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fSpace Profile – Julia Jones, Newborn Mothers

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In a new series, fSpace is profiling members of our coworking space. We begin with Julia Jones, Founder & Director of Newborn Mothers.

Written by Belinda Teh

Julia is an author and entrepreneur who runs her business Newborn Mothers from fSpace two days a week. She started her journey as a postpartum doula, a non-medical professional who provides emotional and physical support during a woman’s transition into motherhood.

If you’re sitting there thinking: I’ve never even heard of a doula before – you’re not alone. And this, Julia says, is exactly what needs to change.

In most western societies, the needs of mothers after childbirth are often overlooked as the needs of newborn babies take centre stage. However, this is not the case in all countries.

In China, the custom of ‘confinement’ is widely practiced where the mother remains indoors to rest, breastfeed and bond with her baby for 30 days after giving birth. A ‘confinement lady’ cooks, cleans and does the dreaded nights of broken sleep each time the baby cries.

Similar post-delivery practices exist in countries all over the world including India, Japan, Mexico, Korea and many in the Caribbean.

In Malaysia, there are postpartum professionals who specialise in massaging mums who have just given birth. “These countries see the postpartum period as an enrichment process,” says Julia.

“Mothers are pampered and celebrated, she’s expected to ask for as much help as she needs and most importantly, she’s allowed to make mistakes. It’s a period of loving and learning.”

Unfortunately, these practices are a far cry from what many new mothers in developed western countries currently experience. Far too many feel confused, guilty and inadequate as they struggle through the first few sleepless and tearful months.

“There’s no village,” says Julia. “After giving birth, mothers generally receive little guidance and training from the mainstream healthcare system beyond practical baby care and breastfeeding. As our society is built on nuclear family households, the isolation of mothers is systemic. They feel that they should be able to do everything themselves. They live with a lot of guilt for not meeting their breastfeeding or sleeping goals, and we glorify this idea of being a super-mum.”

For Julia, it is concerning that so many new mothers are expected to adopt a ‘business as usual’ attitude. And what she finds the most concerning of all is that the leading cause of all maternal deaths within 12 months of giving birth is suicide.

Despite this challenging landscape, Julia envisioned a society with a completely different approach to new mums. She realised that in order to get there, she would have to do more than just working as a doula with mothers on a one-on-one basis. Real change could only come from educating the greater community on the value of supporting newborn mothers and sharing that knowledge with as many postpartum professionals as possible.

For Julia, that meant pulling together her a radically new paradigm of her own and training midwives and doulas who could then go out and be advocates for change.

“At the beginning of my career, I completed five different doula trainings, but I knew it just wasn’t the answer I was looking for,” says Julia. “None of them really addressed how to support new mothers through this major life transition, this rite of passage. So I drew on my knowledge of brain science, anthropology and Ayurvedic medicine that I’d gained on my own journey of motherhood, and it turns out it’s what many professionals in the postpartum industry have been searching for too.

I’ve had emails from experts in the field who have been working for 20 years tell me they’ve never seen anything like this before, and they’re 100% behind me.”

Julia now has over 200 students in dozens of countries around the world who take her courses online. Apart from her professional development course that is accredited by the Australian College of Midwives, Julia has also written a cookbook, created a postpartum course for pregnant mothers and will soon be launching a book due in January.

She’s currently running her most ambitious crowdfunding campaign to fund the launch and has plenty more projects planned for 2018.

So how does Julia maintain a balance and sense of calm while running her business, juggling three kids and still having a life of her own?

Julia practices what she preaches and has built her own village: she has a babysitter, a cleaner, her mum helps, her husband does school drop offs.

She pays for and asks for (and accepts) a lot of help. She also has two assistants that help her run the business. “Forget being a super-mum!” Julia says. “Identify what drains you and delegate.”

Coming to fSpace is another essential part of running her business. Julia realised early on that she needed to find a dedicated workspace when her third child was banging on her office door while she was trying to get her work done.

She sat down with her husband to discuss the idea of committing to a coworking space, and they worked out that having Julia out of the house and leaning into her business two days a week would ultimately benefit the whole family.

When asked what the best thing about coming to fSpace is, Julia laughs: “It’s quiet! And I can drink my coffee while it’s hot! I’m very blessed, I’ve got three kids and the house is constantly full of people, but fSpace is quiet and calm and grown up. It’s opposite to home.”

But despite all that she’s achieved in the last 10 years, Julia says there’s still so much work to be done. “Doulas are currently all employed out of small private businesses. But ideally, doulas should be publicly funded. Recently, the child health nurse has been pushed out of public funding. In light of such terrible statistics about maternal suicide, depression and anxiety, we can’t be pulling back!”

At the same time, Julia points out that having more women in positions of power are an essential part of the puzzle. “In New Zealand for example, there is a much higher representation of women which means that women’s issues are given attention and women’s perspectives are considered. Australia’s got some work to do!”

On a more personal level, Julia says that the mindsets of mothers everywhere also needs to change. “Mums these days don’t think they deserve to be happy or feel that they can claim they’re a good mum. It’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to talk about it when you’re struggling. Most importantly, don’t disappear into your role as a mother. It’s important to have your own dreams outside of your baby.”

“I’m certainly pursuing mine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Learn more about Newborn Mothers at www.newbornmothers.com.

Business Development Program – Round 2

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Fspace Dave Coggin Visit

Images by Miles Noel

A big thanks to Dave Coggin, Deputy Mayor of Fremantle, for his visit to fSpace last week.

