The wonderful world of luxury postpartum hotels

Tori Bowman Johnson

Tori Bowman Johnson

Tori, a freelance writer, has worked in production, talent management & branding since her agency role at Vivien’s Model Management in Melbourne in 2011. Tori has recently launched, The First Word; a conversational podcast for women, particularly those who juggle young children & paid work. Tori is also a very proud mum of two little boys.
Updated on Jun 28, 2024 · 8 mins read
The wonderful world of luxury postpartum hotels

During the postpartum days, when you’re in the thick of matrescence, it can feel like the world is a big, tall, wilderness mountain - and your job is to climb it without any form of training.


It’s an overwhelming time, to say the least. And while we get through it (because women are warriors), we can’t for a moment claim that it’s an ‘easy’ experience.

This chapter of a mum’s life is called ‘matrescence’. It encapsulates the physical, psychological and emotional changes experienced by a woman following the birth of a child. Similar to adolescence, i.e. the period of life between childhood and adulthood, matrescence is a monumental transition.

Matrescence is when your entire self recalibrates. A tapestry of hormonal shifts and changes to the brain’s composition, it’s almost like the re-birth of a woman. In a very short time (9 months isn’t long when compared to the average lifetime), we both consciously and subconsciously prepare for ‘I’ to end and ‘we’ to begin.

It’s big.

The need for rest as a new mum


When a baby is born, depending on the cultural background of the mother and her collective family, the postpartum experience will look very different from household to household.

In Western cultures, unfortunately, women have become very good (too good) at ‘getting on with it’ after the cord is cut – as if the physical act of birth never happened. My hand is raised here too. We have become so inclined to get on with life and do it all while expecting our bodies and mental states to just catch up with our pace.

But is that pace healthy? While our external selves can mirror the motions of life before birth, our internal selves (hormones, mental health … pelvic floor!!) cannot.

In Asian cultures, there are wonderful traditions where a new mother is welcomed home and swaddled in a blanket of utter support. Yes, the mother as well as the baby!

The women of her family then move into her home and provide 24/7 care for roughly 40 days. The mother’s job is to sleep, eat, feed her baby and bond with them. The rest of her to-do list? It becomes redundant.

While this might be a bit much for some (it’s a lot of close family time), who wouldn’t say no to a night off here and there to catch some sleep?

The good news is that you don’t have to rely on your heritage for this kind of support. There’s a new service on the market! The not-so-good news is that it comes at a very premium price point.


Australia’s first luxury postpartum hotels


In both Melbourne and Sydney, new mother-focused initiatives have been brewing.

Let me introduce you to Borne (in Double Bay, Sydney) and Homb (in Elsternwick, Melbourne). Both are spaces where postpartum dreams are made.

Borne

In partnership with the InterContinental in Double Bay, Borne has proudly introduced Australia’s first luxury postpartum wellness hotel, where the journey into motherhood is enveloped in utmost care, support and pampering.

‘We bridge the gap between hospital and home, offering a luxurious and holistic retreat for mothers and their partners to recover, rejuvenate, and reconnect.

From an array of tailored services including 24/7 baby and mother care to personalised wellness programs, every aspect of Borne is designed with you in mind’

Founder and mother of 2 daughters under 4, Avalon Nethery felt that a holistic service was needed to honour the sacred time of becoming a mother. With sheer dedication to women’s physical and mental health, Avalon launched Borne in early 2024 – a space where she welcomes mothers and babies aged up to 4 months (this can change pending circumstances).

Borne is a sanctuary. With staff available 24/7 (including a midwife, doctor, psychologist and a doula), there is a plethora of other perks on offer to all of her guests. Lactation support, daily housekeeping, a spa, a delectable meal service and … get ready for the best part … a night nursery. Yes, you read that correctly. On top of this, Borne even offers a family photo shoot opportunity and acupuncture. Complete heaven, hello.

Staying at Borne is not necessarily about leaning into indulgence or having a holiday (even though we ALL deserve that). Borne is simply inviting women to receive tender, loving care during a time of life when they need it most. Avalon wants to prevent mothers within our communities from burning out, losing themselves and running on empty.

