Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.
I had a beautiful childhood with room to run, play and grow. Most Importantly though supportive parents who were always there for me. I was involved and adored the school theater department, I wrote poetry and my own stories from the time I was small and I lived through literature. But I struggled with self doubt. With my body, with even who I thought I was. But some life experiences that have shaped who I am and my philosophy in my own personal life were very painful but were I feel a part of the journey I was meant to go through. I feel that my journey has been very long to get to where I am today. When I was 20 I was told it was most likely that I would not be able to have children after going through a traumatic miscarriage and continuous physical trauma from a prior abusive relationship. That it would most likely prevent my body from being able to not only get pregnant again in the future but to carry a baby to term. I had already been stripped of my identity and all self worth and the one thing I knew growing up was that I wanted to be a mother one day more than anything and that was gone now too. I felt I lost everything and when I was out of the relationship alive, I never truly felt alive for many years after, I was very empty. It created a pattern of trying to fill that void in any way I thought would make me feel human again. I was in a very dark place for many years. But only when I stopped looking backwards at what I’d lost and started to look forward did my passions organically unfold. Discovering who I want to be and what is truly important in my life started filling that void without me realizing it. It created a deeper connection within myself that I had to fight for. It made me stronger over this past decade having life experiences that could’ve covered a lifetime for many, I feel. So I would say I am grateful rather, that It led me the path I’m on, motivating me every single day towards a brighter even more beautiful future for the two of us. Which includes that of working towards being able to support us financially incorporating something I’m passionate about and cultivating a life for my daughter in an environment, location and with the support she deserves. Which I feel is unfolding organically in our lives right now. Making those physical and emotional moves on this path the Universe blessed me with.
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
My Family consists of Myself, Alyson Justine or as those who know me Aly and my incredible little girl. She’s all mine and I wouldn’t change a thing, the Universe truly blessed me with my kindred spirit Miss Everly James, who is about to be 7 weeks old. I am about to enter my thirties and ready for this blessed new chapter with her.
How did you choose your kids names?
It was an emotional decision when choosing her name. I had chosen Story James Payne and I was personally set on that for her. I always knew I would incorporate my Uncles name who passed and I had been very close with. My dad had battled MS since I was 5. We knew that this was his last year with us, his last stage of his disease in 2016. That month we had to come to terms with this I found out I had my miracle growing in my tummy. I wanted to incorporate his name as well. But I had chosen a name with another deep passion of mine, literature. It shaped who I am and I want her to create a beautiful authentic life for herself a story authentically hers. One night I gave it one last search on feminine versions of my dads name. It was important to me for him to always be a part of her. And there it was, it just flowed instantly, I was instantly passionate about it, bringing me to Everly James. She was Evie, I knew it rubbing my tummy. I believe the the Universe has a reason in the timing of life and although it was a year of waves on completely different sides of the emotional spectrum, the week he passed he was able to meet her and spend time with her, lucid while we were there and calling her his Junebug. Moments now a memory I will cherish always. Later that week after our time together with his namesake, he passed. It’s still hard to accept but I feel the Universe had and has a plan with the timing of her coming into this world as he left and was meant to be. She will always have a part of him with her and I feel that every time I say her name.
Indiana as of right now. But I am working on a plan to be able to move the two of us. I had a wonderful childhood in a small town, a cornfield behind our home and a feeling of safety and love I will always be grateful for. But I dreamed of traveling and living elsewhere, traveling and finding my own home, it’s all I wanted. Living through literature I dreamed of it often. Even as a child wanting to be around more like minded individuals and being able to express myself without being afraid or feeling like I just didn’t fit in but doing everything so that I could. But I suppressed a lot of my passions and I couldn’t wait to explore who I was and what life could be. But life happened as it does and I’ve needed to wait to make that move. But it’s time now more than ever to explore myself and give my daughter the environment to live and express herself. To be authentically happy as a woman, as a single new mum and as I enter my thirties and start a blessed new chapter in my life. So I am working on a plan for my big move being able to unfold. I believe the Universe has put me on this path now, now with the life experiences I have had here over the years. And especially now after being blessed with my beautiful daughter that I would not have had if I had left before. But It’s time, I feel it. This next chapter is going to be moving our location and the feeling of home, seeing where this path leads us.
Stay at home mum while finishing my English & Literary Degree with a concentration in Journalism. I’m determined to be the role model my Evie deserves and to allow myself to also follow my passions. I want to be able to support us while doing something I’m passionate about. I know a lot of that is the dreamer in me, but the more I learned to allow myself to live my life authentically despite judgements, I’ve known I have to give it all I am to be able to delve into things that inspire me and are important to me. Ways I can incorporate such passions of mine whether it includes spirituality, nutrition, animals, cooking, the environment, writing but most of all being a mum.
What’s on your manifest board?
Right now my board has lots of healthy pregnant woman, mothers holding their healthy babies, mamas co sleeping lovingly with their little ones, bookstore shelves (there’s something about having an actual physical book, I still go to the library), women writing on their laptops, women doing yoga, farmers markets, nature, seemingly happy healthy loving relationships, fathers and babies, nature, photos of volunteering with children etc. , a photo of Emma Watson giving a speech at a women’s conference, children’s playgroups, mothers and daughters finger painting,animals, a few photos of beautiful simplistic brides, seemingly strong relationships of all kinds, friends, family…my year of cultivating a healthy happy environment and location full of positive relationships in all forms and delving deeper into my passions.
