For my first blog I wanted to take the opportunity of Mother’s Day to honour my mother, who played a large part in shaping me into the independent, resilient and empowered woman I am today.
Image: Jennifer and daughter Natalie, Sydney Harbour, 1996
My mother, Jennifer Marie Marzink Meredith, has always epitomised a shining, strong and self empowered, black woman. I believe her early upbringing built the foundation for this strength and carried her throughout her life - Born in rural bush area of Jamaica, raised by her grandmother, she emigrated to the United Kingdom at age 8 where she met her parents for the first time.
She pursued a career in modelling whilst raising her first son before marrying and moving to Australia where she resides to this day. She dreamed of building a thriving family who would be provided every opportunity she was not afforded as a child. She did just that - I was blessed with 4 brothers and brought up in a truly fortunate environment. We were always supported and encouraged by our mother to nurture our talents and interests, pursue education, take care of ourselves, be self-assured and resilient, and above all, believe in ourselves.
Image: Jennifer modelling during the 1980s
No matter what challenge presents itself, my mother moves through the world with these exact principles whilst always emanating a sense of joy and power. I had a lengthy phone call with Mum where I asked her to answer a couple of questions that I hope will inspire young women the same way they have me.
What advice would you give young mothers of today?Motherhood does not come with a manual and can be quite overwhelming. No one is perfect and there’s no shame in accepting help and support when offered. Connecting with other women who share similar experience is important. Be kind and patient with yourself. Relax and believe in yourself and trust your instincts. Embrace being a mother and enjoy precious moments and time with your child. Most importantly take care of yourself.
There was a point your life where I saw a big shift in you health-wise and the way you looked after yourself. What was the driver behind this?Trusting my instincts I listened to my body and realised I had digestive issues from food intolerance. I embarked on a two-week detox diet to eliminate harmful toxins to improve my health. In the process I learned that sugary and highly processed foods was not healthy and replaced them with healthier choices.
*I would like to add that my mother is now 65 and is akin to a bionic woman who competes in half marathons, dance competitions, tennis and even had a phase of pole dancing for fitness (I’ve seen her go upside down with ease)
What do you do for yourself when you need to reset and feel empowered?Having seen the strength and confidence that you acquired from karate classes I decided to improve my cardiovascular fitness, restore muscle strength and firm my body. Regular exercise raised my energy level, made me less tired and improved my sense of well-being. I continue to do this presently. I surround myself with positive people. I exercise allowing the brain to take a break and focus on breathing to improve mental clarity and emotional stability, therefore, resetting negative energy and reinstate a good mood. Yoga or dancing to focus on inner self and process things. Pamper myself with a holiday, massage, shopping - anything to spoil oneself!
To be empowered is more than a state of being in which we recognise our potential, confidence and being in control of our life. It is to take action and finish something, make others feel good, being brave/bold no matter how hard things are. It is to connect with others, reach goals and achieve your version of success, be assertive and remaining optimistic through it most difficult times.
As a mother, what are you most proud of yourself for?The challenge of being the best mother I could be from being pregnant to labour and motherhood - Being loving, kind, forgiving yet disciplined and strong.
What has kept you driven throughout your life?Always working hard and being focused in the ups and downs of everyday life. Pursuing opportunities and challenges like learning new languages, dancing, running marathons, travelling solo and playing various sports consistently. Looking after myself both physically and emotionally. Most importantly having a positive attitude, laughing and having fun!
Do you have a favourite mantra or quote?“Nothing is impossible “ and “Magic is believing in yourself”
Who inspires you?I am overwhelmed with emotion when I express my gratitude to my grandmother. Her dedication, devotion and commitment to family has been an inspiration. A beautiful and courageous woman who worked tirelessly and who I miss greatly.
Due to the legal restrictions associated with CBD in Australia, she has not yet been able to try my products. However she will be visiting me in London this summer so stay tuned for her to grace your screens in the flesh!
Thank you Mummy. Love you!
Natalie Meredith, Founder of Empwr Botanics