Exclusive interview with Holistic Nutritionist Carley Mendes, naturally nourishing your journey through motherhood, pregnancy, postpartum, starting solids & beyond.
What is your name and date of birth?
Carley Mendes, November 30th.
What is the full name and ages of your children?
I have two children. My 3 year old son, Jones Wilder & 16 month old daughter, Stevie Holland.
Could you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a mother who is dedicated to naturally nourishing other women on their own journey through motherhood.
What was your life like before motherhood?
I wasn’t aware of it then but reflecting back now I see that my life was inherently self-focused and leisurely. I spent my time how I pleased with no sense of urgency, because time wasn’t nearly as precious or as fleeting as it feels in present day.
What inspired you to become a Holistic Nutritionist with the focus being on fertility, pregnancy, postpartum & babies?
I’ve always been in absolute awe of a women during pregnancy. As a young teen I started to become intrigued with the effect that nutrition has on our health and functioning. A close friend of mine became pregnant at 16 and had a health worker visit her home to discuss the importance of prenatal nutrition. I remember thinking that being around pregnant women and talking about nutrition sounded like the most fascinating and fulfilling thing I could devote myself to. That was 20 years ago and I’m now living my dream with Oh Baby Nutrition.
For the expecting mother what do you recommend for quick healthy snacks during the first, second and third trimester?
1st trimester: Leafy greens are an incredible source of folate, one of the most important nutrients in early pregnancy. Kale chips make a great snack in the first trimester, especially because raw leafy greens tend to lose their appeal for many women in the early months.
2nd trimester: Iron rich snacks such as trail mix with cashews & raisins to support the rapid blood volume expansion. I also made homemade jerky out of grass-fed beef.
3rd trimester: Nutritional needs reach their peak in the last few months of pregnancy due to rapid growth of the baby’s bones and brain. Foods rich in calcium, vitamin D & healthy fats are key. Some options would be snacks such as wild canned salmon, chia seed pudding, and plain grass-fed yogurt.
Have you ever thought of also becoming a doula?
I fantasize about it regularly. Nothing on earth fascinates me quite like the process of birth. I personally found giving birth to be the most empowering and exhilarating experience of my life and I’d love nothing more than to support mothers through this passage. Unfortunately due to the unpredictable nature of birth, being on call doesn’t suit the needs of my family and my own young children right now.
How did motherhood impact your career?
I found that my priorities shifted when I had children. I now have a much clearer understanding of what’s important and what isn’t. It’s a valuable life lesson that has served me both personally and professionally. I’m more cautious of how I spend my time and energy, and I don’t think that anything other than motherhood could have taught me this quite as effectively.
What core values do you want to teach your children?
I hope my children remember a lot of laughter and lightness from their childhood. I want to teach them that we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to the things we’re faced with.
What did you think of motherhood before you became a mother?
We’ve all heard about the love a mother feels for her child, but something so deep and all consuming can only be experienced, not described. It’s been my greatest joy to experience this myself. I won’t say it’s without its challenges, but the challenges I face in motherhood always prove to bring me great personal growth. As I witness my children grow, I’m continually surprised to find myself learning and growing as well.
How do you balance motherhood and your career?
The focus of my work is very relevant to my own life. So it’s less about balancing the two and more about integrating career and family. I’ll admit that it can be really difficult though. I love what I do so it’s easy to stay up late working while the house is quiet and I can concentrate uninterrupted. However having a late night leaves me less present for my children the following day, so I’m actively trying to set boundaries for myself.
Where do you find your inspiration the most?
I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing women through my work. I’m constantly inspired and motivated by the progressive pioneers who are doing incredible work supporting the modern mother and women’s reproductive health.
We know you are fascinated by how the food we eat affects our health – do you feel the same way with the products we use on our bodies (beauty,skin etc)?
Absolutely. As a Holistic Nutritionist I consider the whole body and all aspects that contribute to wellness. Skin is our largest organ and the products we place on it absorb into our bloodstream. It was once thought that the placenta protected a developing baby by filtering out toxins. Studies have shown that toxic chemicals, which are known to cause birth defects, are present in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.
When you get a quiet moment, what do you like to do the most?
To be honest, I’m working whenever I get a second. I don’t have childcare and I work from home between naps and bedtime. It doesn’t leave much of an opportunity for anything else. Reading for pleasure in a quiet room with a warm mug of turmeric tea sounds pretty lovely though.
What has been your most exciting opportunity to date?
The birth of my children. I really can’t imagine a more exciting or impactful opportunity.
Who is your Mother Muse?
My own mother is undoubtedly my muse. She is the most capable and enduring woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I’m sure many daughters worry that they’ll become too much like their mother, but I worry that I won’t be enough like mine.
Can you give a quote about Mother Muse?
When a child is born, a mother is born. A new, more capable version of herself that has far more strength than she has ever know.