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Blood, Sweat and Tears

This Mother’s Day we wanted to share real experiences of modern motherhood. Celebrating both the victories and the challenges, we spoke to four women who inspire us, all at different places with the idea of what motherhood looks like to them.

Pear Diamond Pendant - $335
14k Yellow Gold

Embraced for its teardrop shape, this delicate design holds a sense of poise and strength. With a minimal and unique three-prong setting, the pear diamond reflects a small but mighty brilliance.

Pear Pendant Necklace - $433
14k Yellow Gold

To pay tribute to this deep form of connection, we’ve designed a necklace that features a ‘teardrop’ diamond, symbolizing the strength in vulnerability that we’re bound to face as modern women and mothers alike.

Jaycina

Artist, Model and Mom to Syx.

“Getting pregnant at 20, I was still a kid in many ways. Becoming a mom has given me a whole new purpose in life and lit a fire inside that I never knew was there.”

Read Story

Jen

Video Producer; Founder, Window of Imagination.

“Speak up; if you’ve gone through any version of pregnancy loss... I think opening up and being honest about your experience will help others find their own voice. ”

Read Story

Narelle

Doula and Mother to Oliver and Willow–– with Another on The Way.

“Being a mom has taught me strength, love, patience and flexibility beyond my wildest imagination. It has shed light on the darkest places inside me and helped me become more inquisitive. ”

Read Story

Paige

Fashion Production Coordinator and Single Mom-To-Be.

“I believe society could be supportive by acknowledging that motherhood is a diverse thing. It doesn't always come in this traditional family unit. ”

Read Story

Jaycina Almond

Artist, model and mom to one-year-old Syx.

Jaycina’s journey to motherhood has been her journey to womanhood. In her early twenties, she has already grown to contain unbreakable patience, compassion and determination–– revealing aspects of herself she didn't know were there.

With one-year-old daughter Syx a constant by her side, it is with striking composure that Jaycina has embraced the demands of motherhood–– but it is not without its struggles and sacrifice. She has brought out the best in herself for her daughter, living a life very different to most 22 year-olds.

What do your mornings look like?

Usually slow, waking up at around 7a.m. Syx won’t get out of bed without nursing–– its become our thing. Then we’ll do our hygiene routine, I’ll cook breakfast and, by the time she’s done eating, it’s time for her first nap of the day. Frank Ocean is more than likely playing in the background while this is happening!

Tell us what it was like to find out you were pregnant –– were you expecting it?

We knew I was pregnant for two weeks before my period–– it’s so strange but we both kept saying it. My period was supposed to come on June 24th, her dad’s birthday, so after a shoot I stopped at a CVS to get a test. I handed it to him like, “Happy birthday!” We weren’t expecting a baby, so it was scary and exciting. I was only twenty but it just felt right.

How has life changed since Syx was born?

Life has only changed for the better! Her existence just motivates me to be the best I can be, and yeah, it might take me 15 minutes to get out the house and I’ve gone out a total of about seven times since she was born–– but that doesn’t matter when you look down and see this smiling little human who’s only got eyes for you.

Describe what motherhood is, to you.

Motherhood has been my journey to womanhood. Getting pregnant at 20, I was still a kid in many ways. Becoming a mom has given me a whole new purpose in life and lit a fire inside that I never knew was there… It means being secure and confident in who I am and what I stand for. It also means being able to change a diaper in my lap, perfecting the art of distraction, and conquering my fear of bugs!

The one thing I didn’t really consider while pregnant is the loneliness that comes with motherhood at a young age, especially as a stay at home mom.

Syx’s dad is often on tour for work. How do you balance life as a mom, artist and model?

It’s hard. Haha. I’m incredibly lucky. I’m able to stay at home with Syx, so some weeks I might not have a single shoot. Other weeks I might shoot every day. That’s where her army of aunts comes in –– especially my best friend and Syx’s god mom. I couldn’t do it without my village.

It’s also about knowing your limits, not pushing too hard, and carving out the space to do things for yourself.

So far, as a mother, what have been your greatest challenges?

My greatest challenge in motherhood is not being too hard on myself. Mommy guilt is so real. I had to learn how to chill and just realize that as long as she’s happy and healthy, that’s all that matters.

