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May 5

For my mother

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

I offer you these words on this day that I am one of you for the first time. I hope that you feel the pride, love, and appreciation on this day that you’ve worked so hard to foster in me, and in others.

“One is a mother in order to understand the inexplicable. One is a mother to lighten the darkness. One is a mother to shield when lightning streaks the night, when thunder shakes the earth, when mud bogs one down. One is a mother in order to love without beginning or end.”

These words were written by Bâ, a woman whose “uneventful” life included bringing nine children into the world. At least these were the words used to describe her in the description on the jacket insert of her one, “her only”, novel.

She is speaking of a mother’s relationship with a flesh-and-blood child, but isn’t this how we are mothers of our work as well? Don’t we lighten the darkness with our work? Don’t we shield and heal, and don’t we love without beginning or end? Isn’t the one act of creation akin to the other? Don’t they both come out of love and toil, and don’t they both leave a trace of ourselves in the world?

My mother lived this struggle between the work being something done outside of the house and the long list of duties waiting for her when she returned home at the end of the day. She could not stop the demands of the raising of children, much less daughters, anymore than she could stop the call of her own professional ambitions. She lived in a world that told her she could be a professional, aiming for the elusive glass ceiling always just within reach if she would only compromise more and more of what she had been biologically created to do: mother.

Somehow, most days, she found grace in this. She is a mother of fierce will, drive, and intuition. She is one of those women who walks into a room and everyone notices; she has a certain appeal. From the stories I know of her childhood, raised by a mother who was recovering from Polio during her pregnancy, the youngest of a Mennonite farm family, bitter in ways rivaling the winters they endured in rural North Dakota, it is a miracle her ambition survived. I believe that on those lonely, they could only have been lonely, days she vowed to do all she needed to do to break the chains as she saw them limiting her own mother, sister, and friends.

I believe all my mother would need to do to know she achieved this goal long ago is to look into the eyes of her actualized daughters. There she will find intelligence, compassion, humor, will, ambition, and indeed, in one of us as of today, the desire to mother, as well.

The first few months of motherhood for me I found myself repeating a new mantra: be a good mother, be a good mother. I found myself saying things to people who’d inquired about the days events as I saw them, “Nothing much, just mothering”. I thought to myself how I needed to be “working more” as my paying job beckoned when all day I fed, changed, engaged, washed, and cooed.

Virginia Woolf, in the struggle she finally lost knew all to well that, “…we think back through our mothers if we are women.” I believe that as a mother who wanted, needed, to write, to work, she felt a failure in her ability to mother. This burden that she tried so courageously to balance was the same one that took her down, and stole her not only from us, but from her children. I hope for us, for women, that the world is more bendable now that it was for her, allowing for more grace in each of us if and when we break.

I too feel required to “work”, or as society has put it, to do something other than mother. Yet just a few short days ago I chose to resign from the present parenting required of my first born, forged also in my loins and birthed by my sweat and tears: my work. In doing so my vision is to give my second born, my flesh and blood son, what I was giving to, in some ways, myself, in some ways, to others, through my paid work. My decision was based on a simple and humbling desire: to give this sweet son of mine more of me while I can.

For six months he consumed me, only me, and grew to a huge, fat little being. He is now needing me less and less everyday and in this freedom I am able to let go of other things and enjoy him. enjoy this, mothering, as a job. My job.

I know I cannot do this, full time all the time staying at home, mothering for the rest of my days. But I want to try, for both of us. I will now submit to the daily meditations of feedings, diapers, play dates, crafts, cooking, cleaning, and sit with the feelings and thoughts found there. I will give to him all that I am while I can, so that when the time is right for me to return to a day split in two between what I love and what I do, I can.

Knowing that I am able to make a choice my mother was not, and in truth, would not have chosen if it was available. afforded by my marriage and my station in life. This compounds my decision to “stay at home” and to take a break from what many future employers will denounce as my professional development (as if multi-tasking and running a household does make us better professionals!). I hope that my mother understands that this choice is as much a refelction of my commitment to women as my role as a mentor, boss, and manager. I have to do this to be good at what I do elswhere in my life. I know this now.

