Background: Brianna is a doctoral intern in the last stage of training to become a Psychologist. She also runs an outfit account where she shares her love for sustainable and secondhand styles.
Brianna thanks so much for freeing your busy schedule to chat with us! You’re currently pregnant with your second, congratulations! We’re in a strange time, with COVID-19. Are things different this time around?
Thank you! Our family is very excited to welcome our son. The biggest difference in pregnancies is due to the COVID-19 crisis. It has required a modified approach to prenatal care and shifts in planning for the birth. We are fortunate to have family close who can self-isolate and help with our birth plan. The pregnancy itself is a little different, too! It’s amazing how each child can interact with a mother’s body so differently. With this pregnancy I am feeling a little more tired, but that could also be due to raising a toddler and having fewer breaks!
Any cravings you’d care to share?
My main cravings are for sweets, and I’ve been doing more baking now that I am isolating at home. Nothing unusual, just your standard cookies and cakes!
Brianna wearing our maternity blouse
You’re a working mom, currently in the process of studying for your PHD. Can you tell us about the journey and any lessons learned along the way?
I started graduate school in my late 20s after working for a while in healthcare. Going in, I knew that my graduate school journey would have to overlap with my family goals. In fact, I found out I was pregnant during the first week of my PhD program! In some ways begin a student has allowed for more flexibility and convenience. For example, I am able to do a lot of research writing and other work tasks from home. I also have access to high-quality childcare provided through my university. My field of study is in Counseling Psychology, and my area of research is emotional wellbeing in parent-child relationships which has also given me access to evidence-based research, given me strategies for managing difficult parenting situations, and overall has enhanced my ability to parent effectively and compassionately.
What are some self-care rituals you’ve put into place to balance everything?
I make sure to integrate regular physical activity into my weekly schedule. The impact on my mental health is so positive, and it also gives me dedicated time to do something just for myself. I have modified my workouts now that I am in my third trimester, and I currently like to take long walks pushing my daughter in the stroller and do online barre workouts at home. I also like to role model a healthy approach to exercise and body image, because my daughter is watching everything I do with great interest. Mentally, I intentionally practice self-compassion and flexibility. It is not possible for me to be perfect at anything, so I don’t try to be.
Brianna wearing our striped maternity dress.
In addition to studying, you also run one of our favorite sustainable Instagram accounts, @theconstantcloset. What motivated you to start that account?
Thank you! Honestly, I didn’t start my account with any grand aspirations. I have always been interested in fashion and had really enjoyed seeing other people post their outfits online. Seeing other outfit accounts helped me home in on my own personal style, and I thought it would be fun to contribute to the online community. For me, it is really meant to be a hobby and an outlet for joy and creativity. Although I do engage in brand partnerships and sponsored posts now, I have always viewed my account as something that should be fun and not a business. It is something that I can stop or take a break from if it is no longer serving me.
How do you balance being an influencer, a student and a mom?
I am careful with my priorities. My first priority is the wellbeing of my family and nurturing the relationships I have with my husband and daughter comes first. Next, I am passionate about serving people as a therapist and contributing to my field as a doctoral student. I dedicate a lot of my time and effort to building a meaningful professional life. My account is the icing on the cake, a fun part of my life that I am very grateful for, but that comes second to other things that are of great importance to me.
Brianna in our Once-on-never-off easy pants
In terms of sustainability, we love that you often photograph yourself wearing pieces more than once, in different ways. What are some of your pregnancy and postpartum staples?
I really love pieces that can work both during pregnancy and after. Your breastfeeding- and maternity-friendly tops and dresses are perfect examples. During my first pregnancy I made the mistake of buying items that would not be practical postpartum, and they ended up being a wasteful investment. I have tried to be more intentional this time around about choosing pieces that can be worn now, but that I will still want to wear post-pregnancy.
What are your three parenting must-haves, be it items or philosophies?
My three most important parenting philosophies are self-compassion, mindfulness, and trust in myself. I am kind to myself, which not only makes my life easier but is good role modeling for my daughter. I try to mindfully engage with my daughter and really enjoy my time with her, being truly present whenever I can. Last, I trust my intuition as a parent and advocate for my wishes for my family. In terms of items, this one really depends on the age of the child! For newborns, a good bassinet, plentiful swaddles and cozy clothes, and a good baby carrier are my favorite essentials. For a toddler, lots of books, puzzles, and activities for us to enjoy together.
Brianna in our short sleeved maternity dress.
What do you hope to pass on to your children as they get older?
I hope to pass on the knowledge that they are loved and that they are capable of finding balance and satisfaction in their lives. I hope that they will know that they can always rely on their parents, but that they can also rely on their own resilience and ability.
Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to expectant or new moms?
This is your journey – it will not look like anyone else’s. Staying centered in your own story, making choices that are right for your family, and avoiding unnecessary comparison or attempts to make other people happy will help you find more satisfaction in what you have.
Read about other moms we love here!