Becoming Again Through Major Life Change with Lindsay Blount
After taking a DNA test last year, Lindsay Blount found out she gad a father and twenty+ siblings she had never met. As a result, she finds herself becoming more fully herself by living in the liminal space of identity.
Our conversation covers:
- Her mothering journey so far
- The surprising discovery that shifted her understanding of herself and her family
- The effects on this knowledge on herself, her family, and her worldview
- How she coped through the disorientation of such a large shift in her identity
- How the shift changed how she mothers
- Her greatest takeaways about identity itself and how we can work with the possibility of the liminal space
Lindsay Blount has a lot of labels: she’s a wife, a mom, a doctoral student, an assistant to a Dean, a writer, and a photographer. Recently, she had her identity completely uprooted when she took a 23andMe DNA test during the pandemic and found out some shocking news. In the last year, Lindsay has taken a deep dive into identity and it’s meaning down to the root. She challenges everyone to consider identity has something that is not a fixed part of your being, rather it is something you can learn and relearn.
Lindsay is currently writing her first book on identity shake ups and she hopes her story will inspire everyone to rip out the roots of their own identity and start creating a more true and authentic one.
Drafted by AI. Please excuse typos.
Hi there and welcome back to rewild mothering. This week I’m talking with Lindsey blunt. She has a lot of labels. She’s a wife, a mom, a doctoral student, an assistant to a dean, a writer and a photographer. Recently, she had her identity completely uprooted when she took a 23andme DNA test during the pandemic and found some shocking news. In the last year, Lindsay has taken a deep dive into identity and its meaning down to the root. She challenges everyone to consider identity as something that isn’t a fixed part of your being rather, it’s something that you learn and relearn as you grow. Lindsay is currently writing her first book on identity shakeups, and she hopes her story will inspire everyone to rip out the roots of their own identity and start creating a more true and authentic one. Our conversation today focuses on how she’s becoming again more fully herself by living in the liminal space of identity. And I do want to apologize we had some technical difficulties on my end, but this conversation is so powerful, I really wanted to share it. The future relies on the wellness of mothers. Welcome to rewild mothering, a weekly podcast about holistic maternal wellness for natured centered mothers to help us grow into the wild guides we envision for ourselves, our families and our planet. Each week, we alchemize science and the sacred weaving together modern research, ancient wisdom and mind body spirit practices that will help us channel the transformative power of mature essence, the developmental period of motherhood. I’m your host, Allie Davis, a maternal mental health eco therapist and a mother walking this path with you. Let’s reclaim mothering as a wild initiation with Mother Nature’s guide. I am really excited to talk to you today because reflecting on your experience, you’ve gone through huge shifts in your mothering identity two times or more, but one was just so why don’t I describe it, but one was just so big that it really helps us reflect on that liminal space of identity. And when we’re in these shifts, and like a little jello in the cocoon, you know, becoming butterfly putting ourselves back together. So tell me a little bit about your mattress and so your growth into motherhood and a little bit about yourself and yourself as a mother.
So I, I am 39 years old right now and my my daughters are just turned six and seven. So I had my kiddos in my 30s my first little girl, I, I Well, they’re both my dream come true. But she’s sort of, I called her my dream come true from the beginning. Because I when I was when I turned 30, I was still single and I thought I might this motherhood thing might not happen for me. And then I met my husband and then became mom, but my little girl. She showed up six weeks after my father passed away. So I I sort of went through a little bit of a, it was a hard sort of traumatic trauma. And then amazingness happened within six weeks of each other, like just pure sadness, and then pure amazingness. So her birth was really interesting. Just because I I was still sorting through those feelings of my dad passing away. I actually had to take him off life support when I was eight months pregnant with my daughter. So that was I still haven’t I don’t even know that I’ve even still yet processed what that actually means. But yeah, so my little girl, I have to say I don’t I don’t know that I would ever tell her this because I don’t want to put that pressure on her. But she really saved me going through that process of my father passing away when I was pregnant. I couldn’t break down like I because I had because I didn’t want to go into labor. Like I had my baby inside me so I couldn’t break down. So she sort of saved me from an absolute breakdown with my dad. And she has saved me so many more times after that. And then 13 months later, I had another little girl they’re they’re 13 months apart. And they’re very different little girls my my oldest is quiet and independent. And just a book nerd and my youngest is goofy and silly and I call her my little octopus because she always wants her arms and legs wrapped around me. She’s sort of my my little my little shadow. But yeah, that’s sort of my, my journey into motherhood. My second daughter actually, when I when I was 23 weeks pregnant, she tried to show up so I was on bed rest for four months with my with my second daughter. So both pregnancies were pretty traumatic, but the outcomes are my dreams come true. So
well. You’ve also had another meeting. described it as a traumatic experience following the surprising information from a DNA test. So can you tell me a bit about this part of your life’s journey? Yeah.
