Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to discover a truly special company, during a time of grief. Teamotions not only provided support though their incredible teas (which really work!), but through interactions with co-founder Rachel Crawford, who was kind enough to allow me to interview her for Nourishing Death. I very much wanted to share Teamotions and their unique way of addressing grief, mourning and emotional well-being through food, as well as discuss some of the issues surrounding infant and child loss and a grieving parent’s experience and relationship to food.
Please share with us a bit about yourself and the story behind Teamotions:
Teamotions is more than a tea company; it’s part of my personal journey. In 2008, I lost my twin daughters just weeks after they were born. Struggling to cope, I found solace in tea.
One day my sister Crystal said, “I wish there was something I could put in your tea to make you feel better.” Knowing nothing like that existed, we decided to create it. Our handcrafted teas are blended with adaptogen herbs. Adaptogen herbs have the ability to help the body respond to stress, boost immunity, and foster emotional well-being, transforming a simple cup of tea into a truly healing experience.
Our goal is to create a shift in our culture that changes healing into a worthy, supported, and no longer hidden, pursuit. Tea is our chosen vessel, our tool, our means of reaching out to others in a tangible way to express something intangible; our genuine care for their emotional well-being. Teamotions’ mission is to give people tangible tools, support and encouragement to pursue and find healing.
You’ve mentioned that you used tea as a comfort aid during your mourning process. What is it about tea that provided that comfort for you?
Tea is warm, soothing, calming, and enjoyable. It tastes wonderful but it is also quiet and dependable. I could have as many cups of tea as I needed and I never had to worry. It is healthy, safe, inexpensive, and doesn’t even have any calories in it. I never felt guilty about needing tea or leaning on tea. I could have tea in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning and it didn’t inconvenience the tea in any way. Tea didn’t get burned out comforting me or try to rush me through my pain. But most importantly, tea is quiet. It never judged me or said well-intentioned but deeply hurtful words about how everything happens for a reason or that at least I have a child or that I can still have more babies. That is the hardest part of grieving for me-all the people who tried to rationalize my pain away instead of just walk silently next to me through it patiently and lovingly.
Once you had the idea for Teamotions, how did you bring it to fruition?
I spent a year researching and developing all six blends. We created six blends, each one inspired by the stages of grieving. I read, researched, consulted, tested, blended and re-blended. It was really important that the blends were not only effective, but delicious. We didn’t want to create another “medicine” but a healing experience that people looking for comfort could enjoy from beginning to end. We wanted the ritual to provide as much comfort and support as the adaptogen herbs. Adaptogens are truly remarkable herbs that profoundly benefit our emotional healing and well-being (we have a video on adapotgen herbs here: http://www.youtube.com/teamotions) We knew the teas would be effective but creating the flavor profiles was by far the most difficult part. I have ridiculously high standards and I knew exactly what I wanted each one to taste like and I didn’t stop until all six were perfect. When they were all finished we knew we had something special. Our tea Enjoy Rest won First Place in the North American Tea Competition in 2010. Our teas truly are the most delicious and effective (and only) emotional well-being teas in existence.
I know that for many parents, especially women, who experience the loss of a child, our relationship to food can change drastically. This can range from adhering to a pregnancy diet, as consuming those foods you should avoid during pregnancy can become triggers, to avoiding items you ate on the day of your loss to it being a struggle to eat anything at all. Did you experience a change and if so, how did you deal with it? Did it ever change for you?
When my daughters died I basically lost my desire for food. Which is saying a lot because I am a diehard foodie. I truly love food, love cooking, and love eating. But I was so depressed that I lost my desire for all the things I loved before my daughters’ deaths. The only thing I wanted to do was drink tea. As a result I lost a lot of weight and was unhealthily thin. My family brought my weight loss to my attention with love. I made a conscious effort to eat again (eat healthy nutrition rich food) even though I didn’t really feel like it for my health. I was amazed at how positively it affected my emotional well-being. That was when the light went on for me how connected our physical health is with our emotional health. When we are in emotional pain our body is affected. When we don’t give our body nutrition and calories our emotional well-being is affected. Teamotion combines these two elements in each of our tea blends-emotional support and nutrition for physical and emotional well-being.
Another common experience for those grieving is to seek a reason or understanding as to why they experienced the loss of their loved one(s) – Why my loved one? Why me? Do you view the creation of Teamotions and the help you are providing to others through this endeavor, part of your answer to such questions?
To be honest those questions mean nothing to me. Who cares why? Unless the answer put my babies back in my arms why is meaningless to me. In my opinion any good Teamotions could ever do and any amount of people Teamotions could help could ever remotely add up to the good of my girls or make their death somehow worthwhile. Their deaths were tragic and sad and left a gaping hole in my heart forever. Teamotions is more about who I want to become and how I want to live in their honor. My girls are more honored in my healing than in my pain and we must never doubt that we are healing others when we heal ourselves. Teamotions just wants to help people live better lives. My girls inspired it, but it doesn’t make their deaths any easier for me. It does make living a little easier for me though.
I know Teamotions gives back to the community though contributions to charities and also via creating jobs. Could you tell us more about your Teas for Charity and the Teamotions Consultants?
Teamotions is passionate about supporting charities and causes that make a difference in the emotional well-being of others. We developed three teas that specifically address the emotional needs of our military and their families and 5% of all the retail sales of those three teas benefit charities that support the healing and rehabilitation of our wounded. We also partnered with the STILL Project to help fund a documentary about stillbirth. Our HAVE HOPE tea gives $2 of every tin and $5 of every refill pack sold to fund the creation of this very important film.
We also provide jobs. Teamotions passionately strives to comfort as many people as possible with its message of hope and healing. We have stepped outside the box of traditional direct sales to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to motivated, compassionate women looking to leave the world better than they found it. Teamotions is a revolutionary emotional well-being company that combines social entrepreneurship with relational sales to empower women to touch lives in a profound way, while building a home based business that is lucrative and fulfilling. Change lives, work from home, make money, make a difference. (See Teamotions Consultant)
We are also starting a series of educational video classes about healing and well-being and we plan to feature inspiring people and stories monthly to remind people of the good in the world. Soon we hope to do well-being conventions around the country and have a series of e-books in the works.