Failing Motherhood

Embrace your Expanded Identity with Casey James

August 02, 2022 Danielle Bettmann | Wholeheartedly Episode 74
Failing Motherhood
Embrace your Expanded Identity with Casey James
Show Notes Transcript

There was so much about motherhood that they did not warn us about in that book What to Expect When You're Expecting. Many of us believed the myth or the expectation that a new baby or kids will fall into our life.
On today's episode, I'm interviewing Casey James, who shares her journey with postpartum depletion, her path of discovering her new identity through matrescence and redefining self-care.

Casey James is the founder of Thrive, a community driven resource for modern women and motherhood.  Her experience reconciling her career-driven identity with the growth and healing motherhood provided challenged her to embrace her expanded identity.

At the end of the episode we both discuss whether you have to find, discover or create our new identities, what that takes and how to do it.

We covered...

  • the need to redefine self-care
  • having permission to take time for yourself
  • releasing the guilt of not having the energy to give her son what he needed
  • the power of knowing what to Google
  • how to embrace your new identity as a mom


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Casey James:

Don't feel guilty about caring for yourself either. Because that is so important to be able to care for yourself so that you can care for your family. And it may not be something that's like instant. And it might be, you know, it might take some time. So just pace yourself and you know, take it day by day, you'll get through it. But just like keep working at it, keep working at advocating for yourself and caring for yourself and getting that support system in place. And you'll get there you know, you'll get there through it day by day, right.

Danielle Bettmann:

Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood, I mean? Have too much anxiety, not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough and you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here. Hey, it's Danielle. There was so much about motherhood that they did not warn us about in that book What to Expect When You're Expecting. Not that it was their job necessarily, but the myth or the expectation that a new baby or kids will fall into our life. Continuing on as normal or getting back to normal is a false pretense most of us believed. On today's episode, I'm interviewing Casey James, who shares her journey with postpartum depletion, her path of discovering her new identity through matrescence and self care and embracing your expanded identity as a mom. Casey James is the founder of Thrive, a community driven resource for modern women and motherhood. She started as a blog in 2018 and thrive has evolved into a space which connects like-minded women with experts within the motherhood professional and wellness space. Casey speaks about ideas that lead to a strong sense of self, supporting empowerment and finding mindful moments in our busy day to day lives as moms. Her own personal journey as a mother of two who transitioned into a new role as a mother while continuing to be a purpose driven professional, has led her to where she is today. She encourages women to honor their strong sense of self, redefine their self care journey, and grow into their new title as mom. A former brand and marketing director for a global luxury brand, Casey lives in West Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two children. In this episode, we discussed the need to redefine self care, having permission to take time for ourselves, releasing the guilt of struggling to give her kids the energy that they needed in those early years when she was struggling, and the power of knowing what to Google. At the end of the episode we both discuss whether you have to find, discover or create our new identities, what that takes and how to do it. Listening to Casey is so easy and relatable, I know that you're going to enjoy this interview. So let's dive in. Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I'm joined by Casey James. Welcome, Casey.

Casey James:

Thank you, I am really looking forward to having this conversation with you today.

Danielle Bettmann:

I am too I've been looking forward to getting back in touch with you from like a year ago and I ended up connecting with you on your podcast. And I knew that you had so much to share with my listeners. So we had to circle back and have another conversation. So I'm so glad you're here.

Casey James:

Yeah, absolutely. I loved the episode that we did last year, just like it was like a perfect timing. I know we were talking about getting you know, integrated and getting set first starting school again and you know, helping support parents through all of that those transitions. So yeah, I'm just really excited to have a conversation with you today about motherhood.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes, yeah. So I shared your bio in the intro, but if you just want to go ahead and introduce yourself to my listeners and share who you are and who's in your family.

Casey James:

Sure. Yeah. Well, so Hi, I'm Casey and I live actually in Canada, Vancouver, Canada. And I am a mother of two, my oldest is eight, turning nine in a couple of months. And he's very active little boy. And then I have a daughter, who is five, also very busy and active. And so it's just been a really interesting stage in my motherhood journey with these two as they're kind of entering the school age phase. And I have an online platform called Thrive. And that is a platform that really supports women and motherhood, we talk a lot about matrescence, which is this transition into motherhood around our growth, and just through all of the different stages that we go through as mothers. I really love to have that online space where we can support one another and talk to one another and bring in different experts to, you know, hopefully bring in some new insights for our own journey and motherhood.

Danielle Bettmann:

Love that. Yeah, we can't get enough of that. We all need it.

Casey James:

Ya know, right.

Danielle Bettmann:

So, what was your intro to motherhood? Who were you prior to becoming a mom? And was it all cupcakes and rainbows coming in?

