Postpartum Care Kit


When I was pregnant with my first, a sweet friend drove me to Babys’R’Us and led me through the store with a hand-held scanning tool and her toddler to advise me on all of the useful things I would need in order to take care of my baby. She was so well intentioned (enduring the toy battles with her babe just to help me) that when she informed me during that outing what I needed was the deluxe hospital-sized version of an electronic breast pump, I left completely and utterly convinced that this machine would pardon me from my coming tribulations. It was $400 worth of bells and whistles to relieve the pressing stress of not knowing what the hell I was doing in any regard- not with this damn shower, not with how to care for a baby. I was the youngest child in my family, never wasted one teenage summer babysitting for cash like my friends, and I’d never in my life even seen a woman breastfeed. The next month I would open about a million ideas of what other people thought caring for a baby looked like- mostly stupid little outfits, too many fleece blankets and animals, and hardly anything off the registry my mother-in-law insisted I decide on before I even knew what the realistic needs of myself or my baby included. Never did get that badass pump. And hardly any of that Stuff survived to the next child.


The greatest support for my Motherhood, my Womanhood, would come on the back end from my doula, in the tender and honest space after birth, where it’s not taboo to talk about the unpretty things that happen for weeks and months postpartum. She gifted me most of these things in the kit on a care visit after our son was born. I somehow made it through washing the second baby too, in just my kitchen sink sans embroidered duckie washcloths. So now, I’ve decided that what I’m going to bring to every sparkling clean macaroon infested baby shower, is the big ugly truth wrapped just as beautifully as all the things we likely don’t completely prefer. Here’s a little something to help the new mom navigate the bloody, milky, sticky situations she will soon find herself covered in when the confetti’s not dropping. And besides, we owe it to share our wisdom, because we might be the only one in her life to do it.


Here’s what I include in my Postpartum Care Kit:


  • CVS pharmacy brand Peas cold pack (2)

    • One for each swollen breast for when milk comes in 3-5 days after birth

    • Can also be used should she incur any vaginal tears

  • Maxi pads

    • The super long ones. With wings. And thick. Spare the partner of your Mommy-to-be from purchasing the first round. Afterbirth is it’s own special Period.

  • Witch hazel & Lavender Spray

    • Find small spray bottles near the travel section of your grocery or supermarket, the kind that could fit in a purse. Buy two. Fill them with Witch hazel and one drop of Lavender essential oil each.

    • For stitched up vaginal tears, used after urination to cleanse and soothe swelling.

  • Bath Salts, Chocolate, and an unscented Candle

    • Since showering is often a new strange challenge, let’s make Mom’s alone time really special to look forward to.

  • Motherlove Nipple Cream

    • The best thing you’ll ever put on your nipple, besides your baby. I found mine at Wholefoods. So much more absorbent than Lanolin, in my opinion, which made somewhat of a barrier but did nothing to aid healing the dryness or painful cracking.

  • Reuseable Cotton Nursing Pads

    • I was surprised to find these at Target, in the isle with the bottles and breast pumps. Typically, as we are feeding from one side in the beginning the opposite side leaks. Even for mothers not breastfeeding, there is still leakage from milk that eventually comes in despite our circumstance or choices. So these would be helpful.

  • A Journal

    • Make a friendly message for Mom. Share some of your wisdom in self-care. So much of that time is about baby firsts. Remind her it’s a time of Mother’s firsts too.


This gift is about utility, and purpose but styling doesn’t have to go out the window. Scour the dollar aisle in your local Mega store (or other savvy alternative) for tissue paper, baskets, or bins to make your gift pretty. Recently at the store I found a mint colored waste basket and a wooden box with a label holder and it all fit nicely. It’s great to find things she can reuse later.

What would you include in your kit? What has helped you in ways of self-care after birth?

Repost / In the Absence of the Village, Mothers Struggle Most


Dear Mothers,

I’m writing you today because I can no longer contain the ache in my gut and fire in my heart over an injustice that you and I are bearing the brunt of.

