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Finding echoes of new motherhood in the journey of starting a business

“I’m so grateful I was able to have 2020 here in Mullumbimby and participate in Sourdough,” says Jane. “It was transformational.” 

For Jane Nicholls, participating in Sourdough’s StartUp program offered surprising echoes of the ‘why’ behind her business, The Newborn Moon.

“I believe that the first 40 days following birth can influence the health of the mother for the next 40 years,” says Jane when describing her mission to support new mothers. 

 “At The Newborn Moon, we support pregnant women who want to embody peace and joy in motherhood and avoid feeling abandoned or isolated when their baby arrives,” says Jane of her plans to offer individualised support, warming treatments and partner education, all within an agency model. 

Similarly, how a business starts can be crucial to its future health. “I came to Sourdough with a seed of an idea about expanding my business,” says Jane. “The work I’ve done has grown that seed ten times bigger than I would have done on my own.” 

A registered nurse and practitioner of various postpartum and eastern therapies, Jane is not new to the idea of new mothers needing more support than they often receive. As a child, Jane saw her mother’s work with local breastfeeding support groups.  

“I was often in the kombi visiting crying mums with leaky breasts,” she says. “Women can’t breastfeed without support as oxytocin is only released when you feel safe.” 

Having her own child was the next step in her journey. Then, following the suicide of a family member, Jane became aware of the scarily high rates of suicide among mothers. “People don’t believe it but suicide is the biggest killer of mothers,” she says. 

 Jane had become aware of Sourdough’s Business Women programs while living in Tokyo. When the COVID pandemic prevented her planned trips to Melbourne to study Traditional Chinese Medicine, she stayed home in Mullumbimby and enrolled in the PreAccelerator Program.  

“I always thought academia was my way but I really like the challenge of business stuff because it’s a lot about mindset,” she says. 

Across the eight week program, Jane’s biggest learning about running a business was the need to ask for and accept help to thrive. “This is not always easy, as we live in a culture where independence is key,” she says.  

This has strong echoes to new mothers who expect they will be able to transition into motherhood with minimal support.  

 Jane was overjoyed to be named as a finalist on Pitch Showcase; the final night of the StartUp program when each business owner presents to Sourdough mentors, family and friends, and venture capitalists. 

“Winning isn’t the most important thing, but it felt good to be a finalist,” she says. Her joy was tempered a little by not being approached by any of the venture capitalists. “I think they were mainly looking for tech-based ideas,” she says.  

Jane was certainly not disappointed by her own presentation. “I felt like it was me at my full power,” she says. “The only other time I had experienced myself like that was during childbirth.” 

 Jane is now in the process of putting plans developed through the program into practice, including finalising details of her Postpartum Support Package and products and restarting an in-person support group for new mothers. 

“I’m so grateful I was able to have 2020 here in Mullumbimby and participate in Sourdough,” says Jane. “It was transformational.” 

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If this story has raised any issues for you, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.panda.org.au 

If you have been bereaved or impacted by suicide, you can contact StandBy Support at standbysupport.com.au