There are many reasons to admire Beyond Mom Christina Justiz Roush, a visual artist whose work focuses on the feminine spirit. Christina is the founder of Brooklyn Baby Bumps, a small business where she casts pregnant bellies, creating a unique piece of sculptural art for the moms of Brooklyn. When Christina isn’t making art or casting pregnant mothers, she is bringing women and artists together. Christina and her long time friend and business partner, Chelsey founded Girl Gift Gather. Their site serves as an online destination connecting women through video, blogs, a weekly newsletter, events, workshops and gatherings. Beyond Moms, hear the voices of women who inspire our taste, enlighten our minds and stimulate our spirit on Girl Gift Gather. Find out more about Christina below and how she is embracing her body and empowering pregnant women!
1. What makes you a Beyond Mom?
I’m committed to trying my best. I am always handing it over to universe. In hard moments I ask, is there a better way for me to be doing this? If so show me the way. And the beautiful thing is I always receive some form of intuition or guidance. It might not happen right away. I usually have to calm down a bit before I can really hear it. It can be easy to get caught in the murky, anxiety-ridden waters of new parenthood. I know I have had plenty of moments. Especially in those first few months. So much doubt comes up. But by turning it over to a higher power or love or the universe, whatever you want to call it, helps me know that I am being guided along this parenting journey, and that I am capable of the job and that my husband and I are not alone in the responsibility.
2. What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
My hips! I have actually started to really embrace my changed body. It was a bit of a shock when I was pregnant how difficult it was for me to flow with changes my body was going through. Especially since what I do with my art for Brooklyn Baby Bumps — I just think pregnant women are the most beautiful. But it was this strange feeling of my body suddenly not being my own. I thought to myself, “by 3 months postpartum I will have a six pack; I’ll be back into my jeans; I will have the best body of my life!” Well, flash forward… My son is 11 months old. I do not have a six pack, but what I do have is a totally changed view of my body. It’s mine again, but in a new way. I am a mom. I birthed a perfect little being and have breastfed him and I am soft. I am a mother. And I like being soft.
3. Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
Yes! My business partner for Girl Gift Gather, Chelsey. She is one of my dearest friends and biggest inspirations. I feel blessed daily that we have undertaken this partnership together. I think the thing that has helped our collaboration be successful is that we are always both 100 percent honest with each other. When anything comes up, even if we don’t fully understand what the problem is yet, our friendship and partnership is able to hold the space for what needs to come out to be resolved. It is such a gift to know that you can truly say anything and not be judged for it. And that you will work together to figure it out.
4. What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
Husband, friends, family, therapist (in no particular order).
5. Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
My dream is three-fold: I want to continue to ground myself in and embrace all aspects of family life. The mundane day-to-day details that can be the most rewarding when you stop to enjoy them. Brooklyn Baby Bumps is such a joy for me; I want to continue to expand my business creating these artworks for women that will be passed down from generation to generation. And lastly, Girl Gift Gather. We really believe in women’s greatness and the magic that happens when women join together and support one another. Like what you are doing with Beyond Mom! We are just over a year old and are still figuring out how we will be of best service but it is exciting and I am looking forward to seeing how it will be shaped and evolve.
6. What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
Thanks to Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way, every morning when I wake up, before I check my emails or drink my green food (more on that below) I write 3 freehand pages in my Morning Pages journal. This has been an incredible tool for me. It is like an active meditation. You just get all of that petty crap out of the way, onto the page instead of carrying it into your day.
7. How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
You know, I just read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and “released” about 75% of my wardrobe and it has been amazing. She suggests picking up every item of clothing you own and asking yourself, “does this bring me joy?”. Now I am thinking totally differently about what items I own, how I care for them and how I want to invest in myself and my wardrobe. Finally, I have a wardrobe that I really love, that really reflects who I am. It has been life changing and I feel way more ‘Beyond’ as a result.
Favorite NYC Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
The Park Slope Food Co-Op. You have never seen so many Beyond Moms in one place!
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
Something I have been taking daily for years is the green food from The Herb Shoppe in Brooklyn. It’s a blend of powdered nettle, alfalfa, spirulina and kelp and it gives me amazing grounding energy. I just love it.
Full disclosure it took me about 10 months after Oliver was born to get back on the workout wagon and he is almost 11 months today! But I recently started seeing my my personal trainer again, Spencer Gee. He is amazing! He has created his own workout system and equipment that incorporates balance, strength training, tai chi and aerobics. His workouts are never boring and the results are amazing.
I am really really really into everything by Ace & Jig right now but have not actually made any purchases yet. I just look on their website and imagine. But it’s silly. I should just buy the outfit!
Louise Hay, Mary Oliver, my Mom, my Mother-in-law, Latham Thomas, Wendy Mogal and my amazing mom friends that have been the biggest blessing during the past year…Oh there are so so so so many. I could go on all day… And of course, Beyond Mom!