Welcome to our first regular column Mothersphere; a place that sees us ask some of our favorite and most inspiring women about their journey to motherhood, their birth experience, and postnatal journey. At THE FULLEST, we believe that every woman’s path is individual but that we can all learn from each other (whether we decide to become a parent or not). In the spirit of this, we are excited to welcome Noelle Kovary to answer our first Mothersphere Q&A. Noelle has a background in bio-energetic nutrition, physiology, metabolic health, slow living, and homemaking and shares tons of information about her own pregnancy and postpartum experience. We appreciate Noelle’s take on femininity, nourishment over diet culture, and commitment to a stress-free life (especially as a mother). She’s also the founder of Forever Healthy Hair, a regenerative beauty line that is science backed, toxin and PUFA free, and good for our favorite mama, Mother Earth. If you have questions about becoming a mother that is radiant, nourished, sovereign, and life-affirming then read on because Noelle has some pearls of wisdom for all of us. As always, take what you need and leave what you don’t.
Q: Firstly, can you share with us a little bit about your family? How many members in your tribe? What are their ages and names?
A: My husband, Nick, and I are parents to our sweet little boy, Olek, who is about to turn two years old in July! Nick and I both have backgrounds in holistic health as practitioners, so we love a very slow and purposeful life. We’ve structured our family and days around being outside in nature, cultivating our land, foraging for food, and being as stress free as possible. Through our many years in the health field, the one thing that we’ve found to be a constant, no matter what kind of research comes out, is stress is the number one killer of health. We’ve worked hard to create a very low stress and nurturing environment for Olek.
Q: Did you know you always wanted to be a mother?
A: Absolutely! I was always the kid with baby dolls and I had my first “job” at 10 years old as a mother’s helper. I would go to the homes of women in my neighborhood and help them with their daily tasks and watching the children. I was young but very responsible and absolutely loved being around children and homemaking. Part of the reason I went into a career in the health field was so I could nurture and help others. Also, I felt the field really complimented my long term goal which was being a stay at home mom.
Q: Did you consciously conceive or was it an unexpected blessing?
A: We consciously conceived! It happened very fast though, I did think we might have to try some time before I got pregnant as I am missing half my left ovary and had a history of Hashimoto’s and PCOS. I was always told I’d need IVF to conceive but I definitely beat those odds with diet and lifestyle. We were so grateful and surprised when I was pregnant on the first try.
Q: We’d love to learn about your pregnancy. How was your experience carrying? What were some of the exciting moments and some of the challenges?
A: Overall pregnancy was great, I felt amazing and just enjoyed each day thoroughly. I didn’t have much in the way of poor pregnancy symptoms, so I was able to really relish in the sacred time. I was pregnant during COVID and lockdowns so it was a weird time but I looked at it with a positive lens, in that I did get to create my own sanctuary and really sink into the tradition and growth of maiden to mother.
The most challenging part of pregnancy was keeping my birth plan to myself. I chose to do a free birth and completely planned it out — but the reaction I had from family, friends, and community when I said I was going to do a home birth was very poor. There was a lot of fear mongering and not a lot of trust in my capabilities or intuition.
So I decided to keep my free birth to myself until after Olek was born. It was stressful to keep that in — and at times I lied and said I had a midwife (which I didn’t). I actually didn’t do any testing, monitoring, or anything typical that most women do during pregnancy. I had one sonogram at 21 weeks to confirm the baby was healthy and had all of his limbs, etc. I’m very happy with my decision to do things the way I did and protect my energy and sacred time of my life. My birth was absolutely magical and empowering.
Q: Did you feel any major shifts during this period of your life — whether they were physical, social, or spiritual?
A: I definitely felt the need to turn inwards and reflect on my past and how I was going to change myself moving forward to protect my child and family. I did a lot of growing during that time, and for me, that looked like tuning others out and fully trusting myself and the choices I was making. For the first time in my life, I think I really didn’t care what others wanted of me, and I focused on me and my needs. The mama bear in me came out and I was protective of myself and didn’t want to answer to others about what I was choosing for myself or my child. I think motherhood does that to you, just rips you wide open and makes you face those parts of yourself you haven’t wanted to look at. I’m honored and grateful to have the experience of becoming a mother because it sincerely changes you for the better. You absolutely lose yourself but gain a new one in the process.
Growing, birthing, and raising a child is the most selfless act any woman can choose. You surrender yourself for another and it’s wild and hard — but absolutely beautiful and worth it.
Q: What supportive practices and tools did you use to nourish yourself and your growing baby during pregnancy?
A: Nutritionally, I focused on traditional nutrient-dense foods, lots of liver, raw milk, egg yolks, grass-fed meats, bone broth, ripe fruit, shellfish, properly prepared grains, raw honey, congee, and other similar foods. I made food a whole romance during pregnancy since I was not taking a prenatal supplement. It was imperative that my diet was on point. I spent a lot of time walking daily, about 6 miles, and did 300 squats (which I think really helped me labor so swiftly). I did a lot of self-care that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do to the same extent once the baby arrived. Nourishing milk baths, long full body warm oil massages, face masks, mediation, time stretching, gua sha, reading, and organizing. All things I’m happy I did because I get about a smidge of all that now with a very active almost 2 year old.
