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Resilience Redefined: All Mothers Deserve to Thrive

A path through a diverse and healthy forest showing resilience in Nature

Resilience – simply defined – is the ability to respond and adapt to the events of life. It is our ability to stay up when life tries to knock us down and when knocked down allows us to efficiently and fully recover.

Resilience for Survival or for Thriving?

Too often in our culture, individuals are recognized for their resilience in the face of challenge or trauma, without being offered the resources needed for maintaining that resilience & nourishing it even further.

Are they resilient? Absolutely – they have HAD to respond and adapt to the events of life to survive. And yes, that deserves recognition, even celebration.

BUT when we witness the resilience of others...

How often do we explore whether their response to the situation supported vitality and health or depleted them?

Was the adaption to the experience supportive of thriving or was it completely automated and purely for survival?

Have they had the opportunity and been offered the resources for efficiently and fully recovering?

We live in a world where people encounter challenge after challenge, trauma after trauma every day. And for many, experiences that demand resilience are depleting. Their nervous systems are adapting purely for survival and without adequate opportunity and resources for efficient and full recovery, before being faced with the next challenge.

In these situations, while often feeling exhausted and depleted, hearing someone say “wow, you’re so resilient”, can feel excruciating, frustrating, infuriating, dismissive and disconnecting. There has been an assumption that just because someone has survived an experience, there’s nothing else they need – no space for what the individual is actually feeling or opportunity to offer support & access to resources.

As humans we have a beautiful and inherent capacity to be resilient, but it’s not a bucket that we can keep dipping from, without replenishing. When we do, chronic stress and depletion contribute to dysfunction in the body and a whole host of dis-ease can emerge.

We need the support for engaging in practices that cultivate resilience – continuing to fill that bucket, ensuring there’s resources available when faced with the next challenge and for maintaining health.

And we need a compassionate & caring community to do that within.

Resilience in Matrescence

I most often speak of resilience in the frame of matrescence (the transition to motherhood) – life transitions of all types rely greatly on our resilience.

Mothering resilience for survival is…

  • any (often automated) response and adaptation to the events of life, within the context of mothering

  • activation of the appease/fight/flight/freeze stress response in the nervous system

  • occurring in the absence of adequate time, support and resources for full recovery

  • depleting, intense, exhausting, unsustainable

New mother alone and unsupported

It might look something like this:

After hoping for an intervention free labour and birth, a mama welcomes her new little one via emergency Cesarean surgery. She’s feeling incredibly disappointed, grieving the birth she’d intended and uncertain whether she can trust herself and her body to care for her baby.

Well intentioned postpartum visitors say things like “Everything’s going to be fine. At least baby is healthy.”, so Mama puts on a ‘brave face’. Her stress response shows appease on the surface in an attempt to maintain connection with her loved ones – they see resilience and assume everything is fine. Deep down there’s an intense fight/flight response underway triggering anxiety and worry.

She’s able to keep going through her transition to mothering, but everyday she finds herself scrolling online resources, searching for the answers she needs, attempting to calm the uncertainty. Week by week, there’s more depletion and more exhaustion.

Cultivating thriving mothering resilience is…

  • feeling grounded and centered, connected with the Earth and with Inner Wisdom and able to respond and adapt to the unexpected, unpredictable and uncertain.

  • feeling nourished by nutrition, breath, rest, movement and Nature – supporting strength, energy and vitality to be fully engaged with the experiences of life.

  • understanding and embodying the experience of a nervous system efficiently returning to regulation after responding to all life bring (the joyous and the challenging!), with the capacity to engage in steadiness and relaxation

  • being connected with, sustained by and cared for within a diverse and supportive community – a community that holds and nurtures you, so you can continue holding and nurturing your family in your most aligned way.

The story above now looks like this:

After hoping for an intervention free labour and birth, a mama welcomes her new little one via emergency Cesarean surgery. She’s feeling incredibly disappointed, grieving the birth she’d intended and uncertain whether she can trust herself and her body to care for her baby.

Using the grounding & centering practices she cultivated during pregnancy, she reconnects with the Earth, with Nature and with her Inner Wisdom. This creates space for the grief and she’s deeply reminded that she can trust all of the wisdom she contains as she navigates early mothering.

A support gathering of mothers and babies

And, when she forgets these truths or the practices that support her, she has a community of mothers to hold her.

Postpartum visitors bring nourishing meals, tidy the kitchen, do a load of laundry and listen attentively and lovingly to her story. They ask her things like “How’s your heart today? What do you need today, Mama?”

She feels heard, validated and supported. She feels connected and steady.

She feels resilient. And that nourished resilience supports her throughout her mothering journey, no matter what she faces.

See how it’s not just about getting through?

There’s beautiful wisdom in our body and nervous system’s abilities to ensure survival but over time, without intentional and well supported nourishment, connection and recovery, the result is more and more depletion – and fewer resources for health.

I’m on a mission to support all mothers in accessing the tools and community they need for thriving resilience. I believe that when mothers thrive, families thrive. And, when families thrive, communities thrive. Are you in?

Check out the Group Programs (especially Well Rooted Matrescence!) and options for working working with me 1:1.


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