While not financially in reach for everybody, Avalon is working exceptionally hard to secure partnerships that will allow the price point to be more sympathetic to the current economic climate. Watch this space.

Homb
If we now scoot down to Melbourne, we’ll meet another slice of postpartum heaven, Homb.

‘Homb is a postpartum stay for mothers and their families to feel connected, supported and nurtured in the first year after birth.’

When entering through the doors of Homb, you’ll be greeted with a carefully curated tapestry of support. From 24/7 access to their ‘Care Specialists’ (who are professional individuals qualified in fields that range from midwifery to nursing, IBCLCs, naturopathy, doula support, birth trauma practitioners and more), to 3 meals per day and snacks, massage, washing service and beautiful amenities (linen sheets, heated floors and ethically made body and hair care to name a few).

In all honesty, I’m thinking about having a 3rd child just to book this in.

Founder of Homb, Larrisa Leon, kindly shared her time with me in an interview (below) where we spoke about the support women need during their postpartum experience.

Before moving on, I absolutely appreciate that not everyone will have the financial ability to stay within a space such as Homb, but I did want to point out their ‘Supported Stay’ option for those who would like to consider it. It’s a philanthropically-funded stay you can apply for, should you qualify.

To end, here is my chat with Larissa. Enjoy!


An interview with Homb founder, Larissa Leone


Tori Bowman: Tell us about HOMB… what’s it all about?

Larissa Leone: Homb is a postpartum space where women and their babies can come and stay and feel nurtured and guided through the postpartum period. We facilitate a soft landing into motherhood when things can feel overwhelming we are there to hold you. That may look like just needing a few good nights’ sleep, it may be feeding support, or it could also be debriefing from a traumatic birth. Homb is here for you as you transition from hospital and up to the first year postpartum. Our care specialists are a blend of midwives, nurses, lactation consultants, naturopaths, doulas, birth trauma practitioners and so much more. Most importantly Homb is a non-judgemental space where we support you in your period of Matrescence and find that connection back to you.

TB: How did you come up with the idea?

LL: I myself suffered from postnatal depression after having my first child and I always remember thinking, ‘How is there no place I can go, that isn’t a hospital, where I can be helped in knowing what the heck I am supposed to do now with this little baby? How do I not feel like a complete mess and failure while doing it?’ 

There was nowhere anywhere in Australia that could provide me with all of that care under one roof. Instead, it was a series of different consultants that I needed to see and would have to wait weeks – sometimes months-  to get an appointment. This was 11 years ago now and in April this year, we opened our doors with an immaculate team of professionals caring for our guests.

TB: What 5 words would you use to describe the postpartum period?

LL: Stressful, exhausting, mixed emotions, expectation.

TB: Do you feel that society lets new mothers down? How?

LL: This is a really big question. For me, there are so many parts to it. 

I don’t think it is just society. I think it is a combination of things that have happened over time. But one of the biggest things is the systems that have taken away an innate knowingness that we all have about our bodies and our babies – that’s where it starts for me. 

If we could be more connected to ourselves then a lot of these narratives wouldn’t penetrate. The systems around us have ruined that for us and in turn we think we need to be, look and feel a certain way about motherhood and what that represents. 

Our choices right from pregnancy are governed by what is perceived to be the ‘best care’ and then we are judged, unfortunately, by both women in our society and ourselves. We have this very bizarre way of thinking that if you’re up and about straight after birth “you’re amazing”. 

It’s this crazy trophy culture that we have. I have spoken with a lot of women over the past decade, from all walks of life, and this is a common theme that keeps coming up.

TB: What are 2 or 3 things you wish more ‘people’ knew about birth, postpartum and the matrescence period of a woman’s life?

LL: It doesn’t need to be a struggle; you don’t have to prove anything. Caring for yourself after giving birth is not a luxury or an indulgence. It is a fundamental part of the process of healing and recovery.

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