Jenny Greenstein, Founder of Your Soul Style: How Becoming a Mother Changed My Identity
Jenny Greenstein of Your Soul Style has always been committed to living what she loves and inspiring others to do the same. A woman who knows exactly what it's like to have multiple identities (think: personal stylist, style coach, founder, wife, and more recently, mother), Jenny shares with Mitera how becoming a mother to Vida Rose with her wife Dina changed her entire perspective on life.
You look absolutely gorgeous in our Grace Dress! How do you like it?
I love it. I feel like a breastfeeding greek goddess in it. It is nearly impossible to nurse in a dress unless it’s made specifically to accommodate, and Mitera is one of a few brands that hits the mark stylistically and functionality-wise.
You are a mother to a gorgeous Vida Rose. What does motherhood mean to you? Has it changed you in any way?
I’m forever changed in the most profound ways. I thought I knew what this journey would be like, but the intensity and emotional components are more than I could have ever imagined. Being a mother has broken me down, cracked me open, and made me acutely vulnerable and raw in a good way. It can be depleting, but I don’t think there’s any other way since you are literally breathing your life into another human.
It takes all of you. My heart is constantly on the verge of exploding, and I have this greater empathy for all life in general. We begin as such pure and careful creatures upon entry, and while there is a ton of societal pressure to “get back to work” or “get baby into a routine” or “balance it all perfectly”, I tune out the noise and embrace this beautiful experience in a pace that works. For me, it’s a primal response to be present, nurturing and available. Especially in the early years. This time is precious, and the establishment of a strong bond and foundation for Vida is my focus. I’m a mindful person who concentrates on personal growth and development, so commit to Vida’s as well. I recognize that my influence has a bigger impact now.
Motherhood is a great responsibility that I don’t take lightly, and I remain careful about my behaviors, knowing that Vida is picking up my energy and vibrations. While like most new mamas I have moments of doubt, I keep empowerment and confidence in the forefront of my mind, especially because she’s a girl. I evaluate the cause and effect of all my choices through each developmental stage.
What has your journey to motherhood and your parenting journey been like from the perspective of a same-sex couple?
We understood that getting pregnant would be a clinical process since we're both women, but tried to make it as organic as possible. We talked a lot about conception from an energetic perspective since we weren’t able to conceive the good ole’ fashion way. Love breeds love and we literally called upon the universe to connect us to the soul that was going to find its way into our lives. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office with tranquil music playing on my iPhone, holding hands with Dina, eyes closed, tears streaming down my face, and opening myself up to receive a new life.
That said, it was a hard road. I didn’t conceive as quickly as I hoped. I remained positive and open throughout the process, but struggled a lot that year with thoughts about motherhood, and the likelihood of an opportunity presenting itself. It’s crazy how when you’re trying to conceive, it seems everyone around you is pregnant or a mom! I was so envious, and craved to be there so deeply. I realized what a gift motherhood actually was when it didn’t come so ‘naturally’ to me, and the challenges have made me extremely appreciative and grateful.
I don’t take any of it for granted or resent my journey because when Vida was born we both recognized it was always supposed to be her, and the waiting was necessary. She was the chosen one. Or rather she chose us, just needed time to get there. As far as parenting goes, it’s not much of a departure from a straight couple's experience except that Vida has a Mommy and a Mama. What a lucky little girl she is.
Jenny, Vida Rose and Dina on the street of NYC
What was your own pregnancy, breastfeeding and postpartum life like? How did you give birth? What has your experience been breastfeeding?
Becoming a mother has been the most intense experience of my life. I have typical challenges, but that is easily trumped by the magic of it all. I was lucky to have a fairly easy pregnancy, and got to enjoy and embrace the process. I was pretty blown away by the idea that we created this life and it was developing in my womb. I never got used to that and to this day am still awed by it. The most difficult parts of the process came during birth and beyond. Pushing out Vida was hands down my hardest physical accomplishment, but I was set on a vaginal birth and am grateful that I was able to safely make that happen.
Recovery was also more than I expected. I was pretty beat up, and didn’t know I would need that level of healing. Postpartum days immediately after Vida was born were hazy. It was pure bliss. I cherish that time, and hold tightly onto those memories. And breastfeeding luckily came naturally to me, but I still had to go through the ebb and flow of it before it became second nature. There were times when I didn’t think I’d get to a point of enjoying, but I powered through with determination and here I am 8 months later, still doing it. It’s one of the biggest and best commitments I’ve ever made.
