ÂŠ 2015 Wildling Magazine All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced by any means without prior written consent from the publisher, except for brief portions quoted for the purpose of review, as permitted by copyright law. www.wildlingmagazine.com firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @wildlingmagazine Facebook facebook.com/wildlingmagazine Front Cover image by Rebecca Lindon Back Cover image by Siegrid Cain Inside Cover image by Siegrid Cain Back Inside Cover image by Tim Coulson
CONTENTS VOLUME 2 September 2015
Raising Freedom Fighters
Just So Festival
A New Life In The Bahamas
Valley Of Cancer
Salted Caramel Apple Dip
CONTRIBUTORS Laura Burlton www.lauraburlton.com Tim Coulson www.timcoulson.com Siegrid Cain www.siegridcain.com Zalmy Berkowitz www.zalmyb.com Kristin Young www.kristinmyoung.com Seasonally Nourished www.seasonallynourished.com Panos Voudouris www.panosvoudouris.com Abi Quinsenberry www.abiqphotography.com Erin Wetzel www.ekwetzel.com Kat Braman www.katbramanphotography.com Catherine Abegg www.catherineabegg.com Rebecca Lindon www.rebeccalindon.com Theresa Furey www.theresafurey.com
Image by Tim Coulson 3
Volume 2 of Wildling Magazine needs to start with a heartfelt Thankyou. I have been overwhelmed by the response to our launch issue and so pleased that it has found itself in the hands of parents all over the world. People have emailed and left messages on social media to report tears and smiles and little ones held tighter, and mothers have sent us pictures of Volume 1 enjoyed with coffee, in bed, in the garden and read with children. It has filled my heart to bursting! In this issue you’ll find more stories from parents - some joyous and some heartbreaking, but always inspiring. You’ll discover incredible travel destinations, drool over recipes and hopefully feel a connection to the wonderful artists that have bared their soul on these pages. If I could ask one thing of you it would be to please help us spread the word about Wildling and, as ever, get in touch if you have a story to tell.
Rebecca Lindon Edior-in-Chief
CHALK DREAMS PHOTOGRAPHY ESSAY photography by Laura Burlton
THE FAROE ISLANDS TRAVEL ESSAY photography byTim Coulson
PUPPY LOVE PERSONAL ESSAY photography and words by Siegrid and Denis Cain
Denis is a very special kid. Often extremely introverted but absolutely content with it. He is never bored. Always drawing, writing in his book, thinking up crazy theories about the Universe... But as a mum you want your kids to have lots of friends and get up to mischief with them. I was often worried about him becoming a loner, also sometimes wondering how much compassion for others he had in him because he is so happy to be on his own and doesn’t show many feelings. And then I see him with our dog Lily - he is so tender and loving with her, sometimes it almost makes me cry to watch them. She is his perfect companion - she lets him get on with his stuff and still is company to him. When he is at school and I ask her “where is Denis?” she whimpers for him. It’s a magical bond. I could not be prouder of calling this special young man my son. His being way to wise for his age, his art, his view of the world.
Denis, 14. “Before we had dogs there was less action in the house. When we rescued Trevor I was so happy. A DOG is actually going to live with us!!! So cute. I loved the first time he barked (after a few months of us rescuing him) and showed us his voice and that he protects us. We adopted Lily who used to be called Claire. I did a drawing for the family who raised her. She was so adorable and fluffy and hyperactive. I am so glad she stayed with us. I love that the dogs are ALWAYS there for me and I get exercise. But we have to do lots of cleaning as dog hair goes everywhere. It’s harder to organise family trips and can get expensive when you need a dog-sitter. I definitely want to own a really big dog when I am older.”
NOMAD FASHION photography by Rebecca Lindon and styling by Mitra Starseed
Thuraya wears Coral Island Boho Gown from Spell & The Gypsy Collective. Luluah wears Observer Jumpsuit from Saxon + SunRa.
Thuraya wears stylistâ€™s own kaftan. Luluah wears Ines Romper from Soor Ploom. Arrow set from Children Of The Tribe.
Mitra wears Turquoise Island Boho Playsuit and Grey Marl wrap from Kari-Me.
IMMERSIVE THEATRE LIFESTYLE ESSAY words by Sarah Bird
“My husband and I spent 15 years going to The Literature Festival every year and then when we had children we started taking them with us and going to the children’s events. One year I was travelling there and realised I didn’t have one ticket for an adult’s event. My husband did and it felt like he would be doing his thing and then I would be spending my time going to events with the kids. We also went to Latitude Festival around the same time and I didn’t even know who was headlining, all I knew was that I was going to be spending all my time in a kids’ enclosure. It seemed like adults and kids were very separate. Even festivals that are family orientated still have a separate adult and children offering. What we wanted to do was have a festival that was completely family orientated. We love that festival environment and we also love the arts.” “My business partner Rowan has three boisterous boys and I have three girls. We all naturally feel happier outdoors - everybody is more relaxed. Even in the most family-friendly gallery, we’re still aware that our children could ruin millions of pounds worth of artwork or spoil everybody’s appreciation of a concert. There’s just that little bit of tension there that we just don’t feel when we’re outdoors. They are relaxed, we’re relaxed and we’re not holding on tight to them, which is always a good thing.” “My passion for sharing stories has always been there, and sharing stories in different ways – round camp fires or at bedtime and tying them in to things like midnight feasts and pillow fights. Rowan and I have put together events where someone will read a book about ballet and then do a ballet workshop or an author telling their story about a boy who was a samurai warrior and then have a display of samurai swords. 37
It’s all about how you can interest families and children in literature through other art forms. That’s what Just So Festival is all about, we hope that people will try things that they haven’t tried before. For example, you might not necessarily take your kids to the opera because you’re worried about paying the ticket price and then they’re not interested in it. But at the festival you could be climbing a tree or having an ice cream and then you might hear a bit of opera singing. You just don’t know where that inspiration might come from for a life long love and passion of a particular art form. That’s the lovely thing about the eclectic nature of the festival. The lack of being prescriptive about how families engage is really important to us. Families are so very different; what works for one family doesn’t work for another.” “The more evolved the festival became, the more interested we became in the site design and emerging families in a different world. We’re trying to make them step outside of their dayto-day lives completely. We’ve got people with us for the weekend so we can suspend their disbelief and make them feel like they’re somewhere completely other. That’s a real opportunity. You can take people into a place that they don’t expect to be. If the audience has the right tools in the right environment they will become the art themselves. They become the producers, not just the consumers and they create such amazing things. Being outdoors has a huge impact – it heightens your senses as you become more aware of the world around you; of sights and smells and sounds. It makes you look at the world slightly differently and I think that’s the positive effect of immersive theatre that is harder for traditional theatre to evoke.
With traditional theatre, you go in and sit down and you’re aware that a play is going to be presented to you. With immersive theatre you feel absolutely immersed in it; you feel part of the action, you feel like your being there impacts how things around you will change. That empowerment when given to children is so impactful, for them to think ‘I’m making this happen, I can change things around me.’
As well as immersive theatre this is also the case with something like the dance classes we hold at the festival. For example, we did a Charleston workshop and I had no more co-ordination than my daughter, in fact I’m probably more intimidated and more aware of how I look. But if we’re learning alongside each other then I’m not telling them how to do it, we’re doing it together and then we might practice around the kitchen table at home a week later and they might put The legacy and the extension of experiencing that me right on what I’m doing wrong and it’s such a with a parent is so much stronger than if you did it valuable experience.” with your peers. It can live on as a family memory and be discussed time and time again. So often, “Story-telling doesn’t have to just be at bedtime. children don’t get to see their parents playing and It could be at bedtime but it could be around a singing and dancing and to see them doing those campfire or under the covers with torches or told things can be so inspiring to a child. And also to using shadow puppets on the wall or as part of a see parents not necessarily in a parental teaching ‘midnight’ feast (you can brush your teeth again capacity but actually doing something and afterwards). Reading aloud together and singing learning something alongside each other rather aloud together are two of my favourite things; it than standing back and pointing their children in releases endorphins and makes you happy. That the right direction. It’s that parity of experience combination of voices together is such a powerful that can make families more cohesive. thing, it’s so exciting.”
Sarah Bird and Rowan Hoban of Just So Festival.
JUST SO FESTIVAL PHOTO REVIEW photography by Rebecca Lindon
The Just So Festival 2016 will run from 19 â€“ 21 August 2016. Tickets are now on sale at www.justsofestival.org.uk
UNSCHOOLING PERSONAL ESSAY words and photography by Zalmy Berkowitz
“Unschooling is stepping back and trusting that children, left to their own devices, will be curious enough about life to try to figure it out. With the parents there to help them, it will drive them to learn to read, to understand arithmetic, to be curious about geography, history, science. I guess ultimately it means that I have to let go a little. There is always the concern, whether it stems from an outlook, society, relatives, etc. that they will miss out on something, or fall behind in one category. And they probably will. They might not know all the capitals of the states by their teens, they might not know all the founding fathers (though I doubt most schooled children know them either). But what they will know will have come from themselves. They’ll have the courage and self-esteem to learn on their own.
