This is a picture of my dear friend Leah; devoted friend, wife and mother of 5 (ages 2-12).  She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after a grueling fight, passed away 8 months later.  This photo was taken just months before she passed away- already a year and a half ago.

This morning my friend Sarah called me and told me about videos of her and Leah she just came across.  We spoke about Leah, the pain, the loss and the shock that continues to elude us. And it just cracked me open. I went to do my morning meditation and cried my way through it- a good solid 30 minutes of tears.

Ahhhh…it felt so good to just let those tears roll down my face and hit my lap.

My heart opened, softened and I was left in a very special and tender place. I took that with me as I put out the laundry, had a cup of coffee with my husband and sat down to write to you.

There is so much talk about being a ‘mother warrior’- a mother who sill stop at nothing to help her child with autism; a true powerhouse who simultaneously is baking special breads, fighting legislation, doing research and being the ultimate advocate for her child (by the way- though the term has been coined as ‘mother warrior’ this message is for you father’s out there too!)

While I truly value the importance of ‘getting in the driver’s seat’ and stopping at nothing, I sometimes wonder…is there no permission to crumble? Are parents living their lives with this niggling feeling that it is not OK to stop, fall apart sometimes, cry about the worry/stress/fear and overwhelm?

That is what I want to offer to you today- the permission to be with it, to cry, crumble…release.

There is a lot to do and it requires being a ‘mother warrior’ to do it.  But what is going on INSIDE of you?

In my experience, when you allow yourself the moments to be with your experience, versus push it all down, you create the opportunity to release (whether through crying, writing, painting or whatever moves you).

This helps put you back in touch with yourself and ultimately can bring you to a tender place that can not only rejuvenate you and clear your mind (and put some things into perspective)  but also help you approach your child as a compassionate parent (this is a certain softness/tenderness that all children need and may seem contrary to what it typically means to be a ‘mother warrior’).

So, I would like to redefine this term:

“Mother Warrior”– someone who  possess the strength and determination to best help her child, even against all odds and authority figures, AND who has the courage to give herself permission to honestly feel, express and release her experience along the way.

What do you think of this definition?  What does being a “Mother Warrior” mean to you?  Do you give yourself permission to stop and be with yourself (even the fear, stress and worry)? If so, how do you do it and what is the result?  If not, why not?

I would love to hear from you warriors out there and flesh this out together- please join the conversation below!