So my parents divorced when I was 12. And my stepfather when I was 13, told me that my father is not my real dad. And I immediately called my dad and he said, That’s not true. He’s lying to you. And then when I turned 18, my mom said, it’s actually true. Your dad is not your biological father. And she said that she used a donor to conceive me. She was donor sperm. And I called my dad again, and he said, that is not true. And then, a few months before my dad passed away, he had cancer. So a few months before he passed away, I was actually, he lived in Florida, and I was down in Florida for my baby shower, and we went for a walk. And I said, You know, I got this, I have this little girl, my first baby and my belly, and this is her bloodline. This is her heritage to someone’s lying to me, either you’re lying to me, or mom’s lying to me. I just wonder the truth. It doesn’t change anything. But I would love to know the truth. And so he admitted that he’s not my biological father. And when I asked him, If my mom used a donor, he said, I don’t know anything about that. And then he passed away six weeks later, so he sort of took the truth to his grave. on who I am, I will say that I believed in my dad, from the time I was 13, I, my dad was an amazing father. And so I looked up to him and wanted to be like him. So I believed him more than I believed, my mom, and so on during the panel, when the pandemic head had a lot of time to sort of think about things. And so I took a 23andme tests, because I just, I just wanted to know the truth, I thought maybe I could find out more about my ancestry, maybe maybe can find my biological father. And so on May 16th, of this past year, I, that I got the notification that my results were ready, and six half siblings popped up. And I emailed all of them. And one of them got back to me a sister, and she said that she’s donor conceived. And she had the same story that my mom had, that the donor was a med student in Georgia in the early 80s. And she said, that’s the story that all of the siblings have. And then she told me, there’s more on ancestry.com you can do DNA, DNA tests or ancestry. And then since May, we’ve had five more siblings pop up. So we are at 20 siblings right now. Wow. So that’s my first DNA story.
Your family? Yeah, yeah. Did having, you know, your little girls, you know, kind of make you courageous enough to, to find that information, or what kind of shifted for you was it just the pandemic and having the time to kind of think through it and make that decision or
so I think I took some time. I mean, it’s been seven years since my father passed away when I took the test. And I for a while. And so I have an I have a sister that I share mom with, when my mom got remarried, she had a little girl. And my sister and I are 16 years apart. And we’re really close. And she took 23 me a few years ago. And she kept saying, you got to do it, try it out. And I felt like I was dishonouring my father by finding out who the biological father was. And so I talked to I talked to my mom, I talked to my stepmom, I talked to a lot of people and they sort of helped me see that my dad is going to be my dad no matter what. And I can honor Him and in many different ways that has nothing to do with learning my heritage. And I think to just my girls looking at them, and so my nose doesn’t come from my mom’s side. And my and my little girl looks just like me, and it’s her blood and her her ancestry. And I thought that was a very important thing to know, your ancestry. And I think that was also sort of a guiding thing that my girls are going to start school soon. They’re in kindergarten in first grade now, but they’re going to start making family trees. And if I don’t know my identity, it’s not fair to also have my kids not know their identity and lie to them about about their identities. So that was one of the that was a major thing for me to want to learn this. And because it’s not just for me, this affects generations of identities.
