By Sonia Bestulic
The story and inspiration behind Flourish for Mums 21 ways to thrive with self-care and acceptance
Evolving into motherhood changes the lens on life.
Before having my own children; I had the privilege of working with thousands of mothers and their children; as a Speech and Language Pathologist. Too often, mothers’ confided they were feeling like they were failing. They blamed themselves for their child’s difficulties and bore a burden of multi-layered guilt. The feelings of insecurity as to whether they were doing and being enough were ever-present; as they fought their inner battle of being a “good” parent.
My heart went out to these amazing mothers, who often without realising; showed such courage, strength and determination fuelled by an impenetrable maternal love. I was humbled by them.
Then, in my first 2 years and 7 months of motherhood, I had 3 children. I quickly felt a deeper connection to all the mothers I had worked with; experiencing much love, joy, and fascination; together with the strong undercurrents of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical fatigue; as I fought my inner battle, trying to be a “good enough” mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and leader of my Speech Pathology company.
I was functioning as best I could – in survival mode.
Motherhood; was the steepest personal learning curve of my life. It gave me no choice but to dig deep and do some major soul searching. This process led to a newly found liberation. I released the burden of unrealistic expectations and came to the joyful realisation that I too was learning, just as my children were.
And, with great humility; I understood that my children and the thousands of children I had worked with over the years; were my greatest teachers.
My four-year-old daughter came to me one day and asked,
“Mum, why do kids have mums?”
I was a little surprised at that question; I wondered; hadn’t she noticed how much is done each day as part of the mothering role?!
“Well, kids have mums for lots of reasons; we help keep you safe; we teach you things; we help you to be able to do different things, we do our best to help you grow with healthy foods…” I trailed off and asked her the question in return.
“Why do you think kids have mums?”
She looked up at me with open simplicity, her round moon face reflecting the light while her innocent wide eyes seemed so sure. She gently responded,
“To love them”.
I paused. Not just any pause. A heart-struck pause. The kind that you feel throughout your core; that tells you to listen up and pay attention as wisdom beyond words had just been shared.
My lesson that day has carried forward – get your mind out of all the “stuff” that needs doing, and simply come back to human connection. Kids have mums to love them. Full stop.
(Excerpt from Flourish for Mums: 21 ways to thrive with self-care and acceptance)
Focussing on what was truly important, I awakened, to understand my duty to love my children; also extended to authentically loving myself. This was the shift, from surviving to thriving.
I wrote Flourish for Mums as a gift, to honour all mothers, and to celebrate and support women wearing the ‘mother’ label. Being a mother is not all that we are; it expands who we are.
Mums, you matter. You are valued. You are loved.
Let us flourish together!