As a city parent, it’s not unusal for a little self-doubt to creep in when half of your mommy group starts fleeing to the ‘burbs. “Will my child be well-adjusted if we stay in this glorious but mad city?” “Will he or she reach her full potential?” The answer: absolutely. Which is reassured every time you meet that native New Yorker that’s totally well-adjusted and has reached her full potential…and more. Especially when she’s geeked out about raising her own babies here.
We recently spent some time with not just one but two native New Yorkers, who are now expecting their own native New Yorker: husband and wife power couple Deirdre Maloney, co-founder of international tradeshow Capsule Show and top PR firm BPMW Agency, and Noah Callahan-Bever, chief content officer for Complex Media. After bumping into each other at various work and friend functions for almost a decade without much more than a nod, they finally connected over a friend’s Christmas dinner in December 2013. Their first little girl is due this spring.
We dropped by their gorgeous Chelsea apartment to chat with Deirdre about her career, pregnancy and raising her babe in the city. Check out her top 5 registry picks, and once you’re done reading, hop on over to Instagram where Deirdre’s taken over our feed!
In what part of NYC did you guys grow up?
I was born in Chelsea but grew up mostly in Brooklyn Heights. Noah was born in The Netherlands, but moved to NYC at age 5 and grew up in the Wall Street area. We went to rival high schools in Brooklyn.
How did you tell your husband that you were pregnant?
I just blurted it out! We had just decided that month to throw caution to the wind and not use birth control, so when my period was a day late (which is not uncommon for me), I picked up 10 pregnancy tests on my way home, figuring every month I would think I was pregnant (and likely not be). When the double blue line appeared, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Noah came home shortly thereafter, and in my complete state of disbelief, it did register with me that I hadn’t considered how I would tell him. So, nothing cute–an hour into recapping our day, I finally just said, “I took a pregnancy test and it says I’m pregnant, and I think we should take more because maybe it’s wrong, but I wanted to wait for you,” or something crazy like that.
Since you both grew up here, how does that make you feel about raising a child here?
We are really pro raising kids in NYC. The city is such a mecca of art, culture, entertainment, history, landmarks, sports, etc. Kids in the city receive a cultural education every time they walk out the door. Whether we want our kids to learn French, Spanish, Mandarin or Arabic, it’s all easily accessible here. If our kid is studying ancient Egypt in grade school, some NYC museum will have an Egypt exhibit. There is no limit to the availability of various extracurricular activities (for kids or adults!). You can’t put a price on being exposed to the diversity that New York City offers, from birth. So much narrow-mindedness and hatred in the world stems from the unknown.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t know what I wanted to be when I was a little kid, but by high school I was convinced I would be the first woman President of the Unites States. Clearly, my parents instilled a lot of confidence in me. I graduated from Georgetown with a BA in Political Science, and also interned for my Congressman for two summers, but I was quickly disenchanted by, well, the “the politics” of government, so intern is as far as I got.
How did you end being the co-founder of Capsule and BPMW?
The summer before my senior year in college I interned at Bloomingdale’s in their buying office, and I really liked it. Having tried multiple internships besides the Congressman’s office (a law firm, a Top 5 financial institution, etc.), this was the first job that I actually looked forward to. I realized for the first time how important it was for me to have a blend of business/numbers and creativity in whatever I was going to do. Bloomingdale’s was great in that it got me into the business of fashion, put me in a position where I got a really good overview of the market, made really good contacts, and learned the basics of running a business. However I quickly learned that working for someone else was not really for me, and started plotting my foray into entrepreneurship. I came up with a bunch of bad ideas…but ultimately, along with my two business partners, came up with BPMW, and haven’t looked back since!
Who are some of your biggest influences in your career?
First and foremost, hands down, my dad. He has an amazing business mind and has been a great sounding board throughout my career despite having very little connection to the fashion world. He always seems to know the right answer, and if he doesn’t know, he knows someone who does, and can get them on the phone very quickly. My sister and I both call him for work-related advice all the time, and so do some of our friends. Also, being the men’s buyer for emerging designers at Bloomingdale’s was really pivotal for me because I was surrounded by entrepreneurs–the designers who were selling me their clothes. I was very inspired by their courage to believe in themselves and just go for it.
How does NYC influence your work/life flow?
NYC is extremely fast-paced. Since I grew up here, that seems really normal to me, and I thrive in high-paced, high-pressure environments. It’s important that my apartment serve as a haven where I can rest and recharge but…I can’t sit still for too long; NYC offers a million reasons not to and I appreciate that immensely.
What helps you decompress after a long day?
A good intense workout or the exact opposite; a glass or three of wine (pre-pregnancy, obviously) and a delicious meal.
What life lessons as a woman have you learned that you hope to pass on to your daughter?
There are so many, but one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately (for obvious reasons) is to try to fully experience life before parenthood so that you feel ready to be more selfless. Travel the world, try new things, fail at some, succeed at others, change and evolve, take up new hobbies, really know yourself and be selfish for long enough so that after a while, being selfish gets kind of boring.
What has surprised you about your pregnancy?
It really is such a rollercoaster. And such different rollercoaster for everyone who goes through it! I think I’ve had a relatively easy pregnancy compared to some of my friends, and for that I’m grateful. But still, the first 15 weeks or so I was pretty miserable; nauseous, exhausted, worried about the baby’s health and about balancing work and family, feeling super emotional and needy (both somewhat foreign feelings to me) and feeling kind of isolated because we weren’t telling many people yet. Little by little, I started to feel better, and by around week 21 had relaxed into and embraced it wholeheartedly.
The process is just so damn amazing; feeling her kick and watching my belly grow as Noah and I plan for our very different joint future is awesome. I feel so fortunate that it came relatively easily, and so lucky to be on the brink of being a mother. At around the 5-month point, I stopped obsessing about pregnancy and started obsessing about childbirth, which is scary and exciting. The thought of delivering this rapidly growing person makes a part of me want to stay pregnant forever, but now it’s getting tougher to sleep, and I can see that as I get closer to my due date, I’ll probably be less comfortable and ready to get the show on the road.
How has your style changed since becoming pregnant?
Not too much. Just longer shirts to cover the stretch panels in my maternity jeans, which I might just wear forever. Stretchy waistbands = never having to unbutton your pants after a delicious dinner. I still dress up a lot, and dress down depending on my mood. Leggings, turtleneck and Timberlands one day, dress and heels the next.
Any brands maternity or non that you feel are working for you?
I bought a bunch of Splendid long sleeve extra long t-shirts early on and wear those all the time under sweaters, blazers or just solo. For maternity jeans, I’ve really liked Paige and J Brand. But pretty much anything stretchy and cotton is my friend.
What are you most nervous about?
It changes all the time, but beyond the normal fear of anything health-related, I want to make sure we don’t raise a little jerk. The instinct is to give your kid everything you can because you love them so much. But you don’t want to end up raising spoiled brats with no ambition or sense of value. Finding the middle ground that I think Noah and my parents did, where you shower your kid with love but also teach them that they have to work for things, and appreciate things, and value things, is really important to me.
Photography by Jonica Moore Studio