A few months ago, we featured our dear friend and founder of Tribe Alex Winkelman Zeplain. Alex shared her struggle with Postpartum depression after the birth of her son Asher. It’s this type of honesty, along with Alex being a fearless leader and self-care advocate, that has helped build a community of women that make up Tribe, a wellness community located in Austin, Texas. Alex is back to share what inspired this movement, what members can expect, and what the future holds for Tribe. All Photos by Tribe member, Heather Gallagher 

Tell us about your background

Before becoming a mother, I was deeply involved in the philanthropic community in Austin. I founded Citizen Generation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating the habit of giving in new and young donors. Over the course of 5 years, we raised over $1,000,000 and supported over 50 local nonprofits. Being an entrepreneur and in the nonprofit world, I wore many hats: fundraising, branding, program development, event planning, marketing and social media, PR, strategic partnerships, etc.

What inspired Tribe?

I was very much inspired by my own experience with motherhood to launch Tribe. Literally, I needed a tribe in my life. Motherhood did a number on me: I was shell shocked, I went through an identity crisis, I felt isolated, I felt disconnected, I experienced postpartum depression, and I needed help. And what I needed most was a safe place to go with my child, opportunities for self-care without a million barriers, honest conversation, and a community.

 

Tell us about Tribe and what moved you to focus on maternal wellness?

Tribe is a wellness community both online and offline for mothers. Through my own postpartum experience and doing research, I was shocked to learn more about maternal health in the U.S. It’s estimated that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 U.S. women each year suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, or psychosis. And that a woman giving birth in the U.S. is more than twice as likely to die as a woman in Saudi Arabia or China and three times as likely to die as a women in the U.K. There are very clear reasons as to why this is happening in the U.S. We have inadequate prenatal and postpartum care, we have a lack of health insurance, and we have no standard protocol for childbirth emergencies. There are solutions: education, focusing on the mother rather than the baby, healthy living that includes exercise and food, valuing women, and community.

What can Tribe offer expecting mamas and families? How is this different that your typical gym? 

Our studio in Austin, TX is so much more than a place to workout. The feedback that we hear over and over again is that women come to us for the workout and they stay for the community and support. When women walk through our doors, you can see them take a deep breath and relax. Self-care tips for postpartum depression include exercise, joining a mothers group, staying connected with friends, having quality time for yourself, being outdoors, getting sleep, and eating healthy. Although, we can’t directly help with some of these tips, we believe that if a lot of these needs are being met, the others will be positively impacted. I’ve experienced enough gyms and studios to know that I wanted Tribe to offer more than a workout. Our members get access to monthly dinners, a private Facebook group, a member directly, and special pricing to our workshops. All of this brings our members and greater community closer together. And online, we provide a platform and audience for women to share their personal story, tips, and advice. It’s a great place for women and mothers to learn and feel supported.

Let’s talk about the power of women coming together and supporting one another. Can you share some specific examples you’ve witnessed at Tribe?

Hi, Cristina here. Both Alex and I felt like this was an opportunity to share some of my experiences from being a member at Tribe. I’ve shared this before but I have met some of my dearest friends at Tribe. They have supported Love Child, encouraged me to put myself first when work is overshadowing everything but what I love the most? They love on my baby like he is their own. I’ve seen friendships form, trust earned, and so much support given but I know Alex would agree with me that if this specific Tribe is not for you, we encourage you to find your own. 

What’s next for Tribe?

We are hearing from people all over the country wanting to be involved with Tribe and to help bring our community to their city. It’s exciting to think about the idea of spreading our resources and helping more women. We’ll see!
For more on Alex and Tribe, follow them on instagram at @hellomytribe