GROW Podcast: Interview with Lori: business owner, adoption advocate, Reactive Attachment Disorder specialist, cancer survivor, and more.

grow (1)

 

My sister and I both fight the urge to be analytical to the extreme. We are armchair experts at therapy. But this interview is so much more than us analyzing the ins and outs of growing up Midwest “nice” with an emotionally challenged atheist Dad in a home where a lot of feelings got buried. Where does all that unexpressed anger go? How do we know when our feelings aren’t totally irrational?


And other questions like do you trust destiny when your life is on the line? We discuss surviving Stage 3 breast cancer, the violent rage that sometimes comes with Reactive Attachment Disorder and how to protect your other children from it, a miracle pregnancy, anxiety, depression, quantum physics and more. We started off by picking up the thread of a chat we had already been having… How we filter our own emotions…. to see if it’s valid before expressing it and then expressing it in a way that won’t ruffle feathers. WAKING UP is hard sometimes. This conversation details the inner process we all at some times go through to give ourselves permission to feel. Check out Lori’s work at Red Thread Learning.



krisloridearborn


Here’s the breakdown:


2:40 Emotions…when are we being unreasonable?


5:00 A brain on a stick..when our minds and bodies aren’t connected


6:45 Letting our emotions past the gate of analysis: is the feeling warranted?


7:25 Which emotions are we repressing? Joy is a big one


9:00 Would you rather have a life filled with big highs and lows or something stable in the middle without any extreme highs?


10:30 Seasonal depression, welcome to thinking about mortality and DEATH


12:00 Having a baby brings thoughts about mortality


14:00 When your parent raises you to live life afraid


14:20 WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS AND RIPTIDES


17:20 My mom could maybe use some safety precautions


19:30 We want to know our feelings and experiences matter


22:00 A submarine of women on their periods is not bound for doom


22:30 Does it matter if a person’s unreasonable since you have to deal with it either way?


24:45 There’s usually a need under the anger


25:30 Fear is the flip side of anger and our survival used to depend on being accepted by the tribe


27:00 When even admitting or expressing that you’re angry is a problem


28:00 Birth Story and the back story starts here


28:30 What happens when you discover stage 3 breast cancer when you have a one year old and have just moved overseas


30:00 Life turns upside down


31:30 Docs say breast milk does not contain cancer from the breast, but chemo passes through breastmilk


32:15 Dad with some supportive words


34:00 Going into surgery thinking you’ll have both breasts coming out, but things don’t always go as planned


34:30 Lori is told that getting pregnant would kill her


35:00 Lori starts thinking of adoption: the oncologist doctor says – you shouldn’t think about the future because you probably won’t be here- thanks Doc


37:30 Two international adoptions and Lori gets those tubes tied


40:00 Miracle pregnancy


43:30:00 We don’t know if it will kill you..it might, we don’t know


45:00 Being pro-choice does not make the decision of abortion easy- even when death is on the line


49:00 Faith v. logic….winner=faith


51:00 Telling Dad about a pregnancy he didn’t approve of…my sister gets hung up on


53:00 My dad couldn’t have been any worse at this and, by the way, NEVER tell a pregnant woman she’s not thinking clearly because she’s pregnant


56:00 Unthinkable to make others angry


58:00 The stress of the possibility of recurrence sticks around


58:30 It’s ok to lose a breast if it means you’re alive


59:30 No pressure, but your babies brains are affected by the state of the mother during pregnancy.


1:1:30 Concern for who’s carrying the baby in adoption and Red Thread


1:3:00 Illusion of control during pregnancy and the process of adoption means letting go of some control


1:5:30 The invisible Red Thread – we are connected to the meaningful people in our lives past and present and future


1:7:00 Sorrow that adopted kids can feel the pain of not being with the birth family even if you feel you were meant to parent them


1:09:00 Lori came to earth with an outline


1.09:30 Parallel universes, free will, and destiny


1:13:00 It’s possible Kris is nuts


1:14:30 Quantum physics and there are multiple realities existing


1:16:30 All things are connected


1:20:30 Anger


1:21:00 Attachment disorder: when your child becomes violent


1:22:30 Sacrificing your emotions to maintain peace and keep everyone safe


1:26:30 If you come close to me (to bite me), I’m going to assume you want a hug


1:27:30 I am pretending to be calm even if the emotional house is burning down


1:29:00 PTSD, stifling anger messes up the stress response


1:30:30 Trauma informed caregiving: getting professional training because of how attachment disorder was disrupting the home


1:35:00 Where do you feel emotions in your bod? Focusing and saying yes.


