Motherhood, Sanity & Sun Safety with Nikki Phillips
Motherhood, Sanity & Sun Safety with Nikki Phillips
[00:00:00] Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.
My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia for both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome to the Wellness Warriors podcast today, it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Nikki Phillips. Nikki is a media personality, MC, model, and content creator, and has a list of incredible things that she achieves in life on a daily basis. Amongst this, she also has three beautiful children. Welcome Nikki, and thank you so much for joining me today.
[00:01:07] Nikki Phillips: Oh no, thank you so much for having me. It’s a joy to speak to you.
[00:01:10] Felicity Cohen: Your journey’s fascinating. You grew up in New Zealand and at a very young age, you found yourself moving across to the other side of the world, where you were living, I think first of all in Germany?
[00:01:21] Nikki Phillips: Mm-hmm correct, yep.
[00:01:23] Felicity Cohen: Yeah. How old were you when you actually first moved out of your family home and were living solo overseas?
[00:01:29] Nikki Phillips: I was 14, so I was very young. I left school early, I suffered a little bit of bullying at school because I was already modelling when I went to school and I was appearing in these magazines and a lot of girls didn’t understand why they weren’t in these magazines. And, you know, back in the day you had to, I mean, there was such a stigma around modelling and obviously, every girl, little girl’s dream back then was to be a model and to be in these magazines, and so I completely understand that they were looking at these wondering why this wasn’t them. And so I did suffer quite a lot of bullying and I had been sent to the counsellor’s office one day because a girl actually attacked me with a craft knife and said, “you’re not going to be able to model now” and I got sent to the counsellor’s office and all she said was that I need to come to terms that I’m unusual looking and other girls should be in my place. And I remember my mother just being up in arms and I said to her, “I’d already been given the opportunity to go to Germany and fulfil a contract there” and I think that just put the nail in the head for us.
We were like, okay, “this is it” and my parents both said, “look, if you want to do this, that’s fine, it’s up to you. But you need to understand that you’re going to be on your own. You’re going to be on your own, you need to, you know, really live up to your life expectations” you know, “you’re going to financially be by yourself. You’re going to be living”. And this was before telephones, so we didn’t have naves, I had a calling card to call my mother! She had no idea where I was, I mean, I look back at it now, I’m like, “how on earth did you do that? How did you survive?” thinking about my children going overseas, gosh, I’m going to put a tracker in their bag and their shoe, you know, on the back of their neck! So, you know, kudos to her because that would’ve taken, you know, a lot back then.
But yeah, it all started in Germany from a young age because of what I went through at school and what I needed, I felt like I needed to get out there and kind of find my confidence and start sort of my journey.
[00:03:33] Felicity Cohen: Couple of really interesting things to unpack there. First of all, I relate so well to that experience of moving to another country at a young age. At age 14, I was shipped over to boarding school overseas on the other side of the world. Jumped on the plane by myself and there I was in another country learning another language.
[00:03:49] Nikki Phillips: Yeah.
[00:03:49] Felicity Cohen: So it builds such incredible resilience and independence, and I’m sure that those qualities in you have supported you in becoming an incredibly successful person across a broad spectrum of career opportunities. So, yeah, just amazing!
[00:04:08] Nikki Phillips: Skills that I don’t think that anybody can actually teach you. I think there are skills that you have to be thrown into the deep end to learn, and, you know, I credit all those skills that I’ve learned. They are me, they make me who I am today.
[00:04:25] Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. And I think the other really interesting thing is that that whole spectrum of what bullying looks like, you know, it’s not necessarily something that’s just exclusive to someone who has low self-esteem, is overweight, or doesn’t feel as though they’re part of that whole big group, or fulfils that expectation, but it’s also someone who is beautiful and glamorous and gorgeous with all these other incredible opportunities, it’s really vast, isn’t it?
