Mayte Salonia: Journey to Motherhood
Just a few weeks before giving birth, OLEU LIFE Co-founder Mayte Salonia takes us through her journey of pregnancy. With personal stories and insights, she lets us into her experience; the inspiration behind the new skincare line for mothers to be, Mums and Bubs.
Interviewer (I): First of all, how has your journey been so far?
Mayte (M): It’s been good, very very nice. I'm 33 weeks pregnant now and it’s been a lovely journey. I’ve had a very nice pregnancy. I'm very lucky that I have not felt sick, and that I've been taking care of myself from a nutritional point of view and also in terms of body, mind, and spirit.
I: Has it been everything that you expected? Or has it gone beyond your expectations?
M: I think it has gone beyond my expectations. No one really prepares you for what pregnancy is. At the beginning, there's a lot of changes, a lot of excitement, there’s a lot of physical changes and feelings that you go through. But from a motherhood point of view, you start making conscious changes that come from understanding the good nutrition not only for yourself, but also for the baby that you're carrying.
We created this whole journey of Mums and Bubs based on that, actually. As women we all go through all these changes...everything grows! So making sure that my skin was ready, that my body was ready, making sure that the elasticity in my skin and the collagen was alright to stretch out as much as it needed was important. And also making sure that we were prepared mentally and emotionally as well.
I: Is there anything that surprised you?
M: I think all the changes. Every step of the way is like an adventure. Understanding the growth and what your body goes through as well. It’s been an emotional ride but a really, really lovely ride. And I cannot wrap my head around what’s gonna come after, really!
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I: Yes, I’m excited for you! And I’m also curious to see what you felt when you found out when you were pregnant...
M: It was a mega surprise! It was something that we weren’t expecting to happen so immediately. And obviously the whole world is in the middle of a pandemic, so it was just really emotional and just a big surprise. Because we were contemplating - “wow, are we ready to do this and embark in a new adventure and take the space in the world to bring a little child?” but it was really nice and emotional. And now we’re super anxious! So good!
I: Yeah, and I think like many other couples in the world who have been pregnant during the pandemic, there must be so many different stories. But how was it for you to go through the whole process in the middle of the pandemic? Because you're far away from family...although I think you’ve been able to make your own family in Australia too, right?
M: Well, the pandemic has been quite challenging. At the beginning it was scary, because no one knew what was happening. We had to be at home, be really conscious about not heading outside, or have any contact with other people, really taking care of ourselves...And from an emotional point of view, seeing what was happening around the world, seeing what was happening in our own home countries in South America and whether our families being stable and fine was a bit of a stressful ride.
Managing everything was something that we had to learn how to cope with; especially with learning how to be mindful about being here and in the now. We also had to face all the challenges that we were going on in our lives as well, with the company - with everything being shut down. We were asking ourselves how we could also help others too because we would see how people were struggling with the COVID situation. And we were especially trying to help others with aromatherapy to try and really bring that balance back and bring that sense of calmness in one way or another to help handle and deal with everything.
So it was and has been still so hard because our parents are far away and won't be able to see them, they won't be able to meet the baby anytime soon too, so...it’s been a challenging journey.
But I think with a lot of work, a lot of practice and a lot of mindfulness, things are going to be alright. Let's be careful with whatever we need to be careful with and put our part in it as well!
I: I can only imagine how hard it has been and how much you have to handle and learn at the same time...and add on to such an already life changing experience. So kudos to you and greetings to everybody going through the same thing! What are you most excited about for the future?
M: The growth of this family. The challenge of motherhood and parenthood altogether. and teaching and learning. It’s all so new and just to think no one really prepares you for anything like this! It’s so new and exciting to see what you are going to be able to do as a parent like teaching another little human being to be in this world to be empathetic, conscious and human as well. To give them the values of family and everything. So I think that’s what I’m looking forward to. And I think now that we are at the end of our pregnancy as well, it's just facing the reality that what comes next comes now - pretty quickly.
"What comes next comes now - pretty quickly."
I: So that being said, what are you most nervous about?
M: I’m a bit nervous about what’s to come, about the uncertainty of things...I think that’s normal as well. Questions come up like “are you going to be able to give and provide everything that you can?”...But I’m really excited at the same time about what we can do to create new things; not only for our family but also for our family’s business, and in that way how can we help others in the same journey.
I: So when you feel nervous about something or overwhelmed about this added uncertainty, do you find any peace when using essential oils? Do you find it helpful to practice mindfulness?
M: Yes, I think it’s true - it has been crucial. Not only for me, but also for Rafa. We try to be more conscious about being mindful, so we use aromatherapy in our lives to not only make space for meditation every day, space to de-stress and not get ourselves overwhelmed with everything that is happening, but also trying to find that inner peace within yourself. So we have little rituals - that’s one of the biggest learnings that we have had out of these 33 weeks so far.