1:38:00 It’s impossible to be triggerless and yet sometimes we do it


1:39:00 An uncomfortable feeling is just a thought in your head and a sensation in your body


1:40:30 Depression – accepting it when it happens


GROW podcast: Interview with 3 wise women.

grow (1)

In this episode, you will hear the voices of women who have over 230 years between them walking this planet. My mom and two Aunts join me in a conversation that will inspire and surprise you.

If you don’t have any women in their 70’s and 80’s in your life, give a listen. We talk about everything from growing up in a rigid Catholic household and how it affected sexuality, to why we still want to please our parents even when we have our own kids, to living with an alcoholic who was a hero of the community. Oh, and doctors refusing to prescribe birth control to married women. !! We talk about my aunt’s non-profit (avisionforcleanwater.org)  to get remote villages clean water and a family member who chooses a life as a cloistered nun with little contact with the outside world. Here’s a juicy quote from my mom during this interview regarding the church:

“I was livid at myself for having allowed myself for that many years to rely on somebody else to make my moral choices”

aunts
Enjoy.

2:00 Kris gives some background for why she wanted to podcast and hear women’s stories

5:00 Introductions

7:00 My Aunt MJ: retired at age 78, high trauma emergency/surgery nurse in inner city Detroit

8:30 My Aunt Eileen starts a non-profit: A Vision for Clean Water avisionforcleanwater.org , helping 400,000 people

10:30 How do you take a step toward doing what you really want to do?

12:20 Vision boarding and Master Mind groups

16:30 I get masterminded!

18:30 Where did MJ get her positive thoughts from? What happens when all of a sudden you can’t live your life. Recovery International with Dr. Lowe

19:30 Panic attacks and not functioning

23:30 Do you know the root of mental health issues when they happen?

24:30 When external expectations from parents affect you

26:00 Church every day, rosary every night on your knees,  3 times a day pray out loud to the bells of the church ringing, visitors had a choice of getting on their knees to pray or leaving

28:30 My grandmother was a college graduate in 1931

29:30 What passes through generations?

31:30 Living with an alcoholic parent who was a great man and beloved community member

37:30 Sin. Sexuality. Makeup is called barn paint in a strict household.

41:30 Strict rules vs. Total freedom for your own kids

42:30 Finding your own way in parenting

43:30 You keep the good from your upbringing and drop the rest

45:00 Someone says to my aunt, “You taught me how to love somebody who doesn’t follow my rules”

46:00 Radical compassion may be more important than old models of morality based on rules, religious expectations, etc.

50:30 Common traits of grandchildren

52:30 Virgins getting married, consequences could be eternal fire or getting disowned?

53:30 A snowstorm creates an sexual ethical crisis

55:30 Doctors refuse to prescribe birth control to a woman getting married

59:00 A priest causes an existential sexual crisis

1:00:30 Living in denial: when you let other people make your choices

1:01:00 My dad almost wipes a shoe full of shit on a priest’s desk

1:03:00 In 1968: Vatican 2 includes the idea that personal conscience is a factor in how to make your own choices

1:04:00 If a system doesn’t support your beliefs, you leave the system

1:06:00 Cloistered Nun life: Linna.Sister Maria

1:25:45 The letter about Communion to the mother of the atheist husband to be

1:28:30 Trying not to lie to your mother even as an adult

1:30:00 Why don’t you speak your truth to others

1:31:00 Girls in the 40’s getting their periods

1:38:30 Birthing in the 1960’s and 70’s

1:42 Skin to skin…not a thing in the 70’s,  and, by the way, let’s do that epidural at home

1:43 The trauma of a birth when the birthing woman is not supported and the wishes of the couple not respected

1:46 Kris tries not to get furious

1:49 When you feel excluded from having a say in your birth

1:51 Being mistreated in birth affects your entire life and your ability to trust

1:52 Bonding is something than can happen at any time

1:54 How therapy can help repair any missed bonding opportunities

1:56 Letting go of systems

1:57:10 The power is with the mother birthing: yes, MOM!

