Episode 189: Traversing Seasons

Episode 189: Traversing Seasons

Matrescence, Part 2

In our first episode on matrescence, we talked about continuing to carry a love for nature and time outside into pregnancy as we prepare for the major life change of becoming a parent. This episode continues into the next phase in the process, when the much-anticipated birth is over, and we step into this new role and all that it entails, indoors and out

From the tender early days of the fourth trimester, to integrating the outdoors into your little one’s lives as they grow, the postpartum phase of matrescence is a complex period of healing, care-giving, bonding, learning and un-learning. It’s a time that can simultaneously hold grief and ambivalence, and profound joy — all in the same hand.

In this episode, we’ll hear from Rukmini Halliwell and Rachel Barrett again, speaking about the early days with their children Zen and Lola, who are now 21 months and 9 months old, respectively. And we’ll also be joined by Jessie Harrold, a coach and a doula who supports women through various rites of passage, including that of matresence. 

Listen to part 1 here.

Find the episode below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you stream podcasts.

Featured in this episode: Rukmini Halliwell, Rachel Barrett, and Jessie Harrold

Hosted & Produced by Hailey Hirst

Editing & production support by Gale Straub

A Production of Ravel Media

Sponsored by Yonder, Danner, Goodr, & Organifi

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Episodes air weekly on Wednesdays—subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode.


Featured in this Episode

Rukmini Halliwell

Rachel Barrett

Jessie Harrold

 

Hosted by Hailey Hirst

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Episodes air weekly on Wednesdays – subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode. 


TRANSCRIPT

Note: This transcript was lightly edited and created using a transcription service. As such it may contain spelling errors.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Hi everyone. One quick ask before we jump in. For an upcoming episode on kindness we find while we’re out there, we’re doing a call for voice submissions. So if you have a story of a time where you’ve been treated with kindness in the outdoors and it had ripple effects, or you have advice for how to create a kinder outdoor culture — head to the link in our show notes to submit.

I’m pleased to introduce part 2 of our two part series on Matrescence, hosted by my teammate Hailey Hirst. If you didn’t catch part one, on pregnancy and the outdoors, you can find it in your podcast feed and I highly recommend it. That said, while the two parts complement each other, they also stand alone. Enjoy!

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

I’m Haley Hirst and you’re listening to She Explores.

Jessie Harrold:

There’s something about becoming a mother. It’s such a primal mammalian experience that I think we begin to see ourselves as nature like dismantle what eco psychologists called the big lie, which is that we are separate from nature. And you realize that no matter how your birth or mothering journey has played out, it is a primal act. It is a, um, a natural act.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

In our first episode on matrescence, we talked about continuing to carry a love for nature and time outside into pregnancy as we prepare for the major life change of becoming a parent. This episode continues into the next phase in the , when the much-anticipated birth is over, and we step into this new role and all that it entails, indoors and out. It’s easy to simplify the postpartum period into an intense time of sleep deprivation, baby care, and hormones—because it is. The needs of an infant are simple, but relentless, and the spectrum of postpartum depression and anxiety experiences are very real. But this time is so much more than that, too. From the tender early days of the fourth trimester, to integrating the outdoors into your little one’s lives as they grow, the postpartum phase of matrescence is a complex period of healing, care-giving, bonding, learning and un-learning. It’s a time that can simultaneously hold grief and ambivalence, and profound joy — all in the same hand. In this episode, we’ll hear from Rukmini Halliwell and Rachel Barrett again, speaking about the early days with their children Zen and Lola, who are now 21 months and 9 months old, respectively. And we’ll also be joined by Jessie Harrold who you heard at the start of the episode. Jessie is a coach and a doula who supports women through various rites of passage, including that of matresence:

Jessie Harrold:

My personal definition is that it’s a two to three year identity shift that happens after a person has a baby. So it’s not just a change to kind of the things you do or the things you feel or think it’s not just a behavioral shift. It’s a shift of who you are and often all the sort of constellation of the ecosystem of your life shifts as well. So your relationships, your relationship with your body, the things you like to do your career, it’s a really kind of world rocking transformation. And that’s kind of how I think of matrescence.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

