The Tale Of Claire, Cecily & James Hervey


The Toronto based founder of Darling & Ninth Claire Kilgour Hervey was a busy marketing executive for Nike when she fell pregnant. “The 2010 Vancouver Olympics were looming and it was a busy time for the brand,” she recalls. “The commute and the hours were long and the expectations were high. Consequently I didn’t carve out a lot of baby planning time, so when Cecily was born I was in scramble mode for the first few months. I tend to be very organised, so this was not an enjoyable start to motherhood.”

After the birth of her daughter, concealer and coffee were her allies in the fight against sleep deprivation. “I just learned to operate under a new ‘normal’, but it’s all a little blurry looking back. I’m sure my husband could share some war stories with you,” she says, laughing. Consequently, it was this “blurry” start to motherhood that helped carve out the start of her new career. After Cecily was born, Hervey made the decision not to return to the corporate world.

“After having kids, my priorities changed and I did a total 180. It was tough to let go of my former identity as a digital marketing executive, but the idea that I would be missing so many important milestones and moments with my children did not sit well. I knew if I tried to do both I was going to feel inadequate at home and at work so I had a choice to make. Initially, I mourned the loss of my career, but I eventually tapped into an entrepreneurial side that had been lying dormant,” she says.

And that’s when her custom planning business for mothers and mothers-to-be Darling & Ninth was born. “I wanted others to avoid the experience I had, so I began to create really elaborate shopping lists and product recommendations for my sister and friends when they were expecting. The feedback was super positive and after I watched an episode of the reality show Pregnant in Heels I realised Toronto could use its own version of Rosie Pope!”. Today Darling and Ninth supports, educates and assists new and soon-to-be mums on everything from the ABCs of breastfeeding to bringing home your baby to nursery furniture basics. “Many of our clients are successful professional women who kick butt in the boardroom, but get totally paralyzed by the thought of caring for a baby,” she says. The business evaluates each mother’s unique set of needs and helps reduce their anxiety by connecting them with the best baby products, professional services and retailers to suit them. “Now I am in a position to help my clients combat sleep deprivation by getting top-notch night nurses and sleep trainers,” says Hervey.

So what are Hervey’s top tips for mothers-to-be? Less is more. “Babies really don’t require as much gear as you may think. It’s a good idea to stock up on newborn basics but then wait until you get a sense of your baby’s temperament and your lifestyle before making the bulk of your purchase decisions. Otherwise you end up with a bunch of stuff that just collects dust – I’m pretty sure our Bumbo barely came out of the box even though I was hell bent on having one before Cecily was even born.” She also advises putting a breastfeeding support plan into place before you give birth. “Many new mums struggle with breastfeeding and like most skills in life it takes time to master. Be prepared and book a lactation consultant, doula or appointment with a breastfeeding clinic in advance. There is tremendous pressure on mums to breastfeed since we now understand how big the health benefits are, so when it’s not going well it becomes a very emotionally charged situation. This is another area Darling & Ninth is really able to help our clients successfully navigate.”

Hervey always tells her clients to be gentle with themselves, as she encounters many women with expectations that are too high. “Many women are laser focused on climbing the proverbial corporate ladder before entering motherhood, but having a baby isn’t like running a business. There is no job description, no deadlines and no annual review. If you go with the flow the joy will outweigh the insanity and along the way you’ll get the hang of this whole parenting thing,” she says.

Now that her children are a little older, her life has also regained some balance. Living in Toronto she says she’s also lucky that she has the support of her husband, sisters and close friends, but being a mother and juggling a career will always be something that women aren’t able to do on their own.

“Ask for help when you need it. Accept help when it is offered. You don’t have to be a martyr to be a good mother. A happy mum is truly the best thing for any baby. So if you’re struggling – with breastfeeding, post-partum blues, starting solids, whatever – you need to reach out to your ‘village’. Whoever that may be,” says Hervey. Sound advice, indeed.

Claire’s little list of loves:
My Anita Ko thumb ring from Augustina. It was a gift from husband and I get compliments on it every time I wear it.
Reading in bed on my Kindle. I just finished Diana Vreeland’s memoir DV. She was a fabulous force in women’s fashion helming both Harper’s BAZAAR and Vogue during some very decadent decades.
Vitamix and coconut water has revolutionised our breakfast routine.
A glass of Norman Hardie Pinot Noir. Ontario makes some top-notch wines these days!
UBER – I’m such a convert!
Le Labo perfume.
Our cottage in Georgian Bay.
Acupuncture at Xiaolan Health Centre.
Fresh flowers – Adam and Davis at Crown Flora always come up with creative and low maintenance arrangements for my home.
Sonos + Rdio – access to just about any song, artist or album at any time is awesome and has resulted in a few spontaneous living room dance parties.

Photography: Mirza Noormohamed Words: Yadira Galarza Cauchi

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