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ENLIGHTEN  –  ENCOURAGE  –  EMPOWER

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Lindsey Harris is a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She is very excited to be going back to graduate school to become a school psychologist.  She will be attending Utah State University.

What is your passion and mission in life?

I’m a young, stay-at-home mom of three boys going back to graduate school to become a school psychologist. It’s a big deal for me! This drive to work in the school system as a mental health advocate keeps me awake at night sometimes. I’m passionate about being an advocate for children with mental health conditions. Specifically, I want to work with kids who are considered Gifted and Talented or who are on the Autism Spectrum. My oldest boy is included in those two categories and it has opened my eyes and expanded my world. I hope to provide kids with a sense of self-power and confidence, help parents be aware of the oncoming struggles, and give better access to resources overall.

What is your biggest fear or hardship and how did you overcome it?

My biggest fear and hardship are intertwined: my biggest fear has always been not feeling in control of my life. I had a stressful family situation growing up and my way of coping with it all was through disordered eating. I struggled with anorexia for ten years on my own because my parents were too wrapped up in their own broken world to notice. My ability to change my body helped me feel in control of something. It gave me a false sense of confidence and power, and it almost consumed me. Overcoming this addiction to control was my hardship. It wasn’t until I found healthy, dependable friendships in my roommates that I began to see how my coping strategy was negatively affecting the relationships I wanted to hold onto. I met my husband and he was so patient, so unconditionally loving, so stable. I slowly began to see a new way of thinking, of being. I could really live and thrive and step back from the shadows of my past. I began the slow road to true recovery. My giant fear of mine was having a child, of getting pregnant. I felt some joy looking at the positive pregnancy test with my husband, but there was an undercurrent of panic as I began to see my body change in a way I had zero control over. I wondered if I’d ever have it back to myself again. I hated not knowing what the future had in store as my belly swelled with each passing day. Pregnancy showed me that my body and my natural instincts were in charge – I could choose what to eat, how to exercise, etc. but ultimately, the gears were turning and my body as an organism was taking over. It was terrifying and awe-inspiring.

I knew I needed to change my mindset in a healthier direction. I decided to take an Embryology course through a university nearby to learn as much as I could about what I wasn’t in control of. It helped me find respect for my body and everything it was doing. It also helped me step back and learn to accept change a bit more. Everyday was a struggle and a triumph. My
body gave and gave and gave – I got a beautiful baby boy in return. My body was changed; my life was changed. I’ll always be grateful to my body for sustaining life – both mine and that of my children.

How has this adversity affected raising children?

What that first and subsequent pregnancy experiences have taught me is that mothers are out of control. We are learning as we go. We’re trying our best to not intentionally ruin our children. And some days, we’re just hanging on for dear life. Raising children is an art and a science and a straight-up guessing game sometimes. I’ve learned that needing to feel in control is usually linked to being afraid of something. I’ve been better served examining my fear than trying to make myself be a picture-perfect mother. I’ve been more successful getting curious about my children’s struggles than trying to squeeze them into something they’re not that makes me feel less scared. I still have a long way to go. But I’ve learned that mothers need just as much support as their children. That’s why I’m in love with my field. I want to support kids and their parents. If I can do that, I’ve added that much more to society, and that’s all I really want to do.

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