So I have a couple questions that I’ve been thinking about. But I’ve never done a DNA test because of my concerns about privacy. And since you’ve really kind of explored this world, can you share with me any concerns you had or how you kind of thought through that process? And yeah,
so that’s something I’ve actually been thinking a lot about, because on ancestry, all of my trees are private, but I have a family tree. We so I should say we we figured out who the donor is. We’re, we’re 99% sure it’s him. We did some genetic genealogy one have a second cousin that’s related to all of the siblings popped up. We reached out to her because she would be the donors first cousin, we reached out to her and she helped us figure out who our biological father is. We sent him a letter And he emailed back a few months later, he actually emailed me and he said that he understands what me and my colleagues are going through. So he’s called us colleagues. Yeah, but he does not wish he he’s not the man we’re looking for. He does not wish to be contacted. We do know it’s him though we, we DNA connect with everyone on his mom and dad side, a lot of cousins, and we have donated for about 14 years in different states. And my siblings match where he was by their ages. So we know it’s him. But so, but because we don’t have DNA confirmation, I don’t want to make my tree public and have everyone find out who he is just to protect everyone’s privacy. So I actually have two trees, I have a tree with my biological father and hit and all of his ancestors. And then I have a tree of my dad that raised me because so I believed, up until May that I was 50%. German, and my grandmother was this amazing German woman, she was stubborn, and she was proud. And she was powerful. And I just looked up to her so much she passed away when I was a teenager. But just when I think of my grandmother, I think of someone that came over from Germany, she was pregnant with my father, she, um, she just assimilated into American life. And she’s just an amazing woman. And I always thought I’m her blood runs through my veins, I am who I am. Because I have this like amazing ancestor. And then I in may find out that she’s actually not in my veins, but I still believe that she has had a hand in making me who I am. I think my DNA was the guiding force for some of the reasons why I’m the way I’m but I think, I think my father and my grandmother that sort of raised me, I guess I am who I am because of them as well. Sort of like a mix. Yeah, so I’ve got two trees. Well, that’s
definitely supported by epigenetics, where, you know, really our environment and the love that you receive from from your father affects how how your DNA shows up and expresses itself.
Yeah, and I’m a lot like my dad, I, I definitely am a lot like my dad. But learning through the siblings and knowing who my biological father is. And I will say he’s, he’s very prominent, he’s very Google can Google him and a million things pop up. He’s extremely successful, and very well known in his state and his city. So because of that, I can Google I can Google him and find out a lot of things about him. And I can watch videos of him giving speeches. So that’s been really interesting, because I can, I can see where I get my grit, my determination, I can see where I get my like, wanting more. Not, this gonna sound bad, but like not wanting more power. But being a powerful woman. I get that through my DNA. And I know that because of also my siblings, I have this new creative streak. Well, I’ve always had it, but I never really, fully embraced it. Until I found all these siblings who have all of them are creative in some way, which isn’t on our mom’s side. And in that part is not part of my dad that I grew up with. He wasn’t creative. I wouldn’t call him creative. So I can see where the DNA has played a huge part in who I am. But I think the way that my dad raised me and my mom raised me helped me to choose what I what I was going to do with those traits that I got from DNA, if that makes sense.
So it’s a piece of your overall puzzle. And, and you’re getting to kind of claim some of those gifts even though I mean, are you disappointed in how he showing up? It feels really distant to be called a colleague.
Yeah. So I’ve realized, and this took me a few months to admit that I put a lot of expectations on him that aren’t really fair. As much as I mean, there are days where I’m like, I’m not a really big fan of my biological father. And I don’t like him right now. And I go through those days. And I know that some of my siblings do too. But I put a lot of expectations on him in that letter. I get none of us and I and now I can say this for my siblings, none of us wanted to replace our father. None. That’s it. None of us are looking for another dad. We’re not even looking for a seat at Thanksgiving dinner. We were just looking for maybe some medical information, maybe how many times he donated. So we know how many siblings are coming at us, because at this rate in the last few months, we’re getting one a month. So we’re assuming that our numbers are probably in the hundreds of siblings. So it would be nice to know how many are coming at us. And in my letter that I wrote to him I I said that I was sort of looking for a mentor in a way. If he ever wants to grab a cup of coffee, I’m looking for a friend. So I feel I feel disappointed that he chose to protect his reputation over the truth and so that that part feels disappointing. All of the expectations that I put on him though, I’m understanding now that that if I’m feeling some type of way about that, that’s what I have. So if he doesn’t want to be my friend, those are expectations I put on him but it would have been nice for him. to maybe be just decent and just tell the truth, you know, and not lie because it’s my existence. And I think something that I’m struggling with and that a lot of my siblings are struggling with is the the man whose reason for our existence is denying our existence. That’s, that’s a really interesting thing to walk through. Yeah. Yeah.