Though this injustice is affecting everyone — men, women, and children alike — mothers not only feel its burden more than most, but we also feel disproportionately responsible for alleviating its pervasive and deeply damaging symptoms, which is adding hugely to the weight of the world we’re already wired to carry.

The injustice is this:

It takes a village, but there are no villages.

By village I don’t simply mean “a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area.” I’m referring to the way of life inherent to relatively small, relatively contained multigenerational communities. Communities within which individuals know one another well, share the joys, burdens, and sorrows of everyday life, nurture one another in times of need, mind the wellbeing of each other’s ever-roaming children and increasingly-dependent elderly, and feel fed by their clearly essential contribution to the group that securely holds them.

I’m talking about the most natural environment for children to grow up within.

I’m talking about a way of life we are biologically wired for, but that is nearly impossible to find in developed nations.

I’m talking about the primary unmet need driving the frustration that most every village-less mother is feeling.

Though the expression “It takes a village to raise a child” has become cliché, the impact of our village-less realities is anything but insignificant. It’s wreaking havoc on our quality of life in countless ways.

In the absence of the village…

  • Enormous pressure is put on parents as we try to make up for what entire communities used to provide.
  • Our priorities become distorted and unclear as we attempt to meet so many conflicting needs at once.
  • We feel less safe and more anxious without the known boundaries, expectations and support of a well-known group of people with whom to grow.
  • We’re forced to create our tribes during seasons of our life when we have the least time and energy to do so.
  • We tend to hold tight to our ideals and parenting paradigms, even when doing so divides us, in an attempt to feel safer and less overwhelmed by so many ways and options.
  • Our children’s natural way of being is compromised, as most neighborhoods and communities no longer contain packs of roaming children with whom to explore, create, and nurture their curiosity.
  • We run around like crazy trying to make up for the interaction, stimulation and learning opportunities that were once within walking distance.
  • We forget what “normal” looks and feels like, which leaves us feeling as if we’re not doing enough, or enough of the “right” things.
  • Depression and anxiety skyrocket, particularly during seasons of our lives when we instinctively know we need more support than ever but don’t have the energy to find it.
  • We feel disempowered by the many responsibilities and pressures we’re trying so hard to keep up with.
  • We spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need in an attempt to fill the voids we feel.
  • We rely heavily on social media for a sense of connection, which often leads us to feel even more isolated and inadequate.
  • We feel lonely and unseen, even when we’re surrounded by people.
  • Our partnerships are heavily burdened by the needs that used to be spread among communities, and our expectations of loved ones increase to unrealistic levels.
  • We feel frequently judged and misunderstood.
  • We feel guilty for just about everything: not wanting or having time to be our children’s primary playmates, not working enough, working too much, allowing too much screen time in order to keep up with our million perceived responsibilities, etc.
  • Joy, lightness and fun feel hard to access.
  • We think we’re supposed to be independent, and feel ashamed of our need for others.
  • We make decisions that don’t reflect our values but our deeply unmet needs.

Perhaps most tragically of all, the absence of the village is distorting many mothers’ sense of self. It’s causing us to feel that ourinadequacies are to blame for our struggles, which further perpetuates the feeling that we must do even more to make up for them.

It’s a trap. A self-perpetuating cycle. A distorted reality that derives its strength from the oppressive mindsets still in place despite our freedoms.

Here’s a new mindset to try on for size:

You and I are not the problem at all. WE ARE DOING PLENTY. We may feel inadequate, but that’s because we’re on the front lines of the problem, which means we’re the ones being hardest hit. We absorb the impact of a broken, still-oppressive social structure so that our children won’t have to.

That makes us heroes, not failures.

No, we’re not oppressed in the same ways that we used to be (nor in the ways other women still are around the world), but make no mistake about it:

In the absence of the village, we’re disadvantaged like never before. We may have more freedoms than our foremothers, but our burden remains disproportionately, oppressively heavy.  

