On Powerhouse Mamas and Mommy Tribes: Meet Elaine Becker
After my first blog about Mommy Diary Angela Kim, I felt that writing and posting had to be something really meaningful and helpful to those who take the time to read me. I believe that despite that old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words," thoughts and words definitely give you a more realistic and genuine idea of a person, beyond the way they look or how they feel on a certain moment - the moment of the photoshoot, for example. So I decided that besides taking Mommy and Me sessions and sharing with you their portraits of love, candor and connection with their children, I am going to interview them. I would like you to get to know them and get as inspired as I do by their thoughts on this adventure of motherhood. So, in this particular series of posts, I would like to feature powerhouse mamas, moms that influence, help, and support other moms and establish a tribe, a community where they find comfort and support, either online or in person.
My first featured powerhouse mama is Elaine Becker. I met her just a couple of months before moving to SoCal, and my first thought was "gosh, this woman is amazing: she's super smart, generous, loving, witty, has a big sense of humor, AND she's beautiful." So those first 15 minutes that we spent with her mini-me Nora for her mini-session were enough for me to say "I have to be her friend!" And as I got to know more about her, I discovered her passion for helping moms achieve the birth that they want, helping them before, during and after they have their babies; Elaine opens the doors to a beautiful community of mothers that like many others, are in deep need of finding a tribe to share their doubts, their pains, their fears, their hearts. They learn together and have one another's back. It is my wish that you enjoy this interview, I would love to read your comments.
How did you become interested in helping other women during the process of becoming mothers?
I had a traumatic birth and postpartum experience after my first was born. It was a concept I couldn't grasp at the time. When he was a couple of years old, I was talking to a new friend (who is now an old friend, and a midwife) and she helped me connect the dots between Justus' birth experience and my postpartum depression, my nursing issues, my anxiety, etc. It really did a big number on me physically and emotionally. So I spent several years just pouring over books and articles and talking to other moms about their experiences and that helped shape my birth with my second. I learned how important it is to have a tribe, to have a community to help you mother. That is what parenthood is supposed to feel like. I wanted to contribute to that in anyway I can, and my passion for birth and breastfeeding is that way. I'm just fascinated and enchanted by the female body and its ability to sustain life inside their bodies, bring those babies into the world, then sustain them on the outside. It's an amazing feat. I am a Placenta Encapsulator (taught by a midwife) and a Certified Lactation Counselor. So I get to stay involved after babies are here. It's the best part!
What is it that you nurture in your mommy tribe?
I like to think I nurture the mothers' soul. I like to keep life real, and sometimes that means it's beautiful and sometimes it's sorrowful, and often it's messy and annoying and loud and overwhelming. I don't hide any of that. I lean on my tribe when I need to, and they in turn reach out to me and I am there. We keep each other grounded with realistic expectations. Which is SO important when we often only see the perfection in others lives. There's no perfection. And that's normal. It's refreshing to be able to be yourself, real, and let go of whatever you think society expects from you. Good for the soul.
How often and why do you all get together? What is the most rewarding thing you get from that group?
My community is so wide and overlapping and ever expanding, it's really amazing. We have a group of us who all knit or crochet, or craft and get together to do so with or without kids. I'm so grateful for social media for the ability to post on Facebook "I miss my friends, lets play at the park after school," and then I have 9 moms and 30+ kids playing and relaxing and connecting. And It's so wonderful to know that my kids are around families that have the same morals and we can trust each other to treat our children with respect and kindness. I love that my kids get to witness adults and children being respectful and thoughtful and gentle in all sorts of situations.
How did motherhood change you?
I feel like becoming a mom, growing as a mother, enforced more my desire to help others, than changed me. I was young when I had my oldest and had to finish growing up while being responsible for this tiny human and it was so natural to me. Just the act of motherhood, despite some pretty intense postpartum depression. And I honestly can't remember what it felt like before! I'm wiser, and more mature of course, and now I can't drive over a bridge without planning how to escape and get three kids to safety in case it collapses. But that's normal, right? That's just how you think when little pieces of your heart are walking around outside of your body.
What is the best part about being a mom?
By far the best part is watching these humans develop into awesome people and I know I get to take a tiny bit of credit for that. The pride I feel in my kids, all the time, even when they're being ornery, is overwhelming. It gets me through the exhaustion of parenthood sometimes. It also helps my kids survive their own antics. "Good thing their cute" should be their tag line (laughs). I want my kids to grow up with empathetic hearts. I hope they learn to see beyond their own experiences and see where others are coming from. Life is so beautiful when you can see why someone may behave or believe something, even if you don't agree. I think that's key to personal happiness <3