The oflactory terrain is vast like our Solar system, partly due to our own perceptions thrown in like variables in a scientific equation. One persons heavenly scent is another’s hell. This was the path that I navigated while pregnant with my daughter Eve. All aromas became amplified, some that I cherished became dreaded, treacherous areas to avoid at all costs. I must admit, it was an extremely uncomfortable period for one sensitive to scent.
Motherhood for me was somewhat planned, certainly no accident. My physical and mental body was fairly prepared because I had been doing regular yoga for years as well as receiving massage on a monthly basis. My massage therapist, Ione, is a friend I had met in New York through yoga. Ione is one of those individuals who veer into uncharted territory of alternate medicine and consciousness. One of the qualities I cherish in friendship.
When I discovered that a child was developing in my womb I did what most women in America do. I sought out an OBGYN recommended by a friend, started taking specific vitamins, and on the advise of Ione looked into some alternate ideas like home birth. During this process I was extremely nauseous most of the time and vomiting daily.
The main triggers for my discomfort came from the smell of “the refrigerator”, fresh gardenias and garlic. I remember running for my life whenever someone opened the door to the refrigerator and begging Ben not to drive by Chinese restaurants with me in the car. The gardenia bush happened to be blooming during my first trimester of pregnancy, luckily it was in the far end of the yard and fairly easy to avoid.
It was a very surreal period of extremely heightened olfactory awareness. Although at the time I had not read the Patrick Suskind novel “Das Parfum”, eventually when I did read the story I found myself completely sympathic to Jean-Baptiste Grenouilles plight of extreme odor sensitivity. Many of the odors I now associate with that era of nausea took years to be reincorporated into my smell scape.
In the end I chose to deliver my child at a Home Birth facility with midwives in a large birthing tub. The patronizing OBGYN who told me I was too petite to push out a baby was dismissed. Exactly ten moons after the conception I pushed out my sweet little girl on a cot of an examining room of the Birth Center. Instead of a traditional labor with a prolonged period of contractions, my body to chose to conduct the first stage while I was deep in sleep. At four in the morning on January 27th I was jarred out of sleep by a contraction. I woke up Ben who began timing the contractions. They were intense and only minutes apart. We called the midwife who advised we come to the birth center immediately. Eve was born just a couple hours after that first contraction with no drugs what-so-ever.
It was the birth of Eve that opened up my vista of the power of alternative medicine and nature. First by choosing to raise her completely holistically and as consciously as I could. As a parent we have the opportunity to learn quite a bit from the experience and our children. Secondly I used much of my early aromatherapy training on healing her fevers, ear infections, etc. I would use Lavender essential oil in her baths, to cleanse the air of impurities and a drop on her pillow at night. When she went to sleep at another’s home one drop of Lavender on her pillow would facilitate a sense of ease and remind her of her own Lavender scented pillow at home.
When we lived in the big house in Encino I had a large garden of medicinal and aromatic plants that Eve grew up with. She has been raised with mindfulness and alternative medicine, supplemented by Waldorf education. I find her to be a very sensitive, perceptive and creative individual. Eve often gives me valuable input when I compose a fragrance and has a her pulse on what is transpiring with trends, particularly in fashion.
When I began creating custom perfumes Eve requested one for herself, this was the early manifestation of what is now known as the botanical perfume Lyra. Her favorite aromatics are from the citrus family and continually makes comments referencing the mommy smell. I asked her this morning where the mommy smell usually manifests the most and she said, in the clothes that you leave on your bed. Interesting!
This post is part two of yesterdays entry titled “Mother Nature” and has been created in tandem with four other mothers and bloggers. Follow these links below to take the journey into Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us.
Part One: Mother Nature
Perfume Shrine: Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us Together
Scent Hive: Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us
Ayalas Smelly Blog: Mothers, Children and the Scents that Bond Us
More on the botanical perfume Lyra here at this journal.
Imagery: Most of the images here are old black and white engravings which have been scanned, cleaned and put placed on parchment, all utilizing the tool Photoshop. The picture by Eve was taken by me in 1999 in what was once my garden in Encino. The photo was utilized for a Christmas card. ©RoxanaVilla