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Mary Alice Martin is a birth and postpartum doula in Houston, Texas. She is currently studying to be a midwife (hatching 2018!). Academically, she studies documentary films and their effect on our perceptions of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in the United States. She is passionate about women’s health, yoga, and evidence-based birth!
I am so lucky to know Megan, personally, and to have supported her family’s amazing children’s clothing brand from conception! In our interview, Megan shares the story of the parenting moment that changed her forever, teaching us all to hold our babies tight and cherish every minute with them.
Mary Alice: Hi, Megan! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making children’s clothes!
Megan: I’ve always loved art in any form. Drawing, photography, just creating. I taught art for four years. I have a great respect for teachers, but I knew it was not the job for me. The last year of teaching, my mother-in-law, Staci, and I started Garden Baby. I took a huge leap of faith and resigned from teaching this summer to pursue Garden Baby and raising Kipp full time.
MA: We love that you use all organic cotton and dyes over at Garden Baby. What inspired you to start the brand?
M: We live in small town Louisiana and organic options are rare. We, luckily, now have an amazing locally owned health food store that carries all organic produce! But organic clothing? Unheard of. Especially hand-made organic clothing. A few weeks after Thom and I found out we were expecting, the search began for organic hand-made baby clothing. I felt as though I looked everywhere, mostly shops on Etsy. I found some great things, but they were so expensive. I made Kipp some clothing, but being pregnant, didn’t have the energy to fill his closet with mama made items. Once Kipp was born, it was even more challenging to find him quality clothing. He grew so quickly! And my checking account wouldn’t allow me to buy all organic clothing, especially for the prices I was finding them at. My in-laws were keeping Kipp while I was at work, teaching art. Staci, Gary, and I would sometimes throw around the idea of Staci and I starting a baby clothing business. One day, we decided to do it, to place our first order from a small batch organic fabric vendor. I remember Staci asking me before we clicked “Place Order”, “Are we sure we want to do this?” Well, we placed our order, and Garden Baby was born.
MA: What is your design inspiration?
M: I love gender neutral pieces that are easy for both boys and girls. I love comfortable pieces, and baby clothing should be only that.
MA: How would you describe yourself in four words? What would they be and why?
M: Mother: because it’s only the best thing I’ve ever done
Vegan: raising a vegan child, trying to shine love on the animals and our planet
Empathetic: could ultimately be the reason I am vegan
Supportive: people should do what they love, and we should support them for wanting to
MA: What do you feel is the best thing about living in a small town?
M: Getting to know my community. This town is filled with kind, loving people, young and old. Plus, the creativity flowing through this town is palpable. I love this place and I’m proud to call it home.
MA: What do you feel is the greatest parenting obstacle you’ve overcome?
M: This summer, Staci pulled Kipp out of the pool after she saw her dog going crazy in the yard. Gary and I were right behind her. I gave him CPR and watched him come back to life. Kipp was air lifted to a hospital about an hour away, where we stayed for two days. Miraculously, Kipp’s physical and mental growth were not impacted in any way. I think I cried myself to sleep for at least two weeks, and then some times when I just thought about it too much. And now, as I am typing this. Everything happens for a reason. I still don’t understand why that happened, but I do hold him a little tighter, embrace every hug a little longer, and am more grateful for every laugh that has been gifted to me through my precious baby.
MA: What’s the greatest lesson (or lessons) that motherhood has taught you?
M: To always be patient, even when it is hard, and to love with everything I have.
MA: What are some of your favorite things about being a mother?
M: I love watching Kipp soak everything in, I love watching him dance, I love watching him chat and sing, I love watching him find joy in any and every little thing. I was truly reborn when I gave birth to Kipp. Plus, kisses all the time!
MA: What’s your favorite way to reconnect with your husband?
M: Having a new business, I’m usually at the shop on the weekends, except on Sundays (usually). I get to be with both of my boys all day. When Kipp goes down for his afternoon nap, Thom and I will nap, or sit outside, drink a beer, and talk, or do nothing at all. But it’s together. I love Sundays.
MA: What are your greatest hopes for our children’s’ future—the next generation?
M: That they are told everyday that they are loved, that they are brilliant, that they are brave, that they are magical, that they can do anything. I hope that they are not only told that, but that they are shown it. What our children believe, they will become.
MA: What are your greatest hopes for women and mothers everywhere?
M: That they are loved. That they are not judged.