A chat with Nina Westbrook
mom of 3 under 3 (a.k.a. a saint), wife,
entrepreneur, marriage & family therapist

Photographed in Los Angeles by Irida Mete

Nina finds love in Los Angeles in the white leather Triple Up

Love is the most powerful thing I’ve experienced in my life. I have had to learn countless times to love myself, but I never had to learn or practice loving my husband or my children. There is something that is extremely self-assuring about unconditional love. Love gives us the gift of grace. This means that we can do the best we can, fall short sometimes, and make mistakes. Love ensures that we can do all of these things, and know that no matter what, we can still be loved by others, and we can continue to love ourselves. 

Why did you decide to go into the field of marriage and family therapy?

I feel as though supporting others has always been something that came naturally to me. For as long as I can remember, I was always “the responsible child,” taking care of my brothers, two of whom are older than me. I am a bit of a thinker, and definitely an overthinker often times, so I’ve always had a niche for problem solving in the most practical way. It definitely started with family and friends, and as I got older I just realized that there is a whole profession based around something that comes so naturally to me. I’ve always been intrigued by the mind, and more specifically, how we come to make the decisions we make and relate to others. It just made sense that I study it.

Nina holding her child
“We cannot be the best that we can be without taking care of ourselves.”

Every couple/family is different, but are there some overall tips you can offer for sustaining a healthy relationship? 

Yes, every relationship is different, but I have found that allowing room for growth and change helps. I think that when one or more person in a relationship is too rigid, it does not allow for the natural growth and progression that takes place in each of us over the course of our lives. I think that change and transition are the only things that are constant, so we have to be able to adapt along the way. Of course there is love, respect, and understanding that also helps.

What’s powerful about taking control of your emotional and psychological needs? 

Everything! We cannot be the best that we can be without taking care of ourselves. Our hearts and our minds are our most sacred gifts, so we should take care of them, and treat them as such. There is nothing more powerful than protecting the two things in each of us that drives us and carry us through life's ups and downs. Without mental wellness, it is impossible to reach our potential and achieve all that we are capable of. There is nothing more powerful than taking control of our emotional and psychological needs because that power comes from within, and nobody can take that away from you. Mental health is wealth! 

What is the most powerful lesson motherhood has taught you?

Having my children has taught me the most important, and the most powerful lessons in my life. Though I would never complain about my pregnancies because they brought me three beautiful and precious gifts, it was hard. The hardest time in my life was when I was pregnant with my two girls, and my very active toddler couldn’t care less. During that time I learned how hard I could push myself (which was pretty damn hard), and all that I was capable of doing. That experience taught me how strong I was, and how powerful it is to be a woman, and especially a mother who loves her family.  

Girl protesting

Things must get pretty chaotic in your household, how do you manage?

I think that I’ve made a choice not to expect things to be perfect all the time. This doesn’t mean that I don't strive for it, it just means that I know that it’s not always possible, and that’s okay. I think there is something powerful about managing our expectations because it allows us to protect ourselves from being disappointed. Our ability to decide how we will cope with the things that are bound to happen can dictate our mood and emotions once things don't go according to plan. That’s pretty powerful.

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Irida Mete, California

Power is collaboration with others

Being an Albanian woman, where family means everything, I decided to move across the country to pursue my dreams as a photographer on my own. It's been the hardest thing I've done but I push forward every day because of photography. 

I find power in being a photographer by the women/men I create with. Collaboration is a big part of executing my vision and getting the story to come to life all the while having great harmony on set. There's nothing like seeing your vision come to life and it coming out stronger than envisioned.

Irida Mete posing

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