Since the beginning of time (and until very recently), mothers have borne life’s burdens together. We scrubbed our clothes in the streams while laughing at splashing toddlers and mourning the latest loss of love or life. We wove, sewed, picked, tidied, or mended while swapping stories and minding our aging grandmothers. We tended one another’s wounds (both physical and emotional), relied on one another for strength when times were tough, and sought counsel from our community’s wise, experienced, and cherished elders.

Village life inherently fostered a sense of safety, inclusivity, purpose, acceptance, and importance. These essential elements of thriving were built in.

Now? We’re being forced to create all of that for ourselves within a society that has physically and energetically restructured itself around a whole new set of priorities. It’s a profits before people model, which threatens the wellbeing of nearly everything we mothers are wired to protect.

Though I’m optimistic and hopeful by nature, this dilemma has left me discouraged many times over the years. How does an entire nation of mothers shift a storyline this massive while individually and collectively weakened by the absence of the very thing we so desperately need?

Major cultural shifts in prioritization, structure, and power are clearly in order (and I do believe they’re happening, however chaotically). In the meantime, each of us has a choice to make:

We can buy into, make peace with, and conform to the way things are, or exercise the freedoms our foremothers and fathers won for us and commit to doing our unique and essential part in creating change, starting within us and working our way out. 

You and I aren’t likely to experience what it’s like to raise children in an actual village, but that’s okay. That’s not what this generation is about. This generation is about waking up to who we really are and what we really want, and resetting society’s sails accordingly. 

Playing your part in the re-villaging of our culture starts with being wholly, unapologetically, courageously YOU. Here are a few tangible steps you can take whenever you’re ready:

  1. Get really clear on one thing: the fact that you’re struggling is not a reflection of your inadequacies, but the unnatural cultural circumstances you’re living within.
  2. Own and honor your needs. Most mothers are walking around with several deeply unmet needs of their own while focusing almost exclusively on the needs of others. This is precisely the thing that keeps us from gaining traction and improving our circumstances, both individually and collectively.
  3. Practice vulnerability. Rich, safe, authentic connection is essential for thriving. Cultivating this quality of connection takes courage, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. What you want most exists on the other side of that initial awkward conversation or embarrassing introduction.
  4. Own your strengths. What makes you feel strong and fully alive? What lights you up and gives you energy just thinking about it? Who would you be to your village if you had one? Tapping into your strengths and engaging them is one of the greatest ways to attract the kinds of people you want into your life, bless and inspire others, and build a sense of community in ways that fill rather than drain you. 
  5. Become an integral part of something. Whether it’s a knitting group, dance troupe, church, kayaking club, or homeschool collective, commit to growing community around one area of your life that enlivens you or fills a need. Use the connections you cultivate within this community to practice showing up bravely and authentically and asking for what you need, be it support, resources, or encouragement.
  6. Do your part and ONLY your part. Though it’s tempting to fill our lives to the brim with commitments that make a difference, doing so only further disempowers us. Read Essentialism if you struggle with this one.
  7. Learn self-love and self-compassion. In a culture of “never enough” it is essential that we forge healthy relationships with ourselves in order to be able to fend off the many messages hitting us about who we’re meant to be and what makes us worthy of happiness and love. In fact, I see self-love in action as the greatest gift our generation of mothers could possibly give to the mothers of tomorrow.
  8. Speak your truth. Even when you’re terrified. Even if it makes you the bravest one in the room.
  9. Imagine a new way. Where we’re headed looks nothing like where we’ve come from. Creating the kind of future we want requires envisioning that future and believing a new way to be possible. Get specific and think big. What do you want?

I’ve tasted village life:

  • During college, when my tribe of idealists and dreamers was all within walking distance and we’d yet to subscribe to “adult” social rules that told us what what was most important.
  • When my young adult cousins lived with us for several months at a time. I’ve never enjoyed motherhood more than those days when I knew that the needs of the children, home, and its individuals were joyfully shared among eager, loving souls.
  • On retreat with other women, when each of us was reminded of how very similar our struggles, and how very desperate we all feel for consistent support, everyday interaction, healing, lightness, and ease.
  • At outdoor festivals, when the village is recreated, if only for a weekend of camping, and everyone settles into a communal way, cooperative rhythm, and lighter state of being.
  • During the time I spent with Mayan mothers in impoverished, rural Mexico. There I witnessed, firsthand, the blessings made possible by the presence of a tribe, however disadvantaged.

