The person that I have become, so far, seems to have been created out of a series of overlapping seasons filled with interests and pastimes that I have embraced and dived into. Many phases have been thrilling but passing. These have been filled with curiosities and activities that have enriched my life and deeply altered how I look out at the world. Some even shorter stages have involved experimenting with activities I come to realize are unfulfilling or a bit of flirting with a life that will never be mine. There are other seasons, however, that always return. I have interests that continually show up at the forefront, activities that I keep on engaging in, each time newly influenced and further developed by the other fleeting stages. I have come to realize that these recurring passions and ways of spending time are actually the tangible representations of who I am.
For as long as I can remember, I have been moved to make things. It has turned out that I especially love to make stuff that is useful to me. I enjoy wearing clothes created with my own hands. I am delighted to see my son wearing something I made just for him. It is a simple joy I feel when I use something around the house that I made. About a decade ago I formalized this particular passion by studying fashion design at school. It was wonderful to dedicate all the energy to gaining better skills and to developing finer vision.
Throughout my entire adult life I have been interested in health, in organic food, and during some fortunate moments I have had the opportunity to grow food (at the moment I am excited to be growing a garden). For a short time in my early 20s I lived and worked in a collective of people that revolved around selling organic food, cooking healthy vegan meals, growing food organically, and saving open pollinated seeds. This set me on a course from which there was never any turning back. I have been stuck on eating and cooking whole and healthy food ever since. I also worked in a desert fruit orchard for one season and then spent another season on an organic vegetable farm. Later I had the chance to learn all about growing ornamental plants. This last experience taught me a ton about gardening and it was also somehow humbling to learn that I could appreciate a plant solely for its beauty and not require it to feed or heal me. For a while I lost interest in growing plants for food and I learned how nourishing and healing it could be to be surrounded by the simple beauty of plants. Gardening has not represented my only relationship with plants. There were also quite a few years of respectful wildcrafting and herbal medicine making. This was great fun. It was also incredibly empowering to take care of my own health in this way.
Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and (what has come to be called) attachment parenting have been passions of mine for decades. After years of such intense interest in these areas, it is amazing to be a mother. I am madly in love with my young son. To me, he is amazing. Spending basically all my time with him, watching him grow, and nourishing his being with loads of love and attention are all such wonderful experiences. It is incredible. Of course, he also exhausts me. I have worked as a nanny and as a postpartum doula, and now I am really enjoying this new step on the same path, of having a child of my own. Every baby and child I have ever cared for has influenced my relationship with my son. In a sense, he and I both owe a debt to every child from my past.
My son and I have a great breastfeeding relationship. This relationship is gentle and intimate. We negotiate our needs with each other. In the beginning, for most of his nursing life, it has been all about his needs. Now that he is two I still very much cater to his needs, but he is also learning more and more all the time about listening to mine, about compromise, about respect. I am a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor and have helped many moms and babies to get this natural, though learned and frequently difficult, relationship off to a good start. It has been an honor to work with mom and baby couples during vulnerable moments and it has always given me a rush to assist. I will forever be passionate about mothers being provided with the right and best resources to enable them to successfully nurse and I am eternally grateful that my own knowledge and the assistance from my incredible midwife ensured my son and I of a great nursing relationship.
I have given birth twice. First to a baby who died and then to my son who is now two. In the year that I started studying midwifery I had the privilege to attend births and I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful birth can be. Attending births was life changing. I also learned about baby death that year. I learned about the practical ways to support a family who had lost a baby right at birth or in the short days after. I also observed two midwives who had attended births where babies died, and found out what a nightmare the system could make of their lives. I suppose I was as prepared as anyone can be to have a baby die. It was horrendous and tragic. However, I am a midwife at heart and I still knew that birth has the immense power to be transformative. The same circumstances would not happen twice and staying calm and surrendering for a second time, during my second labor, came easily. My second birth was a perfect birth. Again, I am grateful for how my past experiences and education have been able to influence my life long after a certain season has passed. I am not practicing as a midwife, I am not even working as a doula right now. But pregnancy and birth will always be part of who I am. To become a midwife was a calling. For a variety of reasons I stopped answering the call long ago, but I am studying to become a Certified Childbirth Educator and I am very excited that someday I will again be involved with assisting families to have satisfying, confidence-building births and postnatal experiences.
Another strong influence in my life is yoga. My practice is not strenuous. The yoga I regularly do is very simple and I do it mostly at home on my own. I would benefit very much from regular classes with a consistent teacher, but this has not happened so far. There are many, many poses that I do not know and have never tried and likely never will. I sometimes go weeks, but not months, and certainly never years in between yoga sessions. I am certainly no yogi, but yoga has always been there, has always brought me some peace and calm, and it keeps my body from aching. Yoga has an essential place in my life and it shapes me.
I feel fortunate to have so many passions and to have had experiences that have allowed me to dig in deep. I am a mother now, so I don’t have as much time or energy, or even the opportunities, to so completely explore my interests and inner world the way I used to. I love being a mother though, and wouldn’t trade this time of my life in for anything. I am a stay at home mom with all the roles and tasks that go along with being a housewife and full-time mom. What I have found to be happening to me is that instead of resisting what could be seen or felt as drudgery, I have become inspired. More than ever before, I am inspired to fulfill the day-to-day variety of my dreams and I take great satisfaction in being able to share this enthusiasm and many of these experiences with my young son.