REDMILK CELEBRATES MOTHER'S DAY TALKING WITH SPECIAL MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS BASED IN LA. DISCOVER THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS WITH: NATALIA BONIFACCI + LEO (SON), TAYLER ROSE (PREGNANT) + LILIANA MUNSON (MOTHER), TOVA THOMAS-GURR + PAINTER LILY (DAUGHTER) + DEBRA STENCE THOMAS (MOTHER), JESSICA MAU + ALMA (DAUGHTER), LAUREN HASTINGS + MONROE PLUMB (DAUGHTER), ANNIE EDMONDS + CASH (SON).
NATALIA. My baby son is 5 months.
LILIANA. Shannyl 30, Wade 29, Tayler Rose 28, Oscar, 26, Kieffer Shane 21.
TAYLER. I’m five months pregnant and I am expecting a baby girl.
TOVA. My daughter’s name is Painter Lily Lovrin, 9.
DEBRA. My daughter Tova is 32.
JESSICA. My daughter Alma is almost 2.5 months old.
LAUREN. Daughter. Monroe age 4.
ANNIE. Cassius is 14.
Your sign-son/daughter sign.
NATALIA. I’m an Aquarius and Leo is a Sagittarius: Air and Fire.
LILIANA. My sign is cancer and Tayler Rose’s is pisces.
TAYLER. I’m a Pisces and she is due mid September- she’ll either be a Virgo or a Libra.
TOVA. I am a Libra. She is a cancer.
DEBRA. My sign; Cancer. My daughter’s sign; Libra.
JESSICA.Pisces, with a stellium of planets in the sign aka a whole lot of Pisces!
LAUREN. Mine: Cancer – Monroe: Taurus.
ANNIE. I am a Scorpio and Cash is a Libra.
Describe yourself as a mom in three words.
NATALIA. Loving. Joyful. Relaxed.
LILIANA. Loving, passionate, emotional.
TOVA. Loving. Kind. Open.
DEBRA. Respectful, loving and playful.
JESSICA. Hyper aware, in love, and exhausted.
LAUREN. Patient. Unconditional lover. Funny.
ANNIE. Empathetic, Generous and Proud- Also, Terrified creeps in there sometimes. :)
What was the hardest part about being pregnant?
NATALIA. The exhaustion and the strong hormonal rollercoaster during my first trimester. The latter especially felt really intense. Also, at the very beginning of my pregnancy I was fearful to lose my identity into motherhood and I had fear of the unknown. I now wish a little bit that I had been closer to my family or I had seen them more: I could have used their love and hugs often. Besides that, it was absolutely one of the most beautiful, special and transformative experiences of my life. It was incredible and magical to be the home of that little heart growing inside of me: everything else came second place. After the fourth month, I truly loved every minute of being pregnant.
LILIANA. Sleeping comfortably the last two months of my pregnancy. My husband shoved pillows under me, in different places (in attempt) to make me comfortable.
TAYLER. The hardest part for me has been worrying about the unknown. I’ve also had some pretty gnarly sciatic nerve pain and or growing pains in my hips as they visibly widen for childbirth! Overall, I am absolutely loving pregnancy and feel incredibly honored to have the amazing gift of carrying my baby. A woman’s body is magic!
TOVA. The hardest part about being pregnant was not having any family or close friends near by. There were lots of times I felt scared, and alone, and really could have used a hug.
DEBRA. Nothing. I felt wonderful. I only missed being able to belt some of my outfits.
JESSICA.The back pain was really hard for me. I am naturally very flexible and loosely jointed so when the pregnancy hormone relaxing pumped through by body to help make room for the baby I lost all back support. I am still recovering from it almost three months post birth. Maternity belts seemed to help.
LAUREN. Constipation! Hahaha!
ANNIE. I was very young, fresh out of college and working at my dream job in New York. I became extremely ill and when I discovered I was pregnant I had to leave the city and go back to living with my parents in Washington. I left a life I had always dreamed of behind to start a new one I didn’t know if I wanted. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
Where were you, what were you doing when you went into labor?
