Meet Erin, a mother to her young daughter Poppy Mae and the founder of two beautiful and inspiring brands Mammae The Embodied Mother and Mammae Studio. Erin’s own experiences have shaped who she is today. After climbing the corporate ladder in the natural beauty industry, the onset of Covid-19 meant she was suddenly made redundant. At around the same time, Erin also discovered that she was pregnant. It was the culmination of these two life-altering events that forced Erin to re-evaluate her aspirations and values - ultimately leading to the creation of Mammae and a renewed sense of life purpose.
During early pregnancy, Erin was diagnosed with a rare condition called heterotopic pregnancy. Doctors informed her that she was carrying twins, but also delivered the devastating news that both babies were at risk of being lost. It occurs when a woman experiences a simultaneous intrauterine pregnancy (occurring in the uterus) and an ectopic pregnancy (occurring outside the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube). Heterotopic pregnancies are considered rare, with an estimated occurrence of approximately 1 in 30,000 pregnancies. However, it's important to note that the incidence may vary based on factors such as the use of assisted reproductive technologies and certain risk factors.
In Erin's case, the occurrence of a heterotopic pregnancy was even more unexpected and surprising since it was a natural conception, not assisted by reproductive technologies.
It was through this extremely hard time that Erin made it her mission to empower herself by expanding her knowledge of childbirth. She attributes this deep work to her own beautiful birthing experience, where her miracle daughter was born. However, Erin experienced many challenges in the early stages of breastfeeding, which led to immense frustration, despair and overwhelm. She delved more into her own research and uncovered the critical role that two key hormones have in lactation and successful breastfeeding outcomes - a discovery that many mothers don't often know about.
Together with this newfound knowledge, Erin incorporated the healing principles of nature into her daily breastfeeding and postpartum care, allowing her to recalibrate her mindset and lean into intuition with gentle yet powerful time-honoured rituals. Ultimately these gentle yet powerful experiences led to the creation of Mammae The Embodied Mother, offering an array of multi award-winning products designed to provide breastfeeding support throughout every stage of the journey. In addition, Mammae Studio came about organically and now both businesses co-exist, as purposeful brands looking to make a difference in the lives of women and their unique roles as mothers and entrepreneurs.
We can’t wait to dive into this special conversation with Erin, as she shares so openly and eloquently about her journey of motherhood and entrepreneurship, and how the two are forever intertwined. Let’s get started…
Tell us a little about you and who is in your beautiful family?
Thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my family. Hello, my name is Erin, and I'm delighted to share a glimpse into my life and the incredible village I'm fortunate to call my family.
I was born and raised in Manly on the beautiful Northern Beaches of Australia and a short time ago I embarked on an adventure, seeking a deeper sense of belonging and a slower pace of life. I made the bold decision to uproot my entire world and relocate to South East Queensland. The city escape has allowed me to embrace a more serene and fulfilling lifestyle, leaving behind the hustle mentality.
I am an individual just like you Yanika, fuelled by boundless ambition and wearing several hats. Above all, I am a devoted mother, an entrepreneur, and an advocate for the embodiment of motherhood, with a close connection to the womanly art of breastfeeding.
At the centre of my world is my beautiful daughter, Poppy Mae. Recently celebrating her second birthday on May 7th, this special occasion also serves as a poignant remembrance of her heterotopic twin brother, Sunny. Without these two beautiful souls, Mammae simply wouldn’t exist.
Becoming a mother and devastatingly losing a twin has opened my heart to the boundless depths of unconditional love and sacrifice, igniting a fierce desire within me to create a positive impact in the lives of breastfeeding mothers. I come from a family lineage of midwives and lactation consultants, whose legacy has guided and inspired me to follow in their footsteps.
In addition to my role as a mother, I am the founder and director of two woman centred businesses, Mammae The Embodied Mother and Mammae Studio. Both ventures co-exist and stem from my deep passion for supporting and empowering all womankind. Through both brands, I strive to create a nurturing space where female-led creatives and mothers can connect, heal, and embrace their authenticity, strength and beauty.
