You might know Chelsea Leyland for her impeccably cool taste as a globally renowned DJ, where she’s spun tracks at the hottest events across fashion, art and travel. In fact, Leyland spent over 10 years curating music for fashion and art clients globally, including Chanel, Fendi, The Guggenheim Museum, and MoMA, as well as opening for Duran Duran and Diplo.
But there’s so much more to this mom-to-be than music. Leyland is an outspoken advocate for epilepsy and medical cannabis with a focus on patient access. Now, after experiencing two pregnancy losses, Leyland is also using her platform to raise awareness around endometriosis, miscarriage and reproductive health. Chelsea co-founded Looni, a new menstrual health and wellness company on a mission to elevate the menstrual cycle and democratize body literacy by providing support through education and innovative, science-backed offerings.
As Leyland welcomes her third pregnancy (a boy, coming very soon!), she opens up to Babe about her fertility journey, finding joy amidst the loss and how she hopes to help others who’ve walked a similar path.
How are you feeling? How has this pregnancy been for you?
I’m feeling good, albeit rather uncomfortable now that I only have two weeks left until my due date, but overall, this pregnancy has been a really special time for me. I’ve felt very calm and chill post the first trimester and just generally quite blissed out. In all honesty, given the challenging time I had with my endometriosis and in experiencing multiple pregnancy losses, I thought I might never get here, so for me, pregnancy has been a real gift and I’ve felt really grateful to get to this moment.
Do you have a birth plan? If so, can you share details of how you “hope” it will go? (we use that term loosely!)
I like to refer to them as my ‘birth preferences’ for exactly the reason you’ve alluded to. I’m manifesting a drug-free birth without any intervention, but I’m trying to remain open as i know this is out of my control. Having a healthy baby is my top priority and I know that the universe already has the perfect plan for how he’ll travel earth side. I’m working with a wonderful doula who is also my yoga teacher and so I feel really supported going into this experience and just knowing I have someone wise and experienced who will advocate for me feels imperative.
What sort of self-care or wellness rituals have you been leaning on during your pregnancy? Diet or cravings?
I’ve had a really strong yoga practice which has really carried me through, both physically and spiritually. Taking a bath most evenings has also been my saving grace and a really wonderful moment to just slow down and connect with my baby in water, which I believe has also helped me to connect more deeply with my womb space. I’ve had an obsession with cloves, banana bread and apples. The clove craving is particularly peculiar as I usually really dislike the smell, yet during this pregnancy I’ve been soaking my pillows in clove oil most nights. My poor husband has had to learn to love the constant Christmas theme.
How would you describe your pregnancy style? Any pieces that you’ve been living in?
I’ve kept it quite simple. I love my black ribbed HATCH Bodysuit that I then like to layer on with a big cozy oversized sweater. I’ve also loved HATCH’s Maternity Boyfriend Jean, as most maternity jeans are skinny and tight and just not a great shape. My go to evening look has been these super simple black stretch Leset pants, dressed up with a nice jacket and some buttery soft Negative Underwear pieces underneath…comfortable underwear is key! Although with that said, I definitely have not shied away from wearing heels and have worn my Dior patent leather boots with perspex heels a fair bit. Nothing beats a pregnant woman in a bold heal!
How is it going for you emotionally after having experienced the trauma of loss? What is this pregnancy bringing up for you?
For the first half of my pregnancy I kept anticipating bad news at every scan I had. In hindsight, I think it was my way of coping/protecting myself because I just couldn’t bear the thought of being as unprepared as I was when I lost my second baby. Community has been crucial for me during this period and I’m proud to say that I lent on the Fertility room in Looni’s Cycle Sanity community for the support I needed. We have a Pregnancy/New Mom room set up.. amongst others like our Chronic Conditions, Gender Inclusivity and a Burning Questions room. This is really just a safe space to find support, share knowledge and learn from Looni’s medical advisers.
“For the first half of my pregnancy, I kept anticipating bad news at every scan I had.”
Can you discuss Looni and the inspiration behind launching it? What’s something you want people to know about endometriosis?
Looni believes in menstrual literacy and autonomy—the menstrual cycle is a valuable guide to our overall health and wellbeing and Looni provides the tools and knowledge for people to become intimate with their natural rhythms. This starts with products that work in sync with your body to bring you relief.
My own journey with endometriosis is at the heart of my mission, having suffered with debilitating pain for a large majority of my life and then undergoing a very unsuccessful surgery i chose to take my pain into my own hands and this is how i discovered the power of Cycle Syncing and becoming more in tune with my menstrual cycle. I then began to focus on how nutrition could help support me whilst learning about all the wondrous botanicals found in nature and how they could help aid my period discomforts.
We still have so much to learn about endometriosis, despite it being as prevalent as diabetes but know that symptoms do not always depict the progression of the condition. You could barely have any symptoms but have stage 4 (the most severe) endometriosis, which is part of why it’s such a challenging condition to diagnose.
How do you feel you’ve grown throughout your pregnancy journey? What’s one thing you’d tell a woman going through loss?
It’s given me back a feeling of strength, because after years of battling with epilepsy and endometriosis and then experiencing such painful fertility challenges, I had lost a lot of belief in my own physical body as I felt like it let down by it time and time again. But pregnancy has made me believe in my bodies immense intelligence, it’s still so baffling to me that it’s literally grown a human in 9 months!!
I would tell someone that it wasn’t your fault and that there was nothing you could have done differently to have changed the outcome.
I believe we heal in community and although sharing your story with others can feel painful, it can actually help you heal with your loss and feel less alone in the situation. There is immense power in vulnerability and I truly believe that we can begin to feel that when we crack ourselves open.
How will you tackle maternity leave or work postpartum?
I’m trying to be fluid with my plans as I’ve no idea what to expect. I plan to take off a minimum of two months and will try to have a black out period of no technology for the first couple of weeks. Given I have my own company, I don’t see myself ever fully taking off as Looni is my first baby. I’m super lucky to have the most amazing co-founder who had a baby two years ago so she really understands the work/mom balance and has been incredibly supportive.
What’s one hope you have for your child?
That the world wakes up and becomes a more conscious place for him to live in.