Last year on Mother’s Day I wrote to you about how I thought being a mother was going to be easier.
This year Penelope is 20 months old. And it has gotten easier. Just in the last week she’s started to sometimes sleep through the night – yay! She’s fiercely independent, has an incredible sense of humor, and has already begun to be quite particular about what she will and won’t wear.
I was texting with a girlfriend because she was terrified after receiving a sexual threat aimed at her daughter over social media, and it was just after she and her daughter had been really public about taking a stand for something important.
She told me she was so scared and just wanted to contract and hide and, of course, protect her daughter.
She wrote, “Trying to protect your kids as they grow gets harder and harder…”
And I responded in a way I was really proud of, Mom. I was really proud of it because it’s what you taught me. It’s how you raised me. And it’s how I’m raising P.
“So here’s the deal: the best way to protect her is to model courage and bravery. Because you won’t be there every moment something happens to her. But if she has the inner resources, she’ll always be able to protect herself. Just like she will at the high school parties and the college bars. If you teach her that her body is sacred and not to be fucked with she’ll have the greatest protection known to woman: impenetrable self worth.”
Mom, from the time I can remember, you taught me that I could trust myself. That I could trust the way my heart felt and the way my body felt. That neither of them would ever lie to me.
You taught me that I was trustworthy by trusting me. From day one. Not once I earned it. Because I was made trustworthy. I was made whole. I was born with the equipment to know who was safe, who wasn’t, where to go, where not to go, what to say yes to, and what to walk away from.
I started listening right away because you told me I could.
You didn’t ask me who else was going to be there when I asked if I could go to someone’s house. You didn’t stop me from getting in cars with boys. You didn’t micro-manage my daily decisions.
Instead, you taught me how to manage them myself, from a deep place of self-worth and self-trust that no one could ever mess with.
You taught me my body was whole and sacred and worthy. You gave me the gift of knowing I was her primary protector and that what I felt was best for her just was. Period. No discussion.
This has served me in many a doctor’s office, a few bars & parties, and most definitely a bedroom or two.
It serves me every day in my business when I pull out of projects that give me a knot in my stomach, or when I don’t sign the contract because, well, it just doesn’t feel right.
It serves me when I know something I’m creating is exactly what I need to be putting out in the world with my whole heart and my whole soul, too, even when that thing is a departure from what I was doing before.
It serves me as a mother. From the moment I went into labor, I knew my body knew what she was doing. That I was born for this. And even though that didn’t go the way I’d expected (or hoped), I continued to fiercely protect myself and my babe, questioning every medication they tried to put in my IV, every injection they wanted to give Penelope, every suggestion they made.
If it didn’t feel right, I questioned it. This was my body. This was my baby girl’s body. Nothing else mattered more than protecting them.
Because you taught me what I felt was right was right. And what I felt was wrong was wrong. In a hospital. In a bedroom. In the boardroom. On the street. Everywhere.
I love that you never worried about me. Other mothers would tell their kids how worried they were about them. And you never once told me that. Never once.
And you know what I learned from that? That I didn’t need to worry about me either. That I was trustworthy. That I made good decisions. That I was fundamentally okay.
You have given me the gift of always being able to protect myself because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my body is sacred and I am sacred. I know I can trust her, and therefore I can trust myself.
If every woman on the planet was raised knowing that she and her body can be trusted, and that she and her body are sacred and whole, we would have a very different world.
I am carrying the torch, Mom. You don’t have to worry (not that you would have). Penelope will know she is trustworthy and sacred. She will know her worth. I will not worry about her because she’ll know how to protect herself – because she already knows how to listen to her body.
And I’m gonna do everything I can to ensure as many other women and girls know this, too, no matter how old they are, no matter what they were taught growing up.
Because there’s a part of each of us that knows the truth: We are the sex that brings life. Our bodies are the origin. It all starts with us.
Thank you for giving me this gift of the most important thing I know to be true: I am sacred. I am whole. My body can be trusted. I can protect myself.
I love you to the moon and back. And so does Penelope.
Happy Mother’s Day,
P.S. To honor all of the mothers today, I’m doing a Mother’s Day giveaway of a really amazing bundle of gifts to take care of the beautiful bodies, hearts, and souls of the women who take care of the next generation. It includes a meditation album for busy people from Kris Carr, an audio class on Motherhood & Money from Sarah Jenks, an audio class on the Secrets of Cycle Syncing from Alisa Vitti, and a one-month membership to Origin, my new membership site for entrepreneurial mothers. Head over to Instagram to get the details and enter to win!