Well, so, you know, we talk about the liminal space of identity and mature essence, and that shift into a mothering identity like, you know, it is really hard, and you’re going through a huge shift again. So what did it feel like for you to have your knowledge about your yourself, although in a way, it confirmed a lot of your gut instinct. But, you know, on a conscious level, it just shifted. So suddenly,
it did, and it and it felt like it so it felt like those big defining identity moments like becoming a mother, and I think not a lot of people talk about the, the mourning and the sadness that comes when you become a mother, that you have to mourn the person that you once were the identity that you once had, because you can never go back to who you once were, before you became a mom. And I’m even saying, from the moment that you found out you’re pregnant, because I mean, I’ve suffered a miscarriage. And I understand that, that the moment I found that I was pregnant, I was a mom. So even if, even if your baby is an earth sign, you’re still very much a mom, and you still can never go back to who you were before that positive pregnancy test. So that that and it’s a shake up. And while I know I now know on the other side of it, that I’m I wouldn’t I don’t want to go back to the person I was before I became a mom. It’s a definite shake up and something that I had to walk through. And I, I felt that when my father died, I that phone call that dropped you to your knees, I got it. And and then then I felt that again, when I got the DNA test, and then again when my biological father emailed me, so I think that there definitely is that liminal space of becoming a mother or becoming donor conceived from In my case, but I think we’re all sort of struggling with this and the pandemic right now. I don’t think that any I think we’re all in this weird liminal space where we can’t go back to who we were before the pandemic. I mean, I’ll speak for myself I was I was the quintessential target Mom, I was running, going to work dropping the kids off going to work taking the cheerleading, taking the horseback riding, going to target, all I wanted was to go to Target and home goods. I just wanted stuff, just stuff made me happy. And then the pandemic hit, and all of the things that I used as, as I’m now realizing as coping mechanisms, like shopping and being busy all the time, so I didn’t have to think that they were no longer available to me. And so and so all of our identities have been shaken up by that even when we go out in public. And we’re wearing a mask we our physical identity is is completely uprooted. Yeah. So I think I think the feelings are the same whenever you have an identity shakeup, whether it’s becoming a mom, going through a pandemic, finding out your donor conceived. Yeah,
one of the goals for my work and for this podcast is just to have, you know, practical real skills people can use to go through these death and rebirth cycles in a more graceful way. Because especially when you don’t know about them, you think what the hell is happening, I’m feeling crazy, you know, nobody’s prepared me, nobody’s helping me. So you have such important wisdom to share about how to rebirth yourself and reintegrate. So what practices helped you get there, or what kind of mindset or or just anything that we could, you know, steal from or glean from your experience.
