Parents in business: matrescence specialist Awena

Please meet Matrescence Specialist Awena Naomie Ella –  Empowering Women To Reclaim Themselves Within Motherhood Using Matrescence. Awena Naomi Ella from Gloucestershire focuses her work on educating others around matrescence – the conceptual term for the process of becoming a mother, and empowering women to attain occupational balance in life, and motherhood.

Awena is an Occupational Therapist (OT), Wellbeing Coach, and Matrescence Specialist supporting mothers to deeply connect within and embrace their motherhood journey, whatever stage they are at. Connecting her Occupational Therapy expertise with her passion for providing inner peace, clarity, and calm for mums, having undergone her own transformation following Postnatal Depression (PND), her unique and highly acclaimed approach to supporting a mother’s psychological journey has attracted attention globally.

How did you get started?

I guess it all started the moment I sat on my mum’s couch at the end of a big breakdown in motherhood but the beginning of my breakthrough. I had been through a year of PND, and after releasing so much fear, anxiety, and grief I opened up to the powers that be, the universe if you like and surrendered to the change of becoming a mother. I knew at that point that I wans meant for something big, I knew I didn’t want to go back to work, I wanted to be a better version of me, a better mum, wife, and friend. I needed to follow my passion in life too. I saw it as an opportunity to reinvent myself and. So, I set on a path of self-exploration, discovery, and recovery. Fast forward a year later and I was all set to launch my millinery business (after also training in upholstery) when like a thunder bolt hit my very soul and I realised I had in fact unintentionally completed a full transformational therapeutic plan. I put the pieces of the puzzle together. I am a qualified and highly experienced Occupational Therapist; I had just been through my own transformation breakthrough and had everything within me to help other women through this time too. Not to just readjust to motherhood but to rediscover and thrive living their purpose as well as understanding and embracing their motherhood journey.
So that was it! I put the pillars of my program together and set about creating a therapeutic wellbeing business for mums. I acquired an additional coach training diploma and that was the beginning of my journey with this business!


What challenges have you faced along the way?
I think it’s fair to say there have been plenty! I’m not from a business background so that has been a big challenge for me, although I am very creative and adaptable and enjoy learning so that has helped. The main challenges have been knowing what direction to go in at the beginning, marketing my message and explaining my work. I still struggle with that! I guess you could say I’m a multi passionate creative, I don’t fit into ‘the box’.
Managing the expectation of success has been an interesting one, what this even means or looks like for me, and how to cut through the noise of social media has been huge. But the biggest one is definitely managing inner critic, self-doubt and being vulnerable. This element of starting a business has been a huge learning curve for me.
Thing is, when your business is you, your experience, your passion and your world. Its very hard not to take things so personally. The challenge has been acquiring the mindset that supports you as an entrepreneur and enables you to grow and shine your light without fear.

What has worked well about your business?
I believe the success that has come from this past couple of years has been down to the unique approach I have to motherhood and the exploration of matrescence. There are only a few of us in the world who specialise in this area and are raising awareness around this phenomenal transition.  Matrescence – the psychological, cognitive, spiritual, emotional, hormonal, changes a woman experienced when becoming a mother. This is my USP is you like.
I believe that failing is a good thing, so I embrace trying out new ways of working and new paths. Lots of which don’t work, but these are important learning opportunities, and they enable you to streamline your business, and ultimately carve out the right path that works. Not being afraid to fail in business is so important.

How do you fit in work with the family?
My son is at nursey 4 ½ days a week, so we have been very fortunate that through most of this lockdown year we have had that going. When he was at home my husband and I split the days up and divided our time into segments of business time, family time, screen time, and outdoor time. This wasn’t always perfect, but we managed pretty well.
I set fairly strict personal boundaries with my work as in I tend not to work evenings or weekends, (I value my own wellbeing needs too much) but this also is open to negotiation depending on what’s going on. Flexibility is important and knowing that success comes from within is key too.
We make sure that weekends are usually child led and we have lots of play time. For us as adults too, we need this restoration time, we need play time too.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to be who you are, you know what you need to do, you have everything within you to figure this out. Remember that you are on your own path and not one of others. Listen to your gut, what does she say? Learn to cut out the external noise and focus on your inner wellbeing, let the opportunities present and go with what feels right. Not what you think you ‘should’ do.

Be careful who you work with, choose wisely. Also, don’t expect too much too fast, take your time, really think about what you’re doing and research your ideas. I think this is due to me being a very creative and excitable character I tend to go all and live for spontaneity which isn’t always the most effective method, fun, but not always the most productive way forward.

What impact do you want to have?
Having been through PND myself and found a lack of support offered to mothers in terms of their mental health and wellbeing I reconize there is a gap to be filled here. My bigger plans, which are underway as we speak, are to create support systems that facilitate systemic change in how we support new mothers and women struggling in motherhood.

I’m currently conducting a research study and developing a training program that will allow for other professionals to use in their practice too. This aims to reduce the impact, longevity, and even onset of postnatal depression and anxiety, supporting the mother’s mental health, having a positive impact to her children too.  

I want to create global change with equal access for all women no matter what culture, race, or economic stature they are in. A system that facilitates safe transition into motherhood with the right tools and techniques promoting positive mental wellness, wellbeing, and self-connection, so every woman has an opportunity to rise up and thrive as a mother and as an individual. 

Awena has developed her own unique therapeutic process for mothers to reconnect to themselves to improve brain fog, to help find meaning and purpose and to help them re-identify with who they are now, setting meaningful goals and tuning into their spirituality and mindset too.
Awena has a supportive Facebook group, and a brilliant website where you can access free wellbeing guides and other great resources and online courses – www.naomieella.com
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