Mothers, Muses and More - Annika Hein

Mothers, Muses and More - Annika Hein

A conversation on motherhood with Annika Hein - mother, creative director, and multidisciplinary creative. I recently worked with Annika on some branding and content creation for SHRUNK and would highly recommend her offerings and services. 




Do you feel comfortable with the identity of mother? Was the transition to motherhood difficult? In what ways?
I do, and that’s something that has always somewhat surprised me. Before I was a mother, it wasn’t something I thought all that much about, however I feel very comfortable and content in this role and season of life. The transition to motherhood in relation to my work was something that happened quite organically, as I lent deeper into mothering my practice and output adapted and morphed into something that could work within the more limited time and space constraints. At the moment, I have a lot of ideas and feel very creative, but I have limited time to act on many of them. It’s almost like I’m in this period of rumination where I’m observing a lot and letting a lot of these new experiences wash over me and kind of just happen to me, but I’m not yet at the point where I have the space or brain capacity to really dissect and interpret them into creative work. I need a lot of time and space to create, and this season of early motherhood doesn’t really allow for that. I write as much as I can and just trust that I’m digesting it all in a way that will allow me to call on it when I need it. I also feel like motherhood alters the axis of your creativity—or it did for me at least. My perspective changed, and because my work is so closely centred around my everyday lived experiences, the tone of my output was adjusted and given a beautiful quality of softness and vulnerability.



Do you think and read about parenting or do you just do it?
Yes and no. Before becoming parents Odin and I were pretty sure on the approach we wanted to take and sought out different media or research to give us a bit of an overview. But of course as you have lived experiences and actually go through the different stages it’s supportive to have some resources and reassurance to lean on and to offer advice on what might be the best approach for your child. I consciously think about the type of parent I want to be and how I want my children to feel but I’m not really reading or immersing myself in parenting texts. Sometimes I seek specific information through podcasts, or different instagram pages, but I usually find the more I lean into my intuition and get curious about what’s happening for my children, the more we’re able to find an approach that works for us and allows us to come back into balance. 



Do you manage to fit in self care? How and when?
We try to create a rhythm within our home where both parents are able to prioritise their needs at least for a moment each day. It's quite logistically challenging, in between working and parenting, but currently Odin and I have as close to an hour as we can manage each day for ourselves. Mine is usually from 5-6pm during the week and I use that time to do pilates or yoga, or sometimes just have a nice long bath.





Do you have any parenting cheats/hacks?
Surrender! Haha. 



What has been the most challenging parenting/pregnancy/birth phase for you?
The first 16 weeks of this current pregnancy was by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do in relation to parenting, birth, babies. I was throwing up constantly, felt nauseous all day and night, and had margarines often. Feeling that way was really debilitating especially with two small children and it also wasn’t something I had experienced to that severity before so I was quite blind sighted.



Do you have help from family? What type of help?
No, our family doesn’t live in the same state as us, so we don’t have that support system to lean on. At the moment Odin and I split the week so that one of us is working and the other is parenting. It’s definitely a juggle.



How have your friendships changed if at all?
I have created and been graced with the most transformational friendships because of motherhood. My whole support system expanded exponentially and I feel really grateful to have had this experience. I think it was something that I consciously prioritised because I realised how deeply I needed that village. 



How has your relationship to your body changed?
I like to think that it’s been deepened and strengthened. I have such respect for my body now, when it needs rest or needs to move in a more gentle way and I’m no longer willing to push or force it. I have really educated myself in functional movement and things that support my nervous system. I want my body to be strong, for my children and my grandchildren, and that’s become my primary goal when thinking about what it needs in each moment: strength and health. 
Of course, I still have moments where I wish certain things looked different, however I think having a daughter first really put a lot of that internal dialogue into perspective for me and it became really clear really quickly how determined I was for that negative self-talk and those detrimental body image issues to stop with me. I am really fierce and really strict with what is said about bodies and appearance within our home and by those around us, and it’s something I’m not willing to compromise on. If my daughter, and my son for that matter, grow up to have a deep love and respect for their bodies and not associate their worth with their physical appearance I will be really, really proud of the job I’ve done as their mother.
Images by Annika of her daughter in SHRUNK.
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