With a heart full of gratitude, OHbaby! managing director Angela Pedersen
reflects on a decade in print.
Ten years! Wow! To reflect on what has been achieved over the past decade is simply amazing. I am thankful and my heart is full.
As I write these words, I can still vividly remember the ‘birth’ of OHbaby! Magazine 10 years ago. I was working insane hours with two children under three, and had no real clue what it meant to make a magazine. I remember waking at 6am (after four or five hours’ sleep) to get some work done before the family got up. I was selling advertising, proofreading, choosing images and liaising with the art director and editor, all while sitting on the floor at the coffee table in our lounge. It was a whirlwind of sleeplessness, fuelled by love and excitement. I also remember the day the team and I received the first copy of the magazine, hot off the press. Our account manager at the printers said he had never seen clients so exhilarated! It was such a special surreal moment that is forever etched in my mind – like my wedding day and the birth of each of my babies, it really was memorable.
Getting our team photo taken for this 10th birthday issue is another one of those memorable moments for me. As I sat there (not particularly excited about being in front of the camera), I watched these beautiful women around me – creative, talented mums and mums-to-be, all caring, nurturing, generous women and role models – and gave thanks for what a blessing each person in my team is. Seriously, they’re all so amazing and I love them to bits. I thank God for each of them and their unique gifts. They’re made for what they do and bring such passion to their work. I’m in awe of their talents and the gift they are to the world. (Much like I am with my own children!)
I’m glad this isn’t a video, because you don’t get to see my tears as I’m writing. They’re tears of joy and thankfulness for how far OHbaby! has come, and for how far I’ve come as a person. I’m so grateful to those who have been part of the OHbaby! journey. Our staff, experts, writers, photographers and all who have contributed, past and present. What they may not realise is the influence they’ve also had on my family and me. I’m richer for having read each article you’ve written and each beautiful page you’ve crafted. The content of this magazine has so often resonated in my heart and been woven into the fabric of my own family. Be it a family motto or tradition, or the inspiration to live as intentional parents who understand the power of vulnerability. The gentle encouragement to understand and cherish our children’s unique ways, and most important of all, the reminder that love conquers everything. Love is what grows brains and develops babies into healthy, resilient and empathetic children. Love is something we can never give too much of. Love looks like sacrifice, like time spent with our babies. Love looks like hugs and kisses and reading and talking and playing, and it’s a beautiful thing.
It’s the heart, love and passion shared by our contributors that makes me so proud of the strong voice OHbaby! has in the parenting world. I pray we continue to contribute positively to our country and beyond. What we do is such a privilege – being able to encourage parents in the most important, challenging and fulfilling role they will ever have. So I thank you, parent or parent-to-be, for picking up this magazine, reading it, and taking on board what resonates with you as you create your own beautiful family magic! You’re a gift to your child and family – an intentional, loving and amazing parent! Keep up the great work – you’ve got this!
I have the first-ever issue of OHbaby! in front of me as I type, and my baby Eva is on the cover. I still remember her little grin and hugs. She was so cute, and still is. Royce and I used to get her out of her cot just before we went to bed and smother her in hugs and kisses. She’d always wake up, full of smiles and joy, and I don’t know how, but every time we put her back down, she’d fall straight back to sleep! Anyway, I digress. As I look at the first issue, I’m reminded not only of how far we’ve come, but also how thankful I am for our advertisers – and the fact that so many of them from our first issue are still with us in this one! We didn’t have the security of being owned by one of New Zealand’s big publishing companies – it was little old me and our mortgage! We did have the website that had been doing well for seven years, but we’d never produced a magazine before. These clients backed us and believed in us enough to book an advert in our first issue, and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you, Watties, Huggies, Nurture, Tommee Tippee, Sangenic, Philips Avent, Bebabo, EGG Maternity, Porse, Nature Baby and Resene for your support ten years ago, and also for your support today. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
I also want to thank the ‘OHbaby! addicts’. They’ll know who they are, if they’re reading this, though I’m guessing their babies are well grown up now. When I started ohbaby.co.nz in 2001, these special mums grew an online community through our forums that was the most amazing nurturing ‘village’ I’ve ever seen online. We saw women supporting each other, listening to each other’s stories and being vulnerable and courageous. Some even got through postnatal depression by connecting with other women who were simply loving and encouraging each other along the way. It’s these women who encouraged me to start the magazine, and these women who, funnily enough, started our OHbaby! Facebook page and told me I had to join Facebook so I could become an administrator! Now we have over half a million Facebook friends, more than any other NZ women’s magazine. So amazing!
These women taught me that, as we stick together, encourage and support each other, not only can we get through the tough times, but we can go on and achieve our dreams. Together we can thrive. It’s the togetherness that is so key. It’s the knowing that, in spite of our differences, love conquers all. It’s seeing past the fact that another woman doesn’t parent the way I do, but loving her for her differences and seeing the gold she has in her that I can learn from. It’s the desire not to compete, but to journey with other mums. To make that meal for the mum you know isn’t coping. It’s the knowing that, as we join in that community (‘common – unity’) of motherhood (and parenthood, I’m all about dads, too!), we can all do so much better together than we would apart. So thank you ‘OHbaby! addicts’, I love you!
In my last reflection on the past ten years, I’m thinking about influence, and those we choose to let influence our lives. I’m so thankful for OHbaby!’s experts and contributors who’ve worked tirelessly at their professions with passion and love, so as to help parents make informed decisions for their families. People like Dr Richard Fisher, who pioneered fertility treatment in New Zealand and has made thousands of parents’ dreams of a family a reality. Miriam McCaleb, a university lecturer and self-confessed “obsessor about all aspects of family life … child development, social policy, education and baking”. Dr Melanie Woodfield, a clinical child psychologist who works with a vast array of desperate real-life issues and makes the most amazing difference – #respect! Sarah Tennant, a gifted writer whose stories are researched, thoughtful and funny! Dorothy Waide, a trained Karitane nurse and author whose book title, You Simply Can’t Spoil a Newborn, will always resonate with me. These are some of the inspirational people we have carefully chosen to influence us as parents. They’re all about love! They’re outward-facing, they’ve made sacrifices and they give so much for the betterment of others.
My hope for us as parents would be that we continue to make wise choices – just as we try to teach our children – especially in whom we let influence us, as we’re the ones our children look to as their role models. I know that, in doing so, we’ll be raising world-changers; children who love others more than they judge them, who give more than they take, and who leave this world a better place because they have an amazing parent like you!
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He ta-ngata, he ta-ngata, ta-ngata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.
Thank you for the privilege of being part of your journey, and for being part of ours.