With each endeavour I undertake, I seek to foster a vibrant community that celebrates the resilience and potential of every woman.
And so, here we are. :)
“In the tapestry of my life, family and purpose intertwine harmoniously. My journey as a mother has instilled within me an unwavering commitment to love, uplift, and inspire”
Can you share more about your background before starting Mammae and what inspired you to start your own business?
Throughout my career, I have dedicated my efforts to working with high-profile natural beauty brands. However, despite my career successes, I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, with aspirations of one day working for myself. After years of climbing the corporate ladder, I was presented with my dream promotion, which I had worked tirelessly to achieve. Yet, just three months before the commencement date, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, and my world came crashing down.
The devastating news came that my current role, along with its impending promotion, was being made redundant. This news broke me into pieces; my whole identity and purpose were shaken. I was forced to confront the question of what was next for me and my livelihood. During that time, I secluded myself, where I spent several weeks in deep contemplation, reflecting on my life's purpose and what may lay ahead.
Two weeks later, I received unexpected news that I was pregnant! This was another life-altering event that shook me to my core. However, in hindsight, the loss of my job and pregnancy announcement were the best things that ever happened to me. These events forced me to evaluate my life, my aspirations, and my values - ultimately leading me to create Mammae.
It represents the intersection of my passion for entrepreneurship and my desire to empower women by creating a collection of intentional products that makes breastfeeding easier and more comfortable for mothers. If not for the pandemic, job loss and pregnancy, I may have continued in "hustle mode”, working endless hours and dreaming of the future my true divine self aspired to live out.
In essence, Mammae was born out of a series of life-altering events that helped me discover my true calling and purpose. There’s no looking back now!
“Mammae is a testament to my journey, a product of my experiences, and an embodiment of my values”
Can you outline Mammae’s ethos around motherhood and the brand’s innovative approach to breast care and lactating support?
Mammae is committed to helping mothers navigate the challenges of motherhood with confidence and ease. Our ethos is centred around the empowerment of mothers, weaving together safe, effective, and essential lactation and wellness support, lending close attention to the womanly art of breastfeeding, honouring the importance of self.
“Born from humility with an unwavering devotion to source, Mammae’s philosophy celebrates timeless ritual, tender new life and mothering the mother, through a collection of self-care rituals thoughtfully created to awaken, elevate and nourish wellness from within”
At its core, breastfeeding is a celebration of the mother-child relationship and a testament to the resilience, strength and wisdom of motherhood. As we continue to discover the many benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, we also recognise the importance of providing mothers with the support and resources they need to succeed on this journey and help them to achieve their breastfeeding goals.
No matter how a mama chooses to nourish her baby, her love knows no bounds. No two journeys ever look the same, nor is there a singular or ‘perfect’ pathway to this tender and challenging devotion, yet all caring-figures embody the same distinguishing qualities; strength, love, courage and wisdom.
The ability to flourish, learn and grow as a breastfeeding mama significantly depends on how nurtured, safe and supported she feels within her environment. So much so, by tapping into what elevates her senses and honouring her vulnerabilities, we as a collective can nurture her innermost desire to prioritise this time and take gentle care of her most authentic self.
Mammae has woven together the imaginative with the practical, creating effortless, immersive and restorative ritual inspired experiences, transporting mama back to self.
Bridging the gap between modern evidence based literature and traditional herbal intelligence, our revolutionary and breakthrough formulations are infused with the finest quality lactogenic, nutritive, carminative and nervine herbs; all of which form the heart and soul of each ritual formulation.
Our multi award-winning products are designed to provide breastfeeding support throughout every stage of the journey; whether you're a new mother navigating the early days of breastfeeding or an experienced mother looking for ways to enhance your breastfeeding and self-care routines, Mammae is setting a new holistic standard in the care for breastfeeding mothers.
