The Village

A 6-month matrescence apprenticeship program for postpartum professionals and others fiercely committed to maternal wellness

The transition to motherhood is a rite of passage.

It’s a process that takes 2-3 years, not six weeks or three months.

And it’s a transformation that is more than about learning how to change diapers and make really strong coffee.

It’s an identity shift.

In times and places long ago and far away, mothers were ushered through this transformative time with the support of a community of wise ones, with ritual and ceremony to celebrate their shifting lives.

But modern mothers have lost the “village” that was supposed to help them when this mothering thing got hard.

As a result, the mothers being born today are suffering.  They rush to “get back to normal” and often struggle with loneliness, sadness and a sense of feeling lost.  Rates of postpartum depression and anxiety are skyrocketing.  Everything from social media to social policy denies new mothers the birthing-right of coming undone in motherhood, so that they can be re-made, as Mothers.

 

It’s time to re-create the Village.

But we can only do that by apprenticing ourselves to the art and science of mothering the mother.

Despite the fact that women have been becoming mothers *literally* since the dawn of human life, the study of matrescence – the transition to motherhood – is a brand new field.

Our current modern, Western understanding of matrescence is THAT it happens.  We know that women experience a total identity shift in motherhood.  We know that that can be challenging, especially in a culture that doesn’t yet recognize and honour this transformation.

But we don’t know HOW matrescence happens.

And when we don’t know HOW it happens, we simply cannot provide adequate support to mothers at every step along the way.

 

At least until now.

 

After working with new mothers as a doula and a coach for over fifteen years, and diving into the research on motherhood, rites of passage theory, and adult development psychology, I have created a model that describes how the process of matrescence unfolds for modern women.

 

Think of it as a map.

 

And now, think of yourself as a guide for the journey.

Why The Village?

 

The Village is a 6-month apprenticeship program for people who work with – or want to work with – women traversing the transition into motherhood.

So, whether you’re a postpartum doula, a yoga teacher, a midwife, a therapist, a breastfeeding educator, or another mother who wants to learn how to support the mamas around you better, you are welcome here.  You are needed here.

Those who complete the program will become more effective matrescence mentors, with a deeper, evidence-based understanding of how matrescence happens, a richly-appointed toolkit of resources and skills to guide new mothers and in-depth support to bring what you’ve learned to life in your work.

“This is the next level of postpartum support”

- Aurélie Athan

Reproductive Psychologist + Matrescence Expert

The Village experience includes evidence-based learning, mentorship, coaching and Village circles interwoven with personal reflection + practice.

Our time together is divided into two 3-month learning journeys:

Apprenticeship + Mastery 

 

Here’s what you’ll experience as a participant…

Apprenticeship

The first three months of The Village consists of a season of deep apprenticeship + learning, including:

Nine evidence-based learning modules

You’ll journey through nine modules, learning the research-backed, practitioner-proven model of how the transition to motherhood unfolds in a woman’s life.  This model is a map to the as-yet uncharted territory of matrescence, and The Village will teach you how to be a guide + mentor for mamas along this often-rocky terrain.

Experiential learning through nine virtual Village circles and ongoing online support

The Village centres experiential learning and mentorship as teaching modalities.  Each week, you’ll circle up with the other participants in the program to receive teaching, coaching, and sharing opportunities. You’ll also get access to a private online community to receive support, ask questions, and find inspiration.

Three group mentorship sessions

These sessions are interwoven throughout this season of the program, and are your opportunity to integrate what you’re learning, ask questions, and connect with other likeminded practitioners.

Intimate group size + a network of support

The Village is an intimate group of practitioners and others committed to new mothers’ wellbeing, and each Village circle is carefully designed to foster a sense of community.  You’ll hone the craft of holding space for the new mothers you work with by holding space for and with your fellow Village members.  You will complete the program with not just a new body of knowledge and skill, but with an expanded network of likehearted professionals who are all passionate about re-creating the village of support that today’s new mamas desperately need.

Explore the topics of the nine learning modules here

Part One:  Introduction to Matrescence

In this module, you’ll learn about matrescence and the identity shift into motherhood.  You’ll be introduced to the evidence-based framework for how matrescence unfolds which will guide the duration of the program.  You’ll get to meet the likeminded folks who will walk with you through the next six months, and be supported to set your intentions for your participation in the program.

Part Two:  A Modern-Day Rite of Passage

In order to support new mothers effectively, you must understand the key modern-day contextual influences on their transition to motherhood.  You’ll learn about the deep impact of birth technology, trauma, social policy, racism, social media, the loss of the village, patriarchal norms, and systemic oppression on modern mothers’ matrescence.  We’ll explore the pathologization of postpartum, and how seeing motherhood as a rite of passage is protective of mothers’ mental health.

