Care for a Mother's Body, Mind and Soul

by Dr. Raquel Muller, PhD


Sometimes we have experiences that are so profound and impactful that they may leave us wondering how we ever lived our life before that point. This summer I was blessed to share such an experience with a group of amazing women, women who happen to be moms.

A moms' retreat, we all agreed, seems to be a foreign concept for most moms. It's like one of those "it-would-be-nice-but-let's-get-real" kind of pie-in-the-sky ideas. It may seem impractical, frivolous, expensive, selfish, even irresponsible to the many dedicated moms who believe that it is their duty to put their families first, or who don't feel deserving of spending time and money on themselves.

Yet, what we found out throughout our weekend together is how much our souls really needed this time to focus on our wellbeing. We got to feel nurtured by Mother Nature, and were nourished with healing foods prepared by a loving hostess. We had moments of quiet and reflection so we could listen to our inner wisdom and connect with the woman within the mother. We bonded as women and our hearts connected, each of us feeling supported and safe to be who she really is, with no pretenses of perfection. Most of all, we gave ourselves permission to receive, for a change, and we realized that caring for our own bodies, minds, and souls is the highest form of service to our families because everyone around us benefits when we are at our best.

I feel doubly blessed from this retreat because I not only participated, but I helped facilitate this transformational experience for other women. I realized how immensely satisfying it was to support these moms and to bear witness as they said "yes" to themselves, knowing that they deserve to be nurtured and happy simply because they are human beings, independently of how many things they check off on their "to-do" list.

Some of the key commitments that we walked away with from this moms’ retreat were:

To take time to just “be,” whether for a few minutes each day or a few hours each week. It is in these moments when we quiet our minds that we get to hear our hearts’ whispers, so that we can be guided by the infinite wisdom of the universe.

To stay connected with nature, allowing ourselves to be supported by her, for we are part of nature, and the rhythm inherent in her seasons offers us a call to renewal. We let go of the old, so we can welcome the new, just like a tree that must let go of its wilted leaves in the fall so that new, beautiful leaves can sprout in the spring and provide shade and nourishment in the summer.

To allow ourselves to receive and to explore our own path, so that we can better support our children in their own journey, staying invested in their happiness without sacrificing our own identity or making their actions or choices about us.

Even as I continue my own journey of growth, I am privileged to support other women who want to live a life of purpose and fulfillment, in which they are free to love themselves and to honor their own needs, even as they give to their families. It is my dream to bring this kind of experience to many more women in my lifetime, for this, I know, is my life's purpose. My wish for you is that you get to live a life of purpose and fulfillment, and that you never stop being a woman first.

As I close I invite you to consider these questions:

How would your life be different if you put yourself higher on your own priority list?

If you did prioritize your wellbeing and gave yourself what you need to thrive, who in your life would benefit from that choice?

Please consider joining me for a workshop for moms that will explore these questions and more. I’m extending a special invitation for Bridgetown Baby families - 50% off tickets to “Reclaim the Woman Within the Mom" on October 12, 2019. Learn more and register with code BB19 here.

Dr. Raquel Muller is a Mom Empowerment Coach and a motivational speaker. She specializes in helping high achieving working moms let go of the pressure to be supermoms so they can experience less stress and more joy and fulfillment. She is the creator of the Mom Empowerment Roadmap Coaching Program. She also offers free content via her FB page Joyful Imperfection Counseling.

Finding Solid Ground in Mothering

By Annie Gilligan, CPD, M.A.T.


I have always loved the strong feeling of my feet hitting the ground and carrying me forward into the beauty of nature. When I became a brand new mom, I wondered if I would ever feel as confident in mothering as I do when I am hiking in the summer. I knew that I wanted to be a mother, but when I became one, it felt like I fell off the edge of a cliff into a watery abyss.

I wanted to understand why this transition was so hard for me and for many women in our modern culture. As I explored birth, I felt very drawn to becoming a birth and postpartum doula, and I have worked with many families over the last decade.

What I have come to accept and appreciate about postpartum is that it is a very liminal space. It helps to know this. Of all our years as women, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are time periods that require some of our most intense shifting and fluidity. Postpartum in particular lasts briefly, and for many it feels more like swimming in a vortex than like hiking to a favorite viewpoint.

When we know the nature of this time, we can more easily accept that we are okay as we move through this space. We can also more easily understand what we need. We need a way to stay afloat and swim ashore. Our broader American culture doesn’t yet understand how to best support the fluid nature of postpartum. It’s not yet common to hand a woman a life vest, in the form of regular physical and emotional care, while she moves through the waves of this time. But this is what all women deserve and need. It is up to us as women to be brave enough to ask for this imperative support.

In many cultures around the world, there is an understanding that postpartum women have certain basic needs: being provided with nourishing food, resting throughout the day, bonding with our babies, and receiving care from compassionate women. These are recognized as essential, non-negotiable needs for the first 40 days after a mother gives birth.

In our modern culture, if we are not handed a life vest, we need to ask for one. As we step into the shifting waters of postpartum, we need people around us every day who are caring for us, feeding us, and letting us rest. This is how we come back home to trusting ourselves in mothering. This is how we learn which rhythms and routines will carry us forward as a family. This is how we reclaim the strength of our own feet hitting solid ground.

Annie Gilligan is a postpartum doula with Bridgetown Baby. She focuses on helping women recognize their own strength through the birth year. She collaborates with the Threshold Choir and local massage therapists to offer a nourishing postpartum women’s circle called “Closing the Birthing Year.”