They’ll have initiative, insight, self-control. They will not think lowly of themselves for reading late, nor be haughty (and bored!) for knowing the multiplication tables by the time they are 5.” “It started in preschool. There was no way I was going to let a preschool teacher get to have my kid for that many hours a day. I’d be too jealous. When kindergarten rolled around we just couldn’t imagine tying our kid down and giving him limits to his games, having him inside for so long. Once 1st grade hit we had been reading up and studying about homeschooling for a few years, and it had already grown on us. I was bored for most of my school life, my wife was an over-achiever. The whole one-size-fitsall attitude that schools have to follow just isn’t how the world works. And it rewards some types while punishing others.”
“We do push a bit once they are ready. Three of them are working on reading, and all three are interested. The older two have to be reminded to work on it, but if they don’t want to we don’t push. Hebrew studies and Judaica we initiate more, but mostly through conversations over actual work or studying. My oldest is 8, so we have a lot to figure out. As of now we use youtube a lot, libraries, museums, and discussions. If it’s something hands on we try to provide that (wood, hammers, PVC, art materials, clay) etc. My oldest is always ‘inventing’ things, and sends us to the store or Amazon (G-d bless the internet!) for ‘parts’.”
“The concept makes complete sense to us, but we are far from infallible. It’s scary choosing a path that is so different from the way things are normally done. We read much about how children’s minds are wired differently and how things learned as a child “sticks” much more than, wait, where was I? (joke). The fact that my kids will be behind in certain subjects worries me sometimes. But we realize that every choice is a trade-off. Yes, my kids won’t be at grade-level in certain fields, but they would be missing so much more if we stuck them in school. And to be honest, much of school is just memorizing facts. I’d much rather my kid be learning to use his brain to figure things out than using it to remember arbitrary facts.”
“People go on and on about the social benefits of school, and how home-schooled kids are “weird”. First of all most don’t know many homeschooled kids. Second, how is spending most of your life with people your own age, learning the exact same thing as you, and being exposed to the exact same culture, supposed to be healthy socially?! I want my children to know that what they think matters. That they are trustworthy. I want them to have the joy of getting interested in something and discovering it on their own. The knowledge that they can grow without someone holding a stick over them forcing them to. I want these little people in our care to spend their life learning, exploring, questioning, growing. Putting learning in school tells kids that this is where learning is done. This is how learning is done. It’s not how life works. We want our children to believe in themselves. To know that their unique way of learning and their area of expertise is important. Schools far too often get in the way of that.”
“I used to think that everyone thought like me and were just exposed to different ideas. It just ain’t so. We love this and it works (for the most part) for us. For others, school might make more sense. If you don’t have the time or energy, then it just isn’t fair for the kids. But for many I think it does make sense. The best thing is for people to think for themselves. To hear the experts and then do their own research. Come to their own conclusions. People are so scared to do that.”
“I’m more knowledgeable in the arts (some) and in Judaica, Estee more in science, biology, health, and food. So when questions come up we defer to the other if we don’t know. This all sounds so official though, we just talk. A lot. If the kids want to build a bow and arrow, usually I’m the one they go to. If they want to plant something they go to Estee, it isn’t very official. I think the kids know what our specialties are more than we do.”
“In general, my wife Estee is home more and learns more with the kids. It’s a tough balance and one that I am still trying to figure out. As my kids get older they need different things and I am not used to that yet. We are transitioning to Berkeley, where there are much more options for homeschoolers, more nature, more (and MUCH better) parks, museums, homeschooling groups.”
“It’s hard not having that block of the day where you can just be alone. The kids are always around, which overall we love, but it get’s hard. It really helps to live near other, like-minded homeschoolers with whom you can have playdates, talk to, hang out with etc. There is a built-in community with schools and homeschoolers have to build those themselves.”
VALLEY OF CANCER PERSONAL ESSAY words and photography by Kristin Young
“Colby has a mass.” Under the immeasurable weight of those four words, the proverbial walls came crashing down around me. Even though he had been complaining of a headache for about a week and vomiting for the past twenty-four hours, I assumed the CT-scan “just to be sure that nothing else is going on” would be normal so we could be on our merry way with migraine medicine prescribed. The emotions, thoughts and feelings that were running through my body at that moment cannot be adequately described, as nothing can properly prepare one to hear those words. My heart was racing as it plummeted into my stomach which was doing its own little flops while my brain was trying to register what Colby’s pediatrician was telling me. As hot tears instantly welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks, her last words to me were that Colby needed to go to the hospital right away. Five days later, after surgery to remove the mass, the neurosurgeon looked apologetically into our eyes and confirmed it was, in fact, the worst-case scenario. So began our journey through the valley of pediatric cancer.
Supratentorial pineoblastoma. That is the formal name for the rare aggressive mass of jumbled cells in his brain that lost their ability to die. It is so rare that only a handful of people, mostly children, are diagnosed with it every year. The survival rate is dismal for the youngest of its victims. With a wild, desperate fury, we reached out to anyone we knew who might know someone who might know someone else who could give us advice. Doctor after specialist after expert gave us their opinion on what we should do while we listened wide-eyed and overwhelmed. One thing we knew for sure, treating Colby’s cancer was a one shot chance…if it returns, it is always fatal. That “if ” is still what grips me with paralyzing fear at moments.
to rid his body of the unwelcome guests who threatened his life.
Never was the saying “that which does not kill you makes you stronger” truer. My mama heart ached as some days all Colby could do was lie on the cool hard tile in the bathroom while praying for relief from the nausea to come. Colbyareyouok became his nickname because we asked the question so much. My husband and I resembled a two-man tag team rather than husband and wife as we split time with Colby in Boston and Durham or caring for the other five children in Charlotte. Our world was reduced to the sterile walls within the hospitals, our tiny apartment in Boston that was gifted to families like ours, or the haven at home away from germs. For nine months, the same amount of time he I am sure it felt like prison at times to Colby who was nourished in my belly, Colby was pumped was sequestered away from his friends at school full of high dose radiation and chemical toxins and siblings for days on end.
Two summers ago, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with one of my best friends. Our guide, while explaining all the different challenges we would face on that mountain, told us that being under stress forces your true colors to emerge. I was reminded of his words as I watched our children pick up their emotional bags to walk this trail of highs and lows. We expended an enormous amount of mental and physical energy making sure each childâ€™s unique needs were met and fears relieved. In the end, I realized that I was no super woman, a role that I previously relished. She needed to be banished and the cape put away. I, who was normally the giver, needed my tribe of family, friends and, especially, girlfriends who intuitively knew when to send an encouraging message or fill in the mama role in my absence.
It was a time to take silly selfies, encourage his new love for cooking or just be still and pray together. It was time that, even though he had been homeschooled through his early years, I realised how much I missed having him around on a daily basis and was thankful for having made the sacrifice to teach him at home. It was a time that I saw our two youngest children grow attached to their older brother in a way that had been impossible when he was in school all day. Finally, it was a time that I was never more grateful for that crazy, time-consuming passionturned-business of photography. The pictures that I have taken of my children have become priceless irreplaceable treasures to me. The need for the correct composition, proper exposure or perfect light quickly fell by the wayside. What mattered most is that I continued to press the shutter to document our worst, our best and all our moments in between. As distance grows between the intense time we spent in the valley and holding our breath to see if treatment worked, the emotions of those days sadly become dull and less urgent. It is the way of life, yes? However, all I have to do is take one peek at these images and my being is painfully brought back to the emotions of the valley. They are part of my altar built to remind myself of how gracious and faithful God has been to us.
Our faith in a God who knows our fears and give us peace was where we found our hope. We are able to list our cancer blessings and see His undeniable beauty in the valley after walking through it with Him. At thirteen, Colby needed, almost demanded during his worst moments, his personal space to process his newfound lot in life. There were times when all I wanted was to climb in bed and hold him yet he rolled away only wanting to be left alone. Our struggle as parents was knowing when to allow him space to feel and acknowledge the dreariness of our situation or forcing him to fight through the emotional and physical obstacles with an attitude of gratitude. The amount of anxiety that persists after Colby finished treatment has taken me by surprise. Every day, so many people lose a loved one in Then I remember--I am doer. Mamas are doers. the blink of an eye with much left unspoken We do what needs to be done, move onto the or wounds unhealed. I consider the amount of next pressing need and then repeat. We did alone time I had with Colby during his treatment radiation. We did chemotherapy. Now, we must as His greatest gift to me. wait and see. Wait and pray. Wait and hope.
