Taking the 360 Degree View of Motherhood
Hatch wants to help women navigate the journey from pregnancy to new mom, and beyond.
Becoming a mother isn’t just about having a baby. It’s a transformation for a woman, physically and emotionally, and it’s not always smooth and easy.
“It was the toughest part of my adult life, when my kids were 0 to 5,” said Dr. Radhika Kakarla, an OB/GYN. “As a society, we’re not set up to cope with it, and as human beings, we’re not prepared to cope with it.”
That’s the reason Kakarla and her partners started Hatch Motherhood, which opened earlier this year in Wayne. She’d noticed that her medical practice, pregnant and new moms kept asking the same questions. Many of them were about diet, and which products are safe to use for moms and babies.
Many others, though, focused on how to cope with the process of moving from womanhood to motherhood. Kakarla calls Hatch’s focus “the 360 approach” — including knowledge, resilience, and emotional and physical wellness.
“You need all those things together to feel great,” she said. “When you’re in it, you don’t realize it. You think, ‘I just want to get back into my jeans.’ But it’s more than that.”
Hatch is designed to be a bridge between traditional medicine and a more holistic approach. It’s more than just prenatal fitness classes and postpartum breastfeeding seminars, although Hatch offers both. The idea is to work with women as whole beings, from pregnancy through the early years of motherhood, and to help them create a community to share the experience with. In other words, it’s like your favorite online group, come to life — with evidence-based information and advice.
“Our goal is to create a one-one-one experience,” Kakarla said. “You can be pregnant, you can be postpartum, but we want to give you a safe place to be, give you a safe person to ask questions, and be able to fill in all the gaps between what’s happening at the doctor’s office, the Internet, and your friends.”
Hatch offers a la carte access to its fitness and educational classes, but is largely membership-based. Members get a consultation and ongoing support from one of two “health concierges,” trained labor and delivery nurses who help women identify what they need. They don’t give medical advice, but can help with issues such as breastfeeding, sleep problems, and any signs of emotional difficulty.
“We want to figure out what your needs are and meet them,” Kakarla said. “Is it around fitness? Is it around education? Is it around community?
“Lots of women are looking for that community.”
Membership also gives you unlimited access to the fitness, wellness, and educational courses, as well as Hatch’s support groups. The “Grow” offerings are focused on prenatal and postpartum fitness, and are yoga- and pilates-based. There’s a special emphasis on pelvic floor restoration for new moms.
The “Glow” support groups and courses focus on mom’s well-being, from talks about reconciling your work goals with motherhood to simply talking about the hidden stresses of being a mom.
The “Know” category covers things you need to know before the baby comes, including prenatal nutrition, how to prepare for birth, and feeding your baby for the first year. You can even learn about which cleaning products are the safest for your new addition (and you).
“I think getting information from a reliable source is really valuable,” Kakarla said. “We really want to fill that need during the entire 18-month period from when you find out you’re pregnant until your baby hits toddlerhood.”
All of this happens in a spa-like environment that’s designed to be as relaxing as possible. Young babies are welcome in the fitness classes, and members can use a child-sitting space to connect with other moms over coffee and parallel play.
Mental and emotional health is a big point of emphasis at Hatch, too. The support groups can’t substitute for a one-on-one visit with a therapist or psychiatrist. But many sessions are run by therapists who can help spot the signs of depression and perhaps help a woman with a mild case of the “baby blues” get help before she falls into a full-blown case of postpartum depression.
Much of what Hatch can offer is just about helping new moms manage their expectations, Kakarla said. Motherhood isn’t all pastel colors and sunbeams for most women. Talking to professionals helps, but so does talking to other mothers.
A relative of Kakarla’s once joked that the reason why celebrities handle having children so smoothly is because they have a team of people helping them. It got her thinking: why can’t all women have a team? At Hatch, they can at least get a taste.
“This is what we go through,” Kakarla said. “It’s actually pretty awesome — and pretty hard. Why can’t we give you coping mechanisms that help you build support systems?”
Want to know more, or try out a class?
Stop in or get more information at Hatch’s website, including a full class schedule.
Photographs courtesy of Hatch.