This week we sat down with Sacha Welsh, a certified health coach and founder of Welsh Wellness, where she specializes in natural fertility, pregnancy and postpartum health. As a mother of 2 girls (soon to be 3!), she talked to us about her own relationship with motherhood, how she connects with other women and the key in making your fertility journey your own.
Janice Liu (JL): You’re a pre/post-natal expert and general wellness expert. How did you get into this field and this role? Becoming and being a mother is an incredible journey in itself, but being able to help other women navigate this space must be super rewarding. Can you tell us about your journey?
Sacha Welsh (SW): Back in 2015, I was working in marketing, and despite loving my job and my peers, I didn’t feel quite fulfilled and didn’t have any particular desire to climb up the corporate ladder. That was definitely an awakening for me: I figured that if I didn’t feel the need to want to keep going up, then I wasn’t in the right field. And so I wondered what in my life fulfilled me, and that’s healthy living. Since a young age, thanks to my parents, I’ve been exposed to what a healthy living can do for you, and thought that was something I’d love to further explore. So I enrolled in school – while also keeping my marketing job. Eventually I got pregnant with my first girl, I decided to finish the program and thought about my future: I knew what I wanted to focus on was being a mother. After my second daughter was born, I decided to make good use of my health certification, and to turn that interest into a new career. With two kids, a job in marketing that was increasingly more demanding and more travels, I thought it was the time to switch to a different pace.
JL: At that time, was there anyone who influenced you, or encouraged you to make that move? Sort of like a catalyst?
SW: Over the years there have been “mentors” who have inspired me on social media, and I remember getting pregnant around the same time as one of them. I remember thinking that I loved how our journeys were sort of parallel, and how her content changed from that point on to be more focused on motherhood. I really saw that as a source of inspiration.
JL: With the pandemic, moms have had to become primary caretakers and teachers, what’s been your guide in finding time for everything while taking care of yourself?
To be honest, there’s no clear cut answer (laughs). Every mother is leading a different life at a different pace, so everybody deals with the work life / mom life a different way – it’s a very individualistic approach. Even if you’re not a multitasker, find a routine that works for you! Because I mostly work from home, I haven’t had to pivot much apart from my messaging, but most of the time I just use a few minutes here and there to take some time for myself – whether it’s during my toddlers’ naps, while my husband is with them… I love taking long showers or getting a quick workout in. I’m really lucky to have my husband to lean on. No matter what, you have to find the time to take care of yourself. It’s a mindset shift, which is a tool I’ve used for the past few years myself. And for all the women out there going through pregnancy during this pandemic: you’re not alone. Just make sure you find some time for yourself.
JL: Working in the fertility and wellness space must come with a lot of ‘aha’ moments for women and families. What are some things that your clients and community have been surprised by? Essentially, any stigmas or areas of conversation that we don’t talk about on a mainstream level?
Over the years, I’ve been able to witness how different every woman’s fertility journey is. Some get pregnant right away, for some it can take much longer (even without underlying conditions). There are so many puzzle pieces to take into account: diet, hormones, exercise… The key is to stop comparing yourself to other women and to think about your fertility journey as your own. A big “aha” moment for my clients is when they understand that you can be perfectly healthy and yet still take a long time to get pregnant. I guess another “aha” moment is how pregnancy actually turns out to be: the joy and surprise, but also the aches and pain. There are a lot of things about pregnancy that people don’t talk about, especially about postpartum health, and how much it can affect your mental health. I myself experienced postpartum anxiety, and with no history of it in my family, I was definitely taken aback. But I started doing research on it, what might bring it on, how hormones play out… Doctors may not always warn you – or at least explain these things to you, so you often have to take the high road and either do the research yourself, or ask the questions – even the sensitive ones.
JL: That makes total sense. I was chatting with a friend who is a pilates instructor, and we got to talking about how in some parts of the world, women are more comfortable with these events, with their body, whereas in North America, it seems that we’re not as much in tune with this conversation.