And so I come to the simple truth that I knew all along but did not have the words to say: In order to be his mother — fully, completely — I must also be a mother to m work, but most importantly right now, to myself. And I am. With these words, I am.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Sera, Naz’s Mom
Connie’s daughter
Viola’s grand-daughter

Apr 30

Love is like falling, and falling is like this

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

you give me that look that’s like laughing
with liquid in your mouth
like you’re choosing between choking
and spitting it all out
like you’re trying to fight gravity
on a planet that insists
that love is like falling
and falling is like this

Now that I am catching up on my sleep I am able more and more to move out of survival mode and into a space enabling me to enjoy this phase of my life. I experience such deep satisfaction from watching my young boy learn to do things on his own: finding his voice in his devilish squeal, becoming more and more self sufficient by reaching for the things he wants, and discovering the literal ups and downs of mobility as he tries time and time again to crawl. I mean its not like he is going away to travel the world on his own tomorrow or anything, but he is growing into his own person and its a wonder to see.

Mothering continues to push me to new limits. The most telling one I didn’t see coming was my capacity to love. And not just my son, but I feel my heart expanding to understand and embrace others, as well. I find that when I look at women who are obviously mothers now I smile differently at them, feeling a part of a secret club. And pregnant women, too. I look at them and try to convey with my eyes, “Enjoy it, friend, soon you will be one of us”.

My love for my husband continues to expand exponentially when I see them together playing, laughing, taking time to explain something new. Sometimes in the last seven months things are harder in ways they were not before the young one came to join us. However, we are learning new ways of communicating old complaints and finding that some of them no longer serve us; we need to shed them as our arms can only carry so much. I look at him and sigh, deeply, with such pride knowing that he will be the primary model for Naz of how to be a man. A man’s man, indeed, expressing his joy through hugs, his frustration through words, and his anger through mindful pauses, quiet deliberation, and calm responses.

Sadly, I wish I could say that my relationship with myself had reached new empathetic highs, but I feel perhaps the opposite is true. I find myself still caught up in internal dialogues harboring around disappointment, judgment, and inadequacy when I should be doing something good for myself in those few fleeting moments, like sleeping. My body has changed and while I feel strong in ways I haven’t felt before, lets call it like it is: I am flabby in a way I never have been before. My legs and arms now carry, lift, shift the weight of the boy I bare almost all of the time, but this waist of mine, well, it is still showing the results of the chocolate and ice cream of pregnancy excused. This makes for an uncomfortable Sera most of the time, as I plan to run, walk, yoga, crunch my way to the body I want, yet almost never do. I find that when those few moments offer themselves, I want to sit, sleep, or (heaven forbid) bathe!

Each day, now that I can see the difference between these states of mind and with more and more sleep blessing me, I have the energy and focus to hope that I will do more for myself reclaiming a bit of my life and independence. But as laundry, cooking, diapers, nursing sessions, time with Adam, and time with Naz move into my day, I find it is again night, I am tired, and just want to sleep before it all begins again.

At the times when sleep and solitude beckon like the first sunny day of spring after a long winter I wish the child, the husband, the job, and the rest would just go away. Just for a short time so I can catch up, find my breath, and tune into this glorious boy growing before my very eyes.

In my more rested moments, I do breathe all of this in. Slowly. This simplicity of what is directly in front of me, needing my full attention, now. Naz. Adam. Life simply as it is today. So may new things happening for all of us and I don’t want to miss any of it.

I tell Naz that love can be anything we want it to be, can look a myriad of different ways. What matters about it is that is is pure, for love’s own sake, and is about giving, not receiving.

And with that, I fall.
Fall, deeply.
Loving, all the way down.

Dec 27

External reviews

Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 in Uncategorized

It happened, my first public melt down as a new Mom. Here is its retelling, in full technicolor!

I was accosted today by a woman who felt I was a bad mother. The scene isn’t all that relevant except to say that it took place in a country where I don’t speak the language and where the general tone of communication borders on agitated. It didn’t rock me so much while it was happening, but I later yelled at my dog for something this very good and smart animal does all of the time, and proceeded to break down into tears in the street.

Why do any of us feel the right, obligation, or duty to judge others behavior? I wonder if this woman really thought I was hurting my three month old generally happy, healthy son by letting him cry in the stroller. Does she know that he sleeps on top of me all night so he won’t have to cry when he is hungry? Does she know that I stare at him all day with a love that fills my soul to bursting? Does she know that when he sleeps I secretly wish for him to wake because I miss him? No, she knows none of these things. Yet she felt it was her place, her prerogative to publicly scold me for letting my child cry warmly, safely nestled into his stroller while I walked around the track chasing my sanity.

