My name is Maia Andersen, mama of two girls, 2 ½ and 12 ½. Yes, the same father 🙂 I work as a Creative Director/Design Director. I am an idea-generator and love what I do! I’ve worked with some really amazing clients like Asics, Urban Decay, O’Neill, The North Face, Oakley, and several sustainable businesses like Harvest, Sustainable Collective, andjust recently wrapped up ownership of my own kid’s clothing business, Sustainable Kids.
You’ve had two homebirths. What were the differences between the two and did you feel like one was easier than the other?
We had both of our babes at home, with a stellar midwife, and were blessed to have the same midwife for both of them. Homebirth for me, is simply amazing. With my first daughter, I was the A-student as far as birth-preparation went. Very physically fit, and physically confident (even with the anxiety of first-time parenthood). The day before I delivered, I did headstands at yoga class, shot basketballs with my husband and ate pineapple jalapeno pizza. (I also mused what on earth I was going to do for my birthday the next day… but going into labor took care of those plans. Yes, baby girl was born on my bday!). Total labor was only six hours, but very physical. I had trained for this. I pushed like crazy for 2+ hours and ujai-breathed my way through the whole thing. So physically hard. I felt like I’d been hit by a semi-truck for days after.
Baby two was a shock-surprise-blessing. I had a hard time accepting I was pregnant after 16 successful years of natural method birth control. I was healthy, but this pregnancy definitely took a toll. At month 8 this baby tried to come early and my midwife recommended a pretty sedentary “non-opening” lifestyle, which halted my yoga, hiking, and generally active days. I didn’t know what to do with myself, or how to lead a passive lifestyle. I was also an emotional wreck – I had ramped up my kids’ clothing business with investors and a whole sales force just prior to finding out I was pregnant, and I was stressed out of my mind. I was overwhelmed with how I was going to continue this business growth. I felt unprepared to go back to baby-mode, but guilty that I should be ecstatic and grateful for this blessing. By my last trimester, I was crumbling at the seams and swimming in a pool of self-doubt about everything. I broke down and sobbed almostdaily. I decided to study hypnobirthing and see if I could approach this baby differently. Total labor this time was about 4 1/2 hours, but only about 15 min of pushing. I completely got out of my own way, and instead a physical approach, I stepped aside and let my body do what it was made to do. My older daughter helped “coach” me near the end, which was pretty unbelievable. I just remember her saying “you can do it, mama”. A family friend who was at our birth said I made it look like it was no big deal. Ha, it was still labor. My recovery post-partum was SO much quicker the second time.
You are very active, what are your favorite physical things to do as a family?
My husband and I bonded over snowboarding and extreme backpacking and camping. Adding kids changed that rhythm, (though we dream about returning to our gypsy mountain-beach lives someday when the girls are grown). For now, our happy places are hiking, camping and going to the beach. Our older daughter loves to surf, which thrills my husband. One of the most incredible things recently has been sharing sports with my older daughter, like surfing, trail running (she kicks my ass), and yoga.
You’ve been practicing yoga for a very long time. Do you feel it has helped you as a parent?
I have been practicing yoga for over 15 years; it’s like a steadfast friend that is always by my side. It has helped me grow, helped find balance in life, and is always a mirror that doesn’t lie for my state of physical and mental. I can always count on a practice to return me home with a renewed sense of patience, and deep gratitude for what I have. And truthfully being limber makes it a whole lot easier to sit, lay, roll on the floor, keep up with my kids’ tricks on the trampoline, and hang from the monkey bars at the park.
As a strong woman, what qualities do you hope to instill in your daughters?
I’ve always felt strongly about leading by example, showing my girls how beneficial it is to be healthy, and have a strong body-mind connection. I want to teach them they can depend on themselves, count on themselves and trust themselves to have the power to come through when they (and others) need it most. I am a firm believer that we are our own best healers. Being really in tune with a balanced state of health, from exercise, diet and herbal remedies helps us fortify and heal almost anything. I think the more in-tune you are with your own body and spirit, the better armed you are to deal with hardship and challenge. I think this applies to yourself, and to being able to be available and compassionate for others.
