How are you feeling?
I feel very grateful every day. We are taking our time getting ready for our baby’s arrival but mentally, I feel as prepared as I can be, just going with the flow! My journey has been enjoyable and fairly easygoing. As I head into the last seven weeks, I’m learning to lean in and not feel guilty about that. All experiences are unique and beautiful in their own way. I am basking in the glory of my pregnancy and the divine feminine!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to a suburb outside Vancouver, BC, at a young age. I was raised in a predominantly white community which, as a child, resulted in some internalized racism. After my dad passed away in 2006, my mom, sisters and I moved to Toronto, which was a slight culture shock for me. It was also a pivotal time in my life, and that is the year I fell into a depression—being Korean, the topic of mental health is quite taboo, so there was suppression for a long period of time. I’m a major lover of travel (pre-pandemic) and love to immerse myself in different cultures. I’ve been surrounded by strong females my entire life and continue to be inspired by womanhood! I’m a yoga and fitness instructor and have a passion for vegan cooking, holistic health, advocacy for mental well-being, and conscious living for a better environment.
Painful question since the beginning of the pandemic: I’ve been hearing about more and more cases of racism towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders spurred by racist rhetoric around the coronavirus and deep-seated ignorance and xenophobia. I realized that we all need to speak up when we see things like this happening and let others know that it will not be tolerated. We need to create more awareness with whatever resources and platforms we have. You and your husband both are immigrants. What has helped you specifically in the last year to aid and nurture your mental health?
Implementing a personal development routine has been a huge aid in nurturing myself the past year and a half: practicing gratitude and affirmations, journalling, creative activities, reading, and exercising! Expanding the mind and sweating are my greatest endorphins. I’ve become very in tune with my body through holistic living and deep-rooted self-care rituals. I believe that it is fundamental to take care of yourself first and foremost, mind, body, and soul, in order to be your most authentic self and show up as the best version of yourself for others.
Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed and have personally been exposed to racist remarks throughout my whole life. I have definitely noticed a rise in xenophobia amidst the pandemic, and it is a lot to unpack. I am very lucky to have a partner that has an understanding of this. Although his skin is white, he has experienced bigotry in different aspects as a Muslim. We must continue to educate ourselves and others and have productive conversations. Show up, actively listen, keep an open mind, and speak up —because what’s worse than an aggressor is a bystander who does and says nothing.
How did you manage depression?
Self-reflection and acceptance are crucial, as are reaching out when you need help and having those difficult, uncomfortable conversations. A strong and reliable support system is very important as well, and finding who and what empowers you. It took a long time for me to get to where I am today, and it’ll always be a work in progress!
What has surprised you most about being pregnant?
The most surprising thing for me has been my lack of symptoms —no sickness, no cravings or aversions, no swelling, etc. Once I found out I was pregnant, I was so ready for all these changes that never really happened! I feel as if I have unknowingly prepared my body for pregnancy and birth in the past couple of years. With that being said, I was still challenged mentally and emotionally.
Also, it’s not a surprise, but I was in awe of the incredible transformation that a woman’s body goes through to house and nurture a human. When you experience growing a life, a counterpart of your soul, and the feeling of connecting with your baby and every single movement, it’s magic.
Did you struggle with accepting the body changes that came with pregnancy?
I didn’t struggle with the body changes; I think it’s essential to embrace and trust the process. I had more difficulty modifying my routine around my new mentality and identity shift! Early on in the pregnancy, I recognized the importance of listening to my body and taking things day by day to cultivate a new regimen, which really helped for a smooth transition of all the physical and mental changes.
Keeping that in mind, how do Nothing Fits But dresses make you feel?
So pretty! I absolutely love the dresses and the muslin fabric. They are so easy to wear and truly designed to flatter every body type. I love that they’re wearable throughout pregnancy, and I will definitely be living in them postpartum.
How would you describe the dresses?
Effortless, feminine, comfortable, and versatile.
You feel most beautiful when?
I feel most beautiful in my most natural form and in the sun. Also, when I’m nude or wearing nothing but a slip or a robe—anything flowy! Elements of nature and ethical or raw materials that feel good on my skin are essential.
What inspired you to explore holistic health and yoga?
Looking back, it seems as though everything was in alignment. I was a dancer throughout my childhood and then started practicing Bikram yoga in high school. So naturally, after my time at college and navigating through my mental health issues, I decided to take my RYT course and that in turn led me to Ayurveda, then holism.
Do you have a birth plan?
I have learned to call it a birth preference because it’s a way to remind myself to be flexible and open to the unexpected. I have done a lot of research, listened to podcasts and read books, so I feel very relaxed and confident about my ideals. I am a big believer in the power of manifestation, so lately, I have been creating a list of movies to watch while in labour as well as a delivery playlist and visualizing my dream delivery, which is an unmedicated water birth at home with my husband and midwife.
Lastly, who is your Mother Muse?
I have a profound respect for all mothers. My mother muses are two women that I deeply admire and look up to: my mom, who raised my two sisters and me on her own after my dad passed away suddenly, and my mother in law, who escaped the war in Bosnia and lived as a refugee in Germany where my husband was born. I am constantly learning from them. They both endured the unimaginable and then immigrated to Canada and faced so many different struggles adjusting to a brand new life here, learning a foreign language and working full time while raising young kids! They are the strongest, most resilient women I know, so I feel very fortunate to have their guidance as I navigate motherhood. I also want to pay homage to Mother Nature. Birth is an act of nature, and Mother Earth is our greatest home!