Casey James:

Yes, good question. So we'll start with, before I became a mom, I was so well, I mean, I think I still am, but very career driven. And, you know, very, I was, I mean, my family is very entrepreneurial. So we had a business that was very entrepreneurial, and I worked with very closely with my parents and my husband. And, you know, we had retail hospitality stores in Vancouver. And so that was our life. That was, all of our lives. Like, that's the only conversation we would have at the dinner table is talk about business and talk about that. And, you know, my husband and I, of course, we enjoyed, you know, in our free time going out in nature and traveling, but it was just, you know, like, my vision, and my mindset was all around, like my growth and my own personal professional fulfillment, and what that looked like, and when, I mean, I've always wanted to have children. And so when I became pregnant with my son, I mean, I think, of course, you know, for so many of us, we have these ideas, and these thoughts of what it's going to be like when you become a parent. And perhaps I think that it really shocked me when I actually had my son and just, you know, the changes that happen that you can't fully control. And I always thought, you know, yeah, we'll still keep the same similar setup in our life the way it is. Now, before we have our kids and, you know, they're gonna mold into our schedules. And just, of course, all of these, like, crazy ideas, and, you know, assumptions of what it was gonna be like, and it changed so much. And I mean, I would say, with my son, when I first had him, of course, entering motherhood for the very first time, you know, it's there's so many unknowns. And so I really did my best to plan. I'm a big planner, I really like to see ahead. I knew I've always had anxiety in general. And so I really wanted to make sure that as much as I knew at the time, I was set up for supporting that because I had this biggest fear at the time that I was going to have postpartum anxiety right after, you know, I heard a little bit about that. And so we had a doula, like an actual postpartum doula that supported me and the baby for the first couple of months after we had him. And we were just like, my husband and I were in a small little two bedroom apartment, and it was just, you know, us and the baby and adjusting and learning as I go. And, you know, with my son in comparison, actually, when I had my son compared to my daughter, the transition was while it was so brand new, and there's so many changes, and there were a lot of kind of, like, things shook me. I had a bigger challenge with my daughter when I had her. And so, you know, it was whether it was because of the life situation that I was at, again, when I had my son, I was still very career driven, but I took six months. So here in Canada, we technically have a 12 month maternity leave. And so I chose because we were in kind of an entrepreneurial business to have six months off, and I thought, Okay, I'm going to jump back into things after six months, we hired a nanny part time, and I would be working part time, and it was okay. But you know, once we kind of got into the groove of things after we had our son for the first year and a half, first couple of years, like we finally kind of got a bit of routine, but then jumping in with my daughter. When we had my daughter, there were a lot of bigger things happening with our business and a lot of changes happening and my son was three so my kids are about three years. apart. And he was going through his own three year old transitions and changes. And so when I had my daughter, I think just like a lot of stress in our lives were happening. And I had a rough pregnancy, you know, a lot of morning sickness. At the very end, it was just very uncomfortable with her very intense labor. And then just right after, during the postpartum timeframe, I did have postpartum anxiety, as much as I tried to set everything up again, we had a nanny at the time to help support us, she took care of the baby, like as much as we need it. But I still had that I had anxiety, I didn't realize it was anxiety. At the time, it was just like a lot of thoughts, intrusive thoughts in my head and fears and all of this, and it was just crazy, it was very difficult to get out of that. And through that time, I also had postpartum depletion, which was this fatigue and the this, like lack of energy, and this exhaustion, that I would get like, throughout the whole day, and I was breastfeeding my daughter, and I really, of course, did my very best to breastfeed her all the way up to 12 months. And that I think, just was adding to the depletion. So I think that just like in the hindsight of everything, looking back, you know, in those early days of motherhood, so many changes happens. Like I think when I had my son, it was just adjusting to a new life, and adjusting to the realities of what motherhood looked like. And with my daughter, a lot of it was physical. And a lot of it was really like a hit on my physical body and my mind and like, how do I navigate this whole thing as well on top of, you know, being in a business, and I was still working and running all of that, and having two kids juggling that. So that's kind of the story of the early days of motherhood in terms of like what I experienced. And you know, I mean, we can talk later, but that's really what sparked my whole vision around thrive and where I wanted to go with that with those experiences.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah. And I find that term postpartum depletion very interesting, because that's not one that I hear very often. Was that something that a practitioner shared with you? And that, you know, kind of found was what your experience was, or how did you relate with that term? And what that looked like in that phase?

Casey James:

Yeah, so I didn't know what that term was at the time, either. What I found, I think, during the first year of my daughter's life, I was so determined to figure out what is going on, why am I so tired? And what can I do to fix this. And so I was curious, like, over those last few years, like I started, that was the time when I started really listening to a lot of podcasts. And just getting into a lot of that information. I think being a mom is you know, like, you have so many books to read and all of this, but it's just so difficult. So podcasts was like my source of, you know, information at the time. And so one of the podcasts I listened to are a couple of them talked about that around motherhood, around postpartum. And there were a couple of physicians on specifically talking about this term postpartum depletion. I am trying to remember his name, because he actually wrote a book, he's Australian, I have to remember and give that to you, too, if you wanted to put that in the show notes. But it was so fascinating. And you know, when you hear or read something that you can just spot on, you're like, oh, that's what I'm experiencing. That's exactly it. I just felt like I was seen. And I was like, okay, like, this made a lot of sense. And, you know, I'm not crazy, because, to be honest, you know, our family doctor, it's like, I felt very dismissed a lot of the time, like, you know, it was like, Okay, well, yeah, sure your blood work is okay. And this is okay. But you're just tired. You're a new mom, and all of that. And I just, it was really challenging and frustrating, I found it very frustrating to not like, I like to get to like the bottom of things and have much more thorough understanding around my body. So I know exactly what I can do to help support it. And, again, like, I think that there's a lot of women and mothers that do feel dismissed, you know, in the health system. And so, being able to learn and hear experts talk about things that have gone in and studied and have support tools or just understanding more about what, you know, I think it's very common about what a lot of women go through. It's so reassuring to have that, but we need to talk more about it because it's like, Absolutely, it's a word that not a lot of people know and you know, I think there's a lot of people who do experience that.

