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Raising strong women: Sarah Bagharib - Esse

Raising strong women: Sarah Bagharib

Sarah Bagharib is a woman who wears many hats, but her raison d’etre is to lend a voice to the voiceless. We’ve been inspired by her social advocacy efforts which span across many different projects, from her current role at an international medical humanitarian aid organisation to founding Crazycat, a community platform for women to find advice, support and inspiration.

Sarah’s journey towards social advocacy began when she was a journalism undergrad in Australia where she became interested in lending her voice to marginalised groups. In the process, she met people from all walks of life, including asylum-seekers, and an Uighur whose family was in danger back in Xinjiang, China. These interactions cemented her passion to use storytelling as a vehicle for social impact. 

Sarah wears the Relaxed Drawstring Capri and Imaan wears the for Pepi Boxy Shirt and Relaxed Drawstring Capri.

As a big advocate for women empowerment, she founded Crazycat to build a community that celebrates feminism, self-love and inclusion. Sarah describes a crazycat as a
woman with grit and ambition (regardless big or small) who is constantly striving be the best version of herself, and living a life that serves her own purpose, and Sarah is the perfect reflection of that.

Her authenticity (just watch her TEDx talk on overcoming self-doubt) has transcended many a conversation we’ve had over Instagram DMs, and her work around intersectional feminism has inspired us in many ways.

Now, with a boisterous two-year old daughter in tow, we’re glad to be able to spotlight Sarah’s work and journey. Read on as we chat to her about her experience as a first-time mum and how that has transformed her.

Sarah wears the Modern Gypsy Blouse and Imaan wears the for Pepi Modern Gypsy Top and Bloomers.

Tell us more about yourself and your background.

Hi! I’m Sarah, and I’m a storyteller at heart! I find that it’s at the core of everything that I do and believe that we all have a story to tell. So I’ve made it my life’s mission to lend my voice so some of these stories can be heard. I do this through my full-time job as a communications specialist for a humanitarian aid organisation and also through my side hustle, Crazycat! We’re a media company that helps everyday women create empowered relationships with themselves and others so they can shine. I’m also a mum to a really feisty, but also the sweetest almost two-year-old!

What’s the experience of a new mum been like?

My daughter, Imaan, is turning two next month so I don’t quite consider myself a new mum anymore but I’m definitely still reconciling the ‘me’ before I became a mum and my current beautiful reality and I think this will always be a work in progress! But as a new mum back then, gosh it was TOUGH. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the fourth trimester and was hit with a bad case of postnatal blues. Breastfeeding was toe-curling painful and I think there was just a lot of pressure to be the “perfect” mum - I was being incredibly hard on myself. But the whole experience would have been so much harder if not for all the great support I’ve had from my husband (who is such a #girldad!), my parents, my in-laws and also other mum friends. I’ve now learned that there’s no such thing as the “perfect” mum -- we can only do our best and know that our best is more than enough for our bub.

How has motherhood changed you?

It has definitely renewed my sense of purpose. I view everything through the lens of not just a woman in society, but also as a mum now which I guess is inevitable. Motherhood has made me reflect harder about the kind of world I’d like my daughter to live in and what I can do to help make that happen. It’s also taught me a lot about the strength I never knew I had and how much my heart can expand and continues to do so each day simply because Imaan now exists in my life.

What are some of the activities that you enjoy sharing with Imaan?

I love reading with Imaan! I think it’s been the most beautiful thing to watch her grow with her books too - from cooing and gurgling as I flipped the pages, to recognising characters and now “reading” along as she knows the words in some of her favourite books by heart. I also love taking her to the park and playground and just watching her play. She also loves going to the beach and playing with sand so we cycle over (with her in the child bike seat behind me!) whenever we get the chance to.

You’re a former documentary producer with a big heart and clear purpose of lending a voice to the voiceless. How has your purpose of empowering others shaped the way you raise Imaan?

This is a great question! I’d like to think that my purpose of empowering others stems from empathy and in my belief that everyone has a story to tell even if they may not have a platform or agency to do so. So I definitely hold this close to mind and heart whenever I think about the woman I hope Imaan will be one day; someone who’s empathetic, gracious and kind. My approach is to parent her mindfully and respectfully - to acknowledge her own voice no matter how it manifests. It’s definitely not going to be an easy journey and I’m sure there would be days when I’ll falter (and I already have!) but again, there’s no such thing as the perfect mum, just mothers who are doing their best and this is what I’m doing too.

What are some values that you’d like to pass on to Imaan?

Some of the values I live by are vulnerability, authenticity and courage and these are definitely some of the values I’d like to pass on to her. And I think the best way to do it is by modelling them and while it hasn’t been the easiest journey, having Imaan is a constant reminder that I should always choose courage over comfort and lean into vulnerability as a strength.

Sarah wears the Modern Gypsy Blouse and Relaxed Drawstring Capri. Imaan wears the for Pepi Bow Headband, Modern Gypsy Top and Bloomers.

What are some significant milestones that you’ve shared together with Imaan over the past 2 years?

Weaning is definitely one of them! Our breastfeeding journey started really rough and I experienced toe-curling pain each time she latched. On top of that, I really struggled with supply and was always pumping just to keep up with Imaan’s demand - all of it really took a huge toll on my mental health. But I’m so proud to share that we continued dancing throughout our nursing journey that ended when Imaan was about 19 months old. I never thought we’d make it to a month, let alone another 18 after that so this is definitely a milestone I acknowledged and celebrated!

Another would be the first time she said “I love you Mummy” to me! This happened a few days after my 30th birthday so it was truly the best birthday present from her :D

There are plenty others and I’m definitely one of those mums who tears up whenever we hit milestones together.

What’s one advice that you’ve received about motherhood that you’ve held close to your heart?

You can’t pour from an empty cup! So do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself first.

Encapsulating this moment in time – what is a message you’d like to leave for Imaan?

My sweet baby girl, it’s been the greatest joy to have you in our lives and watch you grow to become your own person. Your light shines brighter every day and I hope it’ll only continue to shine because the world needs it. I love you more than you’ll ever know!

Learn more about Crazycat and read a special letter that Sarah penned for Imaan this Mother's Day. Plus, learn how you can enjoy a special Esse privilege when you head on over to this link. Special thanks to Monica Lie for capturing these moments and Sarah and Imaan for spending their afternoon with us!

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