They say that when a baby is born, so is a mother. But while you are there to help your baby grow into the person he or she is meant to be, who is there to help you? Many women feel lost and alone when they become mothers, wondering “who AM I now?” Sometimes it feels like transformation from woman to mother is as radical as a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. Did you know that inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar literally turns into goop before it rearranges itself into a butterfly? This podcast is about the goop, what soul transformation looks like as you transition from being a woman to a mom. Your baby’s growth matters. But yours does too. You’re not alone. I’m your host, Brittany Meng. Welcome to the Motherhood Metamorphosis.
Mikala Albertson: Expectations, reality, and beauty in the ordinary
Mikala Albertson is a wife and family practice doctor turned mostly stay-at-home mom to five kids ranging from 16 to five. She is passionate about the beauty of an ordinary life and writes under the name Ordinary on Purpose on social media. She will be releasing a book in March of 2022 titled Ordinary on Purpose: Surrendering Perfect and Discovering Beauty Amid the Rubble through Bethany House. Mikala hopes her writing will give permission to let go of 'should' and 'have to' and embrace who you already are...lovely and loved, imperfect and beautiful, ordinary, and so very on purpose.
When I messaged Mikala and asked her to be on the podcast, I thought it would be fun if we talked about the expectations we had before we became moms...and what reality looks like on the other side.
We both have 5 kids (4 boys and 1 girl) and found a lot in common, and while I expected some laughs, I got so much more in my conversation with Mikala. She is so thoughtful, descriptive, and wise and I hope you listen in with a cup of coffee and feel like you are joining in the best conversation about motherhood with trusted friends.
Mikala: "I thought Motherhood was about the big moments…holidays, vacations and special family traditions, and like a designated game night. And those are all very lovely....But I’m learning that—mostly—motherhood happens in ordinary moments. And some of the most meaningful things are small and simple. "
Brittany: "The motherhood experience is so complex. We want to boil it down to, like, the one thing, or the sweet emotion, or the “enjoy it while you can!” or a platitude…but it’s just so many things. Making room for that “both/and”, I think can be a generous gift to ourselves, to say “I miss it” and “I’m grateful” and “I’m sad” and “I’m excited for the future”—all of those emotions are valid.”
"Christmas is Cumulative"
Find Mikala here:
Pre-order her book here!!! Ordinary on Purpose: Surrendering Perfect and Discovering Beauty Amid the Rubble
Ashley Mays: Finding life through and after breast cancer at age 30
Ashley Mays has been married for 8 years and she and her husband have two boys. When her youngest was 9 weeks old, their lives were turned upside down when she was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer.
I really appreciated my candid conversation with Ashley about her cancer journey, especially as she was diagnosed in May of 2020, right in the intensity of the pandemic.
We talked about what helped her get through this time, what she struggled with emotionally, and how she found connection with other women, as well as post-partum depression, mom guilt, therapy, medication, and how social media can make you feel so alone as a mom. (If this last topic resonates with you, check out episode 5, Sara Springer's interview!)
“With Luke, I did Mommy and Me swim lessons with him and you have to be in the pool, obviously and I hated it. Like, hated it. I would joke with my husband, “I hate getting in a swimsuit postpartum, being around all these other moms and dads. And with Ford, it just changed how I looked at that time—wow I GET to do this with him. I get to have this one on one time with him. I could very well not be alive.”
“Mom guilt is real for everyone, you know? And so I just try to control what I can and then tell myself that I can’t control certain situations. It’s easier said that done!”
Follow Ashley on social media here:
Facebook: Babies and Breast Cancer
Resources mentioned: Parents as Teachers
Traci Rhoades: Mom is on a journey too
Traci Rhoades is a writer and Bible teacher. She lives in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area with her family. She is the author of "Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost."
My conversation with Traci went by so fast and we dove into questions that are really close to my heart, particularly "how do I show up as a whole person in my family, and not just "the mom"? We talk in depth about how she has grown in her critical thinking skills, and how that's influencing the way she's raising her daughter.
I loved hearing how Traci does this with her daughter and the practical stories she shared about being on her own journey, asking question, changing her mind, and seeking growth.
I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I enjoyed talking to Traci!
Find Traci online:
Twitter - @tracesoffaith
Find Traci's Advent Booklet here!
Kate Brown: Motherhood after an Eating Disorder
Kate Brown has been recently promoted to a stay-at-home-mommy that keeps it real. Her goal in this life is to use her own victories and struggles to help other women.
Wow. We get raw and real in this episode where Kate shares her struggles with an Eating Disorder before she had her first child and what pregnancy was like while she fought both for her mental health and personal physical wellness for herself and her baby.
I really appreciated the insight she brought to the topic of Eating Disorders--for Kate, it wasn't about looking a certain way or being skinny. It was about seeking control when her world felt out of control. She digs deep into the emotional pain of this struggle and how pregnancy and motherhood was a refining fire that ultimately brought her new life and healing in this area of her life.
