Seashore Design Studio

Handmade silver jewelry

New parent life, and my road to silver smithing

Seashore Design Studio handmade fine silver necklace

Being a new parent is intense. You start with the anticipation, the preparation, and all that fear of the unknown. Then it happens.

Baby is here! It’s a whole new world filled with the sweetest snuggles, the longest nights, and plenty of questions you never thought you’d ask (you know those conversations about the normality diaper contents, we all do).

Days turn into weeks. You begin to find a rhythm in this new life with your newborn and then…teething starts.

In my personal experience, it’s been a constant whirlwind since day 1. Every time I think something is falling into place, something new happens and it’s time to pivot, adjust, compromise, just find the way to make it all work!

I love this mom life and I wouldn’t choose anything else. But I’d be a straight up, fake-it-for-social-media liar if I said it wasn’t a struggle sometimes. Navigating the everyday perils of adulthood, being wholly responsible for the well being and development of another human, and wading through the muck of your own triggers and traumas while making sure not to splash that muck on your kid…

Like I said, it’s intense.

Bonding, sensory seeking, and the birth of Seashore Design Studio

In the birthing world, the term “skin-to-skin contact” is fairly standard. Following delivery, skin-to-skin contact is often encouraged to ease baby’s transition (regulating temperature, heart rate and breathing), and for the new parent (helping to produce calming hormones). It can also be beneficial in establishing a breastfeeding relationship.

The benefits of skin-to-skin contact continue through infancy and even into toddlerhood; it is often recommended for helping to temperature regulate a feverish child.

And it’s really no wonder. Studies have shown that across all age groups (and barring personal preference of course), touch calms the nervous system and slows the heartbeat, in addition to slowing production of stress hormones and promoting production of hormones that support a sense of well-being.

Sensory seeking – me, myself, and my kids

My daughter was born in 2014, and came home after an almost 2 week stay in the NICU. We had no immediate skin-to-skin contact, and had a difficult start to our feeding journey. I took every opportunity once she was home to have her close.

Now, a lot of things happened at around the same time:

  1. I’d imagined being a fairly hands-on parent, but it had become a necessity. I used ring slings for outings and woven wraps for soothing a fussy baby at home, allowing me to be hands free even when closeness was needed. I’d begun to read about developing neural connections and was ready to dig in to give her any support possible. This translated into lots of talk (narrating our activities, counting objects, and near constant singing), purposely walking through the herb garden for the benefit of the different scents, and introducing lots of texture into those little hands.

2. I came to realize, now nearing the end of my 20’s, that a lot of little behaviors I always largely ignored were actually sensory seeking. Lots of small nearly imperceptible movement habits, and so much fiddling with my jewelry.

3. I was getting antsy, minor identity crisis style. I had all but shuttered my little niche handmade jewelry business, so I was creating less than I was used to. I was the first of my friends group to have a baby, so I was feeling a little isolated. My clothes didn’t fit, and I couldn’t wear my jewelry because a certain [adorable little] someone would pull my necklaces so hard the chains would snap, and try to pull my earrings out of my ears.

The jewelry. I had such a selection and I couldn’t wear any of it. I tried traditional nursing necklaces, bubbly cute pieces in silicone and wood, but they weren’t my style and little miss just wasn’t interested.

Then it happened. A necklace, that looked like real jewelry, that my baby couldn’t break.

I can’t take credit for this idea, as a small but thriving community of “mama metal” makers had sprouted up alongside the baby wearing woven wrap industry. I’m grateful for it being such a welcoming and inclusive community.

Maybe it wasn’t “just like that”, but with the realization that I had many of the tools needed, and I had spend years honing applicable skills, I took the leap and moved from assembly into fabrication, making sturdy, baby safe necklaces that both parent and child could enjoy.

The benefits!

For me, I got a stylish silver necklace that looked like it was meant for me. Streamlined, lightweight, low key. My personal style is quite understated, and the nursing necklaces and teething necklaces I’d tried out just weren’t the right match. This looked like I chose it. A removable chain made it simple to put on and take off, and offered multiple wearing options. Plus, so much fun to fiddle with! Hello, sensory input.

For my daughter, now just over a year old, it was that good old sensory input. She’d wind her little fingers into the roomy, open shapes of the links and leave them there as she nursed, or hold the necklace with both hands and examine it’s movement and delicate sound as we shopped.

And the rest is, as they say, history.

We recently celebrated 6 years of Seashore Design Studio, and I never cease to be amazed at the wonderful little community I’ve been privileged enough to be a part of. I hope you’ll take a moment to explore some of the things the Seashore has to offer.

To shop in stock and custom made items – Shop

To learn more about me, Seashore Design Studio, and the jewelry making process – Behind the Scenes

Follow Seashore Design Studio on Facebook – www.facebook.com/seashoredesignstudio

Join the Chatter group for sneak peeks, giveaways, and more – www.facebook.com/groups/SDSchatter

Follow Seashore Design Studio on Instagram – www.instagram.com/ilanaseashore

References:

  1. In Babies, Crucial Neural Connections Happen Before Age Three
  2. The benefits of touch for babies, parents
  3. The Vital Importance of Human Touch