Innate Wisdom Podcast
Season 1 | Episode 12
Healing Generational Trauma on the Journey to Parenthood with Amy Fiedler
What It's About:
This is it! The last episode of Season 1 of the Innate Wisdom Podcast. I hope you have enjoyed your journey with me as much as I have with you. If you think Innate Wisdom is 5-stars and haven’t already, I would so appreciate it if you could please leave us a review. I have so much more in store for next season that will only be made possible by you sharing the love. <3
Today, I have the honor of speaking with Amy Fiedler, a Trauma Support Specialist, Holistic Life Coach & Reiki Master Practitioner. She is also an Ordained Minister and 3x Published Author. She specializes in providing you with healthy emotional coping tools, supporting you in setting essential boundaries and improving your ability to self-regulate and communicate with those in your life. Her strong focus on emotional education is what has been applauded for facilitating total healing and long-term sustainable mental health with her clients.
Listen to Hear More About:
- The realities of parenthood
- Imprinting of trauma from generation to generation
- When imprinting of trauma truly starts
- How to start breaking the cycle of generational trauma
- Neglect & communication between partners
- How to handle difficult conversations with parents, in-laws, and others about your child
- Child behaviors like crying wolf, acting out, etc.
- Self-awareness as a key to change
- How to set healthy boundaries
- And more
[00:00:00] Loren: Thank you so much for joining us, Amy. So excited to have you here. I've been such an admirer of your work and it's helped me so much personally as well. Really, really, it has. I would love for you to introduce yourself to the audience and tell a little bit more about yourself and what led you on the path that you're on today.
[00:00:21] Amy: Of course. Well, thank you so much for having me. I am excited to have this conversation with you. A little bit about me. I am a certified trauma support specialist, certified holistic life coach, reiki master practitioner, and three-time published author. The work that I do is with men, women and children, providing them a space to learn coping mechanisms, learn emotional regulation tools, really work through any type of childhood trauma or abuse that they've encountered in their life, and be able to communicate healthy, set healthy boundaries, and really turn around these relationships so they feel more respected.
Whether that means that those relationships need to end or evolved into something much greater. But people walk away from me with a lot of the tools and the awareness to be able to function in a healthier way in their life and their relationships.
[00:01:21] Loren: That's amazing. I really admire the work that you do. I think the work that you do is also just so important and I think the sort of acknowledgement around this work has become even more acknowledged.
Yeah. Yeah. Or stronger. Especially over these past few years and with all the sort of world events that have happened over the past few years too, people are looking for help in different ways that they've had to look for before. Maybe they've been creating self-awareness as well that they need help.
And so I think the work you're doing is awesome.
[00:01:58] Amy: Oh, thank you so much. And I agree. I think in general, you know when, for me, coming from an environment growing up where I didn't know these things. I didn't have these tools, and I really suffered on a mental and emotional level for a very long time. So to go through that yourself and equip yourself with the things that you were lacking as a child, and then have the privilege and the honor of being able to teach and educate and really support other people in doing the same for themselves, but also for their children and their families.
It's the greatest gift that I could ask for. But he really understood it when I wanted to do this, and now everybody's like, can you write another book? Can you help me with this? And I'm like, of course. Because the more people who have these tools and are educated with this stuff, the better off we all are as a society, but in our own individual homes and family units.
So it just pays and keeps repaying out into the world.
[00:03:07] Loren: Absolutely. And I think one of the most important realizations that I've come to in your work, listening to your podcast, your posts and things like that, everything that you share is that even though something may not be our fault in terms of the trauma that has happened, the sort of responsibility and how we regulate our emotions afterwards is our responsibility.
And that is what we own, and that is what we're in control of as well. And that's been one of the most mind-blowing things that I've realized too, because I think growing up in my home environment as well was very dysregulated and oftentimes it was a lot of pushing the blame on other things, like, why woe is me?
You know, why is this happening to me? Also, people pleasing lots of that as well, but I think the responsibility aspect too, that you sort of share, and it can be triggering for some people too.
[00:04:11] Amy: So many, so many people don't wanna hold themselves accountable. It's honestly overwhelming when you watch how many people get upset by that aspect of it.
[00:04:23] Loren: Yeah, but that's how we grow. And it's so transferrable too to sort of the nutrition aspect of things as well, because we can blame X, Y, Z on our health, but what are we gonna do about it? We can sort of sit in our discomfort and unpleasantness, or we can take action and really take steps to improve our health.
And that's from all angles too. So I love the message that you share. Um, thank you. Yeah. One of the things I'd love to get started with is this idea of environment. And I'm in the preconception space, pregnancy space, dealing with a lot of mothers and fathers trying to become parents and on the path to parenthood and usually when we're on this path, we start thinking about the kind of parent that we want to become.
And with a lot of this comes an awareness of behaviors that maybe we witnessed or experienced as children ourselves too. And in a lot of my work as well, I've come across this concept of imprinting. And it's not only true of the way that we imprint our nutrition hormones and microbiome on our children, but also trauma and behaviors as well.
