Melissa Ben-Ishay is the President and Chief Product Officer of the New York City-based dessert company Baked by Melissa. When Ben-Ishay was fired from her job in advertising in 2008, she decided to do what she loved—to offer consumers the ultimate dessert experience. With the idea that people should be able to taste more flavors without a post-dessert guilt trip, Ben-Ishay personally develops all of Baked by Melissa’s unique, bite-size cupcake creations and product offerings. Baked by Melissa operates 14 locations and ships nationwide. Ben-Ishay is expecting her first child with her husband in February 2016 and has chronicled her pregnancy for The Bump.
I’m 39 weeks pregnant, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the pregnancy so far. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely slowed down, and I’m lugging around an extra 40 lbs. everywhere I go, but I still walk up four flights of stairs each morning to get to my desk and I have more energy than I thought I would at this stage.
With one short week left before I meet Chickpea, the nerves and emotions have begun to kick in. I’m getting anxious about going into labor and the pain. And I can’t even begin to imagine how it’s going to feel when I finally get to meet my daughter for the first time!
I’m also a little nervous about taking time off of work. Since starting Baked by Melissa seven years ago, this will be the longest I’m away. Though I don't view it as a formal maternity leave where I'll be completely offline for a set period of time, it will be different. I consider Baked by Melissa my firstborn and could never fully tune it out, even for a small period of time. I am looking forward to finding that balance of being a mother and business owner. I truly believe the experience will allow me to come back with fresh perspective. Even more so, I can’t wait to introduce Chickpea to everyone at Baked by Melissa!
More important than the nerves is my overwhelming excitement for the journey we’ve embarked on and what’s ahead of us. I’ve loved watching my husband fall naturally into the role of protector and provider. It melts my heart watching him try to get everything done that he possibly can before she arrives. This past weekend, New York saw one of the biggest snowstorms in its history and my husband was so concerned I’d go into labor that he wanted to check into a hotel close to our hospital. Studies show that drastic changes in weather can force spontaneous labor. Luckily, that was not the case and my husband and I enjoyed a much-needed weekend of chill time together just before we begin our next chapter.
Over this 40-week journey, so many people have asked me what I’ve learned, what I expected, and what’s been completely unexpected. My biggest takeaway so far from this life-changing experience has been that there’s really no way to prepare for it. I could have never anticipated the mental and physical changes my body has gone through during pregnancy, but I’ve learned to embrace it all. I don’t expect to be ready for every facet of motherhood either, but I am ready to face every challenge and new experience with open arms.
This is my last post before meeting Chickpea. I can’t wait to check back in with you as a new mom!