Pregnancy, postpartum and motherhood, especially the early years, are incredibly magical and special, yet can also be a vulnerable and lonely time for a new mum. With 80% of mums saying that they feel lonely, finding a support system is more important than ever. We spoke to Holly Zoccolan, creator of new app Carol that connects new parents, about her journey to creating Carol and why it’s such a wonderful app for new mums.
[words by Holly Zoccolan]
Having relatable conversations about the hard times and the good times of motherhood, sharing advice, asking each other questions and knowing that you’re not alone as a new mum is so important.
When mums go on maternity leave and return to work, they can have an array of feelings, from alienation and mum guilt to fatigue – and more often than not, a feeling of a lack of support from their workplace.
New mums are generally expected to just ‘get on with it’ as if nothing has changed – when in reality, their whole world has changed! More needs to be done in this space and supporting mums throughout this period of their life.
Why I Created The Carol App
When I was pregnant with my first child, I kept being told that ‘it takes a village to raise a baby’ – but I knew this wasn’t going to be a reality for me. My mum passed away when I was 17 and I had no real support system or family living close by in London. And, when our son was one year old, my partner’s mum tragically passed away, so we really had no ‘village’ to rely upon.
I wanted to create a place where mums could find their community, have honest conversations, make friends and get advice all in one place. There was nowhere for me to meet mums who could relate to our position of raising our son without a support system, or a ‘village’ as some refer to it, and therefore the idea of Carol was born!
It was important to me to create an app that not only connected mums, but also supported them with answers to the most frequently asked questions in one place. Scrolling the internet trying to find the answer to even the simplest of questions isn’t ideal with a screaming baby!
I spent months researching the answers to my questions throughout pregnancy, about postpartum, baby sleep, baby feeding, baby development and it was all so sporadic all over the internet, not in one place.
I couldn’t find an app that not only connected mums but supported them, particularly with things like going back to work after having a baby and maternal wellbeing, so decided to build it!
I realised that the few apps that were available, only tackled half the problem and missed a key element of the motherhood journey – support. This is where Carol was born.
All You Need to Know About Carol
Carol is a free mobile app that connects and supports mums throughout their motherhood journey. Carol has four core offers – connection, community, expert advice and support.
It provides mums with a way to connect with other like-minded parents and receive expert support and expert-led resources across a range of topics within pregnancy, postpartum, baby sleep, baby feeding, baby milestones and The Early Years, building community first and providing a safe space for conversations that may be difficult to have.
Carol connects mums and enables users to chat 1:1, join groups and communities, create their own groups and communities – like a social media app just for mums.
Most importantly, Carol provides expert advice all in one place – pregnancy, postpartum, baby sleep, baby feeding, baby development and The Early Years, answering the most FAQ’s all in one place. Carol also provides discounts off some of the most popular baby brands for its users!
The Resource section is an encyclopaedia of articles across a range of topics from some of the leading experts in the space, all in one place. They are trusted experts that we have used personally, independent of Carol, and therefore provide the most informative, non-bias educational content within the space.
For mums who just want to find answers to their questions all in one place, without the connection part of the app, this is also a possibility, with no lengthy sign-up process and rigid barriers to entry such as filling out a profile or adding a photo. This is why mums are able to sign up to Carol simply using their email, name and date of birth to confirm they are over 18 – and then they have full access to all the resources on the app, for free!
How to Use Carol
We say that there are four ways to use Carol and that we are for every type of user – the browser, the chatty mum, the listener and the all-rounder!
We want mums to use Carol in a way that suits them. We know from doing extensive market research that a huge barrier to entry for a lot of mums with apps is the lengthy profile that they have to complete to even get into the app, and this is why we made sure Carol wasn’t like that.
Not everyone wants to add their bio, photo and interests to an app that they have only just joined, and that’s okay. I’m the same – I like to get familiar with a product before I add my details! So, there are four key ways to engage with Carol:
1. Mums can connect and chat 1:1 with like-minded mums who have similar interests and children of the same age. In order to be able to connect with other mums and to wave at other users, mums need to fill out a short profile. Users sign up to the app, create their profile, add a short bio, interests and location and meet mums with similar interests and children of the same age who live locally!
2. Mums can join groups to simply see what other mums are saying on specific topics, share tips or create their own groups to build their community.
3. Mums can join Carol without creating a full profile and still have access to 100s of free, expert-led resources across Pregnancy, Postpartum, Baby Sleep, Baby Feeding, Baby Development and The Early Years. We get it, filling out a profile might not be for everyone and you might want to use Carol for the free resources only, and that’s great! This is why on Carol, users can access the resources and discounts across our partners without having to complete their full profile.
4. Mums can join Carol to connect with other mums 1:1, join and create their own groups and have access to 100s of expert-led resources! Once a user is signed up to the app, they are free to use any part of the app whenever they want!