Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style

Not Another Onesie Founders On Building A ‘Village’ Of Postpartum Support

Not Another Onesie launched in March this year. Founders Elisha and Louise spoke to THE INARRA about creating the resource they wished they had when they were new to motherhood.

‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ The age-old proverb tells us that community support is vital to the wellbeing of both mother and baby, and this is the idea behind Not Another Onesie – “a carefully curated online directory of mother-focused care professionals.”

“We know first-hand how huge the adjustment to motherhood is,” Elisha and Louise, the founders of Not Another Onesie, tell THE INARRA. “Motherhood is messy. Whether it’s your first or you are adding one to the crew, it’s a lot! We have created the resource we wish we had when we were in the midst of those truly vulnerable beginning stages of motherhood.”

Not Another Onesie (NAO) offers various resources to help new mothers find support, including a free eBook that guides mothers on gathering a comprehensive support network. It connects new mothers to a wealth of service providers who specialise in different areas of postpartum care.

“NAO is a place to go that will support, inform, educate and provide a beautiful sense that you are not alone, you have a community holding you,” Elisha and Louise say.

“Not only can new mothers find support services such as doulas, physios, sleep support, lactation consultants and nutritionists…it is also a place where friends and family can come to find the best gift of all: support. We know that it is support that is most valuable and not more ‘stuff’ – hence the name Not Another Onesie.

“It is support that will help mothers heal and recover physically from pregnancy and birth, regain physical strength and energy, deeply nourish them, avoid postnatal depletion and guide them through the emotional load of motherhood.”

“NAO is a place to go that will support, inform, educate and provide a beautiful sense that you are not alone, you have a community holding you. It is support that will help mothers heal and recover physically from pregnancy and birth, regain physical strength and energy, deeply nourish them, avoid postnatal depletion and guide them through the emotional load of motherhood.”

Having seven children between them, Elisha and Louise understand the highs and lows of motherhood. They both live in Sydney’s Northern Beaches with their families. Elisha and her husband have “four brilliant, noisy, chaotic and super-busy kids/tweens/teens spanning from primary to high school and one very mischievous dog,” she says.

Louise and her husband have three children – two daughters and a son – a cat, and a dog. Originally from the UK, they moved to Sydney when their daughters were aged one and two. Their son was born in Australia, which they now call home.

Elisha and her husband did their fair share of travelling when his work took them overseas for eight years. “I gave birth to our second baby in London, our third baby in Hong Kong and our fourth baby was born in Singapore before we returned home to Sydney with a lot more luggage than we left with,” says Elisha. “I can honestly say I’ve had a wide variety of postpartum experiences.”

Elisha always dreamt of being a mother, but when she was in her early twenties she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and told she was unlikely to be able to have children. “It totally devastated me,” she remembers. “It did, however, make me determined to do everything I could to ensure I would be OK and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have my children.”

Louise’s journey to motherhood was a little different. “I wasn’t an archetypal maternal type,” she says. “I was driven by my career and worked my way through a number of marketing roles, predominantly in food and drink. I was also fascinated by the world and loved to travel at any given opportunity. 

“As my friends around me began to settle and have children, I remember asking my mum when I would feel ready to do the same. She told me that my maternal instinct would most likely kick in when I had my own babies but that there was no pressure to conform, and she was right! When I had my firstborn, I was overwhelmed with maternal feelings and discovered a whole new reason for being.”

When Louise had her first baby, however, she struggled with a lack of support. “We had moved geographically to the middle of nowhere in the UK and I went from having a busy challenging career to being a stay-at-home mum in the country with little to no support network. It was a monumental shift,” she says.

“Motherhood is about feeling all the feels. It’s a rollercoaster ride of joy and overwhelm, happiness and frustration all wrapped up into one. I wish I had understood more about the transition into motherhood and the transformation of me as an individual rather than trying to figure it all out by myself. Postpartum planning was not even a thing!”

A lack of specialist support for the fourth trimester and beyond is a common challenge for new mothers, and it is the inspiration behind NAO.

Elisha was offering in-home postpartum care locally when she had the idea for the brand. “I could see all these incredible supportive services being developed, but I realised that so many mothers have no idea these services exist,” she says.

