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Follow Your Heart

My morning began with such a sweet and gentle awakening, bringing with it a softness of comfort and peace.  As my two littles crawled under my sheets and then covered my face with kisses, I blinked my eyes open and felt the rumble begin. It’s here.  Today. It’s really happening!  I’ve imagined for months now how this day might feel and nothing could prepare me for the greatness that it is in its untethered and unique way.

Follow your heart, and beautiful things will happen. 

Hello there, I am Janelle.  Thank you for taking a pause from your day to read a small bit about me and my heart’s calling through The Chosen Nest.  Wherever you are in this present moment, my wish is that your day is filled with lightness and love and my hope is that we can get to know each other in whatever capacity serves you and your family best in the days, weeks, months or even years that rest ahead. I’d love to share with you what brought me to this place of giving and gratitude.  

Pull up a seat, pour up a cup of something delicious and let’s get to know each other!

Professionally, I am a Registered Nurse.  My journey on that path has been filed with unforgettable experiences  and has shaped my heart in so many meaningful ways.  I’m just a small town girl (you know the tune…sing it!) from Silverdale, Washington where I attended a local college to earn my nursing degree and then set off to save the world, one patient at a time.  I was so blessed to be accepted into the Nurse Residency Program as a new graduate, at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. As love and luck would have it, this was also where my sweetheart was living at the time and so synchronicity was on my side.  I was tracked into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which felt like a nursing dream come true for this girl.  

This Level IV NICU, which is the highest state and national rating, lended me some of the most humbling, heartbreaking and remarkable experiences as I built my foundation as a bedside nurse.  Sharing space with these families, walking with them in one of the most joyous yet terrifying times of their lives…wow. It’s still hard to put those feeling and emotions into words, even now, years later.  I hold my hand to heart with gratitude for my time there and cast that light to the families I was able to help, the friendships I made with co workers there and the memories I will forever keep.

While The Chosen Nest was not yet created, the seeds of it’s being were planted there in Nashville…I just didn’t realize it at the time.  I married my above mentioned sweetheart, the boy I met way back in high school so many years prior, and we continued on the path that the United States Army navigated for us.  Six short weeks into our marriage, my husband was deployed to Afghanistan.  While sadness was present, I felt so much love and support with our Chosen Family there, that the time passed quickly and in his absence, I deepened friendships that remain to this day.  Upon his return, 9 months later, we spent a few months settling back in to life and then learned that we’d be taking another 9 month journey.  Not to Afghanistan this time though!  Our sweet baby girl was growing in my belly, filling space in my heart that I never even knew was empty.  

As military life would have it, we were pulled from the roots we’d planted in Tennessee and hauled off to the somewhat nearby state of Alabama, where my husband would be teaching flight school for the years to come.  As our daughters arrival rapidly approached, a deep sadness weaved its way through the joy, as I didn’t have my tribe during such a needed time.  My heart parts were scattered from Washington to Tennessee and I was about to birth a baby.  How was I going to do this in a place that was so brand new to me? Synchronicity showed it’s sweetness once again, as friends we’d met only a year prior were also living there. They took us under their wings and quickly became family.  And now Nana and Pap to our two wee ones! 

My friendships in Tennessee and Washington remained close.  The universe heard my cries for connection, and my mother wound was well tended to when my dear friend Trish made the journey South to witness the birth of Rowen Rae and hold that sacred space for us as our doula.  Fast forward 21 short months and again, she did the same when Ethan Blaine made his way earthside.  I had two amazing, empowering natural births in a state that had little support or understanding for them. And in our 2 1/2 years time at Ft. Rucker, I built my nest.  Chosen Family is a beautiful thing…and it’s in these raw and real moments of early motherhood that The Chosen Nest was born.  

What does this have to do with my business, you may be wondering? Everything.  While many people are settled and surrounded by family when creating and growing theirs, I was not.  And that had a profound impact on my birth as a mother.  And you know what? I’m not the only one.  This happens to so many people…especially in the military community, where life feels transient, home has a different address every few years and partners are often taken away for extended periods of time throughout that. 

We relocated to Hawaii when our second child was just 6 months old, and were once again unrooted during a tender time and space in my motherhood journey. And as military life would have it, my husband once again deployed just eight weeks after we arrived on island.  And while I still had these strong connections in Washington, Tennessee and Alabama…I was now on an island in the middle of the ocean, worlds away from those who knew me best. And I was alone with two babies less than two years apart in a place where I knew almost no one. 

