About Yael

Mama’s Comfort Camp is the brain child of Yael Saar.
Hi there! I’m the Camp Founder and Keeper, imagine me blowing kisses in your direction.

I’m a mama on a mission to remove guilt, shame, and blame from parenting.
My life’s calling is to normalize the motherhood struggles, change the cultural norms and expectations related to motherhood, to make asking for help and receiving it socially acceptable and much more accessible, and to heal the world, one mother at a time.
I have a knack for showing people that they are not the only freaks in town having a rough ride, a talent for creating supportive communities, and a passion for teaching emotional skills that help mothers (and others) find their own powers.
I’m here to start a worldwide movement towards Self-Kindness and away from impossible expectations. 

I hold safe spaces for mothers, in real life and online:
1. In Real Life: I hold the free Ithaca Mother’s Support Group which meets monthly in downtown Ithaca, we meet on the first Thursday of the month at 12:30pm. On a less predictable schedule I also host Mama’s Comfort Camp group play-dates and Moms’ nights out in Ithaca.
2. On Facebook: the Mama’s Comfort Camp online refueling station for moms (our free and private Facebook group) is where hundred of mamas from around the world support each other through the ups and downs and all arounds of motherhood.
3. On my other website: www.ppdtojoy.com which chronicles my personal journey of  healing from postpartum depression.
4. In individual coaching session via phone or skype, in which I offer gentle guidance and teach self-kindness to mothers who want to create healthy emotional patterns for themselves and their families.

This is what I look like (on a good day).

 

yael-on-a-good-day-1 yael-on-a-good-day-2 yael-on-a-good-day-3

Wondering how come this is what I do?
My life story led me here.
I’m about to tell you something that might be scary or painful to read. But before I do that I want you to know that I’m really safe now, okay?
Here we go:
When I was six, I lost my mother to postpartum depression. A year later, my dad remarried: to the best step mother ever, so I grew up in a loving, healthy home. But later, after I had my own son, I had a bad case of postpartum depression myself, and I attempted suicide and overdosed on sleep medication. I’m convinced my birth mother had something to do with the fact that those pills didn’t end my life, and I failed where she has succeeded.  Yes, that was a good thing to fail! It was a wakeup call that led me to Self-Kindness and Permission-Based Healing, and other emotional skills that have turned me from a guilt-ridden depressed mom into the shiny (mostly) happy mama that I am today. My UnGuilt-Trip did not only save my life, It led me to a richness of soul and a sense of community that I could never have imagined before. Now I feel compelled to share it with the world, and if you are interested, with you too.

(You can read more about this part of my story in my “From Suicide to Joy: a tale of three mothers and three birthdays” blog post on PPDtoJoy.com)

I am extremely proud of the work I do.
PPD to Joy has helped mothers from around the world disarm their PPDemons, and as the mothers in my community recovered from depression and anxiety, we realized that the motherhood struggles don’t end with recovery, that self care for moms is always a challenge, and that support is sorely needed even when our kids finally sleep through the night. So in March 2012, me and the Den Mothers, a group of blogger friends of mine, started the Mama’s Comfort Camp.
In less than a year and hundreds of mothers later, we are thrilled that in the sharing environment we created, members feel safe enough to show up in their most vulnerable and powerful states. We talk about anything from guilt to sex, and we dissolve shame and isolation in the process.

Coming soon: Comfort School and The Self-Kindness Love-ratory.

As much as I love offering the free support environments of Mama’s Comfort Camp and PPD to Joy, I am eager to teach the skills that made all the difference in my life. And also, it’s time I started making a living doing all of this. My sharing environments will continue to be free, and I’m getting ready to add some structured learning options that will require a small financial commitment to the integration of new emotional skills and healthy emotional patterns.

I’m developing a curriculum that will teach the skills I learned on my UnGuilt Trip: a collection of self-paced home-study kits that teach emotional skills for happiness (which I dish out of a Kooky Jar!). It’s the kind of stuff they really should be teaching all of us in middle school, a synthesis of the many helpful coping skills I gathered on my journey of recovery.

