New mama life is 24/7. Baby Shaye just turned 5 months and is busy babbling, grabbing, teething, rolling and scooching. We are very busy walking miles together napping in the carrier, and adventuring into nature as much as we can. So much joy on so little sleep!
Sending much compassion and encouragement to all the mamas out there... this is crazy and you're doing great! Being a mama is definitely the hardest job of all. Don't forget to slow down and ENJOY the little moments... it's all there really is. I have to remember this so many times a day... slow.... down, this is it.
We did it! Baby Shaye just turned 3 months, thriving and full of personality. (Fourth Trimester is for REAL!) We have been initiated as parents to this sweet little newborn now becoming a baby boy! Life is... full. Many profound and delirious revelations about this rite of passage have come and gone amidst the sleepless nights and healing baby giggles. In the spirit of community, which has revealed itself again in our lives, I wish to share a few thanks and thoughts.
I read recently that it takes a village to raise a child and a tribe to hold a mom. Thank you to our village and our tribe. Your showing up for me, for us, in the many layers of this process has given us the love, support and food:) we've needed to become who we need to become for Shaye. Thank you for being our amazing circle of magical Aunties, Uncles and wise Elders. And thank you to our blood family, for loving us through our crazy, and showing us you do "see" us, truly. You are all our family!
Being a mom is totally crazy and hard. It takes every bit of myself to just. keep. showing. up. No matter what. I thought I understood that it would be the hardest job ever, then I became a mom, and wow, it's really hard! It's not just about being a mom to your sweet or freaking out little baby, it's about being a mom and also still being a wife, sister, daughter, woman and human of your own (though that's pretty much over!). It also takes constant positive reinforcement from other moms and understanding friends to keep up the good work. Dear god thank you to each incredible person who visited, called, texted and checked on me these past 3 months, especially the moms. I literally would not have made it to the other side without you.
Birth, is also hard. I had no idea. Again, I thought I knew, but I didn't know. I don't think you can really know, until you are IN it. Our birth in particular was really hard. I was in labor for 3 days with various complications (having never even been in a hospital before!) but ultimately pushed him out in a half hour at the end! Thank F*ING GOD for our Doula, Meadow, my hero and saving grace. Shaye would not be here without you. You deserve millions of dollars and sparkling awards. I cherish you. You will forever be etched into my birthing memory, guiding me like a dark raven dream. I have a completely different understanding of birth, and what it has taken for every single person on this planet to get here. Everyone was born! Just... wow.
Partnership as parents, also hard. Go figure. You could go days without even hugging, let alone have a meaningful connection. But you also get to see an entirely new side of your person, like a secret self being revealed. I am so blessed to witness my husband in his rite of passage becoming a Father. In there all along, it took this glorious little baby creature to reveal the most soft, gentle, committed, loving dad. Jed, you are such a good man, and now you are such a good dad. Your embodiment of what it means to be a man in this world is so, so needed. I love you so much. And thank god we did all that hard relationship work first, so I can keep remembering to trust completely in US, as we inevitably fall apart and more deeply into the messiness of love.
Family. Motherhood. It's the mirror we choose and don't quite choose. The passageway that gives us life and leaves our starlight behind as our children. The path we somehow can't ever fully realize or turn away from, no matter how much we love or grieve or give. It's not fair and it's gorgeously challenging. You make life-giving milk for it and your hair falls out for it. You literally get stretch marks from it. You've never slept so little, been so torn up inside and out, pushed beyond the beyond of your edges, to love someone so tiny and new, who you don't even know yet, so completely. And you still have to keep making money and doing the dishes and the laundry, but your everything is rearranged. No matter the story, you're never the same.
I spent an hour alone in quiet for the first time in a very long time, a week or so ago, in a hot tub under a dark moon night. As I rest my tired body in the delicious hot water and gazed up at those familiar constellations after so many starless nights, I realized that I would never be alone again. I have never really felt "alone" in this world (lucky me) but an entirely new level of "not alone" hit me. It was as if the starry cord that had brought our baby to join us in this world was now made of flesh - utterly vulnerable and time-bound. Human. And I am made more human by it.
It was then that I realized, I would never look out into the darkness of any night ever again without thinking of my child, imagining him, wondering if he is safe, wishing his world to be so full of love, wanting so much for him. I will never get into any hot tub and not be a mom. Someone else, of my own body, now exists in the world with me. A new constellation, I will never be without him. Being a mom is a forever thing.
Moms, you get this I know, but humor me, I'm new. I am one of those children and I am one of those mamas now too, woven into some never ending astral tapestry of one generation to the next crossing over, and crossing back. I'd get covered in spit-up a thousand times again to feel his little baby hand softly caress my chest as he drinks his milk. Humbled, I feel pushed to love and be loved more than I knew was possible. To literally be torn open for life.
Special thanks to my mama, who I have more compassion for now than was imaginable before my birth into motherhood. And to my husband for holding my and Shaye's journey into this world as mother and child with such tender care. And to my community for witnessing me, us. And to Shaye, for choosing us, for making the long journey into our arms, and for being our greatest teacher. It's just the beginning!
Excitement and fear about baby's birth are swirling within me daily. What a potent and vulnerable time to be on this planet and so pregnant with new life. It's amazing this miracle has unfolded in such a short time - and - I am SO ready to get this little whale outta me! Thank you for helping me hold the Mystery in my body, heart and soul as I, as we 3, take this next step into the unknown. Your generous hearts are a guiding light for all of us as we cross this threshold.
Hugs from Emily, Jed & baby soon to be in our arms!
We asked the girls to write an anonymous note to any future girls considering joining Love Your Nature events. Here are a few gems...
Hope you enjoy these honest gems and they inspire you to check out what's happening with LYN!
Emily & the girls
sex/dating, drugs, and how to stay true to yourself (and even know who that "self" is and how to get in touch with her!) We shared honest conversation, we role played, we worked out scenarios, we offered up vulnerable questions and stories, we shared in a potent ritual, ate delicious food, and most of all, we had a blast being fully ourselves - together!
Thank you to all the parents for trusting us with your amazing girls, and for believing in the work we do! Thank you to our mentors, those who generously gift us their teachings so we may be guides for your girls and forces of good in this world. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, helping us find ours, and showing us the importance of passing it on.
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EMILY FROST is an artist and mentor working with youth and families in the Bay Area. She is the founder of LOVE YOUR NATURE, a movement devoted to girls and women awakening to their inherent wisdom, power, and purpose.