The greatest reward?

Every single smile.

How has motherhood changed you?

I still have a bunch of growing to do, but motherhood has forced me to really grow into the woman I always dreamed of being. It has also changed the way I view others. I try not to pass judgment because feeling shame when Syx is crying in public isn’t cool. I’ve realized you never know what other people are going through.

What do you wish was more transparent about parenting and motherhood?

Everything. We co-parent and I wish more people talked about co-parenting and single parenthood without the shame or guilt, or the less-than feeling that comes with it. And just more transparency on how hard motherhood truly is–– not everything is as it seems on Instagram. Most of the time I’m in my pajamas, ordering food that will probably be cold before I get the chance to eat it, and wondering if I’ll be able to shave my legs this week.

What’s the best way we can support other moms in our communities?

Listen to them! Validate their feelings! Hold the baby so she can eat or shower! And just showing up and being willing to do whatever really makes a difference–– sometimes moms just need to have an adult conversation.

What advice would you give to other women on pregnancy and motherhood?

Always follow your gut. If it feels right, it’s probably right. If it feels wrong, it’s probably wrong. There’s been plenty of mothers before you and there will be plenty after you–– you aren’t alone. Go with the flow, nothing goes as planned when there is a baby involved! You’ve got to be able to adapt. Drink a ton of red raspberry leaf tea and eat six dates a day in the third trimester. Haha.

How do you hope the world will change for women by the time Syx is your age, and what kind of woman do you hope she’ll be?

I just want Syx to love herself, others, and the world–– and do whatever makes her happy. I hope all of the things that we are taking a stand against right now are no longer issues that she has to worry about. Especially as a black woman.

What do your mornings look like?

Usually slow, waking up at around 7a.m. Syx won’t get out of bed without nursing–– its become our thing. Then we’ll do our hygiene routine, I’ll cook breakfast and, by the time she’s done eating, it’s time for her first nap of the day. Frank Ocean is more than likely playing in the background while this is happening!

Tell us what it was like to find out you were pregnant –– were you expecting it?

We knew I was pregnant for two weeks before my period–– it’s so strange but we both kept saying it. My period was supposed to come on June 24th, her dad’s birthday, so after a shoot I stopped at a CVS to get a test. I handed it to him like, “Happy birthday!” We weren’t expecting a baby, so it was scary and exciting. I was only twenty but it just felt right.

How has life changed since Syx was born?

Life has only changed for the better! Her existence just motivates me to be the best I can be, and yeah, it might take me 15 minutes to get out the house and I’ve gone out a total of about seven times since she was born–– but that doesn’t matter when you look down and see this smiling little human who’s only got eyes for you.

Describe what motherhood is, to you.

Motherhood has been my journey to womanhood. Getting pregnant at 20, I was still a kid in many ways. Becoming a mom has given me a whole new purpose in life and lit a fire inside that I never knew was there… It means being secure and confident in who I am and what I stand for. It also means being able to change a diaper in my lap, perfecting the art of distraction, and conquering my fear of bugs!

The one thing I didn’t really consider while pregnant is the loneliness that comes with motherhood at a young age, especially as a stay at home mom.

Syx’s dad is often on tour for work. How do you balance life as a mom, artist and model?

It’s hard. Haha. I’m incredibly lucky. I’m able to stay at home with Syx, so some weeks I might not have a single shoot. Other weeks I might shoot every day. That’s where her army of aunts comes in –– especially my best friend and Syx’s god mom. I couldn’t do it without my village.

It’s also about knowing your limits, not pushing too hard, and carving out the space to do things for yourself.

So far, as a mother, what have been your greatest challenges?

My greatest challenge in motherhood is not being too hard on myself. Mommy guilt is so real. I had to learn how to chill and just realize that as long as she’s happy and healthy, that’s all that matters.

The greatest reward?

Every single smile.

How has motherhood changed you?

I still have a bunch of growing to do, but motherhood has forced me to really grow into the woman I always dreamed of being. It has also changed the way I view others. I try not to pass judgment because feeling shame when Syx is crying in public isn’t cool. I’ve realized you never know what other people are going through.

