May: a Time for Celebrations and Nurturing

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Spring is a time for renewals and celebrations. Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings, and other events remind us of the importance of nurturing in our lives. Mother’s Day, in particular, can be a difficult time for people with Turner syndrome (TS). Let’s explore all the different ways we can nurture and be nurtured.

Nurturing Defined

With all of the holidays and celebrations this month, there are some nurturers who do not get enough recognition. There are people other than parents who nurture on a daily basis. 

The question is: What is nurturing? According to some sources, nurturing is “providing food, protection, comfort, or support.” We commonly see this role as a biological mother or father, but as mentioned above, nurturing can be provided by an array of people. Friends, family members, and other community members can be nurturing. Anyone can provide these things; nurturing is not just a word, but a warm feeling.

To be nurtured is to be comforted by love. Sometimes the dictionary definitions do not do this act justice.

To Nurture or Be Nurtured

Do you enjoy being the nurturer or being nurtured?

The ironic thing about writing this post is that, for years, I thought I was the nurturer. I always wanted my house to be warm and inviting. However, as the years pass and I revisit my past hurts, I have discovered that I want to be nurtured. 

Being nurtured for me is not just about being provided for, but being understood. I think that, as humans, we can forget how small acts of kindness can be so meaningful. As the years have passed, I have let go of my need for control more and more.

Now, I want to take more of a “back seat” approach to love and being loved. What does this mean? I think receiving love and support is important in understanding who you are. Knowing someone loves you enough to provide that warmth can only be found when all aspects of being nurtured are met.

As a “reformed nurturer,” I can also attest that there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you have stepped outside yourself to be there for someone else. Even if it’s temporary, your efforts can go further than you may think.

If you are strong-willed and don’t like to let go of control, it can be good to step back and enjoy being nurtured. Allow someone else to provide other things–not just material–and let it replenish your soul.

In today’s society, we are so busy trying to survive that we seldom get to enjoy each other as humans. We never really get to enjoy interpersonal relationships and the real reason they exist.

How Nurturers Can Care for Themselves

Being someone who loves to attend to others can also be a draining role. If you are not careful, you can find yourself empty before you know it. 

I think that it is crucial to use the “pour into yourself” motto. Pouring into yourself is an act of self-love in which you replenish yourself before trying to replenish others. There are numerous ways that you, as a nurturer, can ensure your own needs are being met. The best way to help other people can be by helping yourself (think of flight attendants reminding you to put your own mask on before assisting others).

Sometimes nurturers get overlooked. Sometimes it is important to wave a hand in the air so that the people around you do not forget that you are not superhuman. It is okay to go from the person giving help to needing help. It is okay to want to be helped as much as the people you have helped. 

Taking care of yourself allows you to be a better support to others=

Here are some tips:

  • Have boundaries with friends and family.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Know when to say “no.”
  • Get out and do something fun.
  • Say “yes” to help and accept letting go of control.

How To Find Support

In the case of TS and other medical conditions, there are many people to turn to. There is help easily available on streaming services, blogs, and other sites. The Turner Syndrome Foundation (TSF) has plenty of links, information and resources. With all of the continuing research and support, people are starting to understand that people with TS can live rich and fulfilling lives.

The people who run and support foundations like TSF are nurturers. The people who are supporting you through tough times are nurturers. Here is the best part: Why not allow yourself to be nurtured by reaching out to others who are going through similar circumstances? You are not alone. Find your fellow butterflies. 

There are also plenty of online resource groups, hotlines, school counselors, churches, and community organizations that are there for you. Your community is full of nurturers; sometimes you just have to look around you.

Just Ask!

Your needs deserve to be met. The way to make sure they are is to communicate with friends and loved ones. Truly state what you need in these moments. When things are feeling rough for you, reach out and tell someone you are feeling overwhelmed.
Your needs should be validated. It is your right to speak up and ask for what you need.

When in doubt, or if you feel yourself losing hope, find someone to lean on. I think it is amazing work to also nurture yourself. What a great service you do for yourself when you stop and ask yourself what you need and then seek to provide it.

There are times when someone may not be readily available to you, so knowing how to love and support yourself can be beautiful.

In the meantime, here are some ways to communicate your needs: 

  • Just ask!
  • Tell someone you are feeling tired, sad, overwhelmed, or just need someone to talk to.
  • Try to be honest with the people around you.
  • Know when to step back and tell people you are not in a good place to help or support them. 

Takeaways & Action Steps

The key takeaway is that nurturing requires effort, but it is worth it. Nurturing, or being on the receiving end of it, can use a great amount of energy. What is amazing to know is that TSF was designed not just for individuals with TS, but also for their loved ones and caregivers. Supporting the people who support people is the gift that keeps on giving. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Consider joining TSF’s private Star Sisters group. Being a Star Sister is a way to connect with others in the TS community to share honest experiences and form a sisterhood of positivity. It is an opportunity to raise awareness while receiving support. All meet-ups and events occur online. Anyone personally affected by TS can participate!
  • If you are a parent or caregiver of a person with complex case of TS who requires long-term, 24/7 care, check out the 24/7 Caregivers Group. This group aims to provide peer support for caregivers of low-functioning individuals. Caregivers are able to provide the best support possible for their loved one when they, themselves, are cared for. This group is a place for them to share experiences, ask questions, express concerns, and learn in a safe, accepting space.
  • TSF’s May challenge: Share your springtime celebrations (Mother’s Day, graduations, birthdays, weddings) with TSF! We want to see photos of you celebrating with your loved ones! We want to see all the fun things you are doing/have accomplished while also raising awareness. There is a chance to win a prize at the end of the month!

We hope this article has helped shed some light on how we uplift ourselves and others when nurturing or being nurtured. 

Written by Janae Bunn, TSF volunteer, and edited by Susan Herman, TSF Blog Coordinator. Designed by Jasmine Persaud, TSF volunteer.

© Turner Syndrome Foundation, 2022

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