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Nana Eyeson-Akiwowon seeks to improve the mental health of women the world over. The New Jersey based mom and co-founder of the social impact maternal wellness brand, Fourth Phase, shares Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” both in her career and her personal life. She shares with us how she strives to advocate for mothers as they walk through the universal experience of motherhood, while at the same time learning to give herself grace in her own motherhood journey.
Nana, tell us about you:
I am a social entrepreneur who advocates for the health and wellbeing of women and children globally. I co-founded Fourth Phase, a social impact maternal wellness brand that supports mothers during their Fourth Trimester. I live in New Jersey with a super cool 10 year old future astro-geologist named Omolara, who calls me mom, and my handsome cyber security genius husband.
What does self care look like to you?
Self care looks like giving myself grace.
How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom? In your business?
Fourth Phase and Matrescence share this mission in common. Mothering the Mother is the ethos of our brand; it is why we established Fourth Phase as a social impact company. For each Fourth Phase box purchased, funds and/or products are donated to mothers in need either in sub-Saharan Africa or here in the US. We know that motherhood is a global experience, and that no matter where a mother gives birth - be it Mt. Sinai Hospital or in a rural polyclinic in Ghana - the physical, mental and emotional changes she goes through are universal.
Do you have any daily/weekly rituals that you stick to?
I am really a simple person and to be honest I don't have any cool, “magazine worthy” rituals. I approach each day based on how I feel that day.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known before becoming a mom?
I wish I would have known about the emotional responsibility that comes with motherhood. Understanding how much your mood/emotional IQ plays a part in caring for and developing another human being is an immense weight. My daughter has forced me and continues to force me to deal with my "own shit" before dealing with hers. It's much like, how can you tell a toddler to “breathe when you’re angry” or “use your words” if you can't do that as an adult? I struggle with giving myself patience and grace. I once tried explaining to my daughter how she needed to be patient with herself and celebrate her wins, and she literally threw it back at me: "Mommy, then why weren't you patient with yourself the other day when you were working?" It threw me off and I had to check myself.
What has been the hardest part of your mama journey?
Not feeling guilty about the choices I've made.
The most rewarding?
My daughter is the most rewarding part about life.
Our focus this month is “loving the new you”. What does that mean to you as a mama and as a business?
The new me is learning to be patient and to give grace to myself and those around me. As a business owner and a co-founder, you have to give yourself grace to mess up and to be okay with not having all of the answers.
How does working in the wellness and motherhood field impact how you approach parenting?
It has made me more mindful, I understand now more than ever how my emotional wellbeing impacts how my daughter sees the world and how she sees herself.
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