It is SO good to be back! After an extra long break between seasons, I’m here with a brand-new season of episodes all centered around our personal journey as parents and caregivers. Obviously, we refer to our personal journeys frequently in virtually every episode, but Season 5 is a chance to really home in on and talk about what occurs for us at a very personal level while facing a very different reality than we had envisioned for ourselves.
In this episode, you’ll get a closer look at this season’s theme, and listen to extended clips of the first four episodes coming your way.
Madeline Cheney 0:00
Hey, you're listening to The Rare Life. I'm your host Madeline Cheney. And it is so great to be back. As many of you know, I took a seven week break between seasons, which is five weeks longer than usual. And, you know, honestly, it was really scary. And it was hard to do, because I didn't want to lose any of you. But it was so needed. I was able to catch up on episode production without working myself into it and exhausted frenzy. And I'm just really trying to practice self compassion in my life. And, you know, I hope you join me in that I think life has been a lot better as I've been trying to be kinder to myself. And it sounds super basic, but it's also really, really important. I keep learning over and over again. Alright, let's kick off season five. So today, I am going to introduce the theme, and then give you insight into the first four episodes of season five. I've been working hard preparing episodes for season five, and I'm very excited for you to consume them. Alright, so let's talk about the theme. So for my lovely newer listeners who are unaware of how my podcast works in regard to theme seasons, I will explain it briefly. Each year is roughly divided out into three themed seasons. And the themes just rotate with each season, there are three themes total that we rotate through. And I'll say two, the theme is by no means super restrictive, or exact, it just kind of guides the main focus of the episodes and the topics. And of course, each theme does bleed into the others. But it just allows us to really hone in on three really important aspects to our lives. So the themes are child and diagnosis centric, which was the theme of last season. The next one is how our children's diagnosis has affected us personally, which is the theme of this season. And I'll talk more about that in a second. And then after this season will be the third theme of how our relationships are affected. So that will be the theme of season six. And then we just kind of cycle through those themes over and over and over again. And it's great and predictable. And I believe it allows for a lot more intentionality and what we're talking about and the guests we're having on, and I just really love it because we just kind of get to study that theme together. So this season's theme is focused on our emotional experience, and how we are affected personally by what we've been through with our children, specifically in regards to their disabilities and medical complexities. And I really love this topic. This one especially bleeds into the other seasons, because it's what we're kind of always talking about. But this theme allows us to really examine and reflect on our emotional journey as parents and caregivers, which I think is a really great chance for us. So I have been in a mindfulness class recently, which is actually the reason I was able to take a step back and be like, Whoa, I need to have a longer break between seasons and take care of myself. And in that class, the teacher read this poem that I love and specifically, there's one line in there, I'm like, Ah, I just love it. I've written on a sticky note and I see it and I think about it and it's really helped me kind of understand myself and my emotional journey especially in regards to Kimble and other kinds of grief. So, it is written by Daniel F Meade. And it is called If You Would Grow Shine the Light of Loving Self Care on Yourself. It goes like this, "If you would grow to your best self, be patient, not demanding, accepting, not condemning, nurturing, not withholding, self marveling, not belittling, gently guiding, not pushing and punishing, for you are more sensitive than you know. Mankind is as tough as war yet delicate as flowers. We can do our agonies but we open fully only to warmth and light. So accept respect, attend your sensitivity. A flower cannot be opened with a hammer."
