Local launches jewelry line for struggling mothers
Many see Mother’s Day as a joyful holiday full of colorful flowers, fragrant candles and warm appreciation for all the mothers of the world, and no doubt, 2021’s Mother’s Day will be filled with all of the above.
However, a former Santa Barbara Unified School District teacher is hoping to reach the mothers who may be feeling more grief than joy this year.
Jennifer Cervantes launched a jewelry line called “Tough as a Mother” in an attempt to highlight the most “joyous and raw” parts of motherhood. She hopes to create a “Tough as a Mother Tribe” to quietly unite mothers across the world with her jewelry.
“I just want all moms to know that they are loved and seen and enough, and they’re not alone,” Ms. Cervantes told the News-Press. “Because so many times, I felt alone.”
Ms. Cervantes has lived in Santa Barbara for eight years but taught in the district for 11. She said she was “one of the lucky women” who got pregnant the first time she tried, but miscarried a week later.
“The most surprising part was the mix of emotions I did and didn’t deal with as I broke the news to my husband and family,” she said. “I felt shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. My dream was crushed, even though I’d ‘only’ known about it for a week. I learned quickly that no matter how long you were pregnant, it’s a true loss, and (the loss is) valid, whether it happened early on like my miscarriage or much later.”
She said that no one in her family or friend group had openly experienced a miscarriage, so she wasn’t sure what her path forward was or what to do next.
Later on, her teaching career hit an abrupt stop she wasn’t expecting in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. Ms. Cervantes proceeded to have two daughters after she miscarried, one of whom was only 5-months-old at the start of the pandemic. The other was 2 years old.
“I was so stressed trying to teach and raise these kids, I lost all my breast milk, I struggled from postpartum anxiety, extreme weight loss from hormonal problems, depression … It was in that moment where I was like, ‘OK. I need to be at home,’” the mother said.
She resigned from the school district and took 2020 off to allow her body and mind to heal from her postpartum struggles. While she healed, she began sharing her motherhood story, and she launched the jewelry line in February 2021.
“I’m super introverted. I never even had social media before this company,” Ms. Cervantes said. “But when I started talking about it on social media, so many moms would be like, ‘Me too, me too! I miscarried, I had anxiety, I had mom guilt!’ Once (I) opened the door to be like, ‘Hey, I’m suffering,’ so many moms came out and wanted to share their stories too.”
In fact, some of her friends who she originally didn’t even think had experienced miscarriages came to her with their struggles too.
As her jewelry line began gaining attention, the mother began customizing her pieces to fit certain stories to the necklaces and bracelets. Ms. Cervantes has crafted special pieces of jewelry for mothers with miscarried babies and rainbow babies, and even made a necklace for a mother who wanted to wear the ashes of her miscarried triplets. The “Tough as a Mother” line features bracelets, gemstone necklaces (with stones with healing properties) and initial necklaces.
“When I designed that first bracelet that said ‘tough,’ I would literally wear that on my wrist and see it through wiping, changing diapers and through the really sad times. I’d just hold my jewelry and think, ‘I’m not alone,’” she said.
No two pieces of Ms. Cervantes’ jewelry tell the same story, and while she said she loves making jewelry and has done it for years, she said it’s not really about the jewelry. The former teacher and mother hopes she will open conversations about each unique motherhood journey.
To do that, Ms. Cervantes added a blog alongside her jewelry line, where she has already started to and will continue to post both resources for mothers in need and ways mothers can help other mothers in need.
Virtual “Mommy and Me” events are also in her sights to promote quality time between a mother and her children. She hopes to hold events such as art classes, Spanish classes and other activities to encourage bonding.
“I’m on a mission to normalize motherhood,” Ms. Cervantes said. “It’s so much more than jewelry to me. Yes, I need jewelry so I can make sales and to continue my mission of serving the community.
“But I don’t want any mom to ever feel like if she’s suffering from a miscarriage or anxiety, she’s the only one. She’s not alone at all. There’s resources and support … Especially in these times where you may have wanted to go for support in some place but that’s not available really. We’re in this together.”