Danielle Bettmann:

Right? And how can they know what they don't know? Yet? If they've never heard of it?

Casey James:

Exactly.

Danielle Bettmann:

And that's why it's so empowering to finally have words to describe your experience in something that relates to a world even bigger than you. Because that's so validating. Yeah, it is, it's so encouraging to know you're not alone, and that it's not all in your head, or you didn't cause it or it's not your fault. Exactly, that's exactly the reassurance you need to then feel comfortable asking for help, or finding support or doing more research that brings you to more answers. Because you can finally know what to Google

Casey James:

that's funny. And also being able, you know, if you have a partner in your life, too, and just being able to have like that support system and having them understand what you're going through. It's so important to have that because like you can't just be doing it all alone, either. Like you don't want to be sitting there by yourself and doing all the research and then just like okay, like, yes, of course take that responsibility. Yeah. But being able to share that and, you know, having them understand and coming up with a plan to be able to support you know, you through all of this. It's really important. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

Hey, if you're new here, I'm Danielle. My company, Wholeheartedly offers one on one and group coaching programs to help families but strong willed kids aged one to seven, prevent tantrums, eliminate power struggles, extend their patience and get on the same page. It's kind of like finances, you can read lots of info about what a Roth IRA is and how the stock market works. But if you really want to get serious about paying down debt or growing your wealth, you go see a financial advisor who can give you very specific recommendations based on all the unique facets of your situation. I'm your financial advisor for parenting. And I've designed the way we work together to give you nothing less than a complete transformation. While we work together, I am able to help you figure out why your child is losing their mind and why you are losing your mind and guide you to master effective long term solutions through three main focuses. Number one, my Cultivating Cooperation guide, teaching you the tools of Positive Discipline. Number two, managing your mind by working through my Triggers Workbook. And number three, establishing your family's foundation by writing your Family Business Plan. My coaching is comprehensive, practical, individualized and full of VIP support. So if you struggle to manage your child's big emotions, if you and your partner's arguments seem to center around parenting, especially if one of you is too kind, and one of you is too firm, if you struggle to stay calm and be the parent that you want to be, it's possible to stop feeling like a deer in headlights when a tantrum hits, effortlessly move through simple directions and care routines without an argument, and go to bed replaying the way you handled the hardest moments and feel proud. If you have a deep desire to be the best parent you can be, and your family is your greatest investment...find me on Instagram, send me a message that says SANITY and I'll ask you a few questions to see if we'd be a good fit to work together. I can't wait to meet you! Back to the show. So what did that next year look like? Once you had a little more information about what was going on? How did you do? Then what did you do next?

Casey James:

Yeah, so before I had both my kids, I really had a pretty good regime. And you know, I mean, I had my family doctor but I also did a lot of different other type of alternative or just like more holistic things to take care of myself. So I would see someone who did Chinese medicine, a lot of acupuncture, not regularly but I would see a naturopath you know I would be able to kind of do some of that. And I found that to be really important for myself, you know, I would like i My husband always jokes, you know, like I have a whole medical team or support system but I felt like it was such an important thing and so I did that throughout my pregnancies as well as after. So I went back to seeing my naturopath as well as the Chinese medicine doctor as well. And you know, we kind of really helped come up with like pinpointing come up with a plan. To be honest, this whole postpartum depletion took a long time to feel better. And there was a lot of kind of like back and forth with my doctor and my naturopath and getting blood tests and you know having to like pay out of pocket for specific tests to like, look at my hormones and figure out what that all looks like. And so it took probably about two years to figure that out. And it also required me to adjust and to take, because, you know, I had a lot of stress in my life, a lot of things like it was like, go, go go. And even though we still have that in our lives, like I had to really look at things differently, look at how I actually exercised less intensely, looked at how, like we planned our days and didn't add so much on our schedules, and take the time to rest. When I needed to rest, which is so difficult. When you have young children or you know, if you're just like kind of full time with them, there's not a lot of opportunity. So it's, I had to, like really look at what I was able to do get a support system in place, go back to my doctors, and like get a lot of testing done to figure out exactly what that is, and then come up with a plan. And I really think like my daughter is five right now turning six at the end of the year. And honestly, even at when she was four, I was still feeling this depletion this tired, you know, it was more manageable, because I was able to figure out, like, when it's going to happen, what I needed to do, but I was still feeling it. And I you know, it took some time to with, you know, the right support, and the you know, the right kind of plan with my doctors to get to that point. But, you know, listening to your body, I think is really, really key, it's so important and do constant check ins with yourself of what's going on in your life support system, you know, having your partner there to really understand what's going on. Those were really big key things that were happening. And you know, we had a really big, you know, I was saying before we had a family business. And just actually when my daughter was about a year and a half our family business was sold. And it was like a bit of a shock to everybody. Because it was not we were not expecting it, it was a bit of a takeover. And that really impacted me as well. And that did not help with healing and recovering from this postpartum depletion. So it's taken time to heal, to just like, shift my whole life and to make a lot of adjustments, but tune in to myself, listen to myself, you know, and pace everything. I think that those were really big key things to all of it.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, understandably, for sure. And how did that affect your parenting at the time, and like your level of patience that you had? If you were waking up every day continually depleted already?

