I know when I became a mother, I changed, and in a good way. I was the same person with the same face, the same history, the same story but something was different. The word ineffable reflects the metamorphosis that occurs when a woman (or person) becomes a parent. It is hard to put into words the profound shift in identity and purpose that happens when you give birth and slowly grow into motherhood. My guest Kari says in this interview “you don't wake up a mother, it is something you grow into.”
When you become a parent, pre-birth expectations drop away as reality kicks in. Life that perhaps was once goal or career orientated shifts as life with a baby forces a new daily rhythm. A slowing down, surrendering and letting go for a new way of being in the world.
My guest Kari Azuma, leadership development coach and mother, from Santa Barbara, California joins us in a conversation about her transition to motherhood, birth as an opportunity for personal evolution and finding your passion and power as a mother.
This episode focuses the lens on motherhood; my guest Kari specifically works with mothers. Yet, whatever gender you identify as this episode speaks to all parents in the metamorphosis that occurs with the birth of a new family member.
I ask Kari about her reality post having her baby. What it means to slow down. There is a notion of six weeks postpartum and then you go back to your pre-pregnancy self, back to your pre-pregnancy clothes, job, sex life and interests as if you never had a baby. This concept intersects with being measured up against your pre-child state and your new life with a baby or young children. You can't always go at the same pace or speed at which you once could and you are not always interested in the things you once were.
Part of pregnancy and the journey to becoming a mother involves dreaming and planing, what life will be like with your baby. I ask Kari, about her pre-birth expectations of life with a baby and what a more truer perspective of becoming a mother is. Kari says “one thing you can count on, is that there are unknowns. To know that life isn't going to be a straight line. Have a plan and be open to the mystery of becoming a mother.”
Sometimes birth doesn't go to plan, despite how much preparation and planning happens. Kari, mentioned her birth was a traumatic experience. I wanted to know more about her experience and how it has shaped and changed her perspective on life, work and herself.
More covered in this episode:
Motherhood as a powerful opportunity for transformation.
Birth as a Rite of Passage and the commercialism of motherhood
Take a listen to our interview with Kari Azuma here:
Connect with Kari at kariazuma.com.
This episode was written and produced by Lara Martin.
I don't know about you, but subconsciously I've been looking for this word - matrescence - and the social movement it will bring, for a long time.
Matrescence is the "time of mother-becoming", as defined by anthropologist, Dana Rafael back in the 1970's in her essay "Matrescence, Becoming a Mother, A New/Old Rite de passage".
How is it this much needed term has taken so long to enter common parlance? Why is it when pregnant, we don't speak of ourselves as 'going through matrescence' and spend our pregnancy preparing for this great transition when the baby arrives?
Feminist motherhood writers such as Andrea O'Reilly would have a lot to say on the reasons behind this, but in this piece, I'm keen to simply be a part of raising awareness of the term matrescence. Why? Once we have a name for an issue, it makes it so much easier to start addressing it.
Dr Oscar Serrallach holds a similar passion for raising awareness of matrescence and the need for support for it, because he sees most women across multiple generations have suffered from a lack of awareness, and therefore a lack of support for this profound transformation of women.
Oscar got involved in this work through witnessing Caroline, his partner and mother to his three children, go through her own transformation and subsequent depletion of her health. He also saw mothers coming through through his medical practice literally worn down to a mere shadow of their former selves by the hardship of insufficiently supported parenting.
This wearing down we have witnessed in mothers of young children, and perhaps experienced in ourselves, leads to years of depletion, "postnatal depletion" as Oscar calls it, where a woman suffers physically, mentally, emotionally, creatively, spiritually.
"Like adolescence, matrescence needs support" says Oscar. This transitional period holds within it the potential for a woman to forge a new identity for herself and gain new insights in the world and her place in it. However to achieve fully fledged motherhood, a woman needs time and support to integrate her birthing and postnatal experiences into her new role.
Catch my interview with Oscar about Matrescence and postnatal depletion below.
The only part of my interview that couldn't fit into our national network podcast is Oscar's discussion of hormonal psychiatry, a burgeoning field that practitioners such as Dr Kelly Brogan are championing. Oscar cited a study of four severely depressed postnatal women who experienced rapid recovery after a 60 hour infusion of Brexanolone, which is related to the hormone allopregnanolone. This hormone is produced by the placenta, along with more than 200 hormones, and gaining a lot of interest in circles where perinatal depression is being researched and treated.
