In this heartfelt and powerful episode I have the honor to speak with Merryl E. Rothaus about her decade-long journey and multiple attempts to become a mother. She shares openly with us about the three baby losses she faced, how she has navigated her intense grief and what it means to be a “Mother Without Children”.
Merryl speaks both from a personal perspective as well as from her wise professional expertise. She walks us through many practical ways to work with grief, describes which elements have been most supportive to her along her journey and why we need to start changing the cultural narrative around grief and loss.
Merryl introduces us to the worlds of Art and Somatic Based Therapies, Shamanic Practice and Buddhism. We unpack the spiritual reckoning that often accompanies unthinkable loss and discuss the relevance of meaning making. Merryl shares with us about recently turning 50 years old and what this milestone birthday is illuminating for her.
This is one of those not-to-be-missed conversations that takes us straight into the heart and depth of womanhood. Merryl’s story is a testament to how much strength, wisdom and warriorship there is to be gleaned even from life’s most dark and harrowing experiences.
Merryl E. Rothaus is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board-Certified and Registered Art Therapist, Certified Hakomi Therapist and grief and trauma specialist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado since 2001. Braiding together the wisdom of her Buddhist practices over the course of the past 20 years, her shamanic studies and the wisdom of the body in tandem with creative arts therapies, Merryl has created “Somatic Art Therapy,” her method of synthesizing somatic psychotherapy with art therapy, mindfulness and the transpersonal. Merryl is a Clinical Supervisor for psychotherapists worldwide and a graduate school Art Therapy and Counseling Psychology educator; having been Visiting Core Faculty in the Graduate Art Therapy department at Antioch University, Seattle and Adjunct Faculty in the Graduate Art Therapy department at Naropa University. She has presented her clinical work nationally at conferences and is a published writer, most recently authoring “Cultivating Aliveness after Pregnancy Loss; Somatic Art Therapy, Ritual and Griefwork” in the book Childbearing Issues and Art Therapy. A Shamanic Practitioner and Ritualist, Merryl offers her Shamanic skillset to clients and has facilitated countless rituals and life passages, including births, deaths and marriage and commitment ceremonies. Her rich spiritual world is informed by her practices in Tibetan Buddhism, Judaism, North American Core Shamanism and the African Dagara tribe as taught by her teachers Malidoma Some and the late Sobonfu Some. She is currently writing a teaching memoir on being a “Mother Without Children,” having spent years trying to achieve motherhood, has held life in her body, experienced multiple babylosses and has no living children. A “Grief Warrior,” her grueling passages with grief and loss have positioned her to serve clients worldwide with a social action mission to normalize the natural expression of grief. An active visual artist, Merryl loves creating art where she experiences deep inspiration and flow.