1:58:30 The benefits of hospital birth

2:00:00 The benefit of a doula

2:05:00 Sometimes you need intensity of connection in childbirth (This interview has flipped: Kris talks about her birth stories)

2:08:30 This childbirth class is bullshit

2:10:00 Childbirth is big and what about postpartum

2:11:00 Childbirth is spiritual

2:13:00 Postpartum depression when no one is talking about it

2:17:00 My Aunt gives me a dose of reality

2:19:00 Kris forgets to pick up her child from school

 

Breakdown of minutes soon to come.

A Mother’s Rights #15: You have the right to change your priorities.

Maybe before you became a mom, you were a fucking lion at work and hammered out 12 hour workdays, ate leftover Indian for dinner and got weekly massages. Maybe you spent most of your monthly budget on lingerie and had Outlander-style fantasy sex with your partner every day.

Then after holding a sweet heavenly baby in your arms for the first time, your world underwent a seismic shift. You stopped caring about the things that were happening at work. Instead you hid behind your desk skyping your baby and knitting booties. You abandoned beautiful lingerie for whatever bra worked best for pumping. You got sad being away from home and couldn’t eat Indian food anymore because it gave you heartburn. And every time you had sex, you peed a little because your pelvic floor was a like a stretched out old rubber band someone left in the sun.

Amidst all this change in your life, it may occur to you that your priorities have changed too. You may be looking around and saying: “Well, who the fuck am I now?”

 

prioriites

 

Goddess, yes, things are changing. Your life is changing. Your body is changing. Your priorities are changing. YOU are changing. It is tempting to hold so tightly to the way you used to be that you cannot see the gift of who you are becoming.

Who you are becoming is someone with different priorities. You have to be. There’s a person now or more than one person who requires you for bonding and play and learning and care and sustenance. We are important.

To move deeper into the majesty of ourselves, we need to let go of who we thought we were just a little bit and little bit more. Because motherhood changes us in every way and it is 100% ok to let motherhood change you. To allow your desires and preferences and needs to slowly or suddenly shape your life into a new thing.

Maybe you taper down to 8 hour days at work or maybe you use your savings to stay home for the first year. Maybe you start cooking casseroles for God’s sake and trade your massages for baby and mom yoga. Maybe you wear organic cotton over-the-head bras with thick nipple pads and spackle your nipples with balm while your lacy bras gather dust in the back of their drawers. Girl, it’s fine.

Accepting the ways your priorities change is so healthy and good and nourishing. Letting the love that bonds you to your child sweep over your life and transform it is a natural and necessary thing. It is not just transformative to your life but to the world. Because the world needs women who let the elemental forces of motherhood sweep through them, sweep through their relationships and priorities.

These elementals forces help shape the future into one where motherhood is important and profound and sacred. Just like that sweet baby is important and profound and sacred and just like you are important and profound and sacred.

You have the right to change your priorities and to trust that whatever you dive into in this precious moment in your life, the essence of you and your goddess beautiful self will remain perfectly, exquisitely you.

A Mother’s Rights 13: You have the right to say no.

 

This is an oldie but a goodie and gets a lot of mileage in the mom world. In Paul Coelho’s words, “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” Basically, know yourself. Prioritize what’s important to you. Then live that.

Suuuuuper easy. Hahahahahaha.

you have the right to shower every day (3)

 

If you can indulge me for a bit, I’d like to walk with you down a little bit of a deeper interpretation of this. I brought water and trail mix: the kind with almonds and dark chocolate, not that bullshit peanuts and off-brand M&M’s kind.

We all get the surface meaning of this basic right. Say no to things that will wear you down, stress you out, or just aren’t important to you. Like, if you have a busy week, say no to making brownies for the bake sale. If your kid has the flu, say no to carpooling soccer for your neighbor. If you don’t want to drive across town after a long day, say no to book club tonight. Logistically, don’t fill your schedule up with things that will overload you. BUT, what if the importance of saying no goes deeper than that?