And so this phenomenon is very clear in those aspects as well. And I'm really curious to hear from you if you can explain how this imprinting happens in regards to trauma or behaviors. I would just love to get your thoughts on that.
[00:06:01] Amy: Of course. And it's a very real thing, you know, when you're in the womb, let's just like start there, right?
That beginning aspect of life in the womb, you're the mother. Her mental state, her emotional state, her physical state as what you kind of work in, it all impacts that child and that child's mental, emotional and their physical state. So if that mother, let's say, is an addict while pregnant, then that mother is not only experiencing toxic stress in her life and her environment, but also her mindset, how she talks to herself is gonna impact that baby.
How she takes care of herself with nutrition, right? And her physical health. That's all going to take a toll on that baby's physical health if that baby even happens to survive after that, right? That baby survives and comes into the world. That baby has already experienced wound trauma to some degree.
And their cognitive functioning might have been affected by how that mother was taking care of herself mentally, emotionally, and physically. And therefore, there might be, you know, developmental disorders. That child might develop some type of disorder in terms of autism or just delayed cognitive functioning speech, hearing, learning aspects can all be impacted just from the womb into the first few years of their life.
Then when you take it into, from zero to five years old, you gotta factor into that equation. And mind you, I gave an extreme example of like wound trauma, an addict, but let's just say the mother is a high functioning workaholic who doesn't decompress, doesn't eat properly, doesn't sleep properly, lives with a spouse or a significant other, and that's not necessarily a healthy relationship.
So let's say there's a lot of yelling and screaming, and that's the type of energy going on in that environment that can take a toll on that child in the womb. That baby is not being born into a home that is safe, that is secure, that is regulated and feels at peace.
Because if you look at the child in the womb as being in the first home, then that home is not a healthy one to begin with. And then if you look at that child being born into life, like you know, outside the mother and the home they're brought home to, that's gonna continue and that's gonna perpetuate what already has taken place.
So zero to five, that child, now you have to factor in relational aspects and environmental aspects into what is being imprinted into them. And that child is learning everything by seeing, hearing, and being exposed to it. So it's not just the two parental influences, or let's say maybe there's just one parent in the home, but it's whoever is frequenting that child's environment.
If that child has a nanny, a babysitter, um, childcare, grandparents, aunts, uncles, whoever is interacting with that child, the way they talk, the way they behave, not just with the kid, but with each other is what is going to influence that child, not just developmentally like the cognitive functioning is still going to be developing between those first few years of life, but also the way they talk about themselves and the world at large.
The way they believe about anything, the way they feel about themselves and their self-confidence, the way they feel about food, the way they feel about, I don't know, we could take it even further into politics and so on and so forth. You get my point. So, so it all really impacts them in many, many ways.
And what happens is they get traumatized. So when I studied trauma, we learn about adverse childhood environments and ACE scores. And you can Google ACE scores and you can take a quiz and see what your actual ACE score is. And that score is based off of how many different things happened in your childhood.
Was there divorce, was there addiction? Was there toxic stress? Were all these aspects impact the way you function in this world?
[00:10:51] Loren: Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, that's very illuminating, and I think this information could be overwhelming in a way, because I think as humans innately, we try to control things.
Maybe you have a different, you might be able to elaborate on that too. But a lot of us try to control things, and so we might be thinking, oh my gosh, then I need to control every single little thing because every single little thing is going to impact my child's upbringing and the way that they're able to regulate their nervous system and things like that.
But with the realistic expectation that nothing is ever going to be perfect, always, yeah, what would you say to a parent or a parent-to-be who wants to break a cycle of dysfunction? Where would you say they can start?
[00:11:39] Amy: Well, first I love this question, and I love that you said that because the truth is, is that that is going to overwhelm anyone and without further context, right?
Mm-hmm. But also it is unrealistic to think that you can safeguard your child to the degree where we can wrap them in bubble wrap, and they will never be traumatized, harmed to some degree, right? Like we all are human. We all, no matter how much work you put into yourself, mentally, emotionally, physically, you're going to have imperfections, you're gonna have flaws, you're gonna have missteps, you're gonna have miscommunications.
You're not going to be able to have control over every single thing happening to you or your child's life. So to reassure any parent or parent to be, I'm gonna say to you, you're not going to prevent your child from having struggles. From miscommunications, from moments of doubt or despair or even depression, anxiety, or anything of the sort, you're not going to be able to protect or prevent them.
The goal of parenting is to be the healthiest example that you can be in this moment for that child. And what that actually means is be supportive, be kind, be understanding, be non-judgmental, be a safe, supportive space so that child can return home to you, to their house and not feel like the world is descending on them.
So to parents-to-be where they can begin, especially if you're starting to think about having a child. Or you've already conceived and you're in the midst of your pregnancy journey, you wanna take the best care of yourself that you can be. Taking care of your mind, taking care of your emotional state, taking care of the environment that you're in, and anything related to your physical health.
If you are taking care of you and you're supporting you and you're keeping yourself in a good mindset, then you're already taking really good care of your child. And then when that child comes into this world, you can continue your journey. Cuz as you and I were just chatting, I said there's no, there's no end date to any of this.
