My intention in becoming a stay at home mom (when Carter was about one year old) was to really live into every moment, enjoy his life and mine to the fullest. I wasn’t quite sure what that should look like since I had been focused on moving up the ladder of success for as I could remember. I remember those first days at home with my son. I’d fill our days with park visits, exercise classes, target, and nap times. Just before Nathan would come in the door I’d turn on the dishwasher, washing machine and oven to make the house come alive with what I felt work for a woman should like like. There was something missing.
When Elizabeth was born and refused formula I found myself in this world of exclusive breastfeeding. I wasn’t prepared for a complete renewal of my mind. If I was fully capable of providing all the nutrition for this little person for the first half year of my life what else was I capable of? It was liberating in the best ways. An online world of breastfeeding, natural birth, cloth diapering, peaceful parenting, and whole foods was opened up to me.
To prepare for Lilah’s birth I hired a doula and took birth classes. I discovered that the feeling of emptiness that came upon me after my first two children were born could be filled with hormones (the high of birth), skin to skin, and fully embracing my birth experience. The third trimester of LIlah’s pregnancy is where I found God in my inner dwelling place. Emptying my mind to fully relax my body was the first time I experienced meditation, contemplation. I can see now that it was God calling me towards my work for my community and closer to him at the same time.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist