How to Create a Momifesto

Oct 24, 2017

I remember the weekend like it was yesterday.


It was cold, for July, and I was writing so frantically in my journal that I had forgotten to collect firewood and light the fire.  The sweat from my afternoon hike cooled my skin as it dried and I began to shiver.

It was my first solo camping weekend in a really long time – at least as long as the time I had known my husband.  I had to go.  I had to claim the time to myself.


I was thirteen weeks pregnant with my first child, and I had to claim everything that was Myself, before, I was certain, it was about to get washed away in a tide of dirty diapers and breastmilk.


He was away at a weekend volleyball tournament with a crew of very young, very child-less bikini-clad women.  Well, half of them were.  There were men there, but all I could think of was the idea of becoming a frumpy, stretch-mark-ridden Mom, and leaving behind my days of being child-less, and, while hardly ever bikini-clad, definitely carefree, adventurous, interesting.

I felt really, really, scared.  In those early weeks, motherhood actually felt like impending doom.  I felt the heaviness of what I’ve now come to see as our society’s disrespect and disregard for Mothers.  I wore that disrespect like a fated cloak:  my life and my conceptualization of myself as a world-travelling scuba instructor were over.

Weren’t they?


I couldn’t see, at the time, that I was preparing to embark on the bravest adventure of my life.


At the time, it just felt like every piece of my identity that I valued – and yes, clung to – was about to teeter off the precipice of Motherhood, never to be seen again.

And here’s the thing.

They did.  

No, this is not a story where everything turned out Okay In The End, where my fears were all for nought.  

My fears came true.  

I learned, as every Mother does, that one of the greatest feats of Motherhood is the surrender of Self, of the conceptualization of your Self that served you in your Maidenhood.

You see, when we become Mothers, we need to make way for what is possible for our new lives.  We need to make way for the fiercest love possible, for finding comfort in liminal space, for a new community of women to surround us.

But so many of us are unsupported in this transition, and we see Motherhood as I first did – as the loss of Everything Cool from our lives, to make way for entirely too many episodes of Peppa Pig and to be written off by a society that cannot see that Mothers are to be revered and honoured, not disrespected and disregarded.


When the transition to Motherhood is unsupported, many women feel completely unmoored.  Lost, as they surrender their former selves but cannot conceptualize a Motherhood that they want to lean into, devoid as so many of us are of a model for how that might look.


The fears that I expressed in my journal with shaky, urgent writing that cold July night eventually evolved into what I came to call a Momifesto.

A Manifesto for my Motherhood.

A great laying-claim-to the Motherhood I desired for myself and my family.  A denunciation of society’s depiction of Motherhood that I could not relate to, and a question – a hope, an intention – about what Motherhood – my motherhood – could be.

I want to be clear that my Momifesto was not about the ways in which I would abandon or deny my Motherhood in an attempt to cling to my former self.  While there are aspects of that former life – like scuba diving, for instance – that slowly (oh so slowly!) returned to my life after becoming a mother, my Momifesto was about how I could claim a new identity that took what was true about my former life and brought it into Motherhood, while also creating space for what would totally shift.

And so.

What do you want to lay claim to as a Mother?  What kind of Motherhood do you want to lean into?  What’s on your Momifesto?


Creating a Momifesto is one of the many powerful exercises in my new online program MotherSHIFT.  Want to create a Momifesto of your own?  Click on the image below to download your complementary Momifesto worksheet.


The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!