Kate: "I never wanted to look skinny. That was not my thing. I feel like so many people misunderstand and they don’t know why they are struggling with an eating disorder and most of the time it is about control. People are always like, “Why do you want to be so skinny?” And that is not what I want. I want control. So that is what I want to talk about this. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you have to find new ways to be in control. You have to get back in the driver’s seat. You can’t let it drive you."
Kate: "I’ve had to become friends with the voice in my head instead of making it my enemy. It’s going to live there. This voice is going to live there forever. And I just have to learn to co-exist and change the narrative."
Kate: "You know all nine months you’re waiting to meet this baby. You’re so excited. You can’t wait to meet them. And then they come out and you meet them for the first time, but you meet someone new also—you meet yourself in a totally different way."
Brittany: "You have to constantly speak truth to your mental health lies. It’s so important and it’s so exhausting."
Resources: The Recovery Mama Guide to Your Eating Disorder Recovery in Pregnancy and Postpartum by Linda Shanti McCabe
Follow Kate on Social Media here:
Hillary Rodriguez: Moving forward after a child's diagnosis
Hillary Rodriguez is a pilot wife, working mother of three, travel lover, serial over- volunteer-er, home baker, book lover, and disability advocate.
My conversation with Hillary Rodriguiz was close to my heart as we both have kids with extra needs. Whew! Even as I was listening to the episode again to do the edits, I got tears in my eyes.
We both showed up in a big way with our stories and emotions about the journey of parenting a child with special needs, hitting on key issues like grief, fear, and building empathy within ourselves, our kids, and the siblings of our kids with extra needs.
Overall, it was a beautiful and emotional conversation that I hope touches your heart and mothering experience, whether your kids have special needs or not.
Hillary: "I’ve been fortunate—I’ve never lost a child. The pain, I don’t think, can compare to that. But you do have a dream. You spend your whole pregnancy coming up with these dreams. “My daughter is going to be a doctor and she’s going to be an astronaut!” And she’s going to be these grandiose things! And then all of a sudden… “Can she drive?” I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll have to just wait and see. Things get a little bit different and we have to get through that grief. It takes time."
Hillary: "“I always talk to people and when their children are newborns, they want to know what to do. My biggest piece of advice is just to appreciate them, who they are, and love them just right now because they grow so fast. But getting over that grief and coming to acceptance is a big thing. Being okay with what you’re family’s going to look like and the community you’re going to get and all these gorgeous things that come from it is big. But that initial period of denial and grief is a lot for people to overcome. But once you get past it…."
Brittany: "I remember talking to someone once who was going through a diagnosis, and saying “You have to love your child more than your grief over what you thought their future was going to to be.” And I say that as somebody who has loved their grief at times more than their child. I had to make a choice about whether or not I was going to grieve over their future or step into that love.”
Terms and references for this episode:
IEP: Individual Education Plan
"Welcome to Holland" by Emily Pearl Kingsley
You can find Hillary @Hycastillo85 on Instagram
Check out her article on Her View From Home here!
Angela Anagnost-Repke: Let's talk about how motherhood can feel unnatural
Note: Angela emailed me before our interview and asked if "swears were ok" I was like "hell, yeah!" but if swears are not for you, feel free to enjoy a different episode!
Angela Anagnost-Repke is a nature-loving, empathy-blooming mom of 2 school-aged kids. She is working on a non-fiction book proposal on how even unscientific moms can give the gift of nature to their kids.
We talked candidly about how motherhood felt unnatural to her when her son was a newborn. This feeling was complicated by the narrative she heard from her own mom about how motherhood had "saved her" when Angela and her siblings were little.
Angela and I also talked about how, 6 weeks after her daughter was born, she became one of the primary caregivers to her mom after a cancer diagnosis. She recounts how she hit rock bottom, had to reach out for help, and rediscover her joy after care-giving encompassed her whole life.
I love her honesty, candor, authenticity, and bad-ass message to just BE YOURSELF when it comes to your motherhood story.
Quotable quotes: Kudos to all women who own their journey and don’t try to be a certain kind of mother that they’re just not meant to be at all.
You can follow Angela on Facebook @Angela Anagnost-Repke, Writer
and @Angela Repke on Instagram
Encouragement for your mom heart
Bring a mom is not as easy as it looks. Often it fills us with doubts and questions. Don’t worry you are not alone. Learn from other moms and be encouraged. Brittany provides hope and encouragement for your mom heart.
If you are looking for real, raw, honest, & encouraging conversations around the nuances of motherhood, this is your space. Brittany is a beautiful spirit who engages each guest with thought-provoking questions that speak directly into the heart of all things mom life. Plus she’s fun, so listening along is sure to uplift your spirits.
So soothing and encouraging
Brittany is such an encouragement to mothers everywhere.