What we can share with others is that finding little rituals throughout your day that can help you catalyse everything. So for example, for us, it has been meditation in the mornings and breathing exercises before we head to sleep. We have used our Bedtime Mist to really get bodies and minds into the right mindset before we go to bed - we become mindful of leaving behind whatever we need to leave behind and the benefits of natural botanical plants. Also, using it in our skincare has been amazing for me.
I feel very lucky that I haven’t had any stretch marks! Well, of course us women have stretch marks but it’s been really nice to have the experience of using natural skincare.
I: Yes, because you also came out with your own Australian pregnancy skincare line which I’m sure so many are going to be grateful for. I’m in the Netherlands so I haven’t been able to try it myself, nor am I pregnant, but I’d be happy to use it (laughs). But now that you mentioned Rafa, how has it been to experience pregnancy as a couple, but also a couple that works together? What changes have you had to change in your everyday or in your dynamics?
M: It’s been alright. Well, it’s been a lot of changes for both of us. It’s a journey that we've never experienced before, so we’ve had to get used to new things, and to the idea that we’re gonna be three now! So everything that we can plan out for our future and even for our company and our personal lives is now involving that fact and that idea - that we are going to be three and that everything we do has an impact. So just recently we have done through this whole process of what they call the “nesting” phase... getting rid of things that you don’t need, understanding the value of things, deciding what we want to keep and what we want to let go... And it’s just been about preparing yourself and your family. Preparing ourselves emotionally as well for the welcoming of our baby as well...it’s been a good journey as a couple, and we have been able to just reinforce our relationship. We have had to become stronger together in order to welcome someone new.
"Everything we do has an impact"
I: Yes, and I can see how that links in with the rituals...because the mind and body is all you have, right? So when you have a strong base, you can do pretty much anything. So yes, I was also curious to know if you’d had any funny cravings so far?
M: Oh cravings! Don’t talk to me about cravings (laughs)! So I haven’t had any weird cravings...but I crave sugary things and carbs and….it's been a bit of a struggle because eating healthy is something that has been part of the priorities that we’ve had - making sure that we eat healthy in our routines. But also being extra careful with what we ingest - both of us. And just trying to make changes and good habits as well. But yes. The sugars. Sometimes the bump makes me eat it so...I have to blame it on the bump!
I: Of course! So you’re already a mother and will meet your child pretty soon. But for all the mothers who still have a long way to go, what advice would you give them?
M: I think the biggest advice I can give them is to enjoy. Enjoy every second. I think sometimes we tend to get overwhelmed and overthink everything that we do. The amount of information and preparation that you have to absorb during these 9 months is a lot, especially if you are a new mum. So I think the biggest thing is not letting yourself as a person get left behind. It’s creating those routines and little rituals that make you feel connected and in balance with yourself.
I think that’s been one of the most important learnings that I’ve had. Not only because I’ve been pregnant during the pandemic, but also because I was pregnant for the first time. It’s because growing and being in a small business and everything happening at the same can be daunting...but it’s also super exciting you know? It’s good and it challenges you. You have to live day by day and you have to live your moments. If you want to eat your sugar, eat your sugar! You shouldn’t think!
"I think the biggest thing is not letting yourself as a person get left behind.".
I: Yes! And like you said, everything is happening at the same time; so being able to accomplish everything must feel super empowering, right?
M: Yes .We have been really lucky and motivated to not only do things that have made us grow from a personal point of view, but also that we can share with others. Share our experience, whether it’s good or bad, we share what we can. And we try to create things that are healthy in that way. And there are many more things to come! We’re excited about what’s coming! The baby afterwards, and then maybe the expansion of OLEU LIFE in that way as well...so not only helping with our little Luciano, but also helping others in that way!
I: Oh wow! Okay, I see you!
M: But you didn’t hear that from me :)
I: So now that we’re talking about OLEU LIFE; as a mother, but also as a woman, why do you think it’s important to use natural ingredients or live natural lifestyles?
M: Well, it's super important because we’re so in contact with so many chemicals and toxins everyday that when you are pregnant, you are not that fully aware that everything that you absorb through the air, through your skin, all goes through the bloodstream and into your baby! So it’s really important to find not only natural but pregnancy approved products and ingredients you can use that are not harmful, that are not chemical, don’t contain heavy chemicals, and that they’re going to be safe for you and for your baby. It makes a big difference. Not only with skincare, but also with cleaners or things that you’re using at home. Trying to do that shift into a more natural approach will always help.
I: It must feel like a breath of fresh air to know that everything you’re using is truly non-toxic. That covers all of my questions! Anything else to add?
M: Thank you for having me today and for having me share this really personal experience! I know this month has been very much about pregnancy, love and everything related to that. If anybody has any questions or wants to tell us anything, we’re always there to help.