I’m Dr. Jackie Schoemaker Holmes and I am a woman, mom, Sociologist, entrepreneur, strident cat mom and feminist, hopeless optimist, and motherhood disruptor.
I have lived with anxiety for as long as I have conscious memories and the depressive episodes I have experienced in life culminated in the clinical postpartum depression that I experienced after the birth of my daughter in 2015.
I began speaking publicly about my postpartum depression and anxiety on a blog and now on social media @eatingheryoung.
Because of this experience and my subsequent support of women and mothers online, I now work with women and mothers to support them in centering themselves in their lives, prioritizing themselves, and recognizing their humanity in a world that would rather see them as self-sacrificing and subservient to others.
Mental health, for me, is about equilibrium or balance or equanimity.
I do expect that in this life I will not suffer, but I do expect that I will not turn on myself in times of suffering and that I will try to lessen the suffering that comes with this life by not blaming or shaming myself.
I practice self-compassion as I understand it from a kind of global Buddhist orientation.
On a whole, we are not particularly good at self-compassion in North America as we align more with social, political, spiritual, and financial individualism and competition.
We understand ourselves to be the root cause of our life circumstances and problems and often fail to see the structurally oppressive forces that limit our ability to be connected and well.
I came to entrepreneurship as the result of recognizing that I do not do well in conventional 9 to 5 workspaces.
As someone who worked autonomously for many years as a graduate student and in my early career, who then decided not to become an academic, it was difficult to find my fit professionally.
Entrepreneurship is the best-case scenario for my mental health and it serves me well in terms of who I am and how I can set myself up to be fully functional and successful in a world that constrains the individual by asking them to exchange their time and energy in very specific ways and in very specific places for money.
I continue to learn and ride the ebbs and flows of business as I do with life. Business ownership helps to remind me everyday that situations are temporary.
I like to say that I either have too many clients or too few because that is the nature of business – it is unpredictable and glorious in that unpredictability.
I try not to catastrophize because the work I am doing is the work of my dreams and so I work on recognizing the ebbs and flows rather than always contemplate it being “the end” of my dreams.
The main mental wellness tip that I communicate to others is to talk about it – externalize the issues, thoughts, problems, and fears – and preferably to someone who is trained to help you with them.
Having an objective outsider to your life who listens empathically to you is absolutely everything.
Women entrepreneurs must exist in the community in order to survive and thrive.
Connecting with like-minded women who are only interested in lifting each other up and not tearing each other down or competing unnecessarily is the key to feeling seen and heard as well as supported and understood.
Never underestimate the power of women who come together in a circle of support for one another.
Sociologist & Empowerment Specialist
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