Now that the fierce anger has left me I am sorely disappointed with myself for responding with anything other than gratitude. This woman was giving me a chance to smile, be gracious, and appreciate that a stranger cared about us. But that wasn’t what I felt. I felt judged, wronged. I could’ve opened my heart to this woman, thanked her for concern with a smile and body language conveying this, but that is not what I did. I met her concern with anger, annoyance, and hurt. At moments like this I am sad for myself, and for others, as I know I am not alone in such feeble attempts to find grace in times of trouble.

I share this with you, gentle readers, to offer a kind, gentle mediation for us all today on minding our own business. Of course, when does one draw the line? I mean, if I were to see an act of physical violence on the street I hope that I would arm myself with courage and intervene. But really, a crying baby in a stroller? Anyway, I am straying from my point. Cast not stones…..that is all I am saying. Mostly for myself, as I am gently reminded each day, this is the only behavior I have any control over and that, my friends, is a scary thought!

Dec 7

My breasts are his breasts

Posted on Sunday, December 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

After years of wearing my breasts comfortably as identifiers of my sex, lures for affection, I am thrilled to see them now as utilitarian tools to feed my family. I’ve watched with longing as some of the mothers I know lovingly make their bodies available to their children in this way. I had no idea how exhausting, stressful, and tense it would be in those first weeks as we, Naz and I, found our grace in this process of feeding together.

I remember very clearly the moments Adam brought him to me in the recovery room after the cesarean section. For my wee babe two precious hours in his life had passed and I was not there to protect, welcome, and nurture this young soul into the world as I’d always planned to be. Thankfully, his Dad went with him directly from the operating theater to the nursery, held him close, and whispered to him as they fell in love.

Adam stood vigilantly in the nursery as the well intended nurses attempted to feed our new son formula as his first meal on the outside. Adam, in his calm, easy going way, simply didn’t let it happen. They were adamant, and this man’s first act of fatherhood was strong, defiant, and courageous as he closed his ears to the pleas of “but the baby is hungry” from the nurses and held out so that my first act of motherhood, face to face with my son, would be the way we envisioned.

When I held him, Naz, for the first time, we looked in each others eyes, and I offered myself to him. At this moment in time I again joined the ranks of the millions of mothers who went before me as we began this new mediation of intimacy, breast to breast, as it were. He immediately wrapped his tiny, new mouth around my nipple and in those moments a wave of relief washed over us both rinsing away the previous hours of labor, fear, discomfort, and pain. In those moments we found one another, and we’d need this love to carry us. The journey of breastfeeding for us was just beginning and full of another set of challenges Id never have imagined.

My milk was “slow” to come in. That is to say, that Naz lost too much weight in those first few days for him to fall comfortably into a spreadsheet or chart. The first time he tasted that sugary water in a plastic nipple was late in the night, the first night he really cried. I had no idea what to do. Adam was not allowed to room in with us as this was a private Arab hospital and men were not allowed in the ward during the night time hours. I was exhausted, scared, and felt failure stealing this most recent act of motherhood from me.

The doctors did not want to release him from the hospital and so we committed yet another act of defiance in those days at the hospital (there were so many: no bath, no vaccines, cloth diapers, etc) and pumped him up on formula. We grinned at each other as they reluctantly signed the release papers and we heisted him out of there, back to the safety of the birth center where we’d left, him comfortably inside of me, three days previous. Felt a lifetime had passed in those short days.

In the next few days I spoke with anyone and everyone about nursing. Some people advised he needed his tongue clipped, others said he had a funny chin and so that was the reason he wasn’t finding his way. I knew my milk wasn’t coming, not in the supply that he needed, and this just intensified the feelings of defeat engulfing me. I cried often and easily those days, so afraid that this new body and old soul were suffering because of my ego and attachment to breastfeeding my baby.

