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“The most challenging aspect of being a mother is also trying to be a woman.”
Single mama, best-selling author, journalist and matrescence activist, Amy Taylor Kabbaz shares candidly how the best things she learned about how to be a mother came from her own children. The mom of three and founder of Mama Rising shares the importance of providing coaching and support to mothers through the process of matrescence, and drives home how crucial it is that we all learn how to support mamas in a new, different and better way.
Amy, tell us about you:
I’m a single mama to 3 kids, one dog and one rabbit, living in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. I started my life wanting to conquer the world as a journalist for the ABC, and did so for a while, until motherhood came along and everything changed - slowly at first, and then very quickly. I’m now the founder and director of Mama Rising, a coaching certification training that specializes in Matrescence and supporting mothers differently. I’m also a podcast host, author, and die-hard activist who is now determined to conquer the systems that don't support mothers.
What was the most unexpected part of your own motherhood journey?
What wasn’t unexpected!? I went into motherhood thinking I wouldn’t change - it would just be like adding ‘parent’ to my resume. I assumed life would be bumpy for a minute, but then I’d go back to who I used to be; when that never happened, I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore.
This was 15 years ago, and back then, I wasn’t even on Facebook. There were no conversations about the experience of becoming a mother and the impact it has on you as a woman; it was all about the baby.
For many years, I thought it was just me that felt this way, and struggled with this massive identity shift. It wasn’t until nearly ten years after my first child was born, and I had trained as a coach and worked with thousands of mamas around the world that felt the same way as I did, that I finally heard the word Matrescence and it all made sense.
How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom? In your career?
I think our whole culture and society’s approach to how we nurture, support and value mothers needs to change. We isolate new mothers, we send them home way too quickly without any support or care, we tell them they need to get their bodies and careers back as quickly as possible, and push them to do it all.
Our world needs a new approach to caring - and I believe it can start with the mothers. If we start to value, honor and support women through the process of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum differently, we will see a flow which begins to affect every part of our planet.
What is the best thing you learned about parenting and who did you learn it from?
The best thing I learnt about parenting is from my kids! They’ve taught me to stop overthinking things, and to stop looking outside of our family for advice and the “right way.” All three of my children broke the mould. Each of them have challenged me in the biggest ways, and just as I think I’m on top of it, they’ll throw something new at me. For many years, that would send me into a spin of research and trying to find the “expert” to fix it… but nothing worked. In the end, we figured it out together.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a mom, and how do you manage it?
The most challenging aspect of being a mother is also trying to be a woman. If we allow it, it can be all consuming. We love these little (and not so little now!) human beings, and we want to make sure they are safe, healthy and happy in this world - which means it can be incredibly easy to forget about your own happiness and health. I’ve learnt this the hard way, and now, it’s a dance of honoring their needs with my own. Sometimes I get it right! Sometimes I definitely don’t.
How has motherhood changed you as a person, and what have you learned from the experience?
Being a mama has made me braver in the true sense of the world. I found a voice I didn’t know I had, and let go of people pleasing in a way I don’t think I would have without them. I’ve had to face my inner insecurities and fears, as I don’t want them passed onto them. And I’ve had to take a long look at the person I am and the world I want them to have and asked myself: am I creating what and who I want? It’s been the greatest transformation of my life.