Well, until you die, right? Like you're gonna always have to be on top of taking care of your physical health until that day comes. It's the same for your mental and emotional health as well. So if this journey is ongoing and ever evolving and things are always going to be ebbing and flowing, then the intent should be let me equip myself with the healthiest, routine, and coping skills, and educate myself in ways where I can be the most supportive and healthy presence for myself and for those around me, which would be your partner if you have one, but your child.
[00:14:52] Loren: I think that's so important. You made really, really great points there, especially what you said about showing up, taking care of yourself so you can show up to be your best self. I think that, especially once you start to have children, The sort of self-care, whatever that means for you, can be put by the wayside and you start putting other things first.
And a lot of the time parents are really selfless in this way, but I've seen the way that it can impact not only the mother's health or the father's health, but also the child's health too. So I'm just curious, what would you say or what would you recommend for even families, mothers and fathers in the postpartum stage where really the first two weeks after the baby's born, always kind of a black hole is how it's described and the fatigue is so strong that it just is a very distant memory.
How would you say that both mothers and fathers can take care of each other better and support each other so that they're not completely depleted or wrecked maybe two, three months later where they're feeling like completely hanging on by a thread?
[00:16:15] Amy: Sure. That's a very realistic situation, right? When you have a child and that child comes into this world, suddenly there's a new balance that you're gonna have to find.
Like let's say it's two parents and it's their first child, so you went from finding balance with each other, which as you know, and I'm still in the process of learning in my own relationship, like takes time, takes years sometimes to find a good balance between each other's needs, and that's if you're actively communicating with each other.
Because if you're not, and you're working off of assumptions and you're hoping people take hints, then just between the two of you, that's a very long process because you're always gonna get it wrong. Like we're just guessing and checking. Enter a third party into the mix and you're kind of like, wow, we're really gonna have to have strong communication skills here.
Cause if I assume that I woke up early, so you're gonna get the next feeding, or you're gonna wake up early the next day. If we just work off assumptions and hints and passive aggressive statements, this child is gonna experience some level of neglect and or this child is gonna experience some level of stress because I'm going to get up if you're not, and now I'm gonna resent you while I'm feeding my child.
And that's just like not fun energy. You're a new mother. Right? So some really practical steps here are work on your communication skills. Because the goal, the end goal to those first two weeks should be we're finding a balance. Like we have to find a routine and we have to work together as a team now.
So communication has to be strong, has to be clear, has to be forthcoming, has to be transparent. And the other thing is having really clear boundaries with each other. Because if, let's say both parents are working parents, then you're really gonna have to have strong communication and strong guidelines in terms of what each of you is needing so that you can function at your best for each other, for the child, and for work.
And that goes the same if like that's not even your situation. And maybe you have additional children in the mix. Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom and you're with that child 24/7. I know I have several friends of mine where that's the dynamic where the husband is working full-time and it's their first child and they've opted to stay home and they can, they have the means to do that.
Well, there's a little imbalance there. That individual is getting more time with that child, which means a lot of the responsibilities are falling on that individual because the other one has other responsibilities they're taking care of. And so that can brew resentment very easily as well. And the goal is to not be in a situation where you bring a child into the world and there's going to be constant resentment happening.
And the only way to eliminate that resentment is to be as honest with yourself and each other about what you're needing every time it comes up for you. Whether it's, I need some sleep, I need a shower, I need you to tag in right now so I can go eat something real quick, and then I'll tap back in.
Whatever that balance is gonna look like for you, that's what you're going to be focusing on.
[00:19:58] Loren: That's so well said. And I think one of the key takeaways there is that it's always gonna continually require work. Yeah, yeah. And just to be realistic, but the work is worth it because in the end, it really helps build a good environment.
And it's when we neglect that work, that things start to fall apart. Is what I'm hearing too. Not the whole message, but one of the key takeaways.
[00:20:22] Amy: No, that is a, that is a key takeaway for sure. And I think it's also important to realize that the work isn't just for this child. The work is a new layer of your relationship, whether that's with another individual or that relationship is with yourself, right?
Because there are plenty of people in situations like that as well. And that's kind of how you have to look at it is this is a new chapter of my life. This is a new way for me to rebalance some things and see what I can handle and what I'm capable of, and where I need to ask for some more support or friends or family or whatever your tribe consists of to step in and help me here.
And that's kind of the fun of life. So is like these scary moments where we feel out of control and we don't know what to expect. That challenge brings a whole lot of wisdom and a whole lot of growth in ourselves and with those people that we surround ourselves with.
[00:21:22] Loren: That is really well said, and I think reaching out for help too is one of the important things that you just said there.
I think that there's a saying it takes a village to raise a child. Yeah. And in this modern culture, we've really lost a lot of that. A lot of us are working, you know, both parents are working, families live not close together anymore. Maybe it's more city life or even in the country, families are more spread apart, so there's less of a village kind of setting where there was a lot of more support built in and sort of support infrastructure to be able to hand off your child to another nursing mom to take care of them for a little while.
