What I’ve learned from 10 years of parenting

10 years have passed since the moment birth entered my life.

The little one I now know so well smiles at the story of how she raised her head, when first placed on my chest, and howled. How I couldn’t help but laugh in the middle of happiness and shock. She was just so new into this world, and she has continued to catch me off guard every moment since.

Today, she held my hand as we walked to school, and smiled when I yelled Happy Birthday through through the gate into her schoolyard. I’ll buy her a birthday treat of French macarons to share with her class, take her home to play, and celebrate at our favorite restaurant, dining on breadsticks and butter, even though we eat mainly gluten-free and vegan. There will be a candle, smiles, a wish and love.

And, it won’t end today, which is my favorite part of birthday celebrations.

We will take the rest of the week, and the rest of the month after that to be in graceful surrender to this period of growth, change and celebration.

The month becomes full of love notes, rich undertones of music and preferences, guidance, and desire.

 

Parenting has always been a full, rich experience for us; full of challenges, mistakes, laughter and tears.

I didn’t always approach motherhood in this way. I birthed my little one at age 19. A sophomore in college, I never turned down an opportunity to prove to the world that I could survive and succeed as a parent, and as a woman who would make a difference. I don’t know how I did what I did, working full time, attending school full time.

And still remembering, even now, every moment of her topsy turvy baby milestones.

Then, Grad school. A huge move. My world falling apart. Depression. Quiet solitude. Rekindling connection even as the world felt too hazy to see straight. Kindergarten, changing schools for 2nd Grade, now 4th Grade. Life here feels perfect again. Possible. Travel, travel, spending a summer living in Paris, eating croissants obsessively. A new messy home that we can redesign together. A week of cold darkness in NYC when the river came raging in. Spending the majority of the winter holiday season nurturing sick bodies from the winter’s viral flu, as we watched the lights twinkle on our tree. (1st time in more than 4 years we’d been sick like that. Hello, green juice + clean eating!) A little girl who made a grocery list for her momma, which listed “Mommy” as the second item.

So I know. Life is difficult, full of challenges. Beautiful.What I once found impossibe – travel being the most notable – is now on the list of obvious possibilities. It all just requires some thought and a little ingenuity, and, voilà.  It becomes.

I couldn’t have become without honoring my lessons, my rules, and my loves.

1. Support. Sisterhood. A community. Women. I would never try to survive without any one of the women who have crossed me path.

2. Curiosity.

3. Asking the questions.

4. Listen to the answers. To a child, every idea, every word is important, necessary, and full of promise.

5. Knowing that I could reinvent the Rules of Parenting when it suited me.

6. They will eat kale, spinach, broccoli and peas. They will drink smoothies that are green, eat salads full of creative nourishment, and they will enjoy it. They will also always learn by example.

7. Trust yourself, and trust them. We all have to navigate the same process, over and over.

8. Make mistakes. Make more mistakes. Tell them. The more you make, the more they can trust you to keep them safe while they make thier own mistakes.

9. Get clear on what you don’t want, to figue out what you do. Decide on non-negotiables – we’re vegan. No meat, thankyouverymuch. Be flexible. She wants to try chicken.

10. Decide if you like the advice that comes your way. Try it out. Keep what works. Reject what doesn’t. You’ll see what feels right and is in alignment with your life. It exists the way books do – to provide perspective and added support.

I would never change one little morsel of my journey. It has always been mine, perfect and right, for us.

 

So you see.

I’ve been sitting down every morning for the last 30 days, knowing that today would be the day I could write these words, but I had to try, to make sense of the story.

In the end, I feel like the wise old grandmother, sharing a tale with children nestled underfoot. Knowing my time has come, but for this one last story, I will not leave this world until its lesson has passed between my lips.

I believe women are strong. I believe birth is powerful. I believe that no matter how strong, how resilient, we cannot take on the world alone, nor should we. We are always, always stronger together.

These are the stories I long to share. Stories that inspire creativity in parenting, trust in the world, and energy that can just transport you into another world where life is possible.

xox

Lindsay

How do you choose to birth?

When I think about HOW I want to birth, to create something, I think : 

It’s all in the setting, in the scene, the feelings.
You are a powerful creature.
How + where do you feel powerful?

The words always changes, but the answer is still the same.

Powerful is when we take risks, when we defy the beliefs that hold us back.
Powerful is when we believe in ourselves.

I feel powerful when I’m taken care of, when I can take a deep breath and encounter spaciousness in my life, not stress.

Wonder how I came to be here?

Try this :
When you wake up each morning, close your eyes and tap in to the central feeling you want that day.

Is it happiness? Joy? Ease? Comfort?

Live your life according to that feeling. 

If it is comfort, perhaps you wear the cozy sweater.

Perhaps you read a book to feel inspired,
or take a tea break to create a feeling of ease.

Perhaps you take a bubble bath in the middle of the day, to spark the feeling of luxuriousness, like my sister-friend Lisa Fabrega does.

What can you do to feel _______?

Leave a comment, and let us know what YOU do to live your life feeling really, really good.


Retreating can help you reconnect.

Retreating can help you reconnect.

I spent my time on retreat this weekend.

  • Shifting ancestral patterns
  • Pulling romance oracle cards
  • Falling in love with a powerful group of women
  • Telling stories in the darkness
  • Talking manners with my daughter
  • Eating bread, and just being really happy, dispite the rain, and my cough/cold/sneezy self.

While I did not disconnect from the world, I certainly did disconnect from my self, the same “self” who has been judging me and holding me back from so many things.

I disconnected and let myself roam freely in thought, meditation, prayer, and intention.

Here’s what I circled with :
I find it powerful to connect with women in community.
I am more powerful in this space than anywhere else.
Except, perhaps birth.
Birth? 
I asked myself.
Yes, birth is the most powerful space we exist in.
Right you are, meditator Linds.  Cool.
Now, what if we could combine the power of heart-centered community, and the power of birth?
We CAN.  Bring support back to women during birth.
The more community you have, the stronger you will be.

It’s my mission to support women during birth.
I’m a momma and I support birth as a doula.
I’ve witnessed normal births, unnecessary medical interventions, and what is often called birth trauma firsthand.
I’ve seen nothing but the benefits of having a doula, in every moment of pregnancy and labor.
Witnessing birth – and birthing my own daughter at age 19 – has taught me that birth is supported best through education, information, and doulas.
I’ve been there.  I’ve supported handfuls of women.  And my wonder child, now almost at the age of 10, is a symbol for me of the power of support.

I believe every woman in her most powerful state is vulnerable and deserves the support that will strengthen her.

Why then, in this age of such strong female community, do we as women choose to birth alone, quietly, our voices and power wrapped inside ourselves?
How do you want to be supported during birth?