We heard of a “witch lady” who provided cranial-sacral treatments for newborns and so we made an appointment. Upon entering her home, I felt warmth, calm, and a sense of surrender take over us both. Naz laid on her table, quiet and still. He looked directly at her as she touched him, gently activating the points he’d not felt being denied the tight squeeze down the birth canal. When she pressed a point close to his sacrum, he smiled, and for the first time since exiting my body seemed to really be awake. Welcome, my son. We’ve missed you.

I adore the feeling of Naz latching on, him suckling a few times, pausing for what he knows is the result of his hard work, and then the flush of the precious nectar as he begins to drink. I feel unbelievably blessed to have a husband who said all of the right things, went out of his way to get a breast pump those first days to help things along, and who always looked at me without judgment as we, Naz and I, struggled to find our footing those first days.

My small son took his first bites of food that was not me a few days ago, and a sadness found me later that day. Our time in this intimate bubble of newborn bliss is fleeting, and I will miss it terribly. I remind myself of this at 1 am, 3 am, 5 am and all the times of the day and night when I am weary. This is the most intimate dance I will ever do with another human, and I want to drink every moment of it in. Deep.

So with that, I will turn off the computer, drink my “milk making tea” (full of the things they feed dairy cows, no kidding!) and wait for the ache I know we both feel after too much time away from another. And then, we will find each other, sigh, and settle in for what, for us, is nothing short of the sweetest time we know.

My breasts are your breasts, my son, enjoy.

Nov 4

In celebration of my husband’s hands

Posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 in Uncategorized

I was alone in labor, as we are in life. There is no one else who can do this living, birthing, for us. Yet I had as a constant companion my husband’s hands.

His hands are thick, like a trustworthy rope. You know you can put your weight into them and that they will hold you. His fingers are sturdy, round, and brown. His hands are soft as he has not knows fields or labor, but books and classrooms. He bites his nails. He wears our wedding band everyday without fail, and this too, makes me love his hands.

My husband nobly, quietly, sacrifices so much for me. He listens to me complain about copious, timeless banalities never making a verbal judgment just smiling, listening. He takes care of the aspects of life that escape me, namely details, ensuring that somehow my work continues somewhat unimpeded. He cooks casseroles without recipes, washes poopy diapers, esnures the loyal dog has her walk every every evening. He gets up to bare the thrashing of our newborn son’s evening witching howls, and does so without complaining or resentment.

For thirty hours his hands held me through the rolls of thunder of childbirth. Giving me a place to find the solid ground I needed, and the courage to let it go when I needed to. These hands made room for the time when I would need to rise above it all to let the pain roll through me. They held steady when we decided that it would be the surgon’s tools that birthed our son, not my bones, not his hands. His hands did not waiver once with doubt, fear, or trouble throughout enabling me to sit, rest, and trust that all was right with this, with us. When the waves of labor left us Adam held our son in his arms. I looked at his hands and wept. These hands are now our son’s hands. They will teach him to walk, share, guide, and support. Our son’s hands already look like his father’s, strong and stable. Just like Adam.

Adam’s hands have touched me in ways I didn’t know men’s hands were capable of. Softly, gently, without a rush or care in the world. Selflessly. Giving for the sake of giving, not with the hope of recieving. His hands provide me refuge from numerous storms, from myself when I need to be still. They have loved with with knowledge I doubted a man of his young years possessed. During the days when he is away, I miss these hands, and anxioulsy await thier return to our home, to our son, to me.

He now cares for others with these hands, healer in training that he is. His hands bring comfort to others and I am having to learn to share his hands. Not my strongest trait, yet I know that the world is a safer, kinder place because of Adam’s hands. When I am most alone, sinking, spinning away, I think of Adam’s hands and know I am safe. These hands bring me back to the shore and remind me that I am loved.

Oct 28

Deliverance

Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

I have been delivered. To myself, to motherhood. Through an epic test of physical endurance, faith in body and soul. I have been delivered. I find myself now presented with the daily meditation of a heart busting to full: a mother’s love for her child. I find each hour presenting new challenges to my own sense of trust in my own capacity to provide safety, health, and love for him, my son. My son. My son.

Labor, there is a reason is it called this. It is the hardest physical work we, women, will most likely complete in our lives, and the most gratifying. These words have been written, sung, said thousands of time but cannot be truly understood until the fires of this process have been felt by each of us making the transformation complete. Mothers are forged by this heat, we are not mothers before we begin the process, yet we are mothers on the other side. The metamorphosis is complete, all lenses through which we viewed our experience shattered by the intensity. We then are left to shape our new identity according to this new love we’ve found for ourselves, our bodies, and our children.

