Gabrielle Nancarrow is a birth doula and the founder of Gather, a self-care haven for women and mothers located in Seddon. Gather is a safe place for mothers to come together and connect over pregnancy, postpartum, motherhood, life and loss. It offers workshops, sharing circles, yoga, meditation, women’s health one-on-ones and birth, loss and postpartum doulas. We can’t wait for you to hear all about this inspiring mother-of-two’s story.

When did you decide to create Gather? Can you share your vision for the space?

The idea for Gather came to me the day I was told I would miscarry my first baby, in June 2013. I went along for my very first scan at about 10 weeks and was told our baby had no heartbeat. I was devastated and felt totally alone in my grief. What I needed was women around me who understood what I was going through. I didn’t have that.

One year later, I gave birth to a baby girl with the love and support of a doula. I had a wonderful birth and felt very held and cared for during the experience by her. We found our doula at Carriage House Birth in New York where we were living at the time and when I arrived home to Melbourne and found I was pregnant with my second daughter I looked for a doula but found it difficult to find and connect with one.

It was then that I decided to make the vision of Gather a reality: a haven of self-care, storytelling and community for women.

How many kids do you have?

Two little girls, Camille is 4 and Audrey is 1.

What were you doing before you had kids?

I was Editorial Director at Victoria’s Secret in New York when my first daughter was born. The experience of birthing and mothering her changed the direction of my life and career. In the four and a half years since Camille’s birth, I have trained as a birth doula and also a pregnancy loss doula. Gather was born out of this work and out of my desire to create an inclusive space for Melbourne women to learn, share and belong.

How do you juggle being a mum and running Gather?

It’s hard! I’ve been working on Gather solidly for more than a year and most of my work is done late at night after the girls are settled in bed. I’m trying to find balance and trying my best to meet their needs while still doing the things I love and growing my business. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

What kinds of things does Gather offer?

We have birth, loss and postpartum doulas, workshops, women’s and prenatal yoga, meditation, breastfeeding circles, one-on-ones with our herbalist, massage therapist, kinesiologist and sexologist, and supportive circles for women to share their stories of birth, life, loss and motherhood. All the things I want and need as a woman and as a mother.

Tell us a little bit about your work as a birth doula.

I trained as a birth doula at Carriage House Birth in New York. As a birth doula, I provide evidence-based information, love, support and care to pregnant women and their partners through pregnancy, labour and delivery. At Gather, we have a collective of birth doulas and also postpartum and loss doulas. We have free Meet the Doula gatherings monthly so women can come and learn all about what doulas do and how they can help them navigate this time in their life with confidence.

What advice do you have for new mothers?

Hire a postpartum doula! New mothers are just as vulnerable as newborns. You need care and support so you can rest and bond with your new baby. Postpartum doulas provide practical help and also emotional support and are just so very valuable.

What are your favourite things to do as a family?

We love hanging out at our favourite local cafes on weekends and heading down to Anglesea where my parents live on weekends.

What does self-care mean to you?

To me it’s the little things. A cup of tea at night. Lights down. A good book. A cosy blanket. Five minutes to myself. A bath if I’m lucky. And Saturday morning Women’s Yoga at Gather.

What’s coming up at Gather?

Some great workshops! Eating for Hormone Health on Wednesday 5 December, Beauty Routines from Ayurveda on Saturday 8 December, and Breastfeeding Circle on Wednesday 19 December. We also do weekly prenatal yoga on Thursday evenings, Women’s Yoga on Saturday mornings and monthly full moon meditation ceremonies.

Finally, where can we find you?

Gather is located at 4 Alexander Street in Seddon, just behind Common Galaxia cafe and in the “ETA Peanut Butter” building – Seddon locals will know it!

Find more amazing mama interviews here!