“I could also see so many mothers struggling with the huge adjustment to motherhood on every level and yet our culture still sends the message that the baby products are what matters most.

“From that moment, the seed was planted to create a beautiful gateway between mothers and the incredible supportive services they deserve. I also saw this as a way of changing that narrative around what mattered most in those early months – support.”

Elisha knew bringing the brand to life would be a huge undertaking, so she enlisted Louise’s help. “Thankfully Louise saw the potential of the concept as well,” Elisha says. “After 12 months of tireless effort and energy behind the scenes, we are happy to see this concept finally come to life and it’s every bit as stunning and purposeful as we’d hoped.”

NAO covers the full spectrum of mother-focused care and support. “We have found the best support for new mamas in areas like pelvic health, matrescence, postnatal depletion, postpartum home support, the delivery of meals to help replenish lost nutrients, practical support in settling and breastfeeding, hands-on therapies, trauma-informed counsellors and pretty much everything in between,” they say.

“It is our mission to make sure that maternal ‘wellness’ and supportive services in the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum stages are recognised as essential, not merely a ‘nice to have’ as the societal narrative would like us to believe.

“We are here to ensure no mother is left asking, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?’ and then finding themselves down the dreaded, sleep-deprived, 2am Google rabbit hole, not really sure exactly what it is they’re looking for.”

Through NAO, mothers and mothers-to-be can book virtual consultation sessions with Elisha herself. “These consultations include a Postpartum Planning Session for expecting parents who want to prepare for life after birth, as well as a Gather Your Support Village Session for mothers seeking support but are unsure where to start,” they say.

“We can help you establish your support systems on all levels. You can book these consultations through our website. We are also always available to reach out to through our contact forms and our social media.”

Elisha and Louise also want to use NAO to be a part of a wider conversation about shifting perceptions of motherhood. “We want to change the societal narrative around asking for help in motherhood and want to tell mums that it really is OK not to be OK. Motherhood is perfectly imperfect and we were never meant to do it alone.

“Alongside growing our village, we intend to foster collaborations in the shape of events, webinars, podcasts, workshops and resources. There are so many ways we can support and empower new parents on their journey and we want to lead the way.”

During the journey to bring NAO into the world, Elisha and Louise have learned a lot about themselves. “Motherhood requires flexibility, resourcefulness, curiosity, and the willingness to learn and keep going even when things feel really tough. These are all essential skills in building a business, too,” says Elisha. 

“Motherhood has also shown me that it is important that I follow my passions and interests. I have four impressionable little people looking to me as a role model, and I want to show them that they can believe in themselves, take risks, and never stop learning along the way.”

“I used to be truly terrible at carving out ‘me time’ and always put my family first,” Louise says, “but I have learnt over the years that my children benefit greatly from me being the best possible version of myself. 

“I give myself permission to do something each day that fills my cup, whatever that might be. It could be a walk, a chat with a friend, a 10-minute nap, a Pilates class….I have to remind myself that I matter too.”

Elisha and Louise have big plans for NAO. “We are busy spreading the word with pre and postnatal health care providers that NAO exists. It’s early days having launched only twelve weeks ago and our focus has been very much on growing our support village first, but we are becoming increasingly active in communicating NAO to mums on social media, in health clinics, hospitals, mothers’ groups and within the already established communities of our service providers. Our mother-focused events, workshops, resources and press will continue to spread the word amongst mamas.

“We planned to launch in Sydney only but already we are being approached by amazing experts in Melbourne, Brisbane and Tasmania. It feels like every day we connect with new and inspiring people doing incredible things and we are both extremely grateful to be working in this rewarding space.

“Our passion for supporting mothers through our platform and changing the way they experience motherhood has grown exponentially as we’ve developed and grown our business. We hope to make a profound difference in how modern motherhood is perceived and supported at a social and cultural level.”

To find out more about the Not Another Onesie platform visit their website or Instagram.

Paid Partnership with Not Another Onesie | Words by Ellie Wiseman | Photography by Bree Castel

“It is our mission to make sure that maternal ‘wellness’ and supportive services in the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum stages are recognised as essential, not merely a ‘nice to have’ as the societal narrative would like us to believe. We are here to ensure no mother is left asking, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?’"

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