I’ll never forget the memory my husband shared with me as a snippet of the birth of our first son. That is where my motherhood story truly begins. He said, “Something in you changed in that moment, you became a mom.” He was referring to what he physically witnessed in me just moments before our first baby was born. Him saying that to me is one of my most cherished memories. That experience did change me, drastically. As many other mothers will attest, I had no idea a love so big existed.
At 20 years old, I wasn’t ready for a lot of the information I would absorb during my first pregnancy. At 21 years old, ready or not I was giving birth. I would also be plummeting into my first year of caring for a newborn baby. No, this isn’t a birth story, you can find those here, if you’re interested.
However, my story doesn’t start at that moment. It starts long before the transformational moment that baby was placed in my arms…
Before I Became a Mama
Few people know the full story behind my unconventional ways, and I’ll keep it sweet and short for you here. I grew up eating the typical red-capped whole milk from the grocery store. We ate fish sticks, and the same cereal you probably did. (Not in that order, or all together, yuck haha). I didn’t grow up wealthy, and we ate what we had without giving it much thought. I was not taught to cook, and not raised to question ingredients in things, etc. However, we grew up relatively healthy and active. I spent a LOT of time outside growing up and without any serious medical issues.
Fast-forward to entering into adulthood, and my physical activity came almost to a screeching halt. I wasn’t playing sports anymore, or riding horses, and my coupon clipping supported diet was absolute trash. Not knowing how to cook, I found myself married at 19 and really struggling mentally. I was quickly given a diagnosis and multiple prescriptions to counter the symptoms I was experiencing. It wouldn’t be until 2-3 years after that diagnosis that I would realize that I was grossly mis-diagnosed. A bandaid was placed on me with zero consideration for my nutrition or lifestyle.
A few months after starting those meds, I wanted to get off of them. I was offered no help when I shared that with the doctor’s office that had prescribed them. No one would help me. My general practitioner told me, “You’re already on the lowest dose. I don’t know how to help you wean off of these.”
This was the pivotal moment in my life when things started to shift. When I started seeing benefits from using things like essential oils and switching to raw dairy, the questioning of everything else began.
My First Pregnancy
My first pregnancy was…difficult. Not because I was high-risk or because I have any medical conditions that made it so, but because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I was worried and stressed at every turn:
What if I move too quickly, or pick something up that’s too heavy?
How am I going to handle the pain of childbirth? I have such a low pain tolerance and I have no idea what to expect.
Why do I need to get a flu shot, and can that effect my baby?
It wasn’t until I found a Bradley Method instructor and doula at 7 months pregnant that I was at peace with the thought of giving birth. I was terrified before meeting her and taking those classes. Despite having just moved 8 hours north of almost everyone we knew and loved, we ended up doubling down and taking a 12-week childbirth education class in just 6 short weeks. We finished the course just in time to wait for me to go into labor. If you’d like to you can read my first birth story here.
I am a firm believer that the more education you can provide yourself with before your first pregnancy, the less stress and overwhelm you’ll experience during that pregnancy. That will also naturally effect your birth experience, and first year of life with your new baby. People in our culture don’t pass down wisdom like they once did (or welcome it when it’s offered), and our motherhood journeys suffer for it.
My Second, Third, and Fourth Pregnancies
Sadly, we experienced an early miscarriage with our second pregnancy. This taught me it’s own set of lessons, but some of those weren’t understood until years later……
My third pregnancy with our second son had it’s own set of difficulty and stress, especially following a miscarriage. The biggest difference in this in contrast to my first was the care team we chose for this baby. I knew after the hospital birth with our first that I would seek an out of hospital birth next time. This time, we hired a certified professional midwife for my prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. We had a very quick home birth with a skilled team, you can read that birth story here.
My fourth pregnancy was much easier on my body than my previous ones. We had our second home birth with him as well.
I want to clarify something that I learned through my years as a birth photographer and doula. (I did this from the time my first baby was 2 years old until he was about 6.) Just because I have had unmedicated hospital births, home births, and choose differently than you might, doesn’t make me right and you wrong.
Do I think you should consider all of your options fully, including home birth with a skilled and professional team of midwives? Whole heartedly, yes. Do I think you’re wrong if you choose differently than I did? Absolutely not. However, you can’t make a fully educated decision without fully understanding what your options are. Just like there are some phenomenal obstetricians, there are just as many skilled midwives helping women deliver babies safely at home. You may be surprised to learn that many professional midwives learn the exact same skillset as OBs. The biggest difference being that they don’t learn to perform surgery. The reality is if you don’t know what your options are, you don’t have any.
Learning Through Motherhood
I share so much about my pregnancies because without them, I wouldn’t have the knowledge or skills to share my story with clarity. The compelling I’ve always felt to share my own birth stories openly have undoubtedly had a positive impact on many other’s pregnancies and birth experiences.
It’s not just through pregnancy and childbirth that I’ve learned, though. When I was 9 months postpartum with my first son, I did my first Whole30. I had no clue what I was doing in the kitchen as a young stay at home mama with a small family to feed. In 2014, you couldn’t buy many things that were compliant for Whole30 in the store. I had to learn quickly how to make things from scratch if I wanted to eat and stay on track. Homemade mayo, ranch, and ketchup are skills still pressed on my memory now.
Sometime after that, I learned about some real food and natural living meetings local to me. The woman I was picking up my fresh, raw Jersey milk from led a local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter. They held monthly nutrient-dense potlucks and meetings that covered a different topic each time. There may have been mostly older crowds that showed up for this, but I learned priceless valuable information that I couldn’t have learned elsewhere.
Motherhood is a Marathon
There is so very much to learn when we enter into motherhood. I believe we go through waves of absorbing massive amounts of information, to learning how to apply those, and even getting overwhelmed when it all becomes too much. This is all part of learning. Mistakes will be made. Without mistakes, how can we really learn anything?Motherhood is a marathon, which gives us the grace of space to learn and make small adjustments overtime.
If I would have switched my lifestyle from what it was for the first 20 years of my life to what it is now overnight, I would have crumbled under the pressure. I started making sourdough bread less than 3 years ago and I just the other day learned something new about using my starter (thank you to my friend Liz from Homegrown Education, you’re a literal culture saver, pun-intended).
Let this be an encouragement to you now. Life is a journey of living and learning and making small adjustments for the sake of serving your loved ones. It will take change, sacrifice, and hard work sometimes. But, when you make the adjustments over time at a pace that serves you and your family, you make space to flourish. You make space to cultivate a more holistic, healthy, and natural home.
Restore Your Home
Readiness wasn’t even on my mind when I began this lifelong journey of restoring my own home. I’m still doing it now, and I hope to never stop. There is always more to learn, but I hope that you’ll at least start somewhere. If you need a place to start, my Restore Your Home Challenge is a fantastic option. I created this challenge and resource with the hopes that it will get you started on your own journey. Or, perhaps encourage you to keep going if you’ve been at it for a while.
Over the course of this next year, I will be providing a different free printable PDF checklist that focuses on a different part of your home.
- January | Kitchen
- February | Medicine Cabinet
- March | Cleaning Products
- April | Furniture, Closet, + Linens
- May | Catchup + Review
- June | Air Quality
- July | Technology
- August | Water
- September | Garden + Yard
- October | Bath, Body, + Haircare
- November | Catchup + Review
- December | End of Year Wrap Up
This is for you to have an organized place to dig into all of the nooks and crannies of your home. Customize this challenge how you want to restore your own home. This is going to look different for everyone, don’t play the comparison game and just start.
If you consider yourself a homemaker at all, I invite you to join me alongside numerous other homemakers and start restoring your home, today.