Inspired by her own fourth trimester experience, Leila Armour wanted to help other mums experience a magical, supported and well-nourished fourth trimester with a helping hand from their village. The help she received from her own mum in the form of daily nourishing, warming, homemade meals made her transition into motherhood feel manageable and supported. Grateful for this support and nourishment and with a desire for other women to experience the same, she started to create her postpartum recipe book and village for mama was born. The recipes have been designed alongside a naturopath to help replenish and nourish new mums post birth, and the handy recipe cards can be given to friends and family keen to help organise homemade meals.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I read quite a few books about the postpartum period and they all resonated so deeply with me. I did, however, feel as though in order to follow their advice, I needed my partner, family and friends to read them too, which wasn’t really a practical option. A lot of the traditional postpartum practices require the understanding and support of the people around you. I found that I felt guilty reading through the recipes because they were so far from what I was eating and I didn’t have the time or energy to source the ingredients let alone prepare the food! I ended up getting my mum to read through a book and asked her to prepare me some of the traditional nourishing recipes and she did so with delight. Well mostly – she’s vegan and was horrified over the thought of pig trotter soup! That being said, she read the book and prepared me some recipes that she was comfortable making. I was so grateful to have had that support and found daily meal deliveries an absolute lifesaver.
In our modern, western world, not many people understand the importance of a well-supported and nourished fourth trimester. Most women’s primary focus is ‘bouncing back’, getting back to work, exercising, dropping all their baby weight and showing the world they can ‘do it all!’. Whilst that is sometimes possible for the ‘unicorn mamas’ of the world, it can actually be detrimental to a woman’s future health and wellbeing.
I wanted to take little bits and pieces of information from traditional postpartum practices and weave them into a letter that could be given out to friends and family, so they could be politely educated and help support the new mothers in their life. I also knew from experience that the most helpful and thoughtful thing someone can do for you when you have a new baby, is deliver you some delicious food! And so, village for mama was born.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Once I had that light bulb moment, there was really no stopping me. Despite being a relatively new mum (Billie was about 4 months old when I started on the project), I felt as though everything flowed so organically.
I knew early on that in order to bring my vision to life, I would need to outsource (mindfully). From experience, I was aware that partnerships can be challenging and I wanted the development to be self-paced around my life as a new mother. I considered popping the idea on hold until the end of my maternity leave but after reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘Big Magic’ a few years ago, I knew deep down that wasn’t an option. So, with all of this in mind, I reached out to a friend who did freelance recipe development and a local naturopath who was also in the depths of her own postpartum period. It was such a privilege to connect with likeminded, inspiring women who were motivated and driven. Despite the lack of deadlines and pressure, I think the excitement over the idea fueled us all to keep moving forward. I connected with an amazing printing company, graphic designer and photographer and everything just flowed really beautifully.
Billie was nearly 18 months when my first print run arrived. So just over a year of collaborative hard work happened to bring the book into the world and village for mama is only just getting started.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Not everyone has access to or can afford a postpartum doula or a postpartum meal delivery service. But all new mamas have people around them, whether they are family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. And all new mamas deserve a well-nourished and supported fourth trimester.
I think the biggest breakthrough for village for mama, was creating something that is more than just a recipe book. Creating a valuable resource that can give so many new mamas access to a supportive village and delicious nourishing food. That is all I truly want for the business: to help as many women as possible experience a magical, supported and nourished fourth trimester.