Meet Paige Appel.
Los Angeles based mom to Remy (15) and Cosy Cricket (5 months) and owner of Midland Shop, a conscious lifestyle boutique. We sat down to hear Paige’s authentic truth, her story, her advice, her love. We hope that this conversation either guides you before becoming a mom or inspires you as a mom to know that you aren’t alone. #MomToMom
Q: I would love to hear your journey as a mom starting out with Remy and then that transition into having Cosette.
I had Remy when I was 29 with my first husband and he was quite a surprise but a true blessing and I’ve just always wanted to be a mom. I feel like I am a natural born mother. I loved it from the beginning, and then unfortunately his dad and I split up so it was many years before I could think of having another one. When Talmadge (my current partner) and I started trying for Cosette I was older, 39, and we had two miscarriages. It was heartbreaking and we were just trying to figure out where we were challenged, so we started seeing a fertility doctor.
We did IVF three times, IUI once, and then we just decided we were going to take a break from everything. It was too expensive, too invasive, and my doctor said I had a 3% chance of having a baby. During the break from everything, I got pregnant! And at first I thought… “Oh it’s going to be another miscarriage,” but it was my spirit daughter Cosy. In the middle of all that, we changed up what we were doing and reset our bodies and minds for a new path.
Q: How did you change it up? Give us your secrets, so we can help other mamas trying to conceive!
We were getting a lot of acupuncture, cleaning up our diet, and eating a lot of antioxidants for the sperm and for the egg health. I followed this diet called the Seed Fertility diet –– it helps so many women later in life trying to conceive. It cleanses the system and helps rejuvenate the egg quality. The diet is very intuitive, and I honestly think all women should be on this diet whether or not trying to conceive. It’s what you should eat on your period, after your period, during ovulation, after ovulation. It all makes sense for the female body. During your period you should eat a lot of cleansing foods, before ovulation you should eat a lot of rich and fattening, hydrating foods, that basically stimulate your ovaries for optimal follicles. We don’t really understand that we shouldn’t eat tomato sauce or a lot of citrus during ovulation, cause it strips your body. You want coconut, and avocado –– fat foods to make sure your follicles are juicy and hydrated, so the egg can release properly with the proper nutrients. I really attribute that to helping me conceive Cosy because I had eggs, but with the miscarriages and the fertility treatments the doctors said the quality had diminished. Our eggs can replenish themselves, we only have a certain amount and they decrease in health as we age. It was so helpful and I really feel like that diet, and a lot of letting go of anger and sadness, and just spiritually feeling back into myself helped us conceive her. Letting go was a big one for us. Just being able to say that we were going to take a break from all the treatments. It was so meant to be. I love the space we are in now. My son Remy is a full functioning teenager, so it is nice to have that relationship and this relationship (with Cosy) and not have to focus so much on two little ones. I am just really grateful for the journey, even though it wasn't the planned journey. It was the journey the universe knew I needed.
Q: What was the turnaround time from the diet to conception?
It was about 9 months. The diet says it takes 3 months to replenish and rejuvenate your eggs. The miscarriages were early on both times, 8 weeks and 9 weeks. It was hard. It was painful and created sadness and anger, and just feeling down on my body and down on the fact that I had waited so long. It brought up emotional stuff from previous relationships and because being divorced I felt mad that didn’t have my babies earlier in life. I felt hopeless. When I turned 43, I really thought there was no way to conceive, but then we got pregnant, and my faith in my body and my surrender was restored. It can happen and I’m glad I didn’t give up. People just need to find resources that can work for them. My story is hopefully a glimmer of light for some people. I know it doesn’t happen for everyone. Even women in their 20s and 30s can’t get pregnant, but there is definitely a significant amount of proven natural intervention that you can do to prepare your body for optimal success, no matter what journey you have to go on.
Q: Were you able to surrender when you were pregnant with Cosy and let the fear out?
The first trimester I was definitely nervous… really thinking that any minute I would have a miscarriage. But I did a lot of meditating, a lot of surrendering, and really talking to my spiritual teacher about letting go. Beyond that fear, there was a shift in me where I just felt like the pregnancy was going to stick. I knew this felt different. I felt sicker. I was so tired. Whereas with the miscarriages, I wasn’t sick. There is a bit of a tall tale where the sicker you feel, the healthier the baby… apparently if you have a lot of morning sickness or nausea it can mean that your baby is healthy. So the fact that I was sick gave me comfort.
Q: What does being a mom mean to you?
I think for me being a mom is … a heartswell. A purpose. It truly does just feel like a divine grace, like an honor to be able to have children. For me they are my teachers. They really teach me patience, humility, acceptance, strength. There is nothing greater than having somebody challenging you to do your own inquiry on how you can be a better person. To show you what you believe. To raise your kids to be good people. I feel like I'm in class all day, and it’s such a loving and humbling class. I am a student, and I love being a student of motherhood to Rem and Cosy.
Q: What has that divide in age of your two kids taught you?