Part Three:  A Changing Life

You’ll learn a powerful but deceptively simple way to support new mothers to deeply explore the changes to their lives, their relationships, and themselves that motherhood has brought, and how they feel about them. This module will form the groundwork of your work with mothers during matrescence.

Part Four:  Navigating grief + loss in motherhood

In this module, you’ll learn about aspects of matrescence that often get overlooked: grief + loss. As the mothers you work with navigate their new identity, they’re also leaving behind many aspects of themselves and their former lives. You’ll explore how to support mothers through the normal experience of grief through holding space, practical exercises, and meaningful ritual.

Part Five:  Self-care, Rest + Liminal Space

You will learn how to support mothers in the discomfort of liminal space – the natural part of every life transition when we are no longer who we were, but have not fully stepped into who we’re becoming.  This is when mothers have the exquisite opportunity to learn how to tend to their own needs and to rest.  In this module, you’ll learn the attachment theory-based paradigm of “self-tending” so that you can more meaningfully support your clients to learn how to mother themselves well too.

Part Six:  A Shifting Identity

In this module, you’ll learn how you can support the new mothers you work with to begin to explore who they’re becoming.  This work is rooted in evidence-based methods of supporting sustainable change:  there are no goals, to-do lists, behaviour modifications or affirmations here.  This is about deep, lasting and meaningful transformation.

Part Seven:  The MotherPowers

We often focus on the sacrifices and challenges that come with motherhood, and forget about the gifts it offers.  The “MotherPowers” are a set of seven key skills and capacities that motherhood allows us to unlock.  And the MotherPowers don’t just support us to thrive in motherhood:  they’re exactly what the world needs right now.  In this module, you’ll learn about the MotherPowers + how to support your clients to cultivate them.  This is empowered motherhood.

Part Eight:  Honouring Mothers through Meaningful Ritual

Ritual is an essential ingredient in traversing any major life transition. It helps us integrate change, release grief, honour the journey we’ve been on, and celebrate who we’re becoming.  In this module, you’ll learn how to co-create (not culturally appropriate) meaningful ritual to support your clients’ transition to motherhood.

Part Nine:  The Return:  Integrating + Connecting with Community

The final phase of any rite of passage is often known as incorporation, where you integrate what you’ve learned along your journey, and return to or re-create your community of support.  This is often the most challenging phase of a rite of passage.  In this module, you will learn how to help mothers to complete their rite of passage into motherhood, and build your clients’ capacity to create a Village of their own.

Mastery

The second three months of The Village consists of a season of integration, mentorship + coaching.  

Our Village group will gather twice a month to support you to bring this work to life in your own unique way, whether you’re starting a new business, creating a support circle for new mothers, or incorporating this knowledge into your already-existing practise.

These sessions will be mastermind-style, co-created based on the needs and interests of the group,

and will include topics such as:

> Honouring the cycles and seasons in your work life, sustainable business practices, and how to balance business and your own caregiving roles

> Social media, visibility + platform growth

> Ethical, feminist marketing and pricing

> Powerful group facilitation skills

> Peer “supervision” and support for client or group quandaries that naturally occur when working with other humans!

> Ongoing accountability + mentorship for the ways you want to establish and/or deepen your practice

 

Plus three BONUS live sessions with our special guest teachers

Dr. Sophie Brock, Motherhood Studies Sociologist

Sophie Brock, PhD, will be leading a session on the cultural and social constructions of motherhood that profoundly impact mothers’ wellbeing.  This session will support you to more deeply understand and empower mothers within the contextual challenges of modern-day matrescence.

Mara Glatzel, Intuitive Coach, Author + Podcast Host

Mara Glatzel, author of the book Needy:  How to advocate for your needs and reclaim your sovereignty, will be joining us to talk about how to support mamas to offer themselves – and ask for – the support they need and engage in self-care that actually works.

Becca Piastrelli, Community Builder, Ritualist, Author + Mama

Becca Piastrellli is the author of the book Root + Ritual, host of the Belonging Podcast and a MotherSHIFT alumni.  Becca will be sharing with us how we can support mamas to build community, find belonging, and revillage their lives.

“I am feeling so grateful to be a part of this Village – I learn so much every week. I love the format of our online learning, I take so many notes each week and also really appreciate learning from the wise friends who are present. The online space has also been really rich with support, resources and on-going connection.” 

