TRYBE Spotlight: Stephanie Jhala

 


March 2019


TRYBE Wellness Spotlight


Every month at TRYBE Wellness, we spotlight women in our community who are making a difference. Modern women who bring inspiration to others through motherhood, wellness, career, and self-growth.

This month, we are featuring Stephanie Jhala, the Founder of A Mother’s Movement. A Mother’s Movement is a space to empower women in their motherhood journey, connect mothers with a deeply intimate community, and embrace motherhood as one of the most potent expansions of their life. Stephanie offers inspiring and life-altering private coaching, programs and gatherings online and in person.

Here at TRYBE Wellness, we believe in creating a support system with one another to help guide us through the empowering yet the beautiful messiness of motherhood. Being that TRYBE’s philosophy has a lot in common with Stephanie’s values, we felt it to be a perfect fit to spotlight her in this month’s feature and learn more about her personal motherhood journey. We hope you enjoy and feel inspired!

Check out Stephanie Jhala on Instagram


 
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What has your motherhood journey been like so far?

Motherhood has been the most challenging and enriching experience I’ve ever been through (and continue to go through). It took hitting rock bottom for me to shed everything about who I knew I was to re-emerge stronger, more beautiful and confident than I have ever been. The moment I stopped resisting motherhood and started embracing motherhood was the moment I was truly born a mother. Today I see motherhood as one of the most honourable, important and worthy roles I’ve ever taken on. As mothers, we have the ability to shape and alter the entire course of humanity- because we are the ones shaping and imprinting the next generation in the most formative years of their lives.  This role continues to grow me, humble me, and surprise me.

As mothers, we have the ability to shape and alter the entire course of humanity- because we are the ones shaping and imprinting the next generation in the most formative years of their lives.  This role continues to grow me, humble me, and surprise me.
— Stephanie Jhala

 

What parts of motherhood have you found to bring you the most triumphs as well as challenges?

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I had a challenging time becoming a mother. I felt like I was mourning the loss of who I was. My old life, my free time, my friends, my income. Society told me that my value was tied to what I did for work and how much money I made. But when being a mother doesn't earn an income and isn't considered "real work" by North American standards, I saw a real need to make a shift.

For much of the first year postpartum, I resisted motherhood. I didn't want to be "just a mom". I was resentful that my husband could go to work and have a lunch break to eat a hot meal. I was resentful that I had to wake up again to feed my child, already being so exhausted. Because I didn't know raising a child was not a solo job, I wasn't asking for help, building a village, or able to take care of myself, and I resented motherhood. Even though I loved my child, my frustrations and resentment was felt by my child, impacting their sense of truly feeling loved and safe. Imagine this little helpless being, mommy intellectually and internally loves and cares for them, but on the outside was exuding frustration, blame, sadness, loneliness.

Your child looks to you for the smiles, the calm, the cuddles, the joy to indicate they are safe and loved. If mom is anxious, baby thinks - should I be worried? Is everything ok?

The good news is children are incredibly resilient. So this is where I had to start doing the work. I started gathering mothers, sharing my story and start releasing my old identity to make room to birth the new me, the me as a MOTHER. I saw how deep of an impact and great of a responsibility motherhood has and is in this world. Rather than seeing it as "low-level work", I released the notion that "I can't want to get back to my old life once mat leave is over" and started embracing motherhood as the deepest honour and journey.

I see how motherhood has grown my emotional resiliency, my strength, my patience, my capacity to love like never before. I have never been so committed to anything as I have to my child's success and wellbeing. Now the lesson I see is to put that same amount and intensity of love and care that I put towards my children, TOWARDS MYSELF. This was the big one. My children grow up having self-worth, respect and joy only if I model this to myself! My struggles in motherhood has taught me to appreciate the joys, grow stronger and softer all at the same time, be able to deal with the unexpected with creativity, calm, fortitude and empathy like never before. I released the toxic masculine within me, the controlling, dominating, forcing, rushing, and embraced my feminine:. Slowing down, rediscovering my intuition, embracing the softness as beautiful (not weak), while still being present to how fierce and powerful I am. I mean, I made a human. That's bad ass.

 

Knowing what you know now what would you tell your self in the very early part of your motherhood journey? What advice would you give mothers-to-be?

  1. It takes a village to raise a child. Five people to be exact if everyone were to have real balance and wellbeing, plus a couple more people if you have another child and a couple more people to earn an income. That means, giving up “trying to do it all by yourself” and being Miss Independent.

  2. Dependence does not mean you are weak or incapable. We were meant to live in tribes and raise children in tribes. Ask for help and learn how to receive. You are worthy and this is how things were meant to be.

  3. My self care and wellbeing is critical. My child is important, but I am number one. If I am not taken care of, nobody wins. When I show up for me, I am modelling self-worth to my children and preserving self-worth for my children. “I got it from my Mama”

  4. Surround yourself with wise women, other mothers, your people with whom you love and resonate with. Our North American independent society can create great isolation, making motherhood feel very lonely. Women used to gather regularly to share wisdom, celebrate joys, and mourn losses, proving to be biologically, psychologically, and spiritually powerful. Go out of your comfort zone to seek out a community that makes you feel heard, held and supported.

