And Then He's Eleven

As my son approached his eleventh birthday, I found myself sounding like those women who used to stop me on the street as I was walking with my newborn so many years ago: “Oh, sweetheart, what a beautiful baby! It goes by so quickly. Soak in every minute of it. I can still remember when my boys learned to walk like it was yesterday…”

Yes, it does go by quickly. One evening this summer, as the four of us took an after-dinner walk, I looked at my older son, whose head now reaches my chin, and asked my husband, “When do you think he’ll be taller than me?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe two summers. But maybe  next year.”

Each birthday brings an acute awareness of the passage of time. Then the memories tumble in, as they always do on the threshold of a transition.

I see him as a … Click here to continue reading...

The Truth about New Motherhood

Over the past several years, many of the women who I helped midwife emotionally across the threshold of the marriage transition have birthed themselves as new mothers. And just like our culture doesn’t tell the truth about the challenges of intimate relationships, it also fails us when it comes to offering accurate information and effective support so that women and their partners can traverse the terrain of this next transition with consciousness and joy.

We know it’s going to be hard, but we have no idea how hard it’s going to be. We know that we might be sleep-deprived or have trouble breastfeeding, but we have no idea how these challenges will effect the emotional terrain of our experience, how deeply breastfeeding, for example, is linked to self-worth as a mother and how, if it doesn’t happen easily or at all, we feel that we’ve failed.

Because I’m privy to … Click here to continue reading...

Parenting by the the Fuel Source of Gratitude

People often ask me how I survived the early years of motherhood when our firstborn son woke up between ten to twelve times a night and needed more than the breast to go back to sleep. Part of what allowed me to survive was an extraordinary partner who shouldered the nighttime challenges with me for the first year. Part of it was a fierce commitment to eating nourishing foods and eliminating sugar and caffeine completely. But most of it was learning early on in pregnancy that actively connecting to the free and sustainable fuel source of gratitude powered me through all challenges associated with motherhood.

My gratitude practice began in my first trimester of pregnancy when I was taken down by a sickness nobody could have prepared me for. And the more I interviewed women for my Birthing a New Mother program, the more clearly I saw the direct connection … Click here to continue reading...

It's Not What You Think

One the many problems of living in an image-based, superficial culture is that we learn to take life at face value. You have a dream about having sex with someone other than your partner and you latch onto the most obvious interpretation that you secretly want to have sex with someone else. You find yourself obsessively thinking about your ex and you assume it means you still want to be with him or her. You bolt awake in the middle of the night with unexpected doubt about whether you love your partner enough and you assume that you don’t love your partner enough. Your child screams at you and you assume that he’s trying to control you or needs a lesson in manners and respect. These seem like reasonable enough interpretations, and they’re certainly supported by the mainstream culture.

By contrast, part of the reason that people respond to my … Click here to continue reading...

The Raw Humanity of it All

There are times when I want to collapse from the overpowering wave of not-knowing that washes over me in moments of conflict or overwhelm: my boys at each other’s throats or my husband and I in an argument or a temporary falling out with a soul-sister or the state of the world or the homeless man on the corner. The world seems to storm around me like the fluttering of a thousand moths, a hurricane of emotions tipping into a flicker of despair from the awareness that we all struggle and nobody has the answers. Where’s the magic wand? Where’s the ultimate parenting manual that teaches us in the trenches how to ensure that our kids will get along like boats sailing on a lake as smooth as cream? How do we solve the world’s pain? Does anyone have the answers?

But then something else takes over. It usually arrives … Click here to continue reading...