The Empowerment of the Mother - with Sydney Porter.

The Empowerment of the Mother - with Sydney Porter.

Empowerment is key ~ a message Mother, Model, Influencer, Holisitic Doula + Birth Educator, Sydney Porter is sharing with the world after her two birthing experiences. We chatted with her for M. MAGAZINE and she shares her dialogue of birth empowerment, the dynamic journey we face as a mother, the high and lows of breastfeeding and her three postpartum products she's found useful for her mothering journey, plus what she thinks of our leakproof nursing bralettes!

A true homage to how we can incorporate the power of mother nature into our lives, the importance of "mothering-the-mother", and trusting our primal instincts during our pregnancy, birth and postpartum phases.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?


Of course, yes! This question I find becomes easier and easier to answer with time, the more that I begin to really understand myself and who I am. To put it simply I would say that I’m an intuitive woman, who loves all things birth and motherhood.

"I’m the kind of woman who finds beauty in transformation and rebirth. I love working with the earth and all her gifts, and believe in the magic medicine of slow living, natural living, and connected living."

I currently live  by the sea with my husband, three year old daughter, and our sweet baby boy. I wear many hats but for now I see myself mostly as a mother, and lover + friend, and birth keeper, and a visionary. 

How did you find navigating motherhood during your pregnancy?

Sydney wears our MUMMA MILLA leakproof night bralette in black.

Thank you! This past pregnancy was one that was deeply emotional and so transformational. My first pregnancy was also quite monumental for me but in so many different ways. With my first I felt that the pregnancy allowed me to come into consciousness within my womb space. I gained a much greater awareness of my creative center, and the deeply sacred nature of the feminine. This time the initiation was even deeper, and I was asked to expand my limits to a place that I didn’t even know was possible.

My capacity as a mother was opened greatly and my strength was fortified through many hard challenges we experienced in those nine months. Towards the end of it all I was able to find more ease, support, and rest to allow for the great surrender of birth.

"The overall message that was communicated to me during this pregnancy was simply that I wield the power to create anything."

I am creating even when I am not aware that I’m doing so. It is up to me to create consciously from the seat of my soul, and not from the source of my ego. Learning this is what carried me through the most difficult moments of my pregnancy and allowed me to stay grounded and centered during our birth. 


As a Holistic Doula and Birth Educator, we know you are an advocate for spreading the word about an ‘empowered birth’. As mothers and mothers-to-be, how can we all experience this.

Every mother is so different and having a birth experience in which you feel empowered isn’t exactly a step by step process, but I do believe there are internal processes happening within the mother to her mind, body, and spirit in pregnancy that can prepare her for the experience of birth she is consciously and unconsciously choosing for herself.

Being open to the internal journeys that take place in pregnancy, letting that age old internal wisdom guide you through those transformations before birth is a great place to start. Having the understanding that birth is unpredictable as well is a very big key to experiencing a birth that feels powerful vs disempowering. Being able to ask yourself, “how can I open to this experience more? What can I let go of in this moment? How do I surrender in this now?” Makes a world of difference as you move through labor, and when unexpected sensations, feelings, or emotions arise. 

And then of course there are several things externally that a mother can do to set herself up for an empowered birth experience.

The number one thing I would recommend is to choose a birth team that is actually aligned with the kind of birth you want and on board to support you in whatever way you need. One of the worst things is realizing you made the wrong choice about your care provider or your birth team when you are already in labor.

"It can be very hard to empower yourself in birth when you feel that you are not the one calling the shots, or even simply being involved in the decision making."

We’ve read that trusting your instincts is key.
How do you trust your gut during pregnancy as well as during the labour phase?

Being able to rely on your instinct as a mother is absolutely imperative and necessary in my opinion. A mother that is naive and untrusting or unaware of her intuitive voice is almost always going to fall victim to the persuasions and opinions of others. For many women trusting instinct and intuition can be as simple as knowing through experience that life is more balanced, rich, and easeful when the inner voice is regarded with respect and reverence.

The instinct is simply another aspect of the self, and when women have a wounded intuition it is usually because they have been conditioned to not trust themselves or their bodies. For women who have injured instinct practice is needed to tune back into a clear channel of the inner voice. It takes time to discern between thought and truth, the path of remembrance in this way is one that a woman must forage from discernment of her own hands. She must go within and feel what is there, what is hers, what is not. What is true, what serves her, and what doesn’t. The age old key to trusting the self, and trusting the power of the primal body is connection. The mother must live in a way that allows for her to connect to herself, to uncover more of herself, to become aware of her body and its methods of communication.

