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Styling The Bump: Sarah Bagharib’s Nursing Journey

Our Maternity series encourages new moms to embrace their maternity journey with pretty styles fit their needs as a nursing mother. Without having to spend additional on nursing wear that they end up stashing away afterwards. By renting, we want to promote a more sustainable lifestyle that’s also financially sustainable! 

To kick start this series, we met with a loving mom to share with us her maternity journey!

Meet Sarah:

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Hi Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us! From finding out you were pregnant to transitioning into the nursing phase, how has your motherhood experience been so far?

Wow this is such a loaded question! It has been a difficult yet beyond rewarding experience of my life so far. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant at all, but felt like I couldn’t say that out loud because I knew how incredibly lucky I was to be pregnant. 

I might have been going through prepartum depression of sorts and I was not feeling like myself. It was not an easy journey for me. To add to it, I had a 41-hour long labour. But thankfully I delivered a healthy baby, and at that moment, nothing else mattered. 

The first few months of postpartum were hard. There was a lot that I struggled to reconcile with but after giving it and myself time, I felt so much better. Despite the journey, my baby is, without a doubt, life’s biggest blessing.

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How would you define motherhood, in your own words?

These aren’t my words, but a friend’s, and I relate wholeheartedly: “Motherhood is a barrage of conflicting emotions all the time.” 

It truly is! One simple instance is when my baby’s awake, I sometimes look forward to her being asleep. But when she’s asleep, I just want her to be awake! 

Now that you are a mother, how do you juggle your time between being a mom, the founder of Crazycat, having a full-time job?

I went back to my full-time job after 16 weeks of maternity leave and adapting wasn’t easy. It was quite a learning curve for me. At that time, my baby would wake up every 1-2 hours in the middle of the night and I was constantly sleep-deprived. I found it really difficult to function in the day and at work. Which led me to pause my side hustle, Crazycat, simply because I had no energy and capacity to work on it. 

I was very hard on myself for not being able to do so but it was taking a toll on my physical and mental health. So, I made the decision to sleep-train her as that was the best option for both my baby and me. Imaan is now on a routine and so much happier. She sleeps better, poops better, and is generally a lot less fussy and cranky. With that, I’m having more sleep and able to focus myself on work as well as Crazycat again! 

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How has your daily routine changed since the birth of Imaan? 

It has changed completely! Sometimes I still find myself laying in bed at night, trying to recall what it was like without a crib next to me. But that feels like a lifetime ago, haha!

Now I have another human being to think about and to care for, so I can’t take my time with things anymore. Though, I must add that I have a lot of trusted help from my parents and in-laws, which I am very grateful for. 

As for my daily work routine – on the days that Imaan is at my parents’ place, I will have to pick Imaan up before heading home. Thankfully my parents are kind enough to help pick Imaan up in the morning! The other thing that has changed on a working day is having to pump at work! I now have to schedule meetings around my pump sessions so that’s definitely a huge difference.

What was a piece of advice you got that has really been helping you with your Journey as a mother?

Do what you have to for your baby and your sanity!

What were your first thoughts after giving birth and seeing your daughter for the first time?

I was really overwhelmed but was so ready to finally see my daughter. I don’t think anything prepared me for the moment when I finally laid eyes on her. My husband and I also had two options for her name but we wanted to wait till we saw her to confirm the name. 

The moment I laid eyes on her, I said to my husband, to name her Imaan. Imaan means faith in Arabic. At that moment, she was the embodiment of faith to me, as I continued to have faith that everything would go the way it’s meant to, and that I’d finally get to see my baby after having gone through the whole ordeal.

Many mothers go through post-pregnancy body changes. What were some struggles you faced/parts that you embraced when it comes to this?

