©2017 BY ALICIA ASSAD. Photo Credit: Photos by JLM

The story I wanted to tell was of achievement, and I have a glamorous resume filled with sparkly accomplishments from Miss New Jersey to dancing as a Radio City Rockette. But the truth I share is that I left the spotlight in search of my soul’s purpose and authentic happiness and found it on my journey to become a mama of five. 

 

See, I’ve spent the past 11 years contemplating how resilience, positive emotion and hope might support moms and while I have a lot of ideas about that, I also know how an expert voice suggesting you should be or do any more than you already are only adds to the exhaustion and overwhelm you feel.

 

My mission is to bring comfort and ease to the trenches, where we are all facing the unrealistic expectations of perfection in modern motherhood. While I long thought there was something wrong with me crashing into early motherhood with a postpartum struggle, I’ve since learned I’m not the only one who expected it to be more joy-filled than it was. 

 

I’ve long been contemplating what we should be striving for to raise resilient kids when there is no clear way to define success and a million ways to fail. 

 

I do have a recipe for flourishing that begins with mindset and ends with pathways to hope: we can redefine the motherhood experience from self-sacrifice to self-discovery and manifest our best lives (with the byproduct of thriving offspring). 

 

I believe we are all yet to uncover the depth of our strength. 

 

These words pay homage to the researchers that have inspired my personal growth from Carol Dwek to Brene Brown, Angela Duckworth, Karen Reivich, and Kelly McGonical. Their ground-breaking research lays the foundation of Maternal Growth Mindset, an agency of hope that has helped me navigate the hard stuff. From pregnancy loss to ordinary struggle and earth shattering trauma, I’ve made it through to see how motherhood holds a million opportunities to gain resilience and grow. 

 

But I also understand the key to the resilience we need lies in authentic connection and belonging. Therefore, I am committed to delineating the science I’ve studied through stories of my motherhood experience, a journey to become a mama of 5 sharing stories of hope. 

 

When you live life to tears, there is joy.

When you love with your whole heart, there is magic. 

 

I realize this sort of authenticity feels impossible in modern motherhood where we are expected to be happy all the time. I also admit I was pushed to surrender in to the vulnerability that’s been my birthplace of growth the night my toddler son landed in the ICU burn unit fighting for his life. At least, as I stood at the precipice of unfathomable loss, I was no longer afraid to share my truth on how hard happiness is for me, how complicated that becomes in motherhood. Through my worst experience as mom, I became a storyteller of hope; a healer of words. 

 

See, at some point you are going to stumble, fail, struggle, and ask the big hard questions. What I did, and what I encourage my clients to do is write a brave new ending to the story they didn’t want to live. The plot is not ours to define, but the narrative is and I believe the scars we carry make us brave and beautiful.

 

Yet brave, I’ve learned, isn’t something we feel in the moments that matter. Rather, courage is what we might gather by looking back with compassion as we string together the moments we rose in darkness and carried on despite the fears we felt in our heart. There is always something good to come of what’s been hard, and things like gratitude or love become the seeds of hope we sow. A prayerful vision of a better tomorrow might be watered with a curated narrative of resilience, but we bloom through authenticity, for the ancient art of storytelling breeds unity as it brings healing full circle. 

 

This is WHOLE in Motherhood: Science-based Spirituality for Moms. My calling is to lead you through the spiritual enlightenment available through motherhood with the science and ancient wisdom that’s led me from despair to WHOLE. Striving to be Well-Nourished, Hopeful, Open, Loving and Engaged has manifested a life beyond my dreams and uncovered the magic in the most ordinary moments. 

 

I capture the essence of that bliss in my WHOLE Notes, and write a weekly devotional on Instagram: @WHOLEinMotherhood