Creating a Life Less Ordinary
Creating a Life Less Ordinary
My life experiences guided me to this point, call it a midlife crisis (I was 43), maybe call it the realisation that I no longer wanted to waste another moment of my precious life. This was my F**k it moment, when I realised that I no longer could withstand working in a corporate marketing environment, feeling suffocated by bureaucracy and red tape.
I had a story to tell and so many valuable skills to share. I wanted to bring together women just like me, to inspire, give encouragement, grow confidence and redefine what success actually means. I wanted to find my TRIBE and MY life. A life that actually meant something to me. Not one that I thought I should have. So I quit…..I quit that life I no longer wanted and set about creating a new one. A new story that would leave a legacy for my son; And one that I, most importantly, was proud of.
Roll back 8 years….
The weeks that followed my son’s traumatic birth were a blur. I was lost, helpless, vulnerable. I was in the depths of darkness and had no idea how to pull myself out. I was frightened and I wanted to run….run away as far as I could. This petrified me. What did this mean?
Didn’t I love my baby?
Why didn’t I get that rush of love?
Why didn’t I want to hold him and connect with him?
This was not what I imagined when I fell pregnant. The fluffy white bunny tales we are told, the cute baby images we are sold and those endless Instagram perfect family snaps where the women are glossy and the babies are perfectly dressed and restful.
Step in health visitors and GPs, with their concerned expressions and their bits of paper and questionnaires that were meant to identify how ‘dangerous’ I was to myself and my son. The anti-depressants handed over to me to help me get my ‘head’ back into gear, but with no mention at any point of counselling or talking therapies to help me come to terms with my labour and these horrific feelings I was enduring. No talk of self care or yoga or alternative treatments.
A few weeks later, with the treatment working into my system, I felt the fog beginning to lifting.
I felt the ability to breath deep breaths again and the desire to leave the house and get more sociable….it was then I found a beacon of light. Sounds silly but a simple local mum and baby group in a church hall. A group filled with women I didn’t know. Women of all shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds. A warm place filled with smiling faces, cups of tea and buttery toast….where women talked about their birth story before they even shared their name. This place gave me a feeling of safety, like I had come home. It was as if they got me, they had me and I was held.
This was the beginning of my self-discovery and soul re-building journey, I knew that I did not want to rely on medication for life, I knew I wanted to feel like me again, gain my identity as a whole person and not just a mum. It may sound like a cliche but it was at this point that I stepped into the world of self-help, meditation and yoga. I knew I had to learn to re-connect with myself, I had no choice, this was about survival. I wanted to get back to the mother-ship, the girl that loved life, enjoyed fashion, nights out with friends and laughing….deep wholehearted belly laughs. I knew I had to get there, but with big fat bloody sprinkles on top!
As the months and then years went on, I felt more and more in tune with myself.
My body became leaner and more flexible, my mind became quieter and I grew stronger, more aligned, more confident. This process had made me brave. And boy did I need to be when three years later my marriage broke down and I found myself as a single mother in my early 40s, stuck in a career I wasn’t enjoying.
I remember the day it all happened. Like a film, being played out in front of me. It was over. An unhappy relationship yes, but the magnitude of what this meant for my beautiful son was palpable. The guilt sat in my throat, like I was gently choking on my actions. But if I am totally honest with you, I had been edging towards this day. As I grew and felt more in-tune and confident, the more I had held my marriage away from me.
Looking back I realise I had pushed it away from me as a form of protection while I was rebuilding myself from the inside out. In my heart I knew it wasn’t right, that I had settled and I secretly knew it. My PND recovery had only highlighted to me the reality of the relationship and how it was not good for me…and fundamentally I didn’t want my son growing up in a toxic unhappy environment…I just knew there was more for us.
It took me a good year to feel less exposed, less resentful and less guilty for the life that I had now presented to my son.
But as with the recovery from PND, I built up a whole new level of resilience, self awareness and a powerful toolkit of self-care that I fiercely protected and still do now. My son was doing well (he is a confident and funny young man with the most amazing resilience and zest for life) and I knew that my choice to walk away was rock solidly the right one.
It was at this point of recovery that I knew I had to step away from my corporate marketing job, that I felt nothing for….I had an opportunity to help other women recover, build their confidence, rebuild their lives and create a life or business that they loved. I had lived through poor mental health and a divorce, I had survived it, worn the scars and thrived. I had a gift that I needed to share, a gift of hope and courage. I knew that there was more for me than just sitting behind a desk, being busy, being judged on my busyness and the hours I put in. I knew this was my big midlife crisis mother f’ing time.
And there was born Helen Slater Coaching and my little corner of the world where Marketing meets Mindset and Mindfulness…I like to call it Mindful Marketing with Soul. I work with women entrepreneurs or small business owners to grow their businesses in a way that is authentic to them and full of soul, where their dreams are weaved into every part of what they do. I encourage them to show themselves, to be totally and un-apologetically themselves. I work with them through all their mindset blocks, helping them to redefine success in their own terms whilst developing their self-belief and sense of self.
I think I have now found my perfectly imperfect life, my life less ordinary, and for that I am grateful!