What inspired your passion for helping women-led businesses with social/creative support?
I’ve sat on women-led associations and mentorship teams in the past and have always enjoyed celebrating other women’s successes. One of my mentors jokingly calls me the ultimate hype woman. After losing my long-time corporate job due to the pandemic, I was forced to slow down and think. Think about what parts of my life and job I enjoyed the most and how I could pivot with my existing skill set into something that really fulfilled me. I’m lucky to have developed the relationships that I have this last year. It is my first time being self-employed, and I feel lucky to have so many supportive clients who I ultimately can call my friends.
Now more than ever, women are lifting each other, but there’s still a female-versus-female mentality out there. What is one thing you think women should, or can, do to support one another?
Give each other grace. It’s hard not to look at another’s life and make some criticism or judgement. Ultimately, we don’t know everyone’s back story or history or what battle they may be facing on a specific day.
When you aren’t feeling you’re most confident, what is the conversation with yourself like?
This is a tough one! Honestly, looking at my babies and knowing that they are happy, thriving, and loved gives me the confidence to say to myself, “you’re doing good, Koreena, you’re doing good.”
What are your daily affirmations?
“I can do hard things.” (I tell my son this often also. Yes, it’s hard, but you can do hard things, buddy.)
“I control my own story and have the power to change it.”
“I forgive myself for my mistakes.”
Let’s talk motherhood. You’re currently in newborn bliss, where everything is about the baby, but how are you feeling?
I am actually feeling good. I know, a poor choice of words, maybe, but, ultimately, it’s how I feel. Going into having a second baby, I truly expected to be in a dark place.
How would you describe motherhood?
Motherhood is an Unveiling—an unveiling not just of your baby but for yourself, your fears, and your past. Motherhood has opened parts of my heart that I didn’t even know existed; it’s a role in life that is difficult to put into words, a role that forever changes the core of who we are. Our children are our greatest teachers. We have been given this opportunity to provide the tools they need to live a happy and fulfilled life. Motherhood has allowed me to experience unconditional love truly.
How was your birthing experience the first time, and how did it differ your second time?
Without getting into an hour-long story, my first birth was long, traumatizing, painful, and the recovery was the same. I told myself I’d never had another kid after that experience, and like many moms, I forgot! We forget all the difficult things and are left with glorious memories and moments with our littles. My second time, I was as scared, scared of what could happen again, scared to be once again traumatized. I realized and worked towards it during my pregnancy because I had far more control of my birthing experience than I thought. Though we can’t control the outcome, we absolutely have control in knowing that each birth is a unique and separate experience and in no way did my first experience have to define my next. My second birth, during this pandemic, in the simplest way I can describe, was the most civil experience I could have wished for—two totally different and unique experiences, to birth my two totally different and unique babies.
What advice would you give to women that are pregnant or that might be suffering from postpartum depression?
Know that there is help available. This isn’t something you need to suffer in silence with. It’s far more normal than you may think, and you’re not doing yourself or your children any favours by trying to push through it alone. It doesn’t magically disappear and often requires work and support to navigate through. Seek help. Talk. Know that you’re not alone with your thoughts and experiences. What you’re expecting is valid and very real.
How has your breastfeeding journey been?
It’s so strange how something so “natural” can be so difficult simultaneously. There are endless latches, relatches, pumping, not pumping, learning to side feed (game-changer), first parking-lot feed, mastitis, moments feeling overwhelmed with self-doubt and exhaustion, along with deep soul-connecting eye contact and the will to wake up and do it all over again. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I feel fortunate to be able to spend these special moments with my two babies.
Note: Be kind to all the mothers you see feeding their bubbies, smile at them because often it’s the smallest thing that lifts a tired mum.
Keeping that in mind, how do Bravado Design maternity/nursing bras make you feel?
They make me feel normal, if that makes sense, not like I’m wearing some special, uncomfortable contraption designed for nursing and nursing only. They feel normal in the best way possible.
How would you describe the bras; are they easy to navigate, comfortable, feminine?
They are supportive, simple, and very comfortable—my absolute favourite. I have one in nearly every colour … the amazing nurse I had with my firstborn recommended Bravado in the hospital, and I haven’t gone back since!
Lastly, who is your Mother Muse?
I have to say, my mom. The most patient, giving, selfless mama I ever knew. However, over the years, I’ve learned that every mom I have met, gotten to know, and will get to know has an unspoken bond and understanding of each other. All Mothers are truly incredible. I read something recently that was something along the lines of, “nobody once in nine months told me that I was going to meet someone entirely new, and it’s not your baby, it’s going to be you.”