Coming soon: 20 tiny toes and 2 big hearts

Posted by
Majka Burhardt
 February 8, 2016

Dear Harold and Maude,

Those aren’t your names—don’t worry. I promise we will have better ones picked out by the time you make your debut in June. You’ve been living and growing in my belly for 18 weeks, I just found out that you’re a boy and a girl, and it seemed the time to write you your first letter. Yes, it’s one letter for both of you. You might as well get used to sharing from the start.

I have not been waiting with eager anticipation to be a mother. I’m 39 and I’ve been focused on doing everything else instead. 2015 had me ringing in the new year on top of Patagonia’s Fitz Roy, leading a 38-person symposium about how to disrupt traditional conservation, spending two months working three back-to-back stints in Ethiopia and Mozambique, climbing the hardest ice of my life in at home in New Hampshire, writing a proposal for my third book, taking seven weeks to climb splitter alpine granite in Chamonix with your dad, and finishing a film that has been four years in the making. I’ve been busy. I like being busy.

Theoretically, it’s been possible for me to become a mom for decades. That’s a long time to keep choosing to pursue things other than what most people dub “the greatest role you can have in life.” For me, I’ve been on the fence about making the decision to become a parent. Not because of you. Because of me.

For most of my career, people have told me that if I were to have children then I would have to change my life, stop travelling, modify my climbing, and basically give up my ability to create and expand. Each time someone has told me any of that, I have wanted to punch them. I haven’t (and you shouldn’t do that–ever). Instead, I have chosen to stand taller and stronger against that limiting belief. Or I did in theory. And now it’s time for reality. In fact the only way your dad and I could get to place of trying to have a baby was to tell ourselves that it was possible for us to become parents and not lose ourselves in the process. Then again, that’s likely what every parent says to themselves before they step off the high dive.

But you are not “a” baby. There are twenty toes, four lungs, and two hearts growing inside of me and I am the first one laughing about the irony of it all.

So here is what I’d like to see happen:

You are entering a bold and beautiful world. I have spent my time in it hurtling my beliefs, passions, and curiosity up against each other and have made it my career. It has not always worked. Sometimes I feel lonesome for a more normal way. But when it does work it catches my breath and grounds my soul in a way that makes me know I belong in the universe.

You two are not the “normal way.”

When I reflect on the most important, striking, heart-in-stomach things I have ever done, they have always been the result of doing what people would call “too much.” And as you grow inside of me, I know you will be the pinnacle of what I have done and will do. I know you’re like your momma because already I can tell that your Team Twin motto is, “More.” And so, in all of that, we fit right in together.

I’m not saying I have this figured out. You can’t get to be my age and have seen your sister, cousins, strangers, and friends go through parenthood and think anyone ever has it figured out. While we may never figure it out, somehow we’re going into this bold and beautiful world together. I can’t wait to see what more looks like, with you.


  1. Carrie Larson |

    Beautiful! As a mommy of twins, you are embarking on a wonderful, challenging, beautiful journey. Your letter is gorgeous! Your twins are so lucky to have you as their mother.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      So lovely to hear that from an experienced twin mamma, Carrie!

  2. Caroline |

    Beautiful letter Majka! 🙂 it’s going to be an amazing adventure! C

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks, Caroline– we’re on board for it all, as well as a trip with the Georges, or several, soon!

  3. Michelle and Bob |

    Wow. Speechless. As the circumstance warrants, but you never are. I’m so happy for you. Great! Lovely! Exciting! All you! LOVE!! Bob and Michelle

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thank you so much, Bob and Michelle! Can’t wait for these two to meet you two lovely people some day soon. Sending love.

  4. Debony |

    I love this! You have done so many wonderful things, and now it’s like you have a whole new life in front of you! Congratulations, can’t wait to read more.

  5. Andrea |

    Good thing you like being busy 🙂 and you’ll learn a new type of efficiency for sure! Just remember snaps, not buttons. Congratulations Majka and Peter! ❤️

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Hey– sounds like you have experience and you’re only so far away– think we might have to enlist you Andrea!

  6. Sarah Jane |

    You don’t lose yourself. You find more depth and adventure and tests of your endurance than you ever imagined in your own living room. A run around a dirt road or a gym climb session becomes blissful not because you are escaping your parenthood but because it comes with you. And so quickly, they are three or five or in school or busy with their own lives and then there you are again ready to be out there rocking it. I was 39 when I had Z and it is the perfect age in my opinion. Don’t be afraid to let doing less please you more. Love xxx

  7. Lizzie Brenkus |

    Love this! Such a beautiful letter. ❤️ Kiddos bring the coolest adventure and I think you know a little bit about full-heart, full-body, full-soul adventure!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks, Lizzie. And I am coming to SLC! April 13th hope we can hang out and I could meet your adventurers…

  8. Sue |

    Well Majka. Here I am, waiting for sunrise here in MT, knowing the world is a better place with parents, dreamers, doers like you. Gotta go wipe my tears! Lovely letter. Sue

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Oh Gramma Sue in Montana! I adore hearing how you started your day with us today. Honored.