[00:04:57] Nikki Phillips: Yeah, I feel like bullying can sort of wear many different, you know, costumes, it really can affect everybody. And, you know, the form that I got when I was at school was, these girls looked at me and didn’t understand why I was there instead of them, and I, you know, I do understand that when we are young, we’re naive, we, you know, we see these things and we want to put ourselves in those positions. So I understand that, but when it comes to bullying, verbally what I was given and obviously physically as well, was just something that pushed me over the edge. But you know what I have to look back and thank myself that this wasn’t the era of social media because I can imagine how it is far, far worse for young girls.
[00:05:45] Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. Do you think that altered your perception, your self-perception of who you were and what you were gifted with? How did that actually work for you and how did you actually rationalise that?
[00:05:57] Nikki Phillips: A hundred per cent because you know, like everybody, you have what you’re given with and I feel like, you know, people telling you these things, you can’t help, but absorb that. I mean, I suffered major body dysmorphia when I was young, not only because of the industry but because you know of hearing peers and girls my age tell me what was wrong with me and sort of attacking me for these things. I mean, now when I look back, I know it was jealousy and I know it was, you know, young girls just doing what young girls do. But you can’t help but absorb that and you can’t help, but really be affected by it, but at the same time, all those things, looking back were a huge part of my growth. So I am tough-skinned now because of everything I went through.
[00:06:53] Felicity Cohen: Amazing. So from Germany, just walk us through a little bit about what that journey’s looked like. You’ve lived in multiple cities across the globe?
[00:07:01] Nikki Phillips: Yeah, looking back I can’t help but smile at my, you know, of what I’ve achieved so far, but yes, no, I started off in Germany. I went, and I lived in Hong Kong. I lived in Miami. I went to New York. I did LA, I did London. I’ve done many, many fashion weeks around the world. I have been so fortunate to walk for brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, and Dior and graced many magazines and magazine covers, which brings a tear to my eye thinking about it because magazines are something of the past now! I mean, they were obviously one of the biggest highlights for me, and it’s so sad to see that we barely have magazines now, but yeah, was fortunate enough to live and travel the globe doing something that I loved and I think that of what I used to do is a big part of me now as well, having that confidence that modelling brought to me and having that sort of worldly, you know, experience has been able to make me who I am today.
And once, obviously, I’m a little bit older now so modelling’s not really what I do anymore but it opened the door to MCing and the creation of TV personality, and, you know, I was fortunate enough for all these doors to open from my past. So very, very happy about that.
[00:08:36] Felicity Cohen: I love that. And I think it’s so interesting to talk about the fact that, you know, once upon a time magazines were such a prominent part of our culture, but that has shifted a lot to the online space, and when we look now at things like Instagram and you’re such an incredible brand ambassador for so many, there’s this instant kind of movement where we can see, “oh, wow. Nikki’s look, that’s so cool” you can actually then go and purchase straight away, it’s that instant kind of movement, but the communication’s a lot more authentic. Is, is that the way you see it?
[00:09:10] Nikki Phillips: Yeah. I mean, obviously social media in itself is, I mean, it’s opened up many avenues for networking, which is incredible, but I guess at the same time, I mean, when I first started my career, we didn’t have it. So I know what it’s like to not have social media to now be in an industry where social media is very, very relevant.
And I guess it’s brought with it a desperate need for validation from an online community. I feel like we have a lot of pressure to always look good, and whether that be done, the fashion route or the beauty route or the fitness, even parenting, I feel like, you know, we now look at Instagram and we look at someone creating these home amazing activities for their children, and we’re like, “I don’t do that. Am I a terrible mother? Because I’m not making that?” So, you know, you post on social media now and you get these negative or positive comments on your platforms. And I guess, you know, it really does play havoc with your brain, you know, your mental health, you’re like, “am I not working out enough? Am I not eating healthy enough? Am I not a good mother? Because I’m not making these home things?” So, you know, validation when it comes to an online community has become something of addiction I think.
[00:10:29] So in my mind, social media is both a blessing and a curse because my occupation is now probably I would say, you know, 70% social media, which is why I like to keep everything very light on my channel, showcasing more of a reality side, no matter how ugly that can be. I think it’s the truth and its reality and I think it’s important to show that.
