I’m thrilled to be starting a new feature in my blog, sharing inspiring pregnancy, birth and motherhood stories of real mamas all over the world. My dream is that regardless of where you are in your motherhood journey - preconception all the way through the toddler years - you can feel connected to other mamas and hopefully learn something new that will help you in your pregnancy, birth, or motherhood journey. One thing is for very sure, we are not alone in our struggles or joys and I hope these interviews and stories serve as a way to connect with other incredible women.
Camille and I met when she worked with my husband, Aran, at Saltbox Farm in Concord, MA. One of the very first things I noticed about Camille is her wonderful uplifting and positive energy. You just want to be around her. She’s a food and wine lover and sommelier, has an epicurean radio show on Nantucket’s NPR, and runs a video production biz with her husband, Julian. She was also my beautiful pregnant muse for many of the photos on my website. Camille and Julian’s son, Beau, was born last October and I think you’ll appreciate her story and grounded perspective when it comes to birth and motherhood.
In astrology, our Sun sign represents our personality and our Moon sign who we are on the inside, our emotions. We’re all made of star dust – an astronomer once told me – and we’re all connected. I love seeing how we find pieces of each other, especially in our families, in the language of zodiac signs. This is why I will be sharing the Sun & Moon signs of the women featured in this blog, and when appropriate, those of their baby/ babies.
What are your Sun and Moon signs and those of Beau’s?
I’m a Sagittarius Sun and Moon and Ascendant, if you can believe it. A Sagittarius all the way.
My son Beau has his Sun in Libra and Moon in Sagittarius, like his mama.
What do you do for a living?
I am the Creative Director of Juharo Productions. My husband & I own and together run the company. We also have some interesting passion film projects on the side. My background is in hospitality, and I’m a sommelier, so I also do some consulting projects and host a food & wine radio show on Nantucket’s NPR station .
What was important to you when it came to your pregnancy?
Staying healthy! The most important thing for me was my health (mind & body) during my pregnancy. And in turn, exactly how my health effects my baby, so diet was a key focus. I eat well generally, but went the extra mile during my pregnancy. I joined a CSA, ate as many healthy fats as I could and organic & fermented foods. Bone broth, grass fed butter, milk, yogurt cheese, red meat and lots of almond and nut butters. Interestingly, for cravings fruit was at the top of the list. I was pregnant in the summer so maybe that makes sense. Being a fan of wine it was hard to suppress, but during my first trimester there was no interest and as I got into my 2nd & 3rd trimesters I enjoyed a taste here and there (from my husbands glass :)) and that was all I needed to enjoy it.
I also focused on developing & protecting my little one. During my pregnancy I had learned of EMF (electromagnetic fields and radiation caused from wi-fi) effecting babies in utero, so I used an EMF baby blanket to protect my belly when I was using my computer and in the car with Bluetooth. I found the blanket and other products on this website: babyarmour.com
What forms of exercise did you do? What was it like for you? Do you feel any of it helped with getting your body ready for birth?
I already had a strong yoga practice for over 15 years, so I continued that as long as I could, probably into my 3rd-trimester (along with just lots of walking). As time went on, I meditated and stretched more, which was what my body was asking for in those later months. Everything you do (and don’t do) will or will not prepare you for birth. Most of all, meditation I felt was the strongest tool in my tool box. It was immensely helpful when I was at my most intense moments during labor.
What were the most memorable joyful and/or most difficult parts of your labor? What sticks out in your mind about it?
The people I chose to be with me. My husband, doula and sister. I could not have labored for as long as I did without them. Even towards the end, I felt stronger and better with their constant presence and support. As for difficult…leaving the hospital!
What about immediately after the birth of your son?
It is funny… probably the most memorable moment was when my little boy was delivered. I thought I was having a girl up to that moment. I had always wanted a boy, so I was thrilled. So you never really ever know! Also, my doula told me once he arrived into this world, I never took my eyes off him. From him being moved around the room to being in my arms I was in love instantly.
