It started as a simple idea way back in 2005 – to create a space where mothers with babies under 18 months old could practise yoga and get a bit of downtime. Almost instantly Mamaheaven became so much more than that.
From the outset, founders Paula Gallardo and Tania Smith knew what mothers of young babies needed knowing what they had craved in the early days of mothering. They were acutely aware that although there is much preparation for birthing (as there should be) there isn't enough post-natally. The reality of 24-7 parenting, juggling work, relationships and other children is extremely challenging and almost bereft of proper support. Mothers rarely get the time to address their own mental and physical recovery after pregnancy and birth which, even if it goes smoothly, is still an acutely defining and transitional experience.
With Mamaheaven, Paula and Tania were determined to address that balance as much as they could by taking care of mothers’ minds, bodies and souls. Mamaheaven offered yoga classes, massages, counselling, workshops, baby massage and a non-judgemental atmosphere that mothers thrived in along with a relaxed and loving crèche that babies loved. The timetable carefully set so that mothers and babies are never separated for too long but for just long enough that mothers can enjoy some much needed and well deserved me-time.
Paula and Tania brought together a skilled team of old and trusted friends that they knew could address the complex issues that mothers face and take them to a uniquely ‘heavenly’ place.
From the start there was mother of three, Paula Gallardo who believed in communication of emotions and empowering women to believe in themselves and listen to their inner core when making decisions about how to care for themselves and their families. Tania Smith with a commitment to green parenting and organic food that became an intrinsic part of the Mamaheaven ethos. Skilled yoga teachers, counsellors, masseuses, cranio-sacral practitioners, homeopaths and childminders joined them to create an holistic retreat that was heavenly for mothers and babies.
As well as bringing our particular skills to the retreat, each of us cares for the babies during times when mothers are enjoying yoga or other sessions.
To add even more to the heaven, each mother received a Mamaheaven goodie bag of organic beauty, baby and food products – we are wonderfully and thankfully supported by fantastic companies like Balance Me, Viridian, Baby Organix, Green & Blacks and many more.
Mothers join us from all over the world and from all walks of life. Often anxious at first – will my baby sleep in a new place? Will I manage yoga? Will I make friends? – the mothers swiftly relax into a special Mamaheaven-induced zone of relaxation. It’s not necessarily tranquil – ten babies can be hectic but any child that is upset is soon reunited with their mother. The atmosphere is that of one large, sharing family and all our mamas quickly dissolve into it. Many of them even look completely different when they leave three days later.
Away from all their usual responsibilities they can focus in on themselves and their babies. They wake up to daily yoga classes and then spend their days in therapies, workshops, eating fantastic food, chatting or sharing special times with their baby uninterrupted and always supported by our team. Every weekend is full of little miracles as mothers embrace the path they are on, let go of things that are holding them back and begin to believe in the ‘power of motherhood’.
There are now around 40 Mamaheavens behind us, each has offered mothers a unique and unforgettable experience – some say that it’s one of their clearest memories from their child’s first months and it’s always an absolute joy when mothers return to us with subsequent children.
In 2017, on the eve of their 50th birthdays, Paula and Tania created Menoheaven for women facing, experiencing or curious about peri-menopause and menopause. Excited about this new stage of their lives they wanted to gather women together to explore the positives and eliminate the negatives with mindful yoga exercise, soothing massages, thoughtful nutritious food, herbal medicine and the latest advice and support.