We’ll explore the rite of passage that is the fourth trimester– or the first three months or so after birth, and a bit further into early parenthood — to examine how new parents experience and cope with this process of shifting identity, in part by way of their relationships with the natural world. Before we dive in, I also want to acknowledge that non-birthing parents experience many of the same aspects of early parenthood too. And like pregnancy, each experience is unique to the individuals involved. Let’s start with Jessie’s quick definition of the 4th trimester:

Jessie Harrold:

It’s a full trimester after you think all your trimesters are over generally in our kind of cultural lexicon, it’s referred mostly to the period of physical and emotional healing, and it’s a really intense, physical and emotional healing and integration that goes on after you’ve had a baby.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

My daughter Cassidy is sixteen months old now, but memories of her first few weeks still feel sharp, though somewhat softened. My baby was beautiful and demanding and my body was the most sore it had ever been from a marathon labor and the new challenge of nursing. Simple things felt profound, bonding was powerful, and sometimes it was all intensely boring. I cried a lot, out of frustration and exhaustion. I wrote back then that my world had shrunk down to basic needs in quiet rooms. Mostly, there was so much to learn. And the learning curve was steep. In some ways, those early months were like how I always feel during the first few miles of a backpacking trip, still adjusting to the heavy weight of a pack, not having gotten into the cadence of a steady hiking rhythm yet. The distance you’ve yet to go feels impossible with slow, weighted, uphill steps… But then, gradually, you find a rhythm, you take breaks and rehydrate, and the pack doesn’t feel so heavy after a while. I asked Ruk what those early days were like for her.

Rukmini Halliwell:

Um, rough, it’s the word that comes to my mind and, uh, not because of the sleepless nights and all that. And all that comes with, you know, having a newborn. I think that was expected. It was rough because I felt like I put so much pressure on myself. I was very conscious of that loss of identity because I experienced that during my pregnancy. I experienced that loss of autonomy, but then I saw it again on all the mommy blogs where like suddenly, you know, your Instagram bio changed and, you know, you’re sharing mommy means and all these and all these things that kind of felt like it was very much a community, but it, to me, it felt like I was losing who I was and kind of replacing that like, you know, changing your clothes. Like I was taking my shirt off and putting on this mom shirt now.

Rukmini Halliwell:

And I felt like it kind of had like FOMO for my past life during that time, rather than create a new identity, perhaps melding the two, I had one foot in each world desperate to fit into one or the other and not really setting into either. Right. I couldn’t go do the things that I used to do because I had an infant and whether I liked it or not, that changed things. And I wanted to be that mom that stayed at home and fond over her child. And yet, you know, I felt torn to be pulled into this other world. So it was, it was a trying time. That’s the best way I can describe it. I think it would definitely be different if I choose to do it the second time around. I think I have a lot more confidence in myself to just like lean in

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

A foot in both worlds. Jessie says that viewing matrescence as a rite of passage gives us room to acknowledge this space of betweenness. I’ll let her explain.

Jessie Harrold:

So the liminal space is the time in between when in this context you’re no longer, not a mother, but you’re not yet fully embodied in your motherhood. There’s this in-between space where you’re figuring out who you’re becoming. And in our culture, we tend to really, we make that wrong. Like we’re always supposed to know where we’re going and have goals and, and be kind of striving in the direction of something. For those of us who are traversing, rites of passage and major life transformations, it’s necessary to have a time of unbecoming before you get to become and it’s normal. So we have this, this idea in our culture, that to say that you’ve lost yourself in motherhood is like the worst thing that could possibly happen. And when we use a rites of passage lens and we, we normalize the idea of liminal space. In fact, we understand that feeling like you’ve lost yourself or feeling disoriented is very much a part of it. Um, and we normalize that sort of in between that fallow time, that winter season of our lives before we kind of fully I’ll say complete that transformation. Although I think it continues on through our motherhood and all of the different ways that motherhood changes us and, and motherhood changes itself over the years. But, um, I think that’s what rites of passage lens offers us in exploring matrescence.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

It’s so powerful in itself to acknowledge this in-between, and Jessie mentioned that one way to cope with how difficult it can feel to be in this transition space, is to embrace the slowness of it rather than trying to forge ahead. One thing worth mentioning when it comes to giving space and slowing down, is that the mothers I interviewed had the option to take up to an 18-month maternity leave in Canada, so they had more supported time to experience this life shift than people elsewhere may have access to. Regardless, the time warp that is the “big slow down” of early parenthood can be a struggle for anyone. Embracing this fallow, slow time, and just being — is difficult, especially against the backdrop of a modern, dominant culture that prioritizes productivity. Rachel made a point of practicing being intentionally slow in those early days.

