I am a sucker for a good story, and when that story is about how a woman started a movement for radical moms, I’m all ears.
That’s why when I got the opportunity to interview Mel Lubey, the founder of Radical Mother, I was ecstatic.
Mel’s journey started after she gave birth to her son, Isaac. After maternity leave, Mel went back to her work in advertising but felt disconnected, and uncertain if she wanted to say on her current path.
During that time, Mel visited a friend a few days after she had given birth to her first child. When she arrived, Mel found incredible joy in helping her friend navigate new motherhood. After that experience, she decided to become a birth and postpartum doula so she could support more women during motherhood.
But Mel’s story doesn’t end there.
A short time after becoming a doula, Mel realized that she was ashamed of her struggles as a new mom. She never thought she would face these challenges, she thought that was something that happened to other people, not her. She realized that she really needed support but was afraid to ask for it.
This realization broke Mel open. It helped her see that if she was hiding from her own feelings, that other women must be too. This was the moment that the Radical Mother movement was born. The Radical Mother Campaign encourages women to own the decisions they make through motherhood unapologetically by sharing their stories. Now until October 31st, they’ve partnered with Postpartum Progress to help bring awareness around perinatal and postpartum depression.
When Mel created Radical Mother, she created a place of acceptance, where women aren’t judged for their style of motherhood, but rather welcomed for embracing their uniqueness. It’s a place where women come to feel supported and are encouraged to trust themselves.
It is Mel’s heart, passion, and openness that makes me so happy to share her wisdom with you below.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
- My favorite part of being a mom is the surprise of it all. You see, My initial words to my husband when we found I was pregnant were “I’m not done being selfish yet” as I sobbed on our bathroom floor… It’s not pretty, but it was the truth. I was scared. I was scared of what life was going to be like and of the inevitable change. I didn’t know what to expect other than my fears of it f*cking up my whole life- my marriage, my career, my friendships & my body. It terrified me. Now, two years in, I remain shocked not only at the depth of love I feel for my son but for the love I feel for everyone as a result of it. I am surprised at how fun ordinary things like going for a walk around the neighborhood can be. Motherhood has turned a very controlled, black & white world into beautiful shades of gray. Where everything is questionable because everything is new. That surprise & letting go of the control has been unbelievably freeing.
What’s been the biggest challenge being a mom?
- This one is hard. It’s a combination of the identity shift & always worrying if you’re doing it right. I worry if I’m being too lenient, too strict, if he’s eating enough vegetables, or spending too much time at daycare or learning enough . Will he talk about (insert ridiculous minor event) in therapy some day? Those kinds of questions plague me. It’s definitely mellowed out over time, but I still worry. The identity shift was also really hard. The day you birth that baby, a part of you dies & is reborn in the process. Getting to know that new person, along with that small human that needs you is a bit daunting in those early days.
Self-care can be a challenge for moms. What advice do you have for moms who want to incorporate more self-care into their lives?
- For new moms it’s this: shower. Shower every day. I know it seems small, but in those early days just showering can help you feel like a new woman. For all moms it would be to make a standing date with girlfriends – especially girlfriends without children. It’s great to get out of our own heads for a quick dinner or lunch. Those women are your tribe, your support. You need them especially in motherhood.
What’s the one piece of relationship advice you would give to new parents?
- Acknowledge truthfully and out loud that NO ONE HAS IT ALL TOGETHER. There will be times that you worry about your marriage. The very essence of your life is changed the moment you become parents and it takes time to adjust to the shifts in identity and lifestyles. No matter how prepared a couple may feel, it’s always jarring- so my advice is to simply be patient and be present. Know it’s okay if it’s hard. It’s hard for almost everyone and acknowledging that it’s hard doesn’t make you a bad partner or parent – it makes you human.
Why is starting a movement like Radical Mother so important to you? What is the number one thing you want to see come out of it?
- I never really envisioned myself starting a movement. Radical Mother just started as a phrase in my head that I needed to explore. Although the project is very much in its infancy, the number one thing I’d like to see come out of it right now is a discussion – an acknowledgment that we’re all just doing the best we can. If the stories that are being shared help ONE mom feel less alone, then I’ve accomplished something. Long term, I see Radial Mother helping to help amplify so many voices that are speaking up for much-needed changes in our postpartum care in the US.
What lesson do you most want to pass on to your child?
- As ridiculous as it sounds, I want him to know that if he has “clear eyes and a full heart, he can’t lose” It’s the motto for the fictional football team the Dillon Panthers in Friday Night Light’s (my all time favorite tv show). I know it’s silly, but so much of life can be righted by living that phrase. It’s about listening to your instincts & being sound in your decisions. The person that coined the phrase is no less than genius. (Will him knowing that me & his dad base our parenting philosophy on a line from a TV show be awesome or awful when he’s older?!)
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