Meet Nicole McNamara. She has degrees in science & environmental studies, she’s a mom, serial traveler, & passionate about raising conscious children.
Oh, & did I mention she’s a yoga teacher & Ayurevedic health consultant? A real superwoman who is health & wellness obsessed- which we love.
Nicole is also married to 8 time world record holder & big wave surfer Garrett McNamara. Together they travel & spread awareness about the state of our oceans & planet.
We recently recorded a podcast with them, & when Nicole came in she gifted me a book called The First 40 Days. It was such a thoughtful gift to give because I felt like everyone was dishing out advice on pregnancy & birth, but no one was really saying anything about after the birth. The book is all about nourishing a new mom through recipes, boundaries & just general support tips for people with a new mom in their life.
Anyway, I wanted to invite Nicole to the blog to talk more about her cool parenting style, motherhood journey & share some of her favorite healthy recipes. & boy oh boy does she get into it. So grab yourself a matcha latte & get cozy.
Let’s welcome Nicole to TSC.
♡ Introduce yourself to our audience.
Nicole McNamara: Currently living between Hawaii & Portugal with my husband & children. I was born, raised & attended college in Florida where I earned a degree in Health Science & a Masters in Environmental Education. I was teaching high school AP science when I met my husband Garrett at a Surfers Healing charity event in Puerto Rico. We instantly fell in love & ran away with each other. He is a big wave surfer & previous Guinness World record holder for the biggest wave ever surfed. In 2010 we discovered the biggest wave in the world together in Portugal, hence why we split our time.
We are very blessed to live on the beach in Hawaii… just like the song! We have a big property & a tiny house so we spend more time outdoors. We also built a little outdoor school to homeschool our kids. Life is a total adventure, never knowing where we will be or what we will be doing tomorrow! After my first baby was born I was a midwife in training, assisting in the delivery of babies & getting ready to go back to school to become a naturopathic doctor. The universe had other plans for me though & now motherhood has taken the front seat.
♡ Tell us about your motherhood journey.
NM: For most of my life I had this weird feeling that I couldn’t get pregnant. When I was 16 I went on birth control & had an adverse reaction. I was getting into the shower & looked down & there was milk coming out of my boobs!!! Naturally, I freaked out. I wasn’t pregnant. I immediately went off birth control & the tests started.
I saw multiple doctors & specialists, but no one had an answer. They all decided it was idiopathic & I would be fine, it might just make getting pregnant a little more challenging. I never went back on birth control. I had one high school sweetheart & only one college sweetheart & only practiced the pullout method ( which I don’t recommend ) & over the course of 15 years never had any accidents so this just reaffirmed what the doctors said.
Even though I had this feeling that I couldn’t get pregnant I so desperately wanted to be a mother so Garrett & I started trying to have a baby & we literally tried every single day. Every time my period arrived I would cry & I would sink into depression thinking I couldn’t get pregnant.
Then one day I thought for sure it had happened even though I took a pregnancy test & it was negative. I still had this feeling that I was pregnant so I kept taking pregnancy test after pregnancy test & they were all negative. Then I went back, 12 hours later, even though you aren’t supposed to, & there was the most faint faint faint pink line that only a crazy person would notice, but I noticed! Then I took another pregnancy test & the pink line was darker & we were pregnant with our first child together!
Since we travel most of the year I really wanted to get an accurate idea of the due date. So on our way home from Portugal to Hawaii we stopped in LA & I went to the doctors office to get a sonogram. The technician sent ‘Doctor Douche’ ( as I like to refer to him ) & he informed me, very nonchalantly, that my pregnancy wasn’t viable & I was going to lose the baby, but not to worry, it’s very common for first pregnancies & I shouldn’t be bothered by it…
Fast forward nine months later, & I had a 10 pound baby. But at that moment in the doctors office, everything I had ever known was reaffirmed- I wanted to have a homebirth because pregnancy isn’t an illness & that’s how it’s treated these days. I found a midwife that I absolutely fell in love with. We instantly clicked & to this day we are still really good friends. We hired Gelena & made the decision to have the baby in Florida, where my parents were living. ( Against Garrett’s wishes. He said no one wants to have to say they were born in Florida, but actually our five-year-old is very proud that he was born in Florida. )
The entire pregnancy I felt great & traveled around the world. I didn’t even feel pregnant. I never got sick. I was never tired. I had so much energy. It was the best. I had a great appetite.