Having recently shot campaigns for biglittlethings and biglittlegifting at your studio, you know how much we love the aesthetic that you have created for this space. Can you tell us more about your other venture Mammae Studio and how you’ve grown your product-based brand Mammae through this business? The Mammae Studio is a unique and creative space that has emerged as an influential destination for artistic women and ethical brands alike. This natural light studio, located within the Mammae warehouse, is a complementary aspect of the Mammae brand and provides a valuable service to other women and mothers in business.
The studio provides a nurturing and empowering environment that encourages collaboration and is led by women. It serves as a versatile space for personal and branded photography sessions. In addition, it offers Mammae a unique platform to showcase its mother-care products, forge partnerships with like-minded businesses and enhance its brand visibility.
“By sharing this beautiful space with an engaged audience and community, it brings me immense joy to contribute to their personal and professional growth, knowing that I have played a small role in their journey”
The inception of Mammae Studio was not exactly a calculated plan but rather an intuitive side passion project that grew organically. The Mammae product-based business has not yet generated an employment-based income for nearly three years, which has undoubtedly placed immense pressure on this new start-up phase to meet the financial operating costs.
Despite these very real challenges, the studio's existence has become a lifeline for me in more ways than one; despite its added investment from the very last drops of my life savings to fit out, this beautiful space operates to allow the Mammae brand its existence and longevity in the market. I simply couldn’t do it without the two to co-exist.
The studio has allowed Mammae to create a more elevated, comprehensive and cohesive brand identity that strengthens its brand presence. Additionally, the studio space provides a valuable service to women and mothers in business, allowing them to showcase their work in a beautiful and collaborative environment. By fostering a supportive community of creatives, the studio has become a hub of inspiration and a place where artists can connect and collaborate.
We would love to know your own experience of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, particularly how you navigated your breastfeeding journey?
During my pregnancy, I went through an incredibly challenging experience, both emotionally and physically. I was diagnosed with a rare condition called heterotopic pregnancy, which is similar to an ectopic pregnancy but involves twins. One embryo was in the womb, while the other was in my left fallopian tube. I endured weeks of excruciating pain before finally seeking medical attention. After googling symptoms, I had told myself it was all just “normal expansion pains” - until I knew it wasn’t!
Upon arriving at the hospital, three sonographers were called in off duty. I was diagnosed with a hormonal cyst in my tube and soon discharged. I returned home to rest, still enduring persistent pain. It was then that I opened a sweet little illustration book that I had purchased for the nursery. It was called ‘Salute the Sun’. Somehow, I sensed that there was a symbolic message waiting for me within those pages. I closed down my eyes, I had a silent conversation with my angels, and I opened a page in the middle of the book - there it was!
This story took an unexpected and dramatic turn. After patiently waiting for the handover, I made the decision to readmit myself to the hospital. As I entered my room, a team of doctors swiftly entered, carrying clipboards and pens, urgently requesting my signature on consent forms. Without much time to process, I found myself being escorted into the operating theatre. The doctors informed me that I was carrying twins, but they also delivered the devastating news that both babies were at risk of being lost.
Time seemed to stretch endlessly as I lay there, waiting for over five agonising hours in front of the closed theatre doors. It was a period when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, and the public hospital system was immersed in chaos. In that moment, an overwhelming wave of fear, uncertainty, and loneliness washed over me, surpassing any emotions I had ever experienced before. The circumstances were compounded by the fact that visitors were not permitted, and as I reflect upon those challenging times, I now realise the profound impact it must have had on Poppy's father as well.
This experience has left an indelible mark on my soul, illuminating the remarkable resilience of the human spirit, and emphasising the significance of treasuring life's delicate moments. Amidst the immense pain and overwhelming uncertainty, I have discovered an inner strength that has propelled me forward in the face of adversity. Through this profound ordeal, I have grown as a woman, embracing newfound wisdom and appreciation for life's many blessings.
Every day, as I witness the strength and vibrancy of Poppy, I am filled with awe. She stands as a testament to resilience and serves as a constant reminder of the miraculous nature of existence. She is truly a remarkable being, my little miracle, and I am forever grateful for the privilege of sharing this extraordinary life with her. (Pass me a tissue, please.)