Understanding when and how to say no at a deeper level starts with understanding how to listen to ourselves so we know what’s important to us and what’s not.  What is your yes/no spectrum? How do you say yes to life, to new experiences, to nourishment, to bold ways of being you AND say no to hurtful people, careless treatment, and stretching beyond your healthy limits?

This kind of discernment starts with practicing a deep and passionate love for who you are so that there is room for yes to come forward.  Actively practice loving yourself. Identify things that make you feel good without question. As in: I lose 10 pounds of stress when I dance to Sean Mendes. I love walking in the arboretum. Putting mascara on makes me feel like a powerful influencer. My painting is my happy place.

Make some room for these big yes feelings. Remember yourself.

Equally important: make room for uncomfortable feelings you may not initially welcome. Things like: I can’t stand hearing my baby cry right now. I’m so angry my dad is passive-aggressive about my parenting style. I wish my partner would leave me alone right now. My eating is out of control and I’m scared.

These uncomfortable feelings need to be seen and heard too. Feelings are temporary, you are not. Getting to know your uncomfortable feelings and allowing them to be seen will help you know your real self, and love your whole self.

So far: discover what you feel and what you like. Discover what you’d rather not be feeling and things you dislike. I am making this sound so easy, but for those of us who molded ourselves based on who we thought we should be, it takes some serious dedication and practice. Thank God for yoga and friends.

Discovering your personal yes/no spectrum continues with making room for ‘no’ to come forward without pushing it to the side. You have preferences. It’s ok to hear what they are. Begin listening for your inner talk of:

I can’t say no to that or….

my partner will get mad
my friends won’t understand
my kids won’t like it
my colleagues will laugh at me
I might lose something
I might feel something I don’t want to feel
I might miss out
it could be a mistake
I won’t be pleasing others
I might hurt someone’s feelings

Hearing that inner talk and recognizing it as fear and old programming will make room for really, truly who you are to come forward. You might have a really strong “FUCK NO – I’M NOT DOING THAT” come forward. Or you may notice a gentle “I’d prefer not to, but I’m really ok with it.” What you choose to do with your preferences is then totally in your power.

This book: Getting Real is a stunning map of how to identify YOU amidst the chatter of your mind and feelings, and how to bring that you to the surface in a real way. It is so massively helpful in navigating self, life, thoughts, wanting things to be different, wanting people to be better, wanting yourself to be perfect, wanting anger to go away, needing to feel more connected. Just everything.

When you begin to know yourself and stop living your life based on expectations of who you should be or what you should do, saying no becomes a fun experiment.

What does no feel like in my body and mind? Tight shoulders? Stomach pains? Does a strong no feel different then a weak one? What does ‘yes’ feel like? Am I smiling? Excited? Relaxed? Do I feel sexy? Friendly?

Saying no is about you honoring you. The real you, the one in your big juicy heart. And won’t your kids be amazed to see this practice of self-discovery in action? They are so lucky to have a mom like you.

A Mother’s Rights #11: You have the right to feel however you feel about parenting right now.

 

You love your kids. You are devoted, you work hard, you want them to have what you missed as a kid. You want them to have more, to know how loved and important they are.

Those things are true on days when you feel happy, loving it all. And it’s also true on days or weeks or months where you feel unfulfilled, lonely, stressed or boxed in.

 

 

you have the right to feel

 

Other feelings you might have about parenting but are afraid to admit it to yourself:

Regret
Jealousy
Resentment
Disappointment
Grief
Longing
Neglected
Overlooked
Unappreciated
Angry
Sad
Unseen
Impatient
Ignored
Powerless

This is some deep shit. Those aren’t fuzzy feelings. One of the greatest dangers we face as parents is denying how we feel about parenting. If we only allow ourselves one feeling: “I love being a parent,” we suppress  much of our daily experience. Squashing feelings down creates anxiety, depression, and physical imbalance.

Let’s just assume and know that the love is always there underneath whatever we are feeling day to day. If you are frustrated because your child just did something dangerous or reckless and you want to shout and swear at them but know that you can’t, where does that fear and frustration go? Your body holds onto it for you and is ready at any moment for you to acknowledge that it’s there, and find a way to release it through exercise, art, movement, breath, journaling, or whatever works for you to see yourself and acknowledge your experience. Just as we teach our kids, we need to recognize all the feelings, even the unfuzzy ones.