[00:10:54] Felicity Cohen: I think that people connect so much more with that authenticity and with your sense of humour, which I just love the way that comes out in your Instagram. In fact, one of my favourite posts on your Instagram was about coffee. So, most of us, you know, coffee to start the day that perfect coffee it’s part of our life, and there was your Instagram post of coffee in silence.
[00:11:17] Nikki Phillips: Yeah.
[00:11:17] Felicity Cohen: Or the reality. So section versus what the real story was, coffee in silence or poop and banana gunfights fights between your boys, you know, and I just love that sense of, that’s reality and beautifully presented. And I love that about what we see in you.
[00:11:37] Nikki Phillips: Yeah. Well, I mean, sure. I like pictures, I like nice clothes, I like my house tidy, but in reality, that’s not what happens. I mean, it’s funny now because we take, we don’t just take one photo in a scenario, do we? We sit there and we tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, and take so many photos for that one moment. And then we go through our phones and we search for that one perfect photo where your children, you know, are smiling, are not blinking, you know, you look put together and it made me laugh because I was like, why am I looking for that one moment? That’s not real because you know, out of 200 photos, 199 are not good! And why not post those not-good photos because that is reality? So, yeah, that’s one thing I’ve definitely learned to capture my motherhood in its authenticity, which is never perfect.
[00:12:31] Felicity Cohen: And you do it so well, you know, it is a big life juggle and especially you’ve got three children now, your youngest, only three months of age, and one of my favourite quotes of yours, “it’s a beautiful, unpredictable, imperfect mess”.
[00:12:46] Nikki Phillips: A hundred per cent that sums up me as a person, me as a mother, that saying right there is pretty good. We also have another saying in our house that is, you know, “if the captain of the ship is not well or doesn’t give themselves time, the ship goes down” the ship meaning my whole household. And, you know, as a mother or as, you know, a parent who sort of looks as the main caregiver for the kids, that is the truth. If that person goes down and doesn’t look after themselves or give time to themselves, the whole ship is a mess. The whole ship goes down, it sinks. So it’s important to, I guess not feel guilty about taking that time to yourself.
Because I think that’s another big part of being, you know a parent is you feel guilty a lot of the time for doing those little things to kind of, you know, help you. And if you give yourself some peace, I feel like, you have to stop thinking that way and actually you know, do those things to be yourself. Otherwise, everything’s going to blow up around you.
[00:13:47] Felicity Cohen: Absolutely, you know, wellbeing and your own striving for whatever that balance looks like to be in check with yourself to be the best version of who you can be.
[00:13:56] Your schedule sounds literally insane. You still have this huge big schedule and a lot of commitments plus that most important role of being a mom. So wellbeing’s critical and I totally agree with you, you’ve gotta look after number one so that you can look after everybody else.
What are some of the things that you do to focus on wellbeing?
[00:14:17] Nikki Phillips: That’s a really good question. I guess for me, it’s to give myself that little bit of solo time and whether that’s a walk, whether that’s just 15 minutes Pilates or, you know, just at the moment because my household is completely upside down and a mess, finding that time to even do like a little face mask while breastfeeding, just having that because I mean, you know, Bella can’t talk to me yet, so it’s great. She can sit there in silence so I can sit there in silence and I just do a face mask and I just have that, you know, like five or 10 minutes just to recoup and kind of get back because as a mother you’re constantly getting pulled and tugged and which way, and you know, all you want when you first have your child is to hear that first word, “mom” and then after a while, you’re just like, “I wish they wouldn’t say that word anymore because the husband’s in the kitchen, you are right there and it’s like, mom, can I have some water? Mom, can I have a banana?” It’s like, your dad is right there but mom just seems to be the favourite word in our household. You know, I find like just having that solo time where I can just have nothing, I just have silence just really helps me sort of regenerate and kickstart that motor to be like, all right, we’re back, mommy’s back and we’re ready to go. And I feel like that’s so important for your health and wellbeing as a mom, just to have that little solo time.
