I recently had the privilege of being invited by Friend In Me to co-host their third Nurture and Connect Retreat alongside fellow board member, Nicole.
Together, Nicole and I had the honour of welcoming five incredibly deserving mothers on a three-day, fully funded retreat. These women, selected for their remarkable resilience in navigating the challenges of parenting children with complex needs—ranging from medical issues like cancer and rare conditions to developmental diagnoses, as well as complexities involving both physical and behavioural aspects—discovered solace, support, and connection in a picturesque setting.
The theme of the weekend was connection – both with oneself and with others. The retreat aimed at fostering a safe space for these mothers to explore their feelings and personal stories. It allowed for shared moments of vulnerability, tears, laughter, and genuine support. The bonds formed demonstrated the strength found in shared experiences.
Throughout the weekend, our guests were able to indulge in massages, meditation, visits to the Peninsula Hot Springs, the creation of floral wreaths, and mindful walks along the beach.
The retreat also addressed a common struggle among these women – the isolation that often accompanies caring for children with complex needs. Friendships can be strained; family relationships can be affected and the mothers themselves may feel a sense of inadequacy. This weekend became a sanctuary, providing the time and space for open and honest conversations about self-identity, personal growth, and the desire to support others on similar paths.
As these mothers opened up to each other, they found an opportunity to redefine how they see themselves and each other. It became a collective effort to change and show up in the world with resilience and empathy. The shared experience of keeping their heads above water while continuing to fill their own cups instilled a commitment to supporting others in the same boat.
The Friend In Me Nurture and Connect Retreat was not just a weekend getaway; it was a journey of self-discovery, solidarity, and empowerment. It served as a reminder that, even in the face of adversity, connection and support can be found, offering hope and strength for the road ahead. The impact of this retreat will undoubtedly stay with these mothers for a long time.
A heartfelt expression of gratitude goes out to all the businesses whose contributions made this weekend possible. Special thanks to Real Estate Geelong for their role as a major sponsor. Without the support of these businesses, none of this would have been possible.
We would love to invite other businesses to join us in showing their support. Together, we hope to broaden our impact and extend the opportunity for a similar retreat to fathers who also navigate the unique challenges of parenting children with complex needs. Your support can make a huge difference in creating connections and providing much-needed respite for these fathers.
Chat to us if you’d like to learn more about Friend In Me or their retreat program.