You know that spark you feel when a dear friend or a loved one shares their story with you, and you say,
“Yesssss! I know what you mean.” Or, “Yeah, I get you!”
In that moment, your beloved feels accepted and embraced, but you are too in some way. This is the blessed power of validation!
Validation originates from the Latin word validus, and means “to be strong, healthy, and worthy.” So, when we’re feeling validated, we’re actually opening up to the experience of being upheld, supported, and strengthened.
The Magic of Being Seen in Postpartum Support Groups
Offering validation has become integral in my work with women. I have witnessed its power and ability to heal, soften, and deeply touch another’s experience and pain. It communicates, “I see you. I hear you. And, your story matters!”
It often shows up in the postpartum mom support groups I facilitate. I never grow tired of seeing the magic of mamas serving up a spoonful of validation!
A mom feeling discouraged says, “I feel like such a failure for not being able to breastfeed.” And her group mate, who hears the desperation and defeat in her fellow mama’s voice, quietly chimes in and says, “Yeah, I did too. Everyone made it seem so easy, and I felt like I was the only one who had trouble breastfeeding…but I’m okay now.”
And just like that, their experiences have become intertwined, and together their stories have been given a voice, accepted, and valued. When our experiences are seen and heard, a sense of harmony and trust is restored within us. We become aware that we’re not alone.
In order for validation to occur, two things must happen: 1) someones chooses to wade into vulnerability and share their story, and 2) another offers empathy in a non-judgmental way that communicates “I’m here for you, and you’re not alone.”
It also occurs in the safest of spaces with others who are supportive and honor your best interests. So, it’s wise to be selective about who you choose to share your story with.
Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” – Brenè Brown
A Safe Place for Moms
A mom support group can be the space you need to share and allow your story to be heard and held and supported by other moms.
The mom groups I facilitate are like villages. They’re microcosms of the larger-scale universal mom village. And within these mini-villages I offer the holding space for others to show up and be seen. I witness women valuing each other’s stories and wholeheartedly embracing one another’s struggles.
The gift of a mom village is having a treasured place among others where you belong. Too often, the village experience is missing from the motherhood journey, and many moms end up feeling isolated and disconnected – without a place to belong.
The various mom villages I’ve been a member of give light to the way I hold space for other moms to build and nurture their own villages. And, there’s a common thread that weaves each village experience together – the unconditional belonging where everyone’s sacred motherhood spirit and story are valued.
If you’re a new mom feeling called to find a village, check out my list of postpartum support groups in the Atlanta area. I would also love to have you join the South Atlanta New Mom Support Group that I co-facilitate with Nineshia Mont-Reynaud, LPC. We are delighted to hold space for new moms to belong, love and be loved, and supported. If you’re interested, give me call at 404.428.4114, or connect with me here.
All the best to each of you, and may you know and celebrate the value of your stories!