motherhood: richelle bergen
Richelle Bergen shares with us her journey of motherhood and incredible story of becoming Mama to Sunnie. Richelle lives in Canada and is a print based artist, living in a dreamy Prarie country town.
Hi! I’m Richelle, an artist, wife and mom to Sunnie who is 5 months old...
We live in Southern Manitoba among the Canadian Prairies, in a small country town. Our home is quite small at 575sq ft, with an added on studio space for me to work (which almost doubled our square footage!)
When it comes to advice, I take no credit, as everything I know I have learned from my friends...
Something one of my dear friends, Andrea, told me before Sunnie was born was that ‘mom’s are as different as people are different. There is no way it is supposed to look. Do what works with who you are and your life. This manifests itself in you if you cosleep, schedule naps, cloth diaper etc. There is no right way, sister”
That and “Linger when you want to linger. Snuggle and stare as long as you want”
There have been so many amazing things that led us to our Sunnie girl...
But to summarize, Sunnie is adopted and her birthmother is a dear friend of mine who I met at a summer camp 16 years ago! After our week at camp all those years ago we lost contact (this was before internet and cell phones, does that date me?!)…. Fast forward 15 years… My husband Ryan and I had been battling with infertility for a long and extremely painful 4.5 years and were hoping to adopt. That’s when our birth mom and I miraculously reconnected (it really is a long story!) but a year or so after our reconnection, she became pregnant and asked if we wanted to adopt. Sometimes I still can’t believe my long lost friend from 16 years ago is now our birthmother, friend and forever family.
Throughout her pregnancy with Sunnie we remained in close contact though we live in separate provinces, and we were even gifted the opportunity to be at Sunnies birth and stay in the hospital with our birth mom till they were ready to leave.
We remain in close contact and I am so incredibly grateful for the gift of our very open adoption!
Mama and Sunnie snuggles.
Our journey to parenthood was all the waiting and all the unknown...
During the years we battled infertility, each and every month was a rollercoaster of hope, excitement and then being crushed and heartbroken. There were many many moments I doubted I would ever be a mom. I tried to envision a full and satisfying life just Ryan and I, but this hole in my heart yearning to be a mom only grew bigger and stronger. Those were the hardest years of my life.
Sunnie has made our lives so joyful! She has brought Ryan and I closer together and gives our life so much unexplainable joy! She is the happiest, sweetest thing ever and it just feels incredible to be doing “normal everyday things”. Going for a walk, buying baby clothes, filling in a baby book, these are all things that fill my heart with joy cause I don’t take them for granted…. That, and seeing Sunnies face when we go get her from her crib after she wakes up and she looks at us like we’re the absolute best thing in the world.
For my work I’m a printmaker mainly making linocuts or woodcuts...
I’m deeply inspired by nature and wildlife of all sorts. I love being outside, I adore birds and wildflowers, and find a calming sense of self when observing nature. When times were really hard during our infertility journey, I often felt most grounded when I lay on the grass, tended to my flower garden, or held out my hand filled with birdseed waiting for a bird to land on me.
I haven't been working a tonne since Sunnie was born, but she sure has given me a lot of inspiration for future prints!
Richelle and little Sunnie. Richelle cycling through her stunning home town of Southern Manitoba.
I absolutely love where we live...
Our town is small and the country fields are only a 2 minute bike ride away. I love going into the country to pick ditch flowers or watch the sunset in front of a wheat field. We do, however, dream about living in the mountains or somewhere with a more adventurous landscape... but at the end of the day, it’s our amazing community of friends that keep us here.
Now that Ryan is on parental leave for 4 months, he typically wakes up with Sunnie around 9-9:30 and gives her her morning feed and playtime. Then I crawl out of bed to a cup of coffee and put her down for her first nap.
In the evening, my parents usually come by for some snuggles and kisses (for Sunnie that is) She is a long awaited grandbaby on my side of the family) And then we will start her bedtime routine which is PJ’s, sleepsack, white noise, a bottle and singing her the song my mom sang to me as a child which goes “I love your eyes, I love your nose. I love your ears, your hands your toes. I love your face, it’s really you. I like the things you say and do. In all the world, in every town, you can look both up and down, and you will find, I know it’s true, there’s no one exactly like you”
A day in the life
I live… in a tiny prairie cottage
I am currently reading… aallll the enneagram books, and “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer
I’m listening to… Wild Rivers, Eisley and the Greatest Showman Soundtrack.
My weekends start with… Because Ryan is on parental leave for 4 months, our weekends and weekdays all blur into one and it’s lovely! But everyday starts with coffee and a slowish morning. We are often not ready for the day before 11, and we’re savouring it while it lasts!
Must have baby/newborn essentials? I love our SnuggleMe Organic, Charlie Crane Lounger, Willaby heirloom blanket, Baby Brezza Formula Pro, and Sunnie’s Nature Baby clothes have hands down been my favourite!
Thanks for sharing with us your amazing story and a glimpse into life in your beautiful home town Richelle! xx Nb
mums around the world – nicolette gawthrop
As part of Our Mums Around the World series we ask mums living in all different places about themselves, their little ones and their location. We loved hearing from Nicolette Gawthrop, mum and homemaker, on what it’s like living and raising a family in Fayetteville, Arkansas.