You are in excellent shape. Care to share any tips?
Being active helps keep a smile on my face, and I think fresh air/being outside can be a cure all. My chaotic tips?- Add activity ANYWERE, ANYTIME you can.
– Kids at swimming? Jump in for some laps or run around the block a few times.
– Playing at the beach? Jump in the ocean, kick against the waves, play ball with your kids, chase the birds – be part of the play instead of trying to unsuccessfully lie in the sun while your kids harass you to come play.
– Learn how to do a good weightlifting squat. I’m still working on it.
– If you’re 30+, you must add weight. Period. Muscles and lean lines just don’t stayin place forever, and even my constant yoga and running started being less effective.
– Adding weights and cross fit has been amazing for my muscle tone, and the challenge has helped me REMEMBER WHAT I’M MADE OF.
– If you find it hard to keep weight off, decrease your grains and sugar – promise you’ll see results more quickly.
After being a vegetarian for many years, how does it feel to be eating meat again?
I was vegetarian for about 15 years, and vegan for about four. Ethically I felt it was the right way to eat – through years of sustainability research I know the stress on global resources and cost to the environment that our nation’s meat consumption has. To coin a phrase, “Peace begins on your plate”. Plus, I felt like my good health and lean build were a product of that eating style. I was a smart vegetarian, with a lot of fresh-pressed juices, organic whole foods, and grains and legumes. And that lifestyle served me. Age seemed to start challenging the “good for me” aspect. About 5 years ago, I started dabbling carefully with animal protein, mostly wild caught fish and turkey. Pregnancy #2 really seemed to demand animal protein and I really started craving it in my diet. After baby #2 I was feeling achy through my joints, even with regular yoga practice. Post-partum, when and trying to get back in shape, I battled injuries, more joint and tendon issues. I also felt like no matter how much I was working out, I wasn’t regaining my muscle tone like I wanted to. I started learning about the poor effects of sugar and its corresponding inflammation in the body, and then that lead to self-education on the body’s processing of grains, and how the liver basically processes grains (wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, legumes, etc.) as sugar. I devoured information on grain and sugar free eating, paleo eating, benefits of higher protein with my already healthy intake of veggies. Recently I took the plunge and did an intensive 2 months of a strict paleo diet (grain-free, sugar-free, higher protein diet), and added lots of cross fit workouts to my routine, and was shocked at the results. I can’t believe what a difference it made. The general daily achy feeling is gone. I lost a pant size; I got my abs back, my legs are changing in a really good way.
But I’ll be honest; I still lament about the ethics of my increased meat eating. I wish I could have the best of both worlds. Sometimes it’s hard to find (and afford) ethically raised meat. And the reality of commercially raised meat in this country is pretty gross. Don’t even get me started. I can’t ever un-learn those facts. But I’ve decided that I can’t be “doing right globally” if I’m not feeling very good as an individual. I am strict about organic, hormone-free poultry and beef, wild-caught fish, and I look for less “big-business” meats that are less likely to be messed with, like buffalo and lamb.I still love an excuse to cook vegan or vegetarian for a friend, because I love the challenge, even more so now, to also make it grain-free.
HOW I BARGAIN WITH KARMA AND BEING ECO-MINDED
I volunteer at my daughter’s school on the Green Committee and we have achieved some pretty amazing things over the last six years. I have sworn off any single-use plastic anything long ago, refuse to buy plastic baggies, and always shop with my own bags. I go in and out of a composting habit, as I try to get a good method down. We belong to a local CSA (community-supported agriculture group). I no longer have my sweet vintage Mercedes that runs on biodiesel… but my Subaru was made in America at a zero-waste facility. One of my biggest highs was being chosen to exhibit my collection at the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, and at Esthetica at London Fashion Week. Currently, I encourage and help educate my clients about easy ways they can incorporate sustainable practices into their businesses.