Our mission with Parentally has always been to help new and future parents find the extra care and support they may need, not only by raising awareness around all the different types of support available for them, at every stage of the parenthood journey, but also by shining a light on the individuals who have made it their vocation and profession to help and serve new families.
Today we are meeting with Heather Berry, founder of Berry Care & Coaching, who will tell us more about her path and how she offers postpartum support to new moms, to help them get the best transition to Motherhood.
Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Heather Berry. I am originally from Vancouver Canada and have been living in Amsterdam for almost 2 years. I am a Postpartum Support Specialist (advocate, mentor, and coach) for new and expat Moms/families in Amsterdam. I recently started my own Postpartum Support and Coaching business in January of 2023. My background is in Postpartum Nursing and Professional Coaching. I am a proud Mom of 3 wonderful kids.
What did you do before becoming a Postpartum Support Specialist?
Before starting my current business, I was a Community Health Nurse in Canada for over 20 years, providing Health Promotion and Prevention and Prenatal/Postnatal support to women and families with newborn babies, after birth care of mother and baby, breastfeeding support, parenting support, child health clinics (immunizations, growth and development assessments), health advice and capacity building. I also provided transitional coaching services to individuals who were undergoing major life changes, e.g. marriage, career, parenthood.
How do you help new and future parents during postpartum, and what is your role?
I offer professional care, coaching and support to moms who may be struggling with the transition to motherhood. I specialize in helping new moms learn how to adapt and embrace their new role, by providing guidance on all newborn issues and care, and by addressing the emotional, social and physical challenges of Motherhood, with my nursing knowledge, and proven certified coaching techniques. While Walking and Talking (or in-person/online) I help new moms learn to feel confident, assured and securely bonded with their baby and their new self.
What inspired you to choose this path?
Working with, and supporting hundreds of moms during the postpartum stage, and being a mom myself, has made me acutely aware of the many challenges that postpartum women face. I have always loved being a nurse, providing care, and connecting with women during this time of need, and being able to help make this transition as easy as possible for them. With my background in postpartum nursing and certified coaching, and my personal experience as a mom and an expat, it seemed like a very natural fit for me, to combine my knowledge and expertise, and offer these services and support to expat moms in Amsterdam.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is knowing that I have made a real difference in a new family’s life during such a significant, special and personal time. Providing hands on care (both physical and emotional) and helping new moms feel supported, confident and connected with their beautiful babies and their new identity, is the absolute best!
What kind of education and training did you receive and how has that prepared you for your work?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Professional Certification in Coaching with the Coaches Training Institute. For my entire nursing career I have worked as a Community Health nurse and have specialized in Postpartum nursing and Healthy Beginnings for families. I have provided personal coaching to both women and men who are undergoing major transitions in their lives, or who are struggling with moving forward. The combination of this in-depth knowledge and experience has well prepared me as a Postpartum Support Specialist.
Are there any common misconceptions about postpartum support? What are they and how do you address them?
I don’t believe there are any misconceptions about my work. Possibly that I am practicing as a nurse, which I am not, due to my poor Dutch language skills. I make it very clear that I am offering non-medical care, advice and support before anyone chooses to work with me.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about perinatal care and support, and especially postpartum support?
The changes and challenges that come with starting a family and becoming a new Mom are overwhelming. Some of these things you can plan for, but most of them are ‘learn as you go’, and many of them are harder than anyone could have imagined. Having the proper care and support during this time will make a world of difference in the transition to Motherhood.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing new and future parents today, and how do you help them address those challenges in your work?
I think we are living in a world of unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. Many things are not as they seem, and yet this is what we compare ourselves to. Parents are exposed to so much conflicting information. I think this makes it very difficult to adapt to parenthood in a healthy way, and to feel like you are doing a good job. The postpartum care, support and coaching that I provide allows for an honest, educated, hands on and realistic approach to dealing with the numerous questions and concerns that are associated with parenting. I provide a non-judgmental space for you to be seen, heard, accepted and appreciated for the person and parent that you are.
What advice would you give to new and future parents?
I believe, and have felt, that becoming a parent is both the greatest blessing and biggest challenge you will experience in your life. The physical, social, and emotional changes can be overwhelming. Finding and knowing about the proper support that is available to you, will help to make this time in your life so much better. Don’t do it alone! Reach out, ask questions, and get connected with people who will support you, guide you and care for you in this incredible journey.