Entrepreneur Sahar Wahbeh on Starting a Business and Motherhood
Sahar Wahbeh, founder of her own dream company Dumyé, is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and mothers all around. Having birthed two beautiful children, a daughter and a son, Wahbeh has experienced both the joys and difficulties that come with pregnancy and a busy mothering process. In an intimate interview, Sahar shares her stories regarding her birthing experiences and how that builds into her identity as a business mom today.
Tell us about yourself and Dumye.
I am an Arab American designer that followed love from New York City to Dubai. I guess it worked out because I now have 2 beautiful children, a wonderful husband and a dream company, Dumyé.
Tell us about your pregnancy. Where were you in your career?
When I was pregnant with my daughter (now 6 years old) I was like a floating lotus flower, just so enamored with pregnancy and impending motherhood. I was working as a consultant, which afforded me the time to nurture the experience. My pregnancy with my son (now 2 months old) was quite different. To begin with, getting pregnant the second time around was a two year challenge. And while we were SO excited to be pregnant again, I spent a fair amount of time fighting off nausea and vomiting. On top of that I was so busy juggling motherhood and a growing business there was no time for those leisurely bikram yoga classes and perfectly prepared healthy meals I enjoyed during the first pregnancy.
What surprised you about being pregnant?
The fact that I grew a human that is half me and half my favorite person (my husband) is mind boggling. Then I gave birth to these little children… how in the heck did I get those two cuties out?! Amazing.
Sahar Wahbeh in Mitera's Sahar Dress (named after her!). Photography by Lydia Kalichuk Photography
Can you share about your birthing experience(s)? How were your first and second time different?
I feel fortunate to have had two positive birthing stories. Both births were natural and unmedicated, as I had hoped they would be. I think the biggest difference between my two births were that I was more confident in myself the second time around. I gave birth to my son literally squatting on the bed (TMI?), panting him out. It was intense but quicker then when I birthed my daughter.
Sahar Wahbeh nursing her infant son in Mitera's Elif Dress. Photography by Lidiya Kalichuk Photography.
What were some of the hardest things postpartum? Are you breastfeeding? How is it combining breastfeeding with working? What are your biggest challenges right now?
I don’t think I realized how long it would take for my body to come back together. I remember looking down at my stomach thinking… The baby isn’t inside my anymore so what is all this jelly belly business?! But in time my body mostly came back to where it was pre-baby. I exclusively breastfed my daughter until she was two years old. I hope to do the same for my son.
Breastfeeding and working are a challenge. Because I run my own business, I can not take any maternity leave. I was literally at my desk 5 days after giving birth. Everyone in my office has seen my boobs. FYI - They are all women. Recently I had a conference that I needed to attend that was from 9am - 5pm. That meant pumping and freezing an ample stash of milk the week prior. But that wasn’t the hardest part. I had to carry my breast pump around with me all day long. I was networking with people and participating in workshops with a breast pump… Then it was time to pump… I needed a private room where I could plug in. It took speaking to several people, mostly men, trying to explain what I was trying to do before I was lead to a large storage room. I know I shouldn’t have felt embarrassed but I was. Wearing Mitera that day, made such a difference. Not only did it allow me to look and feel professional, it made pumping so much easier.
Where did you lean and are you leaning for support? Or was/is it lacking?
Sharing the challenges and feelings with other working moms makes it easier but mostly I just get on with it. Motherhood is a privilege.
How did you feel about your personal identity while pregnant and after giving birth?
Pregnancy, birthing and breastfeeding really gave my body purpose. It makes you realize how beautifully designed we are as women.
You are an entrepreneur. How is it juggling growing a business with an active daughter and a newborn son? How do you juggle it all?
Any mom will tell you it’s hard but worth it. Some days I juggle better than others but the truth is there is no division between my work and my family. They are both extensions of who I am. They both bring purpose to my life in different ways and as long as I’m willing to accept that compromises will need to be made, and help will need to be had then I will continue juggling.
What does a brand like Mitera Collection mean to someone like you (who is an entrepreneur with a growing business and a breastfeeding one that is?) How do you feel in Mitera?
Mitera has been a godsend for me. I already have 3 dresses and the cardigan and my collection is growing. I feel put together when I’m wearing Mitera, which isn’t always easy when none of your clothes fit your post-baby body and you smell like curdled milk half the time. Knowing I have those go to dresses, that flatter my fuller figure and still allow me to easily feed my baby or pump, no matter where I am is a gift.