A month before Barrel‘s due date we moved to Florida & on August 8 at about four in the morning I felt I had to pee so I got up & went to the bathroom. When I walked back to the bed I noticed a small little puddle on the ground that a pink tinge to it, so I thought maybe my water broke. I called my midwife & she said since I wasn’t having contractions so to just relax & try to go back to sleep. I couldn’t sleep so I woke up & I blew my hair out because I wanted to look good for the photos. What a mistake that was ( or a waste of time ).
My midwife came over around 10 AM & she took my vitals & everything was good. There was a chance I wasn’t in labor yet so Gelena suggested I have a glass of wine & if the glass of wine didn’t stop the small contractions I was having then I was in labor. My husband & I toasted to the new baby we were about to meet & nothing slowed down. I was in official labor & it was wild. I had all of these affirmations & I planned this orgasmic water birth. Everyone had note cards with very specific instructions of their duties & what to do with the lighting, essentials oils, music etc. Within a few hours all of that went flying out the window & it was more like gorillas in the mist.
I had incredible support from my husband who held me up for 24 hours, my midwives were so attentive, constantly massaging me, caressing me & supporting me. At one point I was resting in the tub & all of a sudden I had this excruciating pain & screamed out. My midwives immediately looked for a heartbeat which they couldn’t find. They pulled me out of the tub & called 911. As soon as I got out of the tub & moved positions the heartbeat was there & the pain went away, but the paramedics were already coming to the house. When they showed up they were more excited to be at Garrett Mcnamara‘s house than about my progressing labor. Gratefully, they agreed to just leave me be since there was really no emergency. I was super lucky, usually the paramedics & the midwife will transfer to the hospital.
As soon as they left, Gelena said let’s start pushing. I was told if I wanted to have this baby I would need to get out of the tub, which I didn’t want to do because I had the worst back labor. My low back hurt so bad. My husband Garrett was up against the wall with his heels in my hips pushing as hard as he could & it wasn’t hard enough. They brought out this medieval birthing stool, a little stool with a hole in it, shaped like a U, that’s hard, wooden & intense. I sat, well actually squatted, on this stool & I pushed for over two hours consecutively without stopping & his little little head of hair would pop out & then would go back. If he didn’t come out in those two hours of pushing I probably wouldn’t have had him at home. Oh & I forgot to mention, this entire time I was throwing up, getting overly dehydrated. They tried to give me an IV but I was so dehydrated that my veins kept rolling even though I was drinking tons of water & tons of electrolytes.
So back to the pushing. Finally after pushing… pushing… pushing… pushing I felt the ring of fire, which is when you’re crowning, & I knew it meant the baby was here. When I felt that fire I kept pushing & out came Barrel. When we ended up weighing him we found out that he was 10 lbs… yes I had a 10 pound baby come out of my vagina, at home, with no drugs. Anything is possible!!!! The Hollywood version of Barrel’s birth is right here.
My second pregnancy & birth were polar opposites. My second baby was definitely not planned. I’m not even sure where she came from because after you have your first kid your sex life can change dramatically. During this period of time I don’t remember any alone time happening with Garrett. I was also going back to school to become a naturopathic doctor so I could deliver babies at home in Hawaii, which was occupying any spare time. We were about to move the entire family to Portland but the universe had other plans. We were in Portugal doing another charity surfing event, taking disadvantaged children surfing up & down the coast of Portugal. Each day we were in a different location, driving for hours. I was so exhausted & I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I obviously didn’t know I was pregnant. I literally didn’t have enough strength to talk. I thought I had Lyme disease. I thought something was really wrong & needed to get my blood checked.
It never crossed my mind that I was pregnant. After about a month of this I finally said I better take a test just in case &….. I was pregnant. This pregnancy was completely different. I was physically exhausted for nine months. At one point I passed out in the shower. I didn’t feel good. I was super nauseous & I didn’t want to be around anyone. I wanted to be alone for nine months. The exhaustion was so bad, I knew that if I were to go into labor the way I was feeling I would die. I knew I did not have enough energy to deliver a baby.
This time we decided to have the baby in Hawaii. My parents moved to Hawaii after the first baby was born to be with their grandson. I had been training to be a midwife, helping to deliver babies in Hawaii so my mentor Lori obviously was an easy choice to deliver this baby.
