One of the central reasons why Duo Diary was created is to give new moms a space for self care in their newly-upended lives. Bringing home a baby is transformative, and in our society, new mothers are pushing themselves through grueling schedules and to-do lists, often without breaks for themselves to heal and be nurtured. This is all too common the case especially when a woman should be healing after childbirth- not judging herself or trying to do it "all." Duo Diary aims to change this by giving women a space to take care of herself in our journals, and by also highlighting companies that are helping women nurture themselves. When we stumbled upon Mothering Arts we knew we had found something special. Founded by Kerry Ingram, Mothering Arts is dedicated to helping new mothers thrive through in-person mothering circles, group leader training, online courses, and a wonderfully calming and supportive blog with activities and downloads to help new moms tune into self care ideas. With a focus on the wellness of mom and baby in her mothering circles, Kerry acknowledges that when a woman brings a baby home, she is at a time of immense need and support in her life. Mothering circles are a wonderful place for a woman to feel nurtured, talk to other moms, and well, feel like she is serving her new mom wellness. This month, we talked with Kerry to find out more about Mothering Arts and how they can help women like you. Read more about Mothering Arts below.
For our readers who may not know, could you please describe/explain what exactly Mothering Arts is?
Mothering Arts is a warmly designed training for women who believe in the power of community uplifting and nurturing the postpartum year. Our online group leader training supports women to confidently create local classes for mamas and babies.
How did you conceive of Mothering Arts?
Great question! I had been working as a Waldorf early childhood educator for many years before becoming a parent for the first time. Something I noticed in the school community was a general feeling of isolation and self-judgement from the parents. They were so hard on themselves! I started to practice the art of acknowledgment and to simply notice something about each parent at drop off each morning, it was well received by all. Many mornings I baked fresh muffins to share with parents as they dashed out the door, which were also well received.
When I became a parent, I fell into the pitfalls that I witnessed for so many years and was beating myself up all the time for not doing things "right" or "good enough".
I joined a local parent and child class which was lovely, and very focused on the babies while the sleep deprived mamas were barely hanging in there. We wanted to feel nurtured so we could nurture our babies, some of us missed our own parents, we wanted to talk, share questions and cry, and we were hungry! In that moment I really understood the importance of a parent feeling well supported to be able to give freely to the needs of her child.
That night, pen went to paper and dreams sparked into reality. My tiny living room was the location of our first group of 5, and now over 70 mama-baby pairs have been meeting locally for nearly 6 years.
I created Mothering Arts as an answer to an old question, while tending to a need that my friends and I shared as new parents. After the local class was growing and growing, a friend asked if I would be willing to share my model and plan... and the Mothering Arts group leader training was born!
In what ways do you hope to help new mothers?
I think the way I try to support new moms most is through acknowledgement, listening and nurturing. Parents know their baby more intimately than anyone else, but so quickly we give away our wisdom and power to the advice of blogs, websites, books and other "professionals". We have so much to learn from each other, and from our special relationship with our child. I want to empower mothers to cultivate their unique art of mothering that aligns with her values and wishes for her child. Mothers need to feel heard and seen, the transformation into mother is extraordinary and should be honored in the eyes of her community. I also love to prepare nourishing foods and be hands-on with baby rocking, mama shoulder rubbing and delivering a cup of warm tea.
Can you explain or describe some of the offerings and tools Mothering Arts has for new mothers?
I think our local groups are the best tools we have, because that heart to heart connection can not be replaced through the internet. That being said, we do offer a few online classes, LOL, the irony. Our group leader training is my heart's work, finding the women in each community who feel called to work with this tender population and weave the webs of community.
We offer a Healthy Home Rhythms ($40) self guided course for families who would like to create a simple and balanced flow to everyday life. Folks love the step-by-step plan and the lovely printables in this course.
Our Mothering Arts Collective course is a monthly subscription ($30/month) that offers oodles of resources on how to align with your values, create your family culture and make moments that truly connect us as a family. This course is self paced through the month with a thriving and warm community of over 100 moms from all over the world. It's an active group with lots of support and sharing.
And of course our group leader training for those who feel inspired to nurture mamas and babies in her community.
What usually brings a mother to Mothering Arts?
In person: mothers want community. They want to answer the door with messy hair, dishes on the counter and know the person who walks in is there to be real. She wants to cultivate a community of deep connections and feel totally welcome to come as she is.
Our group leaders want to be a part of the change rewriting the story of how the postpartum year is observed in our culture. Our leaders are devoted to making space to slow down, to honor and create a community of support of new parents.
What do you wish more women knew about the postpartum period or the transition to motherhood?
It's ok to ask for help. Your mothering journey will not look like any one else.
What have you learned from some of the women you've worked with?
Each mother is an artist sharing an outer expression of an inner feeling. We are all so unique.
Where can our readers find out more and connect with Mothering Arts?
We have a free monthly muse~letter full of activities, self-care tips, recipes and thoughtful articles. Be sure to sign up on our home page.