A NEW Camperdown project is helping expectant mums across the Corangamite region prepare for life with their newborns.
Photographer Jessica Van Den Berghe, who also works part-time at Camperdown hospital, has developed goodie bags of local products and services that, from January, will be given to pregnant women when they visit their midwife.
Fifteen Camperdown district businesses have jumped on board the project and Ms Van Den Berghe said she was “blown away” by the support the project had received in its early days.
“I'm so pleased that everyone involved has been just as excited as me,” she said.
“Everyone has jumped on board and is really excited.”
I see new mums and young mums and it brings me back to when I was a new mum and how overwhelming it can be.Jessica Van Den Berghe
Free hair treatments, discounts and baby gifts are among the goodies new mums can expect to find in the goodie bags.
Supporting businesses including a chemist, clothes and homewares stores, jewellers and cafes.
A comprehensive local services guide also forms an important part of the package.
“It’s ended up being a lot bigger than I anticipated. I started with one business and it just grew. There wasn’t one business that I talked to that wasn’t interested,” Ms Van Den Berghe said of the goodie bag packages.
“I wanted it to be a one-stop shop of all the services that were available. It’s also bringing a sense of community and encouraging people to shop locally.”
Ms Van Den Berghe said her work and memories of early motherhood inspired the project.
“I see new mums and young mums and it brings me back to when I was a new mum and how overwhelming it can be,” she said.
“I look back now when I had my firstborn. I had no idea... I hadn't even changed a nappy before. I was as fresh and green as they come. This directory would have helped me.”
Ms Van Den Berghe said the first few weeks after giving birth were often the hardest and links with the local community and other mums could be important, especially for those new to the area.
“You really do need that connection,” she said.
“It’s a time when it would be really nice to have other mums to talk to.”
She has also begun a closed Corangamite Mums Facebook page to provide support in those early days and hopes the goodie bags will help create stronger links in the community.
“Sometimes getting out of the house after having a baby is all you need for a quick dose of normality and an adult conversation,” Ms Van Den Berghe said.
“Hopefully it makes everyone feel really special and shows that people care.”