SEASONALLY NOURISHED ARTISAN PROFILE words by Kylah Dobson and photography by Brittany Gillman
I was born and raised on my father’s organic farm. What comes to mind for most people when I say that is a vision of homemade granola, fresh baked bread and organic vegetables. We did eat from our own garden in the summer but the reality is that the base of a lot of our meals involved creamy canned soups, packaged breakfast cereals, and sugar laden snacks. When my father was growing up, tinned goods were considered a luxury that not everyone living in the countryside could afford and he held onto this notion throughout my childhood. For many years before I became pregnant with my first daughter, I was suffering from terrible stomach pains, poor skin, bloating and chronic fatigue. I was tired everyday and for a long time, extreme discomfort after a meal was my daily normal. Eating had become a source of pain rather than pleasure. I visited several doctors and was prescribed band-aid solutions rather than getting to the root of the problem. Finally, after much of my own research, I started making changes to what I ate and slowly reversed the effects. It took about two years but cleaning up my diet and becoming a lot more intentional about, not only what I eat but how and when I eat, lead to major improvements for not only my physical health but my overall wellbeing. When my second daughter was born, life had become really really full. My husband and I were working around the clock and building our own home. We had started eating on the run, feeding our kids in the car and overdosing on snacks. My health started to decline again and the girls were becoming picky, demanding eaters. We had very little rhythm surrounding mealtime and eating together had become unpredictable and stressful.
I knew we had to reprioritise - less play dates, fewer extra-curriculars, and slowing down the growth of our business. We had to say no to some parts of life in order to say a wholehearted yes to others. Starting by saying yes to mealtimes together seemed like a really tangible - if not slightly daunting - way to create the changes in our home and our hearts that we were all craving. We all need to eat at least three times a day and that’s over a thousand opportunities a year to disconnect from all the busyness of modern life and reconnect with those who matter most over simple, nourishing meals. When I first became a mother I often felt very alone in the inherent challenges of parenting. As I started connecting with other mothers in my community I realized just how many women out there have struggled with their own health, wellbeing and body image at some point in their lives as well as faced the daily challenge of feeding their families. One common thread was that unlike just several generations past, many of us had not grown up in households learning how to cook and nourish ourselves well, let alone others, with real food. Having felt the immense healing power of my own food choices first hand, I knew I wanted to fully immerse myself in the science and understanding of how nutrition can be the basis of lifelong wellbeing. We ARE food. Food quite literally becomes us. The building blocks of the very cells that we’re made of come from what we eat. I wanted to help other women like me – especially mothers because our dietary needs and bodies can change so dramatically after giving birth – feel the amazing effects of shifting their food choices to serve them better.
When I eat better, I feel better, I act better and I definitely parent better. As simple as this may sound, it was a long but extremely worthwhile journey to get to the point where I fully understood this. When I did, my second daughter was 1.5 years old, and I knew I was ready to start a new career path helping women and families as a Holistic Nutrition Therapist. When I returned to school, by day I was getting back to the basics in my own kitchen and trying to nourish my two young daughters with fresh whole foods and yet by night I was studying the intricate details of the effects of food on the body. On the one hand, I could tell you exactly why kale is good for you but I couldn’t actually get my daughters to eat it! I started complimenting my formal holistic nutrition education with reading tons of books on the psychology behind childhood behaviours of eating, meal planning and dozens of family friendly cookbooks.
I experimented with everything I was learning in my own home. I wanted to bridge the gap between healthy eating and feeding the body what it needs to thrive but also nourishing the soul of our family around the table by sharing fresh simple meals and more meaningful time together. I’d like to think I would eat the exact same way even if I didn’t have children but let’s be honest, most kids, including my own have fairly discerning palettes that can change from one day to another. It can be difficult to find the balance between child-friendly meals and also wanting to expose them to the colours, flavours, and textures of real foods that aren’t always hidden in sauces or smoothies. The result of all this has been Seasonally Nourished – an online space where I share my stories, tips, tricks, and techniques, in the kitchen and around the table.
I also teach workshops that bridge the gap between the really fascinating facts about food and nutrition and the realities of actually eating and feeling well without spending all day in the kitchen. I can now wholeheartedly say that I love what I do!
We do this by lighting a candle at the beginning of every meal and through little gestures like using real cloth napkins and always having a fresh bouquet of wild flowers or leaves and branches on the table that the children often help pick. In a time that sees family members, even little ones, pulled in so many different directions, Although much of what we do now around mealtime is an opportunity to disconnect from the table to instill rhythm is quite subtle, it has our commitments and to-do lists, and to be really brought method to the madness and mealtime present and engaged with our loved ones. has slowly come full circle for us. Because we now sit down for dinner together most nights, My father passed on his rural work ethic to me. our children know what to expect (“No you may He’s 72 and still works 7 days a week. When left not throw that broccoli across the room, you may to my own devices I tend to do the same. I’m eat it with your fork”). I’m also on a rhythm of grateful that my children remind me daily to go making and serving meals well before everyone is at a different pace. I used to scarf down my meal over-hungry or tired. and then jump up right away to clear the table and do dishes. I was always in go mode. Now I think it’s really important to make mealtime we all stay at the table until everyone is finished special and to show my family that this time and that has opened up so much space for more together is valued. conversation, laughter and connection.
Healthy Eating Tips for Parents... 1. Go for progress over perfection – My experience with trying to make major change overnight is that it rarely leads to lasting change and that can be very frustrating. Try making one small change each day, or even just one a week, to what you are already doing. Maybe that means finding one single ingredient in a meal your family regularly eats that could be replaced with a healthier version - brown rice instead of white. Get really curious in the kitchen and around the table and slowly start making the changes that work for you. 2. Meal plan – While keeping meals simple is where it’s at, feeding a family does take effort and organisation. I spend about an hour on Sundays creating my meal plan for the week. I use a simple blank monthly calendar to write in all our meals. I quickly scan the recipes for ingredients and make a shopping list. I can’t stress enough how much time, money and sanity meal planning has saved me. 3. Keep it simple! – The best meals are not the fancy, three-course kind. They are the 20-minute one-pot dishes. Sometimes a meal in my home is even more simple than that, and consists of a whole grain, a steamed or roasted vegetable and a protein like beans or grilled meat. Rice and beans is a family fave! Start by finding recipes with short ingredient lists that don’t require any specialised kitchen equipment.
SALTED CARAMEL APPLE DIP RECIPE words and photography by Kylah Dobson
The recipe for this dip is extremely versatile. You can make it thinner to create an ultra rich sauce for desserts or leave it thick to use as a delicious dip for apples and pears. Substitute the nut butter for sunflower seed butter or tahini paste for a nut free version. I’ve also added a little cocoa powder to this in the past to make a healthy icing for cakes!
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 2 CUPS) 2 cups pitted Medjool dates (or regular baking dates but they will need to soak a full 8 hours) ¼ cup nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, sesame tahini, sunflower) 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice 1 tsp. vanilla extract ½ tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)
METHOD 1. Soak dates for 4-8 hours in warm water 2. Drain dates, saving the soak water 3. Add dates to a food processor along with all other ingredients, except for soaking water. Blend on high until mixture is smooth. Add soaking water, just a little bit a time until the desired consistency is reached (for a sauce to pour or drizzle, add more water). 4. Serve and enjoy! 5. Stores well in an airtight container in the fridge up to one week
RIBOLITTA RECIPE words and photography by Kylah Dobson
This is the soup I make most often in my home because it’s so easy and everyone loves it. It’s incredibly satisfying, especially on a crisp fall day. Traditionally, in Italy, ribolitta is thickened with stale bread that is broken up and added straight to this thick vegetable stew. I prefer to dip big chunks of the fresh sourdough bread we get from a friend at our local farmer’s market. Experiment with both methods, either way I’m sure you will love it! INGREDIENTS (SERVES 6) 3 Tbsp. olive oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 onion, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 1 rib of celery, chopped 28 ounces (1 can) diced tomatoes 1 tsp. thyme 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced 1 bunch curly kale, or any other variety of kale, de-stemmed and chopped 14 ounces (1 can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth Sea salt, to taste Chili flakes, to serve Freshly ground pepper, to serve 1 loaf country style sourdough bread, to serve Freshly grated parmesan, to serve
METHOD 1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sautĂŠ about 5 minutes 2. Toss in the carrot with a pinch of sea salt and sautĂŠ another 10 minutes 3. Pour the tomatoes (and their juices) into the pot with the thyme, sweet potato and broth. Bring the soup to a simmer, turn the heat down and partially cover with the lid. Keep the soup at a low simmer for about 20 minutes 4. Drain and rinse the canned beans, add the beans and kale to the pot along with another good pinch of sea salt and continue to simmer 5 more minutes 5. Serve with crusty country style bread and top your soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated parmesan, sea salt and pepper. Enjoy!