Casey James:

Yes. I mean, I hold a lot of guilt. For my son in particular, through all of this, I think that, you know, and I'm doing my best, like, of course, this is a big work in progress for me, and, you know, not to carry that, but I feel so guilty, because my son was like, he was thriving, he was doing so well, like, truthfully, before we had our daughter, and he was so happy, he was got one on one attention from both my husband and I. And you know, he was a happy boy. And, and we just noticed so many changes with him. And also with my level of patience, and the ability, like I didn't have enough energy to give him the attention that he would need. And I had to, you know, ask a lot of family members to come in and step in and help support him and help be there for him. Because I just physically wasn't able to do that. And so I you know, even up until this day, I feel like there's been so many changes that we've gone through in the last even like five years, that, you know, I can see that in him at times I can see there's a lot of frustrations and just for us in their parenting level. And I've been a lot more focused, and I'm very sensitive with my son when it comes to that. But I do carry and hold a lot of guilt. I'm like, well, what could have been done differently, you know, how could we have done this differently with him? And you know, how could I have been able to be more present with him, but at the same time, it was like, it just felt at the time impossible. Because I was so tired, I was not able to do it. I couldn't handle it. I wake up every morning and you know, can like just like charge through an hour or two and then I crash and you know, I'm just not able to be there for him. So and even for my daughter too, you know, like I just feel like, it feels like I was at a big fog. And I think a lot of women go through that. Like you feel like you're in just this huge fog for the first I don't know two, sometimes three years or more. And, you know, it's just I wasn't again, I didn't feel like I was able to be As present with her with what she needed, like, sure we can sign her up for classes, I can take her for walks, he could sit down and play with her. But there was just another level. And my daughter is very different than my son, and she has a lot of energy, like she really like I couldn't give her that space to, like, allow her to have that energy and to express herself in that way. So yeah, I mean, I definitely say that like, through these years, like I do, hold on, carry a bit of guilt in that side. But now at this stage of their lives, you know, I've really kind of made an intention now that I'm at the point where I'm feeling a bit better, and I'm able to be more present with them. But it's really important to me, to carve out that space, and just to find the things that are important, you know, it doesn't have to be anything crazy and big, but just giving them that one on one time, and really being intentional with that tie with both of them.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, it's so hard. If you just don't even have anything to give, like you can't give what you don't have. I always say that. And when you're trying to learn parenting strategies, or trying to have more patience, you need the capacity and the sanity and the well being to make those things possible. And when you don't have it, you can't give it. And that's what makes it so important to focus on your well being and your understanding of your own body and meeting your own needs. Otherwise, you can't meet everyone else's needs or be there for your kids and give them what they need at that age. And, yeah, it creates a lot of guilt when you feel like the expectations for that certain season, are not meeting what you are able to give. And of course, if that matters to you if your parenting matters to you, and it's going to sit with you. But it doesn't serve you to dwell on it or beat yourself up for it. Because that doesn't ultimately serve your child either. So what would you say to a mom who's listening? That's like, I'm in that right now I am in that season? And I hate it, I'm in that blur? What would you want to tell her?

Casey James:

So first of all, I would first say, let go of the guilt. And it's not easy, it's really, really hard. But you know, holding on to that guilt can get very heavy, and it can actually seep through and show even if you're doing your best to be there for your family and for your kids. Like, you know, it can compensate in other ways. So, work through that on a personal level, you know, however you do best, you know, for me, I journaled a lot, I really worked through that I had a counselor like I still do, and being able to go and talk to somebody was so important for me. So, you know, I think that's a big thing and look at your support system and look at, you know, for example, like are you able to get some sort of help and a support system there? Are you able to have an open conversation with your partner. And really, hopefully, they can be there to support you. And to help you through it. I am very grateful for my husband, where he really listened. And he stepped up and he just took on what he needed to take on. And that was really, really helpful. And you know, so I just say, it won't last forever. But don't feel guilty. And don't feel guilty about caring for yourself, either. Because that is so important to be able to care for yourself so that you can care for your family. And it may not be something that's like instant. And it might be you know, it might take some time. So just pace yourself. And you know, take it day by day, you'll get through it. But just like keep working at it, keep working on advocating for yourself and caring for yourself and getting that support system in place. And you'll get there you know, you'll get there through it day by day, right?

