Vicki Rivard wears many hats including author, healer, mother and wife to name a few. We know her best for her honest and beautiful words in her book, brave new mama. She and her family currently reside in Callander, Canada where she writes and runs her healing practice, Mahina Medicine.
You made the move from Toronto to the small town of Callander. What prompted the move from the city?
An unrelenting call from nature, that I could feel deep within my bones. I remember looking up at the Toronto sky, on this one particular night, and thinking, “Wow. I haven’t seen the stars in months.” This made me profoundly sad. That’s when I knew that a move was imminent - that I needed to live and to raise my babies, under a starry sky.
What gave you the inspiration behind your book brave new mama? I always knew I’d write books (I have about half a dozen unfinished manuscripts on my computer!) but I never thought I’d write this book. A micropoetry book? With no capital letters? With the symbol “&” instead of the word “and”? Not me! But the words were born the way they were born, while I navigated the first year of motherhood with my son, and I decided to trust that.
To be honest, I never felt “inspired” to write brave new mama. It just came. It started out as little love notes to myself, scattered around my house, and organically grew into the book it is now.
Who is brave new mama meant for?
In a specific sense, it is meant for new mothers who suddenly find themselves living in the world with a second heart, beating in another body. For mothers who wonder, “Am I doing this right?” For mothers who feel alone, or misunderstood, or brimming over with sadness or joy or any of the all-encompassing feelings that accompany new motherhood. This book is an ode to them. A heart hug. A smile that says, “You are enough. You are extraordinarily enough.”
In a more general sense, brave new mama is meant for anyone who loves a mother - their own or someone else’s. It aims to shine a light on the undeniable power of women - on our ability to give and sustain life, and on our incredible capacity for love, survival, and forgiveness.
The book is dedicated to Félix. Tell us about Félix.
Félix is my sun. My brightest light. He is incredibly joyful. Curious. Brave. Hilarious. Easygoing. Gentle. Awake. And oh so wise. I am amazed at the fact that we made him, at the fact that he chose us. Choosing to stay home with him, to witness all of his growth and all of his miraculous unfolding, is the best decision I have ever made in my life.
In addition to being a writer, you're also a healer. Can you tell us about the work you do with Mahina Wellness?
Mahina Medicine is my healing practice. It was launched in Toronto in 2012 and focuses on women’s body, mind, spirit, and heart wellness. I work a lot with the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine, as well as the lesser-known Five Spirits. I am passionate about fertility, pregnancy and postpartum care, as well as mental-emotional health and insomnia.
How do you balance being a mother, a writer, and a healer?
To be honest, I don’t balance very well at all, but I am learning how to let certain things go (I’m a recovering perfectionist!)
I am lucky that mothering inspires my writing and healing work, that my writing grounds me into my body and gently guides my mothering and healing work, and that my healing work deeply nourishes my spirit and improves my mothering and my writing. The three “occupations” I love have a beautiful, synergistic relationship to each other.
How do you approach challenges both in your personal and professional life?
Well, I drink too much wine for one thing! But, seriously, I breathe. I ground. I pray. I listen. And I follow the wisdom that comes.
What advice do you have for new moms? For moms in general?
It's all in brave new mama! “You are not alone. You may feel alone, but you are not alone. Earth holds your feet. You are held, always. I see you, in all of your guts and all of your glory. What you are doing matters. It matters so very, very much. You are miraculous.”
Are there more books on the horizon?
Oh yes. Many. The one I’m working on now is, like brave new mama, being born organically. It explores the incredible healing potential of the four seasons - if and when we pay attention to them.
What brings you happiness?
My family. My dog. Trees. The wild deer that roam this town. Warm tea in the morning. Watermelon in the summer. My best girlfriends. Travel. Sunrises and sunsets. Being in water. Kitchen dance parties. Any book by Anne Lamott. Writing. And having written.
What is the one thing you do daily that feeds your soul?
Meditation. Ideally, first thing in the morning but, as long as I can fit it in, somewhere, I feel renewed, more present, and deeply, soulfully nourished.