My birthing experience was truly the best day of my life! I cannot express enough gratitude for the privilege of being able to say those words. However, I am acutely aware of the fact that not all mothers have the same positive experience, and I hold deep empathy for those who face challenges on their journey into motherhood.
I believe it is essential to acknowledge that my incredible positive birthing experience was not solely a stroke of luck but a result of dedicated mindset work and extensive education. I made a conscious effort to cultivate a positive mindset and equip myself with knowledge and resources to support a positive outcome.
Throughout my pregnancy, I invested time and energy in understanding the various aspects of childbirth, from physical changes to emotional well-being. I sought guidance from trusted professionals such as a doula and private midwife, attended childbirth education classes through Hypnobirthing International, and surrounded myself with a supportive network of family and friends. I’m also very lucky to come from a long line of midwives and lactation consultants within my family.
Through this commitment, I gained valuable insights and skills that allowed me to approach my birthing experience with total confidence and a sense of empowerment.
It was the mindset work that played a huge role in shaping my experience, after what was a challenging pregnancy journey. I focused on maintaining a positive outlook, visualising a smooth and joyous birth, and practising relaxation techniques to manage any discomfort.
By nurturing a mindset rooted in total trust of my body’s natural intelligence, I was able to navigate the various stages of labour with a sense of calm and ease. Understanding the physiological processes of childbirth, exploring different pain management options, and learning about the available support systems empowered me to make informed decisions and actively participate in my own birthing journey. What a privilege this is!
I share my story with humility and a deep appreciation for the immense effort and dedication it took to create such a positive experience. I am committed to supporting and uplifting other mothers, recognising that each birthing journey is unique, and that support and education are crucial factors in fostering positive outcomes.
I welcome the opportunity for any of your readers to reach out to me personally if they have further questions.
Throughout my own journey, I found the intensity and totality of the breastfeeding relationship to be a truly transformative experience that requires an integrative and holistic approach. It involves a deep physical and emotional investment that is unparalleled in any other relationship.
While it is a 'natural' process, it is not always easy or straightforward, and each mother's experience is unique. Yes, breastfeeding is biologically normal. However, that doesn’t mean it is straightforward or a “one size fits all” experience.
Personally, I had always envisioned breastfeeding to be a joyful and instinctive skill that my baby and I would easily navigate together with unparalleled joy and ease. However, the reality was far from my expectations. Like many other mothers, I faced a multitude of challenges that left me feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.
Within the very early days, I had experienced a complexity of breastfeeding adversities; oversupply, low supply, cracked, blistered and bleeding nipples, nipple vasospasm, nipple thrush, engorgement, recurring mastitis, anatomical challenges (flat nipples) and painful blocked ducts. Merely the thought of latching my baby again would send my knuckles white and put me to tears. This raw and vulnerable reality was not what I had envisioned for myself and my baby, I felt completely misguided and failed by society, the system and my own body.
The common challenges of stress in relation to nursing had a tremendous and defining impact on my season as a mother, leaving me to question my ability and desire to persevere.
Little did I know in the early weeks, there was a crucial piece of information that was missing; noting the connection between a mother's nervous system and the hormones (oxytocin and prolactin) that are critical to optimal lactation and positive breastfeeding outcomes.
Oxytocin is a catalyst for bonding, healing, and feeling the love, all of which forms the essence of what keeps us alive. As bub latches to mama’s breast, the chemical hormone release of oxytocin signals the flow and let down reflex of golden colostrum and eventually an established supply of wholesome breast milk.
However, when a mother experiences stress and anxiety, it is known to inhibit the secretion of these vital lactation hormones, making it important for her to receive the necessary biological signals to initiate milk production and release. So much so, by understanding and effectively eliciting these hormones, it can make all the difference on a mother's breastfeeding journey.
As Ina May aptly put it, "merely acquiring knowledge on the right 'equipment' is not enough to produce milk. For a mother to successfully produce and release milk, it is crucial that she receives the biological signal that initiates lactation. This is the role of two known lactation hormones that are produced in the body which are subject to an increase or decrease according to a mother’s environment, care and overall mind-body connection to stress."
