When Carrie Visintainer became a mother at the age of thirty-two, she worried it was all over, that her adventurous life was done. World travel? Adios. Solo explorations in the mountains? Ciao. Creative outlets? She wondered, are diapers my new white canvas? Immersed in a whirlwind of sleeplessness and spit-up, she was madly in love with her new baby, yet also felt her adventurous spirit and core identity crumbling.
So Carrie laced up her boots and set out on a soul-searching journey, with revelations near and far. Inside a local Walmart, she realized that new motherhood is like traveling to a foreign country, with a new vocabulary, unknowable customs, and extreme jetlag. Lying in a yurt in the Colorado forest, she came to terms with her postpartum depression. While sailing on a gullet off the coast of Turkey, she examined feelings of guilt about leaving her child in pursuit of adventure. And then, while perched in a handsome stranger’s motorcycle sidecar in the Mexican jungle, she found herself face-to-face with her central quandary: Domesticity vs. Wanderlust.
Finally, she discovered she could—and should—have both.
Carrie Visintainer's children haven't inspired her to settle down. They've emboldened her to more daringly explore the world. Visintainer's memoir, Wild Mama, is a reminder that society doesn't get to define what motherhood looks like; mothers do.
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