DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


As a new mother it is helpful, might I say critical, that we realize a few important things.  Do not wear dangly earrings, do not leave the house without snacks for both baby and mom, and do not wear a dress out on the town that you have to pull UP from the bottom in order to nurse.  As outdoor adventuring moms we have another set of skills to perfect.  To name a few; minimize diaper use on backpack trips lest you have to carry out  a heavy pack full of soiled little burritos, camp with a fully enclosed tent for bug protection as well as temporary child confinement, select babysitters who are also climbers and willing to either belay or rock the baby to sleep. 


There exists a silly phrase, ‘everyone is unique just like everyone else.’  Well yes, everyone is, as are adventure educating women who become mothers. A unique-ness is clearly present though when we receive our physical, mental, and spiritual stimulation in one package – wilderness immersion.  As mothers, when removed from that arena (as in pregnant, nursing or caretaking young children), we lose on physical, mental, and spiritual levels. 


While on sabbatical from Prescott College, I undertook a project close to my heart.  Through stories and non-fiction writing, I have focused on the common uniqueness of adventurous outdoorswomen who become mothers.  In doing so, I hope to give them a collective voice so all can be heard.  As a new mother and also pregnant, personal identity change and clarification has been ever present.  I have spoken with, and written about, other women who are balancing, gracefully or not, the intersection between field-based adventure education and the all consuming mothering of small children. 


The reception I received simply for opening the doors to discussion on this topic was warm, enthusiastic, and emotionally charged.  One ex-field instructor wrote, “Sorry I hadn't responded earlier.  When I read it, I actually felt weepy because it touched me so. Your area of interest definitely connects for me. I adore being a mom... and I have missed the other parts of myself.”  Redefining oneself became the major theme in my project with a focus on rebuilding ones self perception in regards to independence, physical fitness, and the ability or desire to take risks. 


Additionally, the quandary of career definition was explored.  As soon as our climbing harnesses cease to fit or we need to resize our kayaks, the pregnant adventure educator begins to question her contribution to the field.  Many have found that those around us begin to question our worth as well.  Gone are the days, however, since we have only valued strength and speed in instructors.  I propose that we take stock of many benefits students receive by having female leadership.  These are highlighted within the study.


The final product of the sabbatical project includes around 100 pages of writing, a conference workshop at the International Association for Experiential Education conference, and presentations at Prescott College.  I have been proud to bring this topic to the forefront and excited to see how both lives of individual mothers, including myself, and the field of adventure education in general are affected by the presence of more and more mothers.


Though this project could someday become a published peice, for now it remains a work in progress.  I have posted the stories and chapters here, on digication, so that you could give your perspective and feedback by way of the comment function at the bottom of each page.  I really want to hear what you have to say about this topic.  When I finally put time and effort into chapters three and four (which may be when my kids are 18 years old), I'll hopefully have your input.  Thanks for anything you can offer.



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.