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  • SuperMamas: The online village for Berlin mothers


SuperMamas: The online village for Berlin mothers

The anonymity of big city life can become be lonely and isolating for new mothers. SuperMamas is an app-based support group aiming to ease postpartum struggles.

When French-born Emilie Salonen became a first-time mum in 2015, she experienced the harsh reality of having a child in a foreign country, far away from family and friends, with all its loneliness and exhaustion.

Emilie’s husband, Olli, took two months off after their son’s birth, but eventually, she found herself left alone with her baby. “I would cry in the mornings when my husband left for work and cry when he came home,” she remembers. Her only support during these times was another new mum who lived nearby, Marijke, who Emilie met in a Facebook group by chance not long before both their kids were born – only two weeks apart. “Having her to talk to saved me from postpartum depression! We were going through the same steps at the same time.”

Together, the two women founded SuperMamas Germany, just nine months after their children were born. Emilie had fallen in love with the idea after reading an article about the Swiss version of the initiative, which brings together mothers in the same area to prepare meals for those among them who have just given birth. It’s a tradition in many cultures, seen particularly in villages and smaller communities, but in big cities, where people are becoming less and less interested in getting to know each other, a friendly neighbour showing up at your doorstep with a bowl of soup and a word of encouragement is hard to imagine.

This is where SuperMamas comes in, and not just with a couple of meals a week but with a whole support network: the participating women build real friendships and lend each other a helping hand wherever necessary. A fellow SuperMama might come over simply to hold your newborn, for example, when you want to take a shower or eat a meal.

“I would have appreciated other more experienced mums coming to see me with a home-cooked meal and to reassure me that I was doing an amazing job and it would soon get easier. So I created this village for new mums,” explains Emilie. Her husband made an app to help organise the so-called ‘pamperings’ for the BubbleMamas, the new mums, where HelpingMamas can sign up and mark the days when they’d be able to pay a visit. After that, the HelpingMamas can get in touch with the BubbleMama to finalise details.

For the first two years of SuperMamas Berlin, Emilie and Marijke organised all of the pamperings themselves until they eventually managed to gather more mums to help with the coordination. Today, there are 15 admins and almost 700 registered Mamas, and it all runs on a volunteer basis. The concept is so popular and needed that the SuperMamas have now spread to several other German cities, including Hamburg, Köln, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Essen and Bochum. And even beyond Germany, the pamperings are organised in Czechia, Belgium and, more recently, Portugal.

After such a massive response, other people might try to monetise that success – but not Emilie. “SuperMamas could be turned into a business, such as a nutritious postpartum food delivery or mum dating apps – all those businesses already exist. But if we talk about the essence of SuperMamas, which means building a village of well-meaning mothers around a new mom in a short amount of time, who do this because they want to and not because they are paid to do so – this wouldn’t work if it was turned into a business, I believe,” Emilie explains.

But she admits that the community could still level up with a little financial support. “The next step would be becoming a Verein or a non-profit to finance targeted marketing and flyers to spread the word and grow the volunteer community.” The ability and willingness to ask for help, Emilie says, is the most powerful tool for connection a parent has. “Being asked to help is a privilege!”

  • Get the app on app.supermamasgermany.org