Marriage Help From A Mom Who Gets It
Monica Herber is a Certified Life & Marriage Coach as well as a special needs mom. She brings her own knowledge and personal experience to the work she does coaching other parents who may be struggling in their vocation as a special needs parent. Many special needs parents know they're struggling following the diagnosis of their child, but most don't know what to do with their feelings or how to cope. Professional help comes in different forms, and can make a difference for parents who can't overcome the trauma of their child's diagnosis and move forward with their life.
Herber's son has cerebral palsey and required constant care following his traumatic birth. She has had her own struggles with depression but turned a corner after hearing God tell her that her son was her pathway to heaven following a particularly difficult medical appointment.
"What I ended up learning is the power of the cross, and the power of suffering, and learning to have joy in suffereing," she said. "We choose to ruminate, and when we decide to listen to God and his love for us and our children instead, we learn to not worry."
With the help from another life coach, Herber started making plans for her future again, plans that soon included helping other parents like her as a life and marriage coach.
"The difference between a coach and a therapist - we're not going to go back and talk about past traumas or childhood," Herber explained. "We may look at the past but...that's not the focus. Pathology is not the focus...it's not in my scope. I would refer to a psychologist. In the simplest terms, I will help you take you life or marriage from where you are to where you want to be in practical steps. It centers around the idea of vocation. What does it mean to be a mom, and the mom of a child with disabilities? What can life look like? How can you fulfill your desires in a way that is appropriate to your vocation and call?"
Herber said burnout is the number one problem she hears from special needs parents. She also sees couples struggling with a lack of communication, a lack of grieving, and a lack of acceptance. Having walked through many of the same struggles herself, Herber is able to take the lessons she's learned to guide other parents.
"I don’t try to push anyone into following a particular pathway to self realization," she said. "Everyone has their own journey and I can’t rush it. I can do things to help people realize what they may be missing. It's all about asking the right questions....targeted, thought provoking questions."
Herber said that through careful questioning and an open dialogue with either an individual or a couple, she can point clients to the resources they need to improve their marriage, or learn how to make time for self-care or a passion project. Clients are encouraged to transition from an emotionally reactive state, to one that's more proactive, and from resistance to acceptance.
"A good coach will never ask you to do what you’re not able to do," she said. "I want to give realistic goals. That goal can be drinking a cup of water when you wake up. It’s simple as that. We start where you are and take small steps."
Parents who are interested in working with a life and marriage coach can check out Herber's website and informative blog at The Joyful Unknown for more information.
"We all come to a point where we need to reorganize our lives or things fall apart," Herber said. "Once things fall apart then we're forced, but its best to do it beforehand."
If you have specific questions, Herber encourages you to reach out to her directly at her email monicaherber(at)thejoyfulunknown.com