Jewel has never shied away from her traumatic childhood. Her mom left when she was eight years old. Her father was an abusive alcoholic. She moved out when she was 15, was homeless when she was 18, and released her seminal debut album Pieces of You when she was 20. As her star grew exponentially, the young singer-songwriter was forced to navigate fame while teaching herself tools to help heal the wounds caused by her upbringing.
On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Jewel opens up to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how self-healing helped make her ready for motherhood.
“One of the reasons I waited to have a child personally is because I knew I had a lot of work to do, and I wanted to get as far into it as one can,” the 47-year-old mom of one explains. “You know, you never quite arrive, but I had a lot of trauma when I was young, I was having panic attacks. I was agoraphobic. I had plenty of stuff to get through.”
Jewel gave birth to her son, Kase Townes Murray, when she was 38 years old. His arrival made her aware that she needed to divorce his dad, Ty Murray. They tried to make things work for three more years before eventually divorcing in 2014, and have been working hard at co-parenting ever since. She’s also been working hard at rebuilding a relationship with her own father and being honest with her son about her childhood.
“I’m lucky my dad’s done a lot of self-work. He got sober. He’s a great grandfather to my son,” Jewel tells Tenety. “So, my son gets to see a human that was hurt as a child that didn’t know better and hurt his child, and then learns to heal. It’s an incredible arc and incredible role for my son to see, of like, oh, none of us are perfect. We just keep trying. And so, he does know a fair amount of the narrative.”
And though she’s in a much better place now than she was at the beginning of her career, Jewel’s continually trying to better herself, and in turn help her now 9-year-old son navigate his own mindfulness. “I have a real deep commitment to being the best version of myself. And that means constantly looking at myself, constantly being willing to examine my motivations,” she explains. “Why am I doing that? Why am I saying that? Why am I uptight right now? That’s my commitment to myself as a human, my son benefits from that commitment.”
“Obviously, anybody with my background, you could have certain big banners, you know. Obviously, abuse isn’t an option, healing wounds is a must, and self-worth is one of those things,” she continues. “And watching my son also going, what is my value? Is it in my performance? And then how can I help him build it?”
The musician shares the tools and exercises she’s used to rewire neurologically and break negative habits via her mental health website jewelneverbroken.com.
To hear more about Jewel’s experiences in motherhood and her career, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.