In the Nursery

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

What does the word “nursery” evoke for you? Maybe it’s plants, but I’m willing to bet it’s more likely images of a crib, a rocker, cute stuffed animals, a baby monitor and neutral pastels.

When I think of nurseries today, images of plants, flowers and garden tools come to mind. If I could build one room into my current house, it would be a sunroom, filled with plants. A place for relaxation, reflection, inspiration and continued growth. I can’ build a real sunroom, but this place is my interior retreat.

At one time in my life, the nursery “nursery” was a charged place. Back then, I could only have imagined all of those baby related images. At 26, I became unexpectedly pregnant. It was NOT an idyllic situation by any means despite my best efforts to turn it into one. Is any unexpected pregnancy idyllic?

Up to that point in my life, I felt like I had made some questionable choices. Or rather, my choices were judged by others as questionable which, of course, I internalized. The black man I had chosen to have a relationship with was well outside the comfort zone of my familial cultural norms. Moving to New York City without a job, on a whim, for the sheer sake of the thrill of it was not considered a “smart career move”. And then, pregnancy. My boyfriend begged me not to even think about telling my parents. That “we” would figure it out, together.

I didn’t know I was pregnant until I passed out in the train on the way to work one morning in late March. After all, I was on the pill! I can’t recall how I found my way back home, to call the doctor for an appointment to see what the matter was. I certainly was not expecting the diagnosis for fainting to be “you’re pregnant”! And she told me that since I had continued to take the pill since inception, there was possibilities of abnormalities. Of course, the internet wasn’t even a thing back then, so I had no idea how to confirm whether that was true or not.

For the first time in my life, I was plunged onto the knife’s edge. I wish I had known then what I know now about self coaching, decision making and self care. But I didn’t and all I thought/felt for weeks was that any decision I could make would be terrible and life altering. Did I want to lose the then “love of my life” OR bring shame to my family and lose my parents?

My boyfriend was thrilled. I was too….for the few minutes each hour of every day that I could block out images of being disowned by my family.

He didn’t have a steady job. I did, but it was never meant to be permanent. His solution was going to be to enlist in the military to provide some security. And I had just been accepted to a graduate program for an MeD in Student Development at the University of Maine. I was excited to be earning a degree that would allow me to help college students figure how not be as “career-clueless” as I was! The program would start in September….and it was late March and I was pregnant.

As I deliberated, the stress consumed me for far too long. Tell my parents? If so, how? Tell them I was having a baby or an abortion? Take my boyfriend with me to their home? Go alone? He kept assuring me, everything will be ok, you are strong, we can do this, just take care of yourself and our child. I desperately wanted to believe him but my brain would not allow that. Plus, the clock was ticking…..I was already 12 weeks along.

Ultimately, we both went to share the news that I was pregnant with my parents. During our trip, he did everything he could to bolster my confidence about moving forward with our being a family. But, our return trip to NYC was quite different. We did not talk about baby names, his enlisting and my becoming a mom of a biracial child. We drove in silence as the likelihood of me having an abortion seeped into our reality. In the hours after that trip and through my final decision, the knife cut deeper as my brain reeled with fear. Fear of the unknown regarding the procedure, fear that my relationship with my boyfriend and my parents would be over and fear that I might never recover emotionally.

By the time I had my abortion, I was close to 18 weeks. Yes, I know what that means….beyond the first trimester. The procedure itself was a routine but required pre-procedure dilation with laminaria, a natural seaweed substance, to soften the cervix. It’s application caused a great deal of discomfort and made the impending event just that more visceral. In the days that followed, as I connected with friends, I learned that I had just joined a community of others who had gone through their own abortions.

In the years after my abortion, while I never forgot, I was able to come to peace with my decision. More recently, I have learned of support for women who have experienced miscarriage. And each time a blog or podcast brings this to my attention I wonder, “Is there a similar community for those of us who have had an abortion?” Abortion is such a common occurrence with 1 in 4 U.S. women ending pregnancies, but it remains a taboo topic.

30 years of distance allows me perspective and gives me the courage to put this in writing. Telling my story for the first time is liberating as is recently finding community for women who have had abortions. Deep work with skilled counseling professionals and coaches have been woven into the chrysalis that transformed me. I didn’t need to have actual babies to have an impact on the world and have an opportunity to leave a legacy. My interior nursery has nurtured me so that I can nurture others.

I know now that for many of the 25% of women who will make this choice, relief will be the strongest emotion afterwards. My relief allowed me to move forward with my graduate degree and eventually land in a 20+ year career in higher education that I love. Over time, nurturing my evolution in the nursery has been a messy and joyful labor that has birthed stores of courage to bring the “next level” of me into existence as a Life Coach. And, it’s AMAZING. It’s truly “my baby“.

Thanks to Margaret Katch, creator of http://www.ctrlaltdeleteshow.com/, a comedy about an abortion clinic, and chapter leader of Virtually Empowered, a Women’s Business League group, for her encouragement.

#shoutyourabortion

The Hardest Space to DeClutter

It’s either the basement or the attic or that closet.

The line between what is useful and what is clutter has blurred.

If left alone too long, it begins to nag at us and feel overwhelming. We know we need to deal with it….but we put it off.

It’s like those plans and goals we’ve put off. They didn’t go well in the first week. Or, your brain didn’t see results immediately and offered up thoughts about going back to the couch, staying safe and tossing your tracking system.

