Cashmere Guest Mom

CASHMERE GUEST MOM 2: ISIS NYONG’O MADISON

It’s here! It’s our second feature on my Cashmere Guest Mom. As we wind up August, I am featuring Isis Nyong’o Madison on Cashmere Moms.

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I met her through my fiance Jason who is really good friends with her brother Kwame Nyong’o and their family for a few years now. She had her beautiful daughter Juno Grey Madison when I was in my third trimester. I think I can speak for most pregnant mothers that when you start this journey and meet other pregnant women or mothers, there is an unspoken bond that we share as we are part of the “Mothers Club”. Most people know Isis as a technology leader who has graced the lists of the”Africa’s Top 20 Youngest Power Women” by Forbes, Africa’s Top 10 Women in ICT and Africa’s most powerful women in Tech 2013. She is definitely an inspiration to many young women just like her cousin Award Winning, Lupita Nyong’o. So in honor of being a new mother as well as the fact that yesterday was her birthday, here is her interview.

I was so happy to ask Isis a few questions about her pregnancy and her experience being a new mother. Happy Birthday Isis!!!!!!! 😉

CM: So tell me what your first reaction was when finding out about your pregnancy?

IN: Absolute elation! It was rather surreal and scary.

CM: What was your most common food craving and most unusual craving?

IN: I had more food aversions than cravings although I did eat a lot more carbs than usual so maybe that was technically a craving. One of the more interesting aversions was popcorn (which I normally love!) to the point where I banned it from being made at home much to my poor husband’s chagrin.

CM: Yes, I definitely understand that. I had some food aversions too, I couldn’t stand the smell of coconut oil which Jason loves to cook with, I also couldn’t stand the taste of chewing gum and I stopped eating chicken dishes which I always loved.

CM: Share with me what the hardest part about being pregnant? Did you have a good pregnancy? What advice would you give other women about pregnancy?

IN: I found pregnancy to be an incredibly wonderful and empowering experience. Parts of the transformation can be challenging but the ‘hardest’ part was maybe the fear that something may go wrong. I think there’s a lot of negative messages in the public domain that make women fear instead of embrace pregnancy – there’s more of a public focus on what’s ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ rather than a deeper appreciation of the wonder that is pregnancy. I mean we create other people inside us!! How amazing is that?! I’ll never forget a few women telling me that they were envious, missed being pregnant. That’s not a message we get very often that women remember pregnancy with fondness. The most valuable piece of advice I received (special thanks to my yoga instructor Esther Waters-Crane for this) that I’d like to pass on to other women is to research as much as possible as knowledge is power. This will both empower you generally and enable you to make informed, active decisions for yourself and your baby. I’m still astonished at how little I knew at the outset about virtually everything related to pregnancy. But with Esther’s nudge and sharing of many books, a whole world began to unfold and I was fascinated to learn that I could shape what kind of birth experience I’d have, for example.

CM: I share your sentiments on the fact that we need to share more positive stories about preganancy. I learnt alot from Jason and my midwife Anne Lefebvre Olale, she came into my life pretty late in my pregnancy but I am so glad that she was there when I most needed her which was weeks before I had Beck. I definitely went into the labor room more confident and empowered than I expected.

CM: What were your first thoughts when you saw Juno?

IN: Absolute awe and love. It’s impossible for me to articulate those emotions but I will feel them forever.983691_10203382309872104_102069325091397663_n

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CM: Was Chris a help or hindrance during the first few weeks after giving birth?

IN: He was a huge help throughout the entire process. He was there every step of the way and I can’t imagine having gotten through it without him.

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CM: Which music or movies were a hit when you were pregnant?

IN: Funny enough, I was watching ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ when I went into labor. Another major movies was ’12 Years a Slave’ and Pharell’s ‘Happy’ was a great song to be a big hit when you’re pregnant.

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CM: Which celebrity was the most talked about during your pregnancy?

IN: Well, Lupita of course (but do we say!)
CM: But of course!!!!! 😉
IN: It’s pretty awesome to save magazines from the month my daughter was born and have her aunt be on the covers. Her rise to fame shone over anything else popular for me.
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CM: Tell us your newborn experience?
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IN: There is something truly precious about having a newborn but a lot of that appreciation happened for me in retrospect. I was so tired, worried and uncertain about what to do that it was hard to appreciate it as much as I can now looking back.
CM: Same thing here, I am 2 months down the line and looking back and it’s funny how stressed I would get when now I have more confidence on knowing what to do.

CM: Do you think a married family with children is any better than an unmarried relationship with kids, if so why?

IN: I think different approaches work for different people.
CM: What are your views on young mums having children?
IN: I’m not sure I have a particular point of view based on what’s the ‘right’ age but the odds do seem to be stacked against very young women having kids and being able to also fulfill other goals or dreams. Of course there are many outliers such as President Obama’s mum having him at age 18 and going on to have a career and also raise a future president. What I do think is that the fall out for young parents is harder on the mums than the dads and we should look at how to change our institutions to be more supportive of young mums.
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CM: Did you go through any anti natal or pre natal blues? How did this affect you?
IN:Nope and sure glad I didn’t as I’ve read about how hard it can be for some women.
CM: Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
IN:There are many people I’m grateful to including my mother, my husband, friends and the many women who help new mums with lactation/nutrition challenges. Huge gratitude to all of them.

CM: What is something you miss about the life before Juno?

IN: It would have to be travel and being able to go somewhere at the drop of a hat.
CM: Amen to that one.
Thanks so much to Isis for allowing me to publish her story it on Cashmere Moms. I hope that this interviews connects to mothers out there 🙂 Below are some pictures I took on my phone from her Birthday Party last night

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