in conversation – with Stephanie Broek

08 August 2022

She’s one of the Netherlands’ most renowned fashion writers, notable for her influential stance on promoting ethical fashion. She’s deeply educated on the importance of natural ingredients in her beauty regime and someone we’re a big fan of here at Abel. Soon to be a mama, today on the journal Stephanie shares her honest and vulnerable journey to motherhood.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 33, live in Amsterdam, and work as a fashion writer and content creator.

What is inspiring you at the moment?

Life and motherhood. I’m currently entering a new phase in life (becoming a mother for the first time), and everything about it is truly mesmerising. I love to read and listen to podcasts about the topic and have learned so much these past few months. I’m very grateful and excited for this new chapter.

How do you have a connection with Abel?

(I don’t know if you remember but we first met on Abel’s launch day at the Skins store back in 2013!)

I remember this so vividly! I was an intern at ELLE magazine at the time, and whenever our beauty editor was busy, the team asked me to go to beauty presentations which I loved! I was very impressed by your story. Abel Odor was the first natural fragrance brand I heard of, and it was exactly what I was looking for at the time. I had just started educating myself on the topic. The brand not only felt safe, but it also smelled wonderful, and the packaging was beautiful, like something I wanted to put on my beauty cabinet, which was very unusual at the time (and still is, frankly). I was truly in awe by your story. 

You are currently pregnant, congratulations! What are you looking forward to the most about becoming a mother?

Thanks so much! I’m 33 weeks pregnant right now, and I’m grateful to still feel good. I’m looking forward to starting new traditions as a family of 3 and getting to know her. Who she is, and what she loves doing. I consider my goal as a parent to guide her and give her all the tools she needs to become the best, happiest and healthiest version of herself. 

What is the best advice you have received about motherhood since becoming pregnant?

To follow my gut and natural mother instinct. It wasn’t easy for us to get pregnant in the first place. One and a half years after we started trying for a baby, I found out I had endometriosis. I was on the waiting list for surgery to remove a cyst on my ovary, and the doctor had informed us that we would go straight to IVF afterwards. Infertility was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through, not knowing if I would ever be able to have children. I learned to let go of control. Focusing on my health and well-being was the only thing I could do. It was out of my hands. It was a big surprise (to our specialist and us) when I fell pregnant after all. Even though I wish we never had to go through infertility, it did prepare me in some way for pregnancy. Pregnancy is all about trust and letting go of control as well. At the end of the second trimester, my pregnancy became medical. The hospital took over from our midwife, and we had to go in every week for extra checkups. A very stressful and traumatizing period. I realized once more that taking care of my body and prioritizing mental health is, also during pregnancy, the only and best way to take care of your baby. The same goes for labour. Thanks to a beautiful hypnobirthing course, I’m very well prepared, but I know I can’t be fully prepared. I’m just going to go with the flow. 

What are some self-care moments you are taking into practice right now?

I love taking the time to gently rub my bump with belly oils, either in the morning or evening. A very precious and intimate moment. Ever since the second trimester that came with a lot of lower back pain, I’ve treated myself with massages. It was quite hard for me to admit to myself that I needed it, but I did. Believe it or not, I’m actually very low maintenance when it comes to beauty/self-care. Pregnancy (and infertility) is teaching me to slow down and take better care of myself.

Is there a scent that defines motherhood to you so far? (It doesn't need to be perfume, i.e for me it's lavender, I love to put it on the boy's pillows before bed, and I used it to help me sleep in the last trimesters)

That’s so beautiful, I will definitely try lavender as well! I think for me, it’s olive oil soap. I’ve always loved the smell of cleanness (especially freshly washed linens), but even more so ever since I got pregnant (I blame the nesting instinct). But nothing too unnatural or floral, more like a sober scent. Olive oil soap from Puglia is my favourite.

Images provided by @stephaniebroek