Artist Natasha Wheat On

The Chinese 4th Trimester, Home Birth & Anemia

At 6 days past her due date we hung with artist Natasha Wheat chatting about her experience growing up with a mother that was ill & homeless, reversing her anemia, practicing the Chinese 4th trimester & if her pregnancy were a song it would without a doubt be Kendrick Lamar’s Humble @natashawheat

*Natasha & her hubbie Jim Fairchild (guitarist of Modest Mouse) had Dylan Azul Fairchild on November 11th.

Photographer: @Alexaphoto

Current state of mind:

We’re really chill right now. Once my due date passed I realized I was going to have be in the moment. I also feel psyched that we got a little extra time.

Nervous about having the baby?

Being pregnant has been a healing process for me. It’s become a chance to rewrite all the things I didn’t like about the family I was born into. I’m excited to take the positive things about my experience and ditch the things that weren’t. My mom got sick when I was nine so I never truly experienced having a mother–she contracted a terrible neurological disease and although she was in LA she didn’t live with us. Her mind deteriorated rapidly, which made her physically ill & she wound up becoming homeless and a drug addict. I feel so fortunate that I have a healthy body and waited until I was older to have kids as my mom had my brother when she was 19. I’ve been my mom’s conservator since I was 22 and in a way I feel like I’ve been her parent. She now lives in a nursing home and hasn’t been able to speak or walk for years. We’re so privileged by all the ways that we’ve made our lives and I’m very much looking forward to writing a new story for my own family.

Your body?

I’ve enjoyed the transformation process. I come from a long line of stick skinny ladies and never weighed more than 108 lbs my whole life. It’s been fascinating to have a 40 lb bowling ball attached to my body plus getting dressed has been a blast given the geometry of it all.

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Weirdest thing to happen to you:

I had my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 20 and during my second trimester I had a new wisdom tooth pop through my gums. It’s tiny like a little needle but makes me feel like there’s an alien in my body.

You’re having home birth?

The first question I asked was: who cleans up? Apparently it’s part of the service. When you start to feel contractions, the doula comes over first as she’s more about comfort, support & mental health. I’ve been practicing a lot of mindfulness meditation and so she incorporates that into the labor. Then when it’s time for the midwife, they come over so you can labor at home. You get in the tub at the very end—the warm water plus zero gravity is supposed to reduce the pain by 50%. I packed a hospital bag just in case I chicken out, can’t take the pain and want to go to the hospital—hopefully I won’t need it!

Practicing Chinese 4th Trimester:

Inspired by the Chinese 4th trimester, we’re planning to eat all warmed cooked food and trying to stay in as much as possible for the weeks after he’s born. In China they do a really hardcore version of this, wherein they stay home for 40 days, eat only cooked foods, don’t wash their hair, drink only warm water & don’t use the internet. We’re doing a lite version with stews and bone broth—we got a bone broth subscription from this company called Brothy that’s really wonderful and they deliver to your home. And FYI, I’ll be washing my hair.

Being Anemic:

The doctor had told me that I was mildly anemic and it didn’t really matter, but then when I switched to the midwifery model of care they were alarmed at how anemic I actually was. They warned that if I wanted to have home birth I had to get my levels up as they don’t do blood transfusions at home. Anemia is lacking in iron or B-12 which causes your hemoglobin levels to drop and I needed to get them way up. I had to eat a ton of meat in addition to greens + sunflower seeds. Now my levels are BITCHEN Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve basically been eating like a 4-year old, carbs & meat instead of fresh salads.

Beauty/wellness routine:

We were already using mainly all natural products with a few exceptions like my tinted moisturizer which has questionable ingredients. I’ve been hyper-focused on not getting stretch marks—who isn’t! I’ve been using Captain Blanketship Sunshine Cream mixed with heavy oils like avocado and rose oil on my skin plus every morning I make a smoothie with grass fed bone powder collagen from Vital Protein which is supposed to help ward off stretch marks. In addition, dairy’s also supposed to be beneficial in avoiding stretch marks—several midwives explained that the fat in dairy is very bioavailable and positively effects the way skin stretches during pregnancy + birth.

I stopped wearing perfume when I got pregnant. My favorite fragrance is by Naomi Goodsir and while it’s not 100% natural it’s pretty close however I just felt weird about putting it on as if it was going to absorb into my child—I probably won’t wear it while I’m breast feeding either. The only thing that I probably would go back to is sunscreen! I’ve been using a zinc sunscreen by Josh Rosenbrooks and I’m not convinced that it’s strong enough for the LA sun so I’ll probably go back to chemical sunscreen. I stopped using essential oils when I got pregnant, I heard that they absorb really intensely into your placenta— I’ll go back to those after he’s born.

Craving?

Ever since this pregnancy, I started eating dairy again. I woke up every night at 3am to make myself a buttery grilled cheese sandwich (give or take 10 or 15 min). I was cooking in my underwear with my eyes clothes and a spatula in my hand. I’ve enjoyed having that time to myself.

Avoiding?

I already don’t drink, so that was easy.

As for the rest of the suggested list, I actually didn’t think it was that big of a deal until my doctor told me a horrifying story about one of her patients getting Listeria late in her pregnancy and having a late-term abortion. After hearing that I avoided lunch meats, sushi plus the rest of the list!

First thing you’ll eat after baby comes?

We’re going to Sugarfish immediately! I snuck a piece of sushi and some unpasteurized juice once I passed my due date—I figured he’s fully cooked at this point.

Cooking:

We entertain a lot & would much rather cook/eat at home vs. going out. In the center of our house we have big dining table, so whenever anyone comes over for tea or coffee in the afternoon we wind up hosting a meal—it always organically evolves!

Exercise:

Yeah, I do prenatal yoga and we walk a lot. Once the due date passed I’ve been doing extra walking. Plus I’ve been doing acupuncture.

Art:

I have a studio practice wherein I do more traditional museum gallery public space shows plus I’m a professor at Santa Monica College.  I started making all of the ceramics for our wedding in Big Sur which inspired me to begin producing all of the functional items in our house.

   

On meeting Jim?

On the street in Los Feliz 13 years ago. A friend intro’d us and we basically moved in with each other the next day.

Advice:

On being pregnant, trust your intuition. One of the best things about being pregnant is your super charged intuition which is stronger than reason and being able to listen to that is really powerful. Also let it be easy as I think if you do things the way you’re supposed to do them, it would be a drag.

Motto:

No, no motto. Ha!

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