Comfort School Kits I’m working on include:

  1. (Not) Secret (Not) Weapon:
    bodymind skills for disarming anxiety and anger
  2. The Sleep Deprivation Companion
  3. Making Peace with Traumatic Birth
  4. Inner Wise Woman Safari: A Body of Knowledge

The Self Kindness Love-ratory  will be a group coaching program, an optional paid learning environment to supplement the free sharing environment that is the Mama’s Comfort Camp. It will include monthly Self-Kindness experiment lessons delivered via helping handouts, audios, and/or videos. On top of all that, there will be group coaching calls with me and with other teachers, coaches, and bloggers.
The Love-ratory will also function as the Beta Testing space for the Comfort School Kits I mention above: I will be sharing the materials I am creating with Love-ratory members before I share them with anyone else.
I expect the Self-Kindness Lab to open its virtual doors with a beta version (read: less fancy but also cheaper) to a small group of moms in early 2013. If you are interested in being one of the first to know about it, sign up for email updates, and make sure you join the Mama’s Comfort Camp Facebook group, because members will get first dibs and discounts.

My work was created by a mother, for mothers, while mothering my two boys.
When I started out  with PPDtoJoy.com in 2010, I imagined I would only work with mothers. But recently I’ve been asked to work with fathers, and then with, you know, people who are not parents, who feel attracted to my Self-Kindness and Permission-Based Healing work. While mothers are the people I write my programs for, it turns out that my offerings bring comfort and relief for any human looking to replace painful emotional patterns with supportive ones. While the Mama’s Comfort Camp and the Self-Kindness Lab are designed to be for women only, my self-paced kits and one on one coaching are appropriate for men too. I am grateful for that, and feel deeply honored to do this work in the world.


Some history:

I was born and raised in Israel, and moved to NYC when I was 21 years old, in order to follow a man and a dream. The dream was becoming an artist, and involved 4 years at SVA (the School of Visual Arts), and later, a small graphic design company called Design for Good, that worked only with sustainable businesses and nonprofit organizations. My clients included Cornell University and NYU, Planned Parenthood, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and other good eggs.

I was good at making beautiful designs, and quite bad at making money (helping non-profits make the most of their tiny budgets? Yep, no wonder that didn’t make me rich… Still, it was amazing.) When my first son was born and PPD hit, I closed the swanky office in Soho (for which I never made quite enough money to cover the rent) and proceeded to lick my wounds while lactating profusely into a pump: the boy couldn’t nurse, and I produced almost two quarts of milk a day! Oh, the irony. Thankfully, my husband (the man I had crossed the ocean for? He lasted longer than my graphic design career) was totally there for me, and with his support, and that of my family, friends, and therapists, I survived that dark time. I got help and I got better.

My more distant past includes being a flight attendant with El Al, the Israeli airline, and being a tour-guide at the United Nations. Some of my ability to handle people in distress was developed while 30,000 feet above-ground, and my appreciation to cultural differences was honed at the UN. Isn’t it amazing how all of our experiences prepare us for our true calling? (Yep, sappy, but still true.)

In 2005, we moved to Ithaca NY, where I later became a Crisisline suicide prevention volunteer.  I found a community of amazing mamas through BirthNet and they helped me recover from the traumatic unnecesarean in which my second son was born. In the process I found myself becoming a political birth-activist (now that was never something I expected to do when I grew up). Our work led to changing NY State midwifery law, which was eye-opening as an experience of mother-power. All that gave me the oomph and the courage necessary to launch Postpartum Depression to Joy in 2010, and two years later, Mama’s Comfort Camp was born.

My Influences:
I wouldn’t have been able to conceive of my Self-Kindness philosophy without the work of these thinkers:
Abraham Low of Recovery International, Marshal Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communications, Havi Brooks (with a big shout-out to the members of her Kitchen Table and Floating Playground programs), Hiro Boga, Byron Katie, and my beloved friend Jaya the Trust Coach. Endless gratitude.

Additional thank you-s go to:
Yael Sahar and Shai Zurim who co-designed our beautiful logo.
To Victoria Brouhard whose online class Project Prowess was the safe-space incubator in which I worked on bringing this group from a dream to reality, and to Maryann Devine, who’s online class Why Not Now was instrumental in helping me become comfortable with videos, audios, and other things necessary to create the classes and kits that are bubbling from inside me, asking to be born.

I hope my work will help you or someone you love. I hope the tools and suggestions I share will make your day easier. And I hope to get to know you. Yes, I hope a lot. Being a hopeful gal is helpful, and this is yet another skill that can be practiced. Wishing well and hoping well are integral to the healing process.

OK, enough about me. How about you? What keeps you up at night? What are your hopes? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

With gratitude,

Yael.