Go For Fresh Foods: One of my mother’s many things instilled in me is the love of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is nothing like picking a sweet cherry tomato off the vine. As a society, we accept that fast food and junk food are normal and okay for our diet. When in contrast, there are countless studies to prove that eating fresh food is so much better for us. When fruits take care of our sweet tooth, we eliminate so many junk foods that stand in the way of our health and wellness journey.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alicia Trautwein.
Alicia Trautwein is an Autism Advocate, Writer, Motivational Speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Our story is different for sure. I am married with four amazing kiddos, three of which are autistic. Our youngest two were diagnosed with Autism at 23 months and eight years old. Besides the uniqueness of having two children on the spectrum, they were diagnosed just six weeks apart! Then, one year later, our middle daughter was diagnosed with Autism.
This was a whirlwind that left me asking more questions than the answers I received, such as what is it like parenting girls on the spectrum? What’s it like parenting multiple children on the spectrum? There was plenty of information from the medical field, but not much from the parent’s side. When I realized I would not receive many answers to my questions easily, I decided we would share our journey along the way. That is when www.themomkind.com was created.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
The next several years, I would find myself researching and interviewing parents and doctors all over the country. By doing so, I was able to provide the answers to many questions parents were asking. Being able to share our story and my research, I was able to guide families throughout the world.
After all this, I started my journey of self-discovery, which included receiving an autism diagnosis myself at age 33! I had been misdiagnosed with so many disorders over the years. All of it was because of the lack of awareness of Autism in women.
While I am thankful for my diagnosis, I cannot fathom allowing this lack of awareness regarding Autism and women to continue. I have seen so many women denied the proper health care simply because of their gender. So now, I speak up to help make a change for women of all ages.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started was not understanding and appreciating my voice’s strength. As women, we are so often taught that it is impolite to make waves. There’s this belief that our voice doesn’t matter. Once I learned how unique and powerful my voice is, I saw a change in the impact I made on others. Now, I work to help empower other women and girls to embrace their unique stories. We all have the potential to make an impact, no matter our diagnosis. We need to speak up and make waves in our communities.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would not be where I am today without the support of my husband. He has always pushed me forward and told me how important what I am doing is for our girls and me and other women everywhere. No matter who your person is, it is essential to have people in your life that support you. Surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you no matter what makes the difference.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
When I started this journey, I hoped to provide hope or inspiration to just one person. If I did that, it would make sharing our story worth it. I could not have imagined then where my journey would have brought me today. I have been able to mentor parents throughout the world to help them navigate the world of Autism. I have supported other adults along their journey of an autism diagnosis and provide a platform for parents to share their journey.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
First, self-care is a must! I cannot even begin to explain the depth of the depression levels I hit during our children’s early years. We had three children, aged five and under, while I was a stay at home mom, and my husband worked sixty-plus hours a week. We did not know why our daughters were struggling, but we did have them with doctors and therapists galore. There would be months and months were the only other adults I saw were the doctors. This would lead to the worst depression and caregiver burnout. No matter what your story is, you have to give yourself some self-love and self-care. Spend ten to fifteen minutes a day with yourself. If that means putting the kids in front of a tv or hiding in the bathroom, that is okay! You have to take time for yourself!
Second, Go For Fresh Foods: One of my mother’s many things instilled in me is the love of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is nothing like picking a sweet cherry tomato off the vine. As a society, we accept that fast food and junk food are normal and okay for our diet. When in contrast, there are countless studies to prove that eating fresh food is so much better for us. When fruits take care of our sweet tooth, we eliminate so many junk foods that stand in the way of our health and wellness journey.
Third, Take Your Vitamins! Even ten years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered taking a daily vitamin little to prescribe specific supplements — one of the best turnarounds in modern medicine. I have personally seen people pushing towards taking the right supplements and vitamins instead of prescriptions. I have peripheral neuropathy that was spearheaded by a b12 deficiency. While the damage is done, the proper implementation of b12 in my medicine regime has stopped my nerve disorder’s progression. I have seen the impact magnesium can make on those deficient in the mineral. Now more than ever, it is essential to make sure you are taking your daily vitamins and stay in contact with your doctor about your individual needs.
Fourth, Exercise Doesn’t mean Gym Membership! One of my biggest misconceptions was that I needed a detailed physical fitness regime to achieve overall wellness. Being physically fit is extremely important for overall health, but that does not mean you need to be a bodybuilder. Go for a walk twice a week, do stretches in your office, find what works for your situation. Getting regular exercise is essential to overall mental and physical health.
Fifth, Get Proper Sleep! One of the hardest things when dealing with severe depression is getting too much sleep. Just like a lack of sleep negatively affects you, so does too much sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep has been a nemesis of mine for many years. I would continuously get 10–12 hours of sleep, which was way too much! It wasn’t until recently that I finally got a grip on my sleep and began a bedtime/wakeup routine that works for me.
Whether you are sleeping too little or too much, not having a proper bedtime routine can drastically impact your overall health.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I could start a movement that would bring the most change for people’s wellness, it would be practicing self-care. So often, when women practice self-care, they are stigmatized as being selfish. However, self-care is precisely the opposite. By learning to take care of ourselves first, we can better take care of those around us.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- You are your biggest advocate. Do not let someone else’s view affect how you see yourself. What matters is that you are proud of yourself and chasing your dreams instead of someone else’s.
- You don’t have to know all the answers. When becoming an expert or influencer, there is this incorrect belief that you have to know everything. Instead, you have to be willing to find the answers and continue to learn.
- No is an answer. We all want to take on as many projects as we can handle, but we all have our limits. Whether you are saying no because you do not have the time to commit or you do not want to do it, you have the right to say no.
- Not being liked by everyone is okay! You cannot please everyone, and if you are working to make a change, you will not be liked by everyone.
- Keep making and surpassing goals. When you don’t set goals, you spend life running in circles, never achieving anything. By setting goals, you stay organized and focused. Each goal you surpass, you build confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is the cause closest to my heart. My journey inspired my mental health advocacy, but the journeys shared with me by other women have inspired me to fight for them. Women are drastically ignored in the healthcare field, and that has to change.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Follow me on TikTok @alicia.trautwein or @themomkind on all other social platforms!
Thank you for these fantastic insights!