It was just only last week that I was reminded by Lisa that I had a draft blog post about Mothering Magazine that still needed to be published. Long overdue (I started it 2 years ago!) I rationalized that I would finish it next month upon returning from the Natural Products Trade Show because I expected to see Peggy O’Mara, editor of Mothering Magazine at the event.
Next month wasn’t going to be timely, as I learned just yesterday that Peggy informed the online community that Mothering Magazine has been discontinued in print and digital format (but will thankfully remain as a website). This news was devastating for me on several fronts:
Madeleine participated in a workshop led by Peggy in 2005 at Hollyhock (with her then-4 month-old daughter as well as her Mom in tow!) and we had the incredible fortune to meet Peggy in 2009 in Los Angeles. Peggy subsequently paid a personal visit to our offices for a fundraising tea party. Those meetings rank highly among our personal “Lunapads greatest moments”.
While I can only imagine how difficult a business decision it must have been for the Mothering team to close this huge chapter in their life, I will selfishly miss flipping through a magazine that has significantly shaped my parenting choices. The 35 year legacy of the magazine and what it has done for the natural family living movement cannot be understated. Yet being in the publishing business is incredibly difficult: the magazine industry has taken some huge hits in recent years, with steeply declining advertising revenue as readers flocked to the web. When news hit on Facebook and Twitter that the magazine was no longer going to be in print, while many expressed their disappointment, sadly, numerous insensitive people expressed their anger. This post is not going to wade into that discussion: rather, I’d like to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt public message of appreciation to Peggy and her team for what Mothering has contributed the parenting community.
I was introduced to Mothering Magazine in 2002 when they approached Lunapads for advertising. That same year, I got pregnant and found myself devouring dozens of back editions that I scored at a La Leche League meeting (pictured above, including a 15th anniversary edition from 20 years ago) to educate me about what lay ahead for me during pregnancy and birth. In particular, one article called “Ecstatic Birth” deeply changed my view about birth: that by nature, birth could be a natural, beautiful and ecstatic experience. That one article erased my fears (birth did not have to look like what is typically portrayed on TV or film) and empowered me with the vision and confidence that I could have a natural and undisturbed birth experience.
When it was time for my second birth, thanks to the mothering.com community, I recognized I had birthing choices. I planned a peaceful home birth, one of the most significant events of my life our family will treasure forever. Some of my fondest memories as a new mother involved nursing Aiden while reading Mothering Magazine. The articles and personal stories from mothers and fathers introduced me to the concept of natural family living. Peggy’s books and well researched editorials covered complex topics like circumcision, vaccinations and co-sleeping. And while I didn’t always completely agree with the everything written in the magazine, Peggy always encouraged her readers to make informed decisions and trust your instincts as a parent.
Mothering is also supported by a expansive website, rich with articles written by experts about topics such as extending breastfeeding, cloth diapering, gay parenting, elimination communication (my response to it) , home births, and lactivism (my response to it). The MotheringDotCommunity forum (“MDC) is one of the largest online forums on the internet, host to over 100,000 members. It is a valuable resource and community space to get information and perspectives on topics rarely discussed or entertained in mainstream channels. MDC was hugely active well before Facebook and Twitter were part of our vocabulary!
The MDC forum also became an important resource for me to connect with my local Mothering “tribe” here in Vancouver. Our local online discussion group here in Vancouver is a place where dozens of families regularly chat to ask questions, share information, celebrate, provide support and make plans to meet up in real life. I remember how lonely and difficult being a brand new mom felt, and the MDC community was a savior to me during that time.
Peggy O’Mara, the vision and soul behind Mothering Magazine, is a living legend. Her work and advocacy for parents makes her a pillar in the natural family living movement. Thank you Peggy for being there for me in my journey as a mother. You are simply the best! We will dearly miss the print magazine but look forward to seeing the website grow and succeed.
I strongly encourage everyone to join the online MDC community. Please consider pledging your financial support to their website by becoming a Supporting Member. As a show of Lunapads devoted support for Mothering.com, we are pledging to sponsor 4 supporting memberships (value $25 each) to 4 readers of our blog. To enter, please post a comment below telling us how Mothering.com has made a difference in your family’s life or why you want to join this online community. We will announce the winner in next month’s newsletter. Even if you don’t need a membership, please share your story with us anyways (or if you win, donate it back to someone who would benefit from it).