On top of unfinished plans and unmet goals there’s friction and mental clutter. Your brain will do everything it can to get you to ignore it. But the disappointment of not following through won’t go away. And that may be just the thing to get you back on track!

This is true for me.

In the mental foundation of my interior, there are a number of abandoned projects and ideas. One that almost died on the scrap heap was launching The Interior ReDesign Life Coach! For years, I had dreamed of having something of my own, some way to take my coaching skills to the next level. In the fall of 2020, I ventured into what felt like the DEEP end of the “launch a business pool”, spent $10K to work with an advertising company and then completely lost my nerve. My unsupervised brain had allowed me to believe that this effort was impossible. That learning all of this new stuff was “not for me”. I had better go back to what was comfortable and safe.

But, every time I ventured into the mess of mental clutter, I knew I had to do some clearing. It was either “It’s going out for good”, or “bring it upstairs into the light and let it breath”.

Light and perspective up in my office on the first floor have given way to a new approach for bringing my vision to life. I’ve hired my own coach. It’s not so scary. I’m learning how to change the thoughts my brain offers up from “Yeah, right, YOU? A Life Coach? An entrepreneur?” to “YES! I am an amazing coach and am learning how to be an entrepreneur!”.

Training your mind to create outcomes that represent your best work in the world is a skill. And like any skill, it is learnable. Dare to go into the foundation of your interior space and find what matters most. Take a new look, experiment and allow it to capture your imagination.

Be the Redesigner!

Fuel: Part 1

Hello, I’ve been waiting for YOU!

Thank you for spending part of your day here. You might just be one of several who:

Clicked over from LinkedIn or some other social media post. Arrived via a referral. Are curious about just who the Interior Re-Design Life Coach is, or simply landed here by fate. Well, you’re now at the party, my party for the Grand Opening of my Life Coach Business.

This is a celebration of everyone who has been part of my journey. This is a freaking HUGE step for me…and an obvious expansion of my professional work as a Career Coach. And, guess what, I’ve met many of you in that role. Do I hear an “Amen!”?

But – you’re curious…you wanted to see what this is all about. It’s ALL ABOUT YOU! Part 1 of the FUEL Series will acknowledge some of the people who have inspired me to reach this point. There are A LOT of you…so, be patient, you TOO will be featured along the way. Be sure to come back!

Let’s give a HUGE “WOOOT WOOOOT” to the following #standingontheshouldersofgenius people:

Dennis Hanno. Who saw, who did, who built community and made an impact. He was living “Design Your Life” philosophy even before it was “a thing”! https://www.linkedin.com/in/dennis-hanno/ #foreverinmyheart

Stephanie Berenson. Who has always followed her dream and now captures beautiful images over at https://stephanieberenson.com/.

Noah Friedman: Who believed in me when I took my first “I want my own business” baby steps and had a massive fail. The scars on my scraped knees are scars of honor. #leaptheline At some point, I’ll get back to the idea of Youtube ads!

The Lady Bosses of the Women of Isenberg Conference. All of you. 8+ years of amazing, inspiring young leaders. You know who you are. Please, take a bow.

Amy Pocsik: A woman who had the courage to leave corporate security to create community that now lifts so many amazing women towards their goals. https://womensbusinessleague.com/ #elevate

Kara Martin Snyder: My first coach ever…..she set the gold standard. I can only hope to emulate it! https://www.linkedin.com/in/karamartinsnyder/ #nolongerfrazzled

Karyn Wright: My strategy coach now. For believing in me, showing me I have the grit and being the “medic” who has helped healed those scraped knees that have become scars of honor. https://www.linkedin.com/in/karynmwright/ #LETSGO!!

Kimberly Bilawchuk: Career Coach and Yoga Coach extraordinaire! Reminding all of us that slowing down actually helps us get ahead! https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimbilawchuk/

David Kozhuk: Yeah, you know it! Founder and CEO of http://www.gouconnect.com/ David and his team have changed the landscape of career services communities in higher education. Thank you for the privilege of being there at the beginning.

The celebrating has just begun. You’re part of it. Come back soon!

So Much Stuff

What’s going on in your interior space?

I have a lot of things. I live in a small space and have become very crafty at finding new ways to display and store my stuff. But, recently, I’ve noticed clutter creep. I blame this on lack of storage.

It’s kinda like what happens in my brain.

Some days, it feels like there isn’t enough space among the neurons up there between my ears. So many ideas and thoughts, all crowded together. Clutter creep.

Does this happen to you?

If the rooms of your mental landscape have become dusty around the corners and you cannot find or have forgotten what you are looking for, you’re in the right place.

I feel your pain.

But, I have a secret weapon. You might call it the “BRAIN SWIFFER”. It’s a method of seeing through the clutter and deciding, once and for all, “Do I really need what’s no longer serving me?”

We’re not just going to find and LOOK at whatever it is you’ve been holding onto, but, we’re going to figure out which “charity” to donate it to. YOU get to decide what happens to it!

And, “post clutter”, you and I will create a re-design plan. We’ll keep what’s working and determine if you add new lights, colors and decor. YOU get to decide what these new spaces look and feel like.

Maybe it’s just one room. Maybe 2 or 3. Or maybe it’s the entire house.

I have a plan for whatever your interior re-design needs are.