#137 A tribute to the experience of Motherhood and Breast Cancer

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Going through breast cancer as a mom or watching your daughter or mother experience this disease is heart wrenching.

I asked my members to share their insights on how breast cancer impacted them as mothers or their relationship with their mothers and children.

Their answers are inspiring and insightful.

Keep the tissues handy and enjoy this powerful episode.

Referred to in this episode:

Learn to Love Yourself after Breast Cancer Workshop 

The Revived Membership Experience


Read Full Transcript Below:

This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.

Welcome to Episode 136 (Episode 137**) of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And you are in for a real treat today. Because today's show is in honor of all of the mothers and mother figures who have had to go through breast cancer, who are going through breast cancer, who are recovering from breast cancer.

It's for all the mothers who have had to watch. And the mother figures who have had to watch the women that they love, go through breast cancer.

And it's for all of the children who've had to watch their mothers and mother figures go through this disease, and worried about them, and all the things that go along with it.

So it's gonna be a hard show to get through, I can tell because I'm already getting choked up just at the intro.

But I'm going to share with you today, some of the insights, I asked the members of my empower membership, of my revived membership, and of the breast cancer recovery group, my free Facebook group. I asked them to share one thing that they appreciate more either about being a mom, about having their mom, or about their children, as a result of having gone through a diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer and may be living with breast cancer.

So I'm going to share some of those insights with you today and give you my feedback also on on on my thoughts on some of their insights. And they're really powerful. I wanted to reach out and do this because our community is, is so inspiring and so strong in the breast cancer recovery group, my empower membership, the revived membership, they are all about inspiring us after breast cancer. They're all about dealing with this emotional aspect, and the aspect of relationships as we go through cancer is so critical. That's my third pillar of breast cancer recovery, it's regroup. And it's regrouped for a good reason. And I'm going to talk about a lot of that as we go through some of these comments that were left by these amazing women.

So before I get into it, I once again want to thank all of you who have taken the time to leave a review for the show, to leave a rating for the show. It means the world to me, it's so important for this podcast. So thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to do that. And if you haven't had the time to do that, please please, it would be amazing. If you could make the time to scroll down to the bottom where you listen to this podcast and leave a rating or a review for the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. It's so helpful.

And I want to share with you a really big exciting surprise and extended invitation.

This month, the month of May. In my revived membership, we are working on self-compassion, we are working on radical self-compassion. Because one of the things that's hardest for women in my experience is being good to yourself. You know, we're so hard on ourselves. And I know I've said this before, we look at being hard on ourselves as a badge of courage. We think that's the way it's supposed to be and it isn't.

And so, as a part of this month, I am doing a learn to love yourself after breast cancer workshop. It's going to take place for an hour a day three days in a row. If you attended the better than before breast cancer workshop, you know how it goes. So it will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 21st, 22nd, and 23rd it will happen at 8 am Pacific Standard Time.

And the workshop you can attend totally free or there's a paid version where you get even more including a month free membership in revived in the revived membership experience and free attendance to a workshop that is an amazing pause breath workshop on self-compassion that my friend and my colleague and we've done so much work together, pause breathwork professional Tanya Saunders will be leading that breathwork session and that will happen on Saturday, May 29.

So you can choose whichever one works for you. And it's going to be amazing. We had such a great time at the better than before breast cancer workshop and it was so powerful, I knew for sure I would be doing it again. And when we started to work on self-compassion, I thought, this is the time.

We, women, have just got to learn to be better to ourselves and especially after going through breast cancer, and it's tough to do I get it because we're not conditioned, to be good to ourselves, we're conditioned to push ourselves to be hard on ourselves to judge ourselves, I think we should be more to think we should be better. And I want to offer to you that there's a different way to do that. And it's gonna feel a lot better and makes life a lot easier. And it's just the practice of self-compassion is so much more powerful and brings so much more peace and just grace and beauty to your life.

And so I really hope you join me in this workshop, you can go to my website to sign up again, you have a couple of choices on the way you want to attend. You can find that at thebreastcancerecoverycoach.com/selflove.

Please join me, you're going to love it.