What do you wish was more transparent about parenting and motherhood?

Everything. We co-parent and I wish more people talked about co-parenting and single parenthood without the shame or guilt, or the less-than feeling that comes with it. And just more transparency on how hard motherhood truly is–– not everything is as it seems on Instagram. Most of the time I’m in my pajamas, ordering food that will probably be cold before I get the chance to eat it, and wondering if I’ll be able to shave my legs this week.

What’s the best way we can support other moms in our communities?

Listen to them! Validate their feelings! Hold the baby so she can eat or shower! And just showing up and being willing to do whatever really makes a difference–– sometimes moms just need to have an adult conversation.

What advice would you give to other women on pregnancy and motherhood?

Always follow your gut. If it feels right, it’s probably right. If it feels wrong, it’s probably wrong. There’s been plenty of mothers before you and there will be plenty after you–– you aren’t alone. Go with the flow, nothing goes as planned when there is a baby involved! You’ve got to be able to adapt. Drink a ton of red raspberry leaf tea and eat six dates a day in the third trimester. Haha.

How do you hope the world will change for women by the time Syx is your age, and what kind of woman do you hope she’ll be?

I just want Syx to love herself, others, and the world–– and do whatever makes her happy. I hope all of the things that we are taking a stand against right now are no longer issues that she has to worry about. Especially as a black woman.

Jen Szeto

Video Producer; Founder, Window of Imagination.

The road to motherhood is winding, complicated–– it can be impossible to navigate and, at times, heartbreaking. The stories of pregnancies and births that didn’t go as planned are often left untold, with women isolated in silence and grief.

Over the past couple of years, Jen has faced her own complications and heartbreak. But the resolve she has shown is a testament to the mother she will one day be. By breaking the silence on her own experience, Jen hopes that other women take comfort in knowing they are not alone–– and that, yes, there is a way through this.

You’ve been trying to start a family –– how has that experience been challenging?

My husband and I are keen on having kids together and we often talk about what that life would be like. It melts my heart every time he tells me how he can’t wait for that day to come.

It’s been an uphill battle for the last year. In March 2017 I was surprised to find myself newly pregnant, as we weren’t trying at the time. It ended up becoming what’s called a ‘chemical pregnancy’ where I miscarried very early in the gestational phase. It had only lasted a week but it was an emotional roller coaster for the both of us.

Three months later at the end of June, I was texting with my close girlfriend and found out she was newly pregnant. I told her I had been feeling strange but my period wasn’t due for another 6 days, yet she urged me to take a pregnancy test that day. After we finished talking, I walked to a drug store and grabbed a stick; when I tested it instantly turned positive. We were so damn happy. I had been carrying for 8 weeks when, on the Saturday before my first prenatal appointment, I felt the slightest twinge of a cramp. I paid no mind thinking it was just a growing pain, but when I went in for the ultrasound my doctor was having difficulty detecting a heartbeat. She switched machines, but still, nothing. In her long, eery silence I knew she wouldn’t ever find it. I looked up at my husband and I could see the sadness in his eyes. In that moment I was overcome with the crushing feeling of loss and failure and just started bawling. They diagnosed it as a ‘missed miscarriage’. I was immediately given three options for expulsion but I couldn’t hear anything, I just wanted to leave.

Did you know that during a missed miscarriage your body will still think it’s pregnant until the fetus is expelled? It’s disturbing in so many ways. I ended up having ‘little nugget’ surgically removed a week and a half later. It was traumatizing to say the least. I told my husband, Colin, that I wanted to wait before trying again so we agreed to pause until the new year. We picked back up in January but it’s been taking longer than expected. We’re still trying.

Who have you looked to for support through this?

The first time I miscarried I reached out to one of my sisters because I knew she had gone through a similar situation. I also called a few close girlfriends because I was dumbfounded by the whole experience and needed a few shoulders to lean on. The second time it happened I called my friend whom I first revealed my pregnancy to because, interestingly enough, she had gone through the exact same miscarriage experience as I did prior to the birth of her first child. In both experiences I found comfort in hearing what others had gone through and how they’d overcome since then. Some went on to have healthy pregnancies, others not so, but have learned to cope. And, in having these conversations and doing online research, I realized just how common miscarriage is––  up to 25 percent of all active pregnancies end this way.One in four. Between confiding in my circle and learning the facts,I slowly began to heal.