SW: For sure. People are definitely not as transparent – not transparent enough. I don’t think mothers are treated with enough respect, so I always make a point with my clients to encourage them to ask their doctor all the questions they have on their mind, whether it’s coming from curiosity or concern. I always encourage them to advocate for themselves.
JL: The world is also going through an awakening – it feels like it’s finally levelling up. What conversations have you had with your friends, family and community about change for the good? How do you think sustainable change will come?
SW: I always say that the key is awareness – and in that regard, 2020 has brought plenty of it. Despite some conflicting opinions about the recent social media Blackout Tuesday, I actually thought that was a great first step – it shed lights on recurring issues, which now more than ever is needed in order to move forward. I’ve been having lots of conversations with my husband, who is white, about it. I think educating your children about race and differences is primordial, and I find that doing it through books and toys is the best way to go about it. Change will come, but awareness has to come first.
JL: Absolutely! And I think collective awareness is so important. Since we’re also on the topic of fertility and sex, I was thinking the other day that it seems to be much easier, more comfortable for North American millennials to talk about sex in the corporate space, rather than race – I find that interesting. But let’s move on: as you’ve navigated your own way through the wellness industry and the world of fertility, what have been some of your greatest challenges, failures and lessons?
From a professional standpoint, I’ve had many challenges, whether from a product or a project standpoint – they’re inevitable. Lots of work has to be put in when you’re an entrepreneur, from finding the time to finding your own pace. Something I’ve learnt to do over the years is to take things less personally: I sometimes feel guilty when one of my clients takes longer than expected to get pregnant, so I have learnt to tell myself that I did what I could. Even in the best conditions, some women sometimes can’t get pregnant, and seeing how much they want it can be tough.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve also learnt that when you put yourself out there in an authentic and transparent way, it’s inevitable that some people will dislike it. At the end of the day, I think trying not to take things personally and staying true to yourself is key.
JL: In itself, the jump from the marketing world to the one you’re in right now is in itself such a great story! Now I wonder if you keep in touch with any of your clients, even after they’ve gotten pregnant?
SW: Yes, I keep in touch with them all the time! I’ve had previous clients reach out especially with regards to postpartum depression. When that happens, we put together a plan for them to follow, to give them the tools they need to feel better and more in tune with what they’re going through.
JL: Any favourite beauty and lifestyle brands that you can’t live without? What or who do you support?
SW: To be honest, I’m not much of a beauty person – I don’t do much when it comes to makeup. When I do, however, I always go for clean products, whether it’s makeup or hair products. With regards to skincare, I think coconut oil is a must: I have very dry skin, and keeping hydrated is definitely up there on my to-do list. I use NOW Solutions, an organic and natural beauty products brand. I put it on my face, my hair, but also my baby bump: it helps keep the skin elastic, hydrated and soft.
JL: What would be your ideal self-care or wellness day?
SW: For me, the ultimate wellness day is a spa day. I love getting pampered, from a massage to a facial, a mani-pedi or a blowout. To me, staying hydrated and putting nutritious in my body is also part of self care: I know it sounds cliché, but it’s important to me. Oh, and being alone (laughs). Since I’m with the kids all the time, alone time is true self care.
JL: Any wisdom and tips for new moms or women planning on becoming mothers? Any favourite quotes?
SW: To mothers, I want to say: don’t be afraid of asking for help. Reach out to others, whether they be moms, experts, or other people, and let it out. Ask for tools you may not have been given, ask questions, ask for advice. You can join social media “mom groups” to hear other testimonies – this really helps in understanding that you’re not alone. I didn’t know I was experiencing postpartum anxiety and panic attacks until another mom in my “mom group” talked about what she was going through, her worries and sources of stress and I thought: I have those exact same thoughts! Looking back, I wasn’t as educated as I am now in mental health issues, which is why I never thought about bringing it up. Moms do judge other moms, but there are so many amazing ones out there that will support you.
I’m not much of a quote girl, but if there’s anything I live by, it’s “Get it done”. Whether it’s changing your meal plan, asking questions or others: do it. There’s no better time than right now!