by Melissa Mendes
Founder, Bee One of a Kind
On 25th December, 2015, I gave birth to my first daughter. It was Christmas night and as I laid in my hospital bed, enduring the notions of contractions and mindful breathing, I looked out the hospital window and was suddenly captivated by the full moon beaming in my direction.
I was quite fortunate to have experienced a short, yet intensive labour, a total of 44 minutes. I remember the words of my best friend who told me the greatest advice, “find your Zen, Mel”.. With that, I focussed all my attention on staring at the full moon and in my mind I repeated the words “Aiutami Luna, aiutami me” (which in Italian means, “help me moon, help me.”)
At that stage, my husband and I had not decided on a name, as we had preferred to leave the sex of our child unknown. On my third exhale, at 10:48, I gave birth to my beautiful girl, and the very second she was placed on my chest, I stared at her and said the name, Luna. She will be called Luna.
I had no idea what roller coaster would follow my daughter’s birth. I had been familiar with the terms Postnatal depression, but I had never imagined it would strike me so relentlessly. Days turned into months and I still couldn't shake off the overwhelming emotions of feeling helpless, confused, lost, scared, hesitant, incapable, incompetent. I was thankful to have my mother who came everyday without fail to assist me with the slightest tasks. Unlike my husband, who seemed to embrace parenthood so naturally and wonderfully, I was struggling. Big time. I suffered from mastitis on four occasions, was admitted to hospital for what they explained was a retained placenta and breastfeeding felt like something that my body just wasn't designed for.
Luna was 4 months when I can remember my first memory of actually ‘embracing motherhood.’ When I could actually allow myself to enjoy the highs and lows. When I learned to be gentle with myself and welcome this new role that for so long, had felt foreign.
Four years on, I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I could have been more forgiving of myself, more patient, accepting and mindful. Mindful of the self talk and the pressure I placed on myself.
As mothers, and particularly new mothers, we can be advised and informed by all the birthing books, midwives, doctors and nurses in the world, but nothing, absolutely nothing can fully prepare us for the journey ahead. We are each so unique and built differently. There is no one mold that we can fit into, and therefore, there can be no judgment.
I am a mother, yes, but I am also an entrepreneur running my small business from home and doing what I love. Creating natural skincare for me, has been my sanctuary. A new calling that I embarked on just before I fell pregnant and resumed when I felt I was ready. When I am in my space, formulating and experimenting, I feel like I am revived. Bee one of a kind has allowed me to retrieve a sense of new purpose, new discovery and having my own personal purpose, makes me feel I am a better mother. I love that I can share my passion with Luna and teach her all I know. Something I can offer her outside of the typical caregiver role.
I believe our children need to see our light. To witness what makes us, as mothers shine. Radiate. Come alive. I believe it is vital, for our mental and emotional well being to pursue something alongside motherhood. To compliment ourselves, as women. Because we are so much more than just mothers. We are women who need to prioritise our self care. And when we can do that, when we canallow ourselves time to indulge on what makes us feel refreshed, revitalised, reawakened, our families benefit from it. They get the best of us. And that is not selfish. That is critical.
For me, my rituals are crucial. Each morning, I aim to wake up an hour before my husband and Luna. I go outside, rain or shine, and salute the sun. I stretch and take note on how my body is feeling. I listen. Without judgment or discrimination, I listen to what my body tells me it needs today. Some days, I might just need to pause. Slumber on the couch, eat, rest. Otherdays, I crave to be over productive, determined and driven.
I boil the kettle and sip on my lemon infused hot water and tidy up the kitchen. In my own time. At my own pace. When the world is still sleeping, I feel alive more than ever in these moments.
My self care/beauty regime has to include magnesium sprayed to my solar plexus area. Self massage is a wonderful way to self love. A few whispered affirmations and words of gratefulness. And I am ready. Ready and prepared for the day because my time is precious. Our time is precious. So spend it with the ones who fill your heart with golden joy and be kind to yourself mama, there is only and ever one of You.
Bee one of a kind, a collection of handcrafted natural skincare designed to inspire women to prioritise their well-being and practice self kindness. Made in Melbourne.