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Shirley is the half of the social food, a food creation studio, and Milo's mom for a few months. Two reasons to discuss with her about her job, which she shares with her boyfriend Mathieu, about the complex relationship between food, pregnancy and motherhood and to know more about the Golden Month, a post-partum ritual, very known in Asia. Interview!
Hi Shirley, could you introduce yourself ?
My name is Shirley, I'm 30 years old and the mom of little Milo.
I am a chef / food stylist and food photographer with Mathieu, my other half. Together, we set up The social food 3 years ago.
Can you tell us a bit about The Social Food?
The social food is constantly evolving, but to sum up it is a creative studio around food.
We work on all possible mediums, we never do the same thing: one day we'll be art directors for a restaurant, another day a food stylist for an advertsing campaign or even a graphic designer and photographer for a cookbook.
You work with your partner Mathieu, what is it like to work as a couple?
We have known each other since the age of 14, we were best friends before being a couple so we always had the same passions and above all a clear vision of the lifestyle we wanted to have.
Communication is always fluid, which does not prevent us from arguing, and we find it important to argue. We assume that there is no unnecessary topic, communication is most important.
Pregnancy can be a complicated time when it comes to food, have you adapted your daily meals ?
I could write a book about it :)
In France the list of prohibited ingredients is impressive, I have a friend who was pregnant at the same time in Tahiti and she did not have the same recommendations and ate raw fish almost every day! The proof that there is a cultural part.
But most of all, I discovered Guilt!
When you are pregnant you become a public good, starting with people touching your belly without permission and a lot of behaviours that make women feel guilty about what to do or not to do and even more when it comes to food! Everyone has their recommendations and it gets tiring quickly, as the slightest suspicious food is the subject of a comment.
People and professionals take the easiest way and prefer to say that everything is forbidden as soon as there is the slightest doubt rather than to do real studies on the issue.
I remain convinced that if men were pregnant we would already have the exact list of prohibitions ...
Currently, we prefer to repeat "ohh what's 9 months without eating what you want, it's nothing at all"!
I read that there is more risk of getting hit by a bus than of catching listeriosis from eating raw fish while pregnant, when I found out I went back to my favorite sushi bar!
I just gave up on raw meats, cold cuts and alcohol. It's just a matter of common sense, whether pregnant or not I wouldn't eat an oyster that is 10 days old or a raw fish in a tray at the supermarket.
You recently became a mom, how do you feel about Milo's arrival?
Obviously I am in heaven and I have the feeling that I have created the most beautiful baby in the world like all mothers :)
But to be honest, I found the first 10 days extremely violent from a physical and mental point of view. I had to prepare myself for 9 months, I was far from imagining this period of postpartum so intense. .
I regret that we do not talk about postpartum more in general, we know everything about pregnancy, we are the center of all attention but after childbirth the mother is totally abandoned, left to herself as if motherhood was an evidence for everyone. We are not at all prepared for what will happen to us next (lochia, rush of milk, sleep, night of java, peak of growth, fatigue etc…).
It's a shame, because from my point of view the pregnancy itself was a piece of cake besides postpartum.
Could you explain to us what the Golden Month is?
It is the 40 days following childbirth in Asian culture, but this ritual is also found in Mexico or Africa. 40 days are how long it takes for a mom's body to start functioning and healing again. Thus, the six weeks following birth are generally considered to be a period dedicated to the recovery of moms.
In France, if the mom is the subject of special attention throughout her pregnancy, after childbirth it is a bit of a blur and we are very little informed about what will happen next.
I had trouble finding clear information on the subject, it is still a taboo subject here and it's a shame because we know that "postpartum depression" affects 20% of women in France against only 3 % in Asia.
Best mom advice you've ever had?
To be indulgent with yourself, to love and accept this new body which has given us the gift of life.
Your favorite address in Paris?
I love Ogata, I find the place beautiful, it reminds me of all the aesthetics that I love in Japan.
Your favorite food destination?
Japan without hesitation! And more particularly the Japanese Alps.
Your favorite time of the day?
I like to wake up very early, before everyone else in general, I like that feeling of "getting ahead".
Your favorite Minois product?
I love the Gentle Face Cream that smells so good.
Thank you very much Shirley for your time <3
Follow The social food on Instagram here
Photos @shirleygarrier et @thesocialfood