Background: Andrea Pippins is an illustrator and author who has a passion for creating colorful images. She has written several children’s books, including her latest titled Who Will You Be?
Andrea, thanks so much for freeing your busy schedule to chat with us! We’re in unprecedented times (dealing with COVID-19) and you’re currently pregnant with your second, congratulations! How are you coping with pregnancy and motherhood during this time?
Thank you so much for having me. Yes these are indeed unprecedented times. It's been quite a challenge and a blessing all at once. Because of my pregnancy and pending delivery date my schedule was pretty much set for the weeks leading up to my due date. With both my husband and I doing a self-quarantine and our son at home, all of that has gone out the window! So the challenge has been to get work done, be with our son, prep for baby, and rest—but the blessing (albeit tiresome at times) has been spending some downtime with one another. We take a lot of walks, Isa and I read a ton of books daily, and we've also been baking a lot. This has been a reminder of letting go of plans and being flexible, and a reminder of what's really important like our health and loved ones.
You’re an incredible artist, author, professor, mom and partner – wow! How do you do it?
Thank you. Honestly, I feel like I’m figuring it out as I go. Now I’m learning that’s really all you can do, is take it day by day and being flexible to making adjustments. With baby one I had to become really focused, prioritize my wants and needs, learn to say no, and be ok with doing things in little nuggets of time versus big chunks of time (like I was able to do in my single days). This was probably the biggest adjustment for me, but it made me appreciate the idea of building brick by brick, focusing on little tasks to accomplish big goals. Oh and giving myself more time to do things. Sometimes I look back and think, “how in the world did I get this or that done during the first year of postpartum?” And I remember it was being decisive (not overthinking) and dedicating bits of time to the task at hand.
Andrea and her son Isa. Andrea in B.Warmer dress and Once-on-never-off glam leggings.
Does this time feel a little different than the first?
Physically, no. It seems I’m carrying this baby the same and experiencing similar cravings and feelings. Although my nausea lasted a bit longer in this pregnancy.
Since you’ve experienced birth before, what are some of the tools you used the first time that you’re planning to use again? Will you do anything differently this time?
The first time I read Mindful Mom to Be by Lori Bregman and it was super helpful, so I am reading it again. Doing prenatal yoga at home the first time was great for keeping my body toned and prepping for the delivery of baby. One thing I will be doing differently is ask for more support. Now that I know what to ask for I feel more confident about asking family and friends to support me during those early months (and beyond) of getting to know a new little person. This also meant stopping all work commitments at least two weeks before my due date.
Style is so personal and can change during pregnancy and especially postpartum. What are some of your fashion staples that have gotten through this journey?
Maternity leggings and tops! They have been so easy to throw one, they’re comfortable, and I can dress them up or down.
Andrea in B.Warmer dress and Once-on-never-off glam leggings.
What are your top three essentials for a recovering mom?
Lots of good food. With breastfeeding and burning off so much energy I remember being super hungry all the time. I recommend that she has her partner or some support system to buy, prepare, and/or deliver nutritious and delicious food options. Meditation or time for journaling, which can be challenging with a schedule defined by a new baby, but it is a non-negotiable for us.
As an artist, what does sustainability mean to you and has that changed since becoming a mom?
Sustainability to me means being mindful and intentional about how we move in the world related to all aspects of our lives. It’s about how we use our resources, how we support our communities, and how we nurture our families. Our family thinks a lot about buying used/secondhand items, we recycle, we don’t really go clothes shopping unless there’s something we really need or want, we love going to the library versus buying every book we want, we try to support small businesses, especially small businesses in our neighborhood. We do not buy a lot of clothes or toys for Isa. Most of his clothes are gender neutral, just in case we decided to have another one, which worked out because we are having a girl.
Andrea in maternity dress.
Finding time for oneself is key, especially when you become a mom. What are some self-care rituals you’ve put in place or plan to put in place?
Establishing self-care rituals is super important. You can start them anytime, but I think it’s easier to introduce a ritual into one’s routine before baby. I’ve kept a journal since I graduated from college, it’s a ritual that has grounded me in so many ways. Drinking tea, going for a walk, prayer and meditation, breathing, saying affirmations, and therapy sessions—these are all tools I use to keep me present, grounded and focused. With baby two, my plan is to ask for more help, now that I know what I need and what to ask for. I believe having this support system will alleviate some stress that comes in the early months of navigating, which is definitely a part of self-care.
Andrea in nursing top and Once-on-never-off glam leggings.
What do you hope to pass on to your children as they get older?
Definitely those self-care tools I mentioned in the previous response. But my hope is that they both feel they have the freedom to be who they are, deeply And using that understanding of themselves to define their paths. My hope is that I am an example of that for both of them.
Favorite places to visit?
My absolute favorites places to visit are bookstores, especially secondhand bookstores. And I have a strong affinity for art libraries I could spend hours in both. Books are so special to me, they’re filled with stories, information, and inspiration, I could spend hours. Some of my favorite inspirational places in Stockholm are: Fotografiska for their dynamic photographic conversations about our world; Kulturhuset for their cultural events and their amazing arts and culture library, I always enjoy their talks and events; and Moderna Museet for their glorious exhibitions and collections of modern art.
Andrea in B.Warmer dress and Once-on-never-off glam leggings.
Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to expectant or new moms?
Trust yourself. During my first pregnancy the midwife said to me, “You are the best mom for this baby, you know what’s best.” And that has always stuck with me. There is so much wonderful information out there for us when are expecting. Sometimes too much! Also, what I’ve learned is that people, with their best intentions, love to impose their ideas of motherhood and child-rearing. All of which can be overwhelming, so the midwife’s advice really helped me navigate all of that information. It reminded me that I have to follow my intuition and simply trust myself. We know, we always know, we just have to make space and time to align with ourselves to remember that we do.
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