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, that's probably the encouragement they really need right now. Yeah. And so what has that looked like for you? How have you taken care of yourself? What does self care look like for you right now? Or what has it looked like over the last few years?

Casey James:

I mean, the thing was, self care is like that word has to be redefined. In particular for parents and mothers because it's not like the typical, you know, go to a spa for a couple hours and things like that, like self care is it doesn't have to be a big deal. But even just like getting up and having 10 minutes alone in the morning can be so much for you before you have like the kids running on you and you're having to be intend to them. So for me I've really had to redefine what self care looks like, over the years, from before having kids to having one child to having two children to running a business. You know, I think that my morning routine has been really important. And it changes, it's not something that, like, I think that I've had to also come to terms with the fact that I need to allow my routines to change, like, it can't just be the exact same every single day or, you know, for months, like allow it to be fluid, allow it to flow, but be able to give yourself space. Like, I think for me, the biggest thing is to have alone time throughout the day to just like reset and decompress. And so going downstairs, I have a quiet room, sometimes I just go down there, I journal turn on some quiet music, maybe the kids are up, maybe they're not yet. But just giving myself that time before the morning rush is really important. Having my big like kind of I wake I make warm tea in the morning, that to me just taking a couple of steps and doing a couple, you know, breathing exercises, a bit of meditation, nothing too crazy, nothing too complicated. That's a really big thing. Even in like the evening time again, like turning my phone off, you know, not going on the social media apps after a certain timeframe is so big for me. And even actually, I do that in the morning to like, I've noticed I don't check my phone, I do my best not to check in until like nine or 10. Like if the kids are in school, like I don't check it before that because it just like does something to my mind. And so you know, small little things like that. Just noticing what it is I needing and what my body's needing at the time, and just really doing my best to listen to that has been really key and important. And just doing small little things throughout the day. Nothing that takes so much time. Of course, it's amazing. If you can have like, half a day to yourself are a full day to yourself and just get you know, go with girlfriends and go and do something fun or just going out alone. Like, that's great. But, you know, in a practical sense, if you aren't able to do that and carve that time out, just being able to carve out, you know, small, little break, like 15 minutes, you know, throughout the day to do something that really helps fill your cup, I think is really important.

Danielle Bettmann:

And giving yourself permission to do that. Knowing that it is what's best for your kids is to take that Exactly,

Casey James:

exactly. I mean, I have to be honest, the last few months have been so busy for myself, for my kids, the end of the year, all these activities, and I have had limited time, I haven't had enough, you know, the time that I have needed to care for myself the way that I did, you know, like early in the year. And so I've had to come to accept that. And also say, Okay, no, I still need to do something to care for myself. And it requires a commitment to yourself at requires, like sometimes you just have to schedule it, like put it on the calendar, you know, like put the time on there, put reminders on your phone to do it. But yeah, you know, it's not always going to be like exact and you know, you may not have as much time, but you do need to do it because you're gonna run and burn out so quickly if you don't.

Danielle Bettmann:

One of the things that filled me up a lot in the first few years of motherhood was just getting out to like somewhere peaceful, where I felt like I was still a part of society, like, going to get my wedding ring cleaned at the jewelry store. It felt like walking into a whole nother realm of the universe. Remembering that I was still a grown up and other grown ups and that like not everything revolved around primary colors. And you know, Daniel Tiger and it was like a breath of fresh air. And I still find that when I take my kids to the library, it's like something about the peacefulness of like being around other people, but like just being able to exist without a whole lot of expectation. The dishes not being right next to you to the need to get done. Yeah, it was like, okay, yes. Like all you needed was to come up for air for a second, and then you realize just how desperately you needed it. But you weren't even in tune with your body enough to realize how far gone you were by that point.

Casey James:

Yeah, exactly. I think a change of environment is actually really, really good point. Like, I think it really does help if you're sitting in the home a lot of the time and you don't get out or just pull things right. Just taking a couple hours or whatever it is like it really does. has changed your perspective of things and like helps kind of push you direction where you're not like, like you said, staring at the dishes or the floor needs to be clean? Or you know, whatever it is. Yeah, that's a really good point. Yes.

Danielle Bettmann:

And the other thing I wanted to ask you about was like your identity as a mom, because that shifts and changes so much with the way that you know, motherhood, just kind of, I can't remember the term you use at the beginning, but it was just a shock. Like, it was just, you know, kind of blasted you and for you to be a mom that was very career minded, walking into motherhood, how did your identity shift? And how did you begin to embrace this like new identity?

