Living on the Edge

From the devastation in Japan, to the threat of wind-carried radiation, to the predictions of our coast being next in line for a massive earthquake (including one prediction within the next week), I am feeling more than a bit on edge.  Living on an island is an interesting feeling – it makes me feel like we are somehow separate from the vulnerabilities of the mainland, our safe haven from the world at large.  This week has changed that.

Now I am supposed to be dosing our family with iodine, eating a whole lotta seaweed, stocking up on extra food and water, bolting furniture to the walls… And I just can’t bring myself to take action.  I look at the photos streaming in from Japan and New Zealand, and I KNOW that in a moment our lives could change forever, and yet I sit here in –

Denial. Perhaps it is denial.  Maybe I just can’t go there in my head and it feels safer to just stay in our comfortable daily reality.  Each day I think to myself: “I should go buy iodine today”, and then I don’t.

Reasonability. The authorities assure us that the radiation threat, if it does reach our coast, will not be at significant levels.  True, an earthquake could come next week, or it could be one hundred years from now, that’s the thing about earthquakes – we don’t know.  Why live in fear now?

Guilt and Inadequacy. Ok, there’s a good dose of this.  I was so deeply relieved to connect with another mom this week who is in a similar state of paralysis.   But why wouldn’t I take preventative measures if I can?  Why not do everything I can to protect my children?  I don’t have a good answer for this, beyond the next emotion:

Affirmation. We have two healthy, well-nourished children who eat seaweed every day for lunch simply because they love it.  We live on a small farm with a large stash of preserved food, abundance in the garden, and livestock.  If we were to run out of water, we could boil water from the nearby creek.  We are in far better shape than many families in our region to cope with a natural disaster.

and last but not least –

Trust. I don’t know what lays ahead for our family, our community, this world.  None of us do.  I can run through my range of emotions and responses from practicality to guilt, but for me it comes down to trust. Trust in myself, my family, our land, our local & global community.

If and when disaster strikes, small or big, we simply take the next step forward, whatever should be required of us in this moment.  We watch with fascination the stories that emerge from disaster of ordinary humans who do extraordinary things in support of one another.

Love and light to all those in the world struggling with adversity, big and small.  Here’s to the extraordinary ordinary within each of us, and the unknown territory we walk each day.


How are recent world events shaping your experience as a parent?  I’d love to hear from some of you.

Mama Renew

About Sarah Juliusson

Sarah Juliusson, founder of Mama Renew, is a gifted facilitator and writer on the journey of birth & motherhood. She brings two decades of experience supporting families through pregnancy, birth and motherhood to her work. Sarah is mother to two growing boys, a playful crafter with cloth & wool, student of traditional food preservation, and a diva at heart. Join the conversation on & on facebook at

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