Natalie is a new mother to 5 month old Finn. She’s an Australian actress living in LA, with 15 film and television credits to her name and a crystal-infused aromatherapy line to be released this year.
We chat to Natalie about the life giving power of nature, her love/hate relationship with technology, the spiritual awakening that is motherhood, her love for Australia and living with gratitude.
What does being a ‘conscious mama’ mean to you, and what does it mean in day to day life?
Being a conscious mama means a number of things to me. Firstly it’s a level of awareness and connection with my son. Truly tuning into what he needs. Getting out of my head and connecting with my heart, my intuition. I simply ask him what he needs and allow him to tell me in his own way and be guided to meet his needs.
I read so many birth, parenting and breastfeeding books prior to Finn’s arrival. I wanted to get everything ‘right’. But I soon realized how rigid and limited it personally made me, and the disconnect it created between me and my son. I threw almost everything I had learnt out the window and began to listen to my heart over my head.
A really big part of being a conscious mama for me is being aware of my own energy. My husband and I notice that on days when we meditate, raise our vibrations and set our intentions Finn is so much more grounded, and sleeps deeper and for longer. On days where we are feeling hectic or out of whack he is most certainly a reflection of that.
It makes sense really, he is an extension of us after all.
Do you have any tattoo’s and what do they mean?
I have a few all over the place. But my most recent ones are probably my favourite. I have Finn’s birth Ogham (Ancient Celtic symbol connected to tree astrology) on my arm. Ireland holds a special place in my heart, I feel deeply connected to the land….and Finn was conceived there.
We actually weaved some magic in Ireland, leaving a crystal offering an an ancient faerie tree in Galway, asking for the blessing of a child.
We conceived that evening. So I had a little tree glyph along with three dots tattooed on my finger to represent that night and the three of us.
Has your approach to health, healing and spirituality changed at all since becoming a mother?
Big time! Motherhood has been very transformational and healing. It has made me treat myself with more love and kindness. Before Finn was born I didn’t always treat myself in the healthiest of ways.
Somehow this little human instantly transformed an entire lifetime of behaviors for the better.
Nutrition wise, I try my best to tune into the foods I am eating and be more conscious with it, knowing that it will come through my milk and nourish Finn. I ask myself ‘what vibration does this bite hold and how will it make him feel?'.
As far as healing goes, I’ve always been very interested in natural ways of doing so. I am certified in Reiki and Crystal healing along with Channeling and Metaphysical coursework. I am also passionate about aromatherapy and herbalism. Before motherhood these were hobbies, but now I want to make them my life’s work.
And with regard to my spirituality, motherhood has deepened that aspect of myself. Bringing life into the world has made me want to dig deeper and uncover more of the mysteries of our being. I feel that I am now experiencing my reality through a new set of eyes and each day brings a different level of awareness.
Becoming a mother is definitely a catalyst for a deeper spiritual awakening!
It’s quite amazing that this little fella has survived two weeks earth side on nothing but love and breast milk. The controversy/shame/pressure/sexualization of the breast in relation to feeding seems even more bizarre to me now.
Breastfeeding is fricking beautiful!! Finn knew how to latch almost as soon as he was placed on my chest. It’s instinct. It’s normal. It’s as nature intended. It blows my mind. Power to the bosom nectar I say!!
Our bodies are phenomenal and know exactly what to do. How can people be offended by something so natural?
Tell us about your breastfeeding journey with Finn, how did it start and how is it now?
My breastfeeding journey with Finn has been lovely. I feel very fortunate to have had the birth experience that I wanted with the intention of immediate skin to skin contact…which then lead to him latching straight away.
My milk supply has been pretty plentiful from the beginning and I really had to learn how to navigate such a forceful letdown. There was quite a bit of vomiting and tummy aches initially as a result of that.
Again, I was very much in my head to begin with, timing each feed, setting alarms and so forth. Then we became a little more fluid and adopted feeding on demand which we continue to do today, and it works really well for us.
We co-sleep (safely!) and a spontaneous midnight feed is so much easier for us this way too. I think the more you get to know your child, the easier it becomes to pick up on their cues and fulfill their needs. I don’t think that’s something you can learn from a textbook.
Mother knows best. I love breastfeeding, it’s a beautiful bond between mother and child and I feel it’s something to be celebrated and to be proud of. However, at times I definitely struggle with flying the flag whilst at the same time being respectful of other women’s journeys.
I understand the breastfeeding path isn’t always an easy one. Our paths are unique and perfect regardless.
I just hope my experience can inspire or empower even just one mama!
Do you have any words of wisdom for women in the early weeks of breastfeeding?
Trust your mama instincts and don’t take that pile of books you read as gospel. Remain calm and communicate with your bub. Talk to them, explain what you’re doing.
They may be fresh but they are wise. Get to know their unique little cues. Don’t give up if it’s not going to plan, your little one is just trying to figure it all out, it’s a HUGE transition for them…not just you!