NATALIA. One of my best and oldest friends had surprised me coming from NYC into town. He is a photographer, he was in town for a few days and he wanted to finally see me and shoot me pregnant. We all went to dinner the night he arrived. At that point of my pregnancy I was going to bed super early, so it was quite an event for me: Alessio Boni, my other friend Sean Fabi, my boyfriend, my mom. I didn’t know it then, but that was gonna be my “last dinner” without baby. We walked to Little Dom’s, a restaurant in my Los Feliz neighborhood, and we walked back those 6 blocks after dinner. I had pizza and arancini. I had started feeling unusual at dinner, but I was so happy, so I guess I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I got into labor that night while I was sleeping, a week before my due date. 24 hours later Leo was born. Alessio never shot me pregnant, but he shot us two days later with our baby boy in our arms surrounded by love and balloons in my room at Cedar’s Sinai.
LILIANA. With Tayler Rose I was in the hospital. I had to be induced because she was two weeks late.
TOVA. It was bed time when I started having contractions, they were of course mild at first, which made me laugh. I remember taking a shower, giggling, thinking “oh God here we go.”
DEBRA.I was at home. It was nighttime and I was trying to sleep.
JESSICA.I was in my kitchen making a snack in the late afternoon when i felt the slightest pop down there. It was my mucus plug, a few hours later I was in full on labor and by 2am I was at my birth center having really intense contractions.
LAUREN. For most Mothers this answer is easy. Mine however was complicated, unexpected and very premature. I was 25 weeks when I went into pre term labor. It started on a Thursday I started to cramp, didn’t think much of it. I told Monroe’s father Mike who had his wisdom teeth pulled that day and he was like “You’re fine, everything is okay.” That Friday morning I woke up in pain and said “I’m still cramping.” I went to the bathroom and saw that I was loosing a lot of blood and ended up in the emergency room at The University of Utah. They said “You’re 3 centimeters dilated and the baby is coming soon.” They put me on magnesium to help slow the contraction and I got the steroid shots over the next two days to help with my daughter’s lungs. The plan was to be on bedrest for as long as we could, but on Monday morning I went into labor. She came out via emergency C-Section and that is where our journey began at 26 weeks and 3 days in the NICU. Filled with many highs and lows and unpredictable days and nights. Nights going to bed in fear that I would get ‘that call’: the call that said Monroe didn’t make it. Something I would never wish upon anyone. I never doubted for one moment that she wouldn’t make it. The NICU is a rollercoster with many ups and downs. Monroe’s journey was not easy. She had a PDA ligation just a few weeks after she was born that paralyzed her left vocal chord and knicked her left lung leaving us unable to breastfeed. Ultimately to get her outta of the NICU we had to have a gastro feeding tube (G-tube) placed and at the same time they fixed her umbilical hernia, two surgeries done in one. After a long, scary 4 months and 3 days in the NICU my beautiful, strong, courageous daughter got to come home with me. I can’t even begin to describe what it felt like to have my baby finally home where she belonged. I’m so grateful for the NICU and the nurses and doctors that took round the clock care of my daughter. I’m happy to say now that she is very healthy. We’re so lucky. My daughter fought hard to be here. There is a love so strong and so untouchable. I am forever in awe of her strength. My Miracle.
ANNIE. I was living in Seattle with Cash’s dad. When I started having back pains I was walking on Alki beach praying to the universe I would be a good mom.
Are there things that you miss about life before kids?
NATALIA. I don’t miss anything right now, but I know that is gonna be lots of fun when I’ll have a good night sleep and a long night out.
TOVA. What I miss the most about life before kids is the lack of responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are always responsibilities, but the weight of them and the repercussions are very different. Life has a lightness before you are a parent.
But having a child gives you such purpose, and adds a sweetness that makes everything better.
DEBRA. Free time and time for self.
JESSICA.I miss packing light. Just going out for the day with a little purse, maybe even nothing or just a wallet. Now I can’t leave the house without my fully stocked diaper bag, baby carrier, and nursing pads. Traveling light is definitely a thing of the past.
LAUREN. Yes, I miss being able to be spontaneous. Just pick up and travel to anywhere!