[00:15:42] Felicity Cohen: Definitely. How do you balance that whole big day? So now that the doors have reopened, we can travel again, we’re on the move. You can visit your family in New Zealand, you can travel for work, and I’m sure from a work perspective, there’s so much more because we’ve got events, you’re MCing, you’re out in the public eye doing so much more and with such a young child, Billie being only three months old. How do you kind of fit all of that in and do you miss that lockdown space at all where your life wasn’t so crazy?
[00:16:13] Nikki Phillips: Yeah, that’s a really good question and the funny thing is obviously prior to, you know, the world pandemic and being locked up in our houses, all we wanted was to be, you know, to be in our homes and to have that, you know, stillness and for everything to slow down. And don’t get me wrong, it was great for sort of that first two or three weeks and then after how long we were locked up and how long everything just started to just sort of going pear-shaped. I mean, the kids needed to be stimulated and, you know, you needed to be stimulated and we all wanted to sort of be back into our fast-tracked lives. And I think one thing I learned from it was I’m more appreciative of my industry, and I think it’s great that it happened because you’d go to these events and you’d do all this work and you’d be like, “I’m just so tired. I wish I didn’t have that today. I wish I didn’t do that” and you became not thankful, you’re not grateful for it. And now you’re just grateful for everything that you are doing when it comes to work, because you’re like, “oh, remember when I was locked up, I didn’t get to do this”, or, I didn’t see that person or, you know, getting up to MC now in front of people, it’s so good to see everybody’s faces and everyone feels like they’ve just had a long holiday and just, they’re really, they’re listening. They’re back, you know, everybody’s creative again, and I think I do think we needed that.
And being locked up taught me a little bit more about balance as a mother, I think we should come with the subtitle, professional juggler because that’s technically what we do. We learn to juggle ourselves, I mean, our independence is stripped from us when we first have a child and that’s something you are not really told or talked about, because obviously, it happens to us all in a different way, depending on what we do as a career. So learning to juggle and sort of balance everything out during lockdown has now, you know, being forced into my chaotic world where everything has opened up again, but it’s a good balance. And we learn to, we learned to fit everything in. I laugh because you know my situation this morning, I’m doing this podcast from my car because the nanny called in sick and now I’ve had to make the husband stay with the kid. And so I’m in the car and trying to do it, but it’s a happy balance, it’s a happy juggler. I can’t imagine my life any other way. Sure, there are hard days when my wine is a little bit fuller than the day before, but, we’re getting there.
[00:18:44] Felicity Cohen: I think we all just have to work towards finding what that balance looks like for us. And I definitely agree with you that giving us that opportunity to be more grateful for every single exposed event, opportunity, and the things that we maybe took for granted a little bit too much has been a really great lesson for us all coming back out into, you know, finding our new normal again, and getting out into the world.
One of your latest, newest entrepreneurial ventures is your beautiful brand Rattle & Bones, how fabulous! You know, it’s interesting because I remember years ago that famous expression of being told, never work with children or animals, and here you are with an incredibly busy career, three children, and focusing on wellness around children and protecting them from the sun. Tell me a little bit about Rattle & Bones and how you came up with the concept for these, the cute, gorgeous looking, magical little hats on little people.
[00:19:44] Nikki Phillips: Oh, thank you. Well, yeah, sleep deprivation will make you do very weird things won’t it? But yeah, Rattle & Bones, I guess, we like to call it the fourth child, but Rattle & Bones was created when I had my first son Jett, sun protection, obviously in newborns and in children and adults is extremely important, and I really struggled finding sort of that balance when it came to both sun safe and stylish. I mean, I’m sure it’s out there, but just at that time, I really couldn’t find it, and I’d always find a flaw in either a design or a material or a cut or a size, or when you find something that actually fitted all that, it just looked hideous. It was sort of, you know, material from, you know, the back scrap box, and I just found a gap in the market.
