Thank you so much for chatting to us Leila! We absolutely adore you and VFM. Firstly, can you tell us a little about you, your family, and your journey into Motherhood...
Hello! I’m Leila, mama to Billie and wife to Ross. My little family lives by the beach on the Southern Gold Coast. I am a Postpartum Doula, Holistic Nutrition Consultant and the Author of the postpartum recipe book, Village for Mama - Nourishment for the Fourth Trimester
What inspired you to start Village for Mama?
Village for Mama was born out of my own postpartum experience. The greatest gift for a new mother is one less thing to do. During the first few weeks of my own journey as a new mum, something I appreciated the most was a home cooked meal delivered to my door. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I believe it takes a village to support a mother. The foundation for postpartum wellness is support and enabling support for new mothers requires education and rewriting our cultural narrative about what it means to be postpartum. And so, Village for Mama was born.
I gathered a village of local, creative women and mothers to help bring my vision to life. My intention was to create a recipe book that not only provides new mums with recipes to support their recovery and replenish their bodies but also provides a support network. New mums have very little time to do anything for themselves and a cold tea and old piece of toast is the sad but true reality of early motherhood.
Women are constantly giving in so many ways in multiple facets of life. How do you juggle family life, personal nourishment and running your own biz?
Short and sweet, I don’t! And I don’t want to sugar coat the challenges of doing all the things. I often feel as though I’m spinning one or two plates beautifully whilst the others come crashing to the ground. But I am learning to accept that there is a bit of give and take. I often have to remind myself that I created village for mama so I could honour my own motherhood journey whilst also supporting others on theirs. The beauty of working in the motherhood space is that everyone you connect with is incredibly understanding and they are usually going through it too! It has taken me a while to do so, but I set boundaries around work time and family time and I always make sure I do one thing for me each day.
We love that you focus on the postpartum period, as there’s so much information out there about pregnancy and birth, however not much on what to do once the babe arrives. What’s your top tips and advice for women to gently ease into the postpartum and new mother period?
Support is such an essential part of motherhood. If there is ever a time when women need a helping hand (or 12...) it is when she becomes a mama. The early weeks of motherhood are some of the rawest, most beautiful, overwhelming & exhausting weeks you will ever experience. My first tip is always to ‘gather your village’ followed closely by ‘get comfortable asking for help!’. We underestimate how much women are conditioned to take care of others and how this impacts our capacity to receive help. Gathering a village of women around you before your baby arrives is essential. They don’t have to be family and you don’t need that many. Just a couple of friends who you are comfortable reaching out to. I also think it is really important to remind new mamas to prioritise rest. Traditional cultures believe that the way you care for yourself in the weeks after birth can drastically impact your health for the rest of your life. Rest doesn’t just mean ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, because let's be honest - the stars rarely align that beautifully (unless you have a bubba cloud!!). Rest can include taking a moment to yourself, slowing down, journaling, stretching, meditation and screen breaks.
Lastly, we’d love to know your best piece of advice for fellow mamas?
You don’t have to do it alone, we were never meant to! Beyond postpartum, surround yourself with people you can lean on and sometimes fall on. And, no one really knows what they are doing, we are all just making it up as we go along!
Coconut and Ginger Black Rice with Goji Chia Jam
This coconut and ginger black rice pudding is a sneak peek breakfast recipe from the second edition of Village for Mama which will be available to purchase early April. A delicious, warming and nourishing breakfast bowl to enjoy alongside your little love relaxing in their Bubba Cloud.
Coconut and Ginger Black Rice:
1 cup black rice, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
3 cups filtered water
1 x 270ml can of coconut milk
2 tsp raw honey
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamon pods
1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
Goji Chia Jam:
1 cup goji berries, soaked for 1 hour, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla bean powder or paste (optional)
zest of one lemon
coconut milk, to serve mama sprinkle, to serve
1. Add all coconut and ginger black rice ingredients to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover with lid and reduce heat to a simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir regularly to prevent rice from sticking.
2. Meanwhile, add all goji chia jam ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blitz until combined and smooth.
3. Remove coconut black rice from heat, carefully remove spices. Divide into glass jars. Drizzle with extra coconut milk and serve with goji chia jam. Add super mama sprinkle for an added nutrient hit.
Notes: Both coconut black rice and goji chia jam can be stored for up to 4 days in the fridge. To reheat, add a splash of water and simmer over low heat until warm. Chia jam can be frozen in small jars for up to 3 months.