Do you believe more transparency around issues like this is necessary?

Absolutely. Everyone I talk to agrees that we shouldn’t feel burdened by our non-linear path to motherhood; in fact, we should feel empowered to talk about it more for the sake of helping others. I’ve found so much healing in learning from other women’s experiences that I feel it’s my duty to pay it forward and share my own.

What do you see as the most urgent and important changes we can make?

Speak up; if you’ve gone through any version of pregnancy loss (miscarriage, abortion, ectopic, stillborn, the list goes on…) I think opening up and being honest about your experience will help others find their own voice. Listen; one of the biggest fears in this type of experience is the feeling of being judged. So if you’re on the receiving end, try to be a thoughtful, objective listener – it’s just as impactful. Be respectful; be mindful of the person you’re talking to, not all are looking for words of advice or “better luck next time” pats on the back. Honestly, one of the hardest responses to stomach has been, “Don’t worry, you’ll be a great mom someday.” In certain situations words of condolence is all that is needed; feel it out and let the person who’s sharing their story drive the conversation.

Do you think this experience has changed you?

I’ve grown so much from this. I know that, without a doubt, I want to become a mother and raise a child of my own. But I’ve also realized that I don’t have to be a mother to love, nurture, and provide for others. I’ve learned that my willingness to be vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness. And I’ve learned to cope with loss, but I’ll never forget.

If there’s a woman reading this who’s just been through the same experience, is there any advice or knowledge you can share that might help them?

There’s no right or wrong way to process something like miscarriage, so go at your own pace. But know this: It’s not your fault. In most cases miscarriages occur because your body detects an abnormality and is going through these motions to protect you. Also know, you are not alone. You may feel overwhelmed by everything that’s happening, and you may find healing alone is the best medicine. That’s ok. But talking

through grief can be helpful, too. And I’m earnest when I say, you can always reach out to me.

What do you think your day will look like five years from now?

Colin and I agree that if we have kids we should try not to lose sight who we are; that we should continue to fulfill our desires of adventure and curiosity. So I hope in five years my days won’t be too different from now except we’d have a new companion to share our days with. And if parenthood isn’t in our cards, then so be it – we’ll keep enjoying each other’s company as we continue to navigate this world together.

You’ve been trying to start a family –– how has that experience been challenging?

My husband and I are keen on having kids together and we often talk about what that life would be like. It melts my heart every time he tells me how he can’t wait for that day to come.

It’s been an uphill battle for the last year. In March 2017 I was surprised to find myself newly pregnant, as we weren’t trying at the time. It ended up becoming what’s called a ‘chemical pregnancy’ where I miscarried very early in the gestational phase. It had only lasted a week but it was an emotional roller coaster for the both of us.

Three months later at the end of June, I was texting with my close girlfriend and found out she was newly pregnant. I told her I had been feeling strange but my period wasn’t due for another 6 days, yet she urged me to take a pregnancy test that day. After we finished talking, I walked to a drug store and grabbed a stick; when I tested it instantly turned positive. We were so damn happy. I had been carrying for 8 weeks when, on the Saturday before my first prenatal appointment, I felt the slightest twinge of a cramp. I paid no mind thinking it was just a growing pain, but when I went in for the ultrasound my doctor was having difficulty detecting a heartbeat. She switched machines, but still, nothing. In her long, eery silence I knew she wouldn’t ever find it. I looked up at my husband and I could see the sadness in his eyes. In that moment I was overcome with the crushing feeling of loss and failure and just started bawling. They diagnosed it as a ‘missed miscarriage’. I was immediately given three options for expulsion but I couldn’t hear anything, I just wanted to leave.

Did you know that during a missed miscarriage your body will still think it’s pregnant until the fetus is expelled? It’s disturbing in so many ways. I ended up having ‘little nugget’ surgically removed a week and a half later. It was traumatizing to say the least. I told my husband, Colin, that I wanted to wait before trying again so we agreed to pause until the new year. We picked back up in January but it’s been taking longer than expected. We’re still trying.