Did you have any fears around giving birth? How did you view your birth differently after?
We all have fear of the unknown and birth is the ultimate unknown for womanhood. So I believe we all fear something at one stage or another during pregnancy or labor. Looking back, I feel you enter this state where you do just go with a flow. We all have our “birth plans” but the real plan is to just do your best. Looking back I actually want to do it all again-call me crazy.
What was important to you when it came to your birth?
I really wanted to feel and experience my birth. Throughout pregnancy you hear many different stories from all perspectives and with many different outcomes, but I truly wanted to be able to experience and be present during the stages of labor and pushing as much as I could.
Did you have a specific kind of birth experience in mind (medicated/ non-medicated, homebirth/ hospital, etc)? Was your actual birth experience a bit different? How did you approach any decisions that were outside of your initial plan?
I wanted my labor and delivery to be as natural (non-medicated) as possible, but I also knew to accept any departures from that because in the end the goal is your safety/health and your baby’s, so there may be many different roads to getting there.
I was having back labor for almost exactly 24 hours and was only half way dilated. The midwives wanted to accelerate labor with drugs and/or breaking my water and at that point my body was tired and weakening so I decided to get an epidural. And at the time I felt it was the best decision. I knew if I were going to make that choice I wanted to do it when I felt I really couldn’t go any further. Acceptance helped to emerge with a positive experience.
How did you prepare for the birth of your son?
I felt nine months was going to be both long and short at the same time, so I tried to absorb the experience best I could. I also met with my doula a couple times, spoke to other doulas, I took one general birthing class and I completed my infant CPR and first aid class. All in all, being pregnant is truly fascinating, so I wanted to learn as much as I could along the way.
What were the first several weeks postpartum for you like? Is it something you thought about and prepared for?
A beautiful blur. I can say once you have a first child, you see all the goodness in people too- from my family staying with me and helping, to neighbors and friends bringing over dinner and treats! I was slightly worried about the “blues,” but thankfully I didn’t experience anything but gratitude (and a most powerful state of conscious sleeplessness : o).
How has becoming a mother shifted the way you work, or how you view your job?
I committed to give my whole self for the first three months to my baby (his 4th trimester as they say), meaning no projects, very little phone, computer time, email and totally focusing on my baby. Now, he is 4 months old and I am slowly beginning to get back into work projects. I always kept a to-do list, so that has been helpful to bring back into my daily routine. However, I have to accept when only one or two things get crossed off.
How do you take care of yourself / attend to your self-care needs as a mama? Do you have any practices/ rituals/ anything you do that are especially helpful in allowing you to show up fully with an open heart for yourself and your family?
I continue to eat right first off, which helps fuel me daily. Then it is always a balance of what do I do when he is asleep. Workout? Clean? Cook? Work? SLEEP?! The answer usually lies within- your body always knows what it should and CAN do. The mind is the one that plays tricks on you. One thing I try to continue doing is meditating. It has taken me years to be able to incorporate a 10-minute session into my day, but it is a reset every time.
What was the most special memory or experience you had when it came to conception, pregnancy and/ or the birth?
I am one of those woman who loved being pregnant. I am older than most moms, so I may be at a different stage in my life. I appreciate things daily and recognize how time moves so quickly and all these moments in my son’s life are fleeting, so I cherish in all I that can everyday. So to answer your question-everyday.
What feels challenging to you right now? What are some ways you’re tackling it?
Like everyone, balance. Taking care of my boy, myself and my husband. The best way to do that? Taking every day in stride. Some days will be better than others…and some tougher.
Resources Camille used during her pregnancy:
All my books I enjoyed were recommend by close friends and loved ones.
The Nourishing Traditions of Baby & Child Care – by Sally Fallon
My Birth Partner: It was great not just for my partner, but for me too; it has a great format to just pick up and read.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – by Ina May Gaskin