She ordered blood work & it showed that I was very deficient & low in iron. I started taking iron supplements which didn’t help. My dear friend Alison recommended iron infusions. No one wanted to give a pregnant lady iron infusions because of the chance you could die. Luckily Allison convinced her doctor to give me these iron infusions. I had to sign my life away. I ended up getting eight iron infusions & it literally saved my life. I was a new woman. I had so much energy, it was amazing. The last month or two of my pregnancy was great. I still didn’t want to be around people but at least I felt like I had energy & could survive childbirth.
It all started one morning after dropping our son off at preschool. Garrett & I went to have lunch together & were sitting there at a really nice restaurant when I look at him & say “I just peed my pants.” It wasn’t pee… it was the same pink stained water. I didn’t mention in the first labor story that the pink stained water wasn’t my water breaking it was just pre-birth water.
I didn’t have any contractions. I felt great. I called my midwives & let them know that I was fine & they didn’t need to come over yet. We went home & the kids had friends over playing. I still didn’t feel like I was in labor so I didn’t call the midwives to come. I didn’t want them just sitting around watching me rest.
We had dinner & at 8 o’clock pm I told everyone I was going to go to bed & we would have the baby in the morning. After about 15 minutes of trying to sleep I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I got up. That’s when I started to feel a little bit more uncomfortable. I turned on some music & started swaying my hips, breathing intently.
I learned so much between the two pregnancies about releasing & surrendering. Allowing the body to do what it naturally knows to do. Keeping the forehead soft, the mouth open & just softening everywhere & fully embracing labor & all of the sensations. When you look at an animal giving birth you don’t really hear them screaming you just see them breathing & going with the flow. Most animals just lay down & are in a calm trance. Their face is soft- they aren’t making any weird painful faces. So that’s what I did my best to do. I kept my forehead soft, my mouth open & just breathed & breathed. I literally did not push at all. Finally at 9:30 Garrett called the midwives. Lori arrived at around 10 pm & when she saw how far along I was she was pretty upset that we didn’t call earlier.
As soon as she arrived, everything became more intense. My PTSD from the 24 hour labor kicked in & I was crying & didn’t think I could do it, but I still kept breathing & kept my face soft while rocking my hips & squatting. At 10:38 pm, 1 hour after my midwife got there, I moved everybody out of the way & sat on that same birthing stool. I didn’t push for even one second. Lori announced the baby was coming & she was en-caul, which means she was still in her amniotic sac. She ended up being born in her sack without any pushing. She was literally breathed into the world. Welcome to the world Theia Love. They say babies born this way have psychic abilities.
♡ What are some healthy things you did while you were pregnant?
NM: For the first pregnancy I was consciously trying to get pregnant so I made sure I was taking an organic, high-quality prenatal even before conception. I really like Garden of Life’s RAW Prenatal. I was also taking CoQ10 & Omegas. The best Omegas I have found are from AlkaMind, & I always had plenty of fresh flowers next to the bed. During the first pregnancy I was a vegan so made sure I was taking B-12 & eating plant-based protein. Of course I kept taking everything I had been before baby.
Magnesium is a life saver- AlkaMind also has the best night time mineral powder with magnesium. A friend of mine had really bad Charlie horse cramps when she was pregnant & the nighttime minerals from AlkaMind completely cured it. Eating as clean as possible, organic & plant-based is ideal. AND MOVEMENT… get moving every day even if it is just walking. Swimming is also great. And get those squats in daily. It will give you the stamina you need during labor. Get weekly massages if possible, at least for the last month. Gurmukh has a great book titled Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful with exercises & meditations for pregnant mamas.
♡ You mentioned on the podcast that it was really important to take time for yourself & even gave me a book about it. Can you speak on that?
NM: My first baby was born the day before my husband. 24 hours after I gave birth to a big chunky baby I went out to dinner for his birthday. I could barely walk. Then the day after that I took the baby to the beach, & then the day after that we did a photo shoot for the newspaper. Then just 3 weeks postpartum we got on a plane to Europe for a black tie event with boobs leaking & nipples bleeding. I had a wheelchair in the airport because I still couldn’t walk from my pubic bone being separated. I just powered through the postpartum & a year later I still haven’t healed from the birth physically or emotionally.
