Folks We Love with Gabrielle Nancarrow, founder of Gather
Gabrielle Nancarrow is the founder of Gather, a space dedicated to mothers to nurture their minds, bodies, and sense of community. The space she has created is rich and beautiful, both aesthetically and conceptually. They offer a safe place for mothers to bond over pregnancy, post partum life, and loss. It’s also a haven for self care, offering yoga, meditation, and community sharing circles, workshops, and moon ceremonies. We are so inspired by this mom and can’t wait for you to learn more about her.
interview by Kacy Byxbee, editor, Your Zen Mama
Who is in your family?
My husband James and two little girls, Camille (4) and Audrey (1)
Where are you from?
Can you tell us more about Gather? What were you doing work-wise before you had kids and how did Gather come to fruition?
Gather is located in Melbourne’s inner-west and I was motivated to create it because I felt there was a real need for a supportive, judgement-free space for women to come together, connect and build community. We hold space for women to share their birth, life, loss and motherhood stories, plus have workshops, yoga, meditation, breastfeeding circles, women's health-focused one-on-ones and a birth, loss, and postpartum doula collective.
The experience of birthing and mothering my daughters changed the direction of my life and career. When I became pregnant with my first daughter I was living in New York and working as Editorial Director at Victoria’s Secret PINK. I had a doula for Camille’s birth and the support and encouragement she gave me really inspired me to do the same for other women.
In the four and a half years since Camille’s birth, I have trained as a birth doula and also a pregnancy loss doula. Gather was born out of this work and out of my desire to create an inclusive space for Melbourne women to learn, share and belong.
What have you learned about community from Gather? What have been the biggest take-aways from your community there?
Community is everything. Women, and especially new mothers, need to know they are not alone. I felt far from natural as a new mother and I’ve learnt in the years since that that is a really normal feeling. Motherhood is rarely what it looks like from the outside and I wish more new mums knew that. Another big motivation for the space was my experience of losing my first baby to miscarriage. At the time I had no one to turn to who understood the complex grief that I was experiencing and I did not want any other woman to carry that burden alone like I did. Real, tangible, in-person connection and community can provide a sense of safety, of love and of belonging that is so needed in our crazy busy, online world.
How have things changed with your partner since you became parents?
Ah, relationships post-babies are hard! Ours is constantly evolving and we’re working on it all the time. We have our good days and our bad days but always try to find time to hug and laugh as much as we can. I’ve learned a lot about intimacy and relationship shifts in the postpartum period and for us, it’s about acknowledging and embracing the changes and finding our way back to each other as often as we can.
What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
Cuddle in bed together in the mornings and travel as much as we can.
What are you reading?
Body Full of Stars by Molly Caro May
Where do you feel most inspired?
Listening to my daughter’s beautiful, quirky made-up stories. Her imagination is wild!
What does femininity mean to you?
Loving, nurturing, feeling, creating.
How do you manage stress?
I call my mom or, better still, head to my parents’ house on the beach for a couple of days.
What’s the most challenging part about being a mom?
Finding the balance between wanting to be there for them every minute and also having time for myself and my work and my family and friends. Also, the worry. I worry so much about them but I try not to let them sense it so that they can be free to explore and learn and play.
What is the most challenging part of running your business?
Not having enough time to dedicate to it. I work mostly at night but also have to take calls and send emails while cooking dinner or walking to the park. I know I need more boundaries but in the early stages of my business I’m still learning how to create them and still get everything done.
How do you maintain balance with work, a partner, kids, and yourself?
I’m still working on it. In the lead-up to Gather’s opening, things were really hectic but I can now sense an ebb and flow and an opportunity to balance work with life at home a bit more. We’re getting there.
What are you watching right now?
Handmaid's Tale and Peppa Pig
What does self-care mean and look like for you? What do you do for yourself?
In a way, Gather is my self-care. Running the business is busy but the offerings we have - yoga, meditation, moon ceremonies, workshops on sex post-babies, cycles and fertility, restful sleep - are all so aligned to what we need as women and mothers that I get as much out of them as the women who come to our space. I also love reading, massages, baths, and the beach.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
If you really believe in what you are doing, put everything on the line. I left a well paid, well established career to start Gather. I had the vision and I had the motivation but it wasn’t until I left my job that things become real and the business was born.
What advice do you have for new mothers?
Get a postpartum doula and rest as much as you can, especially for the first 40 days. Also, when you are ready, speak your birth story out loud.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
What are 4 things you can't live without?
My family, my babaa cardigan that I wear most days, holidays in Noosa, and my phone.