Rachel Barrett:

It’s a pretty special time. Really. I felt it to be a space that is kind of rare that we’re able to slow down that much. So even though it was very chaotic, I could recognize at some moments like, okay, this is really special. And I’m very overwhelmed right now, but you know, here I am,

Hailey Hirst:

It does feel like that time stretches, oh, the days and nights are for long when it is kind of a bubble to where you, I don’t know, maybe have that acknowledgement that like this is so fleeting, these days are so tender, but also so brief. And it’s hard if you’re struggling, it’s hard to, to look beyond it and enjoy it, but it’s did have moments of presence and appreciation too. Do you remember what your body felt like?

Rachel Barrett:

Uh, I think in the beginning I described it as like a deflated balloon. I just felt, so it just felt like this vacuum,

Hailey Hirst:

The physical and emotional experiences of the fourth trimester are separate, but deeply connected. While a body is physically healing, oxytocin and cortisol — the bonding and stress hormones — are working to rewire the brain, priming parents to be good caregivers. But this flood of hormones and new things to think about, combined with fatigue and recovery, can come with a lot of anxiety. Here’s Rachel on keeping her daughter safe outside of her body.

Rachel Barrett:

It was very jarring for me suddenly I felt that he was a small, tiny, precious being and the world is so crazy, but now she’s outside of me and she felt safer when she was part of me.

Hailey Hirst:

Rachel describes what her first experiences of movement and time on the water felt like in her postpartum body.

Rachel Barrett:

Through our journey, we all have these experiences that maybe an injury or something that we’ve gone through that we’ve kind of, we’ve had to readapt and almost relearn our bodies pregnancy felt like that I’m like the biggest scale imaginable. And so going back into surfing or, you know, the initial moments of, of kind of getting back onto my yoga, postpartum felt so raw. It was like, my body had so much to say, and I just needed to show up and listen. And so it was a very gentle practice and remained that way for some time. Um, and surfing took me a while to get back into the water because I didn’t want to rush that. Um, but when I did get back into the water, felt incredible, very emotional met with other women in the water, in the community. Um, one woman, who’s an amazing surfer and who I witnessed in her pregnancy surfing and was really an inspiration to me in that regard. So it’s being reminded to that. You know, we know our bodies and we know when we’re ready to kind of step back into a different rhythm of, of things again. So that was really nice to be able to have those initial moments be shared in some ways with other people who’ve had similar experiences.

Hailey Hirst:

So I would like to know what, um, what your physical recovery was like, birth is hard on your body, no matter how you do it. But I think one of the unexpected things is how long and physical the recovery can feel. Can you talk about what it was like for you?

Rukmini Halliwell:

Yeah, so I had a C-section, it was unplanned. It was, I guess, with the medical professional to call it quote unquote emergency C-section. I didn’t really have a birth plan. Uh, I’m a bit of a go with the flow kind of person. I just knew I wanted it like maybe with a doctor at a hospital. That’s like my criteria. So my recovery was very much a physical recovery. I obviously had massive surgery and my son ended up in the NICU pretty much immediately after birth. Like I told him for a little bit, and then they, they took him into the NICU. So I think there for me, my recovery actually ended up being a little bit quicker perhaps in the average C-section because as soon as I took that catheter out, I was up and walking to the NICU, which for whatever reason, the Brandon hospital has the maternity ward on one end of the hospital and the NICU on the other terrible planning don’t know who thought of that. So, uh, I was up and walking two to three times a day, the length of the hospital. So I actually recovered very quickly painfully, but quickly.

Hailey Hirst:

Yeah, you had to hike across the hospital. It probably helped you hike on trails faster.

