All Behavior Has Meaning

Today my daughter was so reluctant to get ready to go to her preschool.

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So many “delay tactics”! Finally after lots of playing and mess making she said, "I don't want to go to preschool today. I just want to stay with you."

ME (to myself): "Oh, of course!"

So we talked about how common it is to have a hard time when adjusting to new things. New routines, schedules and people. All three of which are part of our new summer routine. I told her that many kids, many PEOPLE, struggle with new things, her mama included.

And we agreed to talk about some strategies to help her feel safe and calm over lunch. Then it wasn't more than 2 minutes into eating lunch that she reminded me of one of our favorite mood lifters, the "breath of joy!" She got up from the table and asked me to remind her how to do it and then she did it herself. And proceeded to do another brain calming routine that I had been practicing just this week (which she had previously declined joining me for).

After, I asked how she felt and she said, "Happy." Getting ready after this was uneventful and when we got there I offered to do some "breaths of joy" with her in the parking lot. She said she was okay and didn't need to.

This experience reminds me of one my core beliefs: "All behavior has meaning."

We had had a bumpy morning which left me feeling frustrated and like I was totally off track in my parenting. But as soon as she shared how she was feeling I was able to understand and empathize with her experience and put it all in context.

It isn't always so quick and easy to uncover the meaning of a child's behavior. It can be bewildering trying to sort out the timing, triggers and common threads. This is often where consulting with a coach or psychotherapist (depending on the needs of the family and child) knowledgeable about early development can become so valuable and save everyone lots of stress and frustration.

If you are in a place of either (1) not knowing which trigger is the one to follow up on or (2) being so discouraged that there are no obvious patterns to your little ones difficulties or (3) so overwhelmed with advice and plans from different well meaning loved ones or providers, then let's talk!

Click on the Let’s Connect button on my Contact page or send me an email at to set up a FREE discovery session. During it we will talk about your child and the circumstances you are looking to shift and then I can share some insight on my approach and how we can uncover the roots of the challenges. Together we can explore if working together would be the right next step for you and your family!

October - Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

It is October and there are cooler temps, sweaters, changing leaves and pumpkin-y goodness all around.  It is also the month we bring awareness to the needs and experiences of those who have suffered pregnancy and infant losses.  And every year I feel a bit more courage rising in me to finally outwardly acknowledge the weight of these losses in my own life. For me they were all very early losses and therefore hidden from those around me.  Only those I confided in would have even known and yet probably not the extent of the wounds they left until years later when the pain came oozing out in my brokenness as a new mama.

This year I felt more determined to turn my pain and lessons learned into blessings for others.  This summer I completed Amy Wright Glen’s online course on Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss.  And serendipitously was asked to talk at the local Birth Circle meeting in October.  Perfect, I thought!  And still as the days have crept closer my old fears and the guilt of my mistakes have come back to visit.   “What do I have to offer?”  I’m a psychotherapist specializing in early relationships and trauma and yet I allowed my grief and trauma to stay stuck for years.  “Who am I to coach and counsel others?”  So here I am, sitting with the tension of both: old guilt and shame AND the wisdom and distance finally earned through the layers of my healing journey.  

Alone is how I felt for much of my journey.  Unfortunately, that is a common experience for many women, even those who go on to conceive and carry another child to term.  (In my case, our baby joined our family through domestic adoption.)  We are told to “enjoy” the experience, to embrace the baby on the way and even to “trust God.”  Trust in our bodies, our god or sense of the goodness of the universe, and our enjoyment can feel so far from the daily experience of subsequent efforts to conceive, carry and mother a baby.   And maybe you too are sitting in the tension of both.  Joy and hopefulness AND fear and grief.   This may be the new normal.  So how do we ensure we and our partners and our children thrive as we navigate whatever comes next? 

I don’t have all of the answers but I do have more thoughts on this.  Join me at the Livingston County Birth Circle on Monday.  In addition to conversation and community we will have fabric and materials to craft memorial banners or flags to honor the babies we have lost.  While we create we can talk about what is needed to more than survive pregnancy and new motherhood after or amidst loss.  How do we eventually thrive?  What support do we need?  What do we need our loved ones and practitioners to know?  Where can we go for more expert support? 

You do not need to do this alone.

In the meantime check out this article:

What do you think about this? 

I will share the ritual we used after our losses and before adopting our daughter on Monday. 

I would love to hear what you did or are thinking of doing to honor your babies.