When this week's MOTW was created, the universe smiled because, at that very moment, all was right with the world. Tricia wears so many different hats that you would do her the ultimate injustice by attempting to affix only one label to her or put her in only one box. She is a wife, mother, doula, educator and tireless advocate for social justice. She doesn't look for the route that's easiest or most convenient, but the one that's right. It is not in her nature to sit idly by and wait for change to come. She is the change.
At Bellē Up, we understand and appreciate that being a mom is the hardest, yet least recognized, job ever. Yes, we said, EVER! We created Mom of the Week (MOTW) as a way of recognizing moms who do the hardest job ever and then some. It is our honor to present you our Mom of the Week … TRICIA FITZGERALD!
When this week's MOTW was created, the universe smiled because, at that very moment, all was right with the world. Tricia wears so many different hats that you would do her the ultimate injustice by attempting to affix only one label to her or put her in only one box. She is a wife, mother, doula, educator and tireless advocate for social justice. She doesn't look for the route that's easiest or most convenient, but the one that's right. It is not in her nature to sit idly by and wait for change to come. She is the change. Some might call her a "bleeding heart" and I'm not sure how she would respond to that, but I would tell them that they're wrong. I would tell them that she's a "brave heart"; a woman warrior who is far more disturbed by those who don't think for themselves than by those who may not think highly of her.
Tricia's gentle spirit is evident and it speaks to you (in volumes) long before she utters a word. But if you mistake her kindness for weakness, you quickly realize how gravely you have misjudged her. What sets Tricia apart, however, is that she's a matriarch through-and-through; she gives life, helps to usher it earth-side and, when the unthinkable happens, she supports parents through the grief of returning their angel babies Home. Tricia is both that calm before the proverbial storm and the gust of wind at your back just when you feel as though you have nothing left to give. Indeed, the universe smiled on the day Tricia was born ... and it hasn't stopped smiling about and upon her since! ~Jamenda, Owner of Bellē Up
Q&A with Tricia
Name: Tricia Fitzgerald
Hometown: Orland Park
Current Town: Beverly
Children: Cora, 8; Sydney, 7; Macy, 5; Mickey, 2; Zane, 8 weeks; and Michael, born still in February, 2008.
Tell us about your family: My husband, James Haworth, and I have been married for 10 years and we’ve lived in the Beverly community for 7 years with our 5 children and 3 dogs. James is a Chicago Police Officer who is an amazingly loving and supportive dad and husband. Our three girls attend The Academy for Global Citizenship, a public CPS charter school near Midway Airport, and they also love taking piano lessons, watching movies, and swimming at Kennedy Park during the summer. Our toddler, Mickey, is a busy, busy boy who likes to move constantly! Our new son, Zane, is a sweetheart and we are thrilled to have welcomed him into our family on Father’s Day. We have a busy and noisy house, but we love it!
Career: I have my M.Ed in Early Childhood Development and Education from DePaul University, and currently I serve as an adjunct faculty member and a student teaching supervisor at DePaul University in the College of Education. I also supervise student teachers part time through Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture, and I run my own business called Gentle Beginning. Gentle Beginning is a company focused on the early childhood period, specifically relating to pregnancy, childbirth, and the early years of parenting. Through Gentle Beginning I provide childbirth education classes (HypnoBirthing Method), lactation education, doula services (professional labor/childbirth support), and a support group for parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of a baby or infant (Love and Loss Support Group). I’ve taught more than 200 couples the HypnoBirthing method, I’ve attended approximately 125 births as a doula, and I’ve supported many moms and dads during their time of grief.
For more information, you can visit triciafitzgerald.blogspot.com or chicagohypnodoula.com.
Tell us about the cause and/or organization that is most important to you and why: I don’t have any one organization or cause that is most important to me, because any cause that is working to help parents and children gets an A+ in my book. Although I do have a soft spot in my heart for The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago because my oldest, Cora, has Epilepsy.
Hobbies: I love to read and connect with people online and in real life. My passion is getting to know people and how I can help them, especially in regards to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.
Hidden Talents: Hmmm … I can touch my tongue to my nose - LOL! I don’t think I have any hidden talents…I did play Rugby in college and for a team in Chicago after college, which often surprises people.
My favorite part about pregnancy was feeling my baby move inside of me. There is no other feeling like it.
My least favorite part about pregnancy was when it ended! As much as I don’t really miss the swollen ankles and feet, the nausea, and the restless nights, I absolutely LOVE being pregnant and miss it terribly already.
When I was pregnant, I wish I had known more about normal newborn sleeping and eating behaviors and breastfeeding. I didn’t get much evidence-based information from my providers, and surprisingly I didn’t learn as much as I would have liked in my graduate program. I think having a doula and a more evidence-based provider the first time around would have helped me immeasurably during my pregnancy, childbirth and in the first year of parenthood.
I would tell a new mom the following three things:
(b)There is no one right way to parent…follow your intuition and what is right for YOUR child and family…
(c) Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
When I became a mom, I was surprised to learn that I could love a little person as much as I loved my daughter. The depth of love I have for each baby is indescribable.
When I hear the term “Work/Life Balance” I say “Alleluia!” It is critically important to find that balance. All moms need to learn when to say no and take time for themselves. It is no easy task, but as someone once said, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t NO ONE happy.”
The most important thing my mom taught me about parenthood was don’t sweat the small stuff and get caught up in the frustrating moments because it all goes so fast. She was right. I can’t believe my oldest is almost 9 already!
My parenting style is best describes as ... pretty laid back parent in a lot of ways (I’m the exact opposite of a “helicopter parent”), but I also innately follow many tenets of the Attachment Parenting Philosophy (I’m sure this has a lot to do with my background in Early Childhood Development). After losing my son in 2008, I am admittedly more worried about losing another child, but I’ve worked very hard to be sure this doesn’t make me too cautious, overprotective, or anxious as a parent.
The most incredible part of parenthood is seeing part of my husband and me laughing, smiling, and enjoying life every day. It still amazes me that I grew these perfect little people and they now have their own lives, personalities, etc.
The most difficult part of parenthood is … oh, how much I could write here! Parenting can be so exhausting, overwhelming, and scary. The fear that something bad could happen to my children and knowing I can’t (nor should I try to) control so much is terrifying.
The funniest part of parenthood is seeing my children becoming just like me in the way they talk and their mannerisms. It’s hilarious and embarrassing all at once!
My greatest hope for my children is that they find true happiness in life, however that may look for each of them.
My mother is my inspiration as a mom, because she worked tirelessly to make sure we had everything we needed, night and day, and she never complained.
I try to set aside at least 10 hours per week as “me time”. I spend this time watching TV, reading, online, going out for a coffee, or just simply taking a nap alone!
Favorite book about pregnancy or child birth: It’s a tie between "The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth" by Henci Goer and "HypnoBirthing, The Mongan Method" by Marie Mongan.
Favorite book about parenting: I LOVE "Mr. Rogers Parenting Resource Book". It’s seriously an amazing book.
Favorite children’s book: It’s a tie between "Stellaluna" by Jannell Cannon and "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn.
Favorite mom celebrity: I love Mayim Bialik because she follows many of the same parenting philosophies as me, she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and she is so articulate and intelligent.
Favorite clothing item when I was pregnant: Skirts and tanks…I was so warm!
Photos by: Maggie Cuprisin Photography; Tricia Fitzgerald
To nominate a Mom of the Week, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.