Interview with Grow Parents Life Coach - Laura Vanderputten
I first met Laura when I was pregnant with my third child. She was pregnant with her first and we became fast friends bonding over aches and pains, joys and plan-making during our pregnancies. Laura started an incredible program called Grow Parents which is a safe space for new parents to turn to before or after having a new baby. Laura and I have also teamed up to develop an Intentional Birth Experience Prep Course which you can learn more about here. The next course is in June.
With such an incredible resource for new parents, I wanted to ask her more about herself and Grow Parents to share with everyone!
Where are you originally from and what brought you to Madrid?
I am originally from Antwerp, Belgium. I moved to Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) in 2009, and lived there until we decided to relocate to Madrid in 2014 for my husband's studies. The plan was to stay for just one year and return to Rio, but life happened, and now over 6 years later, we are still settled in Madrid.
What led you to become a life coach?
I'm originally trained as a social worker. I had worked in the social sector for many years when we moved to Madrid. Here, I couldn't find my bearing in the social sector, so I decided to go back to school and start a psychology degree at UNED. Halfway through I felt passionate to learn about the theoretical side of the human mind, but really missed to directly work with people. That's when I decided to put the psychology degree on hold and enrol in a life coach training. One year later, in 2018, I finally started my own coaching practice and it turns out to have been the best career choice I ever made. I love the individual attention and intimacy of the work. Every person is so incredibly unique - it inspires me every time.
When/how did the seed for Grow Parents first get planted in your mind?
When I was training to become a life coach I was going through my last trimester of the pregnancy of my first child. It took me an entire year after becoming a mother to find my feet again and start coaching. I realised becoming a parent is a whole new world to discover and it was not at all as I had imagined. With the experience of working with people for many years, I felt like I had the tools to help other parents navigate through this life changing parenting journey. Not from an expert position, because who am I to tell others how to be a good parent, but from a coaching perspective: where I help other parents(-to-be) to identify their unique needs for their particular situation. I called it Grow Parents, because I believe as a parent we grow together with our newborns and learn to adapt to every new daily challenge.
Do you have any advice for new families who are struggling to feel connected to each other, the outside world, and perhaps their babies during these intense times?
I don't believe there's a one-fit-all response to this question, but if I were to try I'd say: think about what you did and what you needed before you were a parent to feel connected to yourself and others. This might help you to restart those behaviours, or adapt them to your new situation. The key to emotional resilience is finding out what works for you. Some of many areas to investigate in this search are your preferred self-care habits, communication styles, your needs and values, and the love languages of yourself and your loved ones.
What is your favorite spot in Madrid?
Hmm, that definitely depends on the time of day... I don't actually think it's one particular spot, rather than an action: talking to other moms and friends over a drink in a cozy coffee shop is no doubt one of my favourites. Although I have to say that since I became a mother "being in my own bed, by myself, wrapped between my sheets with no one shouting my name and no time limit" has definitely gained massive favouritism (which is probably because it has never ever happened so far...) . That said, my actual happy place is with my face planted in the fussy, soft and sweet smelling hair of my kids.
What are some small ways moms can practice self care on a regular basis?
Taking time for yourself, whatever that looks like for you, to gather your thoughts and feelings. Checking in with your psychological and physical state is something easily overlooked when mothers have a new family and a different household to keep up with.
For some this means taking a walk outside (with or without baby) and taking in the fresh air and surroundings, for others it is enough to just close their eyes for 10 seconds and take a deep breath in & out.
Washing your face before going to bed or taking time to properly brush your teeth can also do the trick. Stretching, eating a big piece of chocolate, talking to other mothers, having a little private dance party, reading a book, sleeping, receiving a big hug, repeating a mantra saying "my best is enough", crying freely, singing, sitting down to drink your coffee while it's still hot, .... There are many ways to take care of yourself, pause and breathe, but again: you'll need to find what works for you right now.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Laura and for your incredible work supporting families on their journeys into parenthood!
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage.