The backbone of my journey into becoming a women’s empowerment coach and healer are the strong women in my life…
Today I will share the inspiring stories of my own mother, grandmother, aunt, and mentor.
These four women have been integral in my growth and development. Growth not only during my entire childhood and adulthood but emotional well-being and spiritual development. Each woman has a very different story to share with you.
I would like to share how each woman has made me personally grow through family trauma, sadness, grief, anger, resilience, acceptance, joy, and forgiveness.
My Mother’s Story
The first story I would like to share is my mother’s story. It is a snapshot of my own personal life and growth. I feel it will depict a picture of my passion for helping women deeply heal.
Let me begin by introducing my mother Faria Esfandiar.
She is the beginning of my journey into the world. I am grateful for her giving me life. My mother became a young mother at age 21 and raised me in the Iran/Iraq war until I was three and a half years old.
It was a turbulent time when the Iranian Shah (king) was overthrown and the new regime of tyranny took hold. This meant most of the Iranian women’s rights to vote, work for themselves, dress how they wanted, and speak their minds were taken away. Just like that, women were silenced and given their “roles” as mothers, caretakers, and “good wives.” This made my mother Faria terribly distraught and angry.
I would like to describe my mother as a strong, fierce, warrior who fights for what she believes in and is incredibly tenacious. Her drive and determination are part of who she is. She also is a hard worker and independent woman who likes to provide for herself and our family. Having those qualities in Iran of almost 39 years ago, she knew that for me to have a decent and free life, we would have to get out of Iran.
So that’s exactly what my mother and father did. They came to the United States as young immigrants with barely any money and a four-year-old child. My dad was in engineering graduate school and my mom was working a retail job trying to make ends meet for us.
I remember feeling the deep grief and sadness she felt in having to leave her beloved mother country behind. All the comforts she knew-her own mother, father, friends, extended family, and familiar places she grew up in. The places that made her feel safe.
Now, she was in this new foreign country with no family, no friends didn’t speak fluent English, and had to provide for her daughter while my dad was away in graduate school a few days a week in Connecticut.
I can’t imagine the loneliness my mother must have felt. In fact, looking back I believe she had PTSD. There was so much trauma she had to bury and process on her own. They didn’t have support for women like we do now. And vulnerability was no acknowledged or revered. My mother had to learn to live in survival mode.
That was the young immigrant story. The story is a part of who I am today.
My mother’s story and growing up as an immigrant child taught me many things. It taught me to be grateful, and help my family and others. To have compassion for others when they are poor or struggling. That the amount of money someone makes, never defines who they are as a soul. That their heart is the most important thing to weigh and
take into consideration. My mother Faria has taught me that.
There is also another side to each daughter’s journey with her mother that is not so pleasant. My mother was extremely hard on me with school grades and having to do things the best I could. She was a hard-working mother. Some nights I wouldn’t even see her until I was in bed. I longed for her attention as a young child but I did not want to burden her with more guilt and responsibility. My father and grandmother helped fill the gap when my mother was not there.
There were times when I remember desiring my mom to be at my important school activities, cross country sport meets, or to just listen to me. Because of her workload, she had a lot of stress and time restraints. She was always tired and overworked. The constant undercurrent of anxiety and frustration was present in the environment of my home.
As a result, I too became anxious and fearful of many things. I walked on eggshells and waited in fear for the next stressor or argument to unfold. Being an only child who was highly empathic didn’t make things easier for me. I felt everything deeply. I was always labeled as “too sensitive” or “fragile” by my family and friends. This was extremely painful as I couldn’t be any other way.
I felt lost and misunderstood, like the black sheep who didn’t fit in. In school, I was also misunderstood and had issues with girls behaving so mean and bullying me. It just felt like the world didn’t accept who I really was. For a sweet innocent kid, that can be a really sad feeling to swallow.
It’s unfortunate, but many gifted and empathic children feel this way growing up. My mother also did not understand my gifts or heightened emotions. It wasn’t on her radar and it was new and unfamiliar territory for her.
My mother and I have different love languages. I show my love with words of affirmation and kinesthetic touch, while my mother’s love language is with her acts of kindness like cooking and helping watch her grandkids. She is a wonderful grandmother. In fact some of the things that I missed out on as a child, my mother has carried out with my own children.
That makes me incredibly happy to witness a softer side of her, and I see her massive growth in her role as a loving grandmother.
As I have matured over the years, I realize now that my mother and I have two different personalities. She is an engineer and I am an acupuncturist and coach. That couldn’t be more opposite! I am an extrovert and she is an introvert. After many years of therapy and deep coaching on healing my mother’s wounds, I realize that my mother has been my greatest and toughest teacher for me.
We always learn the most from the family members that give us the hardest time. It’s always uncomfortable but we need it for our growth to become better human beings. In my mother’s defense, she really did the best she could. She raised me with the most love she knew how to give, and worked hard to take care of me and my family.
I always dreamed of her being home like some of my other friends who had stay-at-home mothers. But that wasn’t my mom. She was not that kind of woman. I ultimately had to accept my mother for who she is, NOT who I want her to be.
After I had my first daughter Setareh, I felt a deep bond that I never had with my mother before. I finally realized what sacrifice for your child meant. There was one memorable night when I couldn’t get out of bed from the pain of a 15-day spinal headache, (a reaction from getting an epidural), and I watched my mother pick up my newborn and rock her with so much love and care, that I cried.
In that instance, I felt God was showing me a memory of when I was her baby girl & being rocked and held with love. It
was an instantaneous moment of healing for me. My mother Faria has shown me what it means to embody resilience and perseverance in my life.
To keep moving forward no matter how bad the hardships are in my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful. These days, my mother checks in with me daily and tells me how proud she is of my accomplishments. She is sweeter and softer.
And I am happy that we are growing together in a beautiful way.