Bamboola Baby Helps Women Ease Into Motherhood
When she became pregnant, Veronika Bamfield was informed by her high-powered New York City real estate firm that she wouldn’t be offered maternity leave—not even for one day. At that point, she took a risk — she left the job.
Having left a successful engineering career behind in London two years prior (where she would have had paid maternity leave for a year) to be with the love of her life stateside would prove to be another major life change.
And after confronting the initial panic of living without steady income, Bamfield found staying at home liberating. She suddenly found time for creativity, initially opening an Etsy shop with handmade blankets and decorative items for children. “I couldn’t find anything unisex. Everything had either ‘Dora the Explorer’ or a tractor on it.”
Additionally, Bamfield tells JCI, while she was researching American childbirth options, she came across some surprising statistics including one that indicated that many local hospitals have close to a 50% C-section rate. She wondered why that number was so high.
According to Bamfield, in the UK, pregnant women choose care from either a home-birth midwife or from a hospital-based midwife, depending on the mother’s personal preference. Midwives do home visits, and most hospitals are equipped with birthing tubs. Ob/gyns are reserved only for those who require it, such as high-risk pregnancies or complicated labors.
“I realized that doctors in the U.S. get three times more for each C-section than vaginal birth, and the many other medical expenses involved with that procedure only help increase the cost. C-sections make sense from a business perspective, but don’t always have the mother’s best interests in mind. I decided for my own birth that I wanted someone I hired, who was not paid by the hospital, to be by my side.”
So Bamfield found a doula (a Greek word meaning “woman’s servant”) to help her through the birthing process. “With your first labor, you don’t know what’s happening. You are scared and your husband is panicking, so it’s nice to have that other person who can make the atmosphere mellow,” she says. “When the pain got really rough, my doula said, ‘You can do this,’ and it really helped. The pain is something that everybody fears, but it is part of the experience. It’s a very beautiful thing, and then it stops. My first birth was life-changing.”
So life-changing, in fact, that Bamfield obtained her own doula certification through DONA International. “I felt like it would be nice to do this and help one woman at a time in Jersey City.
“I’m here to make sure that moms are armed with information and are always in control of their bodies and their baby’s lives. If she wants an epidural, that should be her decision, but it’s important that she is educated. Often, women aren’t informed of their options by the hospital. Doctors say, ‘Well, we’re giving you such and such,’ and don’t offer alternatives.
“Many women don’t know if they want a drug or not. Knowledge is the power to decide, and you should be the decision maker in your own birth. It’s your body and your baby.” Some women, she notes, who are subjected to unnecessary routine interventions end up being traumatized by their birthing experience, resulting in a higher likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder and post-partum depression. “I want women to be at the helm and feel empowered.”
Which leads us to her current calling — Bamboola Baby. What began as an Etsy shop was only the beginning of her company that now also caters to the needs of new and expectant parents in Jersey City and surrounding areas. Bamfield’s services expanded to include Lamaze training and breastfeeding support groups.
In addition, Bamfield offers nursery design services. “I like to use locally made and eco-friendly items if possible. I take the parents style and budget, then use my resources to design the room via the internet and send them a package of links to all of the furniture and fabrics. Families can opt to decorate a corner of a room or it can be an entire nursery.”
Bamfield has words on advice if you’re thinking of leaving your full-time gig to be a stay-at-home mom: Monitor all your expenses one month and compare the number with your husband’s monthly salary to see if you can handle all your family expenses with only his income. Identify areas where you can save and curb your spending habits. You may have to make more home-cooked dinners, take lunch to work, buy less clothes and plan grocery shopping.
She suggests not taking on any business ventures for 3-6 months after the baby is born because motherhood is time and energy consuming. “But once you and the baby find a rhythm that works for both of you and you get the hang of your new role as a mom, it may be a good idea for you to explore your business potential to fulfill your professional dreams and help with the bills,” she offers. “Some women make handmade items for sale – they sew, knit, make pottery or bake delicious goodies. Some write books or start blogs. Some start an online business. Some turn to photography or other hobbies and book small jobs for the weekends when the husband can watch the baby. Everyone has a hobby or a passion for something. You just have to find yours.”
As for her newfound career, Bamfield beams, “It’s so cool. I love it. There’s nothing better than seeing a mother have her first baby and own that moment. You only have your first baby once in your life, and if you have all the memories, you can relive it. I try to make the entire experience as comfortable and beautiful as possible.”
For more info check out the Bamboola Baby website.