As I delved deeper into these fascinating hormones and their impact on lactation, I became increasingly aware of the critical role they play in promoting successful breastfeeding outcomes. Sadly however, many expectant mothers are not adequately informed about the importance of such hormones in the lactation process. This lack of awareness can understandably lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety for new mothers, which can negatively impact both their milk supply and their overall breastfeeding experience.
It is essential that expectant mothers have access to this knowledge as part of their preparation for birth and beyond, and that healthcare professionals prioritise its discussion and implementation within modern mother-care systems. By promoting a deeper understanding of these hormones and their impact on lactation and mothering, we can help to create a more supportive and informed environment for new mothers and their babies.
Having emerged from the other side, I realise that I have never before devoted myself to something so entirely. I’d completely given myself to the act of breastfeeding in a way that I never had before. Nothing was more important to me than nursing my firstborn daughter.
Procrastination simply didn't exist. Nothing was put before it. Breastfeeding became my sole focus, and I made a conscious effort to prioritise it above all else, even when I was physically and emotionally drained. With the same determination that I summoned during childbirth, I channelled my energy and overcame countless obstacles. I learned to honour my body's maternal wisdom and embraced the discomfort and introspection required to deepen my connection with my child.
“Breastfeeding was my greatest lifeline, a journey that taught me the power of self-compassion, self-forgiveness and reimagining motherhood through a holistic, nature-inspired lens. Despite the challenges, the journey of breastfeeding was a transformative experience, one that I will forever share and cherish”
Through this experience, I was guided to incorporate the healing principles of nature into my daily breastfeeding and postpartum care, allowing me to recalibrate my mindset and empower myself as a capable and intuitive mother through gentle yet powerful time-honoured rituals.
It is my greatest ambition through Mammae to ensure that all mothers have the support, sensory and self-soothing resources to draw upon, awakening joy, abundance, ease, and closeness shared between baby and bosom.
My hope is that the Mammae reflects and inspires a set of unwavering values that will be carried on by future generations, creating a legacy of heart-centred motherhood.
Tell us a little more what a typical day in the life of Erin looks like?
Overall, a typical day in my life is a beautiful blend of entrepreneurship, motherhood, personal growth and self-care. It begins early in the morning as my little one, Poppy, wakes up around 5:30 am. My first priority is tending to her needs and ensuring she starts her day on a positive note. After preparing breakfast, tidying up the house and tackling the never-ending laundry, I find myself feeling centred and ready to embrace the workday.
As the founder of a start-up business, I wear multiple hats and oversee all aspects of the operations. This entails attending to emails, strategising marketing initiatives, collaborating with the team and staying up to date with industry trends. I dedicate focused time to brainstorm new product ideas, explore creative concepts and engage with our community through social media platforms. Being involved in every aspect of the business is both demanding and rewarding, and I thrive on the challenge.
Simultaneously, I wholeheartedly embrace the joys and chaos of motherhood. Spending quality time with Poppy is a top priority, as I cherish these precious moments and understand how fleeting they are. We engage in activities that promote her development, whether it's playing, reading stories or simply enjoying moments of connection. These interactions are invaluable to me and remind me of the importance of being fully present in her life.
While I strive for harmony and ease in my days, the reality is that they are often filled to the brim and plans can quickly go out the window. I've learned to surrender and adapt, understanding that flexibility is key to managing the various responsibilities. Some days may be more challenging than others, but through it all, I find fulfilment in the juggling act and embrace the opportunity to grow as both an entrepreneur and a mother.
Self-care is essential to maintain balance amidst the busyness. I always try to carve out moments for personal growth and nourishment, whether it's through reading, attending webinars or practising simple mindfulness techniques.
“Taking care of myself allows me to show up fully for my business and my daughter. I no longer feel guilty for investing in myself, as I know I'm not only replenishing my own energy but also setting an example for my daughter - a lesson in self-love and self-worth that will resonate throughout her lifetime”
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a postpartum mama?
