Exclusive interview with Mother Muse
Nikki Reed actress & founder of Bayou With Love
What was your pregnancy like?
I loved being pregnant. I loved it so much I cried for the few days after my daughter was born because I missed having her in my belly. Of course the end got difficult, with getting up to pee every 10 minutes and the aches and pains that come from sharing your body with a growing human. At one point I couldn’t use my leg for almost a week because she was pushing on some kind of nerve in my lower back. I struggled a lot with my own inner dialogue disagreeing with some of the more western medical opinions I was given. That was probably the toughest part of my pregnancy, was feeling like there was always a lot of fear being pumped into me by hospitals and doctors. Don’t get me wrong, my grandfather was a doctor and I have a tremendous amount of respect for traditional medicine, but I felt like sometimes fear was overriding trusting a pregnant mamas intuition when I stepped into the hospital. At one point they told me they needed to induce me because they thought my placenta wasn’t working, and the term “still born” kept being thrown around. They had no proof of that, but didn’t want to take any risks. The truth is you have to trust your gut. I feel like doctors are trained to think about the worst possible outcome, and women then subscribe to that mentality because they aren’t encouraged to listen to their intuition. I was so grateful to have a midwife, and a doctor to speak to because I felt a sense of balance. I could call either with a question and have an open conversation with more than one perspective I respected. I remember someone saying to me “enjoy every second, even the hard ones, because it all goes so fast” Anytime I find myself feeling overwhelmed whether it’s during pregnancy or the challenges that come from being a new mama, I hold on to those words. You blink and it’s a new chapter so we have to enjoy every single second of what we are blessed enough to experience.
Did you have a natural birth?
I did have a fully natural birth. I was open to anything of course, but I wanted to try my best, and luckily I was able to. I say “luckily”, because so much of it is luck in my opinion. My mom had two natural births so we spent a lot o time talking about what that was like for her. Things can go wrong that are totally out of your control, so its important to just be open to whichever way your birth will go. I wanted to surround myself with a team that believed a natural birth was possible, so that I would have as much support as possible. That way, if someone did need to intervene, I would know it was because it was truly necessary.
Did you experience postpartum depression?
I did not experience postpartum depression, but I know women who have. It’s a very real thing and I am glad we can have an open dialogue about it now and women feel safe talking about it.
What inspired your daughter’s name?
We had a few different names for her, and when she was born we actually ended up waiting on her name so we could get to know her, so we had to ask to extend. We didn’t name her right away. She is a very calm, very wise little girl. She chose her name, or her name chose her, because it suits her perfectly.
You keep your daughter off social media – is sharing pictures online of our children something we should be worrying about?
(Nikki is not one to speak about what other people should do. She is speaking on behalf of what works for her family)
I believe everyone should make whatever decision works for them and their family. For us, even before having a child we knew that posting our kids on social media was never an option. We believe that privacy is going to be the greatest form of currency one day, and that our kids should be able to decide if they want their photo out there. I am also naturally very private, and conduct my personal social media in a way that reflects that as well. If our children want to post photos of themselves one day I want them to make that decision, I don’t want to make that decision for them because once it’s out, there is no taking it back. What if they want to be super private people? I wouldn’t want to do something now that will affect their wish for privacy.
Are generations of children now growing up without privacy?
Well I think the whole conversation around privacy is changing. What does that even mean anymore? Even if you choose to live a very private life, the world is filled with smartphones and everyone documenting everything live on Instagram stories. I think there is a level of acceptance that has to happen. Once you leave the house no matter who you are or what your profession, it’s no longer private. I will tell you that I can’t imagine what it is like being a teenager now with social media. I imagine adding that to the mix with the inevitable social pressure you feel as a kid must be so difficult. Imagine knowing everyone who was invited to every party you weren’t invited to because they’ve posted photos of themselves and you aren’t there, or the level of humiliation amplified if someone writes something embarrassing about you in class for everyone to see? There are a few great shows that really focus on that and I think we will see a shift soon. I think more and more people will begin to recognize how much happier they are when they disconnect from their phones and spooned time in nature, or simply having a meaningful conversation without being interrupted by a phone. I imagine its much harder being a teenager today than it was even 10 years ago.
Tell us about your line Bayou with Love?
Bayou With Love was my baby before I had a baby. I started this company because I felt like I couldn’t find some of what I was looking for, so I felt I should create it because there must be other people looking as well. It’s earth conscious products for the conscious consumer, and we are focused heavily now on jewelry. All of our pieces are made form 14-18k gold suitably extracted from recycled tech motherboards through our partnership with Dell. Our current collection uses cultivated diamonds grown locally above ground using solar energy in California. Truly my mission is to highlight other female-founded companies that focus on ethical and sustainable production in the US on our website as well.
How does nature intertwine with your line?
I named Bayou With Love because my husband grew up on the bayou in Louisiana. I am always so inspired by nature and found myself so deeply connected to where he grew up.
Wellness and sustainability are a big part of your lifestyle, did the arrival of your daughter change that in any way?
I think that it is a journey that is ever-evolving. I’m always learning new ways to become even more aware of my impact on this earth and how to be even more conscious. I think one thing that definitely changed when I became a mom is how much I think about the future of our planet for our children.
Describe the word woman in your own words?
Women are powerful, they are magical, they are strong while they are soft. They are multidimensional and multifaceted, they are so much more than we can describe.
Who is your Mother Muse?
I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by such incredible woman and they are all my muses. I love being a part of a mama community that feels comfortable leaning on each other for advice, questions and guidance. It takes a village and I so love all the mamas in our global village.
Mother Muse Nikki Reed, Illustrations by Rowan Sterenberg