INCREDIBLE IRAN TRAVEL ESSAY words and photography by Panos Voudouris
Iran; not the most usual travel destination for a family. Yet there we were, waiting at the gate to board our long flight to Tehran with a little boy not even two years old. The idea for the trip was in our minds for a few years, but the seed was planted when our close friends invited us to their wedding. After a bit of research and a lot of fending off “are you sure / is it safe / surely you’re not taking the baby?” questions, we decided to go for it. Tehran spreads for miles and miles, yet feels very local. Often we felt like we were in Athens or some other new-built European city - construction everywhere, new blocks of flats sprouting up all over the place and endless traffic and smog. All of that sat between lavish palaces and gardens with exquisite vegetation and beautifully crafted fountains.
Despite the huge population, the chaotic traffic and the construction boom, the city is extraordinary clean. People were always very friendly and curious to ask where we came from. Despite our initial concerns of how we would manage with a 2 year old, everyone was more than happy to engage with him and accommodate whatever we needed. Granted, baby changing facilities were non existent (there really are none) yet on the few occasions we had to do a quick nappy change we didn’t receive any funny looks or comments. Children here are part of life all the time and they are out, even late at night with their families. Although Iran is a country that follows a strict dress code we were surprised to see a few mums wearing their babies in baby carriers and even one mum breastfeeding discreetly in public.
Food in Iran was something we were definitely looking forward to. The spices, the herbs and the aromas of the middle East flooded our palates with our first meal and any worries that we had on feeding a 2 year old in Iran were immediately dispelled. Food is not just amazing, it is easy. The flavours are so fresh and aromatic, full of vegetables, pickles, spices and fruits. We always found something for our little one to eat and
he now seems to have a taste for one ingredient present in every Persian dish; onions. Being in a country where alcohol is not permitted, there was one other thing in plentiful supply that our son loves - fresh fruit juice. There were street stalls on every corner selling juice made fresh on the spot from every fruit you can think of, but mainly with the national fruit, pomegranate. The sweet aroma and taste of it will always stay with us. 80
We spent a couple more days wandering around Tehran, before getting in a car and driving south towards central Iran. The journey took us through rocky desert plains into Kashan and its majestic gardens. After resting for a bit and letting our son run around the water features and lush vegetation, we continued further south into Isfahan. This is
a medium-sized town with a huge UNESCO designated square. The bazaar, a palace and two mosques all surround this huge open area where families have picnics (Persians are considered the best â€œpicnicersâ€? in the world!) and tourists are taken around in horse drawn carriages.
We spent our last few hours in Iran thinking that it is truly one of the most exciting holidays we have ever had, even though we were in a place that we never thought we would brave with a child. This was our first â€œtrueâ€? holiday since having our son, true in the sense that it was not a few days in a hotel or a polished villa in Europe where high chairs and baby changing facilities are everywhere. If anything, it made us more confident about travelling with a child. We went with the flow and enjoyed every single part of the
journey. We enjoyed the pace, the culture, the incredible hospitality, the food and the colourful life of Iran. We left with our suitcases full of exposed film, kilos of pistachios, spices, herbs and heartfelt presents from our hosts and the new friends we made in Iran. A truly memorable family holiday, one that was easier than we expected and left us with a wish to soon return to this beautiful country.
BRIGHT KNITS FASHION photography and styling by Rebecca Lindon
Lucy wears sweater by Little Remix and skirt by Poppy Rose. James wears jumper ny babaa knitwear and corduroy trousers by Poppy Rose.
Eve wears romper by Rachel & Groms. River wears sleepwear by Amiki Children..
Lucy wears knit dress by Oeuf NYC and scarf by Milk & Biscuits.
Lucy wears cardigan by Poppy Rose and baggypants by Little Pilots. James wears cardigan by Scotch Râ€™Belle and baggypants by Little Pilots.
James wears jumper by babaa knitwear and baggypants by Little Pilots.
RAISINGwordsFREEDOM FIGHTERS and photography by Abi Quisenberry
I am a storyteller, a magician, a princess in perilous distress hoping for a brave knight to save her. I attend to wounds and am the keeper of the bandaids. I am a historian and a cook and I can wrangle the loudest of lions and tame the most unruly beast with the snap of a finger. I have the uncanny ability to produce a meal out of an empty fridge and start dance parties on a moment’s whim. I am a righter of wrongs, a keeper of the peace. I am a mother. I am raising babies and boys and men. And sometimes when I’m standing in the kitchen surrounded by popsicle-stained faces and mountains of laundry and cranky babies at my feet, I wonder if I’m enough. If I’m doing a good job at raising them. What they will grow up to be like with me as their mother. And then there’s the days I feel I was made for this. The days when my three sons are running naked in the backyard, laying on their tummies, studying rollie pollies and feeling the sunshine on their skin, taking in the small wonders of life. And I’m awestruck by the privilege of being their mama. These boys are my soul, and their warm little arms around my neck and their breath against my cheek when they tell me they love me take away all my insecurities. As I tuck the covers under their chins at night, as I chase them down the halls shrieking with laughter I applaud myself. They are free. They are strong, they are loved, they are happy. That has got to be enough to raise brilliant men and husbands and dads.
But then it comes. Slow and soft like a scent of lilacs on the wind. There, ever present. This feeling. This persistent whisper of my soul as I watch them grow. In between the dirty fingernails and stained cheeks and tucking into bed I feel it in my bones. A growing voice. We were meant for more. They were meant for more. Before I was a mom I would dream of my babies and what they would become and I knew more than anything I wanted my boys to grow up to be happy. I wanted them to know without a doubt that they are loved and fiercely protected and that mom and dad will fight for them. And not much has changed. I still want them to run naked around the house because they can and not to be ashamed of their bodies, I want them to always feel accepted. And when they grow up and go off to find themselves I want my little tribe to know I will always be waiting at home with a light on and open arms and food to feed their bellies no matter what time of night it is. Because that’s what mamas do. But the older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve found myself, the more I have realized that I want my boys to grow up knowing that the world is bigger than themselves, bigger than their town, their city. That the world comes in a million different cultures and religions and languages and that just because things are different than what they know, doesn’t make it wrong. I want them to never settle. I want them to learn to question the media. To listen to their instincts. To be advocates. To fight the system if the system needs fighting. To demand justice. To stand for the oppressed.
And this is it. This is where my role comes in. That nagging voice. How do I teach them all I want them to know? How do I raise babies who are activists and strong and fierce? I truly believe with every fiber of my being that we as parents, as mothers, as fathers, as human beings living in this world today have a vital responsibility to instill our values in our babies from the moment they are born. From the time they are chubby little babies with neck rolls and drool we should be having conversations with them, and not just about fairies and dragons as much fun as they are. Because there is no perfect time to talk about race or racism, there is no magic age when it should be addressed. Yes, they might be young, and my goodness it’s awkward to start it, but alongside the popsicles we should be talking about these things with them daily. Starting conversations. Having open dialogue about harder issues. As a mother I am shaping my children, their thoughts, their beliefs and it
is up to me to raise freedom fighters. Boys who will take a stand. Boys who see color, and embrace it. Boys who notice differences and celebrate them. They will never do it on their own if they are not first taught by me. And I hear you. I get it. It’s hard. Being a parent just is. But daily our children are learning new things. They’re watching us, and more often than not, children repeat us. What they’ve seen, heard and witnessed. They mimic our actions. Sometimes the lessons I teach the boys in a day are as simple as yesterday’s lesson of “chalk is not for eating”, or where the sun goes when the moon comes out. And then other days I teach them more monumental lessons. How to treat people who are different from them, how differences make us unique and why they should be celebrated instead of ever looked down upon. Why our family is varying hues of skin colors, and how that doesn’t make us less of a family no matter what anyone else says. How beautiful their skin is.
I am a mom of three boys. One of my sons is African, one is White and one is Black American. Being their mom has helped me see from all sides of the spectrum. See things I wouldn’t of before. Notice race in a whole new way. I look at my two year old, Stone and I see how easy life will be for my blond haired boy. He’s tall like his daddy and funny and a bit of a troublemaker and a bit James Dean, but he blends in. Let’s me be honest here. He’s a bit eastern block and a bit Scottish and a little more this and that but predominantly, he’s just considered white. He will be able to be whatever he wants to be without trying as hard as other races and although I will always worry when he’s out late as a teenager, the gripping fear I have for his brothers won’t be the same. It never will. I know when he goes out he’s most certain to return and if he got into trouble he would be brought back to me with a slap on the wrist. He will be able to date whomever he wants and will get picked for the job even if he’s less qualified because that’s what statistics prove.
