Why did I become a caregiver coach?
It’s hard to pinpoint the moment I realized I wanted to specialize in caregiving coaching. There are several milestones in one’s life that bring us to the point we are now and that point is constantly changing as we face more experiences and experience more insights.
My son and daughter served in the army at the same time. Military service is mandatory in Israel – boys (not yet men) 3 years and girls two. My son was in combat and my daughter a drill sergeant. Like most Israeli mothers, I was worried about and for my son. It was the kind of worrying that wakes you up at night and overwhelms you when you least expect it. I was glad for my daughter that she was having the experiences she was having – meeting people, learning, and doing something meaningful. When my children came home weekends (in Israel one day), they would sleep – eat – sleep some more.
My daughter sprained her leg and kept on going. What she was doing was important and she couldn’t stop in the middle of a training even if she wanted to. My attention was focused on giving my two soldiers love, food, a place to rest, and more love when they came home.
Months passed and here and there my daughter complained about pain in her foot and her leg. One of the most common conditions soldiers get is hair line fracture. More often than not it heals itself. For my daughter it did not, the pain increased and she started getting examined. A physical therapist she saw wrote CRPS in her summary. I saw 4 letters in English – asked Dr. Google and was horrified and the fear that overcame me was tangible. CRPS is caused by improper function of the peripheral C-fiber nerve fibers that carry pain messages to the brain. People with CRPS have changing combinations of spontaneous pain or excess pain that is much greater than normal following something as mild as a touch. Her journey continues and is hers.
I decided to write about why I became a caregiver coach and instead until now I have written about my daughter. That is really the story – for a very long time, I could not see myself as a separate entity. I was focused on my daughter – on her diagnosis, on her journey, on her. I was fortunate – my husband could provide for us and he supported me in every way possible. My other children were old enough to take care of themselves and be very specific about their needs.
At some point, I was able to reflect on what had happened to me – I was so involved in my daughter and her healing that I realized I had not really taken care of myself or the others in my life. I wasn’t really aware of how it affected everyone else. I knew that had I been prepared or had the person to work with, it would have been easier – better. This was when I decided to work with caregivers – to invest my years of coaching experience, my time, energy, knowledge, and curiosity in accompanying others on their caregiving journeys: to provide a space to vent and to question with no judgement, to find and connect to each caregiver’s inner purpose and to provide support, guidance, and insight through teaching and expanding tools and skills.