Mama Base Illawarra, holistic parenting centre, opens in Wollongong

Village approach reactivated: Mama Base Illawarra founding director Rachel Bridge is opening the new one stop service for local families on Monday.
Village approach reactivated: Mama Base Illawarra founding director Rachel Bridge is opening the new one stop service for local families on Monday.

New parents and mums-to-be have access to more support from Monday with the launch of a new holistic parenting centre in Wollongong.

Mama Base Illawarra is a collaborative care service for families during pregnancy, postpartum and phases of parenthood.

Founder Rachel Bridge is a perinatal, child and family psychologist who has been working with children and their families in the region for the past decade.

After she graduated from UOW she did her internship in Nowra helping families and children in foster care.

As the resident psychologist at CalmBirth Australia, freelance parenting writer and a mother of three, she was acutely aware of the support required for mums and mums-to-be.

Ms Bridge said she wanted Mama Base to be a safe base for parents to seek support that will help facilitate joyful and confident parenting.

"The arrival of a new baby is a huge milestone and a celebration for families, however it often leaves parents feeling isolated and unable to reach out for help," she said.

"Our community shouldn't have to go it alone.

"Whether you are facing infertility, perinatal loss, antenatal depression, PND, antenatal or postnatal anxiety, difficulties feeling bonded with your baby, depletion or challenging child behaviour, there is an amazing community at Mama Base to provide support and guidance.

Rachel Bridge

Rachel Bridge

"As a professional who works in the field as well as a parent trying to navigate the service network I know it can be really difficult.

"I am I really passionate about Mama Base shifting expectations around parenthood being an individualised autonomous thing. We weren't meant to do it alone. We were meant to raise children within a village."

Mrs Bridge has found a location with five consultation rooms opposite Wollongong Hospital where other small health professional businesses can occupy a space and be part of a village hub of services.

She said that would help small traders like herself grow and flourish as a community of small businesses helping families.

Mrs Bridge said if she is fully booked she doesn't want people to have to wait four to six weeks for support.

"In the absence of a village, the modern world often neglects to acknowledge and honour the transformation that is parenthood," she said.

"New parents used to be surrounded by a village community of experienced parents and elders to help them transition to parenthood, to support and teach them to raise a child.

"Our village has never been more necessary than it is today. For many of us, the first time we hold a baby it is our own.

"Mama Base works to ensure that parents are seen, soothed, secure and safe so that they in turn can be the safe base that their children need them to be."

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This story Bringing the village back: new Wollongong parents don't have to go it alone first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.