Change Maker and Diaper Changer
I’ll never forget cradling my newborn son whilst staring out the window at planes taking off from Heathrow. Our flat in London had a good view of the Heathrow flight path – a reality that felt quite cruel at that point.
The year before I got pregnant with Luke I‘d taken 14 long haul flights. Now here I was staring at imagined strangers coming and going – with their exotic destinations, their sense of purpose and excitement.
I wanted what they were having.
Having spent a lifetime cultivating a kind of expansiveness, I now felt stuck. In an identity: Mom. In a role: caring for this new human. In a physical space: my home and the coffee shops and parks with a 500 meter radius. I felt so very fixed. And it scared me to death.
And here’s the other thing that felt overwhelmingly definitive: my love for my son. As a rogue individual, I’d never imagined this kind of consumptive love, one that would shape my choices, preoccupy my mind and prescribe my movements.
Would becoming a mother make my life forever smaller?
I couldn’t articulate any of this to anyone. Not only because I struggled to put words to it, but also because I feared judgment. All I could see were thriving Moms who seemed to share none of my misgivings.
So I held my fear; I hid it. And the sense of stuckedness festered.
What I longed for were individuals and experiences that could – in the lightest and most joyful ways – remind me that I wasn’t at all stuck. I wanted conversations that didn’t focus on feeding schedules. I wanted physical movement that didn’t involve a pram. I wanted to explore parts of London that would stimulate my imagination and appreciation of beauty.
For just a day, I wanted to reclaim my expansiveness. To not feel alone. To not feel fixed. To explore the world and my place in it – before putting my son to sleep at night.
I never found my fellow Explorers in London. Four years and another child later we moved to Cape Town, where my husband has family, and where I felt I had more room to stretch out and begin to integrate all the different parts of myself.
As my children grew and my role evolved, I kept reflecting on how easy it is to feel stuck in life, how challenging it can be to navigate transitions, and how necessary it is to intentionally evolve into our ever changing roles.
Antacara is a product of my life’s experience: the 14 long haul flights and my two little boys. My dual roles as change maker and a diaper changer. It’s an an opportunity to cultivate joy as we continually cultivate diverse experiences – ensuring a light, expansive quality to our lives that fuels us on this lifelong journey of parenting.
My sons are the greatest gift this life has given me, helping me to liberate a playful ease that decades of trying to save the world had squashed. It just took me a while – too long – to realize that. I wish I’d had an Antacara community when they were both born – to help me see that my children had in no way made my life smaller, they had, in fact, set me free.
About Jillian Reilly
“ By being explorers we are not withdrawing from life but facing it with renewed vigour, clarity and confidence. By really tapping into our senses and responding to the beauty around us in a new way, Antacara re-equips us with the tools we need to surge ahead. “ —Jillian Reilly
I crossed my first frontier when I was fifteen years old and journeyed to France on a school exchange program. The first in my family with a passport, I quickly developed a taste for adventure and exploration – of myself and the world. Yes, geographic frontiers were always my thing.
This taste for exploration took me to South Africa in 1993 – the country on the brink of its historic elections. I’d just graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in African History and English Literature and was determined to have a front row seat to this historic transformation. After monitoring the 1994 elections, I stayed for another four years facilitating organizational development and change with community groups and non-profits. An extraordinary time for a young woman determined to make an impact.
Antacara experiences develop your explorer’s mindset, preparing you for a lifelong journey of growth and discovery.
Push far past your perceived limitations.
The places that challenge you are the places where you need to go!
Forget about just fixing your problems. Change your point of view to unleash your sense of possibility.
Join Jillian in Paris!
Join Antacara Founder, Jillian Reilly and Anne Ditmeyer (creative consultant) on a 1-DAY EXPERIENCE FOR MOMS IN PARIS: MAKE THE CITY YOUR PLAYGROUND OF SELF DISCOVERY
When: Tuesday, September 20th
From: 10am to 5pm
Event Description: Being a mom is all-consuming, but it is not all you are.
It’s time to rediscover yourself!
We’d like to remind you that it is possible to focus on yourself, your needs, your personal goals, while focusing on your children too.
You’ll gain a new tribe of like minded Explorers. You might think you have to, but no one has to go through motherhood alone.
You’ll awaken your curiosity. Children explore with such ease – when last did you question something or step into unknown territory?
We want to inspire you to start moving through your world like an Explorer. Roaming, tracking, observing, and learning.
You’ll emerge more grounded and energized, ready to acknowledge and act upon your personal goals, leading you to new frontiers.