Who have you looked to for support through this?

The first time I miscarried I reached out to one of my sisters because I knew she had gone through a similar situation. I also called a few close girlfriends because I was dumbfounded by the whole experience and needed a few shoulders to lean on. The second time it happened I called my friend whom I first revealed my pregnancy to because, interestingly enough, she had gone through the exact same miscarriage experience as I did prior to the birth of her first child. In both experiences I found comfort in hearing what others had gone through and how they’d overcome since then. Some went on to have healthy pregnancies, others not so, but have learned to cope. And, in having these conversations and doing online research, I realized just how common miscarriage is––  up to 25 percent of all active pregnancies end this way.One in four. Between confiding in my circle and learning the facts,I slowly began to heal.

Do you believe more transparency around issues like this is necessary?

Absolutely. Everyone I talk to agrees that we shouldn’t feel burdened by our non-linear path to motherhood; in fact, we should feel empowered to talk about it more for the sake of helping others. I’ve found so much healing in learning from other women’s experiences that I feel it’s my duty to pay it forward and share my own.

What do you see as the most urgent and important changes we can make?

Speak up; if you’ve gone through any version of pregnancy loss (miscarriage, abortion, ectopic, stillborn, the list goes on…) I think opening up and being honest about your experience will help others find their own voice. Listen; one of the biggest fears in this type of experience is the feeling of being judged. So if you’re on the receiving end, try to be a thoughtful, objective listener – it’s just as impactful. Be respectful; be mindful of the person you’re talking to, not all are looking for words of advice or “better luck next time” pats on the back. Honestly, one of the hardest responses to stomach has been, “Don’t worry, you’ll be a great mom someday.” In certain situations words of condolence is all that is needed; feel it out and let the person who’s sharing their story drive the conversation.

Do you think this experience has changed you?

I’ve grown so much from this. I know that, without a doubt, I want to become a mother and raise a child of my own. But I’ve also realized that I don’t have to be a mother to love, nurture, and provide for others. I’ve learned that my willingness to be vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness. And I’ve learned to cope with loss, but I’ll never forget.

If there’s a woman reading this who’s just been through the same experience, is there any advice or knowledge you can share that might help them?

There’s no right or wrong way to process something like miscarriage, so go at your own pace. But know this: It’s not your fault. In most cases miscarriages occur because your body detects an abnormality and is going through these motions to protect you. Also know, you are not alone. You may feel overwhelmed by everything that’s happening, and you may find healing alone is the best medicine. That’s ok. But talking

through grief can be helpful, too. And I’m earnest when I say, you can always reach out to me.

What do you think your day will look like five years from now?

Colin and I agree that if we have kids we should try not to lose sight who we are; that we should continue to fulfill our desires of adventure and curiosity. So I hope in five years my days won’t be too different from now except we’d have a new companion to share our days with. And if parenthood isn’t in our cards, then so be it – we’ll keep enjoying each other’s company as we continue to navigate this world together.

Narelle Melnick

Ayurevdic doula; and mother to Oliver and Willow–– with another on the way.

Motherhood is beautiful and messy–– a diverse experience for all women. Narelle understands this deeper than most, as both a mother of two (with a third on the way!) and as an Ayurvedic postpartum doula.

After her own experience of becoming a mom, Narelle was inspired to provide support to other women in the community. She devotes her career to nurturing women after the exhaustion of pregnancy and childbirth, so they have the strength to care for their child and themselves.

You just found out that you’re pregnant with your third child. How is each pregnancy different?

Fortunately, I’ve had very gentle, easy pregnancies. Physically, each has been quite similar, but my emotional state has felt different each time. My first, Oliver, wasn’t planned, and I was filled with total awe and excitement. Skipping through my technicolor world, a conduit life! For Willow, we tried for ten months before I conceived–– and the excitement was bundled with fear of how I could manage two. We were still so tired from Oliver!

