EP044: Maternal mental health: my journey and why we need to talk about it

EP044: Maternal mental health: my journey and why we need to talk about it

At the time of recording, it’s the end of Global Maternal Mental Health Week (early May 2019). This is an episode with a difference, and it feels vulnerable and frightening to share it with you.

But I’m doing it because this story matters. My mental health journey matters, and as I’ve been sharing it this week online, the response has been incredible. So many women are suffering silently, convinced they’re alone. They aren’t. You aren’t.

In this week’s episode you’ll learn why I know first-hand that we must keep conversation and education growing around maternal mental health. I learned about it the hard way, and I wish I’d known of people talking about it at the time. Maternal mental illness is an epidemic that must be stopped.

If you know me outside of motherhood, this episode might surprise you. If you know me as a mama, you might still be surprised because I present as (and am) fiercely smart, sharp-minded and quick-witted. I’m also incredibly fragile, just like everyone else out there. Some people sail through life without any mental wobbles. Many don’t. Those of us in the latter camp need support, visibility and most of all, we need the shame and stigma associated with mental illness to be dropped.

If you’re a return listener to MamaFuel, you’ll know that mental health struggles come up often during our conversations. We’ve talked about depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, post-natal bi-polar and more. If any of those topics speak to you, click on the links above and you’ll find much to comfort and possibly educate you.

If you haven’t ever wrestled with your mental health, I’m so happy for you. But chances are you know a mum (likely many) who are struggling and aren’t talking about it. For them, please listen to this episode and share it broadly. We all need to be part of the conversation.

If you’d like to join the MamaFuel-Up Sessions, starting May 7th, 2019, please click on this link to join us. We’ll be gathering for five consecutive days, one hour per day, to start sharing stories, shifting perspectives and collecting tools to help us lead our best life, even when it feels impossible. I’d love you to join us, it’s absolutely free.

If you’re struggling, please reach out to your local community, a friend or a health professional near you. Nothing is unsolvable, once we find the right help.

Here are some resources in the UK, Canada, South Africa, the US and Switzerland. If you have any more to share for your country, please email me here and I’ll gladly add them to list list. Thank you. 

EP043: Sarah Tucker on living her biggest dream and stepping into the spotlight as an artist and a mother

EP043: Sarah Tucker on living her biggest dream and stepping into the spotlight as an artist and a mother

If you’re a fan of The Voice UK, you’ll likely recognise the voice of this week’s guest. Sarah Tucker was a breathtakingly talented contestant on the 2019 version of the show, and she captured hearts and carried the dreams of many mamas as she soared throughout the competition.

A few months ago Sarah’s run on the show came to an end, but not before scores of people had fallen under the spell of her voice. What few people knew, however, was what Sarah had gone through to get onto that mythical stage. In this week’s episode, Sarah talks about her lifelong dream to become a mother and the parallel dream she tirelessly pursued to become a professional singer.

We talk about Sarah’s difficult passage into motherhood following a missed miscarriage, the power of manifestation and spirituality. Sarah and I connected through social media, but the platforms have had a negative impact on her life at different stages. Specifically, Sarah tells how after the birth of her second child she put herself under immense pressure to be a super mama and to live up to the image she’d carefully crafted online.

She explains how she got to the stage where she didn’t know who she was or how she felt, and how she lost all sense of separation between her real, tangible life and the one she was portraying to others. What followed was a crash course in post-natal depression, and a whole life reset.

I was touched during the competition and also during our conversation when Sarah explained how she’d decided to congratulate and encourage her “rival”, Craig, against whom she was pitted in the “battles” episode of The Voice UK. Hearing her tale of choosing encouragement and vulnerability over competition reminded me about how important collaboration and cheerleading are in ANY situation.

I’m inspired by Sarah to chase my own huge dreams and to not give up. At one point she says she was told by a Reiki healer that her voice was light, and needed to be shared with everyone. I believe we all have a similar light, which may be expressed in many ways, and we all need to let it shine for ourselves and for everyone else. I hope today’s episode serves to inspire you to shine your light.

If you’d like to talk to Sarah directly and ask her some questions, then join us over in the MamaFuel Virtual Village here where we’ll be carrying on the conversation.

If you’d like to learn more about the MamaFuel Sisterhood, be sure to email me here at anne@mamafuel.me and I’ll get right back in touch to tell you all about it. And remember to keep May 7th in your diary, because that’s when the fun will begin!

Follow Sarah’s journey and hear her sing on Instagram here.

Check out her website here.

EP042: Sarah Sproule on talking to kids about sex in ways that connect and deepen bonds

EP042: Sarah Sproule on talking to kids about sex in ways that connect and deepen bonds

Many parents dread having “THE TALK” with their kids, fearful of using true anatomical language, saying too much or having to answer uncomfortable questions.

Today’s guest, Sarah Sproule, learned first-hand about the importance of the talk AND how much of an impact having (or not having) the talk could have on her social circle and her children’s network of friends. Ever since, Sarah’s dedicated her life to helping parents navigate the potentially treacherous waters of talking about sex in ways that connect and build stronger bonds with their children.

We explore how to talk to your kids, framing their new knowledge in ways that will preserve their friendships (aka: you’re lucky to know this stuff, not everyone’s parents talk to them about this), how to talk to them about sexual pleasure, and how to create respectful boundaries around conversations that not every family is prepared to have. 

