As a mother to teenage girls and a yogi at heart, Mel Goode has spent her transformative path through motherhood, veering off the beaten path to find full resonance. Allowing her inner wisdom to guide her in taking the next intuitive step forward, Mel has found community in unexpected places, sifted through the collective noise around spirituality, and found the grounding pulse of motherhood through the use of breath work and a good book. I hope Mels’s story ignites a reconnection to your inner voice and inspires intuitive action.<3
Where are you on the path of motherhood – preconception, pregnancy, postpartum (less than 1 year) or forever postpartum (1+ year)? Forever Postpartum (I have a 13 year old and a 12 year old)
Can you tell us about your transformative path to motherhood?
I was very much so an only child that loved to spend time with her friends and the whole world revolved around me. I didn’t seem to care much about the future or past and was living in the moment…my moment. Choosing to pass on college, I had a full time job and had done well to work myself up in my career.
Once I met my husband and we got pregnant, it felt like I completely changed my life values. While pregnant, I worked until the moment I gave birth and intended to go back to work full time after the baby arrived. Once I met her, that whole idea shifted and my husband worked 2 jobs to let me be a stay-at-home mom. Man was that a tough shift!
It took me almost two years to adjust to the new role as “mother” and the identity I had made for myself (that was based on my job and friends) was also shifting.
I had to recreate myself and figure out my true priorities. At the time, these were healthily eating habits (which only meant homemade food), family time, fitness, nature, and spiritual journey… which led me to the most healing modalities so far, yoga.
You mentioned spiritual journey as part of your transformative path – What about motherhood shifting things (spiritually) for you in those early years?
I was raised by parents who incorporated Episcopal Church into my childhood because they both came from different faiths and decided to try something in between for our family. Nothing ever resonated or felt at peace for me and created a feeling of stress each time I would go.
As an adult, my husband and I tried many different styles of churches and always ended up discouraged because the whole “mega church” that was the predominant option in our town, left me feeling overwhelmed, disconnected, out of place, and judged.
After years of trying to fit into something that never felt right, yoga actually led us to try different styles of churches, meditation places, and exposing the kids to different faiths and styles of worship that were not all Christian based. I hope this has helped open my children up to be more accepting and more confident in finding their own path.
As a woman/mother, what UNSPOKEN SPACES of womanhood/motherhood do you think deserve more attention? Any idea on how to help transform the dialogue to better validate and honor our journeys?
– The different role you begin to play in your marriage, as a friend, or to your parents/siblings.
– Another would be the unrecognized “work” our stay-at-home moms do and the disconnection you feel from the world and your husband when you are the stay-at-home mom. At times, it feels as though everything that involves your partner’s job, money, or self is more important than family and real connection. It’s really hard to find time for yourself and your partner. By the time my husband gets home from work, all we ever have time to do is eat and watch a show and then repeat. There is no “you” outside of parenting.
– Some more would be all the different types of parenting styles…breastfeeding preferences…co-sleeping or no co-sleeping… All paths seem so taboo in America.
There is a lot of pressure on moms who choose to veer off the beaten path, leaving us feeling less successful at our efforts.
The list could go on forever, right? – If our culture could shift just ONE thing in regards to validating and honoring our mothers…what one thing do you think would make the biggest impact?
Creating a program for new mothers that involves counseling, mentoring, or support systems: resources in hospitals or community centers.
How have you built community for yourself?
My community is found in yoga and like-minded parents I’ve come across. I’m pretty Introverted but have always had a lot of friends. As I aged and found myself frequently moving locations, making connections became harder. I become less interested in building those connections and am pretty content just reading a book or having lunch with a friend.
As a fellow introvert, I know community can be one of the hardest things to piece together – What would you consider a “safe space” and how does that factor into how you choose your community?
Something like the Our Seva community you have created for us or other online/in person help groups. Luckily, I’ve found these groups for motherhood, thyroid issues, exercise and nutrition, spiritual centers, and breast implant disease. These are the places where other people face the same challenges and we can share ideas and create an environment that supports one another.
If you were speaking to a soon-to-be mama or someone on their fertility journey, what sage words of wisdom would you impart on her?
– Don’t forget to take care of your own personal self care needs and try not to have guilt in regard to dedicating this time, because when you are overwhelmed and overworked the whole family suffers.
– Make time to go to counseling before you have kids, ensuring your ideals line up. At the first sign of trouble, seek out an expert.
– Don’t lose your identity and become the maid or roommate.
– Planning and routines are really helpful as well as consistently and boundaries.
– Don’t just buy your children’s happiness.
– Teach your children empathy/compassion and let them make their own meals and choices when they are capable of doing so. This builds a healthy relationship with self and food.
Mothers are so limited on “me time” – If you only had 10 minutes, what activity would you do to help ground yourself into the present moment?
Breath work – using a 10 second inhale followed by a 10 second exhale. Or maybe I would step outside and do something in the yard, some simple yoga sun salutations, or read from an uplifting book.
Any go-to resources you’d like to share to inspire continued transformation?
Raising Baby Green, By Alan Greene
Yoga & The Quest For Self, By Stephen Cope
Obstacle In The Way, By Ryan Holiday
Others: mindful parenting books, spiritual books on various faiths and religion (so they are aware of other cultures and beliefs), retreats or trips by yourself or with spouse, visiting spiritual places that have a strong sense of community, and surrounding yourself with elders/friends.
Join Our Seva Motherhood Circle
In the Our Seva Motherhood Circle private Facebook group, we support one another as we veer off the beaten path, finding our own steady rhythms to motherhood. As a community of women, we are on a mission to help shift the cultural narrative around the unspoken spaces of motherhood…no matter what stage you find yourself in. We show up to share from a place of vulnerability, know that our stories give one another the language needed to really stir things up. We focus our efforts with weekly themed discussions around shifting identity, maternal mental health, cultural expectations and our sacred service to motherhood. I’d love it if you join us!
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Want to contribute your story?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “member story” in the subject line and tell us a little bit about how you’d like to share! The question we ask all guests is “What UNSPOKEN SPACES of womanhood/motherhood do you think deserve more attention?”