Other references on the changes that occur during Matrescence
Oscar also discusses the "massive upgrade" that happens to women's brains as a result of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, and some of the research for this is listed below.
By Sally Cusack
Are you a healthcare services consumer? Specifically - have you accessed any form of maternity healthcare services in the last few years?
On Friday May 25th 2018, Sally Cusack & I spent the day up at Tweed Heads, attending a Consultation workshop as part of the governments plans to develop a National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services. The consultation was hosted by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC). The expected outcome for the NSAMS project is a document to guide national maternity services policy.
Along with about 20 other people we debated and discussed, listened and contributed to the conversation. What should maternity services look like in the future? What are the main frameworks and who are the key stakeholders? What’s missing from the current system and how do we go about attaining a system that delivers better outcomes for mothers, their babies, their families and those that work within these systems?
I have the beautiful Sally Cusack in the studio, join us as we discuss all this and more on this special episode of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond.
Listen to the Podcast
Definitions and Links
The following definitions are taken from the Health Consumers NSW website. Visit their site for more information about consumer engagement.
Health Consumers are people who use health services, as well as their family and carers. This includes people who have used a health service in the past or who could potentially use the service in the future.
Maternity Consumer Advocate
A health consumer representative is a health consumer who has taken up a specific role to provide advice on behalf of consumers, with the overall aim of improving health care.
A consumer representative is often a consumer member of a committee, project or event who voices consumer perspectives and takes part in decision making on behalf of consumers. A health consumer representative may be nominated by and accountable to, a consumer organisation.
Usually the role is working with a health service (or consumer organisation) and is often in a volunteer capacity. Sometimes the role comes with a small payment to cover the consumer’s costs.
About this Episode
Producer/Host: Annalee Atia
Interviewee: Sally Cusack
She is Australia’s netball sweetheart; she has played for Australia 122 times and captained the national netball team for 4 years. She is Liz Ellis and besides winning two world championships and two commonwealth games, Liz has another tale to share: a journey to parenthood that was less than smooth.
During attempts to fall pregnant with a second child, Liz was hurtled into secondary infertility, experiencing, first hand, what it is to be a cog in the wheel of IVF treatments, enduring the grief of miscarriages (three). She and her husband went through this for 5 long years.
Liz understands this journey well and she knows how much a woman can yearn for a child, be it their first second or seventh. Today, as a parent to two beautiful children Liz can look back on the 5 years it took to get here and know that this has changed her irrevocably and she is passionate about sharing all she learned with others. So much so that she Liz embarked on a book, If At First You Don’t Conceive, which offers a beacon of light as it guides other women and their partners struggling through the funnel of fertility challenges.
The beauty of her book is Liz not only tackles IVF- she recognises there are other paths women and men can take and she includes these in her book too.
In this episode, Liz pleads with women to, ‘engage with your own fertility. Be the driving force and be empowered about your own journey’.
Have a listen to what she has to say. Then go out and buy her book. It’s worth it.
(In listening to this podcast, please note there is her small child in the background.)
Author and Podcast Producer: Kimberley Lipschus
Mothers in Business - the first years is the topic of our show today, we are excited to have two gorgeous mothers from our local community here in the Northern Rivers of NSW, Meggie Danielson & Alona Rosenberg of WeMove studio in Mullumbimby and many more adventures! Well looking into the life of mothers over a series of 6 shows in the coming year and this episode here is our first. We wanted to look at the joys and challenges of being a mother and small business owner servicing the local community. We’re also in the business of celebrating women and acknowledging the unique needs & desires mothers have for themselves, their families and communities here at PBB. Wonderful today, both our guests migrated to Australia and have chosen our beautiful shire as the place to raise their children.
Alona was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and graduated from the renowned Thelma Yelin Performance and Arts School and also has a BA in Design and Psychology from the Open University. She has worked as an independent artist, dancer and choreographer in Australia as well as in Israel. From 2012- 2015 Alona worked with the Yasmin Goder Company and is an avid fan of the Ohad Naharin Gaga technique. Alona was part of the Dirty Feet collective in Sydney ( 2009- 2011) and participated in different site-specific dance works including: ‘The fish that swam against the current’ that was co choreographed with Shira Aviatar in 2012. She also worked alongside Elizabeth Ryan as a teacher for kids at ‘Big Steps Little Feet’ in Sydney. Since moving to Mullumbimby in 2016 Alona has worked with Kimberly Mcintyre in her choreography projects. She is a passionate movement teacher, performer and co-founder of the WeMove Dance and Movement Studio, Mullumbimby
Copyright PBB Media, Annalee Atia 2018
Producer & Host: Annalee Atia
Interviewees: Meggie Danielson & Alona Rosenberg
You can find our podcast on Spreaker & iTunes and with your favourite podcast provider.
