Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

“Why do you need to go to therapy? You seem so happy! What do you even talk about there?”

When seeing a therapist comes up in conversation, I am often met with comments like this.

I used to feel a shade of shame and embarrassment knowing the implication here was that “unhappy” people are the ones that need therapy . . . and yet, there I was, returning to sessions week after week.

But now, years—many years—later, I have shed the shame and replaced it with love.

Self-love. Love that runs through me and floods out to my children. And I am proud of that.

You see, I am happy. I am genuinely happy.

But still, I choose to continue this process because it helps me take care of my health.

And in this season of motherhood, it helps me take care of my maternal mental health—something that is so often left to the wayside as new mothers begin to navigate their journey.

What do I talk about in therapy?

I talk about things that affect me and things that change me. I talk about things that happened to me and things that matter to me.

I talk about things that likely matter to a lot of other new moms, too.

I talk about how I wish I was better prepared for my first cesarean birth and that I was absolutely terrified the second time because of it.

I talk about how it makes me mad that I didn’t know what skin-to-skin was or why it was important when my daughter was born.

I talk about how completely overwhelmed I was by trying to balance having visitors and wanting time alone with my baby.

I talk about how I was so anxious for so long, how I never wanted to answer the phone, and how incredibly nervous I was to leave my house.

I talk about how my pediatrician was the first doctor to ask me how I was feeling—eight weeks after my daughter was born.

I talk about how I was pregnant with twins and didn’t know until I was told in a terribly insensitive manner at 13 weeks that I had lost one.

I talk about how I felt so little room to grieve because I was still so grateful to be carrying another baby—and how confusing that was for me.

I talk about how I didn’t get to hold my son until at least 12 hours after he was born, about our stay in the NICU, and about how my heart simultaneously ached for my toddler at home.

I talk about my continual hormone imbalances and stressful menstrual cycles.

I talk about my experience balancing a career and a growing family.

I talk about what it is like navigating parenting two toddlers.

I talk about how so few people talk about their inner changes in this season of life and how lonely and isolating that can feel.

And I talk about how it upsets me that when women try to be “real” with one another about things like these, we are too often met with judgment, shame, guilt, or overall uncomfortableness.

Sometimes it seems like it is more acceptable to joke about drinking wine every night or binge eating brownies as a way of coping than it is to talk openly about meeting with a therapist and holding a safe space once a week just for you and your thoughts.

Sometimes it seems like women want more respect and support from men, yet we still can often be so quick to silence other women who they share their truths.

Sometimes it seems like we hear a lot about how women need to support one another, but when we open up about our feelings we are called ungrateful, dramatic, or too sensitive. We’re often told to get over it, to deal with it, that it’s not that bad, and that it could be worse.

Here’s the thing: most women who are brave enough to share their stories are not looking for someone to tell them that they have it worse than anyone else. They are just seeking to be heard by another human being. 

There is a difference between being ungrateful and identifying areas in your life that need healing and validation.

There is a difference between complaining and being honest and looking for connection.

I share parts of my story simply to show these are just some of the retable and very common “things” moms are allowed to express out loud, as opposed to keeping them bottled up inside.

These things, your things—no matter how big or small you or anyone else believes them to be—matter and deserve the chance to be processed and acknowledged in some capacity.

I believe that deep down we all really do want to be there for each other, but we don’t always know how.

It is difficult to show up for others if we struggle to show up for ourselves.

We are afraid to know our own selves on a deeper, more conscious level for fear of uncovering hard truths, inner work that’s been left undone, boundaries that need to be set, and changes that need to be made.

We are afraid to share our stories for fear of judgment or abandonment.

We are afraid to be vulnerable even though motherhood is exactly the time we really want to be.

It’s time to end the stigma around therapy and other means of self-help—to stop equating it with weakness and to start viewing it as an effort toward achieving strength, peace, and responsibility.

It’s time to bring more awareness around maternal mental health—to be open to new ideas, to spread helpful information, to share stories that will unite us all as different as we may be.

It’s time to free ourselves of comparison and make room for compassion.

It’s time to rid ourselves of judgment and make room for tolerance.

It’s time to separate ourselves from criticism and make room for gentleness.

It is time for us to open up and make space for this journey of self-love and consequential, inevitable sisterhood.

There is a lot of information out there that is yet to be shared with or heard by many women who can benefit from it.

There are resources, people, services, medications, support groups, websites, organizations, books, articles, and friends out there waiting to offer a helping hand and healing hearts.

And so in whatever way makes sense or feels right for you—allow yourself to go there.

Allow yourself to do the work. Allow yourself to heal.

Allow yourself to love you—beautiful, powerful, magnificent you—the best way you can.

And watch the miracles continue to unravel—inside and out.

