Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

Welcome to BoldHeartMama!
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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fortuitous events define my career and a sneak peak

My first series of birth education classes started two weeks ago. Since I returned home from BlogHer, most of my time has been invested in preparing and rehearsing each weeks' curriculum and to fleshing out a birth services concept that I'm developing for my new project MamaBorn. The logo is finalized, and a website design is in process.

Check it out!

I've been so immersed in my work, and feeling lucky to be in this place of utter freedom and creativity, professionally. I spent a lot of time in the years before I became pregnant worrying about how I would manage being a mother and having a career. I wish I had known then how the pivotal moments of my early career would be defined not by the detailed plans I'd laid out in advance, but by fortuitous events that no one could have predicted.

Like when my former boss resigned from her position midway through my maternity leave after Roscoe was born--I had already decided not to return to my job but reconsidered when I heard the news.

Then, when a Director in another division offered me the opportunity to manage under her a public health initiative with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and then encouraged me to ask to work from home so I could remain with Roscoe--without her advocacy I wouldn't have had the courage to even consider asking for the flexibility to telecommute.

Later, the opportunity to certify with the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth presented itself (made possible by a locally offered training), which was followed closely by Merritt's untimely arrival, all to highlight for me the strength and fragility of the human spirit when we bring new life into the world, and the importance of supporting women in the ways they want and need to be supported during labor and birth but also postpartum, particularly around lactation and attachment in the NICU.

Then came our big move South. Putting our house on the market was another on-a-whim decision that ended up paying off in huge ways. Now I live in a small city that fosters startups and creative thinkers. A community that supports small, local business. Add to that an active and influential birthing community with progressive ideas and real options for women and families, and you may see how things are falling right into place.

Not knowing then how motherhood would change me, I'm proud that my boys have motivated me to want more for myself, from my life and from my work.  I'm learning to be flexible, and patient, as I navigate a nontraditional career hinged, at least for now, on the relationships I'm building at home. The kids are at the center of what I do every day and I'm grateful that I can remain committed to them and also follow other parts of my heart out into the community to share what I've learned and to teach what I know.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A few design changes

I haven't had a chance to finalize any decisions about the fate of Marbles Rolling, but I really love the history that has been documented here and so, in the meantime, I'm playing around with navigation options and trying to improve access to past content.

I've reorganized my content categories and added pages across the top to highlight some of my favorite categories.

Design-wise, the space is in transition while I work on the details.

Thanks for hanging in there!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week: On Leaving My Nursling

World Breastfeeding week ended yesterday. I was out of town for most of it but I tallied them up and I've been breastfeeding for 169 consecutive weeks.

That sounds like a long time, even to me. Twenty months with Roscoe and almost seventeen months with Merritt, so far. With some overlap.

Merritt wasn't quite one year old when I bought my BlogHer ticket back in January. I hesitated to make such a huge commitment so far in advance for fear of leaving a nursling at home, but I convinced myself that fast forward seven months our nursing relationship would be on the down swing, maybe even over.

Winter came and he tapered off the frequency of daytime feeds, and then in early spring he night-weaned, which meant that in a given twenty-four period he nursed only twice. My plan was working out nicely, but August was fast approaching and so in June I nudged him along and he gave up the afternoon comfort nurse.

Summer finally arrived, and it has been a hot, hot, hot one. Maybe correlated with his hydration needs, Merritt started to ask to nurse at frequent and random intervals throughout the day. After snack, before stories, before nap, after nap. He "asks" to nurse with an endearing little bark from the back of his throat, a cough with the cadence of a cry. Even though he uses words to communicate on a regular basis he hasn't yet found a word for nursing. But I know what he means.

I almost always accommodate his requests although I was convinced that routine and comfort seeking remained his primary motivations--I really did not think that he was actually getting any milk.  In the weeks leading up to BlogHer he ramped up his demand, which (in a slight panic) provided rationale for outlining detailed instruction to Andy about facilitating ritual around the morning nursing session, to include quiet face to face time and a sippy cup of warmed cows milk, just in case.

What I didn't anticipate, at all? My supply. I left Wednesday morning and by Thursday evening I had that heavy, tingling sensation of engorgement. This odd realization was met first with surprise then sadness--my little guy was at home and I had his milk!  Unsure how the rest of the trip might play out without access to a breast pump, I decided to hand express before heading to bed that night.

