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POSTPARTUM

LIGHTENING THE LOAD FOR FAMILIES

The Whole Bowl

FEBRUARY 6TH, 2024
WORDS BY: MICHELLE COLE
IMAGES: THE WHOLE BOWL CO.

Today we are joined by Elle from The Whole Bowl Co. Elle and her co-founder Daisy are both mums who know first-hand what having a baby and the postpartum period is like for families.

Their friendship spanning over 10 years and a shared mission to support mums with nutritious food and education formed the beginning of The Whole Bowl Co.

Who are The Whole Bowl Co.?

The Whole Bowl Co. was launched in Sydney in August 2021, just before a Christmas of lockdowns all over the world. Their nutritious wholefood bundles, packages, recipes and informative newsletter are used by modern families across Australia.

What strikes anyone talking to Elle and Daisy is their down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach to making a difference to families, and in particular mums, during a time which can be incredibly challenging, lonely, and often not spoken about by people unless they’re in it.

Elle worked in a corporate job for 14 years and when she was pregnant with her second son, decided it was time to make a change to share her passion and expertise with other families. “You change when you start having kids, don't you? I realised I didn't want to do that corporate thing anymore,” Elle explained. Co-founder Daisy is a qualified nutritionist and Elle is a passionate foodie, both decided that they wanted to support women through their postpartum period using their love of food.

The Modern Village – creating connection despite distance and busy lives

Elle shared “I think now more than ever, everyone's been separated from their families and friends. You know, people are being driven out of where they grew up through rising housing costs, meeting partners who live far away…and so everyone's kind of separated. Modern families are often forced to build these new networks and communities for themselves”, creating their own villages.

Although, there are lots of resources out there to do that and lots of community groups to help them get there, it can still feel like an incredibly isolating time of their lives. “It's really up to us to create our own villages these days. We see The Whole Bowl Co. helping people so they don’t have to do it alone.”

For anyone who has been through it, or supported a loved one through it, postpartum is something that can evoke a range of emotions and conversations. Elle shares, “I just think until you've experienced it, or been in that moment, you don't really understand the value of meals being delivered, but once you do you totally get it.” Being gifted stuffed animals and onesies can be cute, but the gift of nutritious wholesome meals and snacks delivered to your door can make a huge difference.

“Sometimes what you don't really understand is how you're going to feel in those first few weeks after giving birth,” explains Elle. “You've finally been able to get the baby down and you find yourself wandering aimlessly around the kitchen, looking for anything to eat that doesn't require any work. Food is just fuel at that point, but you also need to have a shower. Cooking something, let alone finding the right ingredients in the house, can feel like a mammoth effort.” Yet we know how important what is eaten during that time is – for mother and baby.

“For parents to be able to open the freezer and see quality meals and snacks ready to just pull out, turn the oven on or, you know, grab a healthy cookie and get into the shower can make the world of difference"

Launching The Whole Bowl Co. whilst pregnant and during the Covid pandemic shows the commitment and passion Elle has. Explaining how driving around Sydney, in a mask, pregnant and dropping food bundles off to new mums who would often burst into tears of joy when they arrived, demonstrates the heart and soul underpinning The Whole Bowl Co.

Elle recalls memories during that time. “That mum opening the door; half a b*** hanging out, a baby in in their arms and slippers on. They looked at us delivering these two bags of meals and they just burst into tears because it was like seeing a person they haven’t seen in ages.”

Ordering bundles or one-off packages for any new parent could be seen as one of the ultimate gifts a family member or friend could give their loved one.

Far more than just a food delivery business, both Elle and Daisy are passionate about providing education and support for the whole family. Their free newsletter is jammed packed with tips and recipes, and they have an affiliation with Day One Fertility, hosting Educational Nutritional Courses on their website.

Elle explains how the newsletter has developed into a supportive community for parents at all stages. “My mum was a midwife so she really supported me through postpartum. But it was still hard. I'd never even heard of the term postpartum, I didn’t know what I was Googling. You just don't know what you don't know.”

Elle explains, “When people are informed and educated about why good food is good for their health, they're motivated to cook and eat and shop in that way. Helping educate modern parents to understand ways to support themselves and their children, is at the heart of The Whole Bowl Co. This includes the correlation between nutrition and mental health.

Nurturing the mother postpartum has somewhat been lost in our Western culture and sometimes it is suggested that we have to learn from the Eastern philosophy and the importance of replenishing the body of vital nutrients during the fourth trimester. Elle acknowledges the non-stop hamster wheel that many families can feel like they’re on: “Everyone is so busy and there's just no time to stop and recover or put their feet up. You know, it's you're lucky if you've got support close by, that can step in and help and allow you some of that time and space to recover and feed you the meals. More often than not that is not the case now.”

However not all is lost and Elle reflects that “I feel like there's more awareness growing in the importance of looking after ourselves postpartum (and ongoing into parenthood).” Taking time to pause and nurture ourselves is not selfish, it’s necessary. “They're seeing the long term benefits of it and making it happen a bit more I think,” added Elle, “but there's a long way to go.”

"Taking time to pause and nurture ourselves is not selfish, it’s necessary"

The ripple effect is often seen by The Whole Bowl Co, with parents who have been gifted their delicious meals not only re-ordering themselves, but also gifting it when they have friends or family who also have a baby. “It’s like when they’ve been through it and felt how much it helped, they get it and share it with others”, explains Elle.

From delivering the meals in a van when heavily pregnant during the pandemic, to raising two young boys, and Daisy recently having a baby too, The Whole Bowl Co.’s mission to help modern families is growing. They now deliver food in five states across Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, ACT and Victoria) and will be delivering in WA from 2024.

What advice would you give to new mums as they enter their post-partum journey and beyond?

“It’s so tough…Hold on tight”, reflects Elle. “I think one of the most important things is you really have to look after yourself. I feel like when women have children, they get pushed down the bottom of the priority list. Everything else comes ahead of their needs and wants. It’s not really a narrative that I like to give too much light to because it shouldn't be the case. But it is the case and new mums have to also be the priority because everything else like trickles from them.

If new mums feel supported and healthy in their mind and body then everyone around them, the kids, their partner, their home, everything else can fall into place. As hard as it is, try and make looking after yourself a priority.”

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The Whole Bowl is the perfect way to support new parents.  delivering across NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD & SA. 

Explore their meal kits and follow their business journey below.


@thewholebowlco

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