Growing up as a child in a local community in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital, Temitope Falade harboured a passion for social impact and caring for people. Her humanitarian passion would steer her to pharmacy, which she studies at Igbinedion University in Edo State.
“I wanted to see that whatever I study has to be connected to being able to support and help others. This work is something that I do with genuine passion,” she said.
After her first childbirth, Falade experienced postpartum depression. As she researched, she discovered that postpartum depression was a mental health condition that also affected a number of postnatal women in her community. As she dug more into the subject, Falade learned that postpartum depression prevents mothers from providing adequate care to their infants during weaning. In western Nigeria, where Falade lives, studies reveal that the prevalence of postpartum depression ranges between 14.6% and 23.0%.
In May 2020, she founded Mothers Haven Network, a non-profit organisation that helps improve the lives of mothers through education and empowerment.
“I saw the need to come up with the initiative because I realized that a lot of mothers struggle to ask for help and in some cases, they don’t even know the challenges or want to share the experiences they are going through with the right professional people who could offer helpful tips,” Falade highlighted.
Falade took to social media to spread the word about the Mothers Haven Network, hoping to draw mothers with similar experiences as hers. Finding around 35 mothers led Falade to set up an online community on WhatsApp. To kick off, Falade surveyed each mother to take a count of members’ needs, and the appropriate experts were invited to offer support and insight.
Monthly masterclasses on mental health and other health tips help boost productivity among the members. Recently, the mothers were onboarded into the digital space to augment their income by learning how to be virtual assistants. “We also taught them how to integrate artificial intelligence into what they do to optimize their performance,” Falade told Prime Progress.
Some of the members in the community are stay-at-home mothers who go to work but need an extra source of income, and Falade felt the training couldn’t have come at a better time.
This initiative, which offers free services, has made a positive impact in the lives of mothers like Matilda Samuel, who has since dabbled into the business of food condiments.
“I first learned self-development, and I was also trained to start a YouTube channel where I share the tips I learn about the need for mothers to prioritize their health and medications,” Samuel said.
She added that it’s profound for mothers to devote time for rest in order to give their optimum to their families.
Earlier in 2023, Falade introduced Kemi Fayese to Mothers Haven Network through an encounter on Instagram, and since then, the community has been instrumental in her journey as a mother and to becoming an author.
“The initiative made my first book a success as Falade herself coached me through the journey,” Fayese noted.
Beyond the online community, the initiative holds a ticketed physical conference in Lagos at the end of every year. Here, mothers meet with their counterparts and build strong connections.
These physical gatherings helped Falade make lasting connections and broaden her horizons.
Yet factors like limited collaboration and poor funding pose challenges. As Falade admitted, drawing experts for these conferences requires deep pockets.
“I have been using my funds to carry out the activities. We still need collaboration; it doesn’t have to be financial. If you are an expert in a particular field, come on and share your knowledge. If you have products for mothers, bring them on board. These are things we hope to strengthen in the future,” Falade explained.
Despite the shortcomings, Falade likened the initiative to blood pulsing through her veins. She cannot do without it, and she envisioned building a structure that can afford her more resources, so the initiative can reach more mothers and more women from all walks of life.