I wonder the first time he will come home crying because someone called him a racial slur. I know I can’t shelter him forever but I also know that I need to be talking to him about things I will never have to tell Stone. How some people won’t like him because of his skin color. How even though their words are meaningless and ignorant that doesn’t make it hurt less. How as much as he loves his hoodie he can’t wear it up anymore lest someone think he’s up to no good. How just because some people treat him different that doesn’t mean we actually are different. That him and his two brothers are exactly the same underneath, and yet still, how life will be vastly unfair for him compared to his brother. That he will have to work harder for what he wants. That life won’t be just handed to him in the same way it is for white boys in America.
This is what suffocates me at night and makes my heart race and my skin feel too tight for my chest. I have to have this talk with my son, but if I had chosen to only have birth children I wouldn’t have to. Read that again. As white parents raising white babies you can avoid the And then I look at my oldest, Finley, tall and race talk. We can sweep all the unhappiness strong and dark and handsome with a smile and under the rug and let them live a carefree and dimples that will stop your heart in an instant. sheltered life. But how is that fair? How is that But he’s tall and he looks older than five and moving our world forward? How is that making already people pull their children away from a difference? him at the park. It doesn’t matter where you live or what race Let me say that again. you are. In America it’s the #blacklivesmatter movement, it’s recognizing that racism isn’t just Already, at five years old I have seen people pull burning crosses and the civil rights movement their children away from playing with him at the didn’t liberate blacks in our country. It begins park. Not because he is unruly or up to no good. with standing in solidarity with people begging No, that would be Stone. Finn is the sweetest of to be heard. With admitting we have a huge boys with a gentle spirit and he’s a lover at heart. problem on our hands. It begins with rolling But already I see his skin color is working against up our sleeves and daring to get out of our him. It’s not that I’m teaching him that, no. But comfort zone. But it’s not just here, and it’s not I see it and I know sooner than later he will see it just America that has the problem. No, racism is too. In the fall he will start school and my heart everywhere. Asian against Asian, White against is literally aching as I think of it. Black, Tutsis against Hutu.
It sweeps across seas and crosses borders with We celebrate his blackness. I want you to notice immigrant families without looking back. his differences and talk to your children about it. But the thing is racism will never stop until we start putting our foot down. Until we start educating and teaching our young ones while we can. Where do we go from here? How do we start? We start today. We stop putting this off because it’s uncomfortable, stop waiting until our babies seem old enough. Yes it’s hard but conversations that challenge us always are. And just because you don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean your kids don’t notice. Ask them. Engage. Don’t think that we can teach our children to be colorblind. First of all, it’s not possible to be colorblind, and scary to think such an approach is healthy. We can’t ignore race because race is a part of who we are. I want you to see my sons skin for what it is, beautiful and black. He is black. He is proud.
Studies show by families not talking about race it actually leads to children being unsure what their parents think of people of a different race and thinking their race is superior. Colorblind ideology is a whole new form of racism. Read. Teach. Lead by example. There’s a fire burning in my bones. I still believe in humanity. I still believe in you. I believe you want the world to be a better place for your children like I do. It only takes a spark to set a forest fire. One brave voice in the crowd. One mama to speak the truth. You’re a Mother. A diplomate. A teacher, a mentor. The voice of reason. You’re a world changer. All it takes is you. They’re watching and we have the ability to help shape the future. Change is never easy but we can’t afford to stay the same.
ERIN WETZEL ARTISAN PROFILE words and photography Erin Wetzel
I am a self-taught artist. It began a few years ago when I started waking up before dawn. My baby girl lay next to my husband. They snored away as the bedroom door clicked shut. I filled a mason jar with water and snuck into the garage. I laid out my paints, turned the music down low and, as streaks of dawn bleared across the sky, I painted. I painted and painted and painted. I have created art my entire life, but, in those moments, I started to truly think of myself as an Artist. As I developed my work, I posted pictures of my paintings online and I was blown away by their reception. I received requests for commissions right away and over the next year or so, I painted portrait after portrait.
I was emailing with Rachel from Poppy and Fern about painting her a portrait. She referred to a piece I’d painted a few months back of a couple dressed up as foxes, and asked if I’d do a similar portrait of her and her husband, Joshua. I had already drafted an email suggesting the exact same idea when her reply came through. I felt goosebumps on my skin and butterflies in my stomach.
since as long as I can remember and the first time I took a Myers Briggs personality test was in high school. Over the years, I’ve rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of many of the unofficial quizzes out there but there was one silly little test I found about ten years ago that stuck with me: the Animal In You personality test.
So I filled in the test, thinking about what I knew of Rachel, and came back to her with three They knew they wanted Joshua to be a bear but animal suggestions: an owl, sable or penguin. We Rachel wasn’t sure which animal fit her personality. decided to go with the sable. And the Animal Here is where my geekiness over personality tests Personality Portrait was born. became handy. I’ve loved personality quizzes
There are three key things to keep in mind when choosing which animal to represent a person: 1. Think of the way you already describe the person: what kind of nicknames they have, what they’re good at and what they are interested in. 2. This is not a science. There is no “right” animal. 3. The animal you choose should make you smile. When I am working with someone I know well, I can make an intuitive guess about what animal would be a good fit for them. For instance, I follow Louise Gibbens closely on Instagram; when I wanted to surprise her with a portrait of her boys, I only had my gut to work with. Her younger son, Jody, is wild and intelligent, but also has a deep soul and is very expressive, even of sadness. Her older son, Archie, is his opposite in so many ways: reserved, elegant, contemplative, and on the cusp of turning from a child into a young man. The two boys have such definitive personalities, I felt they needed to be portrayed with separate, companion portraits, so I painted young wild Jody as a wolf, and his older brother, Archie, as a deer with new horns budding on his crown.
I don’t always have the privilege of knowing my clients before I paint their portraits, however, so I have a questionnaire on my site that people can fill out to tell me a little bit about themselves or the person they want a portrait of. This helps me give them suggestions, but the most important thing is that people choose an animal that is meaningful to them. For instance: if I were to choose my daughter’s animal, I’d probably choose a rabbit or a sparrow, but when I asked her what animal she wanted, she chose a hummingbird. So I painted her as a hummingbird. What animal would I be? The Animal Personality test tells me I should be an otter. The otter personality analysis is spot-on. Even so, at the end of the day, I would paint myself as a housecat. In fact: I’d like to paint my whole family as cats, and paint my cat on someone’s lap with her paws over her face in embarrassment at how ridiculous we are all being. If I hung that portrait in my home, it would make a little part of me chuckle every time I look at it.
When I started painting, I wanted to create art that showed tender moments in family life: breastfeeding portraits, babies sleeping with siblings, playtime and togetherness and cuddles on the couch. Parenting is hard work, but it is also beautiful. My daughter helped reveal this beauty to me. I dreamed that, by painting simple moments of connection, I could draw attention to the beauty that exists in everyday life and inspire parents to slow down and savour what precious time they have, before their kids are grown and gone. I wanted my art to help people find contentment in the humdrum of ordinary life. My watercolor art has never been about frivolous whimsical scenes, detached from reality. Not at all. My artwork has always been about hope. I think…what inspires me to create art is the fact that, no matter how shitty life gets, we can always survive. There is always something good that survives. There is always a wildflower growing in a field, a rainbow after the storm. Life. Is. Hard. People are awful to each other. Cars break down, heirlooms break, appointments are missed, deadlines run late. Then I look in the mirror and my imperfections weigh me down. But, no matter how awful things get, moments of hope and kindness crop up everywhere. Human suffering inspires compassion and community. Nature runs wild and free. No matter what we do, flowers bloom every spring. Yellow dandelion heads burst through the sidewalk cracks and are transformed into stalks of wishes. When you look out over your yard, what do you see: Are they weeds? Or are they wonderful? All of life is like this: the dirty dishes in the sink, the empty bank account, the imperfections of your spouse, the way your kid screams. Your life is full of difficult things because your days are FULL OF LIFE. Everything is fighting and teeming and going crazy. 111
And here you are, in the middle of it. Here you are, surrounded by swirling colors and improbable signs. Here you are, one more weed in the grass, opening up your heart to the sun and bursting out over the wind. There is a bit of that wild beauty in all of us. I like to think that, maybe, when I paint people with animal faces, I’m echoing a bit of that wild spirit, and reminding people of the tenacious beauty that exists in all of us. I have so many dreams and aspirations. There are so many things I want to do with my daughter and for my family. But, if I don’t stop and rest and take time to take care of daily needs, everything falls apart. The practical side of family life is what gets me every time: the dishes, the yardwork, the need to set aside days to rest. The world is so Big and Wonderful and Beautiful. But my daughter doesn’t need me to give her The World. Actually, all she really needs from me is just: me. I keep trying to offer her things, but all she really cares about is being able to share her experiences with me. And that has been so incredibly humbling, to be needed and wanted in that way. The only person who truly gets to determine how I live my life is me. That baffles me. I’ve learned how to stop giving a crap about things that don’t matter. I’ve learned how to put my faith in people who have proven supportive and loving. And I’ve learned how to compartmentalize my heart away from the naysayers. It’s a good thing, to have a wild spirit. It’s a good thing to forge your own path in life and be true to yourself. It’s a good thing to be creative and full of spirit and to hunger after truth. And the secret, the thing no one will tell you unless you seek it out, is that we all have this freedom. The only person who truly sets your own limitations is: you.