And now, with Willow just 8 months, what a surprise! There was some initial shock and worry, but we’re ecstatically happy! I’m in a place of accepting all the layers of emotion. It’s an indication of life–– our inability to predict anything. Oh, and this current pregnancy and tiredness? Who cares?! No sleep till Brooklyn. That’s the biggest difference–– less time to savor the magic.

And how is each birth different?

I had both kids at home. The first was thirteen hours with the most hellish pushing period, which lasted close to five hours. It was so incredible to slip right into my own bed after that experience, such a relief! Then my body had it all figured out with Willow. Four hours in labor and she spiraled right out with a couple of minutes of pushing! The intensity of labor was like nothing else though, and I didn’t know it would only last four hours so all I was thinking was, “Oh, God, why the hell did I decide to do this at home?!”

I hope we are just as blessed with our third experience. It’s so close to Willow’s birth that I still viscerally remember the intensity of it all–– which isn’t great!

Describe motherhood, to you.

Motherhood is constant. It’s non-stop, 24-hour, around-the-clock nurturing. It’s truly a gift to love so hard, and be loved and needed so intensely. To be forced to be so introspective, to learn about limits and boundaries, about patience and resilience and to have so many opportunities to work through it all. It’s an adventure where I often find myself wondering if I’m doing it right, and a great lesson in learning the dire necessity for self-care and the humbling experience of reaching out for support. It’s fun and beautiful, and intense and emotional and the very best journey I’ve ever been on!

What’s the most rewarding part?

My kids' joy for living, and looking at the world through their fresh eyes.

And the most challenging?

The fatigue and general confusion! Learning to discern between their discomfort or challenge and my own so that I can grant them their own opportunities for growth and discovery, unhampered by my own perceptions and labels.

How has motherhood changed you?

How has it not changed me? It's like a death to the self I formerly was, or thought I knew.

Why did you choose to become a doula? Can you tell us what that entails?

I have trained and taught yoga in the prenatal/postpartum realm for sometime but, in the wake of Oliver’s birth, I realized just how crucial receiving support at that time was. Our families live far away, so I received very little help. In time and alongside my complete exhaustion and a crippling back condition, I recognized my own challenge in asking for and receiving much-needed support. It’s a challenge face by so many mothers in our culture–– we’re not living in villages that help women as they make the tremendous transition into motherhood.

Becoming a doula was a natural progression for me, with my background in yoga and other healing arts. My role as an Ayurvedic post-natal doula is to arrive into the home of a new family and provide that sense of sisterhood; quiet, non-judgemental, intuitive assistance and guidance wherever is needed with a special emphasis on healing food and warm oil massage. I mother the mother and help bring her back into balance after her pregnancy and birth, so that she can nurture her baby, herself and her family for the years to follow.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me strength, love, patience and flexibility beyond my wildest imagination. It has shed light on the darkest places inside me and helped me become more inquisitive.

What are your hopes for your kids?

I hope that my children are connected to themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. That they sense their truth and purpose. That they are a source of healing in this world.

And your hopes for the future of motherhood –– and womanhood?

I hope as women we can all come to feel and deeply understand the depth and truth of our sisterhood, and be able to graciously honor each individual’s journey; the struggle that each of us are faced with as mothers. Let us cease judgement all together. We can never know, truly and deeply where another woman is coming from, what she has been through, where she is at. We must trust that we are all doing the very best we can with the resources we have available to us. We all need and deserve love and support along this crooked path called motherhood.

You just found out that you’re pregnant with your third child. How is each pregnancy different?

Fortunately, I’ve had very gentle, easy pregnancies. Physically, each has been quite similar, but my emotional state has felt different each time. My first, Oliver, wasn’t planned, and I was filled with total awe and excitement. Skipping through my technicolor world, a conduit life! For Willow, we tried for ten months before I conceived–– and the excitement was bundled with fear of how I could manage two. We were still so tired from Oliver!

And now, with Willow just 8 months, what a surprise! There was some initial shock and worry, but we’re ecstatically happy! I’m in a place of accepting all the layers of emotion. It’s an indication of life–– our inability to predict anything. Oh, and this current pregnancy and tiredness? Who cares?! No sleep till Brooklyn. That’s the biggest difference–– less time to savor the magic.

