“You're losing an old life and you're gaining a new life and you're kind of redefining yourself because you want to be the best mom you can to your baby. You know you need to be cherishing every moment with your child, but I don't want to lose myself.”
As a child, Sequoia Fischer, now 28, always preferred stuffed animals to dolls. When people asked if she was excited to be a mom one day, she wouldn’t know what to say.
It wasn’t until she was 25 years old that she really started wanting to have a baby.
She felt like she was fulfilling other aspirations in her life — she had earned two degrees (in ecology and evolutionary biology as well as in 3D studio art), was working at a biology laboratory developing natural paint, and frequently painted at home — yet she felt an urge to become a mom.
“I really enjoy having family in my life — my grandma and my mom — and now I’m one generation and then now my baby is a different generation,” Sequoia said. “I’m keeping these generations going and keeping a happy family dynamic where there is support for each other and you don't feel alone.”
She convinced her fiance Derek (who she has dated for 5 years) to have a baby and found out that she was pregnant inside a Trader Joe’s bathroom in late January.
She waited until she and Derek walked out of the store to tell him that the test had come back positive. It was a beautiful sunny day and there was a saxophone player on the corner of the street. Both she and Derek were overjoyed.
Sequoia's Blessingway (a celebration of pregnancy) in September
After a “secret blissful period,” at the beginning of pregnancy, Sequoia began worrying about what it would be like to become a mom and whether the community around her home in Santa Clara was the best place to raise a child
“Being pregnant is kind of a crazy thing, especially for your first time,” Sequoia said. “You start asking more important questions of yourself and the world. Is this world a safe place for my baby? Am I doing what I want to be doing?
Later on in her pregnancy, she began experiencing extreme fatigue and hunger. After spending a few hours working on experiments for her natural paint project, she would bike home from the lab and fall asleep. Near the end of the third trimester, she refused to drive, for she was scared of crashing due to exhaustion. Simple tasks like walking, clipping her toenails, and squatting became struggles. Cognitive tasks like holding a lengthy conversation began to feel impossible.
“You really start to appreciate all the mothers of the world,” she said. “So much energy goes into making this little being,” she said
Yet, Sequoia never had doubts about giving birth to a child.
“Pregnancy is a really magical moment,” Sequoia said,” Your body becomes a functional piece of your baby's life. It's not like you're just you anymore; you're a vessel for this life.”
On October 5, 2020, Delfino, her baby boy, was born. Sequoia had a home birth with the assistance of a midwife and delivered her baby in a pool of water in her bedroom.
“I really believed in my own body and I wanted to trust what it was going to do,” Sequoia said. “I got to catch my baby and I pulled him up. He opened his eyes and looked at Derek and I and gave a little scream and we were just staring at each other.”
Afterward, she lay in bed with her baby on her chest, skin to skin, and fell asleep.
The next two days were blissful. Sequoia and Derek walked the baby around the house and just watched him sleep, squirm around on the couch and look around with wide eyes. Their midwife also came to their house to check in and teach the couple how to take care of a newborn.
“I’m just very amazed at my body and that there are so many women that have
done this before me,” Sequoia said. “I feel like I’m part of a different crowd now. I look at the world and see babies everywhere because everyone was a baby once and you see parents everywhere,” she said. “Now I think, “Oh that woman crossing the street, she could have a baby at her home.”
Sequoia has fallen in love with Delfino. She loves observing how he grows — how he moves and the little gurgling sounds he makes. She’s noticed that Defino has larger than average ears and closely resembles her fiance and her fiance’s father.
Left to Right: Sequoia with Delfino (Nov 19); Sequoia painting on her backyard deck
However, on the third day she began to feel overwhelmed. She began struggling with loneliness and feelings of dependency, for before having a child, she was very independent and goal-oriented. She said she has found it difficult to slow down on her ambitions.
“You're losing an old life and you're gaining a new life and you're kind of redefining yourself because you want to be the best mom you can to your baby. You know you need to be cherishing every moment with your child,” Sequoia said, “but I don't want to lose myself. I don't want to just become a house mom. I know that's what a lot of women like to do and they feel fulfilled by that role, but I really want to make some other difference in the world.”
She hopes that when Delfino becomes a little older, she can incorporate both her personal pursuits and roles as a mother into her life. She hopes to eventually work for a startup focused on promoting sustainability or producing environmentally-friendly products.
“I feel very fulfilled — like I’ve done something monumental in my life,” Sequoia said. “It took a lot of effort and now I just have to keep it up.”