I first learned to hand express in the NICU, and it really is a great skill for nursing moms. You never know! Taking 10 minutes twice a day served me well in preventing a plugged duct (or worse), maintaining my supply, and staying comfortable while in New York.

Once home I headed straight to our bedroom where Merritt lay sleeping, enveloped by darkness and the roaring whirrs of a sound machine. No words needed, he nestled into his familiar place and nursed for thirty minutes before falling back to slumber.

If you've been following along here for a while, you'll know that Roscoe's nursing path was abruptly cut short by Merritt's month-long NICU stay and my subsequent absence from daily home life.

I wonder if Merritt will naturally wean around the same time, or if he'll choose to nurse longer? Either way, it feels just right that this aspect of our relationship will have the opportunity to run its natural course without interruption.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Moving forward from BlogHer '12, the end of marbles rolling?

For the first time in my life I meticulously planned out my wardrobe and carefully packed my carry-on so as not to forget a single component, as opposed to dumping my entire dresser into two suitcases. I was determined not to check my bag and like the fashionista that I am not, I created outfits that with a few easy swaps transitioned from daytime panel sessions and workshops to late night NYC swag and dance parties.

I prepared the household for my absence with printed-out daily routines, and a menu plan with meal options and snack suggestions. I stocked the kitchen with food, a few more processed and convenient this week, to make it easier for everyone.

I stayed up late the night before to finish packing, which meant that Wednesday morning was quiet and peaceful and we were able to go about our routine as normal until about 8:30am when the four of us drove together to the airport. I tried to be upbeat, and to not show that my catastrophic thinking was already giving me doubts about leaving them. I kissed the boys on their sweet little cheeks, and nuzzled their noses for a few extra seconds, turning before my eyes gave me away. A hug for Andy and I was off.

I waited in the terminal thinking of the boys embarking on their first solo flight as a threesome. I knew they'd be fine, hanging on tight to each other, and that it would be good for them.

All morning I felt calm and reflective. This was my first trip alone since becoming pregnant with Roscoe in 2008, and my first time leaving the boys since they were born. On the brink in other ways too, I had been hugely anticipating Blogher '12 for the better part of the year, curious about how my writing might be affected by what I would encounter and learn, and in what direction my blog might be pulled as a result. I was excited to finally meet in person the online community that I've been contributing to for the last four years, thrilled to be traveling to an unfamiliar city, and craving inspiration.

I arrived home late last night, my body and my brain exhausted.

Time spent in the big apple was liberating for me. Introverted, public speaking often leaves me frozen with anxiety. In a sea of thousands of women, I felt warmth, welcomed, right at home, still, and thoughtful, and eager to adopt the wisdom of women who have come before me in this journey of sharing. I felt confident, even though I occupy such a tiny footprint in the sand. I belonged there too.

It struck me that, in stark contrast to real life, there were no mommy wars, or politicking, no competition, or judgement, or separation. It was a collision of women from across the world with stories to tell. Five thousand powerful women with influential platforms, in our own right, connected by our truths and bound by our words. Writers at heart, honing our craft, connecting our voices and knowing that we are not alone.

Beyond networking and social marketing, the technical aspects of monetization and SEO, even the opportunity to hear from Martha stewart and Katie Couric, I came to BlogHer for clarity about the future of Marbles Rolling in content and style.

What I took home was this: The clearest path to finding my voice as a writer is to have the courage to be vulnerable in my writing and to take greater risks in my storytelling. It seems obvious now, the necessity to tell and retell our stories in order to find what is true and to own it without hesitation, or fear of how that truth may affect others.

I heard from many women over the weekend and their awareness resonated deeply:
"The way we spend our day is the way we spend our lives." 
"Writing [my blog] is a map back to myself."
"The more I write, the clearer I become in my outline of who I am."

A need for acceptance. A need to be heard. A need to hear myself.
I need all of these things.

I am very seriously considering taking this blog down to start fresh in a new space with a nom de plume. I am cautious about my decision either way, and so I may just sit on it for a while. But I have stories and feelings and a perspective on events in my life and of this world, that I haven't felt comfortable expressing here. I've always been honest here, but my words are tempered.

I think it may be time to push the boundaries and confront what currently constrains my growth as a writer, as a mother, and as a woman with a voice carrying stories that need to be told.
For my own good.

I turn 30 in nine days. I recently quit my job. I'm in transition and this blog may have to go with me.
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