Casey James:

Yeah, this is such a big conversation. And I find this to be so interesting. And watching myself go through this and then watching, like, other women go through this till it's something that I don't think, is talked about as much either, you know, we talked about the postpartum depletion. But this identity shift is so big. I mean, we talk a lot, there's a lot of things that talk about pregnancy, and just like, right, the early postpartum days, but this identity shift, these changes, these transformations that happen for women are huge, and it just impacts everything in our lives. And so, you know, for myself, it really did, it really did was a big shift for me on my professional life to being a mom, because I really wanted to be a mom for so many years, I was very proud, like that identity of being a mom, I was so proud to be. And you know, I didn't want to hide that, like I really, I always believed, oh, yeah, I'm gonna figure out like, I'm gonna balance being a mom and working and growing, you know, professionally and all of this, it was never easy. It was very, very difficult. And I think over the years, my values shifted and changed. And I was able to clearly identify them much more. Like, I think in the back of my head, I had them. But I was scared to talk about it. Like I was scared to say, you know, what, actually, like working nine to five, isn't always fully realistic, or isn't what I necessarily wanted. Now that I'm a mom, like, I wanted to have more flexibility. And I think I was scared to ask that even like, with my parents who like I worked with so closely, I didn't even know how to make that happen. It felt impossible to do. But it to me, it was really confusing. Like I didn't understand when you know, women are working if you're working full time, for example. And then your kids are in daycare, or preschool or even school, like where kids are usually out at three o'clock in the afternoon. I'm like, How do you do this? Like, how do working women do this? It's like, that's a whole other conversation around like the society and how I don't think that it's properly set up in this sense. But that really impacted me in terms of what I wanted, and what my values were and what my priorities were. And they shifted, they changed. And I realized, no, I really, really wanted more flexibility. And I really did want to still work because it was really important to me. But I needed to change in a way so that I was able to be there for my kids. And I could be there to pick them up from school and take them to activities. So I think that, you know, my identity changed in the sense where I wasn't just identified as this career driven woman, I had, you know, the identity of a mom and you my friendships changed, right. And you're like all of that changes, even though I still have strong friendships. But some maybe aren't as strong anymore as they were and, and I have new friendships with other moms who like I think, you know, we can get each other we understand what we're going through. And so there's this term that I really find so fascinating, that I learned about a couple of years ago called matrescence, which is this term of transitions into motherhood. And that's a pretty simple way of explaining it. But it's the term that again, changes like your body. It's like all of the changes that are happening, your mind, your body, your relationships, everything changes. And it's almost a sense. It's like a change in your body. And it's something that researchers are starting to study more and work with women more on, but it's kind of comparing to when you were going through adolescence, and there is this big change that you're having. There's also this huge change that you have when you become a mother. And so we need to learn more about it. We need to talk about it more I've noticed Being in the space of motherhood, there are more professionals and experts and you know, talking a lot about it and being able to support women through this. But again, having a name for it and just like reading about it, it really helps understand. And I think for women, I think that really, you need to have that, like when I first read it, I was like, Oh, my goodness, this is exactly what I'm going through. This is what all of these women I see are going through. And why are we talking about this more like, it's just, it's such a big thing. It's like this huge thing that we're having, you know, in our lives is this huge change that we're having in our lives? So let's talk about this more to be able to help support one another.

Danielle Bettmann:

Right, right. Yeah, that goes right back to what we were saying about the postpartum depletion is like, I want to know what to Google so that I know I'm not alone. And this isn't some big like, thing in my own head. It's actually pretty universal. Have an experience? And I just, it wasn't covered in the What to Expect When You're Expecting book at all?

Casey James:

No, not at all. Not at all. And I think like, you know, I think that there's this mindset of for women, it's like, okay, yeah, you've become pregnant, you have a baby, and then you just get back right at it, again, to where you were before. And that's not the case at all. I think we all know that, like, our lives are very different than they were before we had kids. But it's like, it's something that happens. And it's kind of normal, and we need the support systems there to help support us through that even more and talk about it more. And you know, I mean, that again, that's a whole other conversation. But yeah, I think it's at least just getting to that point where we can understand what this term means and start having, you know, experts and people talking about it, and knowing where to go to be able to have conversations with other women about it, or your partner about it is a really great start.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes, yes. That's tremendous, for sure. And so how has that informed what you do now, tell us more about thrive.

Casey James:

So I really, with that term of matrescence, I think that it really helped me clarify where my passion was, where I wanted to go with everything, what that actually impacted me in my own professional life. And so where Thrive originally came from was, like I said, I think it was through my experience with having with both of my children, I realized at first with my son, there was so many resources that were centered around the baby around the child, this was like, what, 8-9 years ago now. And there was not a lot of information to support the mother. And so that's kind of what started my vision and my idea around thrive. And I started just having thrive as more of a creative outsource for myself, just as I was healing and going through things and listening to different podcasts and just gathering more information and focusing that information around the mother and learning about ourselves, you know, as we enter motherhood, and what does that look like and beyond. And so, I know when I had my daughter, and then I learned more around the postpartum depletion, and I learned so much more. And I was just like, going through that with my own experience. As you know, I realized we need to have more resources, more conversations, just for women in general, whether that's, again, a Oh, it was more focused on the virtual side or more online base. And so I had, you know, a virtual membership where we could access the resources access, various different things, like from workout classes, to interviews, q&a, that kind of thing, talking around anything around motherhood. And so since then, like Thrive has just continued to grow. And we've, you know, hosted panel conversations where I've brought in experts from various different industries that you know, one was really around counseling, a naturopath, just talking with other women who are like career driven and learning how to find balance. And so bringing in these different conversations and seeing them from various different perspectives is so important. So Thrive has you know, hosted many events, we've hosted more intimate workshops and circles where it's more of a conversation with you know, other women and being able to just facilitate this with these conversations around what my true essence means, and opening that up more to really support all of us through these changes. Whatever stage we're at in motherhood because, you know, some can be having like, under you know, the age of one or some has school aged children and sometimes it's different, but sometimes it's not, you know, Oh, there's a lot of like real great conversations to have. So yeah, that's kind of where the vision is with thrive is just to really create this support system, this conversations, and talking about ways of how we can embrace our expanded identity, this expanded identity and motherhood, that we, you know, which is matrescence, you know, essentially. And so I have become very passionate, I also have a podcast. And that's kind of really where my area of focus is, right now. It's just having fun, and just bringing in different guests that I really have various expertise, primarily in motherhood, but you know, just conversations that we can talk about that really help support our own personal growth and support so that we can really feel empowered and strong through this journey. And then that way we can support our loved ones and our family. Yes.

