Chela Descardes: Finding Blessings After Grief
New mom Chela Descardes shares the reality of motherhood and all its ups and downs with us. As a mom to four month old Cairo, Chela describes the pain and grief that comes with multiple miscarriages, her fear around losing her son during pregnancy, her personal commitment to self care during matrescence, and the blessings she has encountered as a long-awaited new mom.
Chela, tell us about you:
I've been married for almost 2 years and moved back home to Los Angeles after more than a decade living in Oakland. When I moved, I was pregnant with our son Cairo. He’s now 4 months old, and I just went back to work doing facials. I love pretty drinks, baths, candles, aesthetically pleasing coffee shops, and chilling at home!
What was the most unexpected part of your own motherhood journey?
The most unexpected part of my journey was the pain of multiple pregnancy losses and the grief and anxiety that followed me through pregnancy. I'm already an anxious person so there were so many periods of pregnancy that I was just a nervous wreck.
How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom? How about in your career?
Working as an esthetician, my career is focused around promoting self-care and teaching people how to best take care of themselves. I really amped up mothering myself in pregnancy so I didn’t get lost in the experience and to make sure I kept my anxiety at bay. This has carried over into motherhood. Taking a shower and eating a meal can be hard some days, but it is key to meet those basic needs and once you're doing that you get to explore other ways of really feeling good! Adding essential oils to the shower and making meals that nourish my soul and body might not be an everyday thing, but they do make a difference. I've also made it a point to get massages to help with feeling touched out. In pregnancy I was very consumed with how to best take care of myself in order to feel he was growing well and that hasn't changed much in motherhood. I need to be nourished as a mom, and as relaxed and happy as I can.
In what ways do you feel your path to motherhood was different or unique?
Early in my pregnancy, my doctor confirmed my son would be my third miscarriage in a row. We moved cities during that dark grieving period. We were blessed and surprised to find him swimming around on the screen at our first doctor's appointment here in LA! But other scares came up, and pregnancy was hard. While that part of motherhood was unique and difficult, I also feel beyond blessed with my previous experience in childcare. I've been helping moms as a babysitter, nanny, and daycare worker for most of my life! I also became a hands-on auntie last year- the best!! My experience and confidence with children has brought so much ease into motherhood for me. Physically and emotionally adjusting to the shifts in lifestyle and changes in my body have been challenging these past few months. But being his mom is not so hard for me. It's so uniquely natural that the transition out of pregnancy and into mom life has been filled with so much joy! I am so grateful for that.
What is the best thing you learned about parenting and who did you learn it from?
My mom taught me the importance of getting to know your children individually. Everyday I feel like I know him more and more, and I so look forward to all the years to come in our mother/son relationship. There is so much tech available in parenting these days. I try to not rely on it and do my best to responsibly avoid a lot of the stress around what we “should” be doing with him. It takes away from tuning into my motherly intuition and really getting to know Cairo. I also want others close to me to know our son so I love sharing my time with him with the people I love.
What has been the most challenging part of being a mom and how do you manage it?
I find it so easy to get triggered and put into a bad mental space, I feel very emotionally fragile and so I know I need to work hard to preserve a positive mood. I'm not always sure how to manage it, but being a bit less social and spending more time with my family helps! Having fun beverages and good snacks around helps keep my mood up. I've also blocked a lot of triggering things on social media to help with curating my feeds. I start up therapy again next week.
When someone looks at you as a mama, what do you hope they take away?
I hope they see that parenting is fun! These babies are brought here to bring so much joy and hope and they deserve all the love and laughter. I'm always looking for ways to have fun with my little family and my perfect boy!
Follow Chela on Instagram here