Crunchy Mamas in Las Vegas

Posted By on July 15, 2012

My image of Las Vegas has been jaded by the lens of Hollywood. I should have known that the same people who have thus far turned natural birth into some horror flick, would have scandalize a perfectly quaint little city …

I’m not saying that the seedy stuff isn’t there. I’m just saying that the real surprise was not the “Thunder Down Under”, but the sweet people who would work in the ethnic restaurants and go out of their way to give me directions despite a slight language barrier. And the delicious, mouth watering decadence we got to enjoy when we arrived. The memory of the Korean, Vietnamese, Shanghai and Jerusalem food still makes me salivate.

I’m also referring to the gorgeous Red Rock Canyon just twenty minutes from the city. The tadpoles in the trickling stream, the dragon fly who kept returning, and in the three hours we were there, we only saw two other people. When was the last time that happened?

We even visited a quaint little park with a farmers market at a residential neighborhood.

It did help that I was there with two incredible crunchy* mamas whom I already knew. We bought water, fruit, healthy snacks and salads at the grocers. We did yoga in the morning when we felt like it. We celebrated our independence from the responsibility of being providers, partners or mothers … and just to be ourselves. Not one of us had ever left our children to go on a multi-day conference out of town before. Now … that did become a bit intoxicating.

Why had we not done this before and how could we create another opportunity? We wondered. Being on one’s own after years of nurturing child after child was rejuvenating. We were amazed at how much energy we had throughout the day and what we could accomplish.

What brought us here initially was to attend a Perinatal Mood Disorder Conference through our local organization Wellmama, Inc. (If you live in the Lane County Oregon area, you may want to check out their resources or refer them to a friend.)

There I learned so much more about women and the challenges that come with pregnancy, birth and parenting, and how to play a supportive role as a member of a non-profit and a citizen of our community.

During the conference, I had a realization of how neglectful I was to a friend that was experiencing postpartum depression and how I didn’t know the extent of her condition … I cannot change the past, but I can humbly ask myself: What did I learn, and what can I do now?

I shed my fair share of tears at the conference, from my own inner work, and from the inspiring and enlightening stories from the panel of presenters. Jenny’s Light was one of them, presented by Jenny’s brother, Randy. Check it out if you get a chance. It’s a tragic story of the extremes of postpartum depression. Education is an important piece of prevention.

I looked around the conference room and I saw that I was surrounded by people who were invested in supporting mothers and families. What beautiful energy we were adding to Las Vegas.

Okay, so Vegas is not where I would choose to raise my children, but I would love to return. Not for the night life or casinos, but for the ethnic food, the locals and the nature all around. Above all, Vegas will now and forever remind me of my “crunchy” mama friends, delicious food, perinatal mood disorder awareness, and self care.

In the end, real life isn’t about what media shows us at all, it’s about our choices and what we do with them. Everything we want and don’t want is on the buffet table. What do we want to bring to our plate?

*Crunchy mama (n): Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods. From the Urbandictionary.com

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.

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