If things get overwhelming; stop, take a few deep breaths and ground yourself (easier said than done, I know!)
Most of all be patient and gentle with yourself, and know that any struggles you are having will pass.
What is your perspective on modern parenting, and how have you chosen the path you are on?
I think our path of parenting found us actually.
Over time, before we had even conceived, we kept stumbling upon little gold mines of information that really resonated with us. A few years back I began studying to become a birth doula and I think that world exposed me to a lot of alternative ways.
There are certain aspects of modern parenting that appear to create a disconnect between parent and child.
I think affection, touching and having your child in close proximity is vital for oxytocin production and bonding, and Western parenting is only supportive of that to a certain extent.
For example, there are studies that suggest that leaving a newborn to sleep in it’s own room or using the ‘cry it out’ method can trigger the release of stress hormones. High amounts of stress it can permanently alter these developing neural pathways, hard wiring babies for certain behaviors and beliefs.
In additional to this, having our newborn so far away from us at such a young age didn’t instinctively feel right. Having Finn co-sleep rather than putting him in his own room is important to us, along with baby wearing as much as possible. I must stress though, there is absolutely no judgement for those who choose different methods, do what feels right to you!
Human beings as a species are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, and ‘wired in’ to technology.
What are your perspectives on nature and technology, as a woman and a mother?
I struggle so much with this actually! I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I know I feel so much more alive and healthy when I spend time in nature.
I am quite sensitive to EM radiation, I have been my whole life and find that anymore than 30 minutes on a computer or phone leaves me agitated, depressed, and my energy levels super low. We have ‘tech free days’ from time to time, keeping our phones on flight mode, no computer or TV and we definitely feel the positive effects of that. The day just seems so much richer and we feel more present.
But there is no denying the fact that we live in a technological age that is advancing at a rapid rate, and it’s pretty difficult not to participate in that world when it’s so very ingrained in our society and way of life.
I hugely recommend a bit of daily earth time…the antioxidant effects from the earth are great for their inflamed little gums…not to mention totally calming and grounding. Definite winner in our house!
Over the years I think I convinced myself that social media was the enemy, creating a new form of addiction and breed of narcissism. But upon recently joining the world of Instagram I have discovered what a powerful tool for good it can be. Bringing people together, using the power of intention and finding those with a similar mindset.
It’s been so wonderful to connect with like minded mothers and fathers, with groups supporting and empowering woman in childbirth and motherhood, and also my light-working brothers and sisters around the globe.
So I guess it’s all about balance. Do what needs to be done technologically speaking, then go outside, take off your shoes and stand on the earth. Feel the sun on your face. Find the balance.
Bringing a child up in this technological age definitely raises concerns. I have such fond memories of my childhood being spent outdoors, riding my bike around the neighbourhood and climbing trees. These days it seems that video games and iPads are replacing those types of childhood experiences.
I hope to be able to give Finn both worlds. I don’t want him to feel that he is missing out on technological advancements, because it is a part of our reality. But I also want for him to build a relationship with mother earth and to treat nature with love and understanding. To be conscious of his impact on our planet. To talk to the spirit of the land and hear it whisper back.
It’s certainly something to look forward to, trying to figure out how to navigate this whole new world! Again, it’s all about balance and not looking at things as ‘good or bad’.
Your life looks a bit like a dream; beautiful baby Finn, a vege patch and days spent in nature. Tell us about a typical day in your baby wearing life in sunny California.
Haha, well of course I only show the good stuff.
I must say that I do feel so very fortunate, my husband and I don’t have work commitments currently, so it’s lots of play time with Finn. The first two months of Finn’s life my husband was working pretty intense hours, so now we are just really enjoying each other as much as possible.
Every day is different, but generally we try our best to be physical. We tag team it to the gym or yoga.
We do love a hike, just the three of us. And making sure we squeeze in a meditation, even if it’s just a small one is important to us.
Lately though, my days have been pretty busy in my little apothecary. I have been working on a passion project these last 18 months, an energetically enhanced, crystal infused aromatherapy line. I am starting to feel brave enough to introduce them to the world, so sometime in the new year I am sure they will make an appearance.
Do you miss home, and do think you’ll ever move back to Australia?
Oh yes, I absolutely miss Australia! Even though I have lived in the US for 8 years, I think being married to an Aussie has kept me true to my roots. Accent in tact and vegemite on the daily. We would like to move back one day, possibly in the next couple of years. We’d love to see Finn grow up there. The US has been very kind to us, but it’s not home.
What is your favourite quote or do you have a life motto?
I have a few!
“The thoughts I’m thinking are creating my future”
“Everything is unfolding in the perfect timing.”
“I trust in the flow of life.”
And gratitude is everything! We like to say five things we are grateful for each day. It’s a guaranteed way to feel good!