My soul was fed deeply during those time periods. Every time I get a taste of what we’re missing, I become strengthened and hopeful again. THAT is the energy needed to create change. THAT is what the powers that be don’t want us to feel.

I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know this:

We’re supposed to be crying, celebrating, falling down, and rising together.

We’re supposed to have grandmothers and aunts and neighbors and cousins sharing the everyday moments, guiding us, and helping us see the sacredness in the insanity.

We’re supposed to be nurtured for months postpartum, cared for when we’re sick, held while we mourn, and supported during challenging transitions.

And our children are supposed to cradled and allowed to grow within the social structures WE deem best for them.

Find yourself, then find your people. Or do it the other way around. Just don’t settle. Don’t ever settle for a way of life created by those who don’t honor your soul and cherish your babies.

Change-making right alongside you,





“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ~ Arundhati Roy


Post Originally Published HERE



Present Philosophy


Lately, and by lately I mean the past two years, everything seems to be an “in-between” time. We get up, cereal is poured, the sweeping I left from the day before is quickly done, hair is sometimes brushed, and we dawdle away an hour or two of chores before packing lunch and escaping to the woods or beach. I wait for naps impatiently, only to squander the time in web browsing. Out of doors, perhaps because there are no dishes piled in sinks between the oaks, I am brighter, more patient. For two or three hours I manage to point out lizards and acorns, to walk unharried at a child’s pace. This lasts until we face climbing the flight of stairs home to our apartment – they are steep and it is hot, my arms are full of groceries and a backpack and I can picture the breakfast dishes in my mind’s eye. I read about household harmony, think I glimpse it in other families, but turn back to my own hearth and see good bits and pieces that don’t seem to quite come together. Even if we have a rhythm for weeks at a time I can’t seem to relax into it and put thoughts of the meaning of it all aside. I am struggling to live in the present.

There are days that stand out as blissful, efficient stars. Days in which no TV is watched, bread is baked messily together in the small white kitchen, the chores are done with mindless energy and I connect easily and sweetly with my toddling daughter. But the mass seem harder than they ought to be – slow, crumb-covered, occasionally resentful. I suppose I am waiting for a miraculous switch to flick on in my head that will beam me into an awareness of the present. I long for more of the moments of microscope-focused clarity I had nursing Elsa as a baby: eyelashes, breath, sweaty little temples, a sacred space I didn’t have to force myself into. The days are long but the weeks are fast, and time disappears whether I find a way to rejoice in it or not. I feel a bewildered longing for Wendell Berry’s “peace of wild things,” and yet cannot stop taxing my life with forethought of grief.

These are not monumental grievances I fear for – even in a time when it seems no state is free from gun violence I am not worried for my child’s next day, or for food on our table. But my small worries about moving apartments, and finding outdoor spaces in which to play, grow weighty and disproportionate. When I cannot see around the borders of my own sadness, it feels as though there are no borders at all, and that everything everywhere is in distress. The amount of grace I have within me to give dwindles and shadows. I become like a little playdough mother left in the corner of the kitchen – crisping around the edges, needful of care and yet utterly unappetizing.

It is an enormous effort, when I sit in that place, to give my family the gentleness that they rightly crave. Two years of too many transitions that feel out of my control have left me little ability to adapt graciously or quickly to new challenges. So I stick in the mud, convinced it is higher ground. I need the glimpse around my borders – rambling piles that I had thought were placed to help me cope and endure – to remind me to ask for a different perspective.

