I have worked as a nurse since 2009 and as a doula since 2019. One job influences the other. My first child was born in the hospital Södersjukhuset. This experience, together with what I have seen and learned as a doula, made me want to have the second birth at home. I love cooking, and have made postpartum meal bags, which I hope to carry on with after the maternity leave.
The book Föda (Giving Birth), podcast Okrystat (Unpushed) - with Asabea and Opokua, online course - Hypnokurs.se, and writing a new book. And I’m on parental leave.
Hi Opokua, thanks so much for agreeing to talk to us and tell us about your life. You became a mother of two in the spring. Congratulations! How are you and your family? Are you and your partner experiencing the chaos of parenting two kids?
It’s up and down, as for most people, but in general we’re all fine. Having one child was surprisingly easy so I was totally prepared for the chaos of two. But most days are actually OK. I’ve had lots of support, and my husband and I are a good team. Although things change all the time as the children get older.
Opokua in Ribbed maternity dress with nursing access and ¾ Sleeve nursing top.
You’re so inspiring, with unbelievably many balls in the air. You’re a mum, partner, influencer, author, doula and podcaster. Wow! How do you prioritise?
Thanks, that’s nice to hear. I’m always surprised when someone says that I inspire others. It’s not always easy to prioritise. I try to put my own wellbeing first, so that I have energy for everything else. The children, then my partner, then the rest. My jobs are really enjoyable and give me energy, so working is often a way of taking care of myself - a positive loop. I’ve also become better at saying no when I feel that I don’t have the energy or don’t feel like doing something. It makes life much easier.
Opokua in Soft nursing bra, High waist postpartum panties and Maternity wool leggings and Merino wool nursing bra.
Not least, you work as a doula, and you do a lot together with your sister Asabea, such as the podcast Okrystat (Unpushed). How come you two have chosen the same path and how is it to work with your sister?
Not exactly the same path, but within the same area. My sister is a midwife and I’m a nurse and doula. Medicine runs in the family. I discovered birthing when I had my first child, and then my sisters and my best friend asked me to be present when they gave birth. I missed working within palliative care, and I found that the feeling I had when I supported and was present at a birth was the same as when I assisted someone who was dying. It’s an incredible gift to be able to take part of the extremities of life.
What do you like best about being a doula?
To experience the magic of humanity time and time again. It’s so incredibly powerful. It’s also wonderful to be able to contribute to making the experience special. Most people remember a birth for the rest of their lives, and it’s something you want to remember with joy.
As a doula, what tips do you have to give first-time parents that have yet to experience a birth journey?
Think about how you would like it to be. Write it down, talk with the person(s) who will attend, so that you have a joint plan. Also make a plan for the time after the birth. Think about what you need to feel secure, find out about your rights, and learn about your body and how amazing it is, and which tools you already have within you.
Photo by @feliciamasalla
You and your family moved to Portugal in the autumn. How exciting, tell us more!
We went with Interrail from Stockholm to Madrid together with Asabea, her son and my parents, which was amazing. Then we took a bus to Lisbon. We have stayed in Ericeira, in the Azores, and have just landed in Tavira, and will spend the last months in Lisbon. It’s great going on such an adventure with my family. We have been able to spend so much time together and shared so many experiences. Travelling with children is something I can really recommend.
How has the move changed your life? What about the future?
The biggest difference is that there are fewer distractions. I work considerably less than at the beginning of my parental leave. As we don’t have the same social network, so we spend more time together, which is nice. Nearly always, haha! I’m trying to work out what the future holds. It looks like I’m going to continue working as a nurse, doula, podcaster, hold courses with my sister, write another book, and if there’s time, make postpartum meals for new parents.
We are so pleased that you and your baby could be models at out latest photoshoot. Many thanks! Which were your favourite garments during pregnancy and nursing? Something you couldn’t have managed without?
My absolute favorite is Fast Food Elevate Bra - Small band. It’s the only bra I use at the moment. I have also worn the wool pile sweater a lot. Perfect when you’re out in the cold and don’t have to lift it up to breastfeed.
Opokua in Wool pile sweater.
As a mother of two, what do you never leave home without?
Carriers. Ring-sling or a woven sling, now that my son is heavier. Jersey when he weighed less than 7 kg.
And finally, can you share any life-hacks for a smoother day-to-day life?
Just carrying has helped quite a lot. Now that I have two small children, I need free arms. My baby loves being close and he is happy in my lap. This means he can sit there and I don’t have to carry him all the time. I also think nursing is a hack, for us anyway. The food is always ready, nutritious and at the right temperature. And it makes night time easier, gives us both oxytocin showers and masses of skin-to-skin contact.
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