Awena Naomie Ella from Coleford, Gloucestershire focuses her work on educating around matrescence – the conceptual term for the process of becoming a mother, and empowering women to attain occupational balance in life, and motherhood.
Awena is an Occupational Therapist (OT), Wellbeing Coach, and Matrescence Specialist supporting mothers to deeply connect within and embrace their motherhood journey, whatever stage they are at. Connecting her Occupational Therapy expertise with her passion for providing inner peace, clarity, and calm for mums, having undergone her own transformation following Postnatal Depression (PND), her unique and highly acclaimed approach to supporting a mother’s psychological journey has attracted attention globally. From health professionals and industry bodies alongside mums themselves who have embraced her approach to reclaim themselves within motherhood.
Here, Awena shares elements of her own journey into motherhood and some advice and steps for mums who may be suffering self-doubt, conflicted emotions, and feeling alone as they process the rollercoaster of becoming a mum…
Awena said; “When I became a mother I had such high expectations of how it would be. How I would feel, how my life would be with a child in it. I thought nothing much would change except I would feel whole, complete. Yet, the reality for me was far from this. Shattered expectations and external pressures (I put this on myself) became too much and I crumbled into a mess of PND (or was it? – I question now if it was lack of education and information about matrescence and how to manage mental health) – but my reality was, I broke down. I know this is not everyone’s experience, and some take to motherhood without any complications or complexities. But, for those who have fallen down the rabbit hole, this is for you.
Awena believes that with the right awareness, understanding and support around Matrescence. We can reduce the impact and stigma around PND because much of the time, it may be possible to intercept way before it becomes so dark and all encompassing. Awena continues; “Once we can recognise that in fact the reactions are the exhibition of a woman transitioning through her matrescence we can start to question if PND really is in play and consider alternative ways of supporting the woman based on this.”
“I started to learn about how a woman’s whole being shifts and morphs as she goes through incredible hormonal, physiological, psychological, and spiritual changes. Like a caterpillar in its cocoon before it becomes a butterfly, it turns into a strange goo before it grows beautiful wings.
“I started to see that we, as mothers are new too; a mother is learning every step of the way and our old life as we knew it is changed, dramatically, literally overnight.
“When I learnt what this all meant it was like thunder bolt hit me – so….
“Why does no one talk about this? Why didn’t anyone tell me I was experiencing this phenomenal transformation? And more over, why didn’t anyone advise me that this was a normal transition that we all go thorough, albeit to varying degrees, but every single mother goes through this transition yet receives very little guidance on preparing for managing such changes effectively. Let alone being introduced to the concept at a very basic level.
“I thought…if someone had told me, prepared me in some way and given me some methods and activities to try I could have gained a deeper understanding and awareness of what was happening to me. I think this would have brought me closer to self-love, to having a mindset of acceptance, and self-compassion.”
5 Matrescence Steps To Reclaim Yourself Within Motherhood
- Connect Within – allow space and time to deeply connect within and embrace your motherhood journey, whatever stage you are at.
- Put your needs first – Once I learnt how to fully surrender and started to put my needs at the top everything changed – I became stronger, I became less stressed, I had a focus, the cloud had lifted, and I could think again. I was better able to manage my emotions and challenges in motherhood and enjoy the moments of connection, clarity, and calm.”
- Reframe your internal language, from self-doubt to self-love – I began to experiment with finding things I enjoy, showing myself compassion for the fact I had birthed another human and treating myself to self-love for the incredible changes I was going through. I began to find ways to engage in meaningful activity and instill small but impactful self-care techniques into my day.
- Embrace and connect with the emotions that want and need to come out – allowing for grief, allowing for acceptance, allowing for self-discovery and exploration, and understanding that all of this is transition in all its stages.
- To enable optimal function a person needs to come from a stable and healthy place, feeling whole. When we are listened to, held, understood, and heard, we are much better able to manage more effectively some of those bigger emotions and challenges that come our way – sometimes this needs to start with the health professionals, sometimes with our friends and family, and most importantly, ourselves.
Awena has developed her own unique therapeutic process for mothers to reconnect to themselves to improve brain fog, to help find meaning and purpose and to help them re-identify with who they are now, setting meaningful goals and tuning into their spirituality and mindset too.
Awena has a supportive Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2360440850946520
And a brilliant website where you can access free wellbeing guides and other great resources and online courses – www.naomieella.com