Self-care for life after pregnancy is a growing market as mothers, caregivers, and parents are searching for better ways to recover and care for their own bodies, not only their baby’s.

Millennial parents have often translated their own consumption values into the products they choose for their children, from wellness and mental health services to clean baby food. Now, young mothers are turning the attention back to themselves in search of goods and services that support the life stage that is often shadowed by the beginning of motherhood or parenting.

In New York City, a post-partum doula makes and delivers soup for customers after they have given birth or given their newborn up for adoption. Marisa Mendez Marthaller, a post-partum doula by career, is also known as the popular Soup Doula. “The Soup Doula is a project that came out of the pandemic. I do a lot of cooking in my client’s homes, so the Soup Doula is a project to provide health and nutritious and restorative soups to people in the post-partum period and in recovery,” she tells VML Intelligence.

Marthaller emphasizes that her career as a post-partum doula, which began in 2017 goes far beyond helpful, nutritious soup. “After my son was born, I realized post-partum period after birth is very challenging because of a lack of cultural and institutional support.” In recent years, Marthaller says she’s seen “more and more [new mothers] are looking for doula services across communities.”

Ultimately, Marthaller says a doula defines work as care work: “I’m really there to support client’s immediate needs as they transition to become parents, whatever that is: mental and emotional health, physical support for the baby and parent, lactation support, and aid in general to help the family get rested.”

Gen Zers entering the parenting phase of their lives are harping on mental health and embracing self-nourishing, post-birth habits. Kylie Jenner, a gen Zer herself, spoke out about the postpartum depression she suffered from after giving birth to both of her children. In a February feature for Vanity Fair Italy, Jenner reflected on the difficult emotions she faced after both pregnancies, and advised fellow mothers and caregivers to embrace those difficult emotions “even if it is painful.”

Two women stand over a baby in a bassinet. The woman on the left has light skin and black hair and wears a floral button-down pajama top. On the right, a dark-skinned woman with braids wears a black mask and a black shirt.

Last summer, a luxurious retreat launched in New York City dedicated to hosting postpartum parents in their first few weeks of parenthood. The Boram Postnatal Retreat, currently located in the Thompson Central Park in Manhattan, offers a stayaway for mothers and their newborns that includes massages and a range of physical and mental care for baby and mother. Stays start at $2,700 for three nights, and guests can stay anytime between birth and 6 weeks post-partum. Support at Boram includes lactation coaching, parenting workshops and education, nutritious meals and therapeutic services from a team of nurses, post-partum doulas, maternal nursing assistants, IBCLCs, and newborn care specialists.

Motherhood and pregnancy have received some media attention in recent months. During her Super Bowl performance, Rihanna revealed that she was pregnant with her second child. During her first pregnancy last spring, Rihanna was praised for her “rebellious” maternity style and poses for media outlets. Actress Keke Palmer also showed off her pregnant belly publicly during her appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live earlier this year.

Now, popular attention to mothers is stretching beyond pregnancy. Wellness practices are extending to care for new parents during what can be a difficult period of post-partum, paving a path for new services and support communities to connect and help each other through the first year post-birth.

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