TEACHING KINDNESS LIFESTYLE ESSAY words and photography by Rebecca Lindon
Image by Theresa Furey
Being generous and considerate are two of the most important qualities that I strive for in my own life. I don’t always achieve them, I disappoint myself often but I keep striving all the same. I believe children are born with kindness and empathy in their souls, but if it isn’t encouraged and praised, then it can be replaced with jealousy and bitterness as they make their way through a world where kindness is too often confused with weakness.
glee when I thank him for helping with his baby sister or clearing up his toys – his pride is written all over his face. Kindness releases endorphins, it improves well-being, reduces stress and, on a larger scale, brings communities together.
Unfortunately studies also show that by 9 years old, we have learned to think more about ourselves than others. We become consumed with elevating ourselves and achieving positions of power. This continues throughout adulthood Studies show that practicing acts of kindness as we move into the workplace and the societal makes us feel better about ourselves – just think obsession with material things replaces the about how much your little ones love to ‘help’ simple requirements we had as a child. you do the dishes or hoover. My son smiles with 112
It’s never too late to reconsider your own spiritual objectives and every day brings a new opportunity to encourage kindness in your children. Giving Children demonstrate happiness not only when they receive kindness but moreover, when they are able to give kindness to others. Be their guiding force by showing kindness to strangers. Perhaps ask them to engage in one act of kindness a day (big or small). If you give to charity or take part in a charitable event then make sure your children know about it and why you did it. Tell them about who you are helping and how your actions might make their lives better. We recently pulled together a care package for the Syrian refugees (as many have done) and I asked my 3-year old son to choose a soft toy to pass on to another child. I explained that the children had left their homes suddenly and needed warm clothing and something to cuddle at night. He gave one to me willingly and expressed concern for his fellow human beings. He has great empathy and I sometimes try and shield him from the atrocities of the world but allowing him to be a part of the solution is hugely important. Sharing This is a big issue in many households as we try and encourage our children to share with others. After witnessing some reluctance in my own children, I took a long look at myself and realised that I don’t always share with them – my food, my possessions, my time. I often remove precious objects that they have found and started to play with, sometimes I don’t even explain why I’m taking it away. Again, being the leader in the behaviour you’d like to see reflected in your children is the quickest way to pass it on. If you have an abundance of fruit in your garden then let them see you share it with your friends. Let them help you collect flowers for Grandparents or bake a cake for a sick neighbor. Get those happiness endorphins flowing! 113
Empathy Empathy is a huge part of kindness – the ability to understand how kindness can make someone feel good makes us want to exercise it even more. Regularly ask your children how it made them feel when someone did something kind for them. On the flipside, help them to understand how being unkind can bring sadness. I’ve found this to be an invaluable lesson between siblings who often don’t automatically consider the feelings of their brother / sister. Caring Looking after animals as a child has played an important part in the development of my own empathy and kindness. Just take a look at Siegrid Cain’s article on ‘Puppy Love’ earlier in this journal for proof. Having an opportunity to look after a pet that needs you to feed / wash / walk it gives children a sense of responsibility and a chance to display kindness. Young siblings offer a similar opportunity if you can open up and let your older children help you. On a smaller scale, plant flowers and vegetables with your children and allow them to help nurture and grow life. Teach respect for plants, animals, people and the Earth and they will naturally adopt those same values. A World View Expose your children to people from different walks of life. This one is perhaps the most important for me. Limiting your children to a small number of like-minded people who look the same as them and speak the same language, will ultimately create an understanding of ‘us’ and ‘them’ when they do encounter others outside of that circle. Show them different cultures and help them understand that all human beings are one with each other and are to be treated as we wish to be treated ourselves. Lastly, one that we all stray from on occasion – speak gently to others and of them when they are not around. Little ears are listening.
BIRTHING NATURALLY LIFESTYLE ESSAY words by Gemma Challis and photography by Rebecca Lindon
My journey into maternity reflexology began after birthing my own children. I hadn’t prepared myself mentally or physically at all for giving birth to my first child so it was a big shock. I really wanted a homebirth but I was discouraged by my doctor because it was my first baby. She implied that it was dangerous, but it’s a myth that giving birth in hospital is safer. Studies have shown it’s actually much safer to have a home birth if there are no complications in pregnancy. I have often thought if I had been more informed about my choices during my first pregnancy and felt an inner confidence, my birthing experience may have been very different. After birthing my firstborn son and connecting deeply with him, I felt robbed as if I hadn’t just gone along with what I was told and had followed my inner knowing, I could have had a different birth experience. I felt there was something missing for pregnant women, a lack of support. I started thinking about what I could do to help people through that process and nurture them. I had reflexology during my second pregnancy and I found it so simple and powerful at the same time. That really inspired me to further my studies and train in maternity reflexology and massage so that I could work with women in pregnancy. My second and third births were at home and I felt prepared. I knew my body was primed to do this and I felt very positive. I knew my body was capable and strong enough and I believed I could achieve anything. Birth helped me discover courage, strength, resilience and patience and, of course, unconditional love. It taught me how beautiful and powerful women’s bodies are and how important it is to listen to our inner wisdom. I wanted to offer a nurturing space and allow other women to connect with themselves in this way.
Pregnancy and birth is a time of self-discovery. You learn more about yourself during that period than you ever felt possible. Women are aware of the emerging power and strength within them during the transition from woman to mother/ pregnancy to birth and are looking out for support that isn’t there. Midwives offer women amazing care but they don’t have the time to spend with each individual to give them the knowledge they need about how our bodies work and how our animalistic qualities come through in childbirth. Reflexology offers women an opportunity to focus on themselves, away from these very busy lifestyles that we have. It balances and harmonises the whole being and optimises health. It has proven to be a great success with treating various ailments such as morning sickness, fatigue, back pain, SPD etc.. It gives us time to connect with our inner state of wisdom and the wisdom of our babies. My role is to offer the tools and the space – each woman has the power inside her already, she just needs to tune in and listen. Before birth became medicalised, women were the main care providers who helped support and nurture the birthing mother. Girls would have witnessed birth themselves, neighbours would have been helping and girls grew up knowing that birth was completely safe and normal. Then doctors decided to intervene but were told not to enter the birthing room until the last minute because it could disrupt the natural flow of birth hormones and slow the labour. They started to come in and take over and push the midwives aside. In some states in America they completely banished midwives. Then women started being told to give birth lying on their back because it was seen as demeaning to go on all fours, so women’s natural birthing instincts became controlled with an expectation to behave in a certain way. 114
In some places women were even strapped down A normal gestation of pregnancy is from 37 to 42 to give birth. Yet instinctively we all feel like we weeks so for doctors to decide on an estimated need to move in labour and help baby get into a due date of 40 weeks isn’t always helpful. better position to progress things. Women can get naturally fixated on that and then I think that birth in our time is often seen as we feel anxious when we go over and interventions something separate from ourselves. It needs are suggested. This can prevent the flow of ‘managing’. It’s something we go to hospital oxytocin as we become more anxious – we need for and it’s dealt with there. You go there and that hormone as it triggers labour contractions surrender yourself. You hand over your clothes and it only comes when we are in a relaxed state. and are reduced to becoming a patient. We’ve When anxious, we produce adrenalin and then stopped connecting to birth in a way that is oxytocin can’t flow, nature won’t let it. primal. We don’t want to face it because we’ve been brought up in a culture that feeds us fear There can be an awful lot of pressure on women about childbirth. It’s not fearful, it’s a challenge to be induced, which often leads to further and one that we’re perfectly designed to face. intervention. A lot of women aren’t informed The fear factor does diminish when you put in very well about the process of induction and what the groundwork and prepare for birth and find it entails and they often go on to have epidurals your inner confidence and safety. Doing that because the process is so intense. Of course there preparation is a journey in itself and a great joy are instances when interventions can be lifethat balances the body and mind, and ultimately saving but in general I believe birth should be is what we need to feel like we can go through left alone – it’s a natural event and intervention the transition and manage labour pain effectively. should only be used when it’s really necessary.