While it was a beautiful place to raise 2 young children, no amount of sun can light the darkness that can consume you when you are in the trenches of a battle you didn’t see coming.  Postpartum Depression sunk in it’s teeth and took me down, hard. That’s right.  I said it.  I…the bright and bubbly, Janelle Marion, experienced Postpartum Depression.  And in the moment, I didn’t even realize it.  Or maybe I was too afraid to admit it?  Likely, both.  So, I didn’t talk about it.  I put on that brave face and marched along pretending that life was okay.  Because I didn’t have time to not be okay. Not when I was solo parenting for most of our time spent there.  

So, how does that bring me here?  I’m glad you asked.  Not knowing how to free myself from the undertow that kept pulling me down, I searched deep within myself to find the source of this wound that was robbing me from the fleeting moments of my children’s one precious childhood.  That took time, grace and so much soul searching. I found yoga and a deep spiritual connection that I hadn’t known before. I once again found my tribe in Hawaii, and they loved me through this tumultuous time. I dug deep and day by day, I started to break free. But it’s a process…and something that doesn’t resolve quickly. 

Seeing the light in my children, wanting their spirits to remain uncrushed, that’s what kept me pushing forward. 

Feeling like I needed to reclaim my identity outside of motherhood, I returned to work as a Nurse in a beautiful birth center in Kaulia. I was hired to their nursery, and cross trained to take postpartum patients.  Part of me was nervous for this.  I was used to NICU nursing, where my patients weighed anywhere from 1-5 pounds, were attached to monitors and in my sight for every moment in my 12.5 hour shift.  Adults? Babies who were in rooms with their mothers?  Hmmmm…this would be an adjustment for me! And it was.  But it was also a gift.  A beautiful and rewarding gift. My eyes were opened in so many ways.  It was in these walls, these sacred hours, holding the space for a brand new mothers as they birthed, held, and fed and their babies for the first time that my mother wound continued to heal.  In mothering others, I was also mothering myself. 

A spark was also ignited deep within me. I learned from many incredible Nurses and Midwives there who taught me so much,  that I always found myself wanting to learn more.  I learned from brilliant Lactation Consultants who inspired me to want to become more knowledgeable in breastfeeding education and support myself. I learned from parents and partners who endlessly enlightened me to the various ways that support can be needed and asked for.

So with the blessing, love and support of my husband and children , I set out to do just that!

I attended training to become a Childbirth Educator so that I could help prepare families for this beautiful, yet sometimes overwhelming life transition.  I sought out opportunities to learn from IBCLC’s so that I could have an expansive knowledge when it came to helping families feed their babies. I became a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist so that I could grow that breastfeeding knowledge base as I continue to collect clinical hours to sit for the IBCLC exam.  I searched within myself to understand where my postpartum experience shifted into a place of darkness so that I could help lead other new mamas toward the light that should shine in this precious time.  I am also currently in a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training program, and working through certification in The Art of Sacred Postpartum and Sacred Baby.  Weaving medical nursing knowledge with holistic practices has brought me to such a beautifully grounded and steady place to share with others.  

While I don’t consider myself to the world’s leading expert in all things birth, baby, breastfeeding and beyond, I do have a heavy knowledge based and the drive to always be learning.  I have found this statement to be so very true: You don’t have to be an expert to add value.  We are all learning. Every day. Sharing what you know, whether it’s from a textbook, mentorship, class or personal life experience can have a profoundly positive impact on others.  

Especially when you follow your heart. 

As our family transitions out of the military this year, and we plant permanent roots that will no longer need transplanting, I am excited to share my hearts work with the community and anyone who may benefit from the outpouring of it.  And what a wonderful community of birth workers we have here in Kitsap County!  I have deep gratitude and thankfulness for everyone who has encouraged and supported me along this journey. I can’t wait to continue to share what’s to come, as I unveil the layers of The Chosen Nest in the weeks ahead! 

And to all the mamas out there struggling.  You are not alone.  I see you. I hear you. I am here to support you.

 

6 Comments

  1. Janelle! I’m so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey! I can’t wait to see how you bless our community with your wisdom and skills.
    Xo,
    Steph

    1. Such thoughtful words, thank you Stephanie! I am quite excited to see where this path leads me and to share blessings with the community. It’s such a gift!

  2. Janelle~I’m so excited for you and all the moms and babies you will be supporting in their journey. Sending love and aloha ❤️

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