Danielle Bettmann:

And I love that phrase you just said, so I want to circle back to it. Before we wrap up? How can we embrace our expanded identity?

Casey James:

I mean, it's just a question or I guess it's just this, you know, phrase that I feel is really important. Just ask ourselves that, you know, on a day to day basis, or what is it that looks like for you? What does that look like? What have you, how can you support yourself in the identity shifts that you have, and instead of shutting it off, or just like feeling frustrated, that things have changed, and it hasn't gone, it's new, you're not going back to the way you used to be your body has changed, your relationships may have changed? What are some of the things that you can embrace instead? What have you learned from all of this? You know, how have you grown up until now, through all of this? I think that those are the important questions to ask yourself and have those conversations with others around you other like minded women, ones who probably share the same things. And the same transitions are similar as you have, you know, really kind of looking in those different sectors in your life with your professional side, your relationships, your physical side, and seeing those areas instead of being so hard on yourself, you know, yeah, embrace it.

Danielle Bettmann:

And I love your thoughts. I heard a quote a couple of months ago, that has just been ringing in my mind ever since. And it was something like, you don't need to find yourself, you can create yourself. And so I love your thoughts on like, do you feel like that's true? Do you feel like it's like a journey of discovery? Or do you feel like there's an aspect of like creation and you know, growth in exploration? That is intentional?

Casey James:

Gosh, that's a good question. I love that quote. I mean, I feel like, just for myself, this has just been a huge journey of discovery. It's just self discovery. It's just like, constant. It's ongoing. But it's kind of being open to it as well. Being opened as discovering more about yourself, being curious and doing things for yourself, whatever that is, like through creative expression, or, you know, just kind of doing things differently. But you will learn more about yourself through even parenting strategies and how that you know, you support your kids in that way. And I know you talk a lot about that. I think that a lot of it is self discovery and learning. The more you learn about yourself, the more you can, you know, the more you grow, so I think, yeah, I mean, I think I know that for myself, at least, that's what a big thing that I've been drawn to over the last five years, just through all of the changes and healing that I've had to go through. It's been, you know, trial and error. But a big thing is discovering a lot around myself. You know, I think that it's really huge.

Danielle Bettmann:

And you mentioned that a little bit earlier about, like, you know, having those core values and really just leaning into those rather than like resisting how strongly you feel about those or what that means for how you take action on living those out and feeling confident to be able to share them with others. I think that's a big part of embracing our identity as well as being able to either create or discover what those are to us through the trial and error experimentation or what those experiences create within us and what we realized through those things, and it's not something that's just handed to you, like, here's who you are, go live it. Yeah, I wish but no, it's definitely a process of being able to realize things and just be really in tune with how things make you feel and what really lights you vibe and what you feel passionate about. And you know the problems that you solve that you realize, you're really good at, or you know, things that you're just drawn naturally to. And then being able to feel like you can embrace that this is what's right for me, or it's right for our family, or what's great for our kids. And then just being able to have a little bit of that tough skin to say, it's not going to be the same for everyone. And I don't need to take that personally, when my friend makes a different decision, or when I feel like, you know, there's always a new shiny thing down the road of like, something I should do differently, or better or new. But this is what I've decided because of the work that I've done on myself. And that's really empowering with the more that we can lean into that.