In my experience the more relaxed the mother is, best not to intervene, this makes birth much the more likely she’ll go into labour naturally and safer. Certainly, we’re lucky to have all of the most importantly, when her baby is ready. medical knowledge available to use if we need it but ultimately, women contain all the power and Because there is so much intervention during strength within them to birth naturally. hospital births, women often feel like the midwife knows best. You give away your power. We’re told Women are also starting to become more aware that they know our bodies better than we do. that they have choices. They often know that You think ‘they’re monitoring me and my cervix they want to be cared for and nurtured but so they’ll know when I should push.’ But actually they aren’t always sure how to find that. Touch if we were left to our own devices in a dimly lit therapies are certainly a starting point and are and safe space surrounded with loving support, becoming more and more popular. labour would progress just perfectly in most cases. We really need to start educating children about Clock-watching also puts immense pressure the natural process of birth and then we would on women. We all labour in different ways in be much more in control of our choices. The different times. Hospitals are on a timetable but solution is within each of us. if women were left to birth in their own time it would be such a different experience. We are The supreme authority is within the individual ultimately mammals and mammals in the wild and is not outside of us. We have the full power go somewhere dark and quiet and safe to give over our own health and by being well informed birth and that’s exactly what we need as women. about our choices in pregnancy and childbirth That’s not always possible in hospitals. It’s hugely and feeling spiritually and physically prepared important how we enter the world. Life begins we can reclaim our power, and by doing this we at conception. Our time in the womb and our can create a major shift that will heal the system. birth experience are powerful times where we are The more we become aware and conscious of learning and communicating, so to create a more who we really are and trust in our Self the humanised, spiritual approach to birth is indeed healthier we get as we own our own soul, inner very much needed not only for the mother authority and experiences. throughout the whole of pregnancy, but also for the baby. Once one woman is more informed and feels empowered to make her own decisions this I think there is change happening for the better. ripples out as she shares her knowledge with In some ways, doctors are now realising that other women. It will change and improve, I’m women in labour need to be left alone and it’s sure.
Gemma Challis is a Maternity Reflexologist and Pregnancy Massage Therapist (presently training as an Antenatal Teacher/Doula) www.thenorfolkretreat.co.uk 116
A NEW LIFE IN THE BAHAMAS PERSONAL ESSAY words and photography by Kat Braman
In April of 2014 we moved our family of four (our sons are 5 and 8) to the island of Abaco in the Bahamas from Florida. We moved to Cherokee Sound, a tiny settlement about 45 minutes south-east of Marsh Harbour. I’d never even been to Abaco before we moved but my husband grew up in Fort Lauderdale and had been there fishing a number of times. We wanted to give our kids the opportunity to grow up with more freedom and more outdoor time than is possible in South Florida. We wanted them to have the ability to run outside with their friends without fear and worry. My husband had been wanting to move out of the country for almost our entire marriage. I’m much more cautious than he is and a bit of a worrier, so it took me a while to be comfortable with it and for the timing to be right for both of us. I knew it would be amazing for our kids and our family and it has far exceeded our expectations. They love the ocean so they were both very excited about moving to an island.
They saw it as a big adventure. I think the biggest reason this move has worked out so well for us is because of the warm and welcoming Bahamian people we’ve met. Cherokee Sound has a population of about 100120 people and they’re all family. Amazingly, they’ve completely embraced us as one of their own and have made us feel so at home here. The little school my eldest son has been attending is a small schoolhouse; one room houses 1st -3rd grade and the other 4th - 6th grade. Last year, my son had four kids in his 3rd grade class and there were 12 or 13 kids in the classroom in total. Education-wise, he’s so far ahead of where he was in public school in Florida. After school gets out, he and his friends grab their fishing poles and head to the Long Dock and fish for snappers. They have the run of the town and they’re free to find their own adventures. Everyone in town looks out for each other’s children. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
The town has one little grocery store and one gas station. There’s a couple in town that sells homemade ice cream out of their home and a lady that makes hamburgers to order. Ten minutes down the road is the famous Pete’s Pub, which has become our place “where everybody knows your name.” Our neighbors bring us lobsters, conch, stone crabs, freshly caught fish, avocados and more. Our kids (and us) have made what I know are lifelong friends here, and we feel so incredibly blessed to have been embraced by this small community.
FLORALS - SWEET PEA FASHION photography and styling by Rebecca Lindon
Olivia wears vest and Trousers by Bene Bene at Greenberry Kids.
Dress by Olivier Baby.
Romper by James Vincent Design Co.
Cardigan, Collar Top and Suspender Bloomers by Lacey Lane.
FLORALS - ENGLISH ROSE FASHION photography by Rebecca Lindon and styling by FloraFairweather Styling
Flora wears grey cardigan by Bene Bene at Greenberry Kids and Romper by Coco & Wolf.
Bloomers by Coco & Wolf and blouse by Poudre Organic at Bubble Chops. Linen jumpsuit by Bene Bene and blanket by FloraFairweather.
FRAMED INSPIRATION photography by Rebecca Lindon
Crying Heart poster by Pax & Hart. Super Hero postcards by My Deer Art Shop. Ernest Hemingway print by Oh My Deer.
TURNING 18 PERSONAL ESSAY words by Catherine Abegg
When I was 17, I graduated high school and moved to New York City to work as a photographer. I lived in quaint studio apartment in Brooklyn and was happily working for photographers that I respected while learning the craft that I loved so much. It was an intense workload, where sometimes I would work 100+ hours a week; I was in survival mode and I was out to prove myself. I found out that I was pregnant when I had just recently turned 18. I had gone home for the holidays (in the Seattle area where I grew up), and had scheduled my annual gynecological exam while at home. During my exam, my gynecologist said to me, “You’re pregnant.” And I said, “There’s no way that I could be pregnant, honestly!” It’d been a couple of months since I’d had relations with anyone and even then I’d used protection. But she said to me, “By the feel of things, you are about 12 week pregnant.” So I took a pregnancy test and, lo and behold, I was pregnant.
I was about to get myself into. I dove headfirst into it the way most parents would; I got us into New York’s hottest midwifery clinic and I signed up for the most talked-about birthing class in Soho. I kept a journal about my pregnancy, and I wore my bulging belly proudly while walking the streets of Manhattan. I bought a maternity outfit for a cousin’s wedding that I attended in Boston, and my brother reminded me many years later that during the reception, I boasted to my family, “I’m going to give this child the best life.” I had a confidence about my pregnancy and impending journey into parenthood that only a fearless teenager could.
When I gave birth to Madeline, on the night of May 16th, 1997, I still couldn’t believe my luck. I was so happy to meet her. Madeline was the easiest baby. She slept through the night beginning at nine days old, and she loved being out and about. I couldn’t really afford a baby carrier, so I carried her in the crook of my left arm like a little sack of potatoes everywhere I went, and people would fawn over here because she was so tiny and wideA drunken one-night stand that I’d had with a eyed. She was an angel. co-worker several months back was actually a one hit wonder and I was now expecting a baby girl. Once I went back to work, everything changed. I think because I was working so much, because Living in New York City is difficult, but nothing I was in survival mode and mostly because I was compares to trying to live in NYC as a single just a careless teenager, I had somehow gone all mom. I realised that pretty early on, especially of that time without even noticing that anything after having to face the challenge of daycare while was different. In hindsight, I did realise that I’d living and working in two separate boroughs. We mysteriously quit smoking and drinking (didn’t were out of there before she was even a year old. have the stomach for it), and also I did feel a little It was the saddest move for me, because my heart “fat,” but I had thought nothing of it. Like I said, was in NYC, but it wasn’t a very difficult decision. careless teenager! Another reason that it wasn’t very difficult to leave New York was because I didn’t want to have to deal After getting over the initial shock of it, I felt with the drama of Madeline’s biological father. It excited. I had a very naïve wonder about the whole turns out he had been married at the time with thing, and I felt almost zero hesitation about what two young children, and he had no intention 133
of being involved in our lives. I was absolutely okay with that, but in no way did I want to raise Mads in a city that could potentially be toxic for us because of that situation. Raising Madeline by myself and being completely detached from Bill, her biological father, was the best thing. I didn’t feel crowded by his immaturity and I didn’t feel intimidated by what he may have wanted for his child. I felt free to raise her 100% on my terms. It was fantastic. The best part about being a single parent is the freedom of it, and the gratification of it. I loved our relationship. I loved hearing her say Mom, and I loved holding her hand. We talked a lot and did just about everything together. I may be an artist, but having me for a mom isn’t all rainbows and dreams. So Madeline and I have always had a
very good “working” relationship and have always had a very functional home, but we also had lots of fun and I would like to think that we balanced it out with a nurturing relationship as well. One of my favorite times in our lives was when I worked a job 7am to 3:30pm during the week, so we would have to get up everyday around 5:30am to get ready for the day and get her to daycare before I went to work. And every morning we would wake up, each of us get ready together and also a little bit separately too (she’s always been very independent), and we would drive off, talking and singing all the way. In the afternoon, we would be together again, and go to the park or for a bike ride, do homework and have dinner, and then go to bed early. It was all so simple, but I really cherish that time.