Alright, let's get into talking about the amazing feedback that we got on Mother's Day.

All right, I'm going to start off with this comment from MaryAnn, one of my empower members.

"She said, I feel that motherhood to my daughter inspired my courage throughout four years of treatment and surgeries. When I was considering falling into self-pity, I would think of my daughter in the future potentially having breast cancer. I wanted her to be able to remember how I handled this and not be terrified. I was still authentic with her conveying my feelings and fears to her. She was in her late teens. But I always reassured her and let her watch me through those things."

So I love this comment, because, again, talking about regroup that third pillar of breast cancer recovery. There is such this divide and I call it you know the protective barrier when we go when we're going through treatment for breast cancer, and we don't talk about what we're struggling with, because we think we're expected to be warriors.

And other people think that they should support us in being warriors. But the real strength and the amazing connection comes from allowing yourself to be in a place of vulnerability. Now, of course, you have to decide what's age-appropriate for your children and what you reveal to them.

But in this case, where MaryAnn is talking about her daughter being a late teen, I think it's so beautiful, because what an opportunity for closeness and connection when you are raw and vulnerable. And you are setting this example for your daughter, that she doesn't have to hide her emotional struggles, right? That we are humans with a full range of emotions, and that it's completely acceptable to struggle sometimes because some things are more difficult to deal with than others.

And I love that MaryAnn said, you know, she didn't want her to be terrified. But she wanted her to understand. And I think that's an important point. Because so often, when we are not transparent with what's happening, we leave this gap. And in that gap is the opportunity for someone else to tell their own story. And we always are, let's say the majority of the time, the story we choose to tell ourselves is always going to be more frightening than the real story itself.

So I think that that's so incredibly important, it's so moving, it's so touching. And you know, we say that strength we refer to being strong as being a warrior and not crying and not being emotional, and not taking time for ourselves and, you know, working 100% of the days through chemotherapy. And I want to offer that taking that time for yourself and allowing that space for emotion and vulnerability is often a much more difficult thing to do. And it takes an incredible amount of strength to do that.

So thank you so much for that contribution MaryAnn.

Cheri says I... and she's another one of my empower members.

"I just feel so grateful and lucky to have my mom be so supportive in there for me, we are very close. And I feel like I treasure our relationship more. And the times we spend together mean so much. Happy Mother's Day weekend to all of you lovely mothers."

And I think wow, this is gonna be a really hard episode to get through. It's just so beautiful because, you know, every day of life truly is a gift and a celebration. And one of the gifts I think that comes from breast cancer can be the fact that we see the tentative nature of life and the beauty of those relationships and the urgency in making sure that we connect, and that we make time for those people and we make time and space for those relationships.

Thank you, Cheri.

All right, Mary Jo, Mary Jo, is an empower member.

And she says, "Since a second breast cancer diagnosis, I have realized how lucky to still have my 90-year-old mom in my life, and that is truly a blessing. Here are some of the sayings we heard growing up. Instead of saying no to request, she would say another day, or we'll see, she would never allow us to tease each other, or use the phrase Shut up, conversation and interest in our friends warmed our environment daily.

That is so beautiful.

And I just wanted to share that I thought that's so great because you know, as mothers, as we said, we set the example through what we experience, right? We set that example through how do you deal with the disease? How do you deal with tragedy? How do you deal with tough stuff? How do you deal with awesome stuff, and our kids are always watching, right?

So here's Mary Jo, a mature woman with a 90-year-old mother and still remembers very clearly those statements that mom made, you know, and they were fortunately very empowering and kind. So that's lovely.

Thank you, Mary Jo.

Monica, one of my revived members says, "This is my first Mother's Day without mom, being four months after her death, and two months on the healing journey from breast cancer, I often think how her words and life inspired me. She would have held my hand tight and prayed intently. She would cry in private and tell me it would be okay. I hang on tight daily. With that thought as treatment decisions must be made.


Okay, thank you for that Monica.

And I wanted to share that one because when I read it, first of all, of course, it brought tears to my eyes. But I thought about Monica's amazing attitude. I mean, that's a lot to deal with the loss of a mother and a diagnosis of breast cancer two months apart.