So, after many nights of no sleep, I decided why don’t I just do this? Why don’t I create my own brand? So it was a quick turnaround because clearly, I wasn’t getting much sleep! So, I think it was about three months later the first season of Little Rattlers was online thriving. So my small business was, it was up, it was running, it was thriving, and now almost five years we’re still going strong. We have about 20 styles, 10 colours, I think about four sizes, and we are looking to expand either this year or next, depending on how much sleep I get and how much I want to throw into the company. Billie’s actually quite a good sleeper so I’m a little bit slow on the company this year, but yeah, it’s my passion and it’s my little pride side project.
And I like to be very hands-on with it as well so I pride myself on doing all the customer, you know, online inquiries, the sales and, everything. I feel like it’s, you know, I created this brand, so it needs that personal touch. And that is when you buy a hat, you’re buying it from me, you’re hearing from me, I’m sending it, I’m doing everything. So I just wanted it to be a very personal passion project.
[00:21:55] Felicity Cohen: And young moms want to see their kids, not just looking really cute and gorgeous, but that they’ve protected from the sun and it’s such an important part of our lives and where we are and focusing on being sun smart for parents and teaching them that that is so important.
[00:22:11] Nikki Phillips: Exactly, and that’s the thing I grew up in New Zealand and you know, you are playing outside, you’re outside all the time. I mean we never played inside, we’re fortunate to always have these beautiful backyards and we’re out there and we’re building mud pies and, you know, stick houses and that’s the upbringing I want for my kids as well. I want them to be outside and, you know, not so much eating mud, but I do want them, you know, to get dirty and get their hands dirty and live that life. So, yeah, sun-safe was something that was very, very important for me. And I think the moment they come up, they should be wearing a hat outside and, you know, still to this day, I’m extremely sun-safe when it comes to me as well.
I think, as you get older when you sort of explore your skin a little bit more and you learn about the sun damage that goes on, and especially with, you know, New Zealand, Australia, having the Ozone, the big hole above us, we’ve really got everything against us. So, slip, slop, slap, put on that hat and yeah, make it fashion.
[00:23:17] Felicity Cohen: Do you plan to expand the brand beyond the hats or is that really what you want to focus on?
[00:23:22] Nikki Phillips: I mean, the main focus was always the hats, but sure. There have definitely been times that I’ve wanted to play a little bit more with their brands. I mean, I’ve had ideas of creating, and it’s always when I have a baby and obviously, I’ve had three, so it’s always when I have a baby, I start thinking, “oh, we should sort of making really sun safe Muslim wraps” because you’re outside holding your baby in the sun. And I have all these weird, wonderful ideas. I always do get asked if, you know, fashion, can I create a small fashion line or can I create more of a baby line? So there are definitely a lot of sketches and a lot of ideas that have been put to paper. I guess I just have to figure out what I’m really passionate about because that’s one thing I’ve always, you know, be proud of is that I only really do things that I’m very passionate about and that I can really get behind a hundred per cent. So I think it’s time to bust out all those sketches and see what really, you know, sticks for me. And then yeah, a hundred per cent I want to expand the brand.
[00:24:28] Felicity Cohen: Beautiful. What about maternity fashion? That’s always, for me being such a thing of why in Australia do we not have great maternity fashion? I’m not sure if it’s changed since I was having children, but yeah!
[00:24:40] Nikki Phillips: No, I agree with you on that. Every time I’ve gotten pregnant I do really struggle to find, you know, beautiful pieces to go with your growing body shape. But to be fair, during the last two pregnancies I have purposely just tried to wear my wardrobe. So I’ve kind of just gone, you know, one of them was in lockdown, so I was basically wearing pyjamas and leggings and big baggy t-shirts and I generally like to wear baggy clothes anyway, but I think as well, we wear these pieces for such a small amount of time that it’s almost like it’s just a waste, you spend, you’re wasting money. And then also, you know, it’s one of those things, then what do you do with the clothes? Then they get thrown in the charity bins or they get thrown out and it’s just fast fashion. It’s just a waste. So I generally liked to size up a little bit and buy products that I could still wear, you know, during postpartum and during breastfeeding and things like that. I found that that worked really well with me for the last two pregnancies. But I do agree with you, maybe that’s the angle for Rattle & Bones, maybe!
