May 24, 2016
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala
It’s a quote from one of the most courageous and inspirational women in the world today. I remember first hearing Malala’s story – and I was deeply affected by how she refused to be silent about what she believed in and experienced – even when that vocalization caused her to nearly lose her life.
For me, the truth is that being vocal can be scary, but the price of silence is higher and often far more dangerous.
I was lucky enough to become a mother last year, and Arni and I were blessed with a beautiful baby boy, a wonderful home and a brand new business all in the span of a few months. For all intents and purposes, life should have been glowing in every respect. Therefore, I didn’t understand the emotions I was feeling after Tristan was born – the exhaustion, depression, isolation and overwhelming feeling of just drowning in this new role of mother didn’t fit with my expectations. I’d thought I knew what motherhood would be like – tiring, yes – but also full of joyous moments and a sense of completion and purpose.
I am an engineer by trade, and I plan things every day. I’m organized and detail-oriented. I’d planned for every aspect of my life. But then life decided to shake me up. A few months after giving birth I finally realized that what I was experiencing was not unique to me. I was suffering from postpartum disorder – a real, clinical mental illness caused by childbirth. I wasn’t failing, I was suffering.
What I realized during this lonely time is that there are far too few conversations about postpartum disorder. I didn’t know where to turn or who to talk to – I didn’t even know that it was normal to experience the debilitating effects of postpartum. I was humbled by the experience, and when we launched Maria Shireen™, I knew from the beginning that it was critical that I do my best to create awareness about what I’d experienced and more importantly, to let other women know that you are not alone.
We launched our Charity Ties initiative just a couple of weeks ago, and I’m so proud to announce today that our first Charity Ties bracelet – which comes engraved with #BANDOFSTRENGTH on it – will benefit the extraordinary non-profit Postpartum Progress. For every bracelet sold, we’ll donate $10 to the organization as they raise awareness, fight stigma and to me, most importantly provide support and programming to women with maternal mental illness. I had the chance to sit down and have lunch with Katherine Stone, the Founder and Warrior Mom behind Postpartum Progress, and I was completely inspired by her dedication and the incredible way on how they are connecting mothers who need to know that they are not alone. If you’re suffering now, know that you are NOT alone. The organization provides resources to connect you to others who can guide you, hear you and most importantly understand your experience. Because every mother and family deserves a healthy start!
You’ll hear more about this vitally important cause from me – now that I’m talking about it, I won’t be quiet. I hope you’ll join me as we band together in the name of strength and compassion.
May 5, 2016
There are definitely moments when life seems surreal.
I recently found myself heading to the CBS Studio lot in West Hollywood, prepared to be interviewed by Kathy Ireland for Modern Living. My mother accompanied me, and as we walked in carrying several of our bracelet collections to display during the TV segment, it suddenly struck me that this past 12 months has been a year of incredible “firsts.” I’ll touch on this more in some upcoming posts, but as many of you know I am a first time mother. I had been a medical device engineer for the past decade, and after my wonderful husband Arni and I decided to launch Maria Shireen last year, I was faced with not only with the challenges (and joys!) of first-time motherhood but also with starting a new business, working from home and all of the mind-numbing logistics that creating a new business requires.
I intend for these posts to be real – both about me and about our brand. So I’ll say this here – it has not been easy on any front. At all.
However walking into the studio a few weeks ago, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. In the last year I’ve found myself doing things I never expected I would be brave enough to do – I’ve been on three television shows and overcome my stage fright, I’ve worked with my team to see my brand featured in media outlets like The Today Show, InStyle, Dr. Oz’s The Good Life, Shape, Allure, Yahoo! and others, I’ve learned about retail manufacturing, marketing, and social media, events for dynamic bloggers in LA and NY - and more than anything, I’ve stepped out of the box I’d once seen myself in.
I’m seeing so many of my dreams come true, and I’m grateful not only to my family and friends, but to each one of you who have supported our ideas, our products and our vision. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks – and to breaking new ground every day.
Hi there friends! I've decided to create a blog to share my thoughts about a lot of things, and will be kicking it off soon! You'll be able to drop by from time to time for posts about everything from being a busy entrepreneur and mom and juggling the ever elusive work life balance, to hanging out with family and loved ones, to my interactions with so many of you who are friends and customers of Maria Shireen. Sometimes I'll even share my thoughts on where I think the functional fashion accessories market is headed, and along with that, I'll talk about products I love that help us solve every day problems, practically and with style.
Thanks for stopping by and check back soon for my new blog!