There has been a resurgence of women’s agency and the value of women individually and as part of society. We have been watching as this unfolds, unfurls and sometimes becomes undone. We have been watching it in the media, around the world in different countries and in our own lives, with our women friends, women in our family and women around us in the community. We have been watching it unravel with in us, too. It can feel uncomfortable, empowering, inspiring dangerous.. Women have been silent in so many many ways for so many centuries. In fact, Dr Amanda Furman who wrote and presented a groundbreaking 4-part series on the history of women called - The Ascent of Woman delves deeply into the place of women in society over the course of written history. She argues that the status of women is a barometer of a society’s tolerance, fairness and openness and that for the most part over the past 10,000 years women have been oppressed, denied basic freedoms and considered a means to an end - though not always. There have been times where women have had equal rights, ruled and been revered for their contributions.
In this episode we are talking about Women and the value of sitting together in Circle.
We have been watching as the modern movement of Feminism evolves and matures to become one that recognises women for their own capacities, rather than merely hoping for women to receive the same ‘deal’ that men have.
Sitting in Circle with other women supports us to recognise where we are at, where we have been and where we are headed. It affords us the much needed support and empowerment and sustains us along the journey. It helps set us free from self judgement and fosters in us, compassion for others. For many women the practice of gathering has stayed alive and strong throughout history, and for some, it is a new concept, one they are rediscovering.
Join us is celebrating this beautiful tradition!
Listen to the Podcast:
Circles and Stones
Look up 'Circle of Stones' on your preferred search engine and you will find numerous images dating back thousands of years all the through till today. From large 2ton stones gathered into a circle at a time when humans had no mechanical machines, to small pebbles collected at the beach or a stream and sacredly placed at an alter. Stones have been used since the dawn of human time to depict clarity, grounded truth, a holding space. Intentionally placing stones in the shape of a circle allows whatever is intended in the space to flow around, to move, to actualise.
For more insight into women's circle, Judith Duerk's book Circle of Stones is a wonderful place to start.
The Ascent of Woman
Dr Amanda Foreman's critically acclaimed 4-part series delving into the history of women over the past 10,000 years (trailer to the left) originally created for BBC 2, is available on Netflix. The series looks at the amazing history of women and their plight for equal rights, access to power, freedom of movement & the right to self-determination.
The modern world was made by men, and, women. It is now time to recognise the value of women's contribution and the imapct they have.
Producer & Host: Annalee Atia
Interviewee: Vanessa Wood
Music bite on this podcast: Habanot Nechama / Lovers
She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.
She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made them look like a pair of wings.
- Ariana Dancu
So on this day of all days we rise up to celebrate women of all kinds, and inclusivity. We celebrate the gift of life women offer every person on this planet; we celebrate women born as women (and of women); we celebrate those who became whole when they became women; we celebrate the feminine, the giving, the generous and the ones who carry strength as if they were invincible and bear their universe like a pair of wings.
You may ask about the sentence above - ‘women who became whole when they became women.’ Sounds like an odd thing to say. Want to know why? Let us tell a short story.
At nineteen, when most teenagers are experimenting with self, testing boundaries and expressing sexuality, Kate Speedy, found herself suppressing her sexuality as if her life depended on it. Why? Because she had found out that her father was embarking on life as woman and it threw her world into disarray, come what may.
Twenty years ago, Speedy had no benchmark to take in such news, no support, just isolation and shame. She had to learn to negotiate the emotional terrain that threatened to upend her life. In 1998 the word, ‘trannie’ was hissed at the statuesque, parodies of women-hood who’d frequent certain dim lit areas of any given city. Women with stilt like legs which were the envy of most other women; women who’s fake eyelashes were
so long they shadowed their perfectly tweezered brows; women with talon-like nails who weren’t afraid to use them, if just to survive a life of ridicule; and women with witty word plays for names.
Today we know this to be called gender dysmorphia. Yet increasingly it’s understood that gender is more fluid than this. It can’t be boxed into a medical term, nor pinned like a butterfly into a wooden display cabinet.
Gender exists on a spectrum, on a case-by- case basis and it should never be paired with shame.
