INdeep With Becky
INdeep is a monthly series of interviews with people that inspire me. They may be coaches, healers, teachers or wellbeing advocates and experts.
I ask these guiding lights to share their stories of darkness, fear, growth and triumph that have lead them along their journey and I then ask them to go deep… sharing their current struggles and secrets that they don’t normally share with the world.
Stories of courage, honesty, vulnerability and the abolishment of “perfect”.
Every month we will have a rare opportunity to see the person behind the teacher, the human behind the bright lights and struggles that have lead to their success. You won’t want to miss these intimate musings that are not often shared beyond covert journal entries.
This month I spoke with Becky McCleery of Raising Loveliness
Tell us what you do.
Raising Loveliness is all about helping individuals (mainly women) reconnect with the wonder within – their gifts, strengths, passion and voice, as well as the wisdom and love that only they can share. It’s also about bringing women together, to support one another on this journey.
Through my writing, teaching and coaching, I’m finding that my work with women involves two key components. First, I’m helping women remember and rediscover this inherent loveliness. Secondly, I’m helping women light up the world, by using their loveliness to make a difference.
How did you find your path to help and inspire others?
After I had each of my children, I went through postpartum depression. The first time went undiagnosed, as I was too afraid to speak up. The second time, I got to the point where I didn’t trust myself to be able to make it to another day (yes, I had overwhelming thoughts of suicide and I’ve never admitted this before), and so I told my husband I needed help and we went to the doctor together. The third time didn’t go as far, as the doctors were watching me and I received treatment as soon as symptoms started to appear. Having gone through such dark and scary times, I’m extremely passionate about helping others to know that they matter and they are not alone.
I also believe that much of what I do, is inspired by my children. I want to create a kinder, more compassionate world for them. I know that there is only so much I can do alone, but I really believe that if more of us would wake up and realize that we have unique gifts to share and passions to follow, and if we could come to realize that each and every one of us matters, that we’re whole and complete exactly as we are, we could transform the world.
Are any of those old challenges still playing out for you?
While I understand that there was a chemical or physical component to my depression, I personally believe that each journey through depression was also a spiritual experience. The truth is, I had been ignoring what mattered most to me and what I was feeling led to do, for so long, because I was so worried about what others (mainly my parents) would think. Although each period of depression was a nightmare, I believe they were also invitations to awaken to who I really am and how I want to live.
Although I’m not currently dealing with depression, I am highly sensitive. I definitely go through periods when some of my symptoms – everything feels too hard, I can’t focus or complete anything, I’m short-tempered, or I feel as though my family would be better off without me – return. At this point in my journey, these are just warning signs to me, that I need to slow down and reconnect with the heart of who I am. I also know to reach out and let someone know (usually my husband) when I’m feeling low and I ask them to please let me know if I’m going too far down, so I know to go and get professional help.
Tell us about a current or recent challenge that you’ve been facing in private.
I’m currently worried about my son, who is 4. From my time as an elementary school teacher, I worked with several students on the autism spectrum, and although I think he’s highly functioning, I’m definitely seeing some common traits.
I’m frustrated that everyone around me wants to act as though he’s just fine and seem to have a “how dare you” attitude when I suggest there might be some concerns.
I’m frustrated that I spend nearly all of every day with him, but a doctor who meets with him for 40 minutes can say that he doesn’t have autism. He tells me I definitely have my hands full, but he offers no suggestions or advice.
I’m frustrated that his teacher tells me, “he’s doing just fine” at school, and then at a recent birthday party, I see that he won’t talk to any of his classmates. Upon further questioning of his teacher, I learn that yes, he seems to be in his own world most of the time and no, he doesn’t interact with any of his classmates, even when other children speak to him first.
I am beyond frustrated that we have been working with him on potty training for over two years and although we’ve tried every suggestion, I’m still changing his pull-up on a daily basis. I’m frustrated that his younger sister is passing him by in this area.
I worry about his social challenges, how he won’t interact with other kids (besides his sisters), how he gets so focused on his ideas and how he gets so worked up when things don’t go as he thinks they should, and how he rarely looks you in the eye when he speaks. I am worn out from arguing with him, trying to help him see things differently, trying to see how he sees situations, and trying to calm or prevent meltdowns throughout each and every day.
I don’t want for my son to be any different than who he is, I just want to be able to understand him and offer him the support he needs to thrive. I want him to be happy. I want him to like and love who he is and for others to see how incredible he is. I want to be the mother he needs me to be, but I’m still finding my way.
I struggle with writing this, as I think I work so hard to look like I have it all together. It’s hard to admit that I don’t know what to do. It’s hard to admit that I feel as though I am failing as a parent.
What are your next steps?
Two thoughts come to mind. First, to allow myself the space to be with what is. I tend to want to leap into action and "fix" everything immediately. I can't do that here, and that's okay. So the first step is to simply be with what is. Allow myself some space to feel my feelings, but also keep looking for the good moments.
Secondly, the next step is to start doing some more research on my own. The traditional routes (medical and educational) haven't been so helpful for us so far and I had been warned by a parent of a former student, that they might not be. So I'm going to stay aware of what I'm seeing with my son and I'll do more research online, in books, and by connecting with other parents I know who have a child with special needs. As long as I keep focusing on my son and looking for ways to meet his needs, I trust that we will find our way.
Becky McCleery is passionate about helping you step into the life you’ve imagined, by remembering and celebrating your inherent loveliness – what makes you sparkle and shine as only you can.
Through her site, Raising Loveliness, and offerings, she is dedicated to helping women come together to “bring out the best in ourselves, our children, and one another, in order to cultivate a more compassionate world.”