The grandmother, that role, that used to be a big part in playing in terms of raising the child as well. I think there's a tradition and different cultures have different traditions too, but I think it was the role of the mother-in-law to come stay at the newborn's house to help cook, clean, all that kind of stuff, to really provide some support as the family was adjusting and growing.
[00:22:36] Amy: Oh, my mom would've loved that role. That is accurate. I'm reflecting as you're talking like as a child, my mom's mom lived 15 minutes down the highway. Mm-hmm. And that was where we went like that, who babysat us all the time when my mom went to work or whatever. And that's not the dynamic now with our nephew.
People don't know we are family, but we are. But you know, our nephew is at a distance from both GR sets of grandparents, and although they all get to see each other collectively, it's not the same type of upbringing that I had where it was like, just drop us off at Grandma's when you go to work for the day.
[00:23:27] Loren: Right? Yeah. So even though that support system is not as inherently accessible, let's say, that doesn't mean you can't create your own support system wherever you are. Yeah. And so I think that that's one of the biggest, I don't wanna say regrets, but it is one of the biggest regrets of a lot of women as they go through pregnancy, and then not having that support system built in, or not having set up a meal train.
Honestly, that is one of the best things you can possibly do, is to start to identify during pregnancy, who is going to be your go-to for X, Y, Z, and who can you call upon for help, even if it isn't your family? Mm-hmm. And so I think that what Amy's saying is absolutely applicable here, and it's going to help you show up as your best self as you raise this child too.
[00:24:19] Amy: I agree. I don't have anything to add there, but I do think part of that process that you're explaining is preparing for that requires you to know what you need and are gonna want. And that's part of the boundary setting process. Because if some of my values are that I want people in my life who show up for me and can follow through, then I have a boundary around who I'm gonna lean on and who I'm gonna ask for support from.
Because I don't want somebody who's gonna flake when I need them to come take care of my child, and I need to go to work. Right? Like I need people who are going to follow through and match their actions to their words. And so that's also something that expecting mothers can kind of work on is that boundary setting.
Especially because a lot of my friends who have kids now that are like two or four or seven, they're learning oh, I need boundaries with my children. Like I love spending time with them. I wanna give them undivided attention, but it's okay to tell them Mommy has a friend that she needs to speak to right now, and it's okay to let them try to be self-sufficient or play with each other and entertain themselves a little.
[00:25:37] Loren: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's super important too, the concept of boundaries and boundary setting. I wanna shift it to sort of this, I guess during pregnancy, I, you can start to sense what boundaries you want to create, but also postpartum for sure. I feel like that is even more so a, a theme postpartum. And I'm just curious to know how do you create boundaries or how would you recommend somebody navigate the complicated situation of maybe having a family member or maybe your mother-in-law is a little bit too close and sort of putting herself or making herself well known within the family setting or sticking herself.
There's definitely a better way to articulate what I'm trying to say, but you kind of get…
[00:26:24] Amy: Being nosy or overbearing. I got you. I'll fill in the blanks.
[00:26:29] Loren: Okay. Thank you. So that said, setting boundaries oftentimes in this setting can sometimes be seen as selfish or, yeah, really inconsiderate or almost like depriving a family member of the affection of the newborn or infant.
How would you navigate this? Cause I'm sure that a lot of, especially women, mothers and fathers listening to this right now have maybe experienced that in the past or worried about that. Um, curious to know your thoughts on that and how you might navigate that.
[00:27:05] Amy: It's hard. And honestly, I have these conversations with my own mother regarding her grandson, her first grandson, because she comes from a different time and day and age, like I said, like I was dropped off at my grandparents' house.
And so she goes into things from that expectation. And I think a lot of people just naturally do, they default to what they came to know growing up and they assume everybody's gonna kind of follow suit and do the same thing. Now that's an error on their end, clearly. And that's what I tell my mom.
Like, you can't make assumptions like that. And you have to be able to understand that. You know, your children or your daughter-in-law or son-in-law, they have their own family unit and you're part of the family, but their decisions regarding their child have to be first and foremost. And this might be an isolated thing, but I often will say to my mom, well, how did it feel when your mother demanded this or your mother said this?
When I allow her that space to kind of reflect on her own experience being a first time mom or a second time mom with her parents or her in-laws, then it's kind of like she has the ability to put herself in somebody else's shoes and be like “Well, I didn't like it when they did that same thing.” I didn't like when they said this to me, I just felt like I had to do it. I didn't feel like I had a choice.”
And I go, well, there's the problem right there. Nobody equipped you with the knowledge that you do have a choice. You have agency over your body, over your decisions, over your life, over your family, over your child, and you can advocate for what you need and what you want and what you stand by and what you believe in, and how that's gonna look.
And I think to communicate that to a parent or in-law can feel scary, especially if maybe you don't feel as close to them, or maybe you're just not somebody who's confident in your communication skills yet. But a good way to go about that is to start with maybe some reassurance, like we love having you in our child's life and we're looking forward to spending time with you on Thanksgiving.
However, the way our schedules are, it works best for us if our babysitter babysits every Friday or whatever the situation might be. But offering them that reassurance and then sometimes that future date to look forward to, I find really works well, especially with like older generations, because a lot of them have a fear of being excluded, being abandoned, being forgotten, being left out of the equation.