- Rachel Brnjas

Registered Social Worker, Tapestry Counselling + Consulting

“This program is the highlight of my week.  It gives me a sense of belonging and is helping me find new purpose in my work.  I love the weaving of personal & professional support that this program offers. Jessie, you created a container that is nurturing, supportive, inspiring and real, and also your refined execution of the topics made me feel like I was in a high quality learning environment.”

- Kelsey Dubois

Massage Therapist + Embodiment Coach

“In the end, the biggest growth was probably on a personal front, in my own matrescence journey. I loved the community we built, and I loved the guest speakers, and being able to find a global online network of folks supporting matrescence. And none of that would have been possible without the beautiful space held by Jessie.”

- Devon

Become a matrescence mentor, and help us re-create The Village.

Registration for the next season of The Village will open in 2024/25.

Please complete the contact form if you’d like to be
among the first to find out when registration
opens.

“Through The Village, Jessie has provided a profound learning experience and held space to unite a community of like-minded practitioners. I feel like a different woman, mother and coach from engaging in such rich discovery and examination of a mothers’ rite of passage. I am even more curious about matrescence and connected to my purpose and wanting to be of service to mothers traversing this incredible time of transition. This program is incredible, a gift you can offer yourself to deepen your support of the women you serve.”

- Sophie Bonneau

Founder, Queen Bee Coaching

“My world exploded during The Village – I can’t really verbalize how much it changed me and my work I do with moms. I am now SO thirsty to learn everything about matresence. I now feel at ease with motherhood experience and I know can hold a better space for the mothers I serve. Thank you Jessie, you are so incredible. I am now standing on the shoulder of a giant.”

- Louise Perry

Therapist

“This entire course exceeded my expectations. Jessie is the perfect mix of evidence-based, funny, well-articulated, and filled with down-to-earth ritual wisdom. From the journal prompts, to the powerful quotes and cited research this course had so many layers that I feel I will be re-listening to these recordings for years to come. But I have to say what really made this mentorship transformational and powerful were the 1-1 private coaching calls I had with her. Every single call we were on together had me pivoting my life in a more wholesome and sustainable way. My career, my family life and my experience of motherhood has been forever changed.”

- Kelsi Ludvigsen

Postpartum Educator

Hi, I’m Jessie.

 

I have been supporting women through the transition into motherhood for over fifteen years.

I am a certified doula and breastfeeding educator, and I hold a degree in Neuroscience, a Masters of Health Promotion, and I’m a certified professional life coach. 

I am the founder of MotherSHIFT, the internationally acclaimed program that supports women through the identity shift into motherhood, and the author of the upcoming book Mothershift:  Reclaiming Motherhood as a Rite of Passage.  My work and writing on matrescence has been featured in Green Parent Magazine, Today’s Parent, Mother.ly, Expectful, International Doula Magazine and more. 

I am committed to expanding our collective understanding of the rite of passage into motherhood, growing richer, evidence-based and lived experience-informed discourse and practice that truly supports new mothers through this radically transformative time in their lives.

 

“The Village breathed life back into my vocation.  Jesse’s leadership, wisdom, and the overall sense of community with like-minded professionals filled my dry inner-well at a time when I was oh-so-ready to receive it. When I registered for this program, I was lost, stuck, and unsure regarding where I was headed with my professional offerings. The weekly online gatherings around our virtual fires were orienting, invigorating, and clarifying. Even though I could only participate via recordings, I was able to get so much from this program and apply what I was learning to my own life in real time as we trekked through the program.”

– Lisa Zaehringer

Counselor + Yoga Instructor

“The Village was an incredible deep dive into matrescence, and woven through was a unique perspective of the elements we traverse through any major transformation. It was an honour to receive Jessie’s depth of wisdom, knowledge, unique perspectives and her experience working with mothers. Her poetic, grounding, story-telling ways brought such joy each week. I have walked away with tools to support myself and mothers through their matrescence journey. I highly recommend this program.” 

- Tanya Heinrich

Postpartum Doula + Sacred Mama Circles Facilitator, Nourished Beginnings

When I read about the Village program it was like the sales page was written for me. I registered the first day it was open. I came into the program looking to ‘figure it out.’ I was on a quest for certainty. What I found was sisterhood where I could actually ground deeply in my inner knowing while simultaneously being in the depths of uncertainty. I have seen and felt the glimmers of what wholehearted motherhood looks like, about what it means to be fully human while parenting.  Now rather than vague feelings and lots of questions – I have a framework to make sense of this quest we are all on.  My personal experience as a mother has been greatly enriched and professionally I feel equipped to support mothers in a deeper and more profound way.