Few of my husband’s and my college friends have children, and I am often asked, “How is it, being a mom?” As time has gone by my response is slower, more thoughtful than it first was. Right now, with a two-year-old on my lap and another on the way, motherhood is about shifts in attitude and perspective. Most of parenting is still just getting up and getting the day’s work and care done, line by line, but I find myself needing so much philosophy to face the work of a morning. I’ve had more existential crisis by far as a parent than I ever did in college, with far fewer pieces of recommended reading that hold any true value for my straggling mind. I have had to acknowledge and then re-acknowledge that I have it in me to slap just as much as I do to kiss, that a sharp reprimand or impatient sigh comes out quickly and more naturally than a deep breath and gentle carry. These things are especially getting harder with each pound my daughter gains towards childhood and away from infancy. There are fewer naps, fewer pauses, many more words exchanged and I am pushing myself daily to look, look, at our present time while it is here. As a mother, there are no in-between times while you wait for the next thing, wait for motivation to strike to clean and bake and swing and teach.

I try again, each week, by packing a lunch and buckling Elsa into the carseat, to gather up the pieces I’ve hashed out again and again in my head and bring them into the day with me. We drive twenty-three minutes to the oak groves, re-tie our shoelaces, and meander into the trees. I focus on my daughter’s natural inclination towards copying bird calls, on the way her skin browns and glows in the freckling light. Eventually I spread out a small muslin swaddle as a picnic blanket, having abandoned heavier alternatives months ago, and neglect to be bothered by the tiny oak spines poking at my thighs through the thin fabric. Soft goat cheese, brittle carrots, a small chin to wipe at while noticing I need to cut her fingernails soon. Sweat from the sun at my temples, at the nape of her neck.


Torunn is a Southern California mother, writer and gardener who writes mostly creative nonfiction essays that seek to engage with parents about the complicated and under-spoken challenges and emotions of staying at home with children. Her work, both prose and poetry, has previously been published/ accepted for publication by: Kodon, The Pub, The Prairie Light Review, Kinfolk Magazine, and Mothers Always Write. Her Tumbler site can be found here 



Homegrown Tomato Soup

I grew tomatoes in my garden this year for the very first time. I remember going to the local plant nursery in late spring and spending literally hours agonizing over which tomato plant varieties I should buy for the newly constructed raised bed in our backyard. Would I want lots of cherry or grape tomatoes? Red ones or yellow ones? Green zebra striped heirlooms or San Marzanos? Beefsteak or Roma? I wanted them all, but I knew we only had room for about eight plants. And so, I settled on eight little plants whose tags promised varying sizes, shapes, and colors of tomatoes come late summer.




Fast forward through a summer filled with lots of watering, staking, pruning, mulching, stressing over, and fawning over those tomato plants to now. It’s early autumn and my tomato plants are just about done producing fruit for the season. I cannot say for sure if I think my crop yield was worth all of my time, money, effort, worries, and love I put into those plants. But what I can say is that the satisfaction of making this roasted tomato soup using all of my very own homegrown tomatoes certainly was.


Use any variety of tomatoes you have for this soup. Big ones, little ones, pretty ones, or ugly ones. They can be super ripe or not quite ripe yet. You can’t really go wrong. Instead of adding cream or milk (like many tomato soup recipes do), this recipe uses the addition of creamy, protein-rich cannellini beans. So for all you dairy-free folks, this one is a keeper. And do make the garlicky croutons. It’s totally worth the extra few minutes.


Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlicky Croutons

serves 4


For the Soup:

4 pounds of tomatoes in various sizes

1 large yellow onion

8-10 garlic cloves

olive oil

sea salt

1 14 oz can of cannellini beans

10 large leaves of fresh basil, plus more for garnish

1-2 cups (approximately) water or broth of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the large tomatoes into wedges, the medium sized tomatoes in half, and leave cherry-sized tomatoes whole. Arrange them on parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer. Peel and slice the onion and arrange the slices over the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves and add the whole cloves to the tomatoes and onion. Drizzle everything with olive oil, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and toss to coat everything. Bake in the oven for about an hour or more until the tomatoes start to get wrinkly and the onion is starting to caramelize a bit.
  2. When the tomatoes are nicely roasted, remove them from the oven and let them cool a bit. Transfer them to a soup pot, along with any juices that collected on the pans. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and add them to the pot, along with the basil leaves.
  3. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is creamy, adding water or broth a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Taste and season with salt as needed. Bring soup back up to a simmer to warm it up and serve topped with croutons (recipe below), torn basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil.


