Fashionista, Designer, Mother: Christy Zolty
This week marks World Breastfeeding Week 2015 and we are so excited to voice our support to all the breastfeeding moms, especially those who are working. This year's theme is 'Breastfeeding & Work - Let's Make It Work!' - this is a topic we know a thing or two about and one that is very close to our heart. After all, our Founder Yoko started Mitera out of frustration that she could not find a chic and professional dress that allowed her to pump at work.
At Mitera, our mission is to support modern moms throughout their motherhood journeys from getting pregnant, through pregnancy to nursing, going back to work, and beyond. This is why we are thrilled to introduce you to our designer, Christy Zolty who is not only a talented designer and a tender and kind mother of two but who also embodies our mission. Here is her motherhood journey.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family
I have a wonderful, brilliant husband called Andrew, who is the co-founder and chief creative officer of a start up called Breakfast. I met my husband at a friends party. He was unlike any man I had ever met. Our wedding was in Long Island City on a perfectly sunny Friday night in June. So began our adventure - 8 years married, 10 apartments, 2 kids, 1 dog, and 1 turtle. Our two children are; Jude who is 3, and Pepper who is just 3 months. I’m 35 but forget most days and believe that I am still 25. I have been a fashion designer for the past 11 years. Aside from that, I love baking, eating, drinking, and reading. When time allows, I enjoy going to a yoga class or on an adventure.
How did you get into fashion?
I grew up on a small farm in New Jersey. My mother milked the cows 2 times a day. We had horses, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. My brother sheered the sheep every spring and I learned how to spin and knit the yarn. I have tons of useless information for a city dweller. Growing up, I spent my days making dresses for my kittens and dreaming of moving to New York City to become a fashion designer. I went to F.I.T. to study fashion design and spent my last year in Florence, Italy soaking up the language, culture, and pesto. My year there got my creative juices flowing. I returned to New York and began my career at Badgley Mischka, then moved to London to work for a suit company. I returned to NY to work with Betsey Johnson. Once I had children I began freelancing so that I could have more freedom.
Also, my mother was a fashion designer. Our basement was converted into her sample room and I grew up learning how to drape, make patterns and sew. My grandmother was also an excellent sewer and she would spend hours teaching me the correct way to cut fabric and sew together a dress or a vest. Vests were really big in the ’80’s.
Tell us about your pregnancy experience.
For a few weeks in August of 2012 I was able to smell everything. I tasted metal in my mouth, and couldn’t stand the smell or taste of coffee. I was scared, as coffee made up 90% of my body. I was surprised when the doctors told me I was pregnant, but should have know that was a possibility. Eventually I snapped out of it and started swimming everyday after work and eating healthier. The pregnancy was so easy and I assumed that birth and there after would take little effort. I read anything I could get my hands on and enjoyed seeing how big the baby was compared to fruit. I was a week after the due date when my doctor wanted to induce labor. I wanted a try at a natural birth, so I went to an acupuncturist. About a half hour later I started to get contractions. It was happening. Giving birth to Jude was more painful then I expected, and I was so happy when the epidural went into effect. My husband was down at the business end holding my foot and cheering me on. Jude was born into a peaceful room and I was rested and happy.
My second pregnancy was completely different. I was convinced that SHE was really a HE. I had a minimal amount of morning sickness, and most days I forgot that I was pregnant. We were shocked when the doctors told us we were having a girl. I was in the middle of a trim store and started crying. I took a Pilates class once a week which helped my back and legs adjust to my enlarging body. Everything was perfect up until the 5th month- the doctors did a scan and couldn't find a nose bone, which is a marker for Downs Syndrome. Subsequent tests confirmed that Pepper did not have Down Syndrome. In my sixth month I was tested and found to be borderline for gestational diabetes. I had to restrict my diet and not eat sugar or carbs. It was so sad as they had just opened a Doughnut Plant by my apartment. I was so thankful when Pepper was born with two pushes, happy and healthy.
How was your postpartum life after you brought your baby home?
With Jude, breastfeeding was a challenge for the first two and a half months. When my milk came in I was in so much discomfort. I used cabbage leaves, ice packs and creams. After trying every position and recommendation I was given, I was able to figure it out. I breastfed Jude for a little over a year. I kept it up because I enjoyed the moments with my baby. It’s the easiest way to feed at night, and I love my sleep. My recovery with Pepper has been easier. Not eating carbs and sugar as well as the Pilates classes had made it easy to get back on my feet. I was out of the hospital the next day and we took Pepper for a long walk around the neighborhood. I started up Pilates the next week. After 2 weeks I was able to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.
Any concerns while pregnant?
When we found out I was pregnant with Pepper we were worried that Jude would not take the news well. We told him early on that he would have a sister and called her Pepper. We spent so many months talking about her that when she finally arrived he accepted the transition in stride. Now he asks to hold her, helps get her pacifier and loves when she smiles at him. The other day I walked in the room and he was snuggling her. My heart melts.
How was the transition back to your ‘former’ life, specifically, going back to work?
I pumped at work in a sad little closet and had to take off my dress most days. I had to ask my assistant to zip up the back of it when I was done. While washing out the bottles in the ladies room, I would have to answer questions about how long I was keeping this up for and why?
What’s your balance in life as a working mother in New York and how do you manage it?
It is a hard balance, I always feel as if I should be doing more. In the end I know I'm only human so my priority is to make sure my children feel loved and supported in life. I also have help! I couldn’t do it without our nanny, Cici. I think the children know exactly when I sit down and begin to work. In that moment they wake up, become hungry, or need a diaper change.
What are some of your most memorable moments of motherhood so far?
I am still surprised by how much love I have for my children and how it keeps growing. I thought I could only love Jude this much and then Pepper came and all of a sudden my heart has expanded to love her just as much. In the early days with Jude I was surprised by how drastically my life changed. It took me a while to adjust as my whole life up until that point was centered on my career. As for my craziest moment: a friend asked if both kids were coming over to her house and I thought, “WOW we have two now.”
What does a brand like Mitera mean to you and to other women/mothers?
I think the concept and dresses are brilliant. When I was pregnant and postpartum with Jude I was unable to find dresses that looked like what I would normally wear. I would hide in corners and drape my self with layers of fabric in order to feed him in public. Wearing things with gathers and crop tops just isn't my style. Now I am able to comfortably feed Pepper without a hassle. I wear a Mitera dress every day and would own every piece if I could! Every dress was designed and made with a nursing mother in mind.
Thank you so much, Christy! For more gorgeous photos of the family by uber talented Shannon Roddy, please visit Shannon's blog here.