“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”-brene brown
Hi, hello, welcome! I guess this is where I tell you all about ME, which is hard to do… so let’s start with my girls! Typical mom move 😉
I’m a mama to these two sweet, sassy, & spunky girls who will one day rule the world. Everyday they teach me how to love & be loved. I always knew I wanted to be a mama, but I never realized how much it would heal me by looking through their eyes.
Victoria (4) is quiet and shy when you first meet her, just like her mama. I see SO much of myself as a kid in her and sometimes, that’s terrifying, but it gives me motivation to keep working on ME so I can help her be the best version of herself too! Once she gets to know you though? All bets are off and prepare for her to talk your ear off and grab your hand to take you everywhere. She will also say thank you for every little thing you do for her and give you lots of hugs.
Eleanor (2) is the epitome of a second (wild) child. She doesn’t stay still, unless she’s sleeping, which IS one of her favorite activities, thankfully. But, if she’s awake? Find her running in circles, climbing on anything dangerous she can find with a 100% chance of falling on her face, and laughing about it while everyone around her panics. She’s the perfect dose of happy, courageous, and lovable to put a smile on everyone she meets.
“I love the person I’ve become because I fought to become her.”–Kaci Diane
I’m Courtney! I’m a young-millennial, thirty-something, born in the 90s! I am married to my best friend, my hubster – Frank, and together we’re building the life I’ve always dreamed about! We have our two girls, Victoria & Eleanor, and our fur baby, Thor, a corgi-pitbull mix who lives up to his name and drives us nuts. You can usually find us snuggled up on a couch (all 5 of us sometimes!) watching the newest Disney-obsession, hitting all the coasters at Hersheypark, or if its winter, we’ll be on the slopes skiing!
It hasn’t always been all sunshine and rainbows though! As I’m sure you’ve figured out from following me on socials or whatever brought you to finding my website, I’ve lived through my fair share (probably an extra serving or two!) of difficult childhood experiences, trauma… whatever the cool kids are calling it nowadays.
So… a little bit about my life and what brought me here! I grew up in a big city, low-income, and would have been considered “at-risk,” whatever that really means… my parents divorced before I ever remember them being together and my step-father was less than ideal. He had a job that paid the bills, I don’t remember there ever being physical abuse, but there was a lot of inequalities with how my sister (technically my half-sister, but I don’t play those half-siblings games in my family, but just for context, this was her dad) and I were treated. There’s a good chance there were drugs around, but I never knew it, and he had a short “vacation” behind bars… I visited my dad on weekends and there was not much consistency with housing, relationships, or who was living with him. There is also a layer of trauma stemming from sexual abuse that began in this chapter of my life… and continued to pile on well into my teen years. I was an A+ student and socialized well though, so I very much went under the radar for the majority of my life, even with the lack of stability and structure.
Fast forward a bit and I’ve gone through some culture shock as we moved from a big city in Massachusetts to a little amish/farm town in South Central Pennsylvania. Things don’t really get “worse,” but they also don’t get much better either. By this point in my childhood (5th grade-ish) I’ve learned how to survive and fly under the radar – I’m riddled with guilt & shame, but I don’t really know that yet. I’m what I think is a typical 10-year old and it continues down that road for quite some years until college when I realize how much trauma I’ve really endured. It’s important that I note, now as an adult looking back, I can certainly see the red flags but I can also see how I flew under the radar. I had pockets of safety, I had supports and loved ones that did the best they could, and I was able to navigate all the tough stuff by sandwiching the good memories in between.
As I head off to college, I find myself in and out of counseling, trying to make sense of why I feel the way I do… hating myself, hating my life, thinking I’m not worthy. Countless counselors who tell me I’m doing great in my classes so they don’t see any reason for me to “need” to continue seeing them. The cycle continues… more shame, more guilt, more piled trauma and misunderstandings.
Fast forward one more time to 2020 – we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, I’m pregnant with my second daughter, and aside from the uncertantities our entire world is facing, my life is exactly what I’ve been working towards. I have a supportive, loving husband. I have a beautiful, sweet toddler, and I’m pregnant with our second. Everything is exactly how I’ve dreamed since I was a little girl… except the nagging feeling of guilt, shame, and unworthiness. It was April 2020, in the height of the pandemic, that I FINALLY found a doctor who HEARD me. I was referred to a Women’s Behavioral Health facility that specializes with working with women during pregnancy and postpartum and FINALLY things start making sense.
A weight was lifted off my entire being as the psychiatrist skirted around giving me an official diagnosis the day we met. Given that this was deeply rooted through my life and not “just” due to my pregnancy, I can understand his hesitation in just spitting it out… but it was exactly what I’ve longed for all these years. An understanding of what my brain, my body, my thoughts have been going through.
I was diagnosed with C-PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and aside from my wedding day and the births of my girls – that was one of the greatest days of my life.
To be heard. To be understood. To begin to understand myself.
That was the day my life changed in a way I still can’t put into words, and that was the day I began to heal.
I hope to be a light, a place of safety, a person who hears you and understands. I hope through your journey of finding Happy Vibes Mama, you’ll be able to look back and have one of these days too. A day you feel heard and understood – a day you can start to understand yourself.
Thank you for being here. I’m SO happy you’re here. I cannot wait to connect and hear your story too.