"Becoming trusting of the instinct starts by creating a continual dialogue between the self, the body, and the spirit."


The unknowns, anxiety, and fears during pregnancy is something I think we all experience as an expecting woman, but we DO NOT talk about this enough. What are your thoughts on this?

I feel that all the transitions and big emotions we women feel as we enter into motherhood are a byproduct as the immense changes and growth that take place in this process.

"Wherever there is growth there will also be grief."

The growth we experience as mothers is essentially a rebirth, and with any rebirth in our lives we are moving into a new chapter yes, but also letting go of a whole other life. We are watching the slow death of ourselves take place right before our eyes! It’s truly no small thing to experience. 

I find that although there is much vulnerability and openness within the communities of mothers that I surround myself with, there is not much of this present in the world at large. Many are still holding onto the self limiting narratives of motherhood that paint the picture that not much changes mentally and spiritually when you have a baby.

Living in a culture that does not recognize the great depth of these shifts, and does not adequately hold space for the mother is essentially a breeding ground for mental health issues in pregnancy and postpartum.

By not being seen and held in the dynamic changes we experience, we can begin to feel invalidated as mothers. Knowing that all the heavy emotions we feel are not only normal but expected in this journey, can be the one simple realization that makes a world of difference. 


The three postpartum products you cannot live without?

1. Our Artipoppe baby carrier, an absolute must for us! Helps get the little one to sleep, makes running errands much smoother, and we wouldn’t be able to go on all of our adventurous hikes without it!

2. Earth Mama Organics perineal herbal spray, in those first few weeks postpartum this was a must for me in my healing process to help keep everything balanced vaginally and soothe all the perineal tenderness.

3. Muslin blankets and burp cloths, not from a specific brand but having lots of natural fiber cloths are a must for me! I lay the blankets over our sheets to help catch all the baby spit up, baby poop, milk etc.  throughout the night, and take clean ones with me whenever we leave the house to keep him warm, change him on, cover the car seat etc. 


Why is self-care for the mom so important?

A mother having the space and time to simply care for herself is truly necessary for the overall health and wellbeing of the entire family. The mother is like the beating heart of her home. The children are nurtured by her, born of her, the whole household is far more regulated when she is regulated. If the mother does not have the capacity to care for her household and to hold space for all that takes place in the daily life of the family then the balance is disturbed and the family foundation begins to crack. There are many things in the home that can only be done by the mother, and it’s alot of weight and responsibility for us women to carry. It’s so easy to take on too much, and  overwhelm ourselves by the endless amount of things that need to be done.

"Truly the best thing a mother can do for her family is to prioritize her rest, and carving out time to do things that are truly nourishing for her."


Becoming a mother. How did this change you.

Motherhood brought me back home to myself. In becoming a mother I’ve embodied radical self acceptance, deepened my relationship to Earth and Spirit, as well as reawakened the power of my Womb center.

"My journey into motherhood was like a cleansing, it showed me what I value at my core and pushed me to align with my own inner truth."

In my mothering unhealed and unevolved aspects of myself are reflected back to me in my children or in the way that I react to certain situations in parenting. In those moments I really have to sit with myself and choose to overcome my habitual actions in order to elevate the actions of our whole household. Simultaneously, knowing that I’m not perfect gives me the space to model how to be imperfect to my children, how to accept all parts of myself, and not react harshly when I feel that I’ve fallen short. In truth I feel that mothering has become my path of devotion, it has been a catalyst and grounding point for the unfolding of Self. 


Your breastfeeding journey. The highs and lows?

The Leakproof Night Nursing Bralette in Black.

Oh my, what a dynamic journey it was with my first baby. After alot of shock during my first birth, I was misinformed about my milk supply (which I later found out was because it’s naturally very difficult for me to hand express milk) I was told that I didn’t have any milk to give my daughter and that I would need to supplement with another woman’s milk. 

The birth center that she was born in happened to have another birthing mom in the room next door that had pumped lots of extra colostrum right after birth and she generously gave us some of her milk to take home while we waited for my “milk to come in”. In about two days or so I was engorged with more milk than I knew what to do with, but felt like I had failed in a way because I wasn’t able to give my child my own milk first. 

