In celebration of Valentine's Day, we travelled to the tropical Caribbean island of Tobago where we met Sadé Selvon Abrahams, who together with her partner Kiwan and son Keyedé, live a romantic life on this sun-drenched island.
Photography by Milk Label
Driving through the windy, tropical streets of Tobago, passing fruit stands and catching glimpses of the powdery blue & green ocean, we made our way past colourful Caribbean homes until we arrived to a quiet street with a beautiful, airy home tucked into green tropical surrounds. Sadé came out to greet us with her baby on her hip, a huge warm smile stretched across her face.
Sadé has this look about her, the kind of look you only see in new mothers - a look of deep love for her son. So on a day which celebrates love, we thought we would share a story about a different kind of love, the love of a mother.
Can you tell us a little bit about who you share your home with?
"I share my home with two beautiful human beings, Kiwan, my partner and Keyedé my son. They are both quite similar and have a love for loud music and musical instruments. I love their free spirited nature. They are loving souls and create so much warmth in our home."
What are some of the rituals and rhythms of your home and family life?
"Mornings are our sacred time for family bonding and setting the tone for the day. The morning starts with Keyedé, he usually wakes up first for cuddles and Milk (My favourite most comforting part of the day)
After this I light a candle for my ancestors to honour those who came before me. I like to open the doors and windows in order for light and fresh air to enter our space.
Then we all have breakfast together, having breakfast together is a way of inclusion for Keyedé and showing him the importance of family time. This is one of many little rituals we have created as a family."
What can you tell us about your baby-feeding journey so far?
"Firstly I have to say that breastfeeding is one of the most sacred experiences I’ve ever felt.
The love and bonding that it fosters just melts my heart every single time.
Being a first time mum my experience started off a little rocky, it was painful and I honestly had no idea what to do. Luckily I was introduced to a wonderful lactation specialist. She was so gentle and encouraged me to relax and let go of scheduling and expectations. She reminded me to trust my body and intuition. She demonstrated how to massage the breasts and establish a good latch etc. This was a turning point for me. I started to focus on the bonding and the love, and I just allowed things to flow as they should. It's been 11 months and Keyedé and I both enjoy bonding and feeling each other's warmth and love when it's feeding time."
What makes you feel supported and safe as a woman/as a mother?
"What makes me feel supported as a woman / mother is having other mothers to share and communicate with. Motherhood can sometimes feel very lonely and isolated. Having a community and support system who understand the roller coaster ride of motherhood eases the ride in knowing that you’re not alone.
Nature is also a reminder that you have to trust the natural flow of life, surrendering and trusting all is as it should be in every moment (especially the trying times). I am held always and that makes me feel very supported.
My partner and best friend also makes me feel supported and loved. He always lifts me when I am in doubt or just energetically exhausted. I am grateful to have him as a partner and a father to our little dumpling boy."
What does community mean to you?
"Community and Tribe is golden! Our families live on another Island and it's just us the majority of the time. I realised that community was something that we had to build. Thankfully this happened organically and we were able to attract like-minded people/ parents who we can now call our family.
We lead very intentional lives and our tribe by extension do the same. To have this support system is amazing and I am grateful for it. We have developed really beautiful friendships that love, care and support each other. Kidé (abbreviated version of Keyedé) also has friends his age and I'm excited to see the bond evolve in the future. Raising children together, children who are self-aware, kind and socially conscious.
Is there any advice that you have received, heard or read about leading into motherhood that really stuck with you?
Trust your motherly instincts! As women we are so connected intimately with our children, we are cut from the same cloth. We feel what they feel. For far too long we have been conditioned to go against the natural order of nature, of birth, we need to get back to that space of understanding that our power and strength is innate, it is part of our makeup, it is sacred. The sacredness of motherhood and birth should be respected and honoured and trusted, not just by the health institutions but by us (WOMEN) We need to start trusting our bodies, mind and strength.
What does love mean to you, and has that meaning changed since becoming a mother?
Love is freedom
Love is openness
Love is communication
Love is family
What changed was the expansion of love. It’s unconditional and continues to evolve. I didn’t know a love like this existed like this before and I’m so grateful to experience it in this lifetime.
Was there a moment that you knew that Kiwan was the person you wanted to start a family with? And how has your relationship changed since the birth of Kidé?
Yes! Within the first month of being together we had a really lovely, tender and open moment together. We literally looked each other in the eyes and said “yes” and nodded our heads. I can't explain the feeling, but it was a knowing feeling in my gut. I just knew there and then that he would be the father to our child someday.
Our relationship is unconditional, we are forever bonded by the birth of our son. Of course a child will test the most delicate threads of your relationship but we have maintained an ebb and flow of trusting the process. We always flow back to each other and the ebb is an open forum for growth, communication and newness.
Tell us about the love you witness between your partner and your son.
The love between my partner and son is so precious. I see a deep love and connection in Kiwan’s eyes when he’s with Kidé. Kidé adores his father and that brings so much joy to my heart space. It's amazing to witness their love grow and evolve every day. They both share a love of music and bond over hard rock and drumming the kitchen counters. I love that Kiwan is an open space for Kidé to express himself. I’m excited to see their relationship evolve through the cycles of life.
Can you describe the feeling when you met your son for the first time?
Honestly I feel like I met my son before he was even born. He came to me in a dream, so when he entered this realm I felt like I already knew him. For 9 months we played him music, spoke to him, read to him etc. It was an exhilarating and euphoric experience when I met him. I felt my heart expand and my body surrender. The love was forever rooted in our sacred bond at that moment.
Lastly, what are your dreams for the season ahead?
For the season ahead I see purpose, I see love and I see peace. I see a deep sense of belonging not just to my son and partner but to the collective. I see intentional living and connection to Mother Nature. I see spaces being created for women to reignite that power and trust of self. I see birthing and motherhood returning to the sacredness of the old with a newness of this time and space.