Rukmini Halliwell:

Well, I did my first hike four weeks postpartum.

Hailey Hirst:

I saw that on your Instagram. I can’t believe he was so small.

Rukmini Halliwell:

So he was so, so I also can’t believe I did that, like in hindsight and it’s not because I was like, wow, what an amazing feat, but like, why would I do that again? I was like trying to prove to myself that I was, you know, back up and normal and I could do anything and I could do everything that anyone else could do. And I, in fairness, I picked a very easy, easy trail, but four weeks post massive surgery is still a ridiculous thing to do. Um, and if I were to ever do it again, and if I ever had to get another C-section, I would not do that because it was miserable. I was like, I was not a good time. I don’t know who I was hiking for. Cause I did it alone. So,

Hailey Hirst:

But you did it.

Rukmini Halliwell:

Yeah, that’s true. I did do it. And I moaned about it for like three days later.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

We’ll hear more from Ruk, Rachel, and Jessie, after the break.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

We’re back.

Rukmini Halliwell:

I wish I could give a new mom, the feeling that I feel today. I wish I could go back and get that to myself 18 months ago, but it’s not how it works.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

The crux of this process of becoming is that you have to live through it, to get beyond the fourth trimester. As we ease back in to our outdoor lives, going out for short walks is one of the first things doctors recommend for gentle movement. And sometimes, when the baby’s needs are all met but they‘re still crying, going outside is the answer for them too. Before we dive in to more stories of postpartum surfing and hiking, here’s Jessie again, speaking about what time spent in nature can offer us as we live through this transition:

Jessie Harrold:

It’s not just about being outside, but actually there’s something kind of deeper here where when we’re attuned to the seasons, for example, we see that it’s normal to have fallow dormant times to have darker seasons to have resting seasons and that it’s normal. And that indeed, you know, spring comes and so does summer. And I think there’s tremendous, um, support for people going through major transitions. Like matrescence in, you know, not just getting outside, which is extremely beneficial in healing, but also, um, using that as a, as a reference point for your own, the seasons of your own life.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

It’s not always easy carving out space to have those experiences, especially alone. For Rachel, pumping milk so she could leave her daughter, Lola, to go surfing again, was one of her biggest challenges. But having the support of community helped her get back out there.

Hailey Hirst:

Do you remember how many weeks it was before you really felt like you kind of figured it out and felt like you could do more things again than just feed and meet the needs of yourself and your child? And that was it?

Rachel Barrett:

Ooh? How long? Am I even now? The journey continues? I, it was interesting. So I w I love that idea of that. It like, it takes a village because for me stepping into some of these elements of motherhood that I didn’t expect to be so challenging has required another woman in my life almost like forcing me into it and kind of shaking me up and shaking loose that story or that resistance that I have around it. Just being like, listen, you’re going to do this. It’s fine. It’s not a big deal, you know, kind of normalizing the struggle. And so I think my daughter was about eight weeks and I was home for a visit in new Brunswick. And I was struggling with pumping and wanting to S to slowly start to think about maybe surfing again. But I was so emotional about pumping.

Rachel Barrett:

I just really couldn’t do it. And so a friend of mine, a friend of mine was like, got the pump out and I hadn’t had it all sterilized and ready and, and all that. So she really pushed me in, in a way that I needed to be pushed because it was so, you know, it was easier for me in some ways to say, oh, it’s okay. I’ll just, you know, I just won’t serve and forget the hassle. And it’s, you know, it’s, what if my baby only wants the bottle and doesn’t want to nurse, that was something I was nervous about for some reason, even with all of those outside opinions that we’ve kind of talked on a few times, there have been a lot of very positive outside opinions that have been really helpful for, for some of the, the experiences that, that mothering and postpartum brings forward that maybe I would, I definitely didn’t expect. And maybe some people don’t either.

Hailey Hirst:

Yeah, I can. I mean, it can feel so hard if you don’t, you only have, you’re only looking at your own eyes, right? Like something can feel impossible and another person’s like, you know what, like, it’s not that hard. You can do this and it’s going to be fine. And here’s what I did. And it’s all good. Really nice. Real, yeah,

Rachel Barrett:

Such a good reality check and necessary because it can feel so overwhelming. And then you’re overtired and your body’s tired. And just trying to carve out any bit of space for yourself that you can, but challenged in the process,

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

Using hiking as a reference point for how the seasons have changed since their days in the NICU, this is what Ruk had to say about gaining confidence as a mother.