And how is each birth different?

I had both kids at home. The first was thirteen hours with the most hellish pushing period, which lasted close to five hours. It was so incredible to slip right into my own bed after that experience, such a relief! Then my body had it all figured out with Willow. Four hours in labor and she spiraled right out with a couple of minutes of pushing! The intensity of labor was like nothing else though, and I didn’t know it would only last four hours so all I was thinking was, “Oh, God, why the hell did I decide to do this at home?!”

I hope we are just as blessed with our third experience. It’s so close to Willow’s birth that I still viscerally remember the intensity of it all–– which isn’t great!

Describe motherhood, to you.

Motherhood is constant. It’s non-stop, 24-hour, around-the-clock nurturing. It’s truly a gift to love so hard, and be loved and needed so intensely. To be forced to be so introspective, to learn about limits and boundaries, about patience and resilience and to have so many opportunities to work through it all. It’s an adventure where I often find myself wondering if I’m doing it right, and a great lesson in learning the dire necessity for self-care and the humbling experience of reaching out for support. It’s fun and beautiful, and intense and emotional and the very best journey I’ve ever been on!

What’s the most rewarding part?

My kids' joy for living, and looking at the world through their fresh eyes.

And the most challenging?

The fatigue and general confusion! Learning to discern between their discomfort or challenge and my own so that I can grant them their own opportunities for growth and discovery, unhampered by my own perceptions and labels.

How has motherhood changed you?

How has it not changed me? It's like a death to the self I formerly was, or thought I knew.

Why did you choose to become a doula? Can you tell us what that entails?

I have trained and taught yoga in the prenatal/postpartum realm for sometime but, in the wake of Oliver’s birth, I realized just how crucial receiving support at that time was. Our families live far away, so I received very little help. In time and alongside my complete exhaustion and a crippling back condition, I recognized my own challenge in asking for and receiving much-needed support. It’s a challenge face by so many mothers in our culture–– we’re not living in villages that help women as they make the tremendous transition into motherhood.

Becoming a doula was a natural progression for me, with my background in yoga and other healing arts. My role as an Ayurvedic post-natal doula is to arrive into the home of a new family and provide that sense of sisterhood; quiet, non-judgemental, intuitive assistance and guidance wherever is needed with a special emphasis on healing food and warm oil massage. I mother the mother and help bring her back into balance after her pregnancy and birth, so that she can nurture her baby, herself and her family for the years to follow.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me strength, love, patience and flexibility beyond my wildest imagination. It has shed light on the darkest places inside me and helped me become more inquisitive.

What are your hopes for your kids?

I hope that my children are connected to themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. That they sense their truth and purpose. That they are a source of healing in this world.

And your hopes for the future of motherhood –– and womanhood?

I hope as women we can all come to feel and deeply understand the depth and truth of our sisterhood, and be able to graciously honor each individual’s journey; the struggle that each of us are faced with as mothers. Let us cease judgement all together. We can never know, truly and deeply where another woman is coming from, what she has been through, where she is at. We must trust that we are all doing the very best we can with the resources we have available to us. We all need and deserve love and support along this crooked path called motherhood.

Paige Andreasen

Fashion production coordinator and single mom-to-be.

Paige embodies the resilience of motherhood–– an inner strength that emerges through adversity. Her journey to motherhood is not rare but it is unique, and comes with its own struggles. With quiet courage, Paige has handled pregnancy and preparations for her first child without a partner by her side.

When her daughter is delivered in June, Paige will welcome her as a single mom. Though it isn’t the traditional approach she had envisioned, it has been an empowering experience–– Paige has come to know the depth of her resolve, the height of her ability to do things on her own. It has also revealed the unconditional love and support from the tribe around her.

How do you start your mornings?

Always with a shower and some coffee.

How would you describe your pregnancy?

Emotional, challenging, stressful –– yet empowering and beautiful.

What’s been most challenging?

Not being in control of anything!

Most rewarding?

Seeing my body change to accommodate and grow my daughter, and actually feeling her move! It makes it all worth it.

Is it what you imagined it would be?