[00:25:49] Felicity Cohen: I love that, you know, as a fashion and brand ambassador, that you’ve mentioned fast fashion, and it’s something that we all do need to be a little bit more conscientious about when we are thinking about, you know, environmental issues as well. So thank you for raising that.
[00:26:03] Nikki Phillips: No, I do think that’s very important. I mean, as you said, I’m right in the thick of it, I’m in the middle of the fashion industry where there is just so much going around and I’ve always, you know, I’ve always tried to mix my price points and my fashion when it comes to my outfit. So, you know, there’ll be a jacket that I get a million questions on, “where did you get that from?”, and I’m like, “I do apologise, it’s about seven years old” and I am one of those people that, you know, has a wardrobe full of old staples because that’s what it’s about, you know?
And I pride myself on saving my money and buying a beautiful handbag, but that handbag’s going to be passed down, I think it’s going to be a fight between Luca and Billie because Luca’s favourite colour is pink and he loves makeup. So I do think there’s going to be a fight between Billie and Luca on mommy’s handbags when I do pass them down. But I do really think about what I purchase now and also what I portray on social media to others, because, you know, social media, people do follow and they do pick up trends and they do things like that. So you have to be very aware of what you are sort of advertising, and so I’m very aware of that whole fast fashion concept and everything. Yeah.
[00:27:17] Felicity Cohen: Thank you for using your platform as a voice for others to learn from you, I think that’s just fantastic. Thinking a little bit about wellness for children since becoming a mom, what are some of the things that you’ve noticed or that you think are really critical to focus on in terms of raising healthy children, well-balanced? And what does wellbeing look like when you’re thinking about your children?
[00:27:40] Nikki Phillips: Yeah. I mean, obviously every day you are learning from your kids and I feel like motherhood and parenting, no one can actually sit you down and prepare you for what you’re in for. Every day their little brains, you know, sponging everything! And one thing I do like about my kids, no matter how small a fall or a scrape or anything, as a bandaid fixes everything in their mind, a little bandaid can fix everything!
But when it comes to wellness, one thing I did find was a big thing for me was funnily enough childcare. So when our first child came around, it had almost been ingrained in us that they were better off at home with mom and dad, right? So my husband and I did everything we could to make this happen, and obviously, we both run our own businesses and the juggle was real, we were both extremely burnt out. I mean, we’d been thrown in the deep end having a kid like everybody and we were trying to do what we had been told was best for our child. And we were actually ruining ourselves by doing it. So once we finally put him into daycare we realised how much, sort of, he had evolved. The stimulation every day, the learning, the playing, getting those important social skills of meeting other kids and interacting, things that, you know, we weren’t doing because we were at home trying to work and trying to, you know, put a house over our heads that we weren’t, you know, really taking him out and sitting at a park for hours so he could interact with these other kids. So daycare was great for that! And every day he’d come home, his vocabulary was expanding like rapidly, and he was overall just so much happier and more content.
So the wellness of him going to childcare is actually, was incredible and something that we needed to come to terms with, is that it wasn’t a bad thing that we were sending him to childcare, it was right for us as a family and he was actually thriving from it. So obviously when we had Luca, you know, he went, I think he went at 11 months, and Billie we’ll look at sending her next year, but both our boys have absolutely loved it. And I think, you know, it has been something that unfortunately has, you know, a bad stigma for new parents. It’s like, “oh, don’t send them off. Don’t send them off so early” but I you know, I wish I had sent Jett earlier because watching him grow was incredible.
[00:30:21] Felicity Cohen: I think it’s so important for children because they’re getting socialisation, they’re learning about so many different things in that space, but it’s the connection and community, and building friendships and resilience and independence. Skills that you learn so much of at a young age, but you’re giving them the opportunity to learn and to grow. And there’s so much to be said for that in terms of not just balance and wellbeing and wellness for the child, but also that overall wellbeing for all of you as a family and I absolutely endorse that. It’s a positive, choice decision and great for kids and great for you as well.
