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Guest Post – Tania Smith, Mamaheaven

September 27, 2012

Those of you lucky enough to have enjoyed a retreat at Mamaheaven don’t need us to tell you have wonderful an experience this is… Amoralia.com asked founder Tania Smith to tell us why she and Paula started Mamaheaven seven years ago.

Tania writes:

It started as a simple idea – to create a space where mothers with babies under 18 months old could practise yoga and get a bit of downtime. Almost instantly it became so much more than that.

From the outset we knew what mothers of young babies needed. As mothers ourselves we knew what we had craved in the early days of our mothering. We were acutely aware that although there is much preparation for birthing (as there should be) there isn’t much postnatally. 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 the most defining and transitional experience.

We were determined to address that balance as much as we could by taking care of mothers’ minds, bodies and souls. We offer yoga classes, massages, counselling, workshops, baby massage and a non-judgemental atmosphere that mothers thrive in and a crèche that babies love. Our 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.

We brought together a skilled team of old and trusted friends that we 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. Her children’s godmother, Hetty Los, was a trained Jungian counsellor who’s wisdom is needed at every retreat. Old friend, Erika Tourell from London’s Triyoga joined us to teach post-natal yoga, relaxation and baby massage. Petra Moxley a talented McTimoney chiropracter came on board to help straighten the mother’s out – literally. Whilst Montessori teacher and ‘baby whisperer’ Alice Maclaine was put in charge of the crèche. More recently  masseuse Debs Hayes fully trained in numerous holistic therapies joined us as did Natalie Keegan who treats each baby with a gentle Cranio-sacral treatment. Finally there was myself with a commitment to green parenting and organic food that became an intrinsic part of the Mamaheaven ethos.

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. Also, each mother receives a Mamaheaven tote bag of organic beauty, baby and food products – we are wonderfully and thankfully supported by fantastic companies like Liz Earle, Balance Me, Organic Monkey, In-Light, Viridian, Baby Organix, Green & Blacks and many more.

For years our home was Penrhos Court an extraordinary Elizabethan mansion in Herefordshire, but we have moved closer to London with venues Florence House by the sea in Sussex and Dower House in the gorgeous grounds of Knowlton Court in Kent.

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 30 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.

Our next Mamaheavens are 19-21st October at Dower House, Knowlton Court in Kent and 15-17th December at Florence House in Sussex. Both are an hour or so from London and easily accessible by train.

Amoralia has an EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE for the next Mamaheaven Retreat, simply quote ‘AMORALIA’ when booking for a lovely 10% OFF.

The all-inclusive cost of £590 includes double room accommodation, meals and snacks for mothers and weaned babies, yoga, massage, cranio-sacral, counselling, workshops, baby massage, childcare and goodie bag, and one lucky mummy may just find a little something in one of those bags from Amoralia.com too! 🙂 (speaking of winning, you only have a couple of hours left to enter our #OrganicSeptember competition to win our £43 organic lingerie set… click here to enter!)

For more information visit www.mamaheaven.org or call 01273 671762, email info@mamaheaven.org

Do tweet them @mamaheaventweet and Facebook is www.facebook.com/mamaheaven do go and give them a ‘like’ and tell them we sent you!

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