Meet Jessica Prescott; Mother, cookbook author, postpartum doula and the co-founder of Mama Goodness. We had a chat to jess about her work, food, pregnancy and motherhood and how all these things can weave together.
Thank you so much for taking the time to let us introduce you to our community. Let’s start with who you are and what takes up most of your day to day?
I am a mum, a cookbook author, a postpartum doula and the co-founder of Mama Goodness.
At the moment I am the main worker in my home, while my husband studies early childhood teaching and cares for our two little humans. My days are BUSY! Monday - Wednesday are Mama Goodness days, and then on Wednesday I go home and cook for my postpartum clients. I usually do two home visits with postpartum Mamas on Thursday, and then Friday is a day for catching up on admin or seeing other clients if I’m having a busy time. In between all of this, I am parenting, trying to write another book, creating recipes for brands, and on and on it goes.
As a mum of two ridiculously adorable children (yes, we have stalked your Instagram and can’t enough of them!), what were both your pregnancy/birthing journey like? Why did you decide on having homebirths and did you have the help of a postpartum doula afterwards?
I was introduced to the idea of homebirth before I was even pregnant, and by the time I accidentally fell pregnant with my beloved firstborn, I knew there was no way I would be giving birth in a hospital. It’s too much to cover here, but I highly recommend the Australian documentary Birth Time if you are pregnant or hoping to be some day. They have recently made it possible to stream from home, you can view that HERE and you can also read about and listen to my birth stories HERE
I didn’t have a postpartum doula - I didn’t know what a postpartum doula was back then, even though I had a birth doula at my birth! I did have a very, very well supported postpartum though.
Not gonna lie, we haven’t heard much at all about postpartum doulas until we came across your page. Can you give us a little run down of what you do as one? What does a regular day at work look like for you? What is the main purpose of having a postpartum doula?
The role of a Postpartum Doula is to support mothers and birthing people through the epic and monumental journey that is matresence - the physical, emotional, hormonal and social transition to becoming a mother. How this looks is different for every Doula and every person they support, but it generally consists of a combination of physical, emotional, and informational support during the weeks following their birth. For my clients, this comes in the form of nourishing food, an empathetic ear, helping hands and advice when they ask for it.
Thursday is my doula day, and it starts by baking the sourdough and finishing off the meals I started preparing the night before, getting dressed in comfy clothes that can handle getting a bit of wee or spew on them, and then off I go!
I see one mama from 10-1 and another from 2-5 and in the time I am at their home I am completely theirs. Every visit looks different depending on who I am supporting and what their situation is, but the first thing I do when I arrive, is load up the fridge and make sure my client has eaten. If not, I get some food into her and hold her baby while she eats. We then talk about the highs and lows of the days since my last visit. Feeding, sleeping, siblings, relationships, fears, triumphs, careers, we cover it all really! The rest of the visit then involves whatever it is that my client wants to focus on that day. Sometimes it’s about them having a bath while the baby sleeps and I clean their kitchen, other times it’s about me playing with the older sibling while the mum and baby nap. Other times, what they really need is company, so we chat some more while I fold their laundry and straighten up their living room. Sometimes we manage all of the above!
Being a postpartum doula must be emotionally taxing as well as physically, how do you maintain a work life balance and make sure you still have sufficient energy to exert for your own family?
At the moment there is literally no work life balance. But I know this is just a season. I am lucky to have a husband that takes care of most of our housework and when I am this busy, the majority of the childcare as well. I am lucky that I get so much social time in both of my jobs, and the nature of my work means that I am always surrounded by nutritious food.
Not only do you spend time as a postpartum doula, you are also an author to multiple cookbooks and run Mama Goodness. Tell us a bit about your journey into Cooking and also the story behind how Mama Goodness began?
The time following birth can be lonely, and you can feel rather invisible amongst those who you used to consider your peers. People without kids don’t get it, and people with kids either forget, or are so busy with their own children that they have literally zero time to spare when friends have kids. I was lucky to have had a meal train set up for me by a dear friend after I had Louie in Berlin, and there were some truly special food packages that came through my door which set my heart aflame.
I have cooked my entire life and food has always been my love language, so naturally, I developed a passion for the role of food and motherhood. New mums need super-nourishing comfort food, and that type of cooking is my jam The idea to start a meal delivery service for new mums popped into my head one day and I just knew that’s what I would be doing when I moved back here. I wanted make as many people as possible feel seen and special and my way of doing this is a nourishing homecooked meal that feels like a hig from the inside.
And then I met Vaughne and the rest is history (we started Mama Goodness together after having only met IRL 4 times and it was the best decision of both of our lives)
It is so incredible what the body can do when creating new life, did you find your wardrobe change throughout pregnancy and beyond. What were some staples that you really found to be essential during both of your pregnancies?
I gained 30kgs in each pregnancy, so clothing was and still is a big issue for me! Long floaty dresses, elastic waisted pants and overalls were key during pregnancy. I also lived in fancy pjs that could pass as clothing.
What role did clothing play in your postpartum journey, what advice would you have for new mums?
It was an area of immense anxiety. Nothing fit me and I felt frumpy and dumpy and either tragically uncool, or completely invisible to all those around me.
My tip is to find some key pieces that are flattering and comfortable and make them a uniform - wear it to death and feel no shame in wearing the same clothing item or outfit multiple times a week.
I wear my skivvy to death and wear my pants when I want to feel extra nice. I’m begging Lois to make these again in another colour 💛💛💛
If we asked Jude and Louie (your beautiful children) to describe you in three words, what would they be and why do you think that?
I just asked them. They both said ‘You’re the best Mama’ and then Louie said ‘I hate it when you leave without me’
This is a bit of a grim one…but what would be your last meal on this earth
Oooof. I would probably be stress eating chocolate. That, or the enchiladas I had for dinner last night, they were outrageous.