There is much more acceptance for people struggling with gender dysmorphia in 2018, yet still today there is also much more work to be done.
That is why today, on the International Woman’s Day, 2018 we too #pressforprogress as we celebrate women-hood in all it’s incarnations, for not all are born women but become them. Inclusivity. We celebrate you Kate Speedy, for speaking about your experience, but we also celebrate your father, Helen and raise a glass to her on this day.
If you’d like to listen Kate Speedy describe her journey of discovery and her father’s transition to become Helen, click on the podcast link below.
If anything in this podcast challenges you or someone in your life go to:
And other great resources are in this blog post on our first show on gender diversity.
Since the recording of this interview, we acknowledge the these broadcasting guidelines regarding gender diversity language.
- Kimberley Lipschus
But this experience didn't just drop into Grace's hands. Her two previous births were extremely challenging, leaving her with huge doubts about herself and her body's ability to give birth. With this pregnancy, Grace focused on nourishing herself physically, finding continuity of care that would suit her and her family's needs, and perhaps most importantly - address her emotional fears, as you'll hear in this podcast.
- "As Long as the Baby is Healthy" Part 1
- "As Long as the Baby is Healthy" - Part 2
- "Midwife - with woman"
- "The Benefits of Midwife-led Continuity of Care"
And if you'd like to hear my first ever interview with Ritchie former US Navy officer turned student midwife and father of three, it's right here.
This episode of Pregnancy Birth and Beyond we climb that mountain with our guest Taneal Cadou-Blake. Taneal and her family recently returned to their home town of Byron Bay, Australia, after three and a half years of travel and living abroad. We hear how Taneal, her husband Lalo and their four youngest children packed up all their belongings, took the plunge and set off abroad on a family adventure.
With one backpack each the Cadou-Blake family set off to discover a life full of wonder and beauty across Asia and Europe. You might think it costs a lot of money to travel, especially with four children, however, this family with it's roots in gypsy life show us that even on a shoe-string budget travel is possible.
Taneal shares with us some extended travel tips, kids education and a different kind of education and some unexpected but happy surprises along the way.
This episode and blog post of Pregnancy Birth and Beyond show was produced and hosted by Lara Martin with co-host Sally Cusack.
A big claim, but whenever she puts her back out, when she was struggling with fertility issues, when her baby was well overdue and not well positioned in utero, craniosacral therapy (CST) keeps delivering results. "They were treating inflammation in my body... and I have two children now" says Kimberley. It wasn't the only therapy she used during this period, but she credits the results in large part to CST. She also believes it allowed her to have a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) for her second birth. "And it's so gentle, you can hardly feel their manipulations."
So, I was keen to know more.
Chris Teale, Craniosacral therapist and Physiotherapist explains in this new podcast how CST works, and how a crucial aspect of this modality is its holistic approach in which a person's emotional state is considered, as well as their physical issues. This can be particularly powerful for unsettled, colicky, refluxy babies. Through her career Chris has treated about 1000 babies and has come to see how many of these babies are suffering from birth trauma, either from a medicalised birth, but also from unmedicalised births, which might have been very quick, or very long.
CST is an osteopathic technique developed initially by the father of Osteopathy, Andrew Still in the late 1880's who discovered through personal experimentation that our cranial bones do not fuse in adult life, that in fact we keep a certain amount of movement or 'give' in between the cranial sutures. In the 1930's William Sutherland developed CST further, followed by John Upledger, who coined the term "CranioSacral Therapy" in the 1970's when he discovered the link between the membranes in the head, the dura in the spine, which leads all the way down to the sacrum. CST differs to other techniques such as Craniopathy and Sacral Occipital techniques, as it works with the and membranes not just bony structures of the craniosacral system.
There are numerous ways to be trained in CST, but not all craniosacral therapists have foundation training in anatomy prior to their accreditation. If you want to find a therapist with anatomical training as well, such as physiotherapy or osteopathy, one way to find them is via the Upledger Institute website (for your country).
After speaking with Chris, and hearing of Kimberley's experiences with CST, I reckon I'll be off to find a craniosacral therapist next time I have a health issue.
NE PLUS ULTRA
Meaning... the perfect or most extreme example of its kind; the ultimate. Or at least, that is what we aim for. This here is our news segment of the website. Check back in every now & then for a read of what we find as the ultimate and most relevant news in Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond.
The authors of this segment are varied, each post will indicate the author of that particular post. For more information about our team, visit here