Casey James:

Yes, very much. Yeah, you said that beautifully. I think it really is, I think, you know, being confident, I mean, it does take time to discover that and figure out what your values are, what your priorities are. But getting clear with that, and really honing in is so important. And it just will help you through the years and help you stay grounded. And I you know, have clear boundaries, you know, and help, you know, raise your family too. So and make these difficult decisions. Sometimes, you know, going back to, you know, what are your values? What are your big priorities is really important, you know, along this journey, and motherhood. And again, like, that's not always talked about as much or seem to be, you know, necessarily as important, but I think that it's really key to all of this. Yeah, it

Danielle Bettmann:

actually reminds me of a client session I had like two days ago with a family that was graduating from my one on one coaching and the mom was trying to, like nail down, okay, what is like the biggest result of going through this program that mattered the most to me. And it was realizing that she came in with so much insecurity, so much anxiety that was just based in comparison, and based in the not knowing of, you know, am I handling this right? And overthinking every parenting decision, and just really being unsure of who she was as a mom, and how that came across to her relationships with their kids, their relationships with her husband and her friendships even. And so the biggest result that she felt like she created through coaching was figuring out, this is who we are, this is who I am. And this is what's right for our family. And finally, being able to shake off some of those shoulds of like, I should have my kids in bed every single night by 730 or else and just realizing oh, it's really important to our family that we have more experiences, we stay outside later. And we sleep in and that's what our kids can still thrive within those boundaries. And that routine really works for us as parents, and that's okay, like finally feeling like that's okay. And being able to just run with that. There's so much more clarity. It was really cool for me to see her have that realization, but just creating that kind of full picture visualization of what that can look like. And it does take time. You can't walk into motherhood, just being like, Yep, got it all figured out.

Casey James:

Exactly. Because you have your own experiences. And you have to live through those to be able to figure that out. But yeah, I mean, like, I love that story. I love what you just share. That's so big. That's so huge. And it feels so empowering once you can figure that out. Right? Yes. And feel confident and strong. And I love it. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

And it's okay if you need support to get there. Because if you have a mentor that's kind of like your mirror or someone who's pointing out the progress you don't give yourself credit for or someone who can just fill in the gaps have a little bit more insight or education or perspective that allows you to see things more clearly and realize what's developmentally appropriate, or what's a big deal or not, that can be a game changer. So don't feel like that opportunity isn't there? It is. And there's so many people ready to help you that are just few years down the road, ready to turn around and share what they've learned with you. And that's what I love about kind of being a mom right now. In this world of the internet.

Casey James:

Totally. Exactly. Yeah. Don't feel afraid to ask for help, right? Yes, support is there for you.

Danielle Bettmann:

It is. So how can listeners connect with you at the end of this episode?

Casey James:

Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram at Thrive underscore living and thrive is spelt with a Y so THRYVE. And you can also go onto our website. It's thrive.ca. And we have various different ways to be involved with Thrive and the community. The biggest thing right now is we do send out monthly e-newsletters with just lots of different fun resources and information and just different experts opinions and thoughts. So that's just a fun way of just gathering information as well. And just getting some new insights on what the community is doing with in with Thrive. And the biggest thing, and the one thing that I'm actually active with at the moment is the podcast, which is the Thriving Mother Podcast where you can find out anywhere you stream podcasts on Apple podcasts, and Spotify. And those we do in the seasons. And we talk, we interview various different experts, I bring on experts who are from counseling to women who are really supporting, you know, mothers through the early stages of motherhood to I've actually had a father come on, and he's talked about his perspective on redefining fatherhood and this next season, but it's really fun conversations that we have. And I just find them to be really insightful as well. And that's just something that's fulfilling my cup right now. And so yeah, you can just find me on the various different channels website and Instagram and the podcast.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah. And I'll have that linked in the show notes. So they can just click from there and go find you. And so I'll wrap up by asking the question I asked every guest I have on, which is how are you, the mom that your kids need? Such a good question, that is not an easy question to ask. I love that...my kids need... ha, well, I think a big thing, or something that's really important, to me, at least at the moment, is for my kids to know that you don't need to be perfect, being perfect as a myth. And I carry that a lot with myself. I'm a big perfectionist, and I'm, you know, always working to really kind of not me and just see my son in particular I can see is, is also a perfectionist. And so you know, of course your kids mirror a lot of things that you go through. And so that I think is a big thing that I'm working on, and really helping my kids work through, you know, so my kids can see that and see me as that role model. And also caring for myself. Caring for myself is so key and important. And wanting my kids to see that wanting my kids to see that and see how I, when I care for myself, I feel good, I'm feel more present, I can be there for them. And so that whether or not they fully are able to articulate that at the moment at their young age. I hope that as they grow up, they see that to be a priority for them as well. I think that that's you know, so key. So I don't know if that answers the question right or not. I mean, there's so much to like, process it think about that, but there's no right or wrong.

Casey James:

At least those are the two things that have come up for me at the moment.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, yes. And I'm so glad it's so hard to be put on the spot and to give yourself the credit of you know, knowing that you can step into that and feel confident in that. But yes, they are lucky to have you being that role model and being transparent. And leading by example. It's so much important because they notice more what you do than what you say. And so that sinks in really deeply. So yeah, great job,

Casey James:

Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you.

Danielle Bettmann:

So thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and your experiences and just being able to put that out there for more resources for moms. It's so needed.

Casey James:

Oh, thank you for having me. It's been really a great conversation. I love having conversations like this, so

Danielle Bettmann:

I can't wait to share it. Yeah.

Casey James:

Thank you.

Danielle Bettmann:

Thanks again, Casey.

Casey James:

Thanks, Danielle.

Danielle Bettmann:

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen, schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.