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Power People: Najell x Rebecca Chelbea

Empowerment

Power People: Najell x Rebecca Chelbea "I parent on my own, but I’m not alone"

At Najell, we want to encourage parents to keep their identities, continue their own lives and be parents in their own way. In our Power People Interview series, we talk to people who empower others to stand up for themselves as parents and as individuals. Today we’re talking to Rebecca (@rebeccachelbea), a second-hand lover, feminist, queer, travel enthusiast and, since February 2024, single mom of her son “Little C”. On her channels she addresses body acceptance, taboo topics, and a conscious lifestyle. 

We chatted to the vibrant Austrian content creator about her pregnancy and new role as a mother, mom-shaming, and her travel plans. 

How did you view your pregnancy and your changing body? 

"Even before my pregnancy, I was committed to self-love and body acceptance. To see a new life grow within yourself is something magical. Even now, after pregnancy, I admire my body for it. It may not look like it did before, but bodies change and that's okay. I don't fit into many of my old clothes anymore, but I’ll just put on two sizes bigger and feel comfortable. Clothes are there so that they fit my body and not the other way around."

photo credit: @laurimelone

You are a "single parent". Do you find this label works for you? How and where do you get support? 

I grew up with a single mom and I honestly have to say that was exactly one of my biggest fears - to be a single parent one day. I saw how she was struggling. She fled Iran, couldn't speak perfect German, and separated from my father when I was 5. She studied at the Vienna University of Technology alone with me.

That was difficult in many ways. Emotionally, there wasn’t always time to be present and financially, we were at the limit. Now that what I've been afraid of all my life has come true, I don't think the term is bad anymore - Quite the opposite! I understood that, firstly, I have a completely different starting point than my mother and therefore had a stronger foundation to build on. I parent on my own, but I’m not alone. Additionally, being a single parent has advantages. I am a single parent, but not alone. After the birth, my mom stayed with me for the first 2-3 weeks and I got a lot of support from friends, family, and my doula. In Austria, there are support organizations, such as the "Frühe Hilfen", who were also able to help. My biggest advice to all single parents is to ask for support! You don't have to do it alone. 

During your pregnancy you worried that you might be overwhelmed when becoming a mom and will not be able to keep your own identity. What did your community think of that? What do you think about it now? 

My community was very understanding of my concerns and a safe space which supported me. Many who shared this worry were more inclined to give support. I had doubts about being a single parent. I wish I had known then how fulfilling motherhood can be! Things can change! The last three months with Little C were the greatest gift. Of course, it's exhausting sometimes, especially at the beginning with lack of sleep and pain – but I adapted into my role as a mom. And love simply outweighs any burden. 
 

You often address taboo topics on the Internet, for example, body hair. In your opinion, what taboo topics are there around pregnancy and parenthood or motherhood? 

One of them, for sure, is breastfeeding in public! I was not aware how controversial this topic was before. When I uploaded a reel about it, there were so many negative comments! It should be the most normal thing in the world to feed your child. I breastfeed because my child is hungry. If others can’t manage to not sexualize my breast, then it's not me who is the problem, but them.  

Do you often get mom-shaming comments (on the internet or in public)? How do you deal with that? 

On the Internet more than in real life. In society you can't do everything "right" as a woman and I find that concept fascinating. 
And for a mother it’s even less. As a mom, I am apparently not allowed to do any content that deal with the topic of lust, I am not supposed to wear certain things, I am not supposed to breastfeed in public and when I give my 3-month-old baby love and attention (because I feel that he needs it) I’m spoiling him. It's absurd. It's important to me to make these people aware that they are not entitled to comment on me. There is no one “right way” to parent. Just because you would do it differently doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong! Even well-intentioned advice can be intrusive. 

You used to travel a lot – such as South America and New Zealand. Are you comfortable staying in one place with your baby or do you miss traveling? 

For now, I feel very comfortable in Vienna but I would definitely like to start with smaller trips in Austria soon. In May, I might visit a friend in Linz and, in June, my stepfather in Burgenland. If Little C looks like he’s also enjoying travel (and if circumstances allow), I will go on my first long-distance trip. Through my community on Instagram, I became aware of other single moms who are just so empowering. Being a mom won't stop me from traveling and there's so much to explore! Together we will take on the world! 

What advice would you give to all parents-to-be out there? 

It's okay if everything doesn't go perfectly from the start! Breastfeeding doesn't work (yet)? That's okay. You can’t meet your friends’ expectations? You can't always be on time? That's okay too. Are you perhaps self-employed and your work is left behind a lot? It's okay. A clean apartment is not always the most important thing either. What really helps me, especially when it's difficult, is the sentence "Everything is a phase". Learn to appreciate the beautiful moments more. I often think to myself "As small as his hand is now, it will never be this small again" and that grounds me and helps me be grateful. Additionally, if you need help, get help. It was difficult for me at first. But then I realized that I have a net that catches me/us and it's okay to use it. That, too, is self-love: acknowledging that you deserve the help.

Discover Rebecca's Favourite Najell products