  9. Laura |

    Beautiful! We can’t wait to meet these nuggets!

  10. Amy Menell |

    My heartfelt congratulations! Motherhood is the greatest journey of all time, inconceivable depths and heights and love you have never known could exist. So excited for you!

  11. Bethany |

    Majka – congratulations! Wonderful news. Wishing you a very smooth pregnancy with Harold and Maude!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thank you so much my dear– just saw Katie yesterday for a hike and thought of you. One day we will all have to gather up again. Sending love.

  12. Patty Hibbert |

    Majka, I altered your wedding dress. I have been following you on your fantastic journey. Congratulations on this news! One thing is for sure, your kids will never lead a boring life!!!!! I think it is WONDERFILLED!!! Enjoy every moment!!!!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Patty- I was just sharing your skills with my sister in law and stories of our time together while you did the amazing work on my dress. Thank you for the lovely note. Really.

  13. Leigh |

    Yay for you and Peter! So excited to meet these tiny ones in June!! xo

    • Majka Burhardt |

      They are lucky that you’re en route east!

  14. Albert Mitugo |

    Congratulations Majika!!!

  15. Caroline Dinnen |

    Such a heartfelt letter, Majka. So happy for you as you start this journey with your twins ????.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Caroline– thanks so much honey. Any chance we can convince you to come up to Boulder April 12th for the Namuli show at Patagonia? It has been far far too long.

  16. Jim Ebersole |

    Majka – great letter! I was also not at all sure I wanted to give up my freedom in the outdoors to become a parent. But being a parent has been the most joyful and fulfilling experience of my life. Life will change, especially the first few years, but we kept being outside and adventuring through all of it. Four day backpack in Grand Canyon at 5.5 months; partly off trail 5 day backpack in CO at 11 months, Paris at 18 months (chasing pigeons was the highlight of the trip. Let life be different and revel in it.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Sounds perfect to me, Jim. And like some pigeon chasing is on the menu for us. Thanks for sharing this all.

  17. Molly |

    Ha Ha!! Woohoo! I’m so very happy for you. You’ll get rocked and you’ll love life for it. Just like riding an epic wave and taking the mandatory smash-fall. Its all part of the ride. For now, it is just stage by stage by stage. Embrace each one, knowing luckily, and sadly, it will always change.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Nice, Molly. You know it so well. One of these days we need to meet up in Portland…

  18. Jill Boyer |

    So beautiful Majka: ) Many congratulations on your new amazing adventure(s)! Thank you for sharing. Love to all 4 of you!

  19. Dr Judy |

    First, as all have said, what a beeyoooteefull letter, Majka!
    There is no way you have to lose your “self” …as others also agree.
    Timing is everything.
    Knowing you for as long as I do, this is another adventure that you will do exactly as you have done your previous ones: with love, spirit, competence, intelligence, smarts, wisdom, and fun!
    Go, Majka, Go! Lots of love, Judy

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Yay Dr. Judy! This is lovely of you. You’ve always supported the go and I’ve always appreciated it so so much.

  20. Peter Hanson |

    Congratulations, Majka!
    I hope that your children will bring enthusiasm, and spirit to your life, like you brought enthusiasm and spirit to my Montessori classroom 33 years ago!
    -Peter (Mr. Hanson)

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Mr Hanson! You are amazing. Thank you so much for this. I was just telling people a story about you the other day. Thank you for the kind words and the best start to an education and a pursuit of dreams imaginable.

  21. Karin |

    Careful with names 🙂 We called our son Enzo while I was pregnant, and once he was finally born, there was no way he wouldn’t be Enzo. He is now 8 years old, and (almost) skis faster than his mom! Same goes for friends who now have a Wilma :-). Harold and Maude, welcome to this world. Wishing you lots of adventures, big and small.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Hah– caution noted, Karin. Wilma is pretty awesome, as is Enzo…

  22. Jordan Bastien |

    Honey! I love you and am so, so happy for you. What smart kids to choose you as a mom. You could never, would never, lose yourself. Things will change. Change can be hard. On the whole, it will be awesome. It will be another adventure, and no one knows how to do that like you! I have no doubt you will blaze new mommy trails and find an authentic and unique way forward as a family. SO MUCH LOVE.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thank you miss J. Means the world. Miss you– come visit NH!

  23. Terry Bourque |

    I am sooo happy for you and your husband. You are so deserving of the perfect gift, a boy and a girl!!!
    May your children bring you all the wonderful pleasures you have yet to experience. They fill our boots with love and new challenges which assures us to grow beyond our selfishness. It’s natures way of giving us strength and allowing us to continue to grow.
    Our two daughters came to us in our early forties and now at 10 and 12 they are leaving snow tracks all over NH for Race team Attitash.
    Enjoy all the special times coming your way. You are truly blessed!
    All best
    Terry Bourque

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks, Terry. Such fun to hear of your daughters and all that they do. I grew up ski racing in Minnesota and can’t wait to get these two out as well. Maybe see you up here for the North Conway showing of Namuli on the 19th of March?