I think it has definitely taught me that I don’t need to stress as much. I think also having an older kid has shown me so much that it is a lot of nature (nature vs. nurture). For example, Remy, he is who he is and always has been. I beat myself up a lot after the divorce thinking that my kid would be scarred and not okay. He has turned out to be such an amazing, empathetic, well-attuned kid. It really made me see that every person in life is on their own journey, and he is on his own journey. He came out a sweet, calm, introverted artist, and he has stayed true to that. I think a lot of parents think they have to control, teach, hover, and do a lot of manipulating in their parenting, but really you just have to observe and honor who they are, and help them stay on the path that is meant for them. I would never put him in football. He is an artist.
This whole process has taught me to really relax and surrender to who Cosy is and let her lead and help guide her when she struggles. But to really honor their nature and not necessarily impose so much of us, ourselves, into who they become. There’s a poem by Kahlil Gibran that talks about how our kids come from us, but they aren’t ours. It talks so much about how you have to honor their own journey and their path and help guide them and take care of them but also release them back to God. I read it a lot to remind myself. Parents sometimes want to be everything for their kids, and they can’t. Kids need to have other relationships with adults, and we have to challenge ourselves to try not to disrupt that or control that and let kids see the world their way and help shepherd them where they get tripped up –– like facing their fears. It genuinely does take a village and even that is a hired nanny, or an uncle, or a friend, whoever it is. Other people need to be able to interact with your child, and your child needs to learn from them. Everyone can be a nurturer and a teacher.
Q: What does it feel like knowing you have already raised one kid, in such a beautiful way... a lot of people don’t have this proven thing of “I did that.”
It feels like a gift. It feels like such a gift that I get to have that experience. It does make me feel a little more mature and more centered, and less anxious about what’s going to happen and knowing that whoever she turns out to be and whatever challenges we go through, it’s a different story than my son and there is nothing to control. We just watch it unfold. And that feels really special. She gets the less anxious version of me. Naturally, I have a really good son. He’s not a rebellious teenager. He is so gentle. I can kind of see who she is going to be already, but also it’s a mystery, and it will change, but I think there is a confidence in me that however it unfolds, I have already had such a colorful journey with Remy, that I can feel more grounded in this experience with her.
Q: Advice that you have for new moms? Moms onto their second child? Any advice or wisdom more than what you have already shared.
To raise your own vibration as a parent. To take care of yourself so that you can be centered for your kids. Strong moms who have taken good care of themselves - spiritually, emotionally, physically operate from a grounded, heartfelt parenting place. I think when they feel depleted, it bleeds into the home life, and their family life and the kids take on that stress and they can absorb some of the scarce energy. Whatever that means for the mom. It could be child care, a run, yoga, meditate, cook, anything that is therapeutic for the mother. To make sure she is doing that because then she is filled up for her kids. Giving from an empty place is not giving. How we can change the vibration of the next generation is to change ourselves first, and come at parenting from an empathetic, kind, full cup place.
Q: What does that mean for you?
For me it means meditation and space. I need a daily quiet to center myself and to really set my intentions for the day. My son and I do it together. On the drive to school, since he was young, in long-standing LA traffic, we take 5 minutes to hold hands and say what our intentions are for the day. He would say “my intention is to be nice on the playground,” when he was younger and as he got older, “my intention is to get an A on my paper.” I would say “my intention is to be honest, kind, healthy, not to worry so much,” and just modeling to him how daily we wake up and figure out who we want to be. Now, he turns the radio off and is the one grabbing my hand saying, “Mom, let's set our intentions.” However his own journey manifests, he will find space to think about what kind of person he is and what core values he takes with him each day.
Q: After having Cosy did you feel the “fourth trimester” feelings as much? Was the post partum journey real for you?
I felt a little FOMO as if I was missing out on my son. He started high school right when Cosy was born, and I wanted to be at all the new things and stay up at midnight watching movies with him, or take him to the Grove to meet his friends. There was definitely 6 weeks where I felt sadness, and a little guilty. I can metabolize the guilt and talk to him about it like “buddy, I can’t I’m healing still...etc”. And his dad and Talmadge would pick up the slack. Whenever he would want to do something with me, and I couldn’t do it I would really have to brace myself for the pain I felt. It was just him for 15 years. I always had so much space for him. We talked a lot before Cosy arrived that there would be less space. It was definitely a postpartum experience where I forgot that I wasn’t going to be sleeping. Where I didn’t have the spontaneous ability that I had with him for the last 15 years anymore. I never had postpartum depression. I always felt very elated and joyful, always feeling happiness and the languid, tired bliss. It was more just feeling torn and blue about missing out on what my son was doing. He was having a life, and he didn’t need me as much, but I still want to be needed by him and be the passenger on the ride. All that being said, we have really found our balance now and he really loves Cosy. It’s been a beautiful journey.
You can also read the poem she referred to by Kahlil Gibran called “On Children,” here.
all the babies.