The Courage to Become | Sarah Donovan
The Courage to Face Anxiety + Help Women Rise
As a young girl, you could find me painting flowers or vintage VOGUE covers. I guess you could say that was the beginning of my career as an artist. And all along the way, my mom encouraged me to keep a paintbrush in my hand. Even though I tried my hand at other things, my heart always lead me back to painting.
I knew I loved art and design AND I have always had a desire to be with people and love people.
My parents were always caring for others and their family members so I have them to thank for this characteristic.
In 2006 I was blessed with the opportunity to share this love for people by visiting Uganda on a mission trip. My goal was to share love with Ugandans, but these beautiful people showed me a love that is truly indescribable.
During college, I went through a series of rough patches. I enjoyed partying and boys more than studying for a period of time. (Anybody else?) And after some questionable decisions, I came to the realization that I wasn't loving myself.
Shortly after this fun phase, I met my precious husband Andrew. And a year after graduating college (babies!), we were married.
I knew I loved Andrew when we got married, but through life's challenges, I have really gotten to know his loyalty – and I admire him the most. He is my rock, and literally the other half of me. I admire his ability to lead without being cocky, his kindness, and his love for myself and our son.
I struggled to find a job so I started teaching art at a local art school. While teaching, I took freelance creative jobs and began my stationery business, The Stationery Bakery.
At first I focused on wedding invitations and over the past few years the business had transformed and now I illustrate greeting cards, prints, and home + gift items.
But while that is my passion career wise, I also have an insane passion for loving my husband and kid.
After becoming a mom, and experiencing some personal hardships, I discovered my drive to support and love women.
Let’s rewind to 2014.
While I had a seemingly healthy pregnancy, I experienced anxiety around ultrasound appointments. And even after determining everything was fine, I turned into a beautiful anxious mess!
During the end of my pregnancy, I was convinced I was dying. And that anxiety ramped up after having George.
I was obsessed with this kid and was constantly worried something would happen to him or myself. And after a few long months of suffering the grips of anxiety, I got help from an amazing counselor in Austin, Brett Brightwell. I experienced a total identity crisis when becoming a mom!
(The identity crisis happens to most of us ;) , only I didn’t know that.) Thankfully, I was and have been able to work through the root causes of my anxiety.
In addition to counseling, it became clear that I was dealing with postpartum anxiety and OCD and so I got on medication under the guidance of Suzanne Grantham out of Austin.
When I started to feel some relief, I decided to break my silence and speak out about my experience. Speaking out was therapeutic and I met women who struggled with similar chaos. Then, I started to find a sense of community among other women.
Seeing the importance of community among women and the growing need for mental health support, I felt inspired to start a small support group. The group is called Moms Arising and the goal is to provide a safe environment that encourages women to rise up even in the midst of challenging times.
It's so hard to be a woman.
It's brutal to be a mom.
My hope is to continue to seek for answers within myself so that my confidence will encourage other women to do the same.
My anxiety is not cured, it is still a part of my life today. I still look over my shoulder from time to time waiting for a crippling panic attack. However, I have found relief in surrounding myself with a tribe that I love and trust. And my tribe is constantly evolving because of the unique people I meet each day.
In addition to my husband and my tribe, I have found a lot of healing in my faith and personal relationship with God. I used to think of God as this judging figure shaking his head at my poor decisions – but I have come to understand him as a loving father embracing me (entirely) in every moment.
We all go through scary times, but we can use those moments to reflect and meditate. Those times are what shape who we are and who we become.
Essay by: Sarah Donovan
I feel so lucky to have Sarah share her story with us! She worked through her fears AND had the wherewithal to take action and help other women! That is the definition of amazing and community and a strong woman. Wow!!!!
Stop by and say hi to Sarah and pick up some of her GORGEOUS ART WORK !
I'm Catia, a woman, wife, mama, sister, sister friend, you know -- I wear a million hats just like you.
One of my biggest whys is that I want people to feel good about ALL of who they are. Including you.
If I could choose ten words that best describe me I would say: honest, welcoming, giving, curious, loving, earnest, empathetic, spiritual, playful, and sassy. Let's add: adventurous. That's 11.
Nice to meet you!
Want to start feeling really good but not sure where to start? Jump on into our virtual classroom (complimentary of course!) and get a weekly guide on how to walk with confidence and joy! You are divine. You are magic. I look forward to serving you!