When I was a kid, I ran off to the beach as soon as school was over every day, anxious to surf with my friends. I was in love with the ocean. Before I knew it, I was founding my school’s environmental club, surfing every chance I could get, and pledging my devotion to vegan living.
Years later, I’m a surf artist who’s just as enamored with this natural lifestyle — and now, I get to help my baby girl discover these same values.
When my wife Chelsea and I learned our first child was on the way, we knew a natural pregnancy was best for our family. We’re both vegan, but also went completely organic throughout the pregnancy (ok, there were a few nights of much-needed Chinese food). Organic, vegan food made us feel great, but it also nurtured our soon-to-be daughter.
What amazed me most about our “green” pregnancy, though, was the impact of Chelsea’s mind-body connection. Through prenatal yoga, Chelsea stayed active, strong and grounded through her final trimester. And by practicing hypnobirthing, my wife developed a self-control I’m still in awe of today.
If you haven’t heard of hypnobirthing, it’s a lot like meditation; the idea is to condition your mind so you’re mentally prepared when it’s time for labor. When our big day came around, the nurses and doulas were shocked to see Chelsea calmly handling the pain and listening to music, even at 8cm dilation. As the day progressed, the pain grew, but Chelsea finished the birth without medication. She’s my hero for withstanding this pain to give our baby the best birth possible.
Fifteen hours after we arrived at the hospital, as a Norah Jones song played in the hospital room, Summer Emerson Alders was born. It was important for us to nurture our child with unconditional love, so we chose not to learn our baby’s gender until the moment Summer was born in the tub. She must’ve sensed our joy, because she immediately opened her eyes and looked straight into ours. It was love at first sight.
Since Summer’s birth, we’ve practiced “green” parenting one baby product at a time. We’ve found that natural ingredients are almost always best — we swear by the magic of coconut oil — and have tried to create a home filled with positive, grounded energy. We may be total hippies, but we’re also totally in love with the idea of giving our daughter a beautiful world in which to grow.
As Chelsea and I watch Summer reach major milestones — she just had her first swim lesson, and one day will join her dad for her first surf trip — we’re passionate about helping her become her own person. But we’re also happy knowing that we’ve shown her the beauty of a natural lifestyle from Day One. Our love for Summer and the environment shines through in every parenting decision we make, right down to Summer’s name. Did you notice her initials are “S.E.A.?”