One piece of advice that I would offer to a postpartum mama is to prioritise self-care and ask for help when needed. The postpartum period can be physically and emotionally demanding, and it's crucial to take care of yourself while caring for your newborn.
Don't hesitate to reach out for support from your partner, family or friends. Whether it's asking for help with household chores, meal preparation or simply having someone to talk to, accepting assistance can make a significant difference in your postpartum journey. Surround yourself with a support system that understands and validates your experiences, as they can provide invaluable guidance and reassurance.
Additionally, don't be too hard on yourself and set unrealistic expectations. Motherhood is a learning process, and it's normal to face challenges and have moments of doubt. Embrace self-compassion and give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them. Remember that you are doing the best you can, and your love and care for your baby are what truly matter.
“Remember that self-care is not selfish; it's essential for your well-being and ability to be there for your baby”
Can you share what you envision for the future of Mammae and yourself, both personally and professionally in the year ahead? We can’t wait to see what magic you create!
Thank you for your excitement and support for Mammae and my journey. Looking ahead, I have a clear vision for the future of both Mammae and myself, both personally and professionally.
On the personal front, I aspire to continue growing and evolving as a woman and a mother. I believe that motherhood is a constant journey of learning and self-discovery, and I am committed to nurturing my own well-being and personal growth this year. This includes prioritising self-care, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and seeking opportunities for personal development and fulfilment. I am currently feeling more driven than ever before to broaden my expertise acrosd various aspects of the business, yet I equally recognise the significance of cherishing this valuable time with my daughter and not allowing the trajectory of Mammae’s success to consume my life as a mother. It’s bittersweet really. Today someone very special reminded me that “Mammae is not going anywhere, but Poppy is!” And gosh this pulled my heart strings.
Professionally, my vision for Mammae is to become a trusted and leading brand in the mother care industry. I aim to expand our product offerings, further enhancing our range of innovative, ethical, and high-quality products that cater to the unique needs of nursing mothers and all womankind.
I envision Mammae as a brand that not only provides the essential products but also fosters a strong sense of community and support for mothers through our growing directory of onboarding expert professionals that join our team.
In the year ahead, I am excited to continue building strong partnerships and collaborations with like-minded businesses and organisations that share our vision and values. This will enable us to reach a broader audience and make a positive impact in the lives of even more mothers. I also plan to focus on expanding our online presence and exploring new avenues for connecting with our community through digital platforms and engaging content.
Additionally, I am always committed to carrying on Mammae's legacy of donating a portion of our profits to the top three women-centred charitable causes. To me, purpose always comes before profit.
“I am eager to embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and to make a meaningful difference in the lives of mothers and families around the world”
And lastly, a very important question, what are your top 3 favourite biglittlethings?
It's difficult to narrow down my top three favourites, as there are so many incredible biglittlethings products. However, if I had to choose, here are my top three favs from my very first order ever placed with biglittlethings and two years later, I’m still using them to this day!
The "Snuggle Me" Feeding & Support Pillow: This versatile nursing pillow has been designed with both the comfort of the mother and the baby in mind. It provides mamas with optimal support during breastfeeding or bottle-feeding sessions, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable bonding experience. As a mama who immensely struggled with feeding in the early weeks postpartum, I couldn’t have lived without it! It’s always my go-to gift for mama friends.
The "Chekoh Wrap" Baby Carrier:This baby carrier is a game-changer for mamas like me, who are often on the go. Its ultra-soft design ensures bubs comfort and safety while providing such a convenient and hands-free way for mama to carry. And my favourite part of all, baby wearing promotes skin to skin bonding, enhancing mama’s milk-nourishing oxytocin hormone.
The "Bundl" Organic Cotton Blanket: This knitted blanket is not only incredibly soft and gentle on bubs delicate skin, but it’s the most beautifully designed pattern and neutral colour. As someone who appreciates tonal aesthetics, I truly adore how it adds a touch of style to any baby's nursery or pram.
You can follow Erin’s beautiful brands at @mammae.the.embodied.mother and @mammae_studio or visit mammae.com.au for more information on the nourishing breast care products that Mammae offers.