So if you can get yourself to a place where you're confident in your decisions as the parent, and then you're able to articulate it in a way that allows them just a little empathy and reassurance, because truly people who are overbearing or nosy just really feel out of control. And if you can go into that, seeing beyond the bullshit, as I always say, and kind of like looking past those behaviors and getting to the root in your own mind of like, I see you're just scared.
So let me just give you some reassurance here that like, we love you, we want you to have a relationship, but this is kind of gonna be the dynamic and this is when is gonna be best for you to step in. Or just reassuring them like, hey, listen, I will reach out for these reasons. And making it clear, you don't have to explain yourself, you don't have to tell them why you're not gonna reach out for other reasons.
Just you wanna give them the information that they need and take them in the direction you want them to go in, right? So if you want respect, you just tell them, here's what we're gonna do with you. Here's how we need to be treated. Here's how we need to be spoken with. Here's when we will be able to contact you.
That's a big one. If you're at a distance. I know that one firsthand. So…
[00:31:21] Loren: Yes. Those are so many great tips. Thank you so much. I hope that provides some guidance for anyone going through it right now, because it could be stressful and you don't wanna let anyone down. And oftentimes feelings of guilt can come along with that too.
And it's, at the end of the day, that emotion, I think very similarly, resentment, guilt, not really supportive emotions to really hang around. So…
[00:31:46] Amy: Yeah, and honestly like I think this is a good perspective to have, right? Like you're not going to bypass moments of frustration, you're not gonna be able to avoid all of those discomforts and uncomfortable conversations that might come up.
So this isn't advice to tell you doing these things is gonna perfect the situation or make all the problems go away, but they’re practical steps that if you incorporate them, it does make it a lot easier. And truly the goal isn't to change somebody else's behavior or control what they're doing or expecting of you, the end goal at the end of the day is to make yourself feel safe and supported and secure.
And so if having the difficult conversation that's gonna be a little bit uncomfortable with your in-laws or your mom or your dad to say, hey, please don't expect a phone call from us every day, but we can designate a time biweekly, or we can designate a time every week to FaceTime you and talk and catch up.
That at least sets the tone for what you're wanting and what you're needing. And I think a lot of people shy away from that. So if you can just claim those needs that are gonna be right for you and understand why they're gonna be right for you, what is that ripple effect gonna look like? If you can designate that time boundary or that phone call boundary, or that sleep boundary or whatever it is, if you know the ripple effect of that on your child, your spouse or partner, whoever, then it's easier to commit to it.
[00:33:38] Loren: That's very well said. That's solid advice right there. Thank you. Um, I'd love to shift the conversation a little bit. So entering into parenthood or in the thick of parenthood. A lot of us realize that we might have been the parent in the parent child relationship, or maybe, you know, this could also happen earlier on, at any point in your life where you realized you've been parenting up a little bit as the child.
Yeah. Uh, because maybe your parent wasn't able to emotionally regulate themselves. How can we put our best foot forward in parenting when as children, we've been the parent in the parent-child relationship?
[00:34:20] Amy: Hmm, well, a lot of, a lot of children, adult children had role reversal growing up and had to mature a lot quicker or take on responsibilities that unfairly were placed on them. And that's the truth. Like they were unfairly placed on you. Whether it was emotional support, you had to provide a parent, whether your parent, you know, I've gotta take big issue when people are like, oh, my child's my best friend.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Your child is not equipped to be your best friend. But that also depends on your definition of best friend, right? Your child needs to be your child. They can be a friend as they get older, but you need to recognize that there's a distinction there. And so to parent, to adult children who had to parent, their parent who are now becoming, this is a tongue twister who have, who are now becoming a parent, what I'm going to say to you is reconciling that experience that you had as a child.
In other words, make sense of this experience you had, make sense of the pain, acknowledge any of that pain, validate it for yourself, and then get very clear on what you do not want to do to your child. What are those boundaries in terms of, my child is not my confidant.
My child is not somebody that should have to self soothe me or reassure me or calm me down when they're distraught. I am supposed to be the leader here in terms of setting an example and being a support system and a safe place to turn to for them. So if you can find a space, and it doesn't always have to be a professional setting.
It can be sitting down and talking to your friend. Significant other, your journal or just out loud to yourself. That's what I do sometimes to talk through those experiences that you remember as a child that you feel like were unfair to you. And then from there I always say, once we know what we don't like, we are very clear on what we do like.
Cause if I know for me, I didn't like when I was distraught or I was, you know, the popular story I always tell is when I had suicidal thoughts or I was depressed or I was anxious and I turned to my parents, they cried or they lashed out at me and they told me they didn't raised me to feel that way.
I didn't have somebody to turn to that was like, let me hear you, let me understand where you're coming from. Let me do my best to support you and if I can't, I will find some way or some environment to help you get into. No. Like that relied on me to have to be like, okay, you're crying and freaking out. Can I go to a therapist?