ANNIE. No. Not any more.
What’s a typical day as a mom?
NATALIA. Lots of kisses, smiles, cuddles, sweetness, storytelling and discovery. Some sleepless nights. I’m quite flexible as a mom and I take him a lot out and about with me so I don’t have a real typical day. My favorite part is our bedtime routine, which is our only daily planned recurrence: around 7/7.30PM I sing bedtime songs to him. I have a terrible voice and Leo is the first and only person in this world that loves my singing. We chat a little, we put pajamas on and we start getting ready for bed. I breastfeed him and rock him in my arms till he falls asleep. Sometimes it’s really easy. Sometimes it’s hard, he wakes up a few times and he smiles and he wants to play, and it takes me a really long time. But when I look down at him in my arms, even when I am exhausted, I always feel the privilege for being his mom. He is a very easy boy with everyone, anybody can hold him or feed him, but he misses me at bedtime, he’ll cry if I am not around, so unless I have work, I really do my best to put him to sleep myself.
LILIANA. When my children were young I would get ready for work while the nanny prepared my babies for the day. After five years of that, and five kids, my husband and I decided to make our schedules every other day home and work. One of us was always home with the kids. I worked full time my entire motherhood (unfortunately).
TOVA. A typical day for us starts with getting ready for school. Brushing her hair, packing lunch, making sure she’s got everything she needs. Working. Picking her up from school, chatting about her day. Homework. Dinner. Bedtime / story time (our tradition).
DEBRA.When Tova was growing up it was trying to get her ready for school, volunteering at school. Deciding what to cook, doing laundry, tidying up, homework and trying to get her to bed and asleep at a reasonable time.
JESSICA. I am still trying to find a nice little routine as a new mama. So far, as I am still healing and regaining strength my days are pretty mellow. I wake up, hang out with Alma cook, go the farmers market, walk my dog, nap, maybe listen to a podcast, maybe go to the park, or grab a tea somewhere to get out. Its all about the home for me right now.
LAUREN. Kiddo waking me up saying “Moooommmmmmyyyy!!”. Then coffee. If she has school we head there and I’ll get a work out in or come home to get ready for castings. On days I have Roe (her father and I share custody) we usually pick a fun activity to do. Like an indoor gym or the zoo or a museum. We still nap although lately it’s been a hit or miss. We always have dinner together then we do her bath, we read a few books or we watch a part of a movie. She’s off to bed at 8pm.
ANNIE. Oh man….6am, breakfast, drag teenager out of bed, another breakfast. Drive to school, drive to whatever shoot I have that day. Drive back to school at about 6 or 7, after work and after his golf or wrestling or whatever he’s got going on. Dinner, homework, laughing, crying, more laughing, bed.
What is your biggest fear as a mother?
NATALIA. For the world to make him hard. For something happening to him. For something happening to his dad or myself.
LILIANA. The loss of one of my children.
TAYLER. My biggest fear as a mother is not being able to protect her from the world. My girlfriend told me that she realized when she had her baby that the safest place for your baby is when they’re inside your belly. That makes a lot of sense to me. SO, I am enjoying every second I have with her being this safe and this close to home.
TOVA. Of course my biggest fear as a mom is something happening to her, or to me. I try to acknowledge my fear, then replace the thoughts and mental images with something positive and in the future.
DEBRA. Her getting hurt or sick.
JESSICA. I am currently dealing with providing my baby with the most non toxic and natural options given the current environmental circumstances. My fear is for her to be overloaded with unnatural substances whether it be plastic in the water, pharmaceutical by products, or vaccination overload. I want to make the best possible decisions for her and her little growing body.
LAUREN. That I’ll fuck my kid up. That she’ll remember that one time I yelled. That I’ll disappoint her or let her down. Lots of fears! Hahaha
ANNIE. That I was too young to get it right. That I didn’t do enough. And most recently, that I’m running out of time.
Any advice to future moms?
NATALIA. I’m such a new mom, I am not sure I can give any advice, but I’d say follow your heart and intuition: you know your baby better than anyone else. Listen to people’s opinions and then make it your own. Study, do your research. Follow your sixth sense. Ask for help when you need to rest, or a moment of distraction: it’s ok to be vulnerable and it’s super important to find a balance, you also need time for yourself. I think that a happy mom is a better mom.