- Heather Sande

Parenting + Gentle Sleep Coach

Questions you may have about The Village…

Who can participate in The Village?

Participation in The Village is open to anyone who works with or wants to work with new mothers.  This includes but is not limited to doulas, midwives, physicians, psychologists and counsellors, coaches, lactation consultants, pre- and post-natal yoga instructors, bodyworkers, pre- and post-natal educators, and community support providers.

There are no prerequisite qualifications other than your deep committment to supporting women through the identity shift into motherhood!  If you are new to this work, rest assured that this program will offer you plenty of opportunities to explore how you want to bring your new knowledge in service to the world.

Is this a certification program? Can I receive CEUs for it?

At this time, The Village is not a certification program.  The Village is an apprenticeship program that supports people working with new mothers to deepen their capacity to support their clients.

Currently, The Village is not a licensure program, and while the program content is inspired by the MotherSHIFT program, The Village does not permit graduates to offer MotherSHIFT or to use any of the proprietary practises within it.  Instead, participants are given extensive professional support through the course of the program to help them apply what they have learned within their own practises.

Here’s why:  The Village continues a centuries-old tradition of apprenticeship in the work of mother support.  In our modern times, we’ve become obsessed with the cult of expertise and the transactional acquisition of knowledge – as well as the letters after our name, certificates and other stamps of approval usually proffered therein.  The Village is not here to replicate a system of institutional learning that places the teacher on a pedestal, praying at the altar of hierarchy while gatekeeping knowledge from those who have never been able to or wanted to benefit from society’s stamp of educational approval.

 What I want to offer you in The Village is not knowledge, it’s wisdom.  As an elder in this field, I will share what I know, and I expect Village participants not to recite this knowledge verbatim and copy/paste my ideas and methods into their practice but rather to alchemize what they’re learning, adding the wisdom that they already bring with them to the program, and discovering how to support their clients in their own radically authentic ways.  In this way, the Village program itself walks you through a rite of passage of your own, initiating you as wayshower in this important work.  This is not the easy road, with done-for-you templates and “proven practices.”  But I can promise you it’s the more interesting road; I can promise you it’s the road that will lead you closer to your own sense of vocation and calling,

Currently, The Village does not offer any CEUs.  This may change in the future, and I will happily support you to approach your professional organization to see if they will count your time in The Village toward continuing education credits.

After completing a brief final assignment, graduates will receive a certificate stating that they have completed participation in The Village, a six-month intensive matrescence apprenticeship program.  So yes, you can absolutely put this on your website 🙂

How long is the program? When does it start and finish? What does it entail?

The Apprenticeship Season of the 2023 Village program begins on September 28th and ends on December 14th.  After a break over the holidays, the Mastery Season of the program will begin on January 11th and complete on March 28th.  The Village circles will be held at 3p.m. Atlantic Time (Nova Scotia, Canada).  The Apprenticeship portion of the program consists of nine modules, and these are supported by nine weekly virtual mentorship circles over the course of twelve weeks. The three weeks that we do not have circles are used to integrate the material and hold FAQ + professional support sessions.  The three guest speaker sessions are also held during the first three months of the program.  The Mastery portion of the program consists of twice-monthly circles.

Overall, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours per week on the program, including the 90-minute circles, reading each week’s module content, connecting with other group members in our Facebook group, and considering how to implement what you’re learning into your own practice.

What if I can't make it to one of the live mentorship circles?

Every year, there are folks, because of time zone differences and life, cannot attend some or even all of the life mentorship circles.  Rest assured, these folks have powerfully integrated the program material and created amazing results, even when they haven’t been able to attend live.  Each of the circles will be recorded and emailed to you shortly afterward. You can catch up anytime you wish. 

For a great testimonial from a past Village participant about what it was like to complete the program without attending live, head over here.

What do I require to complete this program?

You need a computer hooked up to the internet to complete the bulk of the program material.  

I have another question…

Just email me at jessie(at)jessieharrold(dot)com! I would be happy to answer your questions.

Become a matrescence mentor, and help us re-create The Village.

Registration for the next season of The Village will open in 2024/25.

Please complete the contact form if you’d like to be
among the first to find out when registration
opens.

The MotherSHIFT Edition of The Becoming Podcast

 

Learn more about matrescence + the transition to motherhood and get the inside scoop on some of what we cover in The Village program by listening to the MotherSHIFT special edition of The Becoming Podcast, with four powerful episodes to engage and inform you.  Also, check out my powerful interview with leading matrescence researcher Aurélie Athan!