Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 123 Slater Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.
When Aviva Gluss gave birth to her first child in 2015, she knew little about what she would need need following the birth, technically known as postpartum. She found it an eye-opening situation, and quickly found that, while the hospital had many things on hand, they did not have everything she needed. She sent her dad to the store, who, despite having little understanding with what he was buying, managed to find many of the things Aviva needed. It was a challenging learning experience for everyone involved.
Aviva would go on to use this experience to put together a care package for her friend Lisa Deacon, who gave birth later that year. She found it challenging to get a complete package together, as it it was difficult to find some items, and took an enormous amount of time to assemble. At that point, they began to realize that having these specialized kits for mothers in postpartum was a real need for themselves and their other friends who were experiencing childbirth. Together with Liz Cleland, Special Project Lead at Impact Hub Ottawa, the three friends gave “birth” to the idea of Mom Friends, which officially launched April 11, 2017.
Mom Friends packages and delivers essentials that mothers need in postpartum, which approximately lasts for the two weeks following childbirth. These kits contain a wide array of items: from pads to nipple cream to a kit containing chocolate. Their kits also provide reasonable quantities of items. One of the challenges the friends’ initially dealt with was that you could only buy quantities of certain items that were either insufficient for postpartum, or way too many. This contributes to reducing the amount of waste and leftovers that an individual might have buying everything on their own.
One of the most important valuable aspects about Mom Friends and their kits is their tackling of new mothers’ most important ‘post-bump’ needs that might be difficult to ask for or talk about.
They cover everything from providing the slightly embarrassing adult diaper, to busting myths about the stigmatized mental health issues of postpartum. For example, a web search for ‘postpartum’ turns up pages about depression and anxiety as almost all of the first results. All Mom Friends’ kits contain information from the Canadian Mental Health Association on resources for taking care of your mental health during postpartum.
In June, Mom Friends participated in the Great Postpartum Check-In on Facebook. The event had people calling or messaging their friends that had recently given birth and asking how they were doing and what they needed, and posting results of about what postpartum was like. One thing they found was that women loved an opportunity to be super honest about their needs and asking for the things they needed.
Mom Friends also make an effort to source locally when possible for their kits, although they do ship to anywhere in Canada. This includes Nature Prenatal, which makes the F Wrap, a cloth menstrual pad; Zoes Corner, for natural, handmade soaps and lip balms; Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, which supplies Cococo chocolate; and Shopify for their online store.
The three women are deeply grateful for not only the support of their friends and family, but all the woman that talk about their postpartum needs who help them build better kits to deal with the challenge. They hope to eventually have presence across Canada, and are interested in getting involved with community events, as well as getting out and helping educate the public about postpartum and combating its stigmas.
Mom Friends also is participating in The Butterfly Run in October, to help raise money and awareness about perinatal loss, losing a child due to miscarriage, or during or just after childbirth.