What do you love most about your job?
We are given a great privilege in our work, to experience human beings, sometimes at their most vulnerable, sometimes at their most challenged, sometimes at their most explorative points of life.
To be a part of their journey, to offer a chance to develop body, mind and soul might sound profound, intense even, but for us, it can be joyous, enriching, and fulfilling.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Around 6 years ago, whilst attending a multitude of mother and baby sessions, from baby gym through arts and crafts to sensory groups and sing and sign, we found ourselves meeting other parents who were exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety, yet finding little opportunity to express without judgement, or even fear of judgement, what was going on for them.
At the coffee shops, amidst the buggies and slings, the talk was of lack of sleep and frustrating partners, as well as breastfeeding and weaning, siblings and 'shall I have another baby?', strained relationships with in-laws, and concerns about work and 'back to normal life' were aplenty. Yet mothers kept saying, "oh I'm fine!" through gritted teeth and bleary eyed, slightly manic smiles.
For the most part they were, but we could see that this 'fine' was not where they really wanted to be, there was a palpable need to be heard, understood, and most importantly, cared for.
Our own experiences of motherhood and how we met this new stage in our lives was supported by our individual practices of yoga and mindfulness. We also accessed psychological talking therapies and complementary physical therapies which allowed a flourishing of our own development at a time where we crucially needed to nourish ourselves.
There are a lot of services for pregnant women, a lot of classes and groups for mum and baby, with the emphasis on the needs of the baby. Yet there was little that offered a focus for the parent as a human being who has created a life, and is now responsible for it's safe passage into adulthood. Becoming a parent a big change for everyone involved, whatever the family set up, and the arrival of a new life impacts the extended family, friends, work, and the very essence of who we are and what we expect from life.
We began talking about how we might work together to prove a complementary health service for parents, at any stage of the parenthood adventure, to explore the very essence of being a parent.
UMEUS was born, with a foundation of 3 core practices, mindfulness, yoga, and person centred approach. These ideologies aren’t arbitrary, but grounded in scientific qualitative research that demonstrates how these practices aid physical and mental development, increase wellbeing and positively affect long time health.
Why should our clients choose you?
We now run two weekly UMEmamas sessions in Brighton and Hove, along with a small team of counselling therapists, parent and toddler yoga sessions, and a community yoga class. We provide a complementary physical therapy clinic working with a variety of practitioners, and workshops to meet the needs of a growing community of parents who don’t just look after their children, but they look after themselves.
We are committed to bringing to our clients an understanding that they are the experts in their lives, and can meet the highs and lows of parenthood whatever may arise. In a market that is flooded with guides on how to raise a happy/intelligent/funny/creative/musical/prodigal* child (*delete all or none!), we offer a chance to learn more about creating the optimal conditions for growth, for human beings, not just our children.
Other ‘experts’ say they will help you be a ‘better’ parent, or a ‘happy’ parent, or a ‘calm’ parent. At UMEUS we acknowledge that all of our experiences are valid, including the anger, sadness, isolation, frustration and confusion that we sometimes face. We support parents to simply be themselves, to feel empowered by taking care of their own needs at a time when they are most likely to be overlooked.
Much like the metaphor of the oxygen mask on a aeroplane the future of our children depends on our wellbeing, and at UMEUS, we help look after parents so parents can look after their children.