I am sat here, at what used to be my dining table which has now become my workshop/workstation and I have a pile of orders next to me which I am working my way through. A pile of breastmilk and cremation ashes all waiting to be created into something truly special and unique and I am thinking this time last year I had just started my holiday before my maternity leave and was heavily pregnant contemplating how the hell this child will change our lives!
When my daughter was born, almost 12 months ago now (hasn’t time flown by!) and I knew I was going back to work full-time when she was 4 months as we had arranged shared parental leave, my partner did 5 months after that which has been amazing for both of us. I have always been career driven and as such, I am the main breadwinner in our family, hence why I needed to return to work early. Although, controversially for some, I wanted to go back to work and share this precious time with my partner so he could experience some of what I had.
As I was returning to work at 4 months, I planned to pump my breastmilk as soon as I could. Although I wasn’t sure if I would be successful or even be able to I did plenty of research and bought myself some tools to help me – I even tested out my double electric breast pump before I had my baby to help get the colostrum! It was very very weird!!!
When my little one was born she struggled to latch and I ended up having to use a nipple shield for the entire time she breastfed. On the advice of my midwife, I left it 2 weeks before I started pumping. (I have a whole other story about breast pumping which I will save for another blog post as it really is a unique experience).
I really wanted to give my baby breastmilk when I couldn’t physically be there, I pumped every time she fed and even between feeds to increase my supply – this was exhausting but I managed to stash in the freezer 250 6-8 ounce bags and had to purchase a new freezer!
I heard quite a few mums comment about all the uses for breastmilk, and we even had some jokes about it healing broken bones! So I started to think what other uses could there be?! And what could I get as a reward for all my hard work (other than my beautiful baby of course!)
I did some Googling and found that you could get your breastmilk made into jewellery and I was literally amazed! I went to order a ring (even though I didn’t have much money, statutory mat pay isn’t much after all) and then I said to my partner “Maybe I can make myself something”.
I started researching blog posts, YouTube videos and general jewellery web pages and started trying to make my own breastmilk into jewellery. I had some very fun failures and my first attempts were in a Darth Vader ice cube tray which made for some fun conversations!
After a while, I managed to perfect my technique and made myself a purple heart with flowers inside which I wear a lot. My NCT & Massage Mum friends saw it and then asked if I could make them something. I then started getting enquiries and my partner and my friends and family encouraged me to try a business! Some of my friends couldn’t or didn’t breastfeed and I made them items with baby hair inside, I pass no judgement on any mother. We all need to do what is right for us in our own unique circumstances – things are tough enough without being judged by other mothers and other people.
Launching Eternally Cherished
In January, when I returned to work full-time, I launched my website and Facebook page and the rest is history. I still work full-time and do this on the side with a little one. The business has grown in the last 7 months and is growing more each week.
I feel extremely privileged that people trust me to make them something beautiful and precious from both ends of the spectrum of life and it is only at times like this when I reflect back on how my life has changed in the last 12 months that I realise how much things have changed for me personally.
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