Waters of Life, Watercolor, 2014


It came to me that women are water carriers. During gestation we carry our young in a buoyant pool of water. There the water protects and is also a source of nourishment. When birthed, our young are then sustained by mother’s milk developed in the breast and rich in nutrients and protective cells received from the blood circulating through our bodies. We are water carriers, we are mothers, we are sustainers of life. We carry water on our heads from distant, often dangerous areas to cook, clean and to further nurture our families. We often make enormous sacrifices and take immeasurable risks to bring forth life and to then nurture those lives. Our relationship to water is a spiritual one. Returning to the water heals us and reconnects us to the Source of which we are an integral part.

Anoa Jean-Paul is a holistic health practitioner, artist and registered nurse with over ten years experience in maternal child care. She became interested in lactation when she first began working with mothers and babies and realized that they were being discharged home and still unable to breastfeed. Anoa worked at Harlem Hospital Center for eight years, during which time the facility became the first Baby Friendly hospital in New York City and the second in the state. She has been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 2008. She acknowledges her work as an important part of the continuum of midwifery care and considers it vital to community healing.

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