Your inner child will thank you and fulfill you.

Your children will thank you and inspire you.

Our world will be healthier and happier—because of you.

Originally published on the author’s page

You may also like:

Going to Therapy is Saving My Life

Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking It

Parenting With Mental Illness

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Amanda Motisi

Amanda Motisi is a mother of two, a teacher, and a certified holistic health coach. She writes about motherhood, parenting, education and overall health and wellness in an effort connect, inspire, educate and empower women from all over the world. She'd love for you to join her in her journey by following her on Instagram and Facebook, or you can visit her website here.

Memories are What Matter—Watch the Chevy Holiday Ad Making Us Cry

In: Living
Chevy holiday ad

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I find that this time of year feels fragile. I love the holidays, don’t get me wrong. But these days I recognize a comingling of joy and sadness that envelopes so many during this season. It’s a giant heap of emotion as we sort through the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad of the past year and try to make sense of where we are right here, right now, in this moment of time. So when I saw Chevrolet’s new seasonal ad last night, I was...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading

When You Need a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Living
Two friends having coffee

We have all seen them—the posts about the door always open, the coffee always on, telling us someone is always there when we need support. I have lived with depression my entire life. From being a nervous child with a couple of ticks to a middle-aged woman with recurrent major depressive and generalized Anxiety disorder diagnoses. Antidepressants, therapy, writing, and friends are my treatments. The first three are easy, my doctor prescribes antidepressants, I make appointments with a therapist, and I write when I feel the need. RELATED: Happy People Can Be Depressed, Too The fourth is hard. As I...

Keep Reading

When You Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

In: Faith, Living
Woman sad looking out a winter window

It’s hard to admit, but some years I have to force myself to decorate for Christmas. Some years the lights look a little dimmer. The garlands feel a bit heavier. And the circumstances of life just aren’t wrapped in a big red bow like I so wish they were. Then comparison creeps in like a fake Facebook friend and I just feel like hiding under the covers and skipping it all. Because I know there’s no way to measure up to the perfect life “out there.” And it all just feels heavier than it used to. Though I feel alone,...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Who Coach: Thank You

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother with young son in soccer uniform, color photo

I always planned on being an involved parent, whatever that would mean. Never an athlete, always athletic, I joined the swim team in high school, taught swim lessons for spending money as a college freshman, played intramural soccer at 10 p.m. on weeknights on a college team with a ridiculous name. Later, mama to only one baby, finding extra dollars wherever I could, I coached track. And then, my own babies really started to play sports. I promised myself I would volunteer as possible, but something always stood in the way, and all I could manage was to get my...

Keep Reading

Now That I’m There, 30 Doesn’t Seem That Old

In: Living
Woman holding a sign with the number 30 and chocolates, color photo

I turned 30 this year. The change of a decade has caused me to reflect a lot. This is the first time I’ve hit an age ending in zero and sort of wish I could go back a ways. At 10 and 20 years old I was still eagerly waiting to get older. That desire slowed down and stopped around 25 years old. Still, I haven’t lived my first 30 years with a lot of regrets. I have four little ones who call me mom. Some days they make me feel old. Often they keep me acting young. Dance parties...

Keep Reading

Give Me Friends to Do Everyday Life With

In: Friendship
Two women at a sporting stadium, color photo

She sees me coming. A small wave from her house window and a silent invitation to come on over for our morning coffee. An unsaid invitation to connect with someone who gets the joys and challenges of being a mother. A quick, small, and valued break from life and stress and my house messes has become the perfect way to start the morning. A neighbor who has become a dear friend. Prior to this encounter, alarm clocks were ringing, breakfast was made, backpacks were packed, and shoes were missing. School mornings are rough. Motherhood is rough. The world around us...

Keep Reading

Teachers Carry the Weight of Their Classroom in Their Hearts

In: Living
Stressed teacher sits with hands on temples

I would like to argue there really isn’t anything that hard about the doing of a teacher’s job. Oh, there are overwhelming, too much to do moments. And exhausting moments. And early morning, long day moments. But there isn’t really anything that hard about the doing of a teacher’s work. It’s the being a teacher that’s hard. For in being a teacher, your heart splits open with all the things you cannot fix and all the things you cannot do or cannot do enough of. When your heart aches for a family you barely know and you long to comfort...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendship Is Tested

In: Friendship
Two women friends hugging

Sometimes our own experiences can be hard on our friends, especially when those experiences have to do with fertility and pregnancy. My friend and I met when our children were six months old at a mom’s group Christmas party. She was the only other mom there without a partner, her husband having refused to attend in favor of playing video games in the silence of an empty home just like mine. Her son was a day younger than my daughter. Although she was almost 10 years older than me, we became fast friends, bonding over the loneliness that is staying...

Keep Reading