Rukmini Halliwell:

I would say recently, or hikes have changed because he’s toddling around now. So he’s investigating everything sometimes at like painfully slow, snail paces, but, you know, those moments are, it’s crazy to see. Or at least for me, it’s crazy to think back of like that little baby hooked up to those monitors and that anxiety and stress that I would feel at like those weigh in and be like, I’m going onto the gangway. Did he eat enough food that like, maybe we’ll be out of the NICU, like all those racing, anxiety, thoughts, and then to like, you know, snap out of it and see this little toddler investigating a hollowed out logs for 35 minutes. It’s just, it kind of brings me to this place of like, secureness, I guess the kind of word I’m looking for. Like, I just, I feel so much more secure as a mother and as an adult woman, I feel like I know how to handle certain situations.

Rukmini Halliwell:

I’ve, I’ve gotten so many hikes under my belt now, not only solo, but with an infant, I feel like I’m very, not only am I prepared, but I feel like emotionally prepared for pretty much any situation that could happen my way. I know what to do in an emergency situation. And you know, all of these feelings, I’ll just sort of like culminate in this idea of like, watching this toddler, like explore his surroundings and to think of how far he came. I feel like those are really grounding moments for me to remind myself why, why dragged him literally screaming down the trail of a newborn and why push through all that anxiety and why I hiked with 35 pounds on my back, because, you know, I had all this stuff with me and it was all for like this moment to like, see him be happy outside.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

As you heard, Ruk carried a lot of stress and worry in the early days of Zen’s life. Here she’ll describe a turning point for her anxiety on the trail.

Rukmini Halliwell:

One memory I have of us hiking together that sort of had that coming to moment was we were hiking this trail up about two hours, two and a half hours north of Toronto. So not too far, but far enough out with the infants son was probably, I think he, it was five months and it started, it started raining. And at first it was just like a little, like, you know, put her powder. We had our raincoats, wasn’t a big deal. And then it started like pouring rain. And I had, uh, of course all my contingency. So I had like pack cover. I had an umbrella, I had an extra umbrella in case that umbrella broke. And of course both umbrellas broke because why wasn’t they? And we’re getting wet now I’m starting to worry. Like I’m getting worried that them is going to be getting wet and this and that.

Rukmini Halliwell:

We managed to fix one of our umbrellas and I’m having like a, an anxiety episode here. This was, you know, my danger moment that was happening. And I looked down at him and he was in the ergo baby carrier. And he was just hysterically laughing because he had never seen rain. And it was just like such a sweet moment where, like I realized that like, in the back of my head, I was thinking of worst case scenario, even though like, he was dry, I was driving, we no working umbrella now. And like, my son was just laughing cause he was excited and he was like, you could see them like sticking his little hands out under the umbrella and laughing when the water was touching him. And it was just one of those moments where you’re like, oh, okay. I met like a 10 and I should probably be at like,

Hailey Hirst:

I love that. It’s everything that you’re carrying, that’s stressing you out, probably doesn’t matter. And the wonder of them experiencing something for the first time is an amazing reality check to get you back into the present moment.

Rukmini Halliwell:

Yeah. Like I was ready to turn around and I was, you know, kinda were barking orders at each other, but like turning around and get this. And where are the car keys? And like, like we both just sort of stopped and we like started laughing. I actually have a video. I think of him somewhere of him just like cackling. Like he was just having such a good time and it was this sweet and we both started laughing. Cause of course, like we were like, oh, we’re panicking and no one, you know, we don’t need to do that

Hailey Hirst:

New parent life, I guess. Yeah. Thank you. Small human for keeping us here.

