When you think of power, what comes to mind? My literal brain goes to electricity and energy. My culture brain goes to superheroes and warriors and screaming fighting loud energy.
This automatic imagery, is the point of this entire post.
Power, in our culture (or at least the one I grew up in) is represented with that strong masculine loud energy.
Even when a female is portrayed as powerful, in movies and such, it is her ability to fight, be a ninja, scream, or show up bold and in charge- her masculine inner energy proving that she can be everything a man can be and more. Thats the goal, the way in which media sources portray power. There is nothing wrong with this.
Working in birth, is like being a Librarian, or a Sherlock Holmes, or a wizard. You have these incredible insights into culture and humanity, past, present in future- you see things in ways that nobody else does.
I have learned to exist in this kind of wonderland, where cultural norms are challenged, rules are broken, limits are expanded. I literally get to touch magic, and document the lines between life and death, between the realms, the spiritual world colliding with the physical. The way I run my business, my life, the way I document and show up and thrive- is illogical in the literal sense of a mind representing our culture. My husband looks at me like I am crazy when we talk business. But I was inspired by Lacey Barrett and others a long time ago, to challenge the way I look at doing life, and business. To challenge what power is, to challenge the stories that make up the rules and boxes in my life.
Lacey teaches on how to run your life and business like a matriarchy, and that spoke to me. I took wisdoms from her, from Sha'irah Khyah a wonderful local doula and student midwife, from other sources, from my lost Native American heritage, from my adventures into the worlds of fiction and books, from my deep spiritual personal journeys.
I pull from those places and these people when I work. When I design. When I create. But also, when I crunch numbers, decide on business strategies, and do the behind the scenes busy work. My entire foundation is in energy, spirit, trust.
Alice, a whimsical girl whom no one understood, found herself in wonderland. The movie was meant to encourage children to value the structure and rules they have, by showing the dangers of what a place without them could hold. But it did the opposite. It thrilled us, woke our imaginations, and inspired millions of artworks and paths and stories after.
My business was named after the Wildwood because of its definition. It was inspired by a type of wonderland that exists in our own world. Inspired by the Mythology and Birth podcast by Dr. Elliot Berlin, inspired by artworks and songs, and a feeling. A place. Where science meets the wild. Where we can deeply know the rules and chemistry and guidelines, and then watch them be broken, burst, pushed into unexplainable realms. Birth is where spirit meets science, where science meets the wildwood. If we can protect that space- let it be that wild thing, observing it and letting it unfold as it's meant to- we then drastically change the cultures we know and grew up in. For the better.
There is power, in waiting. There is power, in a soft moment where there is no strength, no energy, no trying. There is power in scilence. In crying. In tears. Power that we will never understand or be able to control in the pure energy of unchecked emotions and movement. In the way a body draws from a place of instinct and spirit when contractions draw her onto her knees, or spin her in circles around a birth pool like orbiting a sun. In the way she checks out between contractions, those intense moments of silent knowing and waiting. In the hands that cradle, comfort, touch. In the folded hands that hold no movement, no action. In the feet that ground themselves without thinking. There is power in our breath, magic in our hands, and a world within us and around us all that is deep and spiritual and pure and full of energy. That wonderland. That wildwood where we let the wonderland thrive.
This is where I work, how I work, and soon, how I will teach. I am creating a mentorship program, to help raise up other birth photographers in this way. In a way that will respect, trust, and honor birth, pregnancy, and their own wonderlands, their own journeys.
At the moment I am typing this (weeks before its actually published here) I am sick. I have been in bed all week recovering from a cold. I am also experiencing a heavy period that started on the full moon. When I need rest, I take it. When I am hopeless, I wait. I let my emotions run through me, run their course. I draw up and work when I am led to, lay down and stop when I am not feeling it. I don't set hours. I don't set goals. I have intentions, and trust that my energy and way of life will make room for them. Everything will unfold as it's meant to. The spirits and the God that guides me, my own spirit and wildwood, and the spaces I serve- are all sources of strength for me. So are the nights of grief, keening, and silent desperation. So are the tears. I don't shy away from darkness, or blood, or fear. I exist in all the spaces. Listen to all the people, all the stories, all the whispers of my soul. I am patient, and kind, and vulnerable.
I am a survivor, a warrior, a woman, a writer, a birthkeeper. I am currently bleeding and writing, I am about to go make tea. I have sessions to edit and work to be done, but today... today I listen to my spirit and rest. I only got up to write this because my spirit inspired me to. I suspect the rest of the day will be video games and tv and sleep. Caring for my son and existing.
Guilt, shame, and push through mentality are not a part of my recipe.
I will be human, and run my business in a way that supports that. Live my life in a way that supports that. Use the privilege I have, to be able to do that, honor it. Share it. Document it. Hold it out for others to grasp onto. I am excited. For everything the future holds here in this wildwood, here in this beautiful wonderland. <3
P.s. I created an artwork (the first of many to come) and it is currently available on t-shirts in my wildwood shoppe. Wide range of sizes. These artworks are to eradicate shame, and to honor the wildwood, the wonderland.
Before too long I hope to have artwork available for print purchase, more products, and as downloadable coloring pages.
EVERY artwork purchase always goes towards supporting mothers in need, my Wildwood Oriana fund.
Thank you for your magic and your support my life bringers <3