the road I will continue this path to healing knowing it's not always rainbows and butterflies.


I went through so much trauma through childhood and adulthood that I still battle with depression and anxiety. But this path hasn't been linear. I felt disconnected from my mind, from God, my body, and the people around me when going through postpartum depression after my son was born. It's a dark place you don't ever think you'll escape from, but trust me it's so worth it if you just hold on. It's like as a parent, when you are replaying your childhood and finding ways you want to break the cycle for your child to prevent the heart break and loss. It's heart breaking to go through so much loss and traumatic events, because we would never want anyone to experience any of those terrible things but I've found that our breakdowns create breakthroughs.


When my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I had a million thoughts of how and if I can I advocate for him and to speak on his behalf because he is nonverbal. There's no prognosis of when he can and will speak, if at all. He mumbles and gives me kisses, and communicates non-verbally. As his mother, it's my duty to discover his needs, find his voice, and help him feel loved and understood. I dreamt of the moments I am living today with my little family. I am ever so grateful to be here because my journey has led me to where I am today. Without it, life would be much different.


So when we are battling our own darkness, chances are, someone is going through the a similar situation. If no one asks how you're doing, no one would know. That's where I've learned it's important to ask for help. To reach out. To share our stories with one another. I'd rather be seen as vulnerable than suffer in silence and not have the opportunity to help someone see the light at the end of the tunnel. We connect on a deeper level through ways we can relate to one another. That's why we call them relation-ships.. see what I did there.


My husband has told me how he appreciates my dark humor. It's not something I share with everyone, but he's shed a lot of light in my darkness that has allowed me to heal because I've felt seen, heard and loved by him. He taught me that when you're laughing, you're healing. It's a better coping mechanism than drugs or alcohol, believe me I know. It got me thinking of how we heal when we feel seen and heard. How we respond to certain situations or conversations is a result of how we cope through trauma, with mental health, how we choose to live and be intentional with our time. That part of me has been disconnected for so long. My body and mind have responded in ways that have manifested through anxiety and clinical and postpartum depression.


I want to give my children a life that they don't have to spend so much time healing from or unlearning toxic patterns that have manifested through generational trauma. I’ve been on the path of holistic healing and over the course of time the disconnect within me is from trying to do this alone. I can’t do this alone, without my husband, my son, God, my friends, family or the beautiful people whom I’ve connected with online that I hope to meet someday. I truly believe our experiences and stories help shape us and the people around us. I could and some day aspire to write a book to help other moms, but basically if this blog post can be a guide or dose of inspiration for you, then I feel I have made some impact in hopes you find your path to healing, too. It's certainly not linear. Nothing is. I think our paths to healing are cyclical, too.


When you share, you heal.

When you create, you heal.

When you write, you heal.

When you move, you heal.

When you dance, you heal.

When you laugh, you heal.

When you love, you heal.


When you heal, you help heal others, too.


It's why I've founded the Motherhood Spectrum.


More than 75% of women who suffer from mental health disorders go un-diagnosed and un-treated. This results in suffering for the women, their babies, as well as their partners and families. They may feel alone when experiencing depression or anxiety during or after pregnancy. Let’s pass the word that you are not alone and these disorders are treatable with or without medication.


It’s important to speak up – the sooner you get help, there's hope and the sooner you’re on the road to healing. We are all on the path to healing, no matter what direction or lane we are in. Our destinations are all the same.


If this inspires you to share your story, please tag me on instagram.com/dena.doolin so I can support you to help raise awareness for mental health issues so that more women will get treatment and fewer will suffer.


If you'd like to continue the conversation about your story with mental health in a safe space and connect with other women, our fb group The Motherhood Spectrum community is open for you. You can join for free by clicking here. We will be sharing weekly prompts, conversations surrounding personal growth and resources to help you live your best mom life. Hope to see you there!

Updated: May 15





Women are caregivers by nature, and yet we rarely include ourselves on our kindness to-do list. But the truth is, putting ourselves second serves no one. It can lead to poor health, low productivity, and burnout. Self-care is essential for our overall well-being. In fact, not looking after ourselves can actually be irresponsible: Our health impacts how we feel and how we connect with others, as well as the world around us. Here are the reasons you should kick off a self-care practice today- and simple strategies to get you started.






