It took losing someone I love for me to finally see alcohol for what it is

Me and my grandmother

He called at 7 pm on March 12th. I had just put the kids in the bath. It was an odd time for my friend’s husband to call from the East Coast, so I answered with a pit in my stomach.

“Meg, do you have a minute to talk?”

“Ya, let me make sure Scott can cover the kids. What’s up?”

“We got the autopsy. She died of a toxic consumption of alcohol.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means her blood alcohol volume was 4.0 and she probably asphyxiated.”

The world shut down on March 13th, 2020, which made sense…

I don’t know who this post-pandemic parent is yet, but I like her

My husband and both of our kids.

At first, we juggled. I mean, this would only be a few months, right? We set up a desk in our bedroom and took turns. Desperation led to creativity. We scrounged old climbing rope and cut wood to hang swings under the deck and crammed two kids in a single bike trailer.

It was almost fun until June came and nothing changed. I stopped working and for a moment there was more air. …

I stopped drinking last year. I had been told to expect better sex. But it still surprised me when it happened.

Photo of me 31 weeks pregnant, by Scott Schell.

Growing up I remember my great-grandmother having her drink every day at 4 pm in a tall glass that I used for drinking milk — 3/4 red wine, 1/4 water. At her 88th birthday party, she was sitting on the grass in a wicker folding chair, and just as her drink was handed to her, the chair folded up. She fell to the ground and somehow managed to not break a bone or spill a drop of her drink. My uncle would tell this story with a drink in his hand and laugh so hard he needed to wipe his…

Because we have a lot of trauma. And a lot of healing to do.


If you just can’t get your head around it — look at this way: this election gave us a picture of how much unresolved trauma exists in our country. And let’s not be confused. This is not about politics. This is about trauma (cultural, intergenerational, and personal).

In his podcast Making Sense, Sam Harris recently shared his view on The Key to Trump’s Appeal. He makes a case that Trump’s wild and unapologetic flaws make his base feel better (versus the Democrats pushing us to reckon with harsh realities like racism, science and math). Harris describes Trump as a ‘Punch…

And why I need to remember that to survive parenting in the pandemic.

Hi, dear hearts… it’s still possible this is a false start, but it seems labor is beginning… please hold us with the intention for a gentle, joyful, and vibrant transition. I will update you on the other side as I’m able. 3:17 AM 01/16/19 — text message

Scott Schell

4:00 PM — 01/15/19

Are you okay? My husband asked.

Ya, thanks, I think I just had a little contraction… I’m starting to wonder if labor might be starting soon.

10:00 PM — 01/15/19

How was tonight? Scott asked.

It was good. Barrett painted and I sat on the birth ball and drank…

photo by Scott Schell

Run to the ocean. Flip yourself into the water. And let it spin you like our cousins, the sea otters.

Be born again, or stay the same. It doesn’t matter.
But run you must, because these legs have a song to sing.
And this heart has aching to do.

And no part of me wants to keep you from that, because the greatest things that will ever happen to you, will be born through your ache.
Just as you were born through me.

And here’s the secret:
The whole universe is inside of you, just as you are inside…

The truth is you really do know what you want.

photo by Scott Schell

I met a woman in Bali, who loved to surf.

When you saw her on the beach, she completely fit the picture. She was buff, tan and very blond. She had a rugged, cool, chic smile as she gazed at the surf.

Watching her dance around on her board, you would never guess that she is a self-prescribed “terrible athlete”.

She says her family can’t believe what she is doing now, because she was never into sports.

Seeing her with her partner is a lot like watching her dance around on her board. It’s easeful. Light. Joyful.

They look happy…

If your “natural” birth didn’t go according to plan, it’s not your fault. It’s not. And your body didn’t fail you, our culture did.

Taken by the author while walking the Kabul City Wall in the Spring of 2007

We forget, I think.

We forget that the intention of Spiritual Midwifery, and the movement that followed it, and that continues today — was never, and still is not, intended to ensure that every woman has a “natural” birth.

What the hell is a “natural” birth any way?

We have, in our cultural worldview, coined this phrase and embued it with shame.

A lot of shame.

And we don’t even know what the hell we mean when we say it.

What do you mean when you say “natural” birth?

The intention, I believe, of Ina May Gaskin and those beautiful…

There are just some things that we will always feel a little (or a lot) confused and conflicted about. And that is not bad news.

I’m a new parent.

And a friend told me recently, “That doesn’t go away.”

She is not a new parent.

I remember exactly where I was standing.

It doesn’t matter what we were talking about.

I’m conflicted, and slightly confused, about everything.

Do I keep nursing her to sleep, or attempt the dreaded cry it out. Do I stay with her for bedtime every night, or start playing soccer again and let her dad figure it out.

How much struggle is appropriate?

The conflict, whatever it is for you.

It doesn’t go away.

Not entirely.

We want to stay home…

And all consuming worry

My first time climbing outside of the gym. 15 weeks pregnant.

My dad used to tell me to be like the mountain climber, “And hold on with one hand, while you reach with the next.”

What I heard was, “Don't quit your job, before you have the next one lined up.”

At the time, I felt like a caged animal.

A lab rat.

A crazy person in a straight jacket.

I sat on my little bouncy ball, and wore clogs that were not patten leather. I died my hair with streaks that were barely in regulation. …

Meghann McNiff

I am a Professional Coach and Co-Founder of the Seattle Coaching Collective.

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