I found a few things that have helped me get through this and looking back, it’s probably things that helped me get through my father stuff, and then also just becoming a mom, but getting still and sometimes I know, as a mom, and some single moms, you don’t have a lot of time to be still, but maybe even just getting up 15 minutes before the kids do. to just have a moment to just sit down, drink a cup of coffee, plan out the day, whatever you need to do read a book, listen to a podcast, listening to podcasting in driving in the car has helped a lot. But getting finding a way to get still has been really helpful for me and the pandemic force the stillness for me, when I found out all about this about my donor conception, I I couldn’t leave I couldn’t go anywhere. You couldn’t even go to the park then. So that was I was sort of forced into the stillness. So I started grasping for really inspirational thinkers. So Glennon Doyle is someone that has changed my way of thinking her book, untamed came out right when I was finding out about all of this and I took a bath and I listened to Glenn and Doyle and she said these Words that just sort of permeate everything I do now, and that she kept saying over and over again that I am real. And in the moment, I needed to hear that when my biological father was essentially telling me I’m not, I needed to hear those words. So I think finding, I mean, I call Glenn and Doyle, my North Star, because she totally just feels that way for me right now. But I think finding somebody that speaks to to you to what you’re going through, it could be a best friend, which I have a lot of best friends that have that have definitely helped me and I call the ones I need, I have one best friend that’s very real. And she’ll tell me when I’m going off the deep end. Or I have one best friend that I know I can call that day, it’ll just be roses and sunshine. So I think finding the people that you that are sort of your tribe, and that can pull you through it and be real with you. And then one of the biggest things that’s really helped me through this is finding a creative way to to chase joy. So when all of this was going on, I needed something outside of myself. So outside of what out of the identity that it was sort of in flux at the moment, it liminal. I was in that liminal sort of identity. And I picked up a camera that my husband had bought me for our wedding that I haven’t touched and Nikon camera, and I started taking pictures of nature, and then my kids and then my friends, kids. And I would come home from these photo shoots. And my husband would say like, God, your eyes are wild, and not in like a crazy way, but in like a way that we see in our kids when our kids are playing. And they learn something new or they they play with something that’s brand new, and you just see that joy in their eyes, which I totally have realized now that our kids are just joy chasers, they just go from one joy to the next. That’s how they live their lives. So when we’re doing something that creates that joy, it’s it’s like we’re childlike, again, which has really pulled me through crisis. And looking back, I’ve always used creativity to pull me through crisis. I mean, I journal if I’m going through something, I’ll start writing and journaling. And that’s creative. Listening to music and creating a playlist that is inspiring. That’s being creative. So finding, finding joy and finding creativity has really helped me through this.
So I mean, I love this. I have not read that book, which is so strange, called untamed. But
oh, you really made it. It’s absolutely amazing.
You are real you exist, you know, you’re embedded. And I love that. You compare that connection to creative source as that wilderness that is helping you kind of bring it back and know yourself in this new situation. Love it. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah, tapping into creativity has and, and for me, it’s double. it’s doubly important. Because I’m realizing that creativity is part of my DNA. And so I have, I’ve always had a nerdy creativity. I I have a bookshelf of Shakespeare and Henry David Thoreau. Those are my favorite books. I’m a total nerd. I am an English major. I got my master’s in English literature. And I remember when I was a kid, Emily Dickinson was my favorite poet and I was like, 12 years old in my bedroom with a nightlight on. And like reading Emily Dickinson, not normal. 12 year old, but that’s what I did. So I think it’s always been there. But I’ve always like sort of shut it down. Because my family What didn’t have that my mom always says like, I don’t know, where you got this obsession with Shakespeare. My family is nurses and plumbers. It doesn’t make sense. Um, so I feel like now I sort of have this license to be creative through my siblings, and then also licensed to be creative. Because I, I used creativity to get me through this crisis. And I’m looking back realizing I’ve done this, I’ve done this all along. So and I think when you’re being creative, you’re as close to the source God, whatever you call, the universe, whatever that whatever speaks to you, but I feel like that that’s how you get that closer to it as being creative.
Yeah, that portal into that energy that is all of you and more than you. Yes,
So how did all those experiences shift your mothering?