Not at all how I imagined it! Situationally, it differs in many ways. I definitely thought everything would happen in a more traditional sense. The actual pregnancy, I was expecting to be much worse. Very thankful for an easy pregnancy thus far.

In my opinion, social media has created this alternate reality of what pregnancy and motherhood should look like for everyone. It's not REAL. Pregnancy is emotional, messy and challenging! Especially for those who have unplanned pregnancies. It seems that social media has created these expectations of what motherhood should be for everyone, and that isn't real.

Could we all do more to be supportive of different approaches to motherhood?

I believe society could be supportive by acknowledging that motherhood is a diverse thing. It doesn't always come in this traditional family unit. Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes.

How has taking on the role of a single mother been empowering?

Empowering because I have to depend on myself for things. It's showed me an inner strength I never knew I had. I have been changed, but in a good way.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

"Take one day at a time."

Has pregnancy given you a new perspective?

I don't have a different perspective but it has definitely opened my eyes to what a scary place it can be! I already feel so protective of my daughter, and the thought of something or someone hurting her. I can't bear to think of it!

Does that make you want to fight for a better world?

It has made me want to fight to be a better person myself... To be the best person I can be. In a lot of ways, I’m leaving an old life and beginning a new one with her. It's something that I’m most excited for but it also what I’m most afraid of.

Do you have a strategy for approaching motherhood?

I’m looking to friends and family for real-life examples.

How have they stepped up for you during your pregnancy?

If it weren't for my mom, I don't know where I would be. She has been my saving grace through this entire pregnancy. It makes me all the more excited for the bond that my daughter and I will have.

What have been the most important lessons your mom has taught you? How has she taught you how to be a mom?

She's taught me to be selfless and love unconditionally. She's set an amazing example of motherhood for me.

What kind of woman do you hope your daughter will become?

I hope she becomes a strong, caring, and loving woman. I hope she’ll trust herself, keep her family and friends close, and do good.

How do you start your mornings?

Always with a shower and some coffee.

How would you describe your pregnancy?

Emotional, challenging, stressful –– yet empowering and beautiful.

What’s been most challenging?

Not being in control of anything!

Most rewarding?

Seeing my body change to accommodate and grow my daughter, and actually feeling her move! It makes it all worth it.

Is it what you imagined it would be?

Not at all how I imagined it! Situationally, it differs in many ways. I definitely thought everything would happen in a more traditional sense. The actual pregnancy, I was expecting to be much worse. Very thankful for an easy pregnancy thus far.

In my opinion, social media has created this alternate reality of what pregnancy and motherhood should look like for everyone. It's not REAL. Pregnancy is emotional, messy and challenging! Especially for those who have unplanned pregnancies. It seems that social media has created these expectations of what motherhood should be for everyone, and that isn't real.

Could we all do more to be supportive of different approaches to motherhood?

I believe society could be supportive by acknowledging that motherhood is a diverse thing. It doesn't always come in this traditional family unit. Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes.

How has taking on the role of a single mother been empowering?

Empowering because I have to depend on myself for things. It's showed me an inner strength I never knew I had. I have been changed, but in a good way.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

"Take one day at a time."

Has pregnancy given you a new perspective?

I don't have a different perspective but it has definitely opened my eyes to what a scary place it can be! I already feel so protective of my daughter, and the thought of something or someone hurting her. I can't bear to think of it!

Does that make you want to fight for a better world?

It has made me want to fight to be a better person myself... To be the best person I can be. In a lot of ways, I’m leaving an old life and beginning a new one with her. It's something that I’m most excited for but it also what I’m most afraid of.

Do you have a strategy for approaching motherhood?

I’m looking to friends and family for real-life examples.

How have they stepped up for you during your pregnancy?

If it weren't for my mom, I don't know where I would be. She has been my saving grace through this entire pregnancy. It makes me all the more excited for the bond that my daughter and I will have.

What have been the most important lessons your mom has taught you? How has she taught you how to be a mom?

She's taught me to be selfless and love unconditionally. She's set an amazing example of motherhood for me.

What kind of woman do you hope your daughter will become?

I hope she becomes a strong, caring, and loving woman. I hope she’ll trust herself, keep her family and friends close, and do good.