Today we are talking to Valeska. Valeska grew up in Aruba and moved to the Netherlands when she was 15. She graduated university with a bachelor’s in Communications & Media and has been a true marketing trooper ever since: she has been with LVMH, Nike, G-star and currently working as marketing manager at Netflix. On the private side of her life, she's been together with her Polish fiancé, Mata, for over 10 years now and just became a mom to her newborn son Gabrielle.
Watch on YouTube
Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
In this episode we talk about the nuances she experienced growing up in different countries when it comes to sexuality, dating and relationships. Also, Valeska will share her secret sauce to keeping her relationship healthy, especially now with changed family dynamics.
Valeska: “Ok, if I have to get out of the camera every once in a while it’s because I have to sway the baby.”
Let’s start with an ice breaker - how does an orgasm feel to you?
It's like a release. It’s like you can breathe again.
We know you’ve been together now with Mata for more than 10 years, he’s your baby daddy and soon to be husband. Can you give us the secret sauce to keeping a relationship healthy and thriving for that long of a period?
Valeska: I stepped into this relationship having no idea it was going to be 10 years. There were ups and downs, but it’s been really nice so far. I think it’s all about communication. I am a very open person and I always push for having conversations. I definitely pushed him out of his comfort zone in that aspect.
Since both of you come from different cultural backgrounds. You’re from Aruba and the Netherlands and he is from Poland. Do you think the discomfort stemmed from coming from cultural differences?
Valeska: Yes definitely. He grew up in a place where people are not as open to talk about things. It was hard in the beginning but it’s gotten easier to talk and communicate our feelings. Communication skills are like mental health: it’s a taboo but it should be discussed and not be ashamed about, especially in close relationships.
Do you think communications between you two have set the foundations for your relationship?
Valeska: Yes definitely. We’re both opposites. He is an introvert and I’m an extrovert. We’re worlds apart but when we come together we have so much common ground. Also, we find opportunities to explore each other’s interests. He loves road biking and I wasn’t interested in it until he got me into it. Now we do it together! Having that curiosity about your partner, learning about each other's interests, and being open to new experiences - I think those are the necessities in a healthy relationship.
Also, we met when we were in our 20s and now we’re in our 30s. It’s been an evolution of the both of us. I have changed and he’s changed. We’re very different from when we first met. In a way that’s interesting because we’ve grown together. It’s important when we’re with each other, we can do things together but we also have each of our lives so we’re not completely meshed into each other's personal lives. It’s important to remain independent and know that I can still be me without him.
You just had your first baby and you did the Chinese Medicine postpartum routine of staying inside for a month and being strict on diets & sticking to certain routines. Why did you decide to do that?
Valeska: So I have a friend who is Chinese and British. She gave me this book about the first 40 days postpartum and how to approach it. I learned that in China, in the first 40 days postpartum, the mother stays indoors with the kid and most things you eat are warm. No cold vegetables, no cold fruit, and everything MUST be warm.
What I thought was interesting is that my mom is from the Dominican Republic - miles away from China, but they have a similar practice and routine for women after a month post birth. You need to eat specific things and avoid going outside because your body is completely open and you’re very susceptible to catching bad things and getting sick.
Pre-birth, I already started preparing bone broth which I never made before. Postpartum, I just defrosted all the bone broth I made, had ginger fried rice almost everyday and ate healthy. It helped me a lot in my recovery.
It was also really nice postpartum where I was completely alone with my newborn. I loved the space I created and everything was calm and in harmony.
If you were home for all those weeks and your fiancé was coming in and out, your baby is a newborn, it must get a little hectic at moments. Were you able to cater to your own intimate wellness in those moments?
Valeska: None at all. I could hardly take a shower because I was sore and still recovering. I was also just a full time baby feeding machine. In the beginning it was so overwhelming because you are doing everything for the first time. But now everything is definitely better!
So how do you take care of yourself now? Do you still do Chinese bone broth and gain from that Chinese routine?
Valeska: Definitely, I still make bone broth. I also wake up before the baby wakes up to ensure I shower, wash my face, and put oils on my body and see my partner before he leaves for work. I also make sure that I have one or two hours each week where I can be on my own. Spending time by myself, doing nails, walking the dog, and going outside without my phone. I really enjoy that.
What was sex like post birth? How long did it take for you to get back into it?
Valeska: Quite fast! I was curious about what it feels like. It was fine and it didn’t feel different for either of us. The only thing different is probably that we have less time now with our newborn.
What about during pregnancy? Did you guys do it?
Valeska: In the beginning for sure, but it got difficult. Most people also don’t feel as ‘cute’, but to be honest I felt really cute and confident in my pregnant body. I was caring for myself and that was my form of self-care. Also when you’re pregnant, you feel so turned on almost all the time because there’s so much blood rushing through your body. I had to google to see if this was normal.
There was a lot of “self care” for me there, if you know what I mean, because the baby daddy was like “I can’t, the baby is ‘there’”. I had to respect his boundaries, so I just dealt with it myself. With a vibrator.
So you used a toy during your pregnancy?
Valeska: Yeah I definitely did until I broke it.
Was baby daddy ok with yourself pleasuring yourself with a sex toy during pregnancy?
Yes, he is very fine with it. We’ve never discussed bringing a sex toy during partner play, but after this convo I’m going to try to bring it into the bed room. I’m curious!
What is the one piece of advice or self love quote you’d tell all girls and women out there?
Valeska: Never lose yourself. It’s important to stay true to who you are.That core of who you are is something that you need to harness and make sure you keep, even though people change over time. Don’t lose yourself. This advice goes for people who are in relationships, for life in general, and also at work: don’t lose yourself.
What is one piece of advice for upcoming baby mamas on sexual wellness?
Valeska: Go with the flow. Everyone is different, so listen to your body and listen to what your body is capable of doing! Also, if baby mamas are feeling cute, baby daddies out there better be ON it and touch her!