When we fall pregnant, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of researching just about every single aspect of pregnancy and birth (hands up who has spent several hours in an episiotomy Google rabbit hole at 2 am? 🙋♀️) that we often forget to mentally prepare for the sacred time that is bringing your baby home as you recover from birth and learn to be a new family, aka the fourth trimester.
Of course, your pregnancy and birth are still incredibly important. But many new mamas are often caught off guard when they’re faced with issues they didn’t factor into their late-night Google holes, like cluster feeding, breast rejection, and how the hell do you even use a breast pump?!
That’s where real-life mum besties Hayley Flowers and Sophie Lavender (seriously these two were meant to be, just look at their in-synch floral-themed surnames 🌸🌸) come into the equation with their podcast PUMPED, which explores the trials and tribulations of the fourth trimester and life thereafter.
After meeting on the Peanut app, which connects local mums who are in a similar stage of parenting, in the dead of lockdown in 2021, the pair hit it off right away.
“It was like Tinder for mamas,” Hayley laughs at their adorable meet-cute.
With state borders shut at the time, both Sophie and Hayley were navigating the newborn trenches with their babies, Florence and Jude, without the support of key family members. Thankfully, the pair lived in the same five-kilometre radius and were allowed to go on walks together (ahh, those were the days #lockdownflashbacks) with their newborns in tow.
“I was like on a very tight pumping schedule and I was super anxious. Sophie was the first person to meet [my son] Jude. it was so bizarre that my family hadn’t met my baby and I was meeting a stranger in the park,” Hayley reflects on their fateful first meet-up.
“I had a really good vibe and I was like ‘she seems like my type of person!’ We went for a walk and I was like really tense and deep in the trauma of breastfeeding and was probably not my usual extroverted, gregarious self and was really anxious… then we started sending voice memos to each other and the rest is history,” she adds.
With no family close by and a hard lockdown robbing them of what a normal maternity leave should be like, the pair became fast friends.
Hayley launched PUMPED not long after Jude was born and hosted the first season with another mum mate before Sophie joined as a co-host in season two when her daughter Florence was around seven months old.
Sophie and Hayley say the podcast was a much-needed creative outlet that gave them a huge sense of purpose during lockdown – but it didn’t come without its challenges.
“There’s a lot of parenting podcasts out there, but I definitely see the point of difference that PUMPED brings. I am the kind of person that tends to say yes too quickly and I get overly excited. Time is a very valuable commodity and I run celebrant business and then having a baby that was only, like, six or seven months old at that point, and it’s just a lot to add on,” Sophie, who also works at Canva and as a marriage celebrant, reflects of her joining the podcast.
Sophie adds of their dynamic: “And Haze is a turbo. She runs and she runs hard, so I wanted to be able to keep up with her and put the same amount of time and energy into it. [When I joined] we just went guns blazing. It was hectic. We pumped out, I don’t know how many episodes and in that period of time we rebranded, we did the website, we did a photo shoot, and we re-recorded the intro. It was an intense two weeks!”
As PUMPED prepares to ring in its first birthday later this month, it recently celebrated a major milestone with 22,000 downloads. The show has had a slew of notable experts and guests including entrepreneur and model Lindy Klim, media personality Anna Heinrich, poet and artist Tess Guinery and motivational speaker Chelsea Pottenger.
The pair are on a mission to help parents in the thick of the fourth trimester feel less alone – whether that’s an episode unpacking birth trauma or overcoming post-natal depression. And the feedback has made all of their hard work worthwhile.
“A girl wrote to us and said, ‘you guys are like the mother’s group that I never had.’ That’s why you do it because I think that’s the thing if I didn’t throw myself balls deep into this, I think I would have had a proper breakdown,” Hayley admits.
Indeed the PUMPED community only continues to grow with their Instagram page a constant source of connection for like-minded mamas who need a good-old LOL at a silly meme after a particularly crap day of parenting.
“When we started from zero followers, we didn’t have any background in an industry. We’re not personalities, we don’t have any sort of following. So Hayley has done an amazing job on social media to build that following and then to get that listenership, I’m really proud of Hayley and us as a team,” Sophie says.
“We’ve literally built it from nothing and I’m just so proud of that. I think the fact that we’ve gotten on such big guests and such a diverse range of guests that’s a testament to the different ways in which we work,” Hayley agrees.
Sophie’s advice to anyone else out there thinking of starting a passion project is to have a very clear objective.
“You have to be really clear on what you actually want to achieve out of it. For us, it’s really clear – we want to share stories and empower and educate as many mums as possible and provide a community,” she explains.
The podcasters also want to put a torch to some of the more outdated pressures women face in their post-natal care with Hayley noting a particularly upsetting incident with a nurse running her remote mother’s group Zoom call.
“The community nurse was talking through the tickbox points. It was so clinical! I felt so disconnected. There was a comment made [to another mum] in the mother’s group, a judgement about her from the nurse using formula as a top-up. Her face just changed,” Hayley shares.
“Similar things were said to me when I was going in [to the community centre] on a daily basis. My bub was losing lots of weight and, you know, horrific things [were said], the language… I liked this nurse as a person but I just think she was old school. And I remember telling Soph what was said to me from this specific nurse about ‘well, your baby looks like he’s just got that look about him like: Am I going to be fed today?’ We need to crack this open and talk about this because so many women are doubting themselves,” Hayley adds of her troubling experience.
Of course, not all nurses embrace this approach but their words can have a lasting and oftentimes damaging impact.
As for what’s coming up next for PUMPED, the hosts have some very exciting goals. “I’d love to build our community more. We just launched our Facebook page, so we’re sharing a lot more content there and generating a bit more of a discussion-type community. We’re really keen to get a more diverse set of guests, same-sex parents, people that have gone the parenting journey alone, more professionals that are kind of outside of the typical mould,” Sophie says.