I thought it was maybe time to share a bit more about me – to answer those big questions you may be asking.
Who am I, and really – what right to I have to launch an apparel brand?
My name is Selah, and I’m a mid 30’s elder millennial mother to a 2.5 year old toddler.
I’m a second generation Korean-American meaning my parents were the first in their generation to move to the US (from Korea). I’m in the crew that grew up in a post-9/11 world, entered the job market during a global recession, and now parenting during a pandemic.
Becoming a mom was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and I’ve done many hard things. I’ve worked long, overtime hours for my jobs. I’ve juggled multiple clients with a constant level of stress coursing through my veins. I’ve doubled a master’s degree program on top of my career. I’ve launched a start-up with dependent employees from nothing. And now, any endeavor in my life will be in addition to being a mother.
(Please note - this message isn’t meant to negate any of those achievements or women that choose not to have kids – but I wanted to put into perspective that my personal experience was a stark milestone in my life and that I’ve been on both sides of the fence)
*Trigger warning* My recounting of my postpartum experience may cause you to remember unpleasant memories of those early months.
Why was it so hard?
I’ll state upfront that I gave birth to a healthy child with no official complications – which makes me pray every day for NICU parent warriors.
I labored for 72 hours.
Pushed for 4 hours.
My milk supply didn’t come in for 5 days – I just pumped for hours with nothing.
As soon as my milk came in, I got mastitis and incidentally – bronchitis for 3 weeks.
I had low milk supply, plugged ducts, excess lipase milk (realized after dozens of bags of frozen milk), acne, thinning hair.
My baby was losing weight at each check-in, spiraling me into the feeding, supplementing, pumping chaos.
I was getting very little sleep between feedings, pumping, wash bottles, and my baby was not sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time.
My baby wouldn’t take a bottle, baby wrap, pacifier, or suck her thumb for comfort (ever).
When my husband went back to work after a couple weeks, I felt so alone and anxious of being the sole caregiver
I broke down many, many times – at the pediatrician’s office, at the OB/GYN. Every time they gave me the Sharpie to fill out my postpartum survey – I wanted to throw it at them. How could a mother with no sleep, sickness, and low milk supply not be (very) sad and show signs of postpartum depression?
So truly yes, we have a lot going on as newborn moms. During these bleary-eyed months. I found myself frustrated at so much, including my clothes. On top of washing them every day due to spit up and blow-outs, I couldn’t understand:
- Why are these straps on the bras so wide with so much cup padding? Why is the alternative a sheer bra with no support where my leaking milk would immediately seep into my top?
- Why is there a separate bra for nursing and pumping?
- Do I need the corset band on top of everything else?
- Why do my maternity clothes not support my postpartum body, but my pre-baby clothes aren’t even close to fitting?
- How do I maximize time at work to pump with my outfits?
I wasn’t prepared for this – I had researched every baby registry item on the market – but no one had really shown me how to adapt my wardrobe aside from the perspectives of “wear your husband’s clothes” or “try a wrap dress”. What about the 99% percent of the time when I need to run an errand, chase my toddler at the park, take a work Zoom call, etc.?
Coming from the consulting business, my process engineering mindset came into play during naptimes and middle of the night feeds. I dreamed of making this scenario better for moms.
I’ll share more about how I got from that starting point A to where we are now!
But suffice it to say – my experience becoming a mother taught me a lot about how maternity and postpartum clothes could be drastically innovated. I worked with professionals to make that happen (by the way, my clothes were designed by creative designers from swimwear, active wear, and intimates - moms who understood the design flaws and opportunities to improve what’s on the market).
Thanks for reading this post about me. I hope it conveys empathy and solidarity into your own motherhood experience.
I’ve been there, I’m still there, and I’m glad we’re here together.
Here with you,