Motherhood has changed Lizy Maratea in ways she never imagined.
After giving birth to a seven-pound, six-ounce blessing named Francesca in 2013, the New Jersey native embarked on a reformative path to heal festering wounds from a dark past. Lizy’s childhood was rife with assault – trauma that later manifested itself in a variety of ailments, including a rare condition in which she became allergic to water.
“You can imagine how inconvenient that would be,” said the 36-year-old, adding that assaults of a physical, mental and sexual nature also contributed to long-standing chronic pain.
After a strenuous pregnancy, Lizy was determined to spend less time on her own health and more time on Frankie, whose namesake arrives from her grandfather.
“Your sense of mortality really shifts when you’re responsible for another human life,” said Lizy, whose family has been residing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the past six years. “I wasn’t going to let [Frankie] come into this world and learn the same dysfunctional ways without tending to those wounds first.”
Lizy underwent intensive therapy, unearthing the underlying reasons for why she broke out in hives when trying to enjoy the pleasantries of a warm shower.
Long-standing PTSD was the diagnosis.
“I sat down with my counselor and she told me it was a trauma response,” Lizy said of the allergen known to scientists as idiopathic aquagenic urticaria. “Medical professionals will stop taking people seriously when they have fibromyalgia, and this is similar. There was nothing the doctors could see on the surface, so they threw their hands up in the air.”
Mindfulness, yoga, and Cannabis became the pathway to better health for Lizy. She fine-tuned a daily routine, while fastening her focus on her next step: life coaching. The path to self-improvement led her to the doorstep of Natural Wellness Academy – a Tampa Bay-based holistic health school that offers a variety of educational formats in person and online. Lizy entered into a one-year program, completing her certificate with a specialty in Cannabis and mindfulness teaching in 2019.
“I had been working for Positive Energy [dispensary] for a while,” she said. “Some of the older folks really needed someone to guide them through the stigma and around the dosages, and they weren’t getting that. Doctors are well educated, but learning about terpenes and cannabinoids is not exactly their wheelhouse. With Cannabis, it’s not as simple as take two of these and call me in the morning.”
Terpenes are her specialty. Lizy submerged herself in as much literature as she could find on the subject during her schooling – and while quick to admit medical studies on the subject fall short of standard academia – the life coach says, when in doubt, act like Pepe Le Pew.
“When I was budtending, we had a strain called Dog Patch,” she recalled. “It smelled horrible. But a guy came in and loved the smell. A week later he came back and said, ‘That’s the stuff.’ The nose knows.”
Having taken a deep-dive into her own psyche, Lizy learned firsthand that the path to good health was not a linear one, but an up-and-down voyage that demanded discipline and self-care. Cannabis, she said, is just a piece of a larger puzzle.
“After about three years of really, really hard work, I was able to give myself the same love and compassion that I could give to my siblings, my husband, and my child,” she said. “That shift changed everything in my life.”
In just two and a half years of tutelage, Lizy has expanded her personal practice into her own business: Full Spectrum Compassionate Coaching. She currently serves 14 clients, including a pair of soon-to-be mothers. She offers a three-tiered approach to life coaching – eight, 12 or 16 weeks.
“I have a couple folks that come to me strictly for Cannabis, but it varies,” she said. “We try to set up goals and have the clients make realistic plans for themselves. The goal is to navigate their lives without having their wounded selves controlling the experience.”
Eight weeks, Lizy says, is the amount of time needed to solidify a good habit. Sometimes, the answer is as simplistic as reminding them to do self-care. For others, she will guide them through Zoom-based mindfulness practices. Each case is patient-specific, leaving her spending hours researching on behalf of a client’s individual needs.
“As hard as I bust my ass for them, they need to work even harder,” she said. “In my practice, I hold them accountable to the efforts they want to put in.”
When it all comes together, seeing the results is better than a paycheck.
“Watching these lives transform before me is beyond description,” she said.
As the movement for federal legalization continues to pick up steam, Lizy believes she is placing herself on the front line of modern Cannabis treatment.
“The world is more awake to the needs of those suffering,” she said. “When it is federally legal, the days of doctors writing the quick prescription, that is going to be obsolete. There will be a need for Cannabis coaches like myself on how to self sustain your [wellness practice].”
She hints at Frankie taking over or playing a part in the family business. “She loves the smell of Mommy’s medicine,” Lizy laughed.
Smiles are easier these days and multiply at a faster rate than ever before.
“[Motherhood] has changed my perception of the world and what healing is,” she said. “I was beating myself up regularly and took a lot of my own abuse for a long time. To heal [for my daughter], I had to take the pretty bandaids off. I wanted her to know autonomy, I had denied myself that autonomy for a long time.”
“I encourage everyone to be kinder and gentler to themselves,” she concluded. “When bad thoughts enter your mind don’t shake your fist. Be patient with yourself. To grow is not complicated, but it is difficult. Fortunately, as human beings, we can all do difficult things.”