Your love for Vida radiates through. What do you wish for her as she grows up?
My wish for Vida is that she has a steady foundation that enables her to be an empowered woman. Life can knock you around, but I believe that if you're equipped with strong coping skills, you will be ready to handle anything that comes your way. Our world is a complicated place and I worry about her future, but will do everything in my power to set her up for success. I also hope she oozes with passion and love and accomplishes anything and everything she desires.
As the Founder of YourSoulStyle and as a stylist, you are transforming the way women dress. How did you start YourSoulStyle? What is your background? When you added the service PRE/POST NATAL STYLING PACKAGE were you inspired by your own experience?
While my career began as a Stylist/Visual Merchandiser in the corporate fashion world for 10+ years, I longed to do something with greater purpose that satiated my passion for emotional health and wellness. I thought this meant a complete departure from the industry which landed me in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Social Work at NYU. I’ve always been interested in becoming a therapist. I didn’t complete the degree, but started to make sense about my love of fashion which was more about individual style, authenticity and self-expression rather than trends or what was popular amongst the masses. The education at NYU rounded out my belief that style can be used with purpose as a vehicle of empowerment and esteem-building.
Your Soul Style was born soon after, combining my skills of supporting women as they take a deeper dive into the self with how they express themselves through dress. Your Soul Style is a platform where style meets mindfulness, and my focus is on guiding women on how to align their inner and outer self. I learned through my own experience that this can this can become challenging during the pre/post natal period which inspired me to launch my pre/post natal styling service.
Women’s bodies go through such extreme changes both physically and emotionally, and personal style can typically become neglected when the priority shifts to baby, and not you. And there is tons of lifestyle adjusting too, making it hard to juggle it all (the breastfeeding, the body changes, the lack of time, etc.) while simultaneously looking thus feeling your best. I work with women, easing them through these transitions by establishing styling behaviors and strategies that make it all possible. My goal is to help you discover the most beautiful version of yourself and feel empowered throughout this journey, which is especially important when influencing new life.
What makes YourSoulStyle so unique in the personal styling space? What are some of the exciting things you've been working on and what's next for YourSoulStyle?
There are many personal stylists in NYC, but my clients are specific and understand emotional health is part of the equation when getting dressed. My emphasis is on the individual, not what’s current in the marketplace, and I take the approach of a “Style Coach” or “Style Therapist”. Paying attention to body type and how to best compliment your shape is one of my biggest objectives. I recognize that not every silhouette, trend or style works for every person. I love helping women find their authentic style, but if she isn't interested in exploring the deeper self, it’s probably not the best match-up. I don’t think you can do one without the other.
For 2016, I’m super excited to build upon the pre/post natal area since I understand the challenges and how it reflects personal style. This year also brings fresh collaborations, consulting, style editing for other brands, a few original services to Your Soul Style, working with existing and new clients, and hopefully the launch of e-commerce (although that may have to wait until 2017). My ultimate dream is to open up a brick and mortar boutique that centers around motherhood. I’d call it Your Soul Style. Obviously.
What motivates you and inspires you daily? Who inspires you? Do you have other mamas you admire?
Being a strong role model for Vida is what keeps me motivated. Knowing that I will be a forever example to her fuels me to do better for myself. If Vida is more evolved than me, I know I’m doing my job.
Do you have any advice for your fellow mamas?
- Your child will see themselves as a reflection of you so make sure you LOVE you.
- Tune out the noise and do it your way.
- Be present, it all goes too fast.
- Be patient, it takes time to adjust to this new role. Life will never be the same so embrace the challenges of stretching to your new normal.
- Meet your child where they are. Don’t follow a prescribed method for parenting. You can read a million textbooks and google for answers on how to raise a baby, but developmental stages happen at different times, and your child is a unique individual with specific emotional needs.
- Don't judge how others are doing it. Everyone is doing their best.
- And put your phone down.
Just for fun, what is the grossest thing you have done as a mom?
Poop is never cute. It was totally okay in the beginning when Vida’s diet consisted of breast milk only, but now that she’s eating solids, it’s always a bit gross.
And lastly, what has been the most surprising thing about motherhood?
Everything. Simply put, you can never know until you know. Check your judgement at the door.
Thank you very much, Jenny for opening your world to us and inspiring us with your honest a beautiful story.