I think my lack of care during the first birth is what caused the low iron during the second pregnancy. I never gave my body the chance to build its life force back. For the second baby I knew I had to do things differently & had heard about women in certain cultures not leaving the house for 40 days. I made it about 30 with the second pregnancy. I found the most beautiful book The First 40 Days that talks about all different cultures & how they honor the mother during postpartum. It is also a really great book for anyone supporting a new mom because it has practical information on what to do & not to do. Also, the recipes are drool worthy. I ate the pancakes every day for a month. I almost want another baby just so I can be pampered & eat those pancakes!!!
As wives & mothers we are the glue that keeps our families running. If we are not functioning at 100% everything suffers. It is so important to take that time to get back to yourself & give your body the time to physically heal. It took 9 months for our bodies to grow a human, we can’t expect it to go back in a day. AND don’t listen or follow or spend time with anyone who makes you feel less than a super woman. Drop the comparisons & drop the toxic relationships. You are a unique goddess who intuitively knows what you & your baby need.
♡ On the podcast & one of your recent Instagram posts you spoke about different energies. Can you explain the different energies to us?
NM: Ahhhh…. Each one of us has an aura. At birth it is completely pure & in alignment with our soul’s purpose. Every day that goes by after entering the world begins our conditioning: our beliefs that the only way to be accepted, loved & successful is to act & use our energy in a certain way. More often than not this conditioning is not in alignment with our unique authentic self. In the Human Design System it is all about deconditioning ourselves so we can live our soul’s purpose. The first step is living according to our energy type.
Our energy type explains how we are meant to exchange energy with the world around us. Living in harmony with our energy type & knowing the energy type of those around us removes resistance, anger, bitterness & frustration that is commonly found on the path of creating our ultimate life. Each person on the planet has an energy type of either a Manifestor, Generator, Projector or Reflector.
Trailblazers, leaders of the tribe, have the ability to initiate their ideas & impact others. Very independent. When not using their energy properly they experience anger, & when in alignment with their energy they feel PEACE. The strategy to remove resistance is after making a decision to INFORM anyone impacted by it before taking action. This can be as simple as informing your kid that now you are going to the bathroom, to as big as informing your coworkers before you quit your job!
The builders of the tribe with copious amounts of creative energy. Literally generating the life force energy for the planet. They live to work & love the work they do. They are meant to only say YES to people, opportunities, food, etc. that light them up & make them feel good. Most generators say yes to too many things that should be nos, using up their energy on things that don’t light them up. When not using their energy properly they experience frustration, & when in alignment with their energy they experience great SATISFACTION. One strategy to start utilizing their energy more efficiently is to wait to RESPOND. The easiest example is instead of making a grocery list, just go to the store & respond by buying what lights you up & feels good.
The guides, seers, mediators, & advisors of the tribe. Excellent at recognizing the gifts & talents of others & knowing how their energy is best utilized. The only thing is, they cannot just tell people what they see. They have to wait for the invitation to share their wisdom. Acting before being recognized or INVITED leads to bitterness. When utilizing their energy correctly they experience SUCCESS.
♡ MANIFESTING GENERATOR:
Is a GENERATOR at their core, they just respond quicker than a pure generator.
♡ The way you parent is unique, interesting & cool. Can you tell us a bit about that?
NM: The world doesn’t need any more conformists, so my goal is to raise unique, independent, kind, conscious, out-of-the-box thinkers & doers. I want to do my best to not project my own fears & insecurities onto them. Also, with an extreme athlete as a husband, I have had to really let go of what I think are safe boundaries. My son surfed at 11 months by himself & Theia is following closely behind him. She is only one & her favorite thing is skateboarding & riding the jet ski.
We practice “attachment” parenting in the hopes of creating independent kids. Shefali Tsabary & her book The Conscious Parent is full of priceless information. We travel quite a bit & I think my children can learn a tremendous amount about life by going on these adventures, so we have decided to homeschool. I know it’s not possible for everyone, but being aware of the conditioning school puts on a child can help you foster deconditioning behaviors at home. Just because your kid is the same age as everyone else in their class doesn’t mean they are supposed to learn, act, look or be the same. School teaches us to compare ourselves to others & that’s when the self doubt starts. Another great book that I think is important for anyone with kids or working with kids is Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods.
Our children are capable of so much more than we think. It’s about finding ways to build their trust & confidence in their bodies by giving opportunities to do “adult” things.
