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One Year of You (and a New Me)

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

To celebrate Mother’s Day in the US, Canada and Australia, we asked one of our own, Chupi’s Head of Brand Marketing Zoe O’Connell, to talk to us about becoming a mother to one-year-old Ethan, favourite self-care rituals and parenting during a pandemic.

Becoming a mum is both easier and harder than I’d expected. I’ve really found myself using my intuition – it’s so important to trust yourself as a new mum. I think the lack of time you have is the biggest surprise, even just to have a shower or do the smallest thing for yourself. Also, just how much love you can have for someone from the second you meet them is overwhelming! 

There is so much preparation done for the baby arriving, but not enough focus on the new mother who will essentially be born too.

My son Ethan’s at a gorgeous age where he’s really interactive, so I love seeing him change every day. He’s just started to give me a big hug and a kiss when I pick him up which is so sweet. We have a new routine where we go to see some animals (a mini pony and some goats) on our daily walk which he loves. Six months ago Ethan was not sleeping very well and his routine was all over the place, so it’s lovely I now get some time to myself during the day and have a bit more structure. 

I try to make time for movement every day – a walk and some yoga. I’ve been doing online classes with Reformation for the past year, and it’s kept me connected with the yoga community and given me some time for myself, which is so important. Also, I love to get myself an oat flat white every day when I’m out walking. I have no idea how anyone parents without caffeine! 

There is so much preparation done for the baby arriving, but not enough focus on the new mother who will essentially be born too. It’s so important as a new mum to have a strong support network, and also a self-care ‘toolkit’. For me yoga, getting outside, talking to friends and family are essential to keeping me going. 

There are loads of ways you can support mums even if you can’t pop in to say hello. Some of the most thoughtful gestures I’ve received are cooked meals and treats dropped on my doorstep, flowers, a card or even a WhatsApp voice note to say your thinking of the person. Being a new mum can be very isolating, especially during the current lockdowns so any connection at all can really cheer someone up. 

I decided to treat myself to the Crown of Hope this year to mark Ethan’s birth and having survived what’s definitely been one of the most challenging years to become a mum! 

I’ve always been very close to my mum but the last year has definitely given a new dimension to our relationship. Sadly, we lost my father very suddenly in October last year, so my husband and I moved in with my mum for a few months afterwards. It was lovely to see Ethan and my mum grow so close during that time – so many of his ‘firsts’ were in lockdown in Galway: crawling, eating solids, his first word, trying to walk. My mum is the most amazing, strong woman, and I’m so grateful to have her in my life. 

This year was my first Mother’s Day and my son has just turned one, so it felt like a really significant milestone. It’s been an incredibly challenging but rewarding year as a first-time mum, so I celebrated with my husband and Ethan with a nice lunch and a walk nearby. We are lucky to live close to Ticknock and Airfield so there are lots of pretty spots to go walking. 

Chupi and the team threw me a gorgeous baby shower in the office just before I went on maternity leave last March and I was gifted my son’s star sign. I literally haven’t taken it off since – I even wore it the day I gave birth, so it’s become a really special heirloom of mine. I decided to treat myself to the Crown of Hope this year to mark Ethan’s birth and having survived what’s definitely been one of the most challenging years to become a mum! 

Personalised jewellery is such a precious gift for mothers, but perhaps never more so than in those early years. Handcrafted in solid gold, the We Are All Made of Stars necklace is composed of tiny dots on a hand-shaped disc, some bigger and some smaller, each marking a star. Sure to become a treasured piece in a new mum’s collection, shop We Are All Made of Stars here

Images: Nathalie Marquez Courtney

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