And then I was ashamed for that. So I know from that experience, when I have a child, that child is not my place to cry. Like I can cry in front of my child that's healthy, show them that tears are okay, but they're not my support system in terms of somebody to lean on when I'm devastated or I'm anxious.
So if you've had that experience and you know, you know, mom made me help pay the bills and I was just of age to work, that's not a fair responsibility to place on a child, even if it is just to survive because it's a single parent home or whatever the circumstances are, get clear about that. Get clear about what you don't wanna do with your child, and then clarity is really everything.
It sounds very simplistic, but if you have the awareness of what you've gone through that you don't like, and you can get some sense of clarity around how you would prefer to behave and how you want your parent-child relationship to be, then it's really just a matter of you taking the steps in that direction and matching it up with what you want it to be and where you want it to go.
Because if you don't get that clarity and you don't have that awareness, then what you're gonna always do is default to the example that was set for you or what you did experience, and if that's not something you liked, that's where we get generational trauma because people didn't stop to become aware and mindful and then make the choice to do something different.
[00:39:01] Loren: That's really insightful. Thank you. Of course. That's personally speaking, I've been in that position before as a child who soothed their parent, and it's definitely been something I've been personally working through because it's something that I don't want to bring into my future child's upbringing either.
And it can be hard because it requires definitely some self-awareness, like you mentioned, and I think that's a lot of it. A lot of it is not being controlled by our emotions, but really allowing us to create this self-awareness as to, okay, what emotion am I feeling and why? And backtracking from there.
Same thing goes for nutrition too. I think. This might be a funny analogy, but just a simple pang of hunger is something that a lot of people ignore and they go throughout their day consistently ignoring their pangs of hunger. And what they don't realize is over time their body adapts to this and becomes chronically really stressed.
Because if we're constantly depriving ourselves of one of our Maslow's foundational needs, it can create some dysfunction in the body and it doesn't allow the body to feel safe. And so we can regulate so much by just creating self-awareness as to what emotion am I feeling, or what bodily function is calling to me right now.
Do I need food?
[00:40:36] Amy: Yeah. Meeting those basic needs, I don't mean to interrupt you, but that plays a key role in regulation because let's say if those needs were not met growing up, you've already got a nervous system that is dysregulated. And like myself, I have an overactive nervous system. So I'm literally having to soothe myself at the start of every day just to start my day out on the right foot.
And that comes from many, many years of being retraumatized by, from a young age of needs not being met. And that need could be, like you said, a simple pang of hunger. Like a bad habit I had as a child is the minute I had to go to the bathroom to pee, I held it. And then I was nicknamed a camel and I like was getting attention, so I thrived off of that because that need was not being met elsewhere.
So it's kind of interesting when you look at these certain things like, oh yeah, no, that's just like an innocent thing. You didn't go to the bathroom. No. You find as a child you ways is very creative and unique ways, very unhealthy ways to get your needs met. And that was one of them. And now it's like, minute I have to pee, I'm gone because I know what I used to do and I know what's not healthy and what's healthy now.
But that goes the same for any area of our life when it's emotional, mental, or physical. If we're neglecting those needs, that also imprints that child or sets the example for the child of like, I don't have to take care of this right now. It's not that important. It's not a priority. Mm-hmm.
[00:42:27] Loren: Yeah, that's really, really insightful as well.
And just reinforces that idea of self-awareness and how the simple things, the foundational things are really where, where a lot of the magic happens, honestly.
[00:42:42] Amy: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you go back to the basics and then you look at the big picture, like that's really what was fractured from the start to create this trajectory of your life that may or may not be the healthiest.
So a lot of people will tell me, oh, like, oh, your guidance is so simplistic sometimes, or too simple. And I'm like, no, you're complicating it. Because if I didn't get attention as a child, then I was gonna find a way to get attention. And maybe that way was, I'm gonna become a people pleaser, because at least that secures that attention that I am needing and that people pleasing then creates a ripple effect of very unhealthy relationship dynamics in my life.
And so then people will show up and be like, I have a very bad people pleasing pattern and I have all of these things to untangle. And I'm like, no, it's very simple. Let's just like go back to the basic need that was overlooked by a parent or guardian, but now like you started off saying, is your responsibility.
[00:43:53] Loren: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And on the topic of simplicity, I wanna reassure the audience too that the simple things are really important. And if you got those covered, you're doing great. You're doing a great job. I wanna go back to the idea of imprinting a little bit. Mm-hmm. And so we definitely can imprint dysfunction on our children, but also we can still imprint wellness.
The fact that we can imprint dysfunction also means that we can imprint wellness and regulation too, right?
[00:44:29] Amy: Yeah. Like as we spoke about earlier, if the child in the womb, if the mother is calm, is getting enough sleep, is nourishing herself well, has very low stress in her life and her environment, that child is being birthed already into a very safe space that not only regulates your nervous system, but a child at peace can function at an optimum level, and then there's room for so much healthy growth in terms of their cognitive functioning and just like their personality coming out because a child is such a sponge that if the environment it comes out into is immediately fearful, then that child's nervous system at a very young age is going to activate.
