The role of being a Mother offers us the potential for incredible expansion, growth, and power, while also being one of – if not THE – most challenging, undervalued, and taken for granted roles in the world. Motherhood Studies Sociologist, researcher, and single Mother, Dr Sophie Brock hosts The Good Enough Mother (TGEM) podcast with an aim to change how Motherhood is culturally defined and individually experienced. TGEM draws its name from a theorist and pediatrician Winnicott, who highlighted the ways ‘good enough’ parenting is actually what is best for our children – not perfectionism. The podcast centres the Mother as the starting point for conversations with experts and change-makers who are passionate about seeing social, cultural, and institutional change to better support Mothers and therefore our families, and communities.
62. Awakening to the Possibilities of Birth
In this episode, Maha Al Musa, founder and creator of BellydanceBirth® and EmbodyBirthᵀᴹ shares her passion and advocacy for an expansion and reclaiming of what birth can mean, and how we as mothers experience and make meaning of our births.
Maha is of Palestinian/Lebanese origin and draws on her cultural, ancestral, and mothering wisdom to teach her signature childbirth education and preparation programs for mothers-to-be and birth professionals. In the episode she shares part of her life story in being kidnapped as a baby and her connection to land and culture severed, and her amazing story of reconnection, right before she became a mother herself.
Maha speaks about fear and patriarchy, the divisions that have been created between women when it comes to birth and motherhood, the rites of passage she has experienced through menopause and the powerful and revolutionary connections to be fostered between generations of women.
Maha is the author of Dance of the Womb: The Essential Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy and Birth book, endorsed by Dr Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger, Dr Sarah Buckley and the creator of the follow on BellydanceBirth® Practice Video Series (Dance of the Womb: A Gentle Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy and Birth).
You can find her on Instagram @maha_al_musa
Facebook at - https://www.facebook.com/mahaalmusabirthvisionary
Maha’s website: mahaalmusa.com
Online program: https://sales.mahaalmusa.com/embodybirth
Virtual training: https://mahaalmusa.kartra.com/page/virtualtraining
61. Motherhood as a Rite of Passage
“I know that women can remember the wholehearted ways of knowing carried deep in our bones to heal their own their own lives, and this work is the medicine needed to reweave the world.” Kamya O'Keeffe.
This podcast episode traverses the the transitions we experience through motherhood, and their power and potential. While an emphasis on that initial transition into motherhood is so important, motherhood continues to be a portal through which we experience transitions as our children grow.
In this conversation with Kamya O’Keeffe, we explore what these transitions can mean, the intergenerational connections between women and mothers, the cloak of invisibility that can be part of elderhood, and the dismantling of hierarchy between women as our site of power and connection.
Kamya is a senior facilitator of Rites of Passage programmes and a mentor to women leaders. Kamya creates safety held rituals and circles through her presence and attention. She listens for the whispers and songs of the underground stream of our inner knowing, and she names the harmful cultural narratives and value systems at the source of our wounding, to disrