[Originally published in Essential Living Maine May/June 2019]
Maine has always been a choice location for young parents to raise families, and for the past decade or so, local organizations have existed to offer support in the form of new-parent education or playdates for stay-at-home-moms. And while that support is a necessary piece, a gap has existed when it comes to creating opportunities for mothers to tend to their mental and physical well-being, engage in social experiences without children, express themselves creatively, or even simply pursue interests and activities that make them feel whole, inspired, and autonomous.
Luckily, a growing number of Maine-based businesses and wellness spaces have been cropping up over the past couple of years. These women-owned businesses offer a variety of classes, workshops, experiences, and support for Maine mothers to practice self-care, rediscover themselves as individuals, and find like-minded folks.
Rosemont Wellness Center, on Brighton Ave. in Portland, houses a range of health and wellness practices largely focused on women’s and children’s health. Started by acupuncturist Naomi Skoglund of Six Branches Family Acupuncture in March 2018, the center is also home to women’s health PT Allison Poole of Koru PT & Wellness, Celia Koski of Face First Therapeutic Skincare, family therapist Elizabeth Miles LCSW, Hannah Neumann, practitioner of the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy, and massage therapist Lori Fecteau LMT. The center’s studio space hosts a weekly women’s trauma recovery group with EmpowerME and a number of events and yoga classes including prenatal yoga and a Little Yogis family class. In just one year, Rosemont Wellness Center has grown into a hub for family health in the Rosemont/Deering neighborhood.
Artist, designer and podcaster Corinne Mockler of Who’s Your Mama Media facilitates a two-part series of (Re)Discovering Creativity After Motherhood Workshops for mothers who desire to pursue personal fulfillment through creative hobbies, outlets, and activities, but don’t know where to direct their focus, feel guilty taking the steps to go after their dreams, or cannot logistically figure out how to fit creativity into their already busy schedules. Workshop participants receive a copy of The (Re)Discovering Creativity After Motherhood Workbook and are invited to join the Stay Creative Facebook group for ongoing encouragement and inspiration for maintaining intentional space for creativity and personal interests.
Maine Mother + Company, a soon-to-be-opened perinatal resource center in Brunswick, is run by Paula Norcott, a childbirth educator, certified labor doula, and lactation consultant. Paula’s vision was to create a space focused on classes, services, and events for mothers – a hub for workshops and support groups, a variety of women-focused practitioners, social events, coworking opportunities (with babysitting!), and more.
Keeping track of everyone else’s day is the norm for most mothers, so the idea of following the happenings of every business and organization mentioned above may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there’s Fourth Trimester Collective, an online provider guide and an interactive calendar of events for Maine mothers. Kennebunk-based Hannah Lamprey envisioned Fourth Trimester Collective as a centralized site for aspiring, expecting, and new mamas in Southern Maine to find support and connection in all aspects of their wellness. Through this platform, women can engage in more social-emotional support, as well as put their wellbeing to the forefront. These two aspects of wellness all too often take a backseat in motherhood, however, tending to each of these can mitigate Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
Not coincidentally, this increase in mother-focused, Maine-based businesses parallels the growing national conversation on the scientifically proven benefits to practicing self-care, especially for women/mothers. While the businesses and offerings may be varied, the goal is the same: To help mothers realize that allowing space for their self-care is not selfish, and actually results in them bringing their best selves back to their families, and to every aspect of their lives. And that is a cause the entire village can support.
There will always be a need for motherhood-focused services, and luckily there also exist trusted, Maine-based organizations like Mom to Mom of Maine, Birth Roots Center for Community Parenting (and their newest offering called Baby Roots!), the Maternal Health Alliance of Maine, and Maine Medical Center’s Mothering Circle offering gatherings and emotional support to mothers from pre- to perinatal, and beyond. And The Wrens Nest has recently partnered with Mindwell Marketing to offer “Little Adventures,” a thoughtfully created babymoon getaway combined with top-notch childbirth education, movement classes, and postnatal planning.