The Deputy Mayor was on hand to mark the launch of the second round of the Business Development Program, a joint initiative between fSpace and The City of Fremantle to support small businesses.

As with the initial launch, this program helps subsidize workspace for qualified applicants who work within the creative industries.

The Deputy Mayor met with Sabine to discuss the program, including a review of the results from the initial program. He then chatted with a variety of people working from fSpace, including several participants from the initial program.

Applications for the program are now available. Visit http://fspace.me/business/ for more information.

Thanks again to the Deputy Mayor and The City of Fremantle for their support with this program.

Fspace Dave Coggin Visit

Fspace Dave Coggin Visit

Fspace Dave Coggin visit

Exciting News

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Bulls Eye

Hello there,

Exciting news! fSpace is a finalist for a Business of the Year Award with the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce for ‘Excellence in Professional Services’. Too bad it isn’t ‘Excellence in Best Cool Group of Fun Entrepreneurs’ because we would win every year! 😉

The Fremantle Business awards is an initiative of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce. Over 400 business owners and employees are expected to be on hand at the awards gala evening on June 10. This event is not just to announce the winners, but to celebrate exceptional business achievements within Fremantle over the past year.

Check out all awesome Fremantle finalists right here: http://www.fremantlebusinessawards.com.au/finalists.html

Multi Media Exposure

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MEDIA - Fremantle Herald 15FEB16

We had some great responds and media exposure about our new partnership with the City of Fremantle. In the last 6 months some great new businesses have joined fSpace. Great collaboration is happening and the energy and buzz is awesome.

The news has gone across several media channels and has helped getting fSpace out there. Keep spreading the word and come see us to experience some of the buzz yourself.

See you soon!
Sabine
MEDIA - COF website Feb 2016

MEDIA - StartUpNews

MEDIA - Financial Review

How Atmosphere Affects Productivity

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People often try to become more productive workers by attempting difficult personal changes without first considering adjusting their own surroundings.

If you can make it in to visit us here at fSpace, we’ll show you how to create your very own effective workspace to encourage productivity and creativity.

Seemingly insignificant things like lighting, noise, scents and even a room’s arrangement can dramatically affect your work output in either a productive or counter-productive direction. Maintaining an optimal work space designed to enhance these factors  can be commonly overlooked leading to poor performance, discomfort, procrastination and stress.

Here are some tips to turn your space into an optimal work environment.

Lighting

Natural lighting is an effective way of raising productivity through affecting our body’s circadian rhythm and the release of cortisol and other hormones in the endocrine system to regulate how alert or tired we feel. Studies suggest, people exposed to artificial light rather than natural were much less alert and focused than their counterparts while at work or not.

Noise

Probably the most infamous distraction or annoyance people find while working relates to unwanted noise pollution infiltrating your space. At fSpace we’ve found a good constant background noise at a relatively low volume to be the optimal option, it fills the space covering any other distracting noises or other workers’ chatter but doesn’t take away too much of your concentration. Ultimately your noise limits will also depends on the type of work your attempting. Don’t need to concentrate? Try some music with lyrics in it. Need to focus? Perhaps a pleasant upbeat instrumental track will work best for you. Positive sounding music can also help reduce to stress and keep up a productive vibe in the work space.

Temperature

According to a studies of temperatures in work environments, people are happier in warmer environments. This is because of a close association with physical warmth to psychological comfort making people literally feel ‘warmer’ toward their work,  co-workers, and work environment. One study found workers were more likely to make mistakes when temperatures were too chilly. Workers made 44 per cent more mistakes than if the room was at a comfortable temperature. Western Australia has some of the most amazing climates in the world year round, although summers can often get too hot and sticky if you’re trying to focus. Luckily, here at fSpace we maintain a comfortable working temperature with help from our local daily sea-breaze, The Freo Doctor and our newly installed ceiling fans and air-conditioning.

Furniture

We crave wide open spaces free of too many distractions and clutter to get our work done effectively. Interestingly a study conducted on office spaces found between an untidy workspace and a neat and ordered one, an untidy space is more likely to inspire creative thinking, although proved it wouldn’t help you if you need to use some discipline to be more efficient with your work. Participants in the study from the tidier room were also more likely to choose the healthy eating option when offered either a chocolate or an apple. So next time you’re too lazy to clean up your work station just remember, it may have a direct positive influence over the way you look after your body’s health also.

Scents

Scents and smells aren’t nearly as important as other factors in this list unless something really wreaks. That said, there is nothing worse than trying to concentrate on an empty stomach while you can smell something delicious nearby. People opting to work in co-working spaces such as fSpace over working from a café gain the atmospherically benefits of the crowded space without the rumbling stomach. But don’t panic there are still plenty of cafès and other places to grab a bite or coffee right downstairs from our offices.

Some extra tips

Maintaining a strong free flowing air current is an effective way to open up a space and to prevent your space from accumulating any stuffy, stagnating energy and air. Good air quality and having some plants around the office are just some things that go a long way in creating a productive, pleasant space for office workers. According to one major study, productivity of workers increased up to 50 per cent simply by placing houseplants on their desks. Another study said incorporating plants into a workspace can effectively increase both productivity and creativity amongst workers. Plants not only provide an additional oxygen boost to keep everyone more alert but also impact us on a visual level. Bringing living plants into a work space promotes tranquillity and calmness while grounding those nearby and reconnecting them with nature to reduce stress and be more present in their work.

fSpace would love to hear what ways our readers  increase productivity in their workspace.

Do you agree with the methods above or do you have your own approach to creating an efficient work atmosphere?