But she chose to look at the beauty of it, she chose to look for the inspiration, rather than the loss of her mother. Because let's face it, what we have for our moms just like with Mary Jo, it stays with us the examples we set it stays with our children or our loved ones all around us.

So I love that she just kind of connected to what her mother would have done if she was still here with her. And holding on to that and connecting to that energy of her mom brings her peace.

And thank you so much for sharing that Monica.

Okay, I think I need to move on to a little lighter on it. You know, it's not that there's it's not a sadness. It's just it's such powerful, like, these statements are so powerful and so meaningful.

And I just feel them.

And I appreciate you guys being you ladies sharing with us so much. It's just It's wonderful.

All right, so Donna says,

"Since breast cancer, I appreciate anytime I get to spend with my boys' Life is too short. And any time they give me is so much appreciated."

And I totally feel you, you know, our kids are busy. And they may be older or they've their little there is all kinds of activities and things and if they're older or have families, I don't know everybody's life is busy. And so rather than wishing we could have more time just truly appreciating the time we all can have together is so incredibly powerful and amazing.

Happy Mother's Day, Donna, thank you for sharing that.

All right, Marilyn another one of my revived members.

"Time with husband and children is of course number one. But along with this is I appreciate my children for their independence and for their incredible human beings they are, I have always been proud of them. But after breast cancer, I see and appreciate the value they have brought to their own lives and their own relationships. I love that about each one of them."

And I just want to say, Marilyn, I hope you give yourself credit for your contributions to that. Because you're the mama right? And you set a great example and you empowered some amazing human being so happy Mother's Day.

All right.

I love this one from Sarah.

Sarah says, "breast cancer has given me the gift of patients not that I was overly lacking before but there are days where it is in short supply. On those days I close my eyes and consider the very real reality of my and their mortality. It rejuvenates my patients and I am more mindful. During treatments, I would write a positive affirmation on our window. We were also in lockdown every morning and one has stuck that gets me through some days. I am calm. I am kind. I am patient."

I love that because it's so true, right?

The little things really become little things right? We go through something like breast cancer, we come face to face with our mortality. We realize that this statement, "Life is short" is not just a cliche. Why did we ever think it was right? Life is short... and these little tiny things that we get upset about or the meaningless things and the way someone loads the dishwasher or the kids got into the lipstick, it just, it's not worth upsetting yourself over, right.

And some of these little things are just not worth the energy that we have to engage in them and to allow yourself to be mindful, calm, and patient. And what I love is that with these affirmations Sarah, you're just bringing yourself closer to that ideal version of you, you know, to that loving compassionate version of you that you want to be, and I love it.

Thank you so much.

And Amita, another one of my lovely members in the revived membership.

Says, "I love my mother dearly. And it brings me to tears when I think about how much she helped me through all of my surgeries. She was there to help me shower, she washed my hair when I couldn't even lift my arms. She brought me food while in the hospital, she cooked every meal for me when I was home and wiped my tears. And there were many. I'm reminded that no matter how old we are, a mother's love is like no other, tender and immeasurable.

Okay, I'm not sure why I thought I wouldn't be able to get through that. But, you know, I wanted to share these, I realize every relationship is different, right? Some of us have fantastic relationships with our moms or mother figures, some don't, some are okay, everything is different.

But here's, I just really wanted to share this. And especially if you're going through recovering from breast cancer, and you are a mom, sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to get back to normal to do all the things. And I wanted you to hear these. And I want you to hopefully be able to practice self-compassion with yourself. I wanted to offer that workshop this month.

Because you don't have to do all the things you are loved. And it isn't about the things that you do. It's about who you are. It's about the connection and the relationships. And another important part of that connection and relationship is allowing people to step up and support you when you need more support. It's about allowing yourself to be gentle with yourself and accept the fact that you need more support. And that sometimes, the way that your loved ones, the only way your loved ones can show support while you're going through breast cancer recovering, managing your energy after breast cancer, sometimes years and years later, right?