[00:30:56] Nikki Phillips: Yeah, no, I totally agree with you. And I wish I had done it earlier, I wish I hadn’t listened to everybody and just done what I felt was right. And I think that’s been one of my biggest learning lessons, and motherhood was, you can’t listen to everybody tell you what to do and what not to do because everybody’s different. Everybody’s parenting skills are different, everybody’s children are different, and you know, everybody’s lives are different in the fact of what they do for a business and how they juggle everything. So you just have to do what’s best for you and your family. And yeah, I mean, daycare for us has been incredible. We’re so lucky with the daycare we have and watching our children come out of their little shells and become the little, you know, confident humans that they are. It just puts the biggest smile on our faces. They really, I mean, motherly boast, but we have amazing children!
[00:31:48] Felicity Cohen: That’s beautiful. Is there one thing or something about wellness, if you look back now, that you wished you’d known 10 years ago?
[00:31:57] Nikki Phillips: Yeah, absolutely. I think because when I was doing my career as a model we didn’t have social media, as I said before. So, you know, a lot of people weren’t sharing or opening up to their rawness and their struggles. So I guess the one thing that I would like to rewind and tell myself is that everybody is never a hundred per cent perfect or content with their wellness, and no matter what facade that they put up, it’s just a facade that everybody is struggling and everybody, you know, is never a hundred per cent content. Because, you know, back in the day, you’d look at everyone and they’d just pretend that everything was perfect, their health, their beauty, you know, their fitness, what they ate, you know, and we do see still a lot of that on social media, as you know, people just like to post the good stuff, but you also see a lot of realness. The journey that has happened for them to get from, you know, A to B, we see a lot more of now. I would like to rewind and tell myself that you know, everyone likes to put on a pretty facade.
[00:33:11] Felicity Cohen: It’s like that classic answer when someone asks you how you are, I’m fine, is never really the truth. And I totally love your humour, your rawness, and everything about what you present to all of us on your socials, so I really want to thank you for that.
And finally, Nikki, our listeners are all wellness warriors, and we know that wellness is worth fighting for once you lose your health, you spend the rest of your life fighting to get it back, whether that’s physical or mental or spiritual health, and something that’s always inspiring to learn about is how others are going on their wellness journey.
So my last question today is can you share with us a time in your life when you were struggling with your wellness and what did you do to fight for it or reclaim it?
[00:33:57] Nikki Phillips: I really like this question because you know, it’s breaking down the barrier and talking about something that is extremely raw and wellness is something I feel we are always juggling with, you know. But like everybody I’ve had my highs and I’ve had my share of very lows. And obviously, we don’t have enough time to talk about everything, but one of the hardest periods in my life that really got me, I guess, emotionally and physically, was trying to conceive our children. I know that looking in on my life, if people don’t know me properly, they just see, you know, a girl that works in fashion, a girl that has three kids and, you know, “oh, how lucky she is”. But over the years I have suffered four miscarriages, and at those times I felt so much grief. I felt lost, I felt alone, I felt like I failed, and at that time I didn’t know how common miscarriages actually were because I felt like no one opened up and talked about it in depth. I would see on social media, everyone announcing their pregnancies and holding their beautiful babies, and I would look, and I would sit in my own pain thinking, basically, that I was broken.
And so once I suffered my first miscarriage, I found my road to recovery, which was with my husband because I think that an important thing to bring up is your partner’s health and wellbeing during a miscarriage. I was in my own world of emotion and physical pain whilst going through it and almost wasn’t aware that he was silently suffering also. So I think it’s very important to include your partner when it comes to this. But we found the road to recovery was long, it was painful. But you know, we had to almost work on our marriage again, because we were both dealing with this separately if that makes sense. But once we opened up and spoke to each other we found so much comfort in that.