And now that child is being birthed in fight or flight mode and that's not good. So yeah, when you have a healthy, happy, peaceful, nourished mother carrying a child, that child is already starting off with all of its needs being met, and its nervous system balanced.
And if that can then continue, which I would say more than likely would if the mother pregnant is calm and she manages her emotions well and she's got a healthy balance in life and some missteps here and there like we all do. But generally speaking, she's healthy. And high functioning, then yeah, when that child is birthed, that mother is gonna be speaking to that child in a supportive way and just basically reaffirming, and that is what teaches these children.
So you have to be a consistent source, whether it's gonna be a consistent source of health or a consistent source of toxicity, you're gonna be that example for them. So yes, you can absolutely imprint health.
[00:46:48] Loren: Well, yeah, that goes back to as well, just the importance of taking care of yourself and really creating self-awareness for your needs to really meet those so that you can show up again to meet your child's needs in the best way possible in so many fashions of the concept.
That's really helpful. Thank you so much. I have a couple more questions. I'm curious to get your thoughts on the idea of cancel culture. Yeah. So the cancel culture has become an actual word in the dictionary. I'm pretty sure. Yeah.
[00:47:25] Amy: It's unfortunate. Yeah.
[00:47:27] Loren: Yeah. And with social media becoming so much more of a prevalent role in everyone's life, there's definitely been a sort of shift that I've noticed between setting boundaries and those boundaries being misinterpreted as being okay to cancel everyone and everything.
Mm-hmm. And I'm really curious to get your thoughts on this because I think that there is a difference between boundary setting and canceling someone outright. And while they can both be the same thing, they aren't the same in terms of equality. People interpret it as the same thing, but in reality it's quite different.
And I'm wondering if you can describe how someone can navigate the difference. Because I think people get so triggered by certain things, and that's a whole other thing in terms of owning our emotions and the way that we react. But sometimes the first thing that they do is, I'm gonna cancel this person completely out of my life.
And I don't think that's sustainable or really healthy. And so as you continue on the road to parenthood and you deciding who you want to be in your life and your child's life, how would somebody sort of navigate that in the difference?
[00:48:45] Amy: Well, I think that there's a distinction and context is so important I know for my work, right?
So to give like a black and white answer here, I'll do my best with trying to supply some context so people can kind of differentiate. But when you are reactive to a situation, that's usually gonna lead you to then just cut somebody off whereas you setting boundaries and it leading to having to cut someone off, looks and feels and sounds very different because, and mind you again, there are specific contexts where somebody does something maybe horrifically unforgiving or life ding and you have no choice.
And I always have to say that cuz as you know on social media, everybody takes everything very literally. And then they're like, this doesn't apply to me. And you're like, I know you're the disclaimer. So the distinction is you always, and I am a very big advocate for communicating at least once. You know?
So if you don't like how somebody's treating you, talking to you, whatever the case might be, you have to be able to speak up for yourself. And that's not yelling at somebody that's not demanding they change their behavior, that is coming from a very secure, confident place of “I don't feel supported when you say or do or behave like X, Y, and Z, I would feel more supported if you did X, Y, and Z” right?
Fill in the blank. And then you give them free will. And listen, not everybody is going to adjust accordingly and respect which you're asking, but if you liken these boundaries to the instruction manual that comes when you buy a desk at Ikea, that's what you have to kind of offer people when you are interacting with them and you're trying to have some type of ongoing sustainable relationship.
But when you're dealing with a reactive person, you're gonna find that they revert to tendencies of just lashing out and canceling or blocking or deleting. And again, context is specific. Like I'm not shy to delete a comment that is inappropriate under an Instagram post when you're a complete stranger and you've demonstrated an inability to communicate respectfully towards me or be open to a conversation.
Those are my boundaries, but that's my page and I have control over that. But if you're somebody in my life who I want to relationship with, then the goal isn't do what I say and I cut you off. The goal is, let me help you understand me. Let me try to understand you. Let's share with each other what works on both ends, and let's find common ground and compromise here so we both feel safe and supported and respected.
So I think that's the distinction, right? Is like, When you're not reactive and you're not just canceling people, you're willing to at least have a conversation, express what you need, and give them the chance to show you they're capable or not, and be open to them not being available or capable or willing of respecting you and knowing that's okay.
I'm gonna respect me like I'm safe regardless of what you do, because I'm gonna respect and uphold this no matter what. I'm just letting you know where it's at. This is how I need to be spoken to, this is how I need to be treated, and so on and so forth. Mm-hmm. I hope that answers that question.
[00:52:33] Loren: That does, and it comes back to the work that we need to do in terms of taking responsibility for how we react in our emotions, but also distinguishing the difference between cancellation and self-respect.
Because I think you could probably cancel everyone, but kind of the way you've described it is you'd just be disrespecting yourself. You'd also be disrespecting yourself if you didn't uphold those boundaries as well. But it's a two-way street is how I see it.
[00:53:07] Amy: No, you're spot on and good point to make, like you are disrespecting yourself by not even communicating and letting somebody know, like to assume that everybody knows how to respect you, and I get a lot of comments like that.
