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One of our favourite bloggers, Leonie Dawson, recently wrote a post called “On Choosing to Only Have One Kid.” She’s got a huge following and often writes about intense, juicy stuff and yet this is her most popular post ever. There were oodles of comments thanking her for being brave and for sharing her story so honestly. The overwhelming response really drove home how rarely these kinds of conversations take place and how badly they’re needed. While the focus of her article is about choosing to have one child, the greater context is that you need to choose whatever family model is right for you. And that whatever you choose is okay. This is what resonated for me and I’m sure for her thousands of readers - because it’s a reassurance we don’t often receive. We’re faced with so much guilt and shame and fear around our reproductive choices, and then told we can’t talk about it. It’s time for that to change! In the hopes of opening up a dialogue, I’d like to share a little note on where I’m at with my motherhood journey. It’s interesting to call it that since I don’t have any children, but it feels appropriate to the process of understanding what motherhood means for me…
I always assumed I’d be a mother. When I was fifteen, my mom gave me a card with a beautiful line drawing of a pregnant woman with the quote, “I carried you under my heart for nine months, and in it every minute of every day ever since.” It hung on my wall for years and I used it as inspiration for a tattoo I designed that I imagined getting when I had a child. Seven years ago I witnessed the birth of my niece and it was one of the most profound experiences of my life. In fact, I was so affected by the experience, I felt called to get the tattoo I’d created. As a society, we’re so focused on having kids that belong to us that we rarely talk about the many other ways that one can ‘mother.’ I have always imagined children in my life, but it is only recently that I’ve started to wonder if that desire means that I need to give birth. I love being an aunt – taking Amy’s daughter to the Science Centre, having sleepovers, sharing my love of books. And she’s not the only child in my life – my stepsister has a young daughter and many of my friends are either pregnant or planning to have children. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and yet many families are separated from their support systems, making the ‘world’s hardest job’ that much harder. As someone without children, I have a lot more time and energy to help the parents in my life, an experience that I find deeply enriching.
I have no idea where this journey will end – whether I’ll decide I am fulfilled by my role as an aunt and godmother, or whether I’ll choose to have a child of my ‘own.’ And if I do, whether I’ll give birth, or adopt, or foster. Whether I’ll have one, or two or three or. . . What I do know, thanks to Leonie’s post and the support of the women I’ve talked to, is that I need to do what is right for me and that families come in all forms. As Leonie puts it, “Family is just about belonging. Belonging to our selves, belonging to each other, building bonds with our hearts.”
Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.