The hardest thing about being a single parent was probably during the years that most people are out trying to ‘find themselves’. I didn’t really have that freedom, and I sometimes felt a little lost. I had a few really stupid relationships during those years, both romantically and with friends, that didn’t serve me in a positive way at all. It’s perfectly normal for twenty-something year olds to go through those relationships in their lives, but I was also going through them with a child around. Madeline doesn’t remember any of our struggles so it’s mainly just guilt that I’m dealing with, but I for sure wish that I could take back all the times that I was in relationships that didn’t benefit us. As they say, things in our past really shape our future. That rings very true for how we met Michael, my husband now. I made a very distinct list of what I wanted in a partner based on what I didn’t like about my past relationships.
Then I met Michael, who was everything on that list, and we immediately fell in love. Madeline was 11 years old, and she met him once in passing and gave him a serious stink-eye without even knowing that he and I were romantically involved (or maybe she did). Later I told her about Michael and we arranged for them to meet. We wanted it to feel natural so we all met at the playfield, that was equal walking distance between his house and our house, with all of our dogs (he had two and we had two). We played at that field late into the night. We ran and chased and laughed and then he walked us home. It felt right, and Madeline took to him immediately. Then we took our first camping trip together about two weeks later. From then on they were adventure buddies for life. Once Michael and Madeline met, everything made sense. We were made for each other, there was no doubt. Everywhere I fell short as a parent, he fit right in.
Michael likes to have fun, he likes to always be on the move and he is always up for an adventure. Madeline is the same way and always has been, so before long I was practically the third wheel in their relationship. Michael bought her a unicycle the first month that we were together, but he made me swear that I wouldn’t say it was from him for fear that she would think he was trying to move in on me and buy her love along the way. But she eventually figured it out and that unicycle is probably her only prized possession.
knew. So as soon as the courts would allow, we went through with the adoption which ended up finalizing when she was fourteen years old. It was the best day of our lives. Our whole family was there, from both sides and we had a huge party at our house immediately after. Then we went on a family road trip through Texas, like a little adoption honeymoon. So it’s now official that Michael is Madeline’s father, but there was never a day that he didn’t treat her as anything else but his natural born daughter.
Before too long, Madeline went to Michael for everything, and in a very odd way their relationship together made she and I closer. I can’t explain it. She would get into bed with us early in the morning and just talk our ears off, and oddly I don’t know that we ever had that sort of leisurely comfort in our relationship together all those years before. Michael went from a punkrock loving playboy, to a Dad who played Taylor Swift on repeat and knew all of the words. Early on, he told me that he knew he only had a few good years before she wouldn’t want to hang out with him anymore—his estimate was that he had until she was 14 or 15 — and so his goal was to fill his days with everything Madeline. And he did. They listened to the same music, they started hiking and camping together when I was working on the weekends, and they learned things together, like surfing and paddle-boarding. I was always in awe of how intuitive he was with raising a child he didn’t meet until she was eleven years old and couldn’t help but cry when he talked sadly about how much he missed seeing her as a small child. He loved her immediately, and without reservation. Madeline took to that very well, and loved him right back.
There are many things about having a child come into this world in less than “ideal” circumstances that really opens up the conversation on a lot of things. Because of her origins, we had to have a very early conversation about how babies are made, with an emphasis on how love plays a part in sex. She was six years old when we had that conversation. We’ve also had to have a very proactive partnership in many ways; I have always been very much the parent in our partnership, but in order for our lives to work, I really needed her to be on board. So very early on, she was encouraged to be a productive part of this relationship/partnership. Most importantly, however, we also had to have an open dialogue about diversity and acceptance, even if it was painful at times. Our life was different than a lot of people’s lives around us, but that didn’t make us any better or worse than them. Only different, and I taught her to embrace that.
We decided to get married exactly one year from when we met, almost solely for the purpose of Michael adopting Madeline. Michael didn’t want Mads to ever live in fear of losing me and having to go and live with a father she never
We don’t always get along; sometimes I can’t believe the things she does and sometimes she really calls me out on my bullshit. But there has always been a sense of solidarity between us, and I think that has really shaped how she’s come up in this world. I look at our lives, and I think, “Thank goodness we made it.” I have no idea how. We did have hard times through the years, without a doubt. I have been a mom literally since I’ve been an adult, and
have somehow had to figure out how to be an adult at the same time. I’ve failed miserably on so many levels. I was in situations and relationships that didn’t serve us in any manner. I have had legal battles with her biological father as well as with my own parents who didn’t think I was fit to raise a child and tried to take her from me. I have stared at Madeline and been bewildered that I could have raised such an outstanding human being. And I’ve also had times where I thought to myself, “Where did I go wrong?” I am human, and I am a mother, so I will forever feel guilty about where I may have failed her. But as I have tried to teach Madeline, there’s no need to focus on the negativity that has brought me down, but instead focus on the positivity that will lift me up. What I have learned through all of it is how awesome it is to be human. I have had the longest relationship of my life, with a human that I carried inside of me and that I raised up. I have learned that in a relationship, my way is not always the best way, and that what makes me happy isn’t necessarily what makes everyone happy. I have learned that no matter what is going on around you, it is pure madness to wake up everyday with anything else but hope and gratitude. Hope and gratitude will get you through the day, everyday. I have learned that almost nothing can be learned alone. And I have learned that the question “Who am I besides being a mom?” is the most pointless question, because all that I have learned, I have learned from being a mom.
And the twist in this whole story is… I found out that I’m pregnant just a few weeks before Madeline turned eighteen! We struggled with fertility for years, and after so many years of angst, depression and disappointment, we finally got to a place where we were able to mourn the thought of having a second child and let it go. We had started planning out our life after Mads graduated high school. So it was a huge surprise! I am now pregnant with a baby boy and my Madeline will be exactly the same age that I was when I had her 18 years ago… literally, almost to the day. The weird timing and irony of it all is not lost on us and we are all so thrilled. Madeline has started a journal where she writes letters to her baby brother, because she said she would rather tell him all the things she knows about being a kid, about being a teenager, and about being our child, while she is still all of those things. She said that when he is her age, she will be my age, and most likely she will either not remember what it feels like or it won’t be effective to tell him those things then. I truly admire her foresight in doing this and simultaneously feel envious that I hadn’t thought of that with her, and grateful that I can count on her to be so thoughtful on our behalf. It’s safe to say that Madeline entering adulthood has been interesting. I have all the hope for her future as a grown woman and as a big sister as I did when she was a growing little girl and my only baby. I have no idea what to expect with a second child, but I can say that it is wonderful to have a partner this time around… and that the most wonderful thing of it all is to have shared this entire life with Madeline, and then to be sharing this with her too.
Madeline is now 18, and I thank my lucky stars that she is a better 18-year old than I could have ever hoped to be. Yes, I was driven and passionate and rarely afraid but she is fearless in her own way - she is level-headed to the point of practically being a zen master, and she is practical and precise with her decisions. We’ve long treated her like an I’m still learning, with her by my side. adult and have allowed her a lot of freedoms, and in return she comes to us when she needs advice and she rarely hesitates to tell us what she is going through. Photographs on Pages 128 and 129 by Catherine Abegg. Photograph on Page 130 by Jonathan Canlas. Photograph on Pages 133 and 134 by Fer Juaristi.
babaa knitwear www.babaa.es Bene Bene
Bubble Chops www.bubblechops.com Children Of The Tribe www.childrenofthetribe.com Coco & Wolf www.cocoandwolf.com FloraFairweather www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FloraFairweather Greenberry Kids www.greenberrykids.com James Vincent Design Co
Kari-Me www.kari-me.com Lacey Lane www.laceylane.com.au Little Pilots www.little-pilots.com Little Remix www.designersremix.com Milk & Biscuits www.milkandbiscuits.com My Deer Art Shop www.mydeerartshop.nl Oeuf NYC www.oeufnyc.com Oh My Deer www.etsy.com/shop/ohmydeer Pax and Hart www.paxandhart.com.au Poppy Rose www.poppyrose.dk Poudre Organic www.poudreorganic.fr Saxon + SunRa www.saxonandsunra.com Scotch Râ€™Belle www.scotch-soda.com Soor Ploom www.soorploomclothier.com Spell & The Gypsy Collective www.spelldesigns.com
Volume 2 of Wildling Magazine is packed full of inspiring stories and photographic essays from parents including 'Unschooling' by Zalmy Berk...
Published on Sep 6, 2015
Volume 2 of Wildling Magazine is packed full of inspiring stories and photographic essays from parents including 'Unschooling' by Zalmy Berk...