About me, Kerry Ingram.
Mother, foster parent, postpartum doula, educator, nurturer.
I am devoted to uplifting the postpartum journey.
What we know for certain is that when mothers feel supported, the health and well-being of her family and community blossom.
I believe that a strong network of support for new parents can fortify the entire community, I'm committed to sharing all the tools to make it easy for you to gather families in your own neighborhood.
I am a postpartum nurturer.
I help women create multi-generational supportive gatherings for mothers and babies in the postpartum year without re-inventing the wheel.
What I want for you is to feel confident, resourced and inspired to create a multi-generational nurturing group for the sake of supporting the HUGE transition into parenthood. After six years of facilitating our in person groups, I continuously witness the deep relationships and reciprocity that ripples into our community.
For nearly two decades I have provided nurturing support to families as an educator, a postpartum doula and as a mother (bio and foster). I've had the delight of teaching in a Waldorf Kindergarten, a LifeWays home-based playgarden, nurturing new mothers in their homes as well as facilitating a mother and baby class for the last 6 years. The Mothering Arts leadership training is the fruit of many years of education, research and practical experience to help folks who feel called to work with parents and babies by building supportive communities. Hundreds of women from all over the world have taken our training and shared what they have learned in their respective communities to support families and build connections.
I blog and send a monthly newsletter (subscribe below) about ways we can build community, resource ourselves and create simple moments of connection with our families. I want to be a part of re-writing the story of how we see the postpartum year...and that vision is shared by the thousands of women I work with.
What is Mothering Arts?
Mothering Arts is a wish. A vision. A hope. It’s a wish for all new mothers and their babies to be acknowledged, cared for and nurtured.
It’s a wish for every mother to feel that she is supported and a sense of belonging.
It’s a wish for mothers, babies, elders and wise women to come together share collective wisdom, nurturing practices and differing practices within their community.
It’s a wish for new mothers and their babies to have a safe loving space to gather regularly, heart-to-heart, in real life.
It is place filled with laughter, new ideas, support, conversation, rejuvenation, realness and at time tears. It is a place where each mother and child is celebrated as a unique artist of life as they journey through life together.
Our hope is to empower mothers to trust their inner wisdom rather than seek a “recipe” to follow. We are devoted to re-ignite mother-wisdom by connecting women in a multi-generational community circle of reciprocity, and to encourage women to embrace mothering as a path of self-development.
In our groups we are inclusive, authentic and strive for honest and real connections. Connections with our elders, within our community, with our babies and with ourselves. We value diversity and sovereignty and encourage each leader to create a gathering that represents the needs of her community.
How Did I Get Here?
Heading into motherhood as an experienced LifeWays caregiver and Waldorf early childhood teacher, I thought I knew "how things were going to be". [Commence laughter]
During my pregnancy I must have read a book a week about respectful parenting, child development and many other mindful philosophies that I thought would prepare me for the life altering shift of parenthood. I organized all of my helpful articles and felt like I had been training for this moment for my whole life. As many of you know, when baby came, philosophies, methods and books were the least helpful to me in the first year.
What I needed was to connect with my baby (which came naturally), to learn how to care for myself (which did not come naturally) and I NEEDED MY COMMUNITY!
Sound familiar? Like so many mamas, I was giving every ounce of me and not even thinking about refilling my cup..my cup was certainly in a dirty dish pile somewhere in my kitchen.
My community is who created the space for my tears, for my often times embarrassing questions, for celebrating me as a mother. My community brought meal after meal, shared their own struggles and practical little tips that made a big impact and most importantly inspired a sense of belonging in my heart.
Living on the other side of the country from my family, we relied on the community of friends we had cultivated in our home of five years. Luckily, they were amazing! We were fed for three months, the dog walked, my tears wiped, our baby held and cuddled, laundry done, floor swept and even windows washed. Wow, even writing these words I realize how blessed we are for our friends.
Beyond these essentials in the first few months, came the collective wisdom of many mothers about breastfeeding, diapering, postpartum body care, staying connected in my relationship, accepting our extended family's ideals (that may or may not jive with our own), nutrition, and most importantly...learning to trust my own instincts. At the root of what I learn each day within my family and in my community is CONNECTION. Rather than listening to agree or disagree with other parents and philosophies, I listen to learn.
I believe that through community, curiosity, and self-care we create our own unique art of mothering...Mothering Arts.
My entire life has led me to where I am right now.
- I remember watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and wanting to be the kind of person who warmly welcomed everyone into my home.
- My Nana would always make her guests feel special with home-baked goods, a cup of tea and lots of laughter.
- In college, I was a nanny and learned the impact of lending support to parents of young children first hand.
- Moving from NY to Colorado on my own, I needed to create community from the ground up as an adult...and I had the chance to employ some of what I learned from Mr. Rogers.
- As an educator, I learned that the way to nurture my kindergarten students was to nurture their parents with acknowledgement, warm tea and hands-on help.
- As a postpartum doula, I cultivated the art of gathering resources, compassion and listening.
- As a facilitator of parent-baby groups, I have learned how to weave community by bringing forth the gifts of each, how to encourage a mother's innate wisdom, and how to create moments of connection between parent and child.
- As a mother I have learned to trust the process, listen to my inner voice and lead with love (and I'm still learning!).
- As a mother who has experienced loss, I have been privy to a fuller spectrum of emotions, most notable; compassion.
- As a foster parent, I have learned the power of someone believing in you.
- And as a woman, wife and friend I have learned that I am constantly un-learning and re-learning.
Other education/life experience which has prepared me for this work:
- Mother (biological mother, mother of loss, foster mother)
- SUNY Oswego Liberal Arts, minor in Women's Studies
- LifeWays North America (caregiver certification and board member)
- Postpartum Doula DONA
- StillBirthday Doula (bereavement and loss support-certification pending)
- Foster Parent (this includes trauma informed parenting education)
- Innate Traditions Postpartum Certification (amazing training! practicum completed by fall 2018)
- Kindergarten teacher, playgarden teacher, parent-child class teacher (over 15 years experience)
- Kitchen alchemist and postpartum nourisher extraordinaire
- Online courses by Brene Brown, Rosemary Gladstar, Danielle Slaughter (Mamademics), Simplicity Parenting, Anni Daulter, Catrice Jackson (She-Talks) and LifeWays North America and many more.
- Too many books, workshops and continuing ed to list!
What all of this means is that Mothering Arts is my unique contribution to nurturing a supportive community in the postpartum year.
With heart, Kerry