I’ll speak about the way that I mother now and I’m finding out that a lot of people have do this, but no one’s shared this with me. So I suppose I’ll start with my dad, when my before my dad passed away, my best friend had a baby. And I remember him saying, I’m so proud of her. She’s such a good mom. And I remember thinking one day, I’m going to become a mom. And he’s going to tell me that and for some reason, it’s like those little things that just stick. So that stuck with me. And then he passed away six weeks before he could tell me that he was proud of me, for the mom that I am. And I and I have held on to that for the last seven years. And then my biological father comes and so I will say he and I are we are in sort of the same industry and I’m getting my doctoral in something that he would be very interested in. So I kind of I thought when I wrote him the letter that I’m getting my doctoral and and I’m sort of following in his footsteps that he might be proud that he has a biological father, or biological daughter that is successful. And not even just me. But my siblings. My siblings are incredibly successful people. And so I felt like he, he’s got to be proud of us. And then he rejected me. So I had two instances where a father one rejected and one passed away, and I didn’t get to hear the proud and I’ve really been thinking about what that means for my daughters. So they started horseback riding. And they, they were saying to me, aren’t you so proud of me. And I realized that I don’t want to put that as part of their identity, my pride is part of their identity. So I flip it Now when I say to them, are you proud of yourself. And now it’s become such a thing that I don’t even have to say that anymore. They come up to me now. And they say, I’m so proud of myself, instead of asking for my approval, or my pride. It’s just innate. Now which thing I love that about, I love it. And I will tell you, I’m disturbingly proud of my kids. It’s disgusting, how proud I am of them. And I do tell them, but I wait for them to say at first, I wait for them to say, Whoa, I’m so proud, I did my first jump there, they’re hunter jumpers, and they just finally got their first jump, and they’re so proud of themselves, and I can see it in their face. And it has nothing to do with me, or my pride, it is all about them. And, and so they won’t grow up needing to hear from me or my husband that we’re proud of them, it’s just going to be part of their, it’s going to be a rooted thing in their own identity. So that’s been a huge shift for me in mothering. And then also just letting my kids see when I’m sad, I had to tell them that they have. So a lot of aunts and uncles and a lot of cousins. And actually one of my sisters came to visit in October and or in December, and my kids got to meet her. And that’s her aunt, and they got to, you know, my sister got to meet her nieces. And so trying to sort of like, have them understand that there’s a lot of people that can love them. And and families are made in many different ways. And so that’s been really interesting to teach my kids to, I will say that this while in the in the beginning of it. And in the muck of all of this, it felt awful. But I’m seeing all the blessings that are coming from it. And I’m grateful for it. I mean, there are days where I’m not so grateful. And I’m super sad. And I’m mad, and I’m all of the things. But I think this has been an amazing thing. And then for my mom and I we’ve had to really repair a relationship because I didn’t believe her for a really long time. And so that was that something that her and I have sort of been walking through. And she’s been going through having to have the world know that she used a donor. And that’s something unfortunately, that is sort of a source of shame for a lot of moms from the 70s and 80s. That used donors. So she’s working through that as well. So it’s just been a lot of processing.
Yeah, seems like processing and repairing and then making conscious choices to kind of heal some some of the trauma in your line so that your girls don’t have that going forward.
Absolutely, yeah. And yeah, I think it’s funny because I, I’ve always wondered how these, like, like Oprah Winfrey. So she grew up in a really hard way. But then she didn’t become her, she became something completely different. And I’ve always wondered how people do that. Because my relationship with my stepfather was not good. We, it was a really hard time growing up with him. And I used to think like, I got to be different, I got to choose differently. And I’m realizing now that it comes down to our identity and our very root of our identity, that it is not something that is fixed about us. It’s something we can absolutely learn and relearn. So just because, you know, someone in my family was a certain way doesn’t mean that that’s going to be part of my identity. I don’t have to take that part on I can create something different. Yeah, so that’s been super powerful for me to learn.
Yeah, you’re doing such important work, you know, healing this and moving forward and sharing your story and sometimes so much easier to see ourselves and what we’re going through when we have a lens into a different situation that’s similar, but you know, different enough that we can be open to the wisdom there. I mean, I’ve always felt like when I go through these death and rebirth process, there’s this long period of fragmentation that’s painful, and I’m dismembered and to share that so vulnerably as you’re pulling it back together and redefining who you are, as is really, really powerful. Thank you for listening. rewild mothering is about sharing our stories. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on today’s episode on Instagram. Let’s connect there at rewild mothering and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to get next week’s episode as soon as it’s live. Until next time, may we remember our place as a part of the natural world may we reclaim mothering as a revolutionary act, and may we rewild the ways of caring for our human family and our living planet.