Madeline Cheney 4:50
So this really hit home for me and especially the lines about how we are more sensitive than we realize and that we are "as tough as war, yet delicate as flowers," and that's the line I have written down on sticky notes to remind me, because I feel that like I feel have that resiliency in myself and everyone, I talked to you on the podcast in the community as we endure really hard things. But we're also as delicate as flowers, which I also feel in myself and in others. And, you know, this, the season is a really great time for us to reflect on that and to talk about it like to talk about the ways that we've been really tough and how we can get through hard things, and yet how it's affected us because we are delicate. And this season really could be called tough as far yet delicate as flowers, because that really sums it up. And that duality is something that comes up again and again and again. So some topics in the episodes in this season include how our faith has been affected, the guilt and shame we sometimes feel when we think we caused our children's disabilities and that we somehow need to fix them, self care, mindfulness, health, anxiety, grief, and more. Alright, as promised, I will give you insight into the first four episodes so you can really wet your podcast appetite. As many of you know, we cycled through four different types of episodes. But for those of you who don't know, I'll give you a really quick rundown. So a parent gets two episodes. The first is their story episode, which is just what it sounds like. And then we get their special topic episode in which they dive into something that they've experienced or learned in relation to their disability parenting journey, and we get to learn from them and relate with them. And then we get a professional episode, and then a solo episode by yours truly. And then we go back to a story episode from another parent and their special topic and another professional and another solo episode, always by me, obviously. So we just go through that over and over again and again, the predictability and the structure of it helps me create a very intentional podcast for you. So for our first story episode of season five, which releases next week, we have Sarah Yates. Sarah is a NICU nurse who adopted one of the babies that she cared for and had grown to love and who was abandoned by her birth parents. Her daughter's Zariah sadly passed away only a few months after her adoption was finalized. In her story episode, Sarah shares what these experiences were like for her. First there's a special topic episode, we talk about the difficult emotions surrounding her foster children's birth parents, her grief of losing the Zariah, and the intense feelings towards the nurse that caused the Zariah's wrongful death. For our very first professional episode of season five, we have life coach and medical mom, Moira Cleary. In this episode, she teaches us how to honor our core values and our limited capacities as medical moms. She is very experienced in these topics, because of her background of coaching other medical moms. And this was a really interesting conversation that I got a lot out of personally. The title of the first solo episode of season five is to those who cannot say I wouldn't have them any other way. I'll say that one more time, because it's a little confusing. To those who cannot say I wouldn't have them any other way. So this one really came from my heart and as a little bit of a pushback to the mentality that I've felt both externally and internally that if we complain, or if we struggle with our children's medical issues or disabilities, then that must mean we don't love them, or that we're not a good parent. And I felt shamed by others with this toxic mindset. And I've also shamed myself with it too. So this episode certainly comes from a place of experience and compassion, and a knowledge that there is no way I am the only one a bit wounded by this toxic mindset. So here is a preview from the episodes.
Sarah Yates 9:36
A couple more weeks go by and I start hearing the social worker talking about how she's probably going to end up in foster care. So at that point, I don't know I just felt like that was heavy on my heart like this is something you're supposed to do. At first I was like really trying to push my husband when he was kind of like "woah", like he has no medical background. He can't even meet her until like we agree to foster her because of HIPAA and stuff, so he has to agree to this without ever meeting her. So I like did not bring it up for a week and a half. And then he like came to me like out of the blue and was like, yeah, like, I think this is something we should do. I was like, kind of surprised at first, but I was just so excited.
Eventually, I want to get to the place where I'm able to forgive her. Now, I know a lot of people have been saying, like, "Oh my gosh, like, I could never forgive somebody who did this to my kid." But like, bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. So I'm just like, letting this hate inside me, like grow and grow and grow. Like, that's not gonna hurt her. That's just going to like continue to hurt me. And like, bring me down and hurt my life. And we're like, very strong believers, too. And I know, like, God calls us to forget everything. And before I was like, "oh, yeah, like, obviously, like, yeah, we're supposed to forgive everything but I never thought like, God would ask me to forgive something that's big." So it's gonna be a long process, but I'm trying to let go of that hate and bitterness in my heart towards her.
Moira Cleary 11:08
Just try, I was where you are, I was always in that dark place was heavy, it felt like just a wet blanket, I didn't know how to take it off. And I just found a little thread. And I just pulled it. And I just found that I just needed space, just needed time by myself. And that's when I found that box. And that's when I experimented with something else. And it was just adding those little pieces that helped me get back to where I could see myself again, enough light came through to start changing the energy. It all just takes just a tiny little thread, you just pull and experiment.
Madeline Cheney 11:50
It does not show a lack of love for children, when we say I hate their epilepsy, or you know, whatever it may be. I hate that they have this because it absolutely reflects our love for them. It's Mama Bear coming out. It's seeing our children being threatened by something real and scary and wanting it to go back to hell, where it came from. And yet I think so many times we feel silenced to these really negative emotions and like articulating them and sharing them lest others misunderstand and think that those negative emotions are directed at our children themselves, or in some way saying that we're not accepting or unconditionally loving them. No, it is our love for them. That causes us to hate these symptoms that cause them this misery or their eventual death.
Madeline Cheney 12:43
All right, consider Season Five officially kicked off. I am so excited for this season's theme episodes and guests and I really hope that you are too. It is so good to be back. Join us next week for Sarah Yates's story episode. You will love it. See you then!