Have you ever felt almost destroyed by motherhood? Ever felt like a shadow of your former self?
My ordinary but extraordinary woman this month is Helen Packham and she has a great story about losing yourself and finding yourself in motherhood. I love hearing Helen’s story because it’s never told as a sob story, it’s a story of inspiration and love and hope rising from despair.
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Helen is the lady behind HelenPackham.com, she’s a business coach to female entrepreneurs, but she came close to losing everything before she realised this was her vocation.
In Helen’s corporate life she was a executive coach, she excelled in her work and scaled the corporate ladder. THEN… dnnn dnnn dnnnn… she became a mum. Helen told me that when she went back to work after her first baby she felt a lack of identity, had no confidence and struggled with self doubt, negative beliefs and anxiety. The tipping point: during a difficult meeting with her boss in a crowded restaurant Helen had a panic attack and walked out. She refused to feel that way any longer and she quit her job.
Although she considered taking another corporate job, Helen retrained as a parent coach. She wanted flexibility and the ability to work her own hours and spend more time with her daughter.
I asked Helen why she opted to become a sleep coach, which was quite different from her past coaching experience. She explained that she didn’t want to do anything related to her corporate career because she didn’t think she was any good at it anymore. Helen’s daughter had health problems as an infant and difficulty sleeping. Once her daughter’s health problems were resolved, Helen and her husband were able to teach her to sleep gently and she felt passionate about enabling other women to do the same for their children.
As a parent coach Helen had plenty of work, but she lacked confidence so she over-delivered and under-charged. She felt like she was constantly chasing her tail and she was burnt out.
Then came baby number two and her marriage fell apart. There she was: burnt out with a new baby, a toddler and a broken marriage. Things were not supposed to turn out that way.
Helen felt like a shadow of her former self. If she wanted to keep her family together, things had to change. She no longer knew who she was or what she wanted and she resented that she wasn’t getting what she needed from her life or relationship. In her own words Helen says, “Without an internal compass or anchor I was constantly searching for validation outside myself”.
And so began a journey of self-discovery, personal development, couples therapy and personal coaching.
Slowly but surely she began to find herself again. She knew her needs, values and purpose. She created new, positive, beliefs about herself, which led to confidence and courage. Once she knew her needs, she could communicate them and, happily, her marriage survived the storm.
With her confidence returned, Helen could see that her years as a coach in her corporate life were valuable and that she had a lot to offer the world, but she didn’t want to return to the traditional corporate structure. She hired her own coach and set about creating a new business – the one that she was meant to create.
Helen now helps women to gain confidence, business know-how and the time and energy they need to build an online business that aligns with their purpose and passion. She helps her clients to use their stories to build their businesses.
Helen has a range of services available for clients, but she also has an e-book available for women who aren’t looking for coaching, can’t afford the service or just love what she does. She also has a tribe on Facebook who hang onto her every word because she is sweet and kind and infinitely generous (by the way you can join her Facebook tribe here).
Whilst researching this profile I listened to the podcasts that Helen has featured on and during one she talks about her compassion being her strength, she genuinely wants women to have the courage, support and knowledge to live their best lives and have a fulfilling business. Having heard Helen speak on a number of occasions in her Facebook group I believe this wholeheartedly, she radiates warmth and support and each time I hear her talk I feel brave and inspired.
I asked Helen to share a tip for women who feel like they have lost themselves in motherhood and want to embark on a journey self discovery. Here’s Helen’s response:
Shine the light on what you are pushing down and ignoring. It may be uncomfortable at first but identifying your needs and values is the best first step. My blogpost 5 ways to find your true self is a great starting point for this.
Whilst there is no doubt that Helen was battered and bruised for a while there, she is perfect evidence that ordinary women do extraordinary things every day. When her life fell apart she picked up the pieces and put them back together in a way that was beautiful and even better than before.
Loved this Ordinary but Extraordinary woman profile? You can read more profiles about amazing women here and you can subscribe to our email list for great think pieces, humour and strategies for busy mums here.
You might also enjoy these posts:
- how to find time for the things you love, even if you are a busy mum
- how to use the amazing power of a hobby to express yourself
- a message to the overwhelmed mum: you don’t need to do this alone
If you love any of these posts, I’d love for you to splash it about on social media or drop me a comment. MWAH!