When I Realised I Was (Still) Scared To Mother, Everything ChangedJan 25, 2023
I’m writing this article at the end of Dec (probably won’t be published until end Jan), after an extraordinary year of personal growth for myself. Including finally resolving heartburn and calming down my nervous system by doing inner healing work (you can see my earlier post about that here).
During that journey, I realised that my health issues were not flaring up to “annoy” me, but rather as a way for my unconscious state (my inner self) to grab my attention that something is out-of-whack. Yep, pain will do that!
Anyways, I was feeling really good by the end of December, cruising along, feeling super regulated, chilled, in control, empowered. And then. BANG! Not one - but THREE! - pain signals turned on.
It was Dec 20th and I started my day of work (content creation - blogs & my book). It should’ve been a chilled, creative day of writing and sharing my purpose of ending body burnout, but rather than being in flow, I was feeling really agitated and dis-eased, and got stuck in an old pattern of “anxious doing” - like our business would “break” and we’d go “bust” if I didn’t get the content written! Yep, highly irrational fears right there.
The pain signals started off with tension in my lower gut, then a few hours later the pain escalated to full-blown chest tightness and anxiousness. Then - bang! After dinner, I was experiencing the worst heartburn I had experienced in a longtime. It was so bad that I felt like I couldn’t swallow food properly.
By the end of the night, I was in a lot of pain, physically and mentally: How could I have been travelling along so amazingly, and now THIS! Especially when nothing “big” or “stressful” was happening in my life.
Speaking Into My body
Knowing that physical pain is a way for my unconscious state to get my attention that something is up, I laid down on my bed that night, placed my hands on my chest and my gut, and spoke to my inner self.
Body, unconscious state - I hear you. I feel you. Body, I know you’re trying to tell me something, and I’m all ears, ready to listen. I know that there’s something I need to address, so I’m here, lying on this bed, in the quiet, ready to listen.
I laid still for a good five minutes. Breathing into myself. A bunch of thoughts raced through my head.
Is it just the food? Am I experiencing heartburn as a histamine issue again? Nope, that didn’t feel right. Although it was highly likely the physiological end result of feeling stress and tension in my nervous system had triggered the release of histamine - but that wasn’t the root of what was going on.
I dug deeper. Past the physical.
Am I not trusting myself again and my ability to run a business and be an awesome practitioner and thought-leader? Nope, that didn’t feel right.
Have I disconnected from Chris, my husband, again? Nope, that didn’t feel right.
Am I worried about Christmas and my (very small) to-do list before Christmas? Nope, I feel totally in control of all that.
I wasn’t getting very far.
The Science of Synchronicity
So, I jumped into bed and opened up a book I had been reading, Elegantly Simple Solutions for Complex People Problems. I’m a big believer in the science of synchronicity (when two things happen in simultaneous occurrence of each other, which create a significant meaning - as in, it wasn’t just “coincidence” that X happened - researchers do PhD’s on this! You can listen to a cool podcast by Mel Robbins about synchronicity here).
Anyways, I had a synchronicity moment! It wasn’t a coincidence I had picked up this book, and landed on the exact page I needed to read at this moment in my life. In the book, I came across a case study of a woman who fell really sick on the day of her wedding, and had been sick for 20 years ever since. There was a big back story about her being in an abusive relationship in her first marriage, with her husband leaving her a few years later, leaving her a single mother of 3. When she remarried, it was highly likely NOT a coincidence that she fell gravely ill on the day of her wedding. People work perfectly, remember. Every health issue has been created by your system to keep you safe in some way. This woman was staying safe by being sick, because it kept her second husband with her, looking after her. And if he was low enough to ever leave her, he was rejecting the sick version of her - not the well version of her. Also, she had a lot of guilt and shame around mothering - being a Christian woman, divorced at a young age, and a single mother, meant (to her) there must be something wrong with her. So staying sick meant she could outsource her parenting responsibilities to her new husband, which her new husband did very well.
As I read the part about mothering, it hit me.
I was filled with a goosebump “synchronicity” moment. Every cell in my body lit up, and I was flooded with a release of emotion. THIS story - THIS moment - was trying to tell me something.
Is this what you’re trying to tell me, body - that I am STILL scared to mother? Is this something I haven’t yet properly acknowledged or addressed?
How My Fear of Mothering Was Showing Up
As soon as I asked this question, a flurry of memories and thoughts flooded my mind:
- Looking back even before we had kids, I remembered as a young adult never feeling “maternal” or “clucky” around babies or kids. In fact, I was scared of having children, and if I’m being very honest, I only decided to start trying for kids because Chris wanted to and because I felt like it was the next-step of being an adult (and not because I deeply wanted kids). Sure enough, I had some pretty major hormonal and infertility issues which made it very difficult to have kids in the first place! And I continued having hormonal issues after kids.
- It wasn't a coincidence that I fell gravely sick after not just my first baby, but also my second baby. I’d always believed that it was *just* physical depletion post-babies and physical trauma post-birth (which all played a part), but I knew deep in every cell of my body that this was a pattern coming from my unconscious state. If I got sick, then I wouldn’t have to show up as a “good mum” - so if I failed in my mothering, it was just the “sick me” failing, not the true me.
- Looking deeper at this pattern, I could clearly see that I had deflected parenting responsibilities to Chris when our kids were babies. He was the one that had gotten up to them crying in the night (even though he would then get up for work at 4am!!). He was the one that rocked them to sleep, especially Poppy who would power-cry for a good hour before falling exhaustively to sleep. He was the one that emotionally gave love to the kids. He was the one that played with them.
- And even after I healed physically with functional medicine, and felt more resilient in my body, I continued deflecting mothering responsibilities. While I was more calmer and patient and able to feel more loving, and overall I felt like a better mum, I still left the emotional conversations with the kids to Chris, and outsourced putting the kids to bed to Chris. I also got stuck in over-work and addictive-doing patterns as a way to “excuse” myself from connecting with my children.
- And while I felt like I was a much better mother (definitely not the Dragon Mum I used to be when I was very sick and depleted!), I was still subtly deflecting parenting to Chris or brushing some parenting things off as “too hard, so I’ll just ignore it.” And even that day, the old pattern of “over-working” was a subtle pattern of being scared to mother - at the heart of it, I was unconsciously fearing the impending school holidays where my kids would be with me 24/7, so I created a behavioural pattern of “need to work - don’t stop!” so I could hide behind work, and excuse myself from connecting with my kids.
I realised why my pain signals - the heartburn, the chest tightness, the gut pain - had flared up that day with such clarity. Over the past 6-months of doing some very deep inner healing work, I had focused on improving my relationship with myself, my health, my body, my spirituality and my relationship with Chris. I’d also put a lot of focus on healing my relationship with how I saw myself as an entrepreneur, practitioner, and my relationship with money.
But I had neglected really focusing on my role as a mother.
And my unconscious state was letting me know - through physical pain - that I had missed a very important area of my life.
The Magic That Comes When Listening To My Body
And so, that night, I promised I would have a deep conversation with my daughters the following morning before school.
And I did. And both conversations with Poppy and Elsie ended up in heartfelt tears and cuddles and the most beautiful emotional and physical release - the heartburn signal and anxious chest and gut tension completely turned off! And later that day I took my oldest daughter on a very overdue mummy-daughter-date and it was the most magical and connected experience I have had with her.
This is what I call ending body burnout. THIS is the purest form of intuitive healing. And I am so excited to bring you more of this in 2023!!!
P.s. If you’d like to find out more about our unique body-mind functional medicine approach to healing from energy, mood and gut issues, you’re most welcome to book in for a (free) discovery call.
Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.
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