Q: Birth is incredibly individual. Each mother’s journey will be unique. However, sharing our stories can provide universal insights for other mothers to be. What is one thing you loved about your experience and one thing you’d do differently?
A: I LOVED my birth, it was insanely magical yet uneventful. I was in active labor for 27 minutes before Olek was born. We were living in a tiny rental at the time and I mostly labored in the tub. I only had 5 or 6 contractions that I had to breathe and relax through, the rest was a breeze. Nick mostly sat there and let me do my thing and made sure my labor aid was always refilled so I stayed hydrated. Olek was born in the amniotic sack, which was very cool but also explains why my water never broke! My husband caught him in the tub and handed him to me. The main thing I wish I did have was a birthing pool. I decided I didn’t want one because I didn’t want my husband to have to worry about that clean up — but once I was in our tiny, tiny bathtub, I was like ummm ok, I think I need some space. I’m petite but it didn’t feel roomy, it just wasn’t the same as floating around in the water.
My first thought when Olek was born, was that my world just changed yet with absolutely no commotion, no sounds, nothing but stillness around me, it was wild and surreal.
I think that’s what I loved most about it all, it was just silent and serene and we were alone and it felt so sacred and peaceful.
Q: Over the first 40 days of your little one being earthside, how did you feel? Did you have a supportive network around you or did you remain fairly private?
A: I felt amazing postpartum. I had no tearing and healed very, very quickly. I spent most of my days sitting in the yard in the sun with Olek while Nick brought me nourishing foods. It was a very beautiful time, a time I always long for. The first days of being a parent and the squishy healing process is just the best. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone but my husband — my parents lived in another state and only came to visit. They helped while they were around but most of the postpartum period support fell on Nick. It was perfect though, being just us with our new little person it felt like floating on a cloud. Luckily, it also wasn’t a lot of work for him and he enjoyed helping me and nourishing me. One of the reasons why he chose me as his wife is because of my tough nature, so he enjoys creating a safe and nurturing space for me to just be.
Q: Since becoming a mother how has your self care changed?
A: Honestly, it changes daily. I’ve changed the way I look at what self-care truly is. I used to think it was only doing things for myself but now I understand I can nourish myself while I nourish my family. Spending time making our home cozy and clean helps all of us feel calm and I enjoy the process; making meals is not a chore but a gift that allows me to nourish our bodies. I usually do my skincare routine when Olek is asleep and that’s my time I spend on my body but I also learned I need a lot less attention than I did before. When you are happy and living your purpose your body just thrives. Nick is very helpful in the self-care category as well, he always makes space for me to drink a cup of tea by myself or take a bath if I need.
Q: What are some of the resources — be they books, nutrition, practitioners, or rituals — that you’d recommend to other expecting moms or mothers in the parenting years?
A: All of the content on my Instagram I share for mamas or mamas to be. I go in depth on all topics related to fertility and motherhood and have hours of saved highlights with free information from birth, postpartum, nutrition, breastfeeding, hormones, recipes, etc. I even have a book highlight with my recommendations for specific topics. Preparing for pregnancy and postpartum is a must — and something I highly advise my community to do. The better set up you are, the easier everything will flow.
I think the most important thing to remember is not to lose your own intuition within the information (no matter where you find it) — a mother always knows what’s best for her and her child.
Q: Which rituals or routines do you implement to foster a deeper connection with your little ones? If you are a mom of multiples, do you set time aside to be with each of them individually?
A: I am sure I will be a mom of multiples soon — but for now I can only speak from a mama of one. I spend all my days and hours with Olek, I’ve never been away from him more than an hour. Time and attention is the greatest gift I can give to him at this age. He needs someone to engage and play with — and that’s me! I get him involved with all the chores around the house, I create space for him to freely play and explore the things he enjoys, and we spend time together as a family throughout the day so Olek feels supported. I usually have one new activity planned for him each day and I find a lot of inspiration off Pinterest and in Waldorf-inspired books.
Q: Motherhood often means finding peace within the chaos. We are big believers in managing our mood in order to show up consistently as the mother we know we are and want to be. What are your favorite products from THE FULLEST Shop that support your mood and help you stay centered?
A: Breakfast is very hard for most mamas and I created my “pre-breakfast” egg yolk drinks to fit in before breakfast can be made. It helps to lower stress hormones immediately in the morning and keeps blood sugar balanced. I have been using the Strands of Sunshine™ saffron threads in my vanilla cloud drink (which I share with Olek) and it has been so rich and delicious in the morning. We have a routine in the morning and Olek whips the yolks as I grind the saffron, it’s very special and soothing. At night, we use the Inheal™ probiotic saffron milk bath and it’s such a wonderful scent and just calms Olek and gets us both ready for bed. I’ve really enjoyed these products in our daily routine and find saffron to be such a wonderful support for Olek’s nervous system as well.
Noelle Kovary is an Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist, FNTP, and bio-energetic nutrition coach turned full time mama. She owns a beauty care company, Forever Healthy LLC, with her husband Nick. Together, they share content, products, and courses about nutrition, pro-metabolic health, fertility, and hormone health on their blog and her Instagram. Noelle promotes a slow living lifestyle and helps women bust their fears around food to ditch diet culture and fully nourish their bodies.