From her own pregnancy experience, Sarah Nicholls knows only too well how important the support of the women in her antenatal class was to her. They bonded over their growing bellies, shared experiences of motherhood, laughed and cried together, helped one another out and became lifelong friends. After becoming a midwife, she began to notice how isolated some of the new mums in her care were, and identified a need for women today to make these same connections that she had. She started Babymoon Retreats to offer pregnant women the opportunity to connect with other mums-to-be in a safe and relaxing way where they can learn about the road ahead together in a beautiful setting. As a midwife and a mother, Sarah facilitates her gorgeous retreats with wisdom and kindness, supporting and guiding women as they navigate their journey into motherhood.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I was quite a young mum myself and I was probably one of the first in my friendship group to have a baby. I recall making myself go to the antenatal classes that were offered, not to find out about labour and birth, but in the hope of making some friends that were also having a baby. That is exactly what happened! I met a great group of women and we all bonded over our growing bellies. Once our babies were born, we would get together for coffee, and look after one another’s babies if we had a hair appointment or needed a break. We laughed and sometimes cried together and their support was so important to me as a new mum – many of them are still my friends now….30 years later.
Roll forward a couple of decades, and I have become a midwife. I was working in the community looking after women through their pregnancy and postnatal period and I began to notice how isolated some of my new mums were. Living in Perth, WA, lots of woman are orphans by location – they don’t have family or childhood friends locally to call upon and hang out with. Antenatal classes were no longer a place for friendships to be formed as they only lasted an hour or two, men were invited and connections did not happen. I really wanted to provide the pregnant women of WA the opportunity to form their tribe … like I had as a young mum.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I decided to put together a day for future mummas. A day of birth education, relaxation and most importantly, connection. I decided the best way to do this was in a retreat-style event and Babymoon Retreats was born!
Pregnant women are so busy these days, running the home, working full time and I wanted to offer the opportunity to unplug for the day and focus only on themselves and their baby. I considered what I need to relax myself: great scenery, delicious food and drinks, meditation and mindful craft….so I decided to include all of these into the retreat day.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
The turning point for me was when I discovered the perfect venue on the foreshore of the Swan River overlooking Perth city. The hall belongs to the scouts but don’t let that put you off – the view is stunning! I added a beautiful bell tent set-up to add the WOW factor and we were ready to go!
The program starts with a welcome women’s circle, where we begin the process of getting to know each other. This is followed by a guided meditation to set the tone for the day and then morning tea. Birth preparation follows where we discuss all things birth and baby; we share fears and experiences. As a midwife, I can offer great advice and strategies for the BIG day in a kind and non-confrontational way.