Then we, unfortunately, suffered a second one too, and these miscarriages were quite far along, like, we’d see heartbeats and we’d be so excited to be welcoming a child, we’d almost have named them already and you know, all this kind of stuff. So you know, that whole journey was definitely trying, but I have vowed after, you know, having four miscarriages and now having three beautiful children, which, you know, at the same time, wasn’t easy because every time you fall pregnant, is this baby going to be okay? Am I going to make it full term? And I had terrible bleeds with all three of my children to the fact that I was admitted back to my OB or to the hospital thinking that I’d lost the child. So, you know, that whole journey of fertility is such a weird, wonderful, strange, emotional journey, because you don’t realise how hard it is to have a child until you start that journey and all the things that can go wrong or can go right until you start that journey.
So after what my husband and I have been through, we have always vowed to be very, very open and honest and raw when it comes to the conversation of miscarriages. Because if we can help anybody and know that it’s common, you’re okay, nothing’s wrong with you, it’s normal to be, you know, want to bury yourself and it’s normal to not be okay I guess, during that period, and for it to take its toll on your relationship and the road to recovery is hard, but you are not in it alone. And you know, I mean, miscarriage is what, they say one in five people miscarry? I mean, it’s extremely common considering how heart-wrenching and how hard it is, but yeah, my husband and I always said we have no problem talking about it no matter how, like, I mean, still I’m like shaking, still talking about it because it brings back so many, you know, memories from that time, and, but yeah, I, yeah, it was definitely a hard time.
I think I can honestly say the road to recovery is still happening. Even though I welcomed another beautiful child three months ago, you’ll never forget those ones that you’d lost, but I never would’ve had the kids that I have today if I had had my first child or my second child, or, you know, my third or fourth in between, you know, you always will remember them and think of them, but I wouldn’t have what I have now if anything. And I think I’m stronger, I know I’m stronger because of everything that I’ve gone through. And I know our relationship is amazing because of everything we’ve gone through, and I know I have helped a lot of people by being open and honest about what I went through and not putting up a facade saying how, “oh, you know, it will be fine. Everything’s okay because it won’t be as hard”.
So yeah, I think that was probably one of the most testing times on our relationship and my wellness, but something that I pride myself on being, one of my biggest life lessons and something that I, you know, almost sounds weird, but will almost treasure that time in my life.
[00:39:56] Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much for sharing and I really believe that it shows such incredible strength, resilience, and what an incredible character that you have to also understand and recognise that it’s not just you dealing with that problem of miscarriage alone, but engaging and acknowledging your partner is also grieving and struggling and how to navigate and manage that within a relationship.
And I actually believe that so many men struggle enormously and don’t know how to connect and reach out for help as well. And, you know, I think that’s just fantastic and you know, a great testimony to you and your relationship with your husband as well. And I’m sure has given you both incredible strengths as parents.
[00:40:40] Nikki Phillips: Yeah. Well, you do become so, not selfish that’s the wrong word, but when you are physically going through something and you are the one physically, you know, dealing with it, you don’t realise that the person next to you can’t feel those feelings, but mentally they’re not coping either. And I feel like sometimes that’s harder to deal with because you know, they want to be there and they want to take some of the pain away and they want to do this, but they’re also dealing with their own pain and their own grief, and that’s extremely important. So, yeah, that was one thing that I was very unaware of until my husband and I both sat down and tried to come to terms with what happened, and then I just saw him break down and that’s when I kind of, not felt selfish, but was like, okay, you are actually, you are grieving too, you’ve been through this too, you’re going through this with me. And once we had sort of both opened up about it, everything had become just easier. It was, everything became a little bit easier because we had each other.
[00:41:48] Felicity Cohen: I think for any of our listeners who are engaging and relating and connecting to this story today, I’d just like to let them know that, yes, there’s help available. Please reach out if you’re not sure which direction to turn in, reach out to us and we’ll make sure we point you in the right direction to gain the support that you need if you’re going through a moment like this in yours.
Nikki, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure and I’ve loved having a chat with you today. Thanks for joining me on the Wellness Warriors podcast.
[00:42:19] Nikki Phillips: Thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure.