Soon after my first baby was born, I found myself floating in a sea of old friends and cherished memories. Amongst the singles and couples, artists and parties, and same glorious world of the downtown set that had become my everyday since moving to New York City, I floated. But now, I was there with a baby. I'd birthed a beautiful little girl in the pink-tiled kitchen of our railroad apartment on second street, and now had to learn to navigate the murky waters of our new world. As the first of our friends to have a child, we knew nothing, were willing to learn everything, and approached our new roles with as much gusto as two sleep deprived first-time parents could muster. It wasn't easy. Then again, it wasn't too hard. But more and more often, we found ourselves floating, still part of the same NYC that we knew and loved, but at the same time, in brand new, unfamiliar territory.
And so, I went to the place where I feel most at home- within my words. I began to write.
I shared my birth story and for the first time, I was met with reactions that were empowering and accepting rather than judgmental or skeptical. Instead of giving me a look of bewilderment or taking two steps back when they heard that we'd birthed our baby at home, women were emailing me and asking "What was it like?" or chiming in, "Me too!". It was the very beginning of an online community. MY online community. It was a glittery little lifeboat filled with new friends, and it was raw and honest and uplifting. I became passionate about telling my stories, and motherhood began to make sense.
The words flowed and the blog grew. Online friends became real life friends. With the birth of my son, I became a mother of two. My world, and my days, became more and more full. Then came sponsorships and social media, and the blogging fortress that I'd built and which rested so near and dear to my heart became my actual job. I was so grateful. But I watched as the online worlds of many writers slowly became bigger and more powerful than their real-life worlds. I watched as online personas and branding overtook individuality and authenticity. Trying to fit into this new ocean of blogging, my words began to feel forced. That's when I knew that I needed a break from it all. I needed a sabbatical.
I continued to write privately, cultivating my ideas and reflecting on gratitude and change. I focused on slowing down. I cooked more. I dug in the dirt with my children. I traveled to California. I developed my photography. I became pregnant again and birthed my third child at home in our new apartment in an unassisted home birth. I lived life. I gathered stories. And I knew that when the time was right, I would once again tell them to the world.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
— Howard Thurman
The passion to write, to connect, swelled within me. I was busier than ever, with three children under five, a daughter in pre-K, a newborn, a thriving photography business, a pitbull, and a husband (who told me daily that he missed reading my blog). But if motherhood has taught me one thing, it is that we are truly capable of anything we put our minds to, and that the more we do, the more we can do.
And so, I write.
I try to connect.
I tell my story.
And I want to read yours.
I have this theory that having kids forces us to abruptly reach our full potential (more on that later!), to take those risks we always wanted to, and to live as authentically as we can for our children's sake. If you had told me five years ago that today I would be sitting here at my laptop, writing (my then brand-new blog) at a fever pitch into the night, while simultaneously planning my daughter's fifth birthday party and my older son's third birthday party, and nursing my four-month-old son, I would have laughed boisterously. "Never in a million years!", I would have told you.
But your gut has a funny way of steering you in the right direction, and my gut says that it's once again time to connect, to make my voice heard. I have so much to tell. I have so much to hear. And thank you so much for listening.
(I'm seriously looking for new blogs to read and friends to connect with, so please let me know via email or comments if you know of any spectacular writers out there. Let's uplift each other in this community together. Peace and love, dear friends!)
Images via my photo project with I Dig Denim