Tree Mamas

FB_IMG_1454814171062

A Tribe is defined as:

“A group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest”

“A large family”

These are definitions found on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

Seth Godin in his book “Tribes” says,

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea….A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”

We all have several tribes we belong to; family, work, social.  For this post, I am going to focus on a specific tribe of mine.  The Mothering Tree Mamas.

We all found ourselves in the same position 11 years ago; we were all pregnant and due in the same month.  None of us knew each other prior to when we all joined a due date group on the MotheringDotCommunity forums.  I cannot remember the exact number of people in that group at the time, there were quite a few from all over the world, but we all had a common interest in natural parenting.

Within the forum, we all discussed the normal growths and fears that pregnancy brought to us.  For some this was their first.  For some of us this was our last.  We spanned 20 year age gaps (yes, I was close to 40 at this point) and had different plans on where and how we were giving birth.  Out of all these women, a few of us began banding together more and more.  Our discussions started growing from the obvious pregnancy commiserating to more personal topics.  One of these beautiful women, my dear friend Amanda emerged as our leader and started a website forum just for us, a way to communicate.   We became known collectively at that point as The Mothering Tree….we were the Tree Mamas!

Our group spoke almost everyday at some point or another.  We all exchanged gifts to each other (we had a monthly exchange for awhile recycling items we no longer used but wanted to gift to the next mama), listened to our problems together, we fought, we cried and we cheered each other on.  We had become a family…a sisterhood.  We had never met each other in person at this point, but we knew we could rely on each other.  When one member was sick or in a dire situation, we all banded together sending care packages, financial help when we could, even phone calls of support.  We had a bead exchange and all made nursing necklaces for our babies, knowing we were all using the same beads.  We all knew each others secrets and fears, and still do.  We had a commonality of all wanting the most natural births and lives possible.  We never judged each other on our decisions.  I remember a particular phone call the day my dear friend Michelle gave birth to her super huge baby boy by c-section.  I cried with happiness that he was healthy and she was fine!  We cried together about miscarriages, last babies, fertility problems and relationship issues.  We laughed about our own short comings, our children’s antics, our own private jokes.  And in all those 11 years, not a day has gone by that one or more of us hasn’t checked in with someone in the group.

Over the years we have had the privilege to meet several of each other in person. And many of us speak on the phone regularly.  The beautiful thing about meeting is it’s like this enormous gift because we finally get to hug each other in real life.  I nearly broke down the hotel room door when Jill showed up to the convention we were both attending for our oils business.  Our other team mates just laughed and laughed at our sheer joy of finally getting that hug!  And spending several days at a knitting retreat with Michelle will still be one of my most favorite journeys.  I can’t imagine my life without these strong, beautiful mamas walking beside me.

Mothering magazine started back in 1976.  Peggy O’Mara became editor in 1980.  The magazine’s web forum, MotheringDotCommunity or “MDC” began in the 90’s and has 160,000 registered members as of February 2011.  Peggy’s goal was to bring a natural, alternative and beautiful rhythm of ideas and support to mothers and fathers within the pages of the magazine.  The forums provided a place where people could discuss these ideas, for many it was the only place to do this.   The magazine’s last print issue was the November-December 2010 edition.  The magazine announced it would end online publication with it’s March-April 2011 edition and become solely the Mothering website.  By this time Peggy had moved on but her legacy remains within the tone and strings of lives brought together during her years with the magazine.  The forums are still the meeting place for women looking for their tribe and support.   I don’t know if Peggy realized she was creating amazing, life long sisterhoods when she first sanctioned having an online presence, but this is the most beautiful part to come out of Mothering, in my opinion anyway.  I gained a whole new group of sisters.

All of us Tree Mamas are getting older, and I am so looking forward to one day all of us getting together and dancing in unison that we have each other. We may be super old ladies by then, but it won’t matter.  We are strong!  We are loved!  We are a tribe!  We are the Tree Mamas!  And I love them all!

The mamas, well a few of them anyway:

12486027_1035821823142891_499305698423797882_o 12507400_10153390449670415_7334790389026393074_n 12401897_10205592819040801_2451770686291951929_o 977744_10152884962700612_1779806376_o 1426224_10153820007156407_344090542271036906_n  10959095_10206156360893903_5122864900049931280_n 305342_2626096900810_1188599320_n 10527717_10202876608062527_828409025971407027_n 12038060_10153277774552198_6343432555516579877_n 12651021_10153254402170723_1489740821271029259_n FB_IMG_1454812153214 FB_IMG_1454813377399 FB_IMG_1454812829576 received_10205634022546160 10608440_10152813155842249_3893749825671886429_o FB_IMG_1455371157231

Natural Life Gives A Gift

In the wake of the current economic situation our country has been facing, many businesses have had to close their doors and/or re-invent themselves.  Mothering Magazine is one such business.  Mothering was first published in 1976 by Addie Vorys Eavenson who was inspired by the birth of her first child.  At the time, there were little known resources for new parents who wanted to birth and parent as naturally as possible, and absolutely no publications were available on this topic.  So Addie did it herself.  The first issue of Mothering was put together in the summer of 1976 by members of the Montrose Natural Childbirth Class and other volunteers at the old Fort Smith Saloon, in Ridgway, Colorado.  I’m betting these people never dreamed what this little publication would become or how many lives it would touch.  In 1979, Addie chose to sell the magazine and the founders of Natural Life Magazine were in the front running.  When that deal fell through, Peggy O’Mara stepped in and became owner.  She had been an editor with them in the first couple years and is still involved with the magazine and online community today.

I have always given a gift subscription to my circle of new parents, having discovered Mothering in 1989, 2 years after the birth of my first child.  I was befriending and helping out our local midwife and saw this magazine in her home one day as I was helping to catalog her library of birthing books.  I was hooked from the moment I opened it up and have rarely been without a subscription since.  So, when I received advance news (I am a moderator on their forums – MDC), that Mothering was going to have to cease publishing, I was very sad for all those who would never get the opportunity to enjoy this amazing resource in it’s original format.  However, Peggy and the crew have seen what a huge web presence Mothering Dot Com has become and so have vowed to keep the dream alive in cyberspace.  They will continue providing information and articles on natural parenting, as well as host the ever growing forums for parenting discussions.  MDC is down, but not out!

While Mothering is stepping up their web presence and will no longer be a magazine, in the publishing world it is customary for another publication to step up and fulfill reader’s subscriptions when a magazine goes out of print.  Natural Life Magazine has found it’s way back into the Mothering fold and is giving a wonderful gift to all who have loved Mothering by offering to fulfill all outstanding print subscriptions. Natural Life will fulfill Mothering subscriptions beginning with their May/June 2011 issue. If, for example, two issues remain on your subscription to Mothering, you will receive the next two issues of Natural Life.” (Mothering.com) 

This will be a perfect way to say goodbye to a magazine that has changed and enriched so many lives.  Natural Life has been associated with Mothering for years, so I hope that all those who are saddened about the cease in publication of Mothering, can find solace in another amazing publication.  Thank you Natural Life!  And it’s never goodbye to Mothering Magazine, only see you later…..

Peace!