Although as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, facilitating parenting groups was never in my early career vision, I was led to this journey by the blessed birth of my son, and then daughter, who both opened me to a profound new sense of myself. My identity as a woman, wife, and therapist went through significant transformation, while discovering a new layer of purpose.
Through the lens of my then relationship of 15 years, I long had a passion for the power of relationship as a catalyst to growth in oneself and as a couple. bv An expansion of myself was born and the marriage of my two passions of growth in partnership and parenting have become my life’s work.
Over the last 2 decades, I have been blessed with the opportunity to facilitate weekly and monthly parent discussion groups. The discussions are fueled primarily by mother’s issues, concerns, questions, and topics, and are immersed in the surrounding support of the mother’s circle. Through this experience, it continues to be clear to me how women need other women on this journey of raising children. In previous generations, this need was tended to by grandmothers, aunts and community members. Although today some are fortunate enough to have this support, often the familial relationships are afar, and not able to support the daily needs of the mother.
Parenting babies and young children is filled with a multitude of daily joys and challenges. It is an all-encompassing, sometimes isolating experience, full of emotional ups and downs, made easier and more fulfilling with partnership, support, information, insight and tools. Mothers gathering with similar-aged children, learning and sharing together, generates a sense of connection, confidence and purpose. The mother’s circle becomes a supportive vessel through which a mother grows into the mother she comes to vision for herself.
I have guided thousands of mothers on their journey of motherhood, beginning with the experience of the ‘birth of the mother’: a process of re-shaping identity, which includes the loss of certain aspects of themselves, in order to encompass their new role as mother; along with discovering and growing new parts of themselves that allow for them to more mindfully nurture, connect, and provide for their child. The community and power of the mother’s circle has a significant impact on how a mother experiences this process and journey.
In the midst of this transformative time is much learning about the development and communication of their baby/child, with emphasis on how their connection and relationship plays a primary role in all aspects of their growth. Along with the many teaching moments and guidance, fellow moms share their struggles, triumphs, and ideas, which further connect and inspire one another.
Over the weeks, months and years, I get to be witness and facilitator of a parallel, yet interdependent growth process of the developing mother and the developing child. Facilitating the circle, and community, in which this development unfolds and thrives is an essential component of the process.