Amy Robertson: athlete, artist, and, (since you asked), mayor's wife
She continued, more seriously, “I love the birth experience and knew I wasn’t going to have any more children. I’ve always been attracted to pregnant women and am honored at the privilege of being a part of their experience. The doula’s role is to be there for the mom with kindness and compassion. For some reason, it feels like something I’m really good at. What to say and what to do comes naturally to me. I love it.”
Some of Amy’s clients come to her through the Youth Parenting and Pregnancy Program, where she volunteers. Once a week, mothers-to-be aged 13-21 attend classes on pregnancy and baby care. Then the young women and doulas share a meal.
“These women often don’t have a partner or family support,” Amy said, “so it feels especially important to be there for them.”
Amy keeps to a rigorous athletic regimen as well, swimming a mile three times a week and doing yoga for an hour every day.
“I have a lot of energy to burn off,” she explained, “before I can sit down and focus.”
She played soccer and ran every day for the last five years as well, until a hip injury sent her to the pool. But her hip hasn’t kept her from riding her bike everywhere.
“Our car has had the same tank of fuel since the summer,” she commented. “It’s still over half full.”
Amy’s creative passion is weaving cedar bark baskets. She majored in studio art at Colorado College, but claims to be more crafty than artistic.
“I love every step of cedar baskets,” she said. “Walking in the woods to find the trees, harvesting the bark, how it feels in your hand, how it smells. I love that it’s free and there are so many different materials to put into the work: seaweed, grasses, bark. I like ending up with pieces that are functional as well as visually pleasing.”
Amy travelled to Haida Gwaii last spring, to learn from weavers there.
“I learned a lot about materials preparation,” she said. “I want to go back and sit with the grandmas and hear their stories.”
Amy takes naturally to the roles of mother, farmer, craftsperson, doula and volunteer, but she never thought she would end up involved in politics.
“It was a hard decision in first place,” she said. “I was ignorant of what it would mean for her family. At first, it was important to me that it wouldn’t change our children’s lives and I resisted using the opportunities to be more active. Now I feel a lot more confident about my role in Vancouver. I know there’s a big support group out there. It feels like home."
I asked her about her contributions to Vancouver as the Mayor’s wife.
“I think the intimate moral support I provide at home is incredibly important,” she said. “Also, if I do the more mundane chores, Gregor can be more focused and available to his job. Doing stuff outdoors together helps him maintain balance. We try to bike in Pacific Spirit Park or paddle our canoe in the ocean when we can, things you can do in a few hours.”
Amy also accompanies Gregor to a lot of events. “I usually luck out and connect with one or two people over the course of the evening and have a great conversation,” she said. “I really enjoy that. And I like having a role that makes me part of a team. Everyone is working so hard that it inspires me. I really love teamwork.”
Amy manages to embrace her team role while maintaining a strong sense of individuality.
“A lot of people don’t know I’m the mayor’s wife,” she said. “If people don’t know that, I don’t bring it up. Someone asked me once, ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ and I answered ‘What does your husband do? Why didn’t you tell me that?’”
When Rick Cluff of the Early Edition asked her how it felt to be introduced as the wife of the mayor and then tell people that she is a weaver, she answered:
“I’d rather be introduced as a weaver and then tell people that I’m the wife of the mayor.”