A Pregnant Rebel with a Cause


Nothing ever has to be the way we’re told it’s supposed to be. I’ve known this in my heart for a long time, and have constantly and repeatedly rebelled against the idea of a linear life. There’s this Parisian saying: metro, boulot, dodo. Meaning the daily grind of hopping on a train, going to work, then going to bed. It’s precisely what I’ve rebelled against: a repetitive routine. Over the years, I have failed to follow the expected outline that is so common in our society. Even more so now in my pregnancy. I have been feeding this baby things far beyond the understanding or approval of our modern culture: I have been eating freedom and counterculture for two.

When I was younger, I didn’t have the words for it, nor the language or experience to justify this philosophy. All I knew was that the mere thought of a 9-5 gave me shivers. I remember receiving a phone call from an uncle a day or two after I graduated from college, days before I was about to hop on a plane to London for no other reason than to avoid the 9-5 career that everyone in my family expected me to start. Here was a dude that I considered pretty liberal, giving me unsolicited advice as to why my UK decision was wrong and bad. Thing is, I remember not so much his “advice” but rather the fear in his voice. He was the most free spirited and outspoken in the family, but I knew that his playing-it-safe advice came from his own regret at not being able to do the same with his life.

And now what do I have to show for my years of living wildly? Most people would ask to see my investment portfolio, bank account, or inquire about how many properties I own. Instead, I like to whip out a map of the world and tell you story after story of all the places I’ve been, people I’ve met, and magic I’ve experienced. And that is what I pray to continue to do over time: continue to accumulate these experiences, live and breathe love, follow the callings of my heart, and trust completely in Spirit. It’s by far the biggest lesson we’ve been passing on to our child, whom we’ve yet to meet, but I know totally gets it. The baby’s been our little sidekick these last six months. He’s gotten a front-row seat to some incredible experiences, none of which really fit into the accepted picture of mainstream pregnancy.

As soon as the first trimester woes began to fade, we were on an airplane bound for Costa Rica. The journey had it’s own intense set of challenges, but once we were there, the baby was introduced to his first sacred ceremony: Forest Dance. I shared these all-night rituals around the fire, beneath the stars and deep in the mountains, with people who have since become my family. Beautiful healers with incredible hearts.

The baby’s been in and out of the Bikram hot room, doing a pretty awesome job and being really sweet and calm. Particularly during freaking stupid-hard postures like Awkward Pose: I look at my belly in the mirror and I send him a mental message: “Alright buddy, let’s do this.”

He joined me in the annual women’s sweat lodge, a yearly ritual I share with my Brooklyn sisters. He’s also gotten to experience two sacred prayer ceremonies, during which he received blessings from healers and shamans. Before he’s born, he will be part of a green witch ritual of initiation and an all-women festival. The people I’ve gotten to meet through these rituals and experiences have been the greatest gift to me, and it is this gift I’ve shared with him. In all these instances, he’s soaked up music, prayers, love and blessings. But most of all, music. We’ve had the absolute privilege of being surrounded by incredibly talented musicians. This baby’s been serenaded more times than I can count: sound baths, live shows, intimate concerts, and most recently rocked out at Unifier festival, where in the green room Nahko put his hand on my belly and offered him a prayer.

I think that in doing all of these things, we’re setting the foundation for our lives with this baby: we’re not going to drop all we’re doing and turn our lives into a nursery filled with baby stuff. Rather, we’re welcoming this little guy into our lives by including him in our work and to our communities. The world is not going to revolve around him, but rather, he will be an active participant in the world we’ve created for ourselves.

And what a world it is! After months of searching, we have finally found our home. A gorgeous house in the woods that we will share with another couple, dear friends of ours who are also expecting their first child. (Our babies are due the same week. Talk about synchronicity.) I am overjoyed that we will bring these babies into a communal space, where music and amazing food will be daily vitamins. And more so that I will have a sister to share this experience with, as I often hear that as wonderful as motherhood is, those first months can become intensely isolating and lonely. Once upon a time, people lived in communities where women supported women and men supported men. I am proud to say we are stepping further and further into that paradigm.

I share all this because, in all honesty, despite all the healing work I’ve engaged in, I’ve been somewhat afraid since I found out I was pregnant. Afraid of how we would work it out. I guess as much as I like to live freely and wildly, following my heart despite opposition, a part of me was still dwelling on the fact that I hadn’t accomplished what is normally accomplished before a child is brought into the world: marriage, house, steady income. But now I see that the fear I felt was based on societal expectations. Of course I could give a fuck about what society expects from me, but I just didn’t realize how deep those weeds can take root.

And it’s all so timely. So in honor of spring, a season during which I planted seeds and intentions while weeding out my garden, and in celebration of this seasonal transition into summer, a time which will be ripe with sun, energy and magic, I offer you this affirmation that’s truly worked magic for me:



PS- I will be leading Qoya (a movement that infuses yoga, sensual movement and dance) at this year’s Wild Woman Fest. It’s a 5-day retreat richly imbedded in sisterhood, magic and healing. Come immerse yourself with me, my bump, and my tribe of Wild Women, atop a gorgeous mountain in the Berkshires.

Oh! And stay tuned for info on the upcoming Forest Dance in September. You can bet your shorts my partner, baby and I will be there.


My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.