The Drive: What challenges have you overcome?
When I first started supporting mothers, I knew it would be quite emotional work. When you’re supporting someone through such a vulnerable time of massive growth, you take on a lot of what they’re putting out. It can be depleting.
After a few months, I realised that it wasn’t enough just to do basic self-care stuff every once in a while. I needed to turbocharge my self-care plan and put it on autopilot. So I did what I recommend all pregnant women do. Which is: make a list of all the things that boost your oxytocin, because oxytocin is the love hormone, the connection hormone. Make that list and then schedule it into your daily life. Don’t wait until your cup is empty to start to refill it.
On the days when, for example, I’m holding a Mothers Circle or a workshop, afterwards I often go for a bush walk in the sunshine. I take time to give myself the space that I need, as an introvert – just to be alone in nature. So that’s one of the ways that I look after myself. And that was a challenge, initially, making the time and space for self-care. But now it’s a priority.
Mothers are hungry for connection. They’re longing to to be heard and to deeply listen without judgment.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
Well, the con first – I didn’t realise how lonely it can be working on your own. That was surprising! Sometimes I get too caught up in my own way of thinking. And it’s a constant learning curve, of course.
The biggest pro is that I can listen in and intuit the way Peaceful Postnatal feels like it wants to go. I look ahead to the future and I’m at the helm of that bigger vision. I can choose the direction. And that’s really exciting.
Hopes and dreams: What next?
I’d love to collaborate with like-minded women who have skill sets different from my own, so Peaceful Postnatal can provide a more diverse range of supports to mothers in Canberra. I’m also planning on offering online services, so that I can support women outside of Canberra.
Most of all, I hope to continue spreading awareness – helping new parents understand how important it is to plan for the postnatal time, and to ensure that support is in place before the baby is born.
Because there are very specific types of supports that postpartum women require, and that we’re biologically wired to expect. It’s actually not possible for a woman to have a peaceful postnatal experience if these specific elements aren’t in place. This is just how we’ve evolved as humans. So you take away those supports, like most industrialised countries have done, and yes of course we see a massive increase in postnatal mood disorders, maternal suicide, failure to thrive, bonding problems, relationship problems, ongoing health issues.
So many mothers internalise blame and shame around their postnatal experience. But it’s not their fault, anymore than it would be a baby’s fault if they got sick from being neglected. Mothers deserve and require support through the postnatal year. What would our society would look like, if mothers felt valued and honoured from the day they gave birth?
If you would like to learn more or become part of the Peaceful Postnatal community, visit the Peaceful Postnatal website.