Wow… a lot of changes, especially in the first few months postpartum. I wrote a reflection 3 months after I gave birth and thought I’d share it here:

“My stretch marks are atrocious and I still look like I’m 3 months pregnant. Yes, I know that this body has housed my baby but I’m nowhere near accepting it and I don’t know when I will. Most of my clothes don’t fit, my bottoms especially. I’m still wearing my maternity leggings and jeans. I don’t want to shop for bigger clothes because I’d like to think that I’ll be able to fit my old clothes soon enough. There’s always something to deal with, to reconcile with in this postpartum reality and I’ve been doing it a day at a time. Some days are definitely harder than others. I know we should be kind to ourselves, I know that but wow. It is hard.”

It’s been 9 months since I gave birth and I think I’m only slowly accepting my new body now. I have not fully embraced it yet, but I’d like to think that I’m on my way there.

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What was your nursing journey with your baby like in the first few months? Did you face any challenges when it came to breastfeeding?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first few months of my breastfeeding journey — the toe-curling pain that I felt while Imaan was latching just a day after her birth.

I remember asking, “Is breastfeeding supposed to hurt like this?” The postpartum blues hit me as I continued to struggle. My nipples were cracked and bleeding because Imaan had a really tight jaw. She cluster-feeds and would latch on for more than an hour at once. As soon as she was done, I’d call for my mom and pass Imaan to her. There was almost no chance to bond.

As I wasn’t bonding with Imaan as much as I liked to, I would cry every day for at least a whole week. Instead of being in love with my newborn, I’d associated her with pain. I saw three lactation consultants in the first two months. That was when I found out that Imaan had a tight jaw. So I took Imaan to see a chiropractor and a few days after her first adjustment, I felt a massive difference with her latch and it stopped hurting!

On top of all that, I’ve been struggling with my supply. It has definitely gotten better over the months but it’s still not good enough. Imaan would use three bags of milk while I’m only able to replace two bags when I pump at work each day. Though I managed to build a small stash while I was still on maternity leave, it didn’t take long for that to run out. That led me to pump extra hard at nights, on weekends, public holidays just to catch up. It was incredibly exhausting. I don’t know who or what pushed me to exclusively breastfeed Imaan for 6 months but doing so had made a detrimental impact to my mental health.

When Imaan turned 6 months old, I introduced her to formula milk. I started her mixed feeding journey and it was well. I’m just so glad that’s all over now and I won’t have to put myself through that anymore!

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How does renting nursing clothes help you become more sustainable in your habits?

It’s definitely helped me spend less and waste less!

Is sustainability something you plan on incorporating into other aspects of your life? How are you planning to keep a sustainable lifestyle?

Yes, definitely! I have been doing my best to stop single-use plastics by bringing my own recycle bags for groceries and my own straws or cutlery! I’m also trying to spend less on clothes and things I know for a fact I don’t actually need. When I do spend, I try to make sure that I know who made the clothes and also make sure that what I buy will last a while.

What is important for you when it comes to renting clothes and nursing wear?

I think style is important to me. Whatever I rent, including nursing wear, needs to be something I feel comfortable wearing and feel like I can shine in! Nursing wear does not have to be boring and it doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically maternity wear. It’s all about being creative with the clothes you rent. It could be any regular shirt with buttons or any tops that can be lifted easily for nursing.

Do you rent more for work, weekend, events or travel?

For now I’m renting more for going out on weekends and for events!

Since being a subscriber, what are your top 3 hits about the Style Theory service?

Convenience, choices, and hygiene.

Last but not least, do you have any tips for other moms or moms-to-be?

For all moms-to-be, my tip would be to not just prepare for labour and delivery, but also for the fourth trimester. 

I think I didn’t quite think beyond labour and so I struggled a lot in the first three months of my postpartum. As for moms, well, I still consider myself a new mom and would rather receive tips. But if there’s one thing I’d say to moms it’s to continue to trust your gut and instincts when it comes to your child, because you really know best.

Read more on other motherhood journeys with Style Theory!

About Author

Ashley is fun-loving, and pens down anything that’s got to do with food, fashion, and films. She occasionally indulges in pop-culture narratives and secretly loves FPS games (betcha she can beat you in it!) Nothing excites her more than a trip with a scenic view -- mountains and fjords included. Her favourite apparel piece is a skirt, for it's flexible and flatters her height-- an added bonus if it comes with pockets!

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