Your body changes your energy changes your ability to think in different ways may change and to embrace the support and the offerings of those people around you. is so beautiful. And it's a show of love when someone says How can I help you? How can I support you?

And so allowing yourself to go to that vulnerable, vulnerable place where you say, yeah, here's how you can help me. Trust me, it's just an amazing connection. You, if you've listened to this podcast for any amount of time, or you follow me, you know that I lost a sibling to cancer and that I have a sister who is also a cancer survivor. And so I have that unique perspective as both a survivor and now someone living with cancer and someone who's lost loved ones to cancer. It's such a helpless place to be when you're watching someone you love with cancer because they're just there's just nothing you can do right to comfort their physical challenges. And to ease it or to make it go away. So supporting and reaching out and offering whatever it is food, make the bed, take the kids, whatever, whatever, that's a show of love. A

nd so know that you are loved and appreciated. And doing all the things is not the requirement of a mother, just allowing the love to flow, that's the most special, impactful thing you can do. As we heard from these statements, right? It's all about the connection, the appreciation, the presence, the touch, the engagement, that's the beauty.

And, you know, as a mom, I have a daughter, I have three sons, and a daughter. And I've said so many times I'd rather go through breast cancer as many times as necessary than watch any of my children go through at one time because it's such a helpless place to be. But knowing you know that it's in me, I know what I can deal with. I know what I can manage. I know how my thoughts are right. And so it's a really different space to be a loved one. So considering that, if you are if you have a mom and you're going through cancer and sometimes it's not easy to let mom in or let mom do all the things, but know that it really is just a show of love.

And people sometimes we have to allow people to love us in the only ways they know-how. And sometimes that's not congruent with the way we want them to love us, right? But give that some thought, and allow those people to come in and bring them into your life and bring them into your space. And then it doesn't matter if you're in treatment. Or if you're out of treatment. If you look at your life, and you're thinking, you know, I could really use more support, or you realize, you're burning yourself out, or you're running yourself ragged, stop and allow that connection, allow that regrouping of life to happen. And bring these people in, and let them be your support, get rid of that protective barrier, be transparent, and let people come in and love you. You know, it's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

With my own Mom, I know, it was very difficult for me to tell her about my second diagnosis. And it's been an interesting ride, because of course, she loves me, of course, she's concerned. And when she heard about my diagnosis, she, you know, was in tears and says, oh, I've already lost a child, to cancer. And now again.

And so it's been very important for me to help her understand, I don't intend to let cancer get the best of me, right.

And to bring her in and help work together on shifting the expectation or the energy around having cancer, cancer from one of fear and expecting death to one of supporting healing and looking at how to bring even more happiness into life more connection, and more time together into life.

And of course, as an example, from my own children, I want to be very transparent with them about what's going on. But I also want them to see that you get two choices in life, no matter what it is that you're dealing with, even if it's living with cancer or treating cancer, you get to choose to move towards love or to move towards fear. It's always a choice in so I hope that the example that I can set as a mother for my children is always choosing to move towards love. Always know that there is abundance, and always accept that abundance and move towards that in your thinking.

And now we're only human.

And most of our lives, we're conditioned to think scarce thoughts. We're conditioned to move towards fear, I think the worst is going to happen. So I do hope that from my children, that I can set that example for them on Mother's Day and every day that regardless of what's happening around you, you can manage it, you can deal with it, and you can still choose to appreciate and celebrate every day of your life.

So I want to thank all the ladies who shared comments on Mother's Day and I invite you all to join us in the breast cancer recovery group if you'd like to add to your own comments about mother motherhood on this Mother's Day weekend.

And I'd also love to invite you to join us in the Learn to Love Yourself After Breast Cancer Workshop. Again, that's taking place May 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. And you can get registered at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/selflove, it's got coaching and community and it's an hour a day for three days. But I'm telling you it's so powerful, you're absolutely going to love it. So go to thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/selflove and register today I would love to see you in the workshop.

To everyone who's a mother, a mother figure, or a child celebrating their mother this weekend. Just have a wonderful, Happy Mother's Day and I will talk to you again next week.

Until that time be so good to yourself and expect others to be good to you as well.

Take care.


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