Gervase is Coach Training Alliance Certified Life & Leadership Coach for Mamas, and the founder of Your Mommy Soul Tribe™ here at Shiny. Happy. Human™. She’s leading a movement that gives permission + resources to women ready to have it ALL in business and #MomLife.
She is a passionate truth-teller and intuition-follower who believes that raising tiny humans is hard, but being human doesn’t have to be. She teaches this purposeful and liberating mommy lifestyle in her free Mommy Soul Tribe Facebook group, at local events, in her Reclaim You Before Baby Turns 2 program and through private coaching. She’s spoken throughout the Lowcountry to groups like MOPS, Charleston Moms Blog and at the Center for Women’s 2016 Passion, Purpose and Power conference and has been featured on Lowcountry Live. Her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, Best Kept Self, Charleston Moms Blog and more.
She’s called Charleston home for almost 14 years and enjoys dance parties, bike rides, soulful conversations and champagne on a Tuesday.
Hi! My name’s Gervase (it’s a family name, pronounced “jer-vaze”), and I’m a mom. Just like you. I have a potty mouth, am fluent in sarcasm, super sensitive, and obnoxiously abusive of the caps lock (as you will discover in .5 seconds). I want very, very deeply, to be an extraordinary role model to my 2-year-old daughter, Aria. It’s pretty much what gets me out of bed in the morning (well she is LITERALLY what wakes me up in the morning, but I obviously mean on a deeper level, as well).
The thing is, along with this uncontainable adoration for my daughter and deep desire to be my BEST for her, I’ve felt lots of “non-motherly” things since becoming a mother.
While I’m usually perceived as shiny and happy—and I am—sometimes I’m just HUMAN, and I troll Facebook or snap at my husband or ignore my kid so I can get some work done. I also lose my patience, can be super hard on myself, and have a tendency to overindulge in the two main food groups—caffeine and wine.
When I became a mother, I felt a deep, secret shame in my dark human moments. I also distinctly remember the feeling of crushing isolation that accompanied those moments after friends and family resumed their normal lives of work, yoga, happy hours and grocery shopping in peace.
It was hard. Really hard. I had not been properly warned.
I felt guilty for missing my pre-baby identity and for wanting more time and experiences for myself.
I felt embarrassed of my struggle to breastfeed or master the whole working-mom thing.
I felt ashamed of my raging postpartum depression, which had transformed me into an anxious shell of my former shiny self.
“I should be able to DO THIS!” I cried to my husband and best friends and sister-in-law and therapist. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever berated yourself for not being able to do something post-baby that you decided would come naturally before you knew what you were getting into?)
One morning, early on, I sat hunched over in the nursery recliner, at 1am, 3 am, 5am, making my pitiful attempts to breastfeed and crying through excruciating pain to my helpless husband.
“Ah,” I thought—enlightened. “This is why women used to live in villages. I need a minimum of 5 mothers and 15 sisters right now, holding my hand, telling me I’m amazing and that this will pass.”
That was my first glimpse into the vision of what I would create for new mothers. The first indication that something was missing for new mothers and not enough is done to hold them through this period.
We spend so much time and energy prepping for the baby: the nursery, the baby shower, the baby classes.
What we freaking need is a SOUL TRIBE to carry us through the next chapter. A Mommy Soul Tribe to hold us, celebrate us, support us, cry with us, encourage us and tell us that THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL and we are doing it PERFECTLY – and they don’t have any classes at 1am, 3am and 5am THAT I KNOW OF.
This is the darker, rarely discussed side of motherhood, where we grapple with stigmatized new feelings and this whispered longing for MORE. Oh, and then there’s the struggle to be EXTRAORDINARY. Because average simply. won’t. do.
I wanted to be more than “MOMMY!” while also being the BEST “mommy,” and I had no idea how the F to start figuring that all out. Let’s face it, this is when it was requiring all my energy just to put pants on and drive to my corporate job and revive some semblance of a relationship with my husband, before falling into bed EX-HAUSTED.
It was unsustainable, so one morning I stepped off the hamster wheel and took a hard look at what I was prioritizing and what would make me and my family truly happy.
When Aria was 6 months old, I quit my job with no backup plan except a burning faith in myself. I knew I would find the answers and ANYTHING had to be better than the life I was living. I was sick and tired of being miserable in the name of motherhood.
With time (and zoloft) things slowly began to shift. My heart made space for a perfect little girl and my life gradually accommodated for one more. The happy hours that pre-baby Gervase held so dear were replaced with family bike rides and a much needed period of hibernation and healing.
I saw motherhood start to shape me into the woman I was destined to be. The wildly sensitive, intensely loving, soulfully curious and inquisitive human parts of me beamed outward, asking my new life to make room for them.
I watched as my identity transformed – not to push out the old, but to embrace the new.
One of my single friends said to me, “Motherhood changed you.”
I felt the hurt and abandonment in her voice, and yet I couldn’t be sorry. I liked the new me better, and I was committed to being an extraordinary role model to my daughter.
Things are different now. These days I wake up and love my life. Yes, seriously.
Now, I feel confident that I am a unique and extraordinary WOMAN, and it allows me the confidence to know I am ALSO an extraordinary mother. I love my daughter and adore my husband and to show them how dedicated I am to being a fearless, adventurous, fun and loving role model and force in their lives, I LOVE MYSELF just as much.
Side note: Can you believe I just said that?! Isn’t that audacious of me to just come right out and tell you, “I’m an awesome mom and I love myself”?
Question for you: Isn’t it MORE insane that we don’t feel more comfortable just… SAYING THAT?! Why is it more acceptable to talk about all our flaws and inadequacies than to talk about how awesome we are?
There’s a mommy spectrum, and mamas have swung SO FAR to the self-deprecating end of it. What we need right now is NOT humility. I promise you. I’ve met and coached hundreds of mamas and we don’t need any more guilt, humility, shame, selflessness or negative self-talk.
Now, I’m on a mission to celebrate bold, beautifully messy mommies like you while legitimizing the very real needs of women for self-love and identities apart from our roles as mothers.
I’m obsessed with building the Mommy Soul Tribe I wish I’d had before I started this wild ride: A magical, virtual village where new mamas can find like-hearted mommy friends, emotional support, zero judgment (no tolerance policy), and massive celebration for putting on pants (or not!) each day.
The Mommy Soul Tribe is a safe space where we can celebrate how WE mommy so we can step into the fulfilled, confident, and kick-ass women our children need us to be.
Raising tiny humans is hard.
You can have the best support system in the world and still need other women who GET IT at 2, 4 and 6am.
It’s OK to need more.
It’s OK to want more.
It’s OK to need other mamas who GET IT.
You’re not alone, sister. We do this together. And you belong here.
Join your Mommy Soul Tribe and get ready for mad love, epic lifelong friendships, and the baby steps you’re looking for to get your mojo back.
Go ahead and put on Daniel Tiger and pour yourself a glass of something, because you’re gonna be here awhile, and we are gonna be best friends.
You. Got. This.