Rukmini Halliwell:

It’s Funny. Children teach us like so many lessons, especially when it comes to like slowing down and appreciating the smaller things. I feel like as we get older, we’re constantly in this like rat race of like the next thing, the next thing. And you know, all of the stuff that we consume, just sort of perpetuates that social media and tech talk and you know, all these things are all like bite-size information things, and then you’re onto the next, onto the next. And when you have a toddler, things are sometimes, I mean, sometimes painfully slow things just get so slowed down. I like we’ll watch, send sometimes investigate like our bookshelf and he’ll like pull out one book and he’ll like peel the pages. And then he, like, you can see a little like brain ticking and he’s like, do they all have these pages? Like, should I pull them all out? And like, you know, it just sort of takes a moment to stop and be like, oh yeah, like there’s, there’s new things in the world for him to explore. And like, the reason why I don’t have the patients is because for me, I’m like, who wants to investigate this? We’ve already seen it, but for him it’s all brand new. And so I feel like he’s always teaching me to slow down a little bit, which sounds really cheesy and corny. So you can maybe edit that out.

Hailey Hirst:

I think it’s a good reminder too.

Rukmini Halliwell:

You can keep it in. *Laughter*

Rachel Barrett:

I really feel that it brings an a of all things perhaps that I took for granted before. And I, I really appreciate the starry night and the moon rise and the sunset and did rhythms in nature. And when the fireflies come and all these little things and little magic about our area and living here, but it’s so special to see her and to watch her grow and follow the birds in the yard. And we have a lot of deer that’ll, that’ll walk kind of through our property and it’s so sweet to see her react and, and become more conscious of, of the world around her and the trees and everything coming to life and spring. And I guess the timing of her journey of her growth and you know, how she’s really at a point in her development of kind of fully coming to life and in so many ways to, in her personality starting to shine out. And yeah, it’s just a really beautiful time. And it gives me so much gratitude to be able to spend that time outside and to, and to share that with her and all the times that we’ll be able to share in the future

Hailey Hirst:

From your perspective, with six months of parenthood under your belt, how do you feel different now? I guess that’s a huge question, but like, as far as like your identity or, um, how things have shifted, do you, do you feel kind of like a different person in some ways?

Rachel Barrett:

I definitely do the how around. It is pretty interesting to think about. I feel that all of the change and uncertainty of pregnancy and expectations of society and our own belief systems and all of that sends you through this journey to knowing your truth more intimately. And for me, I really felt that it was kind of a polishing in some ways of having to call in my energy, noticing things that fueled me and, and things that drained me was felt a lot clearer through pregnancy where our senses are kind of heightened in some ways. And it feels like we’re a lot more sensitive to things. I tried to take that sensitivity as a positive thing. And when I, you know, had that clarity to do so to really kind of notice those qualities about myself, that becoming a mother allowed me to step more fully into.

Rachel Barrett:

I liked the idea of like our mother nature, our ability to kind of be present and love unconditionally, you know, fully embody the potential of that moment. Looking back on the journey. Of course, I feel that there were moments that I was very emotional or very nauseous and kind of swept up in the whirlwind of that feeling, that physical sensation at that time. But overall, it’s been so beautiful to see how it has transformed me. And I think in some ways how we kind of see ourselves new in the eyes of our children and all that it’s brought forward or polished in me along the way,

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

We may never feel perfectly polished in the messiness of life, but I love Rachel’s metaphor because it acknowledges that becoming a parent is a smoothing of a self that still exists. We are not completely eclipsed by parenthood. And while it’s natural to worry about what might be lost in the process of any big change, I appreciate Ruk’s perspective on folding a child into your life.

Hailey Hirst:

What examples do you hope that you were setting for, for him and for other women and parents about what we give up or don’t when we become parents and what hopes do you have for him in the future?

Rukmini Halliwell:

You have this new person in your life, and that doesn’t mean that there needs to be a complete upheaval. It means that you can very easily integrate this new person in your life. Just like how you’ve integrated, any other person that comes into your life. You don’t do a 180 on yourself just because, you know, you have a new partner or, you know, you meet a new friend or anything like that. And obviously I know like you’re responsible for someone’s life. So it’s not really the same thing, but you know, it’s, it’s not that hard to integrate a child into your life and it doesn’t need to be the other way around you. If you maybe heard me stroller time at the museum is not for you. It doesn’t have to be for you. There’s no rules with parenting. I mean, other than like the obvious lens of like, don’t hurt your children, but like outside of that, there’s no rules to parenting for my son, honestly, DEI on trail.

