I am a clinical psychologist and mom of two, which have been the two essential components in the development of this program. My story begins as a personal one. My younger sister and I were raised by loving, warm, emotionally supportive, involved parents. My mother did not pursue a career and her sole passion, purpose, and genuine interest was raising her children. I believe that my mother’s purpose on earth has been to relate to, gravitate towards, and foster happiness in children. She was unconditionally available for homework help, scraped knee band aids, and home cooked dinners. To this day you will find her filled with joy, on her hands and cartilage-torn knees playing with any and all of the children at any holiday or event, it’s just in her soul.
I, on the other hand, was pretty career-driven from the start, and playing with or having babies did not enter my mind until way after the Ph.D. diploma was mounted on my wall. Growing up at the end of Gen X, where budding career women were told they could “do anything” and “be anything,” gave me every ounce of motivation I needed to grit up and go the long haul. But what “they” did not really tell me was that to “be” multiple things meant that I could not fully be anything to my satisfaction. At least, not until I truly understood how to let go.
I began my mindfulness journey in 2000 during my doctoral program. I was exhilarated and fascinated to learn about something that so new and fresh to me had actually been around for thousands of years, albeit fairly recently infiltrated Western medicine and psychological practice. After years of studying mindfulness-based interventions in graduate school, I decided to conduct my own research in the area, in which I studied how mindfulness-based interventions can help with anger management. Little did I know that I would need these skills more than I could have imagined back then.
Alas, the most momentous day of my life sprung up on me November 10, 2014 when my daughter Victoria was born. And yes, I wrote “sprung up” because even though technically I had 9+ months to prepare for her arrival, in addition to my years of superstar aunting my niece and nephew, was I really prepared? Are any of us really prepared?
My love for this new precious life was and still is inexplicable. The birth of my second child, my son Austin, on New Year’s Eve 2 years later is also an experience of love beyond me trying to find the right words to describe. Sound familiar?
“The heart continues to expand,” explained one of my high school teachers at an alumni event when I was newly pregnant and somehow found myself asking him how could I possibly love another being, when at the time I already felt such enormous love for my niece and nephew. He was right. The heart expands more than we can imagine.
Given the boundless and endless love I have for these two beings, I ask, “How can I experience such immense love and continue to act incongruent with that feeling?”
The questions continue, “Why do I snap at these little beings?” “Why do I fall victim to that mama guilt monster?” “How can I manage all that I have to do without breaking?”
Imperfection is the name of this game. The messiness, mistakes, and rollercoaster are all part of this program. We are all doing the best we can at any given moment. Love yourself and balance your acceptance of and desire to change your imperfections. Once you fully commit and join me on this journey, mama life may seem a little softer at times. I am here to help make your mommy moments count.
I have been treating mothers in my clinical practice for over a decade to help them gain insight and strategies to remediate all of the issues I myself was grappling with. It was time for me to put those skills into practice myself.
-Dr. Jolie Silva