Rachel Nusbaum is a partner, mom, daughter and sister who writes in pursuit of connection with herself and others. Sharing the journey of her son’s diagnosis of congenital heart disease on a national stage was the inspiration behind her creative business, Orchid Story. Her goal is to bring empowerment to women by illuminating their personal stories of struggle. You can find Rachel’s essays on her blog and Holstee and follow her on Instagram. Rachel has been a genetic counselor for many years and lives with her husband, kids, and 11 year old rescue dog in Vienna, VA.
Want to hear more? Here is a little Q&A:
LTYM: Who IS Rachel?
Rachel: Honest to a fault. Whipping out her iPhone to catch snippets of inspiration as she’s out walking her dog. Taking a moment to consider every ask from her kids so she can say yes as least some small fraction of the time. Candy, coffee, country music, and book lover. Working on improving the relationship with the Not Good Enough voice that sneaks around in her head. Heart mom. Interfaith practicing. Member of the sandwich generation. Trying to hone her writing voice and get her creative business off the ground. Loves to create rituals with her family and friends like Friday night pizza picnics and early morning bike rides at the beach.
LTYM: What is the hardest thing you’ve said to your children?
Rachel: My dad died suddenly when my daughter was almost 3 and my son had just turned 1. I needed to find the words to to convey what had happened to our kids, but especially to my daughter who is incredibly intuitive and soaks in all the emotions of the people around her. It was very clear she knew immediately that something was not right. I felt so strongly that we needed to convey the truth to her about her Papa. My sister helped me come up with a phrase that we repeated over and over again: Papa got very sick and then he died. We tend to shy away from speaking like this to other adults, saying things like passed away or avoiding it altogether, so in a way being upfront about what happened helped me to grieve. We have talked openly about death in the five years since then and she has had many, many challenging questions for which I’ve attempted a response.
LTYM: What is one of your favorite things you’ve ever written?
Rachel: This essay, The Dance, as I feel it captures a particular mix of anxieties that I never even knew existed until I was a mom. It also does a good job of describing how much can happen in a very short period of time both in our heads and in our surroundings when parenting young children.
LTYM: What surprised you most about becoming a mother?
Rachel: Becoming a mom forced me into deep self-reflection. I always pictured myself as a woman who would venture into motherhood with ease, creating effortless bonds with my children in the way that my mom seemed to with me. I’d be so good at it that I’d have a whole gaggle of children. No. My first years of being a mother were filled with anxiety and self-doubt that were completely unfamiliar to me. Nothing about it looked like that picture I had created in my head. It’s taken many years to delve into this disconnect and attempt to parent with a different perspective. It’s something I think about and work on every day.
LTYM: What is an important lesson your mother taught you?
Rachel: My mom taught me the meaning of friendship. As hokey as this sounds it is the absolute truth. She led by example, making time for card groups, gourmet clubs, you name it. Mom’s friends were our family. I was raised by my parents and this group of strong, smart, independent women. When I was In high school she lost two of her very best friends to cancer. I learned through this experience how to be with someone as they are experiencing a profound loss and also how important it is to actively demonstrate your love to the people important to you. The number of women who call my mom their best friend is astounding! As she’s faced huge challenges in the last decade it’s been beautiful to witness the coming together of these women to support my mom.
Check back later this week for another DC cast member spotlight…
Have you purchased your tickets to the show yet? Space is limited so don’t wait! Click HERE for full details.by