Nooo! Kelly Clarkson!

It’s really hard to be a mom who’s an empath, especially when you’re just learning to flex your empath muscles and have a hard time turning off the big feelings before they affect you.

It’s extra hard when parenting topics go viral in the media — topics that literally make my stomach turn — and I find myself smacking my dashboard until the car radio shuts off, or hiding stories on Facebook, because I cannot stomach the conversation around said topics.

The latest challenge I’ve had to deal with is Kelly Clarkson, one of my favorite singers, defending her choice to spank her children.

Now, let’s get this straight: I’m not judging (though I do judge people, just like everyone else on the planet). I’m not mom-shaming. But I struggle to turn off the part of my soul that tunes into the feelings of kids being smacked around by their loved ones. I struggle to entertain the idea that it’s OK to physically hurt anyone to assert dominance. It’s senseless. It makes me sad. I’m not up on my high horse, saying I’m right and someone else is wrong — I’m trying not to cry when it’s brought up, and honestly I just don’t want to talk about it because it puts so much pain in my heart.

I remember so much emotional hurt from my childhood, and how I absorbed the energy from the actions of others. Maybe some kids could waltz through life after routinely being hit by their parents, but if that would’ve happened to me, I promise you I’d be damaged today. And my parents wouldn’t have had a way to control if it affected me into adulthood or not. That’s out of their control. My parents didn’t know I was a medium, but I know at least two of my children are, so I parent in a sensitive, gentle way. Discipline in our family should be mindful and meaningful, because they’re likely to have long-lasting negativity from anger and punishment. (Read about the difference between discipline and punishment here.)

Despite being as sensitive as the day is long, I’m not weak. I’m easier to upset than most people, but that doesn’t mean I’m not strong. My face just leaks sometimes. With time, I think I’ll develop the skills to dial back on how much I’m affected by this and other topics. I long for a day when I don’t have to cover my ears and yell LA LA LA LA until I can find the remote control when something emotionally taxing comes on. But… today’s not that day. Tomorrow probably won’t be, either.

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My psychic kid

Kids say the darndest things, right?

Sometimes, if you listen with an ear open to the spiritual side of life, children in your life can blow you away. Some things just can’t be discounted as a coincidence.

Like when my darling Penny, as a 4-year-old, coyly told me “the twins” were behind me. She gets a certain look on her face when spirit is involved, a little smirk, and then refuses to explain further.

Well, shortly before that day, I had a reading with Brittany Selle of The Guided Life. She told me that part of my spirit guide group was a set of boy-girl twins named Cody and Caida. OK, that’s neat. I didn’t not believe her, but I didn’t have “proof.” Well, Penny helped give me that proof. I’d never told her about that reading, let alone any details… I mean, she was 4.

A few months later, my sister was over for lunch. There we were with my kids, eating sandwiches, when Penny calmly asks, “What’s Caida’s brother’s name?”

We were gobsmacked. I mean… how. How could that be a coincidence. I don’t mean to be rude, but Caida is hardly a name. It’s not like Ann or Jenny or whatever — it’s not common whatsoever. This wasn’t a coincidence. My little Penny Pie definitely has a gift.

Fast forward to a few days ago. Penny leaned out of the shopping cart in the check-out line and told our cashier, “Hey! Mason has a kid named Carey!”

Mason is my brother. I don’t want to say we’re estranged because it’s a little too raw to use that word, so let’s just say… he’s taking some time away from the family, in Europe, for several years. He got married and they’re expecting a child soon, which I found out by shamelessly stalking social media accounts. The baby should be coming soon.

I hardly talk to Penny about Mason, and if I do, he’s Uncle Mase. She doesn’t know he’s married, or that they’re having a baby. He hasn’t been to the States since she was a newborn. Now I’m lurking on social media entirely too much to see what the name the kid! Thanks for the extra push to be nosy, sweet daughter of mine.

Take me to Lily Dale, please.

If you want a super realistic, easy-reading look at the world of being a medium, check out the Lily Dale series.

Author Wendy Corsi-Staub grew up outside the small town of Lily Dale, New York, a spiritualist community. That means, most residents are lightworkers of some variety — mediums, psychics, healers, tarot card readers. The real-life town is hoppin’ in the summer season with tourists looking to find connections to loved ones who’ve passed. Corsi-Staub’s interest in the community was real, and she visited many mediums as a teenager. She took that interest and turned it into seven books, four of which are of the young-adult genre.