For the Croutons:

3 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning

olive oil

sea salt

5 big slices of rustic whole grain sourdough bread (or other bread of choice) 

Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the garlic very finely and put it in a mixing bowl. Add the Italian seasoning, about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Cut the bread into 1” cubes. Add them to the oil mixture in the bowl and toss to evenly coat the bread.
  3. Arrange the oiled bread cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Grate Parmesan cheese over the cubes to give them a nice dusting. Bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing them halfway through the cooking time to promote even toasting. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before adding them to the soup.


Closet Stalk


With Molly Salvi of Squashblossom Vintage


Style Icons?
Anita Pallenberg.  she does the classic south-of-france look flawlessly and is the queen of 60s/70s bohemian chic in my opinion.  i love Georgia O’Keefe’s crisp desert uniform.  Iris Apfel can layer and mix colors like i’ve never seen.  Grace Coddington, Lauren Hutton, Diane Keaton, Keith Richards, and Joan Didion.

Wardrobe staples – what are yours?
vintage bell bottom jeans, worn-in tees, cotton caftans, kimonos, tank tops, high rise skinny jeans.

How about accessories – any favorites?
i wear my gold wedding ring which belonged to my husband’s grandmother and an emerald and gold ring by Scosha that we had made for our 10th anniversary.  there are little birthstones set into the band for both of us as well as our two girls.  if i’m going out I will throw on some big thin hoop earrings and a stack of old Mexican silver bangles.  if i could afford a mess of jangly 14k gold bangles I would never take them off.  I wear lots of hats- old stetsons and rockmounts.

Bare with me on this one but what do you think your shoes say about you?
they’d say i’m lazy, earthy and comfortable.  if it has a buckle or a lace I’m probably not wearing it.

What is your earliest memory associated with clothing / fashion?
i remember going to see Ziegfeld Follies with my folks when i was little- all the feathers and sequins and headdresses were mesmerizing.

What would you say you feel most comfortable in on a daily basis?
at home in the country we are always outside playing in the mud or hiking around in the leaves.  my home uniform is typically Madewell skinny jeans or stretch pants, tall Hunter boots for puddle jumping, a tank top and chunky knit sweater if it’s cool.  if we leave the house it’s vintage bellbottoms and a t-shirt or Indian gauze blouse or a cotton caftan.

Can you recall the last thing you regret buying?
i bought linen overalls at Old Navy a few months ago and they literally fell apart after 5 wears.  i rarely go for “fast fashion” and was reminded why.

What do you wear most often?
what’s comfy!  see above answer.




As far as “trends” in fashion is concerned to what degree would you say you engage?
hardly at all.  i’ve never had a desire to fit in.

What is one thing that has remained consistent in how you dress?
i’ve been a lover of late 60s/early 70s fashion for as long as i can recall.  comfort is always my first thought when dressing.

One thing that’s changed?
not too much.  now that I’m a mom i’m on the go so much and on the floor and covered in avocado and tangled in tomato vines so I save my nicer pieces for special occasions and stick to easy breezy basics during the day.

Describe to us 21 year old Molly’s weekend out on the town outfit compared to Molly today
i lived in Ireland when i was 21 so i suppose it was bellbottoms with lots of baggy sweaters and boots.  now “out on the town” is a rare luxury so I go all out!  I usually wear one of my Indian gauze maxi dresses or 30’s sheer floral gowns with wooden platforms.

Name one trend you “would never”
super low rise jeans.

Last question. You’re stranded on a (fashionably exotic) desert Island and allowed to bring 6 items with you. What are they?
Ricardo Medina botines, a Pansy bra set, my favorite Stetson hat, my comfiest patched bellbottoms, a beautiful Indian cotton caftan, a gauze blouse… and a big cozy cardigan!


above photo via Boots and Pine