Updated: May 10
As we celebrate Mother’s Day I can’t help but feel happy when I reflect on the greatest gift I’ve gotten from being a mother- a passion for cultivating wellness in our lives.Seriously let me explain. Motherhood changed my relationship with work, myself & others.
I’ve always been a workaholic. Fortunately I married another workaholic also. To this day we can spend the weekend nights working side by side on our projects and be content.
But unlike marriage motherhood shifted how I wanted to work. I’ll always remember the day I became a mother as the day that shifted my perspective by helping me to see what
I do isn’t as important as how I love myself & others & spend time with those who love me.
I didn’t realize it then but that shift in perspective would take me on a seven year journey to find the right balance between motherhood and my career.
It’s taken many years for me to say this publicly.
I was worried if “ they” would say I wasn’t a good doctor because I wanted to eat dinner with my family every night
or actually be present when I was home instead of working nonstop.
In my quest to balance being the attentive physician mom I aspire to be my career has transformed from what I envisioned when I was an idealistic medical student with a concentration in Medical Education Leadership. Back then I thought I’d be an academic researcher. Instead after years of being an employed physician in various settings I’m now a physician entrepreneur who still has a researcher’s heart. It was a scary decision but in January 2021 I took the leap to be a full time entrepreneur as the C.E.O. & lead physician & wellness coach of Embrace You Weight & Wellness. Not only do I have the honor of liberating people who’ve struggled with weight from traditional diets, I also have the flexibility to have quality with my family. Interestingly I probably work more now than before. However I finally feel like I have what Arianna Huffington calls “work-life integration.” It’s not perfect (see video 😋) but as I compare my pre-mom Self to current My current I’m more centered and headed in the right direction.
I’m a natural “people’s person” but somewhere on my journey I also became a “people pleaser.” Instead of focusing on listening to my body’s needs, I prioritized caring for others above my own needs. So much so that I ignored critical warning signs, like rapid weight gain of 60lbs, during my own pregnancy and ended up with preeclampsia requiring an emergency c-section. I’d like to say I learned from this but old habits are hard to break. It wasn’t until almost two years afterwards when I was still 40lbs overweight, exhausted and beyond frustrated that I recognized I needed to change how I treated myself. I started my self-love journey which helped me transform from the inside out. Not only did I lose the 40 lbs I gained a wealth of personal and professional knowledge about weight loss, weight management and wellness. More importantly I realized that I have the power to transform my family’s health legacy or “health wealth” as I like to call it. As much as I can help it, our family history of obesity and obesity related diseases won’t occur in this generation.
Something about being a mother unlocks a level of compassion I’m not sure I had before. I truly think it has changed the way I approach listening to others. I don’t just listen with my ears and my mind. I also listen with my heart. Motherhood also helps me see the best in others and push them to greatness. I’ve learned to be patient with myself and others on your wellness journey just as you would a child learning to walk.
Dealing with Change
Prior to motherhood, I used to say “I hate change.” Motherhood encouraged me to challenge my relationship with change. Motherhood sparks a series of changes in life starting with our own bodies if we are moms who carry our babies. For moms who experience pregnancy we literally experience the miraculous changes in our body for better or worse. Pregnancy was my initiation into our family history of obesity. I gained 60lbs during both pregnancies (even with a “healthy lifestyle” during our second pregnancy check my Instagram). After my first pregnancy I was clinging to my “old way” of doing things: stress eating, prioritizing everyone else’s needs and refusing to change. Despite my body telling me it was uncomfortable with how heavy I was and that I needed to make lifestyle changes.When I was carrying around the extra weight every activity drained my energy. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t like how my clothes fit. I no longer enjoyed shopping, which was one of my favorite hobbies prior to pregnancy. If I am honest I felt like my body didn’t represent who I was inside and I felt less confident. I knew I had to change. Changing required releasing the thought “I hate change!” and embracing “Change is a wonderful part of life.” Initially I tried to make a major life change all at once to lose weight. I planned to stop eating all the foods I enjoyed and do an hour of exercise everyday without addressing my stress levels or asking for help. Let’s just say in 1 week I was miserable with this plan. Instead I learned to make small, manageable changes that were based in self-love and self-compassion. Within 1.5 year I lost the 40lbs of remaining post-partum weight that I had been carrying for two years after delivering my son. And guess what, I kept it off for 5 years until I got pregnant with my daughter and gained our familial 60lbs again but this time I lost the weight within 7 months postpartum.
Even for moms who didn’t experience pregnancy personally, we all navigate the transitions in motherhood as we try to adapt to our children growing and changing. Each stage presents its own stresses and strengths. I’ve learned the hard way initially, we haven’t learned to embrace ourselves and honor our needs; our identities-physically, mentally and even spiritually, can get consumed in each transition. To truly appreciate the gift of motherhood, learning to embrace yourself is so important.
I’ve learned to embrace change and use it as a unique opportunity for self-improvement.
So now I hope you understand what I say “ the greatest gift I’ve gotten from being a mother- a passion for cultivating wellness in our lives.” Motherhood was an important part of my journey to embrace myself and continues to inspire me as I help others on their Embrace You journey.
On this Mother’s Day I thank God for the gift of being a mom. Despite the sleepless nights and questioning if I’m doing it right, I’m grateful for the joy of each day. Through motherhood I’ve been able to more clearly define my purpose and create unique ways to help others.
Happy Mother’s Day to you & your loved ones. May your day be filled with wonderful memories but most importantly may you have time to Embrace You. What gifts of motherhood are you grateful for today?
Mental Health Awareness Month
Mother’s Day isn’t happy for everyone. Throughout the years I have walked through various types of experiences with others-personally and professionally-ranging from grief to toxic relationships to infertility.
If you’re dealing with any of these situations
I’ve provided a few resources that may be useful for some of you.
However this weekend makes you feel remember you are loved & being prayed for 💜
▪️Grief- loss of mom
▪️Grief- loss of child
The impact of this day can reveal unresolved hurts or mental health concerns.
Here are some mental Health resources
Sending you love on this Mother’s Day and always 💜
💜Dedicated to my mom, Valerie Anderson Gonsahn, sister, Nurse Robin Collins, my late grandmothers Napu and Sylvia.
💜Special thanks to my mother in love, Kou Mollie. My dear aunts Auntie Helen, Auntie Robina, and Auntie Princess. And all the amazing women who have been “like a mom” to me through the years. I’m so blessed beyond measure 🤗