I’ve been delivered, and I’ve arrived lighter in mind as I cast off the judgment I so naively cast towards mothers who make decisions I didn’t understand: cesarean section, formula feedings, circumcision. I name three areas of righteousness I no longer hold to my heart, others are falling by the proverbial wayside as I continue down this new, frightening path. I too now wear, proudly, the scar that birthed my son. In the wee hours of the night when my own breasts could not, would not, feed him, I turned to a bottle of synthetics to quiet his screams. And eight short days after we met, fell in love, I handed him to my husband who allowed him to be cut as the entrance fee into the tribe we call our own. I am not righteous any longer, I am proud.

I had no idea of the true nature of this cult of motherhood I was entering. I longingly stood at the gates, peering in as my friends entered one by one each with their own path to tread and experience to share. I had great plans, as we often do, of how my entry would be different: calm, mindful, informed, healthy. And yet life presented me with exactly what I needed, and we were both delivered, safely, on the other side.

The first week of my young son’s life and mine as a new mother was the hardest of my life thus far. How blessed we will both be if life allows this to remain true. My heart expands each day, tears and milk flowing in abundance now as I do my best to meet him where he needs me. Here, with him. This is where I want to be. Nowhere else. Thank you, sweet boy of mine, for helping me to be delivered to this place where love knows no bounds. My body is strong, my heart open, and my eyes and breasts, flowing with the nectar of motherhood.

Sep 20

Intellectual preparations

Posted on Saturday, September 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

When embarking on any new adventure, I read. I read everything I can get my hands on, borrowing and buying in mad amounts. Our bags when leaving the US are almost always at least 1/3 book weight. This summer while we were stateside I had the pleasure of being able to read without having to worry about our weight limit so I indulged a bit. Now that is my kind of freedom.

As a midwife with a degree in women’s studies, I’ve read quite thoroughly the majority of the books that women find themselves swapping during pregnancy: What to Expect When You Are Expecting (not one I would recommend); all of the natural birth and parenting books; and lots of feminist theory about the politic of body, power, and pregnancy. I’ve looked elsewhere to find the kind of books I wanted to spend my time with during the pregnancy. What I want in books are some creative ideas about how to humbly dance this transition, mindful of the discomfort and stretching required, a presentation of an awareness of the political aspects of motherhood that is becoming my own, and some practical ideas to support our commitment to raising an engaged child. Here are some of the keepers I came across:

1. Breeders, by Ariel Gore. This one, compiled by the founder and Editor of the zine, Hip Mama, is a collection of essays from wonderfully courageous non-trad moms addressing such issues as open relationships, gender role-modeling in kids and parents, the broader politics of parenting, and the like. The contributors are often queer, poor, uneducated (that is to say lacking college degrees), disabled, and parents of special needs kids. If one doesn’t look outside of the mainstream mothering and pregnancy books one might believe all expectant women in the US are white, educated, middle-class, heterosexual, with really good health care. A delicious read for those of us interested in learning from those of us brazenly redefining what it means to be a mom and challenging the status quo all along the way.

2. Momma Zen: walking the crooked path of motherhood, by Karen Maezen Miller. This simple book narrates the journey of a monk who happens to become a mother. The themes of the book are Buddhist ones: acceptance, surrender, humor, and impermanence. I found this book wonderfully calming and inspirational when the media and too many loved ones (as well as strangers of the street) have negative stories to share about pregnancy, birth, newborns, and parenting. I want to hold these meditations in my heart and mind when presented with our unique challenges as Adam and I walk this path. This book presented some very concrete examples of how to do so. Reminding me that when you loose site of my breathe (and I do, like many times every day!), I can always come back to it and begin again right here. You can learn more about this book at http://www.mommazen.com/

3. Breastwork, by Alison Bartlett.This book is pure academia. It reads like someone’s PhD thesis, presenting a myriad of complexities relating breastfeeding: the consumerism of breastfeeding, pressure to return to the work place, the lack of agency for women to nurse on our terms, the pain of the physiology of nursing infused with the pleasure of feeding our children, the sexualization of lactating breasts, and the politics of who nurses and who doesn’t. It was a perfect presentation of, again, all of the women in the world who nurse from the Madonna and child to slave women used as wet-nurses to Parliamentary members in Australia being asked to leave the House during session rather than feeding thier child while working. Not always the peaceful, angelic scene its depicted as and definately a political statement!