Lily-Dale

Protagonist Calla Delaney is a teenager who finds herself in “the Dale” under tragic circumstances: her mother passed away unexpectedly, and she goes to stay with her estranged maternal grandmother, a medium. Her skepticism is quickly replaced with firm belief in the world of psychics and mediumship as she realizes she also has a gift.

Throughout the series, readers watch Calla grow and blossom, which is super relatable to my teenage and young adult years. With my busy lifestyle and collection of small kiddos, I need easy, interesting books. I need to lose myself in someone else’s life and journey, and this series delivers. I also have been craving another outlet for mediumship, and honestly didn’t know fiction about it existed until I found Cori-Staub’s series.

lily dale

It’s worth admitting that this addictive series has me researching a dream trip to Lily Dale…

Natural birth: Hey, no one asked you, Theresa!

I give a lot of credit to the normalizing of mediumship to Theresa Caputo of Long Island Medium.

I’m a fan. I don’t worship her, or even watch her show regularly (no cable, boo!), but I’ve seen several episodes and read her first book, There’s More To Life Than This. When she came to town, my sister and I jumped on the idea as a way to celebrate our 30th birthday.

I’d only been to one other group reading, which was about a dozen people in a retail shop, and each person got a message. Obviously, Theresa’s show was a totally different experience — there were 1,800 people crammed into chairs and bleachers in a tribal casino banquet hall. She was able to give 10 or 15 readings, and they were amazingly correct and clearly life-changing for the audience. It was emotional. Seeing these people, knee-deep in grief, getting messages tugged at everyone’s heartstrings. My sister and I even saw a middle-aged man crying before it even began. Sadly, he didn’t get a reading.

All was well, until Theresa began to read a young pregnant woman.

I should clarify: I’m a natural sort of mama. I’ve never had an epidural — in fact, two of my three babies were born at home. I breastfeed well into toddlerhood. I babywear like crazy. It’s just who I am and what I do; I know my choices differ from those of others. That’s not an issue.

The issue was when Theresa asked the woman if she had fear around giving birth. She said yes, she did. Theresa asked if she was planning an all-natural birth and the woman replied, “I’m going to try.”

It was then that Theresa, being her loud, boisterous, Italian self, joked to excess that there’s no way she should attempt that. That was for our ancestors. Now we have drugs, she said, so use them. It’s as stupid as going to the dentist and declining novocaine.

My heart sank.

This woman, pregnant with her first child, aiming for a natural childbirth, was mocked for her birth plan in front of 1,800 people.

When I was newly pregnant, my introverted self realized how much people want to talk to women who are with child. On more than one encounter, I had completely random people tell me to get an epidural. Like, we weren’t even talking about that. “Oh, you’re pregnant? GET. DRUGS. TRUST ME.”

I don’t care if other people get epidurals or elective cesareans or whatever they want. I hope their choices are educated ones and that they’re supported and not bullied, that’s all. And maybe it’s because I’m an empath who easily lets the opinions of others get to me, but in plain English: If Theresa had said that to me, in such a large setting that’s supposed to be loving and heartwarming, I would be broken. She would’ve broken my spirit. Three kids in, I would’ve given her hell. But as a newbie to the parenting world, I would’ve been shaken.

The thing is, when you’re giving a reading of any kind, be it mediumship, intuitive life coaching, astrology, whatever — you’re in a position of power. As anyone who’s seen Long Island Medium knows, she supposedly clears her mind to allow the thoughts and emotions of spirit to come through. The anti-natural birth message she gave was her own opinion to make the audience laugh; it’s not at all what the woman’s grandmother had to say. She should’ve been more kind and conscientious. One joke would’ve been plenty, but it continued on for entirely too long. I wasn’t surprised that she pushed an epidural on this stranger, but I don’t think it’s right for anyone to shove their birthing views on pregnant women. Especially when you’re a medium, and a celebrity, in the middle of a reading.

And for the sake of honesty, I will tell you: I found the woman after the reading. I, the owner of a big mouth, apologized to her for how Theresa had treated her. I told her should CAN do it. She seemed embarrassed and overwhelmed, and quietly said, “I’m fine.”

Do I think she was fine? No. Do I regret pestering her? A little, yeah. I would’ve appreciated some support if I were her, so I took a gamble and hoped my words would be well-received. I can’t say they were, but I tried.