TMOM: How many kids do you have?

JOY ROSE: Three boys and a girl, ages 14 to 20.

TMOM: Was it an adjustment moving from the city to the suburbs?

JOY ROSE: I didn’t really have a chance to find out.  Ten days after my daughter was born – I’d been living in the suburbs for less than two months at that point – I wound up in the ER with a terrible case of Lupus.  Like, near death, hit by a truck Lupus.  Overnight, I went from a woman who was all about natural childbirth and feeding her kids organic food to someone on chemotherapy.

TMOM: What exactly is Lupus?

JOY ROSE: SLE, Lupus occurs as the result of an overactive immune system.  There’s not much that can be done about it, and severe cases like mine can truly disable a person.

TMOM: How did your life change?

JOY ROSE: It came to a screeching halt.  For 10 years, I’d been blissfully happy.  First with my work, then my husband, then my kids.   I built the picket fence myself.  But I’d built it so high that I may have cut off a part of myself that should have remained.

TMOM: What do you mean?

JOY ROSE: I believe that illness is more than just the physical.  I believe it affects you body, mind, and spirit.  Suddenly, I was forced to go from a life that was very fast to one that was very slow.  And I believe there was a reason for that.  It was the start of a new journey. 

TMOM: Where did that journey take you?

JOY ROSE: It took me back to who I really was.  I sought medical intervention, did yoga, lit candles…everything I could think of to bring about healing.  What I discovered, though, was that true healing lay in the return to my creativity. 

TMOM: What was it that made you lose sight of that creativity in the first place?

JOY ROSE: It was a combination of things.  I’d entered into a life that, if I’d allowed it to do so, would have eliminated my individuality and creativity.  I’d become a 1950’s housewife rather than the funky, artistic mom I wanted to be.  Fortunately, that woman I created was the last 1950’s housewife in existence – I killed her myself. 

TMOM: Do you think a lot of women lose their individuality once they become moms?

JOY ROSE: I think it’s almost impossible not to.  It’s a powerful hormonal impulse to give birth, strap on the apron, and get amnesia about the person you were before kids came into your life. 

TMOM: So how do women avoid getting stuck in that mom rut?

JOY ROSE: By breaking free of the stereotypes and  replacing the 1950’s housewife with the Rock Mom.

Read Joy Rose’s definition of Rock Mom (Part 3).