Rukmini Halliwell:

I want to see more people of color I live in what is arguably not only Canada, but probably the world’s most diverse city. And I have never seen another person of color on my, on any of the trails we go on. And my, my hope is that my son, I do a lot of like talking and, you know, even on my social media and all that about DEI, my hope is that my son never has to talk about that. I don’t want that to be a thing that he needs to talk about because it’s just normal. There’s nothing to talk about because it doesn’t exist because, you know, you see all of these cool role models who are of color of different ethnicities of different ages, have different abilities that are all in outdoor adventure sports. And I just want that to be, I want that to be the world he lives in. I don’t want him to have to talk to people about what it feels like to be the only brown person walking down the Bruce.

Hailey Hirst:

Is there anything, um, that you have planned that you’re excited to get to do with him where experience with him for his first time?

Rukmini Halliwell:

Yeah, well, hopefully, you know, COVID permitting, we’ll be doing our first backpacking trip and overnight thinking about a three-day Portage in Algonquin, uh, national park, provincial park. Sorry. I hope that pans out. I, you know, we are very law abiding when it comes to COVID restrictions. So we don’t want to break any rules that end, uh, I’m going to buy him his baby’s first skateboard. So we’re going to get him into skateboarding as soon as possible. I think it’s gonna start around three and a half, assuming he can fit into all of his protective gear appropriately. I was a big, long boarder growing up. So yeah. I just want to get them ready for snowboard season, you

Hailey Hirst:

Know? Yeah. Cool. Very cool. Do you have anything specifically that you’re looking forward to doing with her in the future?

Rachel Barrett:

Uh, I’d love to try and camp with her this summer. I haven’t researched too much about camping with a baby, but I’m certain that it is possible that there are women doing it right now. So I I’m looking forward to that and to having some beach days as a family and then my partner and I are getting pretty good at kind of sharing our surf time back and forth, changing shifts, so to speak and to just be on the beach with our baby. And there’s lots of other babies in the community and having some distanced outdoor hangout as the weather gets a little bit warmer, feels super exciting right now. Yeah, it does.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

As for me, I’ll be taking my daughter to wade in the cold mountain lakes I grew up swimming in, and trying to have patience when all she wants to do is sit down on the trail to inspect rocks and handfuls of dirt. Getting to have these conversations about matrescence has given space for appreciating the possibilities within it — to feel more deeply our place as mammals in nature, embedded in life cycles, and the precious fleeting nature of it all. We’ll close with Rachel’s thoughts on moving through these seasons.

Rachel Barrett:

I like to think of it as, as change. And you know, like in nature, everything is kind of changing and influx and adapting. We could think about it as things that we have to give up, or it can be in some ways we have to adapt in a different way. We have to change how move through the day. My day has to have a lot more strategy and planning as I’m sure yours does too. We can kind of move through that and ask for help when we need it and carve out those practices and rituals for ourselves that keep us going, but find a way to kind of ideally move through those changes and those different chapters and seasons of our, of our lives and our journeys without having to feel like we need to give up parts of ourselves or pieces of ourselves along the way, but that we’re continuously changing or continuously polishing.

Hailey Hirst – Narration:

Thank you so much to Rukmini Halliwell, Rachel Barrett, and Jessie Harrold for taking the time to talk. I’ll link both of their instagram handles in the show notes and via the episode landing page at She-Explores.com.

Thanks to our sponsors, Yonder, Danner, Organifi, and Goodr.

You can find She Explores on social media, our website, and wherever you listen to podcasts. You can find me on Instagram @haileyhirst.

If you enjoy listening, there are different ways to support us. You can subscribe, leave a review, and share with a friend. And if you’d like to connect, join us in the She Explores podcast facebook group!

Music in this episode is licensed through MusicBed. This episode was hosted by me, Hailey Hirst, with editing and production support by Gale Straub.

She Explores is a production of Ravel Media released on Wednesdays. We’ll be off for the next two weeks, back July 21st. Until then, stay curious.

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