LILIANA. Plan as many dinners as possible together. Slow down. Plant a garden every year.
TOVA. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from my mother-in-law. She said “only you know what’s best for you and your baby.”
There are a lot of opinions out there, and people will definitely give you their two cents, but trust yourself.
DEBRA. Enjoy every stage of their lives as they grow. It is such a gift to watch all the different paths they can take with their talents. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
JESSICA. Go with your gut and do your research.
LAUREN. Be easy on yourself. Sleep when you can. It’s okay for your kids to see all of your emotions. Sad, angry, happy etc. Self care should come first so you can be the best version of yourself for you little one/ones.
ANNIE. Forgive yourself.Over and over and over. Never forget what It was like to be their age. Empathy is a big one in our home.
What has motherhood taught you about yourself?
NATALIA. In such a short time it has taught a me so many things already. It taught me that I am courageous. It taught me that I am beyond strong, I wasn’t aware of that strength inside of me. It awakened my sixth sense. It taught me who my real friends are. It taught me a lot of love and appreciation for my own parents and family. It taught me a lot of respect for my body, my mind and my soul. I have been someone sometimes insecure in different aspects of my life, and, besides the exhaustion or the occasional tenderness, I feel completely at ease being my son’s mom: motherhood, I guess, has added comfort in my own skin. Motherhood empowered me.
LILIANA. Motherhood had taught me unconditional love.
TOVA. Motherhood has shown me that I am more powerful and stronger then I ever give myself credit for. I’ve also discovered that lessons are endless and mistakes are great. Motherhood has shown me that it’s ok to not know the answers, as long as you have the courage to walk through the unknown over and over again.
DEBRA. There is always something new to learn, so be open.
JESSICA.I have a tiger inside of me ready to pounce.
LAUREN. That I am strong. I am a strong single Mama. I had no idea I was capable of doing that until I had her.
ANNIE. I’m stronger than I think.
What is the most important parenting lesson you learned from your own mother?
NATALIA. The importance of tenderness, depth, grace, strength and presence.
LILIANA. I learned from my mother to be brave, when it really counts.
TAYLER. My mother has loved me and embraced me for who I am my whole life. Even when I’ve done things differently than she would’ve liked ,she’s always reminded me that I am loved and have her support no matter what. That is very powerful and has kept us very close, always.
TOVA. The most important lesson I learned from my mother was to feel what you feel. She taught me to express myself and share my thoughts and feelings, with out guilt or blame. I get to share this priceless wisdom with my daughter every day.
DEBRA. She always trusted me.
JESSICA.I have seen my mom navigate through life with so much grace and flexibility. She stays open and curious and I have learned by her example how important those qualities are. Her ability to unlearn and open herself up always impresses me.
LAUREN. To be patient. Kids are unpredictable and to just go with the flow as best as you can.
ANNIE. Compassion for others and unconditional love.
What is your greatest wish for your kid/children?
NATALIA. For him to be happy, for him to be healthy, for him to be kind, for him to be honest, for him to be comfortable in his own skin, for him to be aware of himself, for him to be loving to himself and others. My son is so young yet he is always smiling: for him to keep those warm eyes and that pure smile forever is my greatest wish.
LILIANA. My wish for all of my children is Peace, because if they have Peace, they have all the other important ingredients.
TAYLER. My greatest wish for my daughter is health and happiness. I will do anything in my power to help her get back to those two things if she ever strays from them.
TOVA. My greatest wish for my daughter is that she feels joy daily and lives with compassion. May she find her passion in life and share it with the world.
DEBRA.To always be grateful and to feel happy about her life.
JESSICA. To love herself and others.
LAUREN.For her to be kind, empathetic, loving and gentle. I just want her to be happy in whomever she decides to be. Whatever job she picks. Whatever life hands her. I want her to thrive.
ANNIE. For him to feel comfortable in his own skin and to be proud of who he is. I want him to know self love.
Photos by Annie Edmonds