Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style

Mazz Napier On The Importance Of Support And Connection For Mothers During Postpartum

We spoke with Postpartum Doula, Mazz to learn more about why she believes new mothers need to be held in order to hold, and how she is changing the way we view postpartum care.

A strong connection to health and nature was instilled in Mazz from a young age. An idyllic childhood spent between the beaches of Perth and her grandparents farm taught Mazz the importance of good, healthy food and how to find enrichment from the simple things in life. To this day, Mazz makes it a priority to cook and eat a wide variety of plant based and whole foods. “I think this is the secret to my grandparent’s longevity,” she says. 

While her current lifestyle in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs doesn’t allow Mazz the time to grow her own food just yet, it is something she looks forward to later in life. Before moving to Sydney, Mazz had a stint in London with her husband Ben and it wasn’t until her late twenties that she experienced a strong maternal desire. She always knew her pregnancy journey wouldn’t be simple due to many years of missed periods after coming off the pill. “After being told I would never fall pregnant naturally I joined the long waitlist for IVF,” Mazz remembers. In the meantime, she decided to try acupuncture and herbs. “It didn’t seem like we could even trigger a cycle but then I spontaneously fell pregnant with my daughter Frankie,” she says. “It was such a miracle.”

After Frankie was born in 2018, Mazz’s “eyes were opened to the world of postpartum care.” She read The First Forty Days by Heng Ou and realised there was so much she didn’t know about how traditional cultures had supported new mothers for thousands of years. Her parents flew to London and Mazz was able to enlist her mother to cook nourishing meals for her. This support allowed her transition to motherhood to be the gentle, calm experience that Mazz now wants to emulate for her own clients. 

Mazz remembers this as a time where she was able to learn how to breastfeed and focus on bonding with her new baby.  Mazz realised that her experience wasn’t necessarily a common one in the West, and it was during this time that “the seed of an idea for The Bond Wellbeing” was born. 

After having returned to Australia and settling in Sydney, Mazz had her second child, her son Dylan, and commenced training to become a postpartum doula and infant massage instructor, wanting to put her own learnings in place for other mums. 

“Matrescence is the becoming of a mother and is used to describe not just the physical, hormonal and emotional changes but also the identity and spiritual changes you experience when you take on this new or expanded role in society.”

Mazz understands firsthand how challenging motherhood can be, having experienced her own fertility struggles and then starting a family on the other side of the world with limited support. She is grateful that she discovered the term ‘matrescence’ when she became a mother as this helped her understand what she was going through. “Matrescence is the becoming of a mother and is used to describe not just the physical, hormonal and emotional changes but also the identity and spiritual changes you experience when you take on this new or expanded role in society.”

This knowledge, along with seeing the general lack of support available for new mothers led to Mazz creating The Bond Wellbeing.  Her business is centred around providing crucial care for new mothers at a time when they need it most. She positions herself as “a guide, coach, and mentor for entering and transitioning through motherhood.” As a result, Mazz sees enormous positive impact amongst the families she works with, who reiterate how invaluable her services are.   Her clients particularly appreciate her food, massages and above all, the emotional care she provides. Mazz says that her mums love the chance for uninterrupted listening, something they might struggle to find otherwise. Time for napping is also gratefully received.

One of the parts of her role she enjoys most is educating her clients about the importance of her “postpartum pillars of rest, warmth, nourishment, support, self-care and bonding.”  She works with her families during pregnancy so by the time the baby is born, they know each other well and Mazz has a deep understanding of their needs. Mums can choose which of her services they would like her to provide at each visit. “I provide emotional support, breastfeeding support, and offer other practical support around the home. I always bring a meal and a snack,” she says, knowing the importance of healthy, nourishing food. During the postpartum period, this is more important than ever in supporting women’s bodies through the recovery process.  

Common challenges she sees amongst mothers of newborns include struggling to ask for help, striving for perfectionism, trying to hold boundaries with family members, and navigating the change in their identity. Mazz works with her mums in all these areas whilst trying to teach them to practise self-care regularly. 

Her ‘softly softly’ approach ensures new mums feel safe and cocooned rather than bewildered. She refers to the sacred time after a woman has given birth where it is important to “rest, recover and bond with your baby. “My services ensure a mum has the time, space, and energy to be enveloped by the oxytocin love bubble and to soak up those first precious moments, therefore laying the foundations for her lifelong relationship with her child,” Mazz explains. Mazz reiterates her learnings from traditional cultures who treat the postpartum period very differently to the “bounce back culture we unfortunately encourage in the West”. 

Through The Bond Wellbeing, Mazz wants to help her mums “swap the all-too-common feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion and isolation for empowerment, support and connection.”  A client’s mental health is always a focus, too. If a mother is struggling, she will always ensure they seek additional support. This is something Mazz will help them identify and setup, through her network of practitioners and access to resources. Like others within the postpartum wellness space, Mazz strongly believes that the health and wellbeing of a mother has an impact on the rest of society. “When the mum is doing ok, the family is ok,” she says. Mazz hopes that through further research and education, postpartum services such as her own might be “more readily accessible and even subsidised” in the future.  

Mazz believes in lifelong learning and her desire to see “a postpartum revolution” leads her to strive for continual improvement in the care and service she offers to her clients. “I don’t think I’ll ever be done with my training,” Mazz admits. 

In addition to her one-on-one work, Mazz offers workshops and classes throughout the year and always looks forward to connecting new mothers with herself and others. This includes a baby massage course, something Mazz is particularly passionate about. It’s a way to communicate with babies and release their feel-good hormones. “Research shows that the more oxytocin we release as infants, the stronger our neural pathways for oxytocin become and the greater capacity we will have to experience joy as adults,” Mazz explains. 

Navigating the uncharted waters of motherhood no longer need be something that women experience in isolation thanks to the help of services such as The Bond Wellbeing. “People are really starting to realise the importance of postpartum care for mums and families. It feels like there is a groundswell of postpartum services popping up and I’m so excited to be part of it.”

Mazz will be co-hosting a prenatal evening at the beautiful Home Chiropractic Studio in Paddington on Monday, July 1st, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Joining her will be Dr. Erin Hawken, Chiropractor from Home Chiropractic Studio, Meghan McGreevy, Yoga Instructor and Postpartum Doula from We Are Mother’s Club, and Amelia El-Roubaei, Registered Nurse, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and Hypnobirthing Instructor from Birth & Baby Co. This event is perfect for pregnant mums looking to connect with their support tribe, meet other local mums, and prepare for life after birth. The evening will feature gentle prenatal yoga and relaxation, delicious food, an expert panel discussion followed by a Q&A session, and fantastic door prizes from clean beauty brands Bondi Wash, Retreatment Botanics, and Three Warriors. Tickets are only $25 and selling fast! Learn more and get your tickets here.

 

Mazz also offers baby massage courses throughout the year, which fill up quickly. Her next course is in July/August, but you can join the waitlist if your baby is yet to be born or still too little. These courses are ideal for babies starting at about 6 weeks old. Find out more about baby massage courses here.

 

If you are pregnant and would like to explore how Mazz could support you through your fourth trimester download her packages and pricing guide here.

 

Words by Elizabeth Briskin

“Research shows that the more oxytocin we release as infants, the stronger our neural pathways for oxytocin become and the greater capacity we will have to experience joy as adults.”

RECOMMENDED READS