When I interviewed my mom about her birthing and postpartum experience, she shared that she went through a low postpartum period where she remembers rocking her baby back and forth saying to herself, “I love being a mom, I love being a mom,” scared by the words because she couldn’t quite feel them and she wanted to convince herself of their truth.

She knew there was love there somewhere, but what she was feeling in that moment was scared and sad.

Whatever feelings we go through about parenting, the love is always underneath. But if we don’t allow ourselves to feel the frustrations, anger, sadness, disbelief, fear, and helplessness that often come with raising kids, those feelings will keep asking to be seen until they are seen, so they can be released.

There are things I love about being a mom and things that are hard. Really hard. I sometimes feel resentful or sick to death of getting up early or burnt out on caregiving. Honoring myself through these feelings can help me access the joy and love underneath. It doesn’t have to be either/or. I love my kids and I feel tired. I love my kids and I feel sick of the tantrums. I love my kids and I feel angry they won’t eat the dinner I cooked.

Parenting is a long road, a forever road. To be well on the journey, we can be who we are and we can feel how we feel.

A Mother’s Rights #9: You have the right to not always be your best self.

As the saying goes, only you can be you. I love that. Our problem often lies in thinking that we need to be the best version of ourselves every moment of every day. The standards that most of us try to live by as women are 100% ridiculous and will drive us right into feelings of inadequacy, anger, and self-doubt.

 

 

you have the right to not always be your best self

 

 

For most of us, our problem is not that we just don’t try hard enough to be good parents. It’s that we think we must be perfect or our kids will be forever messed up and it will be our fault.

Living up to impossible standards is what drives us into a panic attack trying to choose between organic or conventional blueberries. Expecting that you will never yell at your kids, wear dirty clothes, let your kids watch TV for 5 hours, serve Cheerios for dinner, have a messy house, wear the same underwear two days in a row, put in 50% at work, eat a whole pizza by yourself, have B.O., do some really half-assed parenting, not read the newsletters from school, leave the beds unmade, ignore your vacuum, blow off yoga, or WHATEVER you think is unacceptable and less than your best- expecting that you will never do those things is unrealistic.

You are a human person.

Anxiety often arrives when the expectations we have for ourselves become so limiting that we are squeezed into a tiny box of how we think we should be acting in order to be “good enough.” Your best is good enough. Your worst is probably also good enough too, if you have a conscience, a moral compass and you love your kids (and you’re not Cersei Lannister.)

Consider offering your best to your child for 30 minutes and letting yourself be at 60% awesome for the rest of the day. What would that feel like? Or redefining what “best self” actually means. Or loosening the grip on nighttime nursing your 18 month old so that YOU can get some sleep. Maybe it doesn’t mean picking organic blueberries at a farm with your children even though you were sick the day before with diarrhea. Maybe it means you call Grandma to watch the kids so you can lay in bed and treat yourself with the kindness you deserve.

Most likely, you are doing a great job. It’s fine. And fine is usually good enough. And there is nothing wrong with good enough. In fact, it might be healthy for your kids to see your humanity and your the beauty in imperfection. Every day does not have to be a gold medal day. Just enjoy your green participation ribbon and get this t-shirt.

 

A Mother’s Rights #8: You have the right to explore who you are now.

Whew.

This could be 18 posts, not just the one. But I’ll try to keep it short. If you need more about how important it is to honor yourself and your journey and to find a way to fucking own it, you can find more here and here. And go to Oprah.com.

Here it is in a nutshell. You are important. Motherhood is transformational. You have a right to know who you are.

 

you have the right to explore who you are

 

Motherhood is as much about self-discovery as it is about discovering your children and the world through new eyes. As the spiritual guru Rajneesh said:

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

And that is you.

You may find yourself thinking new thoughts, feeling unsatisfied in relationships, wanting to leave a job behind, hoping to go to school, wanting more sex or not caring about things you used to think were essential: religion, fashion, status, whatever.

To mildly put it, keeping up with who you are improves your quality of life. You have every right to explore your feelings, thoughts, sensations, body, preferences, regrets, longings, nuances, hopes, and passions.

If self-exploration is new to you, future posts will include ways to help you get started. Or check out the services I offer to work with me.