There are a few magazines I find helpful, and inspirational: Mothering and Hip Mama. Both from Oregon, and full of alternative mothering, parenting, and consumer-focused options. These two rags can be found on grocery shelves at Whole Foods or any other hippie-dippy shop catering to parents looking for other ways of doing things. I highly recommend them both.

Movies: again, as a midwife and midwife educator, I am a lush for birth movies. Two I watched several times this summer were “The Business of Being Born” and “Orgasmic Birth”. Both present the viewer with the dangers of too much intervention in the US medical system, the physiological benefits for mom and baby of a natural delivery, and the social implications of a system like ours currently undergoing a shift to the normalization of surgery in birth. My only criticism is that the women showcased are often urban, privlidged, and uber-educated; not really represntative of the diveristy of women who go in for home and birth center birth. Great birth scenes, informative interviews with WHO representatives, and the last one even has an orgasm! Enjoy.

I’ve now started gathering the reading I will steep myself in during my maternity leave. Passing long hours nursing, or for when I am unable to nap when the wee one does, and to keep my head a bit level and not too full of milk! More to come on these gems soon.

Sep 20

Being born again

Posted on Saturday, September 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

Hello gentle readers,

Perhaps you are curious as to why, just hours away from our due date for our first baby, I’ve decided to start a new blog? In all honesty, I could be in the process of documenting one of those last changes late in pregnancy when all of a sudden I have energy again. What a blessing! But really, as I sit here, still, in front of our fan, its not likely. I give us at least another week of gestational discomfort, I mean bliss. But who knows, Adam dreamt last night we had the baby at Ace Hardware in a tent! We could be making the big move any day now, really.

The truth is that I want to dedicate some time and space to document the last days of pregnancy, the labor, the birth, my transition to motherhood, breastfeeding, and parenting. I’ve been waiting, sometimes patiently sometimes not so, for this stage of my life for what often seems a long time and its such a blessing to be here, now. There are several promises I’ve made to myself, that Adam and I have made to one another, and that we’ve collectively made to our wee one regarding how we want to tread this path together and we want to share our journey with you, here.

Community is how we all get by, really. And with the blessings of our family, friends, and colleagues we are supported on all sides in most ventures we undertake, this one not withstanding. There is a shared sense of action, intellect, and purpose binding us to you all. I want to create a medium where I can communicate my observations, verbalize a rant or rave, and offer up musings regarding these changes taking place in me, my body, and my life.

My goal as the author of this blog is to accomplish this through a lens of advocacy, the political, personal reflection, and spirit. Those of you with kids of your own I imagine are slyly grinning as you read these words as you have a keen understanding of not only the physical shifts about to take place in my life, but those having to do with time, availability, and focus, as well. I welcome your skepticism, and challenge you to consider my first assertion: I will not lose myself.

I understand that I am slowly being born again. The truth is that we all undergo these transformations on a micro to macro scale from the moment we are born until we die, and who knows, perhaps after that, too! Our skin regenerates as we move through our daily lives with scabs, scars, and sunburns. Our circles of friends and family shift with our location and interests. The words we use to identify ourselves change to reflect broader shifts: daughter, sister, athlete, lover, scholar, friend, activist, wife, and mother. And so, here I am, asking you to bare witness as I am born again.

I want to share some of the vows I’ve made to myself so you can hold me accountable, provide support, and join me in my action should you feel so inclined. My mind will continue to be a committed and active player in this highly hormonal and physical experience to the extent that it enriches it, me, us. I will remain committed to my daily practice to be a more humble, generous woman who laughs more easily at life. I will be a good mother, friend, sister, daughter, wife, student, and worker. I will honor my body, and the bodies of others. And I will learn, always.

Tune in, here, to read more about how things are going with me, the wee one, our extended family, and our always lively path. I look forward to sharing this journey with you, and am so very thankful for the support you’ve already brought to me and this work; personally and otherwise.

Humbly,

Sera + kicking bump