Reclaiming the Pen

Heather Chauvin Releases
Debut Book About Motherhood

Story by Michael Seguin
Photography by Vicki Bartel

Every year, a month before verdant spring bleaches into another scorching summer, we gather together to celebrate Mother’s Day.

It does not usually amount to much of a spectacle. A warmly worded card. An inexpensive bouquet of flowers. A nice meal that you will (successfully or unsuccessfully) insist on paying for. A box of chocolates from the drugstore. A post on social media, with an accompanying glamour shot. Sometimes even just a phone call. And that is if you remember it all.

Yes, mothers are the real heroes. At least, that is what we’re fond of saying. But all too often, when it comes down to it, mothers unfortunately often fall into the unsung variety.
Yet suppose we did sing of their exploits. Their struggles. Their hardships. The hurdles they must all overcome. What then?

This is a question Heather Chauvin has spent the last several years seeking an answer to.
Heather Chauvin is an author and the host of the wildly popular Mom Is In Control podcast. She inspires women to conquer their fears and to see and understand themselves and their children on a deeper level.

Her personal development journey was accelerated seven years ago, with an unfortunate call to action: a cancer diagnosis.

“In 2013, a year after my youngest son was born, I was diagnosed with stage IV Burkitt Lymphoma,” Heather recalls. “Six months earlier, I had left my corporate job as a social worker. I was already on this exciting new journey. I had this desire to get a message out into the world. The message was about conscious parenting. It was about another way to help parents that felt good.”

As both a former social worker and a mother of three boys, Heather is exhaustively familiar with the obscene pressure and guilt that parents are constantly under.

“Rather than putting Band-Aids on these problems, I wanted to get to the root cause of why parents are feeling such a disconnect with their children,” Heather explains. “Women—and parents in general—always seem to feel like they’re failing. That they couldn’t figure out their children.”

Inspired to take action, Heather launched the Mom Is In Control podcast.

“I wanted to start coaching parents,” Heather states. “I wanted to help them understand their kids on a deeper level. I realized that I had to educate women on why it’s so important for them to consider their needs as well. When I was working with women, they would often say, ‘I’m so overwhelmed! I can’t implement these tools or strategies!’ I often had to start with Mom before we could deal with the child.”

As of the time of this writing, the Mom Is In Control podcast boasts of 832 episodes and over 5 million downloads.

“You don’t need to feel like crap to be successful,” Heather explains. “Now more than ever, we’re being shown what areas of our lives are not sustainable. And there’s always something we can do about it.”

Heather describes her mission as one of rewriting cultural expectations of motherhood. And her message, she admits, is a simple one: allow yourself to feel good and to have more than enough.

“No one really wants to hear that,” Heather admits. “It’s not the silver bullet. It’s not a quick fix– everyone is looking for a quick fix! But the second you step out of your home, the second you start scrolling on Instagram, the pressure is there. More. Better. Faster! This is who you need to be! You are NOT ENOUGH!! It is literally reflected back to us. But what we don’t understand is we are all walking around not feeling good enough and projecting that onto everyone else.”

This toxic mentality leads to a whole generation of parents running ragged and feeling terrible. It leads to mothers never feeling like they are enough, believing that story and then overcompensating.

“When you give birth, you give birth to guilt,” Heather stresses. “What’s interesting is that in the last year, with everything that is going on in the world, I have spent more time with my children than ever before. But I still have the same amount of guilt. But those thoughts are just thoughts. They are not facts. It’s when we give them power that we become powerless. That’s when we allow guilt to take over.”

But the great (and often forgotten) thing about stories, Heather maintains, is that we are the sole authors of them. And once we reclaim that pen, that’s when we can rewrite them.

“You can sit with your guilt and interrogate it,” Heather explains. “‘Is it true that you’re a bad Mom because you choose not to play with your child every single time they ask?’ How is that benefiting them? Do you feel angry and resentful? It’s all about understanding the stories we tell ourselves and understanding how we give our power away to guilt. But we can still live with it. We can learn that it doesn’t need to run the show.”

And now, Heather has scribed her wisdom into her first book, entitled: Dying to Be A Good Mother: How I Dropped the Guilt and Took Control of My Life & Parenting.

“I had always had the thought that I want to write a book someday,” Heather states. “But I also had a lot of limiting beliefs and resistance towards writing. I love to talk. I love to podcast. But I do not identify as a writer. The thought of sitting down and writing of my story seemed horrible to me.”

However, Heather unintentionally sowed the seeds of what would eventually sprout into her novel when she gave a talk at TEDxWindsor in 2018.

“After my talk, people started asking for it,” Heather explains. “But I didn’t make the decision to start writing the book until November 2019, when my grandmother passed away. She had also been diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma at 30—close to the same age I was diagnosed at. Like me, she was raising three boys. And she wasn’t supposed to survive. But she lived to be 86!”

Inspired by her grandmother’s courage and their parallel stories, Heather finally embraced her own authorship.

“I remember the last time I went to see her,” Heather states. “She said to me, ‘I’ve always wanted to write my story. I could just never get it out of me. I never created the time for it.’ That was a little kick in the pants I needed. I realized that if I really wanted women to have a voice, I had to use mine.”

Heather released her book this March, on International Women’s Day.

Dying To Be A Good Mother is available from Amazon, Indigo and other Canadian vendors. Additionally, if you travel to you can access a free workbook and video training series to follow along with the book.

“Say yes to whatever lights you up,” Heather advises. “Say no to what doesn’t. The opposite of dying is feeling alive.”

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