It has been an exciting month, as not only have we celebrated the Spring Equinox and changed the clocks making the evenings lighter, we have also been lucky enough to experience a solar eclipse, reminding us just how incredible and powerful the sun is. Here in the yurt Tom has been busy working to harness some of this power by installing our new solar panels and solar tracker, which automatically turns to track the sun. This means that our new solar panels, like sunflowers, will follow the sun through the day, harnessing maximum energy. The tracker has been made using parts from an old potters wheel, some steel framework from some shelving, an old cattle trough and a couple of clever electrical components (a linear actuator and a solar sensor) bought cheaply on ebay. However, the excitement of getting the solar panels up has meant that the pedal power washing machine hasn't been made yet....one project at a time though!
When we came out of hospital before Christmas, the nurses warned us to be careful of nasty winter bugs and to not let Oak mix with too many other babies till winter had passed, so spring has finally seen us venturing out and socialising more. We have been going to our first mother and baby group (baby reflexology), meeting other Mum's for coffee and walks, and we had a small spring gathering in the yurt for the brave Mum's and babies who battled the mud and brambles to get to us! Oak has grown so much and is changing every day, becoming more aware of his surroundings and full of smiles and giggles.
Tom has also been working away from the woods alot making a yurt cover for a customer, so Oak and I have been 'going it alone' in the yurt for the first time. It is tough some days trying to occupy Oak, keep the fire stoked, carry the shopping in through the woods. Some days I just don't have enough hands, time or energy to achieve the smallest tasks. When Oak is awake and crying, what do i do with him whilst I run outside to use the compost loo? Or carry another load of wood in for the fire? When it's raining, how do I carry him and his car seat through the mud to the car to take him anywhere?
I like to think of myself as a bit of a tribal Mum, living out in the woods carrying my baby everywhere in a sling, constantly breastfeeding, whilst wielding an axe to chop wood for the fire! But the truth is I'm still struggling some days to just get dressed (why is this?!). One day when I had finally made it into town for coffee and a walk in the park with a friend, it then took me 45 minutes to collapse the pushchair (I hardly ever use it!), kicking it, shaking it and trying to force it into the back of the car as it was, whilst balancing the car boot on my head (it's broken) and trying to console a screaming Oak. I wondered if I'd ever leave the woods on my own again! I then thought to myself, if I were a true yurt dweller surely I would be part of a tribe, a member of a community, and motherhood would be so much easier. In Mongolia a nomadic tribe would have the whole family, up to three generations, living in one yurt (or Ger as they are traditionally called). Historically women would have been highly regarded and valued for their fertility. Families would have large numbers of children and all the women would help to raise and nurture all the children.
On 15th March we celebrated Mothers Day, my first ever Mothers Day as a Mum, but also my second without my own Mum. March also marked a whole year since we lost her. There is a huge hole in my life where she should be and becoming a Mum myself has made me feel this gap more than ever. Who else would I go to for advice, support, a hug? Who else would be my elder, leader of my tribe? I like to think that my Mum lives on in me and therefore in Oak, and her light still shines brightly as I nurture and care for my son as she cared for me. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood connects you to your own mother, grandmother, great grandmother, ancestors and every woman through the generations, throughout history, all over the world, as I could never have imagined.
On 8th March we celebrated International Women's Day and it got me thinking about how many amazing, strong and inspirational women I am lucky enough to have in my life. My Gran, my Aunties, my two beautiful sisters both near and far, my cousins, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law. My friends, both old and new. Somerset friends, Dorset friends, life long friends on the other side of the world, school friends, work friends, lovely new mama friends, facebook friends, my Mum's friends, adopted Aunties, fairy godmothers, guardian angels and soul sisters.
Becoming a Mum opens up a whole new network of women around you. It is such a blessing to go to a mother and baby group and meet other Mums who are just as tired and emotional, who have the same worries, the same questions as you. I met with a lovely mama for lunch not long ago who admitted to me that she found not just the first six months, but the whole of the first year tough, and I could have kissed her I was so pleased to hear that honesty and know I wasn't alone. It is wonderful to connect with other Mums on facebook, our modern day tribe, to share photos, compare notes and offer small pieces of advice and support. I have reconnected with a best friend from primary school whose son was born not long after Oak. How wonderful to know that you are not the only Mum awake at 4am?
I am not a feminist, and this is not a rant against men in any way. I would be lost without my husband right now. But I do appreciate that I am surrounded by great women. Women starting their own businesses, crocheting, making children's clothes, teaching yoga, running off to join the circus, travelling the world, working up the career ladder, raising incredible families and following their dreams. So when I am sat in my yurt in the middle of the woods, trying to raise my woodland babe and be an eco warrior, whilst battling mud, tears and evil pushchairs, I am constantly inspired, supported and encouraged by all of you. Whether you are here visiting, at the end of the phone, sending a text, 'liking' my blog or just beaming positive vibes my way - I am not alone. I feel part of a tribe. Thank you.
''The circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we're weak and sing with us when we're strong''