From there breastfeed was very smooth, it was such a gift to sustain the life of my precious child, to have my body attuned to hers, to know exactly what she needed. The connection was quite literally psychic, especially within those first 20 months or so. But all the while, I still felt subconsciously within myself that there was an undercurrent of disappointment and shame that I held onto from the “failure” of my body those first few days postpartum.. Eventually that manifested as me choosing to breastfeed to my own detriment. 

A few months after she had turned two I was very much so over breastfeeding. I was depleted from feeding throughout the night for over two years. I felt that I was never able to get adequate rest and I was struggling to set boundaries with my toddler who was feeding around the clock like a newborn. I began to harbor resentment within myself wondering where I went wrong, wishing that I could find a way to bring our journey to a close without causing emotional trauma for my seemingly milk addicted toddler. 

The year passed by quickly and we had conceived our second child. I was about 12 weeks along in my pregnancy and we were in Mexico, where I had a doula client that was set to give birth at any moment. Veya was just a couple months shy of turning three, and had never gone one night without falling asleep with my milk. When my client called in the middle of the night to let me know she was in labor I decided that this would be the final moment of our breastfeeding journey. 

When I came home the next day after the birth I told my little one that my milk needed to rest, that my milk needed healing. From there I told her that it was time to say goodbye to mommy’s milk, and that mommy needed time for rest and healing too. She understood me quite well, but the end of it all was quite hard for her regardless. 

It’s nine months later now and she still tells me with tears in her eyes how much she wishes she could breastfeed again. It breaks my heart to see filled with so much hurt and sadness, but I battle within myself not how I can console her best through all the transitions. These are the moments of the breastfeeding journey that I feel no one tells you about. There are so many resources for milk supply, proper latching, breastfeeding holds etc. but so few to help guide the mother through the end.  

I feel very vulnerable and tender sharing all of this with you, it’s honestly an aspect of our journey that feels unfinished in a way, like there are several loose ends to be tied and quite a few holes to be patched. 


We’d love for you to share how you have enjoyed wearing our leakproof nursing bras?

They’re truly like magic. The amount of milk they can hold without ever feeling wet or soggy is incredible.

"It's a game-changer to not have to stuff anything into my nursing bras or cause harm to the planet with disposables. Not to mention they're comfortable and perfectly versatile with a timeless design."

We mothers already have so much to juggle, to be able to streamline one aspect of our very full lives is nothing short of miraculous! 


What has been beautiful for you in this chapter of motherhood?

There is such a great depth of love all around me. Love from my family, love from our community, love from our Great Mother, the love of all that is. In this chapter of motherhood I’ve felt myself as a whole become more open and receptive to the richness of life. The birth of a baby is quite magical in that way, it is revitalizing even amidst all the sacrifice it brings. 


Your idea of an ideal afternoon?

There is harmony and ease between my husband, the kids and I. We’re all together enjoying the beauty and joy of being a family. Nothing else really matters except the moment that we’re all spending together, gratitude fills our hearts as we hike along an unknown path. The sun is warm and the sky is clear. In the distance we hear the sound of gentle ocean waves and let the rhythm of the sea be our guide through the mountains. Soon our path opens to a viewpoint and we see that we’re headed for a beautifully wild and untouched beach. We eagerly race down the trail and rush into the water. As the brisk cold of the ocean waves greet our toes the giddiness of my child self fills my heart and I feel an overwhelming current of love flow through the air around us. We spend the whole afternoon in awe of the simple beauty of our lives, dancing in the water and laying on the sand. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the last light of day silently washes over our skin. and we turn towards the hills to begin our trek back home. 


Your tips for keeping calm?

On a practical level, long walks, gazing at the moon, having a few moments to breathe alone in silence, and cleansing my emotional body in ocean water or in a shower always helps me to feel grounded and centered. 


Internally if I find myself in the midst of a very challenging moment with my toddler or in a tense situation with my partner it’s very helpful to remember 3 things:


  1. We are all in this together, we are one. One family, one unit, one body. If one of us is not okay, then  none of us are okay. The wellbeing of one is just as important as the wellbeing of the whole. 


  1. Everyone, regardless of what they are communicating or how they are doing it is simply striving to get their needs met, to feel understood, to feel cared for, to feel loved. We are all in need of the same things.


  1. I can always choose to take a deep breath and recenter myself.  I always have a choice in how I show up for my family, even when it feels like I don't. 


Words and imagery from @thesydneyporter.

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