Mums create a modern village

Freya Owen and Christy Hopwood have created a course to help new mums. Picture: Rob Carew

It’s often said that there’s no rule book when it comes to raising children.

But it’s also true for many parents that knowledge is power, and the best way to prepare for parenthood is to read up on what’s to come, draw on experiences from those around you, and listen to various experts.

Local mums Christy Hopwood and Freya Owen have started a course in motherhood called Mama You’ve Got This.

Their idea was to create a version of the “modern village” – drawing on experts, health professionals and others to support the parenting journey.

They hope their masterclasses will empower local mums, giving them the opportunity to connect with experts and each other to help them through each stage of their baby’s development.

Freya, a mum of three young boys, and mum of four Christy, (one girl and three boys) met when their children were in 4-year-old kindergarten.

Freya was in editing and Christy worked in public relations and communications. The pair came up with the idea through a shared love of babies and helping other women.

Here, they share their start-up idea with Danielle Galvin, and explain what they hope to achieve.

How did you come up with the idea of the business?

We came up with the idea of Mama You’ve Got This through a shared love of babies and helping mamas.

Through having our own children we consulted countless experts along our journey (each of our children had different needs) and from this experience we discovered the best of the best in the industry.

We always wondered why there wasn’t a course that taught you everything you needed to know about looking after your baby at each stage if the baby’s development.

So we created one.

We wanted to provide mums with supportive villages of experts and other mamas to go on the journey with.

We wanted to create one place where all the information and insights on being a mama was housed, and we wanted to impart the knowledge we had gained from our own experiences of motherhood. Everyone says you need a village to raise a child and yet in 2020 where is that village?

We felt it was important to have a physical village where you could get a hug from a fellow mama on one of those days (as mamas we all have them) and get the very best expert information.

We’re all in this together, doing the best we can.

Why is it so important – why do we need a course?

Being a mama is THE MOST important role of all, yet up until now there has been no course to learn what to do at each stage of your baby’s development.

We want mamas to be prepared – not just for giving birth but also for what to do with the baby when it is born and beyond.

Babies are complex and unique.

They don’t come with a manual, yet we expect parents to know what to do.

There is also a lot of information online today but it’s not all right.

It was for this reason we wanted to bring together Melbourne’s top experts to make the transition to motherhood easier, and instead of mothers spending hours on Google they could spend the time cuddling their baby as we could provide them with all the information they need, plus a connection to a fellow mama to meet for coffee or a park play.

Initially, when we came up with our business idea we wanted to go to the mama’s house and let them have a shower, take a nap while we looked after their baby to give them a rest. But then we realised we would only be helping them for the day when having a child it is for life.

So instead we decided to come up with a course which would give them all the tricks of the trade, knowledge and information they need, so we could help them not only for a day but for the rest of their lives.

I love that you have classes for raising toddlers too. I’ve got a theory that we are often supported so much initially as new mums – but after the first year of life you don’t have as much contact with the maternal health nurse anymore, mothers groups sometimes finish up, and you can sometimes feel a bit isolated as your child enters those toddler years. Do you agree?

YES absolutely!!! Also two year old’s get so complex, they discover the word no and they need to be toilet trained.

They also decide that they suddenly don’t like anything green in colour.

It was for this reason we thought a toddler course was so vital, not only for gaining the expert advice you need but also for meeting another mama at the same stage as you, so you can run after the toddlers at the playground together. When your baby hits toddlerhood it is also the age when new siblings may be planned/born.

It can be an emotional (and exhausting!) time, and an isolating one.

We want to connect mamas with each other so they have a supportive network to draw on with their new babies too, as in most areas you only get a mother’s group with your first baby.

Tell me about the classes and what they involve.

Our classes are real, relatable, informative and interactive.

We want each session to be educational and an empowering experience for our parents, so we create a warm atmosphere of honesty and compassion and love to get to know our mamas and their babies (babies are welcome at our Baby Basics and Infant Essentials classes). Classes are held in a beautiful yoga studio and we have a mat on the floor for the babies to play and refreshments available in the break, to encourage mamas to mingle.

Our two-hour pregnancy class is designed to empower parents as they go through the biggest change in their lives, and will ready them for birth of their baby and beyond. Our expert obstetrician, expert midwife, expert dietitian and mama experts give insight into the later stages of pregnancy, birth and early days at home.

Topics covered include how to deal with pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy nutrition, different birth options including pain relief, how to ready your home for baby (including tips for the nursery, hospital bag and nappy bag) and what to expect when bringing your baby home.

Our 2.5-hour Baby Basics Masterclass will equip pregnant mamas and mamas of newborns for the first weeks of motherhood. Our three experts – sleep, dietitian and women’s physio – present on their specialised topics followed by Q&A and demonstrations. Mamas learn sleep strategies, lactation and feeding basics, how to recover from birth and return to exercise safely. They learn how to settle and bath baby and are provided with insights into how to navigate life as a new mama.

Our 2-hour Infant Essentials Masterclass is for mamas and babies 3-8 months old.

This Masterclass runs with three expert presentations from our sleep, mama psychologist and our dietitian experts.

The class features demonstrations and a Q&A.

Mamas will learn how to introduce solids, strategies to help your baby sleep through the night and tips on how to manage the challenges of motherhood.Our 2-hour Toddler Masterclass is for mamas and dadas who hear from three experts – a dietitian, behaviour and toilet training expert.Parents learn how to emotion coach their toddler to cut tantrums off before they happen, and how to recognise and support their toddler when they just need to have a meltdown.

Our expert dietitian will give top tips and tricks on how to make sure veggies end up in mouths (less on the floor!) and parents will learn toilet training basics and tips on how to ready the family for the arrival of a new sibling.

To find out more, visit mamayouvegotthis.com.au

Mama You’ve Got This during coronavirus lockdown
1. Our Masterclasses are now webinars (until we can resume our physical classes) book through our website www.mamayouvegotthis.com.au 
2. We are hosing Insta Live Mama Meet-ups on our instagram #mamayouvegotthis_au every Tuesday night at 8pm AEST with guest Expert appearances to talk about their area of Expertises 
3. We are running Virtual Mothers Groups (as physical ones have been cancelled) Mamas can sign up for these through our website contact section (we are running these for free via Zoom)
4. We are also sharing our Expert Essential Info Packs (our course notes as a download from our website) to ensure Mamas can still get all the information they need at every age and stage of their babies development.
5. We will continue to share Expert articles on our website and through our social media platforms every Monday and their top tips though our social media platforms.