Eleanor shares with us the story of her journey into motherhood, her best business advice and also what wearing her Natalie Marie pieces mean to her. Eleanor’s husband Mat worked with us to create her engagement ring several years ago and we were honoured to work with her to create a bespoke ring to celebrate the birth of their son, Banjo.
Name / Location:
Eleanor Pendleton, 31
Northern Beaches, Sydney, NSW
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on the New South Wales Central Coast in a beachside community. It was coastal suburbia and I loved it. Nowadays, I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with my husband and our 10-week old son, Banjo. I’m also the founder and editor-in-chief of GrittyPretty.com – Australia’s first and only digital beauty magazine.
It’s been a lovely experience to follow your journey into motherhood. You seem to have taken it all in your stride. What were you most excited about when it came to motherhood and has this lived up to expectations?
Thank you! Before I gave birth to Banjo, I could never quite understand what women meant when they said motherhood is both the best – and hardest thing – in the world. I had a wonderful labour and birth experience – I absolutely loved it! – but what I could never prepare myself for was the difficulty of breastfeeding. After I had my son, I was euphoric for about 2 weeks and experienced ‘the baby blues’ in week 3. As a business owner and someone who has always been so career driven, I really struggled with the hormone come down and wondered how could I possibly juggle the two: my baby boy and my other baby, Gritty Pretty. Fortunately, as my hormones began to normalise and I regained the confidence to go outside and do basic things with my baby like go for a walk to the beach and have a coffee, I began to feel so much better. I’ll never underestimate how beneficial fresh, ocean air can be for mental health.
I struggled for six weeks with an oversupply of milk that resulted in rounds of mastitis and blocked milk ducts, which if anyone woman has experienced it knows is extremely painful. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed my son so I refused to stop even though I absolutely had times where I wanted to (there were a lot of tears standing in the shower at 2am!). It wasn’t until my baby was six weeks old, that I started to feel my body regulate. I felt like I was coming back into my own. Now, my son is 10 weeks old, and it’s just THE BEST thing I’ve ever done. The pain from breastfeeding has disappeared and I now love nursing him. I love watching him grow before my very eyes – it’s a love I never knew was possible. He is perfect and my greatest achievement. Going through motherhood with the support of my husband and watching him become the doting father that he now is, is also one of the greatest privileges of my life. I feel so grateful for my family.
What did you enjoy most about pregnancy? Did you have any expectations going into it?
Having suffered an early miscarriage prior, I really did go into this pregnancy with no expectations – I found I wasn’t able to get excited or connect in fear of having my heartbroken again so I really created a wall of having zero expectations.
I had usual morning sickness from 7 weeks, which I think having experienced pregnancy loss prior really did shift my perspective of. Every time I felt nauseas or would be sick, I’d look at it as a blessing, a positive sign that my hormones were strong and my pregnancy was progressing well (I was relieved when the morning sickness did end at 14 weeks though!).
For me, reaching the 20-week mark was a real milestone. It was my turning point – literally the moment I had my 20-week scan was when a lot of my anxieties subsided and I was able to truly enjoy my pregnancy.
My husband and I also chose not to find out the gender of our baby (we always loved the idea of having a surprise) and even without knowing whether we were having a baby boy or girl, I felt so deeply connected to my baby. With each kick he made, I smiled – it felt like a little inside joke only the two of us are in on. Every morning and night when I lay in bed, he would kick like crazy and it’s just the most wonderful feeling in the world.
What does this new bespoke NMJ piece mean to you?
Every time I look at my delicate ‘rainbow ring’, I’m reminded of how special my baby boy Banjo is. I’m grateful to the angel we lost as if it weren’t for that life, Banjo would never have been born. The ring reminds me that there is always a pot of gold (or diamonds) at the end of the rainbow!
How did you first discover NMJ?
To be honest, I can’t even remember now! I think maybe on Instagram? My husband knew Natalie was my favourite local jeweller (as Natalie is also a Northern Beaches girl) so my relationship with Natalie Marie started back in 2016 when my husband proposed. I have so much respect for Natalie Marie and her husband Daniel and the way they’ve thoughtfully grown their family business. Seeing Natalie Marie become a mother herself continues to inspire me greatly and gives me confidence I too will be able to soon juggle the joys of motherhood and running my own business – it won’t be easy but I am excited all the same.
As a business owner and new mother, do you got a plan in place about juggling the two? Who do you look to for inspiration / advice?
Unfortunately, neither of us have parents who live close by. While it would be lovely to have, we won’t have that wonderful maternal help from both of our mother’s but we’re going into it with the mentality that we won’t know any different. My husband is my best friend and we are an amazing team so we will juggle life together. Running a business comes with both pros and cons – the pro is flexibility. I can decide when I return to work and in what capacity whenever I feel ready, which I’m really leaving up in the air at the moment. The con is I don’t get the luxury of 12 months maternity leave. However, knowing the kind of woman I am, I am not a woman who would want 12 months off – I know it’s very likely I will feel naturally inspired and creatively charged after giving birth and likely want to return in some capacity after a few months. My husband also has flexible work hours as well so we’ll juggle it together.
Gritty Pretty (the mag and website) and everything else that you have built (events / collaborations) is something to be so proud of. Did you dream of having your own business? What’s the short story about how you got to where you are?
Thank you – I don’t stop very often to reflect except really in situations like these when others encourage me to and it is something I am really proud of. I never dreamed of having my own business or start up – I had a family who worked in small business my entire childhood and I do think that probably gave me a predisposition to some of the inner workings of leading your own business, managing staff and things like cash flow. The truth is I thought I would go on (eventually) to become a magazine editor of a title like Cosmopolitan. Today, that magazine no longer exists in Australia, which is heartbreaking. After almost a decade of working as a Beauty Editor in print publishing, I found myself going freelance and unknowingly venturing into the world of digital and creating Gritty Pretty as a global beauty platform. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and by far the most rewarding “job” I’ve ever had because it’s the one with the most amount of pressure. I’m responsible for the livelihood of my staff and that is a driver to success like nothing to else.
And what advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
Trust your gut instinct (it’s always right – even if you ignore it!).
What are you currently reading / listening to?
I love Podcasts and listen to them most days. Right now, I’m listening to Oprah’s Soul Sessions, Offline and Beyond the Bump.
Which pieces of jewellery are you always wearing? What does jewellery mean to you?
My every day jewellery includes: my Natalie Marie Jewellery rose gold engagement ring (which my husband designed with Natalie), my Natalie Marie Jewellery rose gold wedding band and a yellow gold Cartier love ring (with my wedding date engraved inside). I also always wear a small gold hoop earring.