  5. Embrace your femininity. Softness is not weakness. Your intuition isn’t crazy.  Your emotions are not wild. Heal your toxic masculinity. Let go of control. Surrender. There is no right way. Stop comparing. Be kind to yourself. We live in a man-made world where the masculine and feminine energies are out of balance.  The world is craving the essence of motherhood: a mother’s touch, that sensitive side, the need to be nursed back to health, for everyone and everything to slow down. 

  6. Your paycheque and what you “do” for a job does not define you. You are who you are by who you are being. We are human “beings” not human “doings”.

 

How do you integrate your own ‘me-time’ through the balance of motherhood, career and personal relationships?

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Asking for help and building your village is so critical. I am fortunate to have a lot of help from grandparents, but it took a willingness to let them in, let go of control and receive. If you don’t have family nearby, I highly encourage opening up your village to neighbours you trust, friends with or without kids. Cook together, play together, be each other’s company. One of the reasons why motherhood was such a shock to me was because none of my friends with children every truly let me into their world. If they had asked for help or allowed me to experience a small slice of what their lives entailed, perhaps I’d be better equipped for the transition. 

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to build a business. Being a stand that I work part time, and still get to be with my child, means that I’m not working 40+ hours a week. While I build the foundation of A Mother’s Movement, with the intention to empower mothers, to a financially sustainable place, I have created opportunity for others to join me in building the movement for trade in coaching. The ultimate vision is part time hours and more than full time pay for a team of incredibly passionate and talented parents, so they can have true balance where they can afford to take care of themselves, be with their family and live in abundance. It takes something, but I am going to disrupt what we think is possible, showing what a matriarchal business looks like, sync’d to the natural cycles and rhythms of motherhood.

 

Who do you define to be in your ‘Trybe’ and how has it impacted you? 

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As a teenager and young adult you become “too cool” for your parents. But when you become a parent, you have a whole new level of respect for what your parents did to raise you.

My parents have become my best friends and my life line. But it took me healing my relationship with my parents, so we could be a tight knit TRYBE. It took forgiveness, responsibility, letting go. And when I healed my relationship with my parents, I forever altered the future for my child.

Childhood trauma usually stems from some kind of interaction with our parents during the first few years of life, unless dealt with, we continue the patterns.

My childhood trauma was nothing “dramatic” from the outside. I was yelled at and disciplined for being me, being expressive, being excited. An authoritarian way was the parenting style back then, I had great parents that did their best within the parameters of what they knew. What seemed to be “tough love” left subtle yet lasting psychological impact where I began to cope to feel safe and loved. 

Love became collapsed with shame and safety felt out of reach unless I was in control.  These coping mechanisms helped me deal with life, but also limited me in many ways if I actually wanted to let in true love and if I wanted to release control to create infinite possibility beyond my safety net. And when we heal ourselves, we break the chain of generational trauma, generational disease, generational habits. Because of this healing, I am able to return to my original trybe, my source of origin, my family. 

 

Tell us about A Mother’s Movement and what inspired you to create this program. Through your network of other mothers and facilitating your programs, what has been the top 3 elements of conversation?

A Mother’s Movement is exactly that - a movement. 80% of mothers in North America suffer from some form of Postpartum Depression, Anxiety or baby blues. That’s because we are living in a suffering society: overworked, underpaid, isolated & lonely, depressed, stretched, overwhelmed. This cannot continue. It is time to reclaim motherhood’s place in society. With motherhood being the epitome of femininity, the qualities of motherhood (healing, nurturing, empathy, connection, peace, slowing down, love) is what our society is so craving.  And so it starts with us, mothers reclaiming the reverence and importance of what we do. Releasing mom guilt, building an empowered identity, rising with community, reconnecting to our intuition, and celebrating the joy & magic. A Mother’s Movement offers programs locally in person in Vancouver, Canada and globally online in groups, private coaching and corporate consulting & speaking.   www.amothersmovement.com 

 

If you could offer one piece of advise for mothers wanting to find ways to empower themselves through their motherhood journey what would it be?  

You have a great responsibility. How you treat yourself is how your child will grow up to treat themselves. Of course we want the best for our children. But it doesn’t make sense for us to say “You deserve it all, but mommy doesn’t”.  In order for us to empower our children, we first must empower ourselves. Many mothers feel guilty for doing anything for themselves. But if you are not cultivating a regular practice to honour your mind, body and spirit, what do you think your children are going to learn? My mother is constantly “telling” me to take care of myself. Yet she still puts herself last. Because of this, I fell into the same trap as my mother, giving to everyone but myself, and I had to intentionally learn how to put me first. If I’m not serving my highest self, everyone suffers. When I win, everyone else wins. Caring for myself IS synonymous with caring for my children.

 
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Through your experience, where do you feel are the biggest gaps for women to feel supported to have a healthy lifestyle and gain a strong sense of personal identity? 

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When we say “Healthy lifestyle” many of us associate that with eating well and getting exercise. This is important but incomplete.

One of the greatest gifts, that takes real courage, authenticity, vulnerability and openness is to work on our emotional, mental and spiritual health.

Just like motherhood, it is not for the faint of heart. It can bring up deep seeded hurt and past for healing. It can be confronting and dark and messy. But with the right community, with the right support, and with gentle compassion it can be transformative. And when you transform yourself, you transform the future because your children get to grow up knowing a deeper sense of love because you brought that unto yourself.

This deep work is a gateway to your true self; building a confident, grounded, humble personal identity rooted in love.