1) Your day will improve because you choose to focus on only what you can control


When there's just so much going on that your brain can't seem to keep track of anything, it could enhance your anxiety levels. Worse, operating from a perpetual state of anxiety could lead to careless mistakes.


Taking time away from the madness can help you regroup and resharpen your focus. An invigorating day (or afternoon, hour, or weekend) of all play and no work can help you reboot.



Here are a list of self care activities you can do to calm and ease your mind and body:


  • Watch a funny movie

  • Spend time with family

  • Read a book

  • Do a fun activity that makes you feel good about yourself like drawing or coloring

  • Go outside with a cup of your favorite beverage and just breathe.

  • Put your phone on 'do not disturb' and take a bath.

  • Pray and/or practice spirituality

  • Indulge in a feel good treat

  • Have a glass of wine... or five.

  • Journal what you're currently feeling and how you want to feel

  • Make a brain dump to get all the thoughts out of your head and onto paper

  • Write down all the things that bring you joy

  • Write down a list of things you can control vs what you can't

  • Take a nap when your child naps.. because lack of sleep isn't good for anyone

  • Do a quick 5 minute declutter to clear your surroundings and your mind

  • Call or text a friend/family member

  • Listen to your favorite feel-good music

  • Watch a sermon or personal development youtube video

  • Listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook while doing a mundane task. I like to do this when doing laundry because who likes laundry anyways? I've never met a person who does. Kudos to them, though.


2) Your relationships will get stronger - because without self care, you can't pour from an empty cup


You are one half of every relationship you're in, and if you feel spent, cranky, uncomfortable in your skin, it's hard to be present and available for others. Have you ever said (or thought) "Just leave me alone," or snapped at your partner saying something super passive aggressive because you're depleted and stressed out? I've been there plenty of times. Give yourself grace. Regroup your unwanted feelings by bringing awareness that you can in turn react better.


How can we possibly deepen our relationships when we're so down on number one?


3) Tuning into the needs of your mind and body reduces anxiety


When you are consumed by anxiety, your body then responds to your mind. There's a fight or flight method that we either avoid or we welcome the pain and we then focus on ways to remedy it. Our gut doesn't lie, kind of like when Shakira sings "hips don't lie." But really, you will find that you will feel better when you focus on ways to ease your mind and body.


For me, when I do yoga poses - which as a newbie to this whole thing, I've learned to slow down and tune in to my body and mind. Just taking 5 minutes of stretching and doing yoga poses will leave you feeling more relaxed and reduces your heart rate from skyrocketing when you're stressed.


Whenever you feel stressed and anxious, ask yourself how you want to feel. What would bring you joy? What are ways I can make myself feel better in a 5 minute span?


Your muscles and mind are at ease when you do slow down and practice yoga. It truly feels like a breath of fresh air - for your mind and body! But let me tell ya, when you breathe deeply and become aware of your body's movement - you don't think about what is getting you down. Unless you're downward dogging! Pun intended 😉


Something important to note:

If you've seen lotus flowers and always think of yoga - that is because the lotus flower is a traditional yoga symbol and has been used by poets to inspire strength in adversity, seeking beauty in all things, and continuous progression towards enlightenment. The Buddhist lotus flower symbolizes the mud the flower grows in. The mud is a symbol of the unpleasant state of our human lives. Practicing yoga helps us work through mental and physical barriers to seek clarity and peace.


Here are a few of my favorite self care apps I like to use to tune into my mind and body, practice meditation, do yoga, and track my cycle

Mindful Mamas Club | Self Care and Mindfulness for Moms


Moody Month | sync your cycle with the weather and moon


Simple Habit | Download to receive two weeks of premium meditations for free


Shine Text | Daily meditations and a supportive community

If you find this post helpful and need a guideline and want to keep to a self care routine, download the 3 Self Care Pillars and Weekly Intention Checklist






Cheers to practicing self care & overcoming overwhelm! We're all in this together!

Dena

© 2020 | The Motherhood Spectrum, Dena Doolin