♡ How do you create space for yourself when you have children?
NM: Hahaha… I don’t know if it really exists. Having a really magical & loving shower ritual is a great way to take space & time for yourself. It’s also a great place to meditate if you find it hard to find time in the morning. I like to imagine the water washing away all the negativity & raining positive radiant light all around me. Savoring the quiet moments while they are sleeping, before they wake up in the morning, after they go to bed. Even if it’s taking just a few minutes to read a couple pages of a book.
♡ Now that you’re a mom, what’s your favorite healthy recipe for yourself?
NM: I love food & more importantly I love healthy, delicious food. So this is a tough one. My recent favorite that I have been taking to all dinner parties is roasted veggies with a dijon aioli. It’s Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, etc. It ticks all the boxes.
Roasted Veggies With Dijon Aoli:
♡ 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, halved or cut into wedges if they are bigger. ( I have also used broccoli & cauliflower & it was just as delicious. )
♡ 1–2 tbsp olive oil
♡ salt & pepper to taste
+ Roast in the oven at 400F until crispy & to your liking.
For the dipping sauce:
♡ ¼ cup soy free veganaise
♡ 1½ tbsp dijon
♡ 1 tsp minced garlic ( I like to add a little more )
♡ salt & pepper to taste
♡ ½ tsp fresh chopped or dried parsley
+ Put it all in a bowl & mix it up! ( You will probably want to double this because it is so freakin’ good. )
♡ And what’s your favorite healthy recipe for your kids?
NM: This might be my favorite recipe hands down because it is perfect for kids & adults. It’s loaded with protein- 10 grams per chocolate muffin. It has no refined sugar & is so easy to make. It’s from Sweet Laurel Bakery in Pacific Palisades.
Healthy Chocolate Muffins For Kids ( & Adults ):
♡ 2½ cups of almond flour
♡ ¼ cup of 100% unsweetened cacao powder
♡ 1 tsp of baking soda
♡ ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt ( or sub sea salt )
♡ ¾ of cup maple syrup
♡ 2 large eggs ( if I have vegan friends coming over I use the flax egg conversion and they taste just as good.)
♡ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
♡ 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips. ( I never use these in the recipe & it never has compromised taste. )
+ Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin or use silicone muffin cups.
+ In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cacao powder, baking soda & salt.
+ In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, eggs & vanilla.
+ A little bit at a time, add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms. Fold in ½ cup of chocolate chips.
+ Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each one 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins & allow to cool.
+ ( This step is NOT necessary to make these muffins a hit! ) To make the chocolate drizzle, melt the remaining chocolate chips in a glass or metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until melted. Use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over each muffin. Let the drizzle set, then serve.
+ Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for about 1 week or freezer for up to 2 months.
HOT TIP: To defrost, leave out overnight or pop in the toaster to warm up for a delicious & healthy breakfast or anytime snack!
♡ If you could recommend one resource for moms or pregnant women, what is it & why?
This is the hardest question. I would say finding unconditional support in your community, like a new moms meetup group. Find & choose one person that you trust that you can call or text any hour of the day or night if you are feeling hopeless & sad. Someone who will not tell you what to do & just listen & remind you that it won’t last forever.
Other than that…. mamanatural.com Is a great resource for both pregnancy & motherhood that has most topics covered.
♡ Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out!
My instagram @mammaunearthed, but I go through waves of posting & not posting. If you really want to follow our crazy lifestyle, my husband’s account is active every day @mcnamara_s I am working on a new website & blog which I will post on instagram when it’s live. Would love to hear what everyone is interested in hearing more about!
What an incredible birth/motherhood story !! Hope you guys loved this post as much as I did. Very much excited to make those healthy chocolate muffins. Now that Zaza is here, it’s time to say goodbye to my old school brownies.
If you’re a parent tell me about your first 40 days after birth. Would love to read all about it.
Be sure to follow Nicole & Garrett on Instagram to be the first to know about Nicole’s new website launch!
+ be sure to listen to Nicole & her husband Garrett on the HIM & HER podcast.
++ 10 real life tips on preparing for birth.
LEAVE A COMMENT
2 replies to “Modern Parenting And An Incredible Journey Into Motherhood”
Wow! Thanks for making Nicole share her life experience. I am sure so many people especially young mothers will find her inspiring. Thanks for sharing this on the blog as well.
thanks for reading!