We were first introduced to Bekah Martinez when she was a contestant on The Bachelor three years ago. Since then, she's welcomed a daughter, Ruth, and son, Franklin... and she always keeps it real where motherhood is concerned. We've seen her normalize breastfeeding, showcase her home birth, and speak openly about her pro-vaccine stance.
The reality star, who is currently partnering with eco-friendly diaper brand Charlie Banana, caught up with us, and as a fellow extended breastfeeding mama of two under two, I couldn't wait to hear more about her approach to motherhood. Here's what the mama had to say about parenting through a pandemic, shrugging off the mom-shamers and how parenthood has made her so much more environmentally conscious.
Motherly: Since this is a partnership for an eco-friendly brand, I'm curious: Did becoming a mom make you more concerned about the environment?
Bekah Martinez: Yes, 100%. It's something that I've been talking about so much lately. Having little ones, a new little life in the world, has made me really think about what [life is] going to be like for my children in the future, and their children. The biggest thing for me has been how [I can] reduce my environmental impact, but also how can I be a good example for my children? How can I show them that every small step can make a big impact? That's why I'm so excited to be partnering with Charlie Banana. Every diaper change is one small step towards a more sustainable future. It's been awesome for me. It's a brand that really shares my values and I've been cloth diapering for over a year now.
Motherly: Is there anything else you've changed in your life since becoming a mom in the name of environmental friendliness?
Bekah Martinez: Honestly, we've just been evaluating everything we do. What kind of products we're buying, [asking ourselves] "do we need to buy those products?"... we've just tried to evaluate every aspect of our life. Obviously we're not going to get things perfect, nobody's perfect, but every little small step does make a difference. We've just tried to reduce our overall impact as much as we can.
Motherly: A lot of parents out there are nervous about cloth diapering or have never tried it. What would you say to them?
BM: First of all, my only regret is that we didn't start sooner. It's not as overwhelming or daunting as I thought it would be. Also, it's really fun! With cloth diapering, you can pick from so many fun colors and patterns. Charlie Banana, for example, has a ton of them. I think once you start researching how to do it, it takes a lot the mystery out of it. I think people are like 'oh my god, I'm going to have to handle so much poop!" But there are products that makes that a lot easier — I'll mention Charlie Banana again, they have disposable liners that make clean up a lot easier. I actually have a video [on how] I clean cloth diapers. It's definitely something that really pays off: Each child can go through potentially thousands of cloth diapers a year that'll end up in landfills, so even if you can switch to cloth diapering just on weekends or just at night, you're still going to reduce your environmental impact. Figuring out how you can weave sustainability into your lifestyle, even if its not perfect, is awesome.
Motherly : You have two kids under two. I actually do as well. What are the hardest parts of that for you?
BM: Something I struggle with is mom's guilt. Feeling like I can't be enough for both of them at all times. Which actually kind of relates to what I was just talking about: I think you have to recognize you can't be everything for them all the time and you're not going to be perfect. Just give yourself grace in that. But that's been really difficult for me… and also, just getting time for myself. Every mom struggles with that, whether she has two under two or one or six [kids].
Motherly: How are you managing with kids at home during the pandemic?
BM: At the beginning it was kind of great in a way… I was pregnant and I sort of loved the excuse to stay home and not interact with people. I'm kind of a recluse when I'm pregnant, and having my partner at home and away from his business, while it was stressful, kind of felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to bond as a family. There's something really special, even though it was challenging, about that. I'm really grateful for the first few months—it was the most wonderful way to welcome a new little person into the world; when we had Franklin, we were right in the middle of it. It was really lovely to spend time just the four of us. Now it's getting old, [so] we're just trying to find ways to make it fun.
Motherly: Tell me a little bit about your breastfeeding experience. Was it different from one child to another?
BM: [It was] challenging in different ways. The first time around you have no clue what you're doing. You're figuring it out as you go along. My challenge having Franklin was I thought I knew everything, but a new child has a new set of strengths and challenges. With him we had some little issues with feeding. He would get gassy… it was just a different form of troubleshooting. Whenever you have a new child, whether it's your first or your third, it's humbling to realize you don't have everything figured out.
Motherly: I'm still breastfeeding and my kids are turning two new week, so I get how this is an issue: Do people ever tell you your daughter is too old to be nursing?
BM: All the time and it's super bizarre to me. I have no judgement towards when anyone chooses to wean or whether they choose to nurse at all; I expect people to not have judgement towards me and how long I decide to nurse. There's been no science that shows there's any psychological damage even to three or four or five. People are just really judgmental of a journey that's not their own. Around the world it's super common to nurse beyond the first year. I wish people could just expand their worldview a little bit and understand there are different perspectives and cultures and different families. What works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa. Keep an open mind and educate yourself and realize not everyone is going to do things the way you do them and that's okay.
Motherly: You're parenting in the public eye, and obviously there's a lot of shame and judgement all of get as moms, whether we have followings or not. How do you deal with that and what advice would you share with other moms who are dealing with it?
BM: You definitely grow a thick skin. The thing I've been in the process of learning over the past couple of years is stop focusing on that negative feedback—it's easier said than done—and focus on the positive you are putting out into the world. For me, it sucks when people say really mean things, but I have to remember that although it sucks, I also have the opportunity to make a difference. I can model having a home that's making an effort to be more green. I can show people cloth diapering is not that hard. I can show people that breastfeeding a toddler is okay. I can show people a beautiful birth is possible… that's what I try to focus on. It's worth it to get judgement if it means that I'm putting good things out in the world. I think that's the same whether you have a platform or not. Just focus on what your purpose is and what your mission is—whether that's modeling for other people or just raising the best little ones you can.