My name is Meg Murray Jones, mother of two, reflexologist and founder of Postpartum Plan.
Postpartum Plan is a holistic online programme for new parents, laying the emotional and physical foundations for a lifetime of parenthood. It brings together a support team of experts that all new mothers should have access to; women’s health physio, yoga and breath-work instructor, nutritionist, postpartum doula and more.
I worked in PR coming out of university and In 2011 I re-trained as a reflexologist. Reflexology set me on a path of healing, supporting women and, ultimately, Postpartum Plan. Through my reflexology practice I have helped women through stress, trauma and imbalance. But I found the time when women needed support the most was postpartum; yet this was the time that clients stopped having treatments because all their energy and love went to their baby. I was then called in 6 months postpartum to treat a host of issues including burn out, PTSD, insomnia and some more serious emotional and physical issues. This is what has led me to launch Postpartum Plan, to help women mentally and physically once they’ve given birth.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No and I don’t think I could ever have predicted where I would be now. My career has been everything except linear. It’s interesting that my personal life experiences have led me to launch Postpartum Plan and where I am now. I worked as a management consultant which gave me business knowledge. Then in content production which helped me produce and create the content for Postpartum Plan. Then I became a reflexologist which inspired me to heal and help women, especially new mothers.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Definitely, but interestingly the challenges have all been caused by me doubting myself or not listening to my gut instinct. The further along in my career I have come, I’ve learnt how to face the challenges head on and I’m sure there will be new challenges to face.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest career achievement to date is creating and launching Postpartum Plan in the height of lockdown. It wasn’t just the juggle of home-schooling and a global pandemic that I dealt; I also had to stay true to my vision of what Postpartum Plan should be in a society where postpartum care just isn’t given the time or attention it deserves.
We often focus so much on the build-up to birth, do you think postpartum health is overlooked?
Yes! our society views birth as the end goal when it is just the beginning of a lifetime of parenthood.
Women are offered support, love and care throughout pregnancy but as soon as we give birth all that focus is diverted to the baby. Whilst our baby is worthy of all this attention, our society has forgotten how to nurture the postnatal mum; this leaves her exhausted from birth, sleep deprived and sometimes physically or emotionally traumatised.
I personally experienced postpartum burn out after the birth of my first child so I know why and how new parents ignore their own bodies when it needs nurture and nourishment the most. It is assumed that post birth the hard work is done. But, for a woman, labour is one of the biggest physical challenges our body will go through. Our hormones are spiking. From the time the placenta is birthed to when breast milk comes in, a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels plummet to the levels of a menopausal woman. The process of hormonal rebalancing goes on for months causing mood shifts and extreme highs and lows. And our brains change. That is right; activity increases in regions that control empathy, social interaction and, crucially, anxiety. (It is interesting to know that a man’s brain also changes when he is involved in caregiving so this isn’t just for new mums!)
So, knowing all this, it is imperative that new parents are given not only physical but emotional support to aid their recovery. This is why Postpartum Plan’s tagline is ‘laying the emotional and physical foundations for a lifetime of parenthood’.
If you could change one thing to help support new mums in the workplace, what would it be?
To show understanding, and support for, the early days postpartum. Of the women we surveyed 84% said that their postpartum period was emotional, with 63% saying it was a shock. When asked what would have helped them after birth, 53% said emotional support, 32% said a women’s physio, 15% said nutritional advice, 16% a postpartum doula and 26% said all of the above. Yet it is not common for companies to provide this sort of support to their employees.
The early postpartum days can also have long-standing effects on a new parent for years to come; this can affect their return to work emotionally and physically. Postnatal depression, PTSD, birth trauma and physical issues that have not been addressed early on can cause longer term issues such as lack of focus, burn out, insomnia and chronic pain. By investing in your employees postpartum period you are not only supporting employees in the short-term but in the longer term too.
That is why I have launched Postpartum Plan Corporate. This gives companies the opportunity to gift Postpartum Plan to their employees and colleagues with its own branded company gift card. This will not only support their recovery, restoration and replenishment in the early days but it will also support their mental and physical health for the years to come.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
No-one cares more about your health than you, so put that first. The number of times I exhausted myself at work to please others makes me want to cry for my younger self!
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I am launching Postpartum Plus in August, a monthly membership for anyone who has completed Postpartum Plan and wants to build on their physical and emotional recovery. My hope is that I can not only help the amazing women who sign up to Postpartum Plan but also shift the societal narrative around postpartum care. Mothers are the foundation of our society and should feel nurtured, nourished and honoured postpartum. I want to see a generation of new mothers who invest in their postpartum health before anything else.
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