I loved Sarah’s perspective on culture, and how we’re now at the opposite of the “don’t talk” spectrum where some people feel forced to talk about things they don’t want to discuss yet with their children. We talk about sexting, videos, consent, cyber intimacy and so much more. Listen for the nugget later in our conversation when Sarah explains about the four-to-one ratio to help keep your relationship with your kids on the right track. 

To learn more about Sarah’s work and find out how you can have supportive and loving conversations with your kids about sex, visit https://www.thetalk.ie/ and be sure to join our free Facebook group here to continue the conversation with other mamas. 

EP041: Hannah Hardy-Jones on post-natal mental illness, celebrating wellness and new beginnings

EP041: Hannah Hardy-Jones on post-natal mental illness, celebrating wellness and new beginnings

Hannah Hardy-Jones could be a stranger in a far-off land, but instead she’s a brand new soul sister. Our digital paths crossed somewhere on the interwebs a few months ago and a gentle conversation began, quickly deepening as we discovered shared values and interests. 

Our first conversation, recorded to share with you, felt more like one in a long string of conversations than a simple beginning. I’m deeply moved by Hannah and touched by her openness about her experiences with post-natal bi-polar disorder. 

Hannah’s generous sharing about her life-altering experience and how she manages it now invites us all to look closely at preconceptions or stigmas we may hold about mental illness. We move from trauma in the community (Hannah lives just outside Christchurch and we recorded this conversation a week after the horrific massacre of innocent Muslims in their places of worship), to the importance of sisterhood and support, especially in times of illness, and finally to Hannah’s newest baby: an offering that’s making the world a better, kinder place for mothers. 

Find out more about Hannah and her work on Instagram
or at her web site and be sure to download, rate and review her app. It’s life-changing. 

Be sure to join the free MamaFuel Facebook group here, where the conversation continues. 

EP040: Debbi Carberry on self-acceptance, self-compassion and the value of building resilience

EP040: Debbi Carberry on self-acceptance, self-compassion and the value of building resilience

This week’s guest is a force of nature, a leader and a wise, wise woman. Debbi Carberry is a therapist, a clinical social worker, possibly Brené Brown’s twin, a mama of four, owner and leader of five businesses, loving partner, friend, and so much more. 

Debbi and I go deep straight away, talking about shame, self-acceptance, self-compassion, kindness and building individual relationships with each person we love. As our conversation weaves from love to self-criticism, via the power and impact of silent genetic messages that are passed from generation to generation, we exchange our experiences as mothers, leaders and women doing our best, every day. 

There’s so much more in this episode: we talk about control within the family unit, the inability of most adults and children to tolerate discomfort, and what the consequences may be, the importance of dopamine and why we’re raising a generation of kids who are dopamine-deficient because we don’t let our children struggle anymore. 

Honestly, I stepped away from this interview with my heart brimming over and my brain beyond excited. I can’t urge you enough to go and listen to this conversation, then share it. 

When you’ve finished listening I’d love you to join our free Facebook community, where we’ll continue the conversation and expand on what we talked about in this week’s episode. Click here to join the MamaFuel Virtual Village Facebook group. I can’t wait to see what resonated most with you about our conversation.

If you’d like to find out more about Debbi, here are a few of the places where you can find her: www.debbicarberry.com.au
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debbicarberry/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebbiCarberry/

EP039: Sally Wyatt on the benefits of living outside your comfort zone, celebrating failure and adjusting to life abroad

EP039: Sally Wyatt on the benefits of living outside your comfort zone, celebrating failure and adjusting to life abroad

A few months ago I was awe-struck, watching magic in motion. The woman who orchestrated this particular piece of real-life magic is my guest on this week’s episode of MamaFuel. Sally Wyatt is an adventurer, a kind, energetic and intelligent woman who happens to be a mama to two tiny human girls, a writer, a dreamer and a courageous soul who spends a lot of time outside her comfort zone.

Sally moved to Switzerland less than a year ago (at time of recording) and has already built up a deep network of close friends and soul sisters through a H-U-G-E leap of faith she took late last year. Her willingness to make things happen and to find ways of making things work is inspiring me, and I know it’ll inspire you too. 

In this week’s episode we talk about the benefits of living outside your comfort zone (where Sally is happiest), finding your way back to yourself in the midst of mothering and all the things life throws at you, life as an expat, how moments of change and failure remind you that you’re alive and why teaching kids that failure is a natural part of life sets them up for success in life.

I loved Sally’s candid sharing about why she started her blog, Life Lemonaid, and how it’s helped her stay on an even keel mentally and intellectually: sanity-saving writing really is a glorious thing and Sally’s words uplift and inspire anyone who reads them. Hearing Sally talk about what it was like to volunteer for a massive event like TEDxLausanneWomen was also eye-opening, and has got me thinking of my own engagement with volunteer opportunities in Geneva and beyond. 

These show notes wouldn’t be complete without a link to the amazing TEDx talk given by Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson, aka @mother_pukka and @papa_pukka at TEDxLausanneWomen 2018. THIS is the magic that Sally made happen for me (attending this TEDx talk was a turning point in my thinking and in my life) and meeting Anna and Matt in person was a fun, inspiring and cake-fuelled experience. I loved every second of it and I suspect you’ll love their talk as well.

When you’ve finished listening I’d love you to join our free Facebook community, where we’ll continue the conversation and where Sally is available to answer any questions or expand on what we talked about in this week’s episode. Click here to join the MamaFuel Virtual Village Facebook group. I can’t wait to see what resonated most with you about our conversation.

If you’d like to follow Sally, her’s where you can find her: 
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/life_lemonaid/
Online: https://lifelemonaid.com/