Well, they should just know not to say or do this. Now, again, within context, like sure, there's certain things that the world at large knows this is inappropriate and this is appropriate. But beyond that, the nitty gritty of what I like and what I appreciate and what feels supportive or sound supportive is unique to me just as much as yours is unique to you.
I'm gonna treat you the way I treat me, but for me to respect you most, you've gotta let me know, like Amy, I like you, but you know you're a little blunt sometimes and I don't know how to receive that. And that's okay. I might be like, well, too bad. That's who I am. Or I'd be like, what would make you feel better?
What would make you feel more comfortable? And I think that's a huge takeaway here as well, is that anybody who wants to be in your life and wants to have a relationship with you, should want you to feel respected and supported. So if they're gonna receive your boundaries and go too effing bad, get over it or I'm gonna block you cuz I don't like that you disagreed with me, or whatever they're showing you up up front they don't know how to even maintain a relationship and so, oh, that's fine. Let 'em weed themselves out.
[00:54:51] Loren: That's a very fair point too. The weeding out will definitely happen, I think.
[00:54:58] Amy: Yeah.
[00:54:58] Loren: Especially as you grow into your parenthood and your child gets older, I feel like that definitely naturally happens. That's all really well said. Have you heard of the work of Gabor Maté? I have not. Okay. He's really interesting. He's a Hungarian psychologist and his work is primarily around ADD and ADHD.
Mm-hmm. And he really has done a lot of work in terms of connecting the dots between trauma and ADD and ADHD as well as other sort of health related issues like asthma for example. He's been able to connect trauma that we might experience as an infant or child to health issues like asthma and it's just so interesting.
I, I would recommend you check him out. He has a book called The Body Keeps Score. The Body Keeps Score. I think that's right.
[00:55:55] Amy: I've heard of the book. I wasn't familiar with the name, but that particular book, if that happens to be, his book is very, very good.
[00:56:05] Loren: Oh, okay. Well, I'm glad you've heard of it. It could be that.
That sounds familiar. Oh, it's When the Body Says No.
[00:56:12] Amy: Oh, okay. Well, you know, same difference, but, same topic.
[00:56:17] Loren: I do have that book though. The Body Keeps Score. I think it's might be by a slightly different author, but this one's about the stress and disease connection. So trauma, stress, that whole thing. But yeah.
[00:56:29] Amy: Honestly the trauma is fascinating and it does intertwine with a lot of our health issues. And the more you learn about it, like just when I was studying and learning more about how people can be misdiagnosed, like to this day I'm 37, I'll pay attention to and notice things about myself. And I'll be like, is that ADHD?
No, that can't be ADHD. Like I already know I have trauma. But you can see how so many similarities there are. And that's what's so fascinating. I mean, we could get into in much larger topic about this, about how like symptoms are symptoms, right? And they could be spread across so many different illnesses and diagnoses and whatever, and to figure out where they're actually coming from when it's trauma-based.
You do kind of have to go back in time and look at those relationships and the environment and all of those different social aspects and whatever the examples were and the home environment was, and then you can kind of see what has played out. I like doing it for sport sometimes, people close.
[00:57:42] Loren: Yeah, I mean this is your space. Nerding out on that kind of stuff makes total sense. I do the same with nutrition, so. Yeah, I love it. Um, yeah, maybe we can have that be another podcast topic in the future.
[00:57:56] Amy: Yeah, definitely. I would love that.
[00:58:00] Loren: All right, well this was totally amazing. I hope that everyone listening got so much value from this.
Thank you so much for coming on. Amy. Where can people find you?
[00:58:11] Amy: Well, thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure speaking with you. I am on Instagram most obviously, so they can find me @amythelifecoach on Instagram, or they can go to my website, which is amyfeedler.com, or they can listen to my podcast on Apple or Spotify or Google or any of those platforms, and it's called Connect the Dots, Bitch.
[00:58:37] Loren: Love it. Love it. And one last thing too, I wanna end the episode on a positive note. If you could provide one piece of advice that our listeners can start taking action on today, what might that be?
[00:58:53] Amy: Well, I'm gonna go off of like the overall topics that we talked about, and I think the best piece of advice I could give your listeners is to start with you.
Look at the aspects of your life that maybe you're not the most pleased with right now. Whether you already have children are trying to conceive, are already pregnant, whatever role you fall into. If you're not happy with how you're managing your stress, if you're not happy with how you're communicating with people, if you feel constantly drained or overwhelmed, then look at that area of life and take an action step towards advocating for yourselves, speaking up for what you need, and starting to set boundaries and really kind of claim your space in this world because again, like even if you have children already running around you, as you grow and evolve, that will show to your children and they will learn from your example.
And it will also provide for a healthier space to get pregnant in if you're trying to conceive as well as a healthy home for those who have already conceived. So just take a moment every day to really self-reflect and look at the areas of your life you're not the most pleased with, and take the necessary steps to start to make the changes that you want, because truly you're not waiting on anyone but yourself.
[01:00:24] Loren: That’s well said, and beautiful advice. I think self-advocacy is so important. Me too. Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Amy again, and hope to have you on the podcast again soon.
[01:00:35] Amy: Thank you so much for having me.