  24. Jennifer Henry |

    Congratulations Majka and Peter!!!
    What a heartfelt letter!! I know your new additions will bring you great joy!!! I can’t wait to meet them!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Jen thank you so much. We can’t wait for them to meet you and their cousins, too!

  25. Kjersten |

    Majka, lovely letter, it brought tears. As you know Mark and I wondered about the whole kid thing too… yes, no, yes, no… You and Peter will be so happy with your pierogi 🙂 And you will be awesome parents. It will be the most rewarding, yet difficult thing you do in life. I miss you and love you very much, please if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. You have a wonderful support system in NH and MN – don’t ever hesitate to use it! Love you all!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      KJ– thank you so much. And you know all about the path to the pierogi. Can’t wait to see you in MN!

  26. Isayas |

    Wonderful letter Majka,

    Congratulation! In Ethiopia we say …Mariam bi Selam Tigelagelki! It is Tigrigna saying and it means may the mother of Jesus be with you ! I know you have been to Ethiopia many times and can’t wait you making another trip with your twins to introduce them the place where it all begun! The land of Lucy! Isayas

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks for sharing “Mariam bi Selam Tigelagelki,” Isayas. That is lovely. You are 100% right that I cannot wait to take these two buggers with me to Ethiopia. Soon, I promise.

  27. Shamima |

    I am so happy for you good things happen to beautiful and adventurous people. I did your flight tickets sometime. Best wishes as your pregnancy progresses.x

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Oh how cool to hear from you Shamima! Thank you so much for the note (and the tickets).

  28. Raechel Polanski |

    I appreciate your honesty- it is beautiful and refreshing Majka. I wish you the very best on this next adventure. The babies will teach you everything you need to know . . .

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks, Rachel– It’s lovely to have your good wishes as well.

  29. Alice |

    You are at the beginning of a great adventure. Surf life’s wave.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks Alice! Can’t wait for you and Jim to meet them on another trip up north…

  30. Jesse Dunn |

    Majka – really psyched for you and Peter. As a twin, I can tell you that growing up at the same time as your sibling is wonderful!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Wait– you are a twin?! Does Peter know this? We are going to need some twin beta for sure.

  31. JJ |

    So happy for you, my dear friend. It’s been a long journey and you will become a mama on your terms in your own time and your own way. You kiddos are lucky. So strange that mine will be a generation ahead. Sending you all my love–I think of you often across the miles and years.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Miss JJ! I think of you so much. Thank you for the words and leading the way of doing exactly that. I remember you expecting both of your kiddos back in the day. Hope to see you in CO this spring when I come for the film. XO

  32. Roger Fritz |

    That letter is very thought provoking Majka! Where are those feet going to walk? What are those hands going to do? Whose lives are these people going to affect? Thanks for sharing and Gods Speed.

  33. Jason Lewis |

    Congratulations, Majka! So happy for you. What a fantastic new adventure on which to embark. All the best . . .Harold and Maude are incredibly lucky!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Awe Jason– right on. Looks like you are all doing great in that department. Always good to see your name and hear from you my friend.

  34. Lucy |

    From all of us at The Adventure Summit, we couldn’t be happier for you. From someone who just this year became a mom and is trying to figure out how to keep an adventurous life and balance my June baby with it, I couldn’t be happier for you. It is most definitely extra effort, but it is worth it. Cheers.

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thanks for the positive words and excitement, Lucy. And congrats to you too!

  35. Jim Perrin |

    Hey Majka, if I know one thing about you, it’s that you’ll cope and grow into your new role in every good way possible. And those lucky twins! Starts in life don’t come much better than having you as their mom. The world will be a better place for the presence of your family in it. Congratulations, every good wish, and may everything go smoothly and well! Whole lotta love to you, mom-to-be!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Thank you so much, Jim! I feel pretty dang lucky myself. All good things, Majka

  36. Hampton Synnott |

    Such a perfect letter Majka! And its even been wonderful for me to read so many of the wonderful comments above as well. Looking forward to many future playdates and going through this with you!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Heck yeah! They are going to be buddies. Can’t wait my dear.

  37. Harry Vandervlist |

    Congratulations Majka!
    Here’s to motherhood and “more” . . .
    Harry Vandervlist (brother of amazing twin sisters, so I know it’s a special gift)

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Wonderful, Harry. Thank you so much. We might be back in Banff with the new film in October with the whole family. Would be lovely to see you then.

  38. Krissy |

    Love this! What a great way to capture where you are right now for these little ones on the way. Looking forward to seeing you when you come through Seattle!

    • Majka Burhardt |

      Oh right on, Krissy! Will be so fun to see you in Seattle. Thanks for the sweet words chica.

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