Trigger Warning: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

As an actress, entrepreneur, and mother of three, Anna Schafer, knows that mothers have a lot on their plates. She and her best friend kept that in mind when they co-founded bāeo, a plant-based organic skincare line. In this continuation of our Reflections of Motherhood series, Anna shares what spurred her to launch her company with a fellow mom, as well as her thoughts on motherhood and breastfeeding.

Tell me about yourself.

This could be a really long answer, but I’ll keep it short and sweet since moms barely have time to read their emails. I was born in Russia. I’m a mom of three. My oldest daughter is turning eight this week. My middle son Jaylen is three and my baby girl is ten months. I’m an actress and the co-founder of an organic skincare line made for the whole family called bāeo with my best friend Sarah.

Tell me about your children.

Lila is way too independent, wicked smart, a social butterfly, and naturally gifted at just about everything. It always amazes me how easy everything comes to her. Jaylen is my true middle child, super emotional, very attached to me, and has this incredibly intense streak of defiance that I can’t help but laugh at. He doesn’t open up easily to people. You really have to gain his trust. He's smart in a street smart kind of way and very different from Lila. The baby is desperately trying to catch up to her big brother and sister, so she’s basically already trying to walk. I can tell she won’t be an easy one because she has a very strong personality. 

{ Anna with her children Lila, Jaylen and baby Grace }

Tell me about your company.

Sarah and I started talking about the company at the end of 2015, but we didn’t launch until the end of 2018. We both felt like there wasn’t a product out there that hit the three check marks we wanted to hit. Organic and clean, smelled good, and actually worked. It was always two out of the three but never all three.

{ Anna with her partner Sarah Wright Olsen and their babies }

So we went out and searched for the perfect company who could help us create the perfect formula and now we are here. We have 5 products.

  • bare butter - all-over body moisturizer for you and your baby
  • bare booty - meant for the bum but I use it all over
  • bare stick - moisturizing face stick
  • bare suds- body and hair wash
  • bare kiss - lip balm

We are about to launch another product which we are over the moon about!

Why was it important to you to create plant-based products?

We just wanted to create something clean and something that comes from nature. We wanted people to read the label and know exactly what every ingredient is without having to look it up.

What are the benefits of being a mom-owned company?

Well for starters there’s no one who better understands me than my business partner because she is a mom. We create with our kids in mind and what mother doesn’t want to do the best possible thing for her kids? Every product we make is for our own kids. We use everything on our kids.

How has your career as an actor and entrepreneur prepared you for motherhood?

It hasn’t. I don’t think anything can prepare you for motherhood.

How has motherhood grown you personally and professionally?

Motherhood taught me patience, what unconditional love is, sacrifice, and major time management skills which certainly made me grow in all categories of life.

Between running a company, acting, and raising kids, what do you do to take care of yourself?

What’s that? Just kidding. Some days are harder than others to find time for me. After my second child, I really struggled with postpartum anxiety and some depression. I wasn’t myself for about a year. So when I got pregnant with my third, I did a lot of planning. I scheduled manicures and pedicures for six months straight. I set up hair appointments. I started working out, which made me feel so much better. Even if it was just a long walk with the baby when kids were in school. I really learned to ask for help and not take on the whole world alone. I love dancing, so I take salsa classes and really try to find an hour every day for just me whether it’s a bath, reading, or binge-watching a fun show.

Describe your journey with breastfeeding.

I am very grateful for how easy it came to me. I breastfed my daughter and son for two plus years. Grace is ten months and I just started supplementing her with formula because I realized my other kids need a little more of me. It’s actually working out great. It’s a mixture of formula/bottle and breastfeeding and this is what works for us. Everyone has to do what works best for them. 

{ Anna in the Estelle Nursing Dress with her baby }

What advice would you give to a new mom regarding breastfeeding?

I would say try it and get the help of a lactation consultant if you can. But be gentle with yourself. For some it’s easy and for others, it’s a real challenge. It’s certainly a huge time commitment. It works for some people and it doesn’t for others. I have friends who breastfed for three years, tandem breastfed toddlers and newborns, some that only pumped and gave their breast milk in a bottle, and some that went straight to formula after trying for a few weeks. Each and everyone of them did their best and has an incredible bond with their baby. There is no wrong way to feed your baby. Don’t let people make you feel bad about whatever decision you made for your family!

What is your favorite part of being a mother?

Seeing the world through their eyes. I get to experience everything all over again and that’s pretty special.

What is the most challenging part of motherhood?

Some days everything.

One thing that I struggle with is seeing them hurt. Not like a physical hurt which sucks too, but when their feelings get hurt it kills me. I haven’t had that happen with Jaylen or Grace yet, but I have a few times with Lila and I do not like it one bit.

What surprised you most about motherhood?

How emotional I’ll get during milestones, like the first birthday, the first day of school, the first play date, or seeing them watch a show for the first time. I cry at everything 

What is something you would want to tell your younger self before you had children?

Value sleep. Lol

{ Anna with her daughters Lila and Grace }

What is the funniest situation that has happened with your children?

There’s been a lot. One that stands out was when Lila screamed at the top of her lungs that I was the worst mother when I accidentally pinched her with the zipper.

Or on my first Mother’s Day, when Lila projectile vomited all over me right before getting on a 7-hour flight. Or Jaylen telling me at our friend's house that he left some special boogers on their walls but he won’t tell us where. Oh, there’s been so many.

You can find out more about the mom-owned company, bāeo, here, or follow Anna on Instagram.

We're also a mom-owned company here at Ellie and Becca. We know that motherhood is filled with joys and challenges. The saying, the days are long and years are short, is not lost on us. We keep all that and you in mind when designing our nursing friendly clothes. We love knowing that our dresses are part of those special memories you create with your children that you cherish forever.

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