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
Since Evie is just 7 weeks it’s the simplistic things that I look forward to everyday. At about 5 am she is done being in bed, she wants to be up and lights on, to hear voices or sounds and have our feeding time. So I turn my lamp on, we feed and her eyes get so bright, she has incredible eye contact, it’s so incredibly special. Then I put the kettle on, and get settled snuggled warm on the couch with her and for that following hour every day she just smiles and coos and laughs, it’s the most inspiring way to start my day. It drives me to be the mum she deserves. For us right now it’s all about mama & me Yoga, tummy time, talking to her about what mummy is doing as I carry her head to heart, cuddles and snuggles, watching her while she sleeps lying next to me feeling the strong connection and love that develops into a deeper more beautiful life every single day.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
At her last pediatric appointment she astounded the nurse by how big Evie smiles and laughs in her own way right now and stares with incredible contact and contentment. She laughed and said she can’t believe she has advanced to this stage so early. She is so very active as she was in the womb. So very funny as she stretches when she wakes for what seems like an eternity with the biggest smile. It all reminds me how grateful I am that the Universe brought her to me and that she’s all mine. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
I dreamed of moving to New York City, going to NYU and studying English and Filmmaking. I wanted to be in an environment that was exciting, different and adventurous and where I felt I could find myself with the diversity of the city, blending in.
Now after years of evolving and as my passions grew my entire vision changed of what Im striving towards in my life. I envision myself where I am able to have more opportunities to be around like minded individuals, to not blend in but stand out and stand up for what I strongly believe in, sharing my experiences. True happiness Is something I have searched for my entire life, but the more I began to feed my soul it became more and more apparent what is truly important to me and happiness followed. It’s simplicity, living authentically, living true to who I am. Even in the small things such as being able to take a walk to the farmers market, and especially now being able to go to play groups with Evie and helping her develop her passions.
What are some things you really believe in?
I believe in developing your spirituality whatever it may look like, helping discover who you authentically are. I believe in being kind. I believe that eating other living beings makes me feel cruel and unkind. I believe in helping inform others who are open to hearing about issues that are I feel are extremely important, such as our environmental status, women’s rights, and the importance of communication. Lastly, I believe very strongly in parenting to your particular child. Every child is different, especially emotionally and catering to those needs I feel is vital to their development. For me I feel that Everly’s emotions are important to focus on even at seven weeks. Knowing when she just needs to be held, when she is startled and scared by a sound and talking her through it. When she feels overstimulated or even needs her space. I believe that truly taking the time to focus on these emotions helps create a stronger connection and easier transition through their developmental stages. Understanding each other and cultivating that deep connection between parent and child.
Where do your passions lie?
Developing a deeper sense of self. Continuously evolving a loving deep communicative connection with my Everly James.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
I am a single mother and I wouldn’t change a thing. I believe one day the Universe will organically unfold a path of finding my partner who will love Everly as his own and I will have the deep soulful love I hope for one day in another. But I trust the timing of life and my focus is purely on Evie and I as of right now. That’s more than I could ask for.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was painful)
The Universe blessed me with a miracle that grew in my tummy. It was a challenging pregnancy and was high risk but every second was worth it. It gave me back pieces of the person I was that I thought were gone. And although I am still daily discovering my self worth, who I am and what I deserve in life, I know how strong I am because of my obstacles. My passions have grown stronger as I have. Creating a healing process from past experiences throughout my pregnancy.
After her birth she was on my chest for a few minutes and then had to be taken to NICU when she started to struggle from swallowing fluid during her birth. That was truly the hardest experience I have ever been through. I had to be in my recovery room while she stayed in NICU for days. I cried and felt as if my heart was taken from me. When I could be taken down the hall to see her (which felt like a world away) She had a feeding tube, and was hooked up to so many chords, tubes and I was unable to hold her. It was heartbreaking. When I was discharged I was able to stay in her room. That time we spent in the hospital, the ups and downs, praying for progress and when I was finally able to hold her when she moved from the incubator to a bassinet were moments that changed me. Milestones for her of her feeding tube coming out and me being able to have actual feeding time together, that skin to skin euphoric feeling. It was a time of learning true patience and learning how to manage when it was out of my control. There was nothing I could physically do to help her. But I feel those lessons in patience and control and even deeper faith in the Universe I am grateful for. When we came home that openness and deep connection, appreciation, patience and knowing I can not control everything, especially knowing how unpredictable newborns are physically and with their unique developing personalities.
A deeper trust in the timing of life and the knowledge that I may not understand pain when I am in it and it’s raw, but I believe that in time the reasons for even painful experiences are important to who we become and that the reasoning behind them can be understood in time seeing how it brought me to where I am. Being a mum to a beautiful, healthy baby girl with more passion for life and self acceptance and self care than I knew was possible.
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
I would tell myself to be authentic despite all judgement. To love myself and accept that my flaws are a part of what make me who I am. That I am enough.
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
I have found that everyone has an opinion on how a baby should be raised based on their experiences and beliefs. But that I have to trust that I know what is best for my baby and the parenting choices I make are mine to make. Some of them being planning to raise her as a vegetarian like myself instilling a deep appreciation for animals, transitional talking, working to understand her emotions and working to understand them from birth and co-sleeping to name a few. But ignoring those opinions and sometimes harsh judgement and reminding myself that I know what’s best for my daughter and that I am a good mother. This is what I find most challenging but also motivational.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
That diversity it beautiful. That there will be pain but there will also be unimaginable beauty in life. That who they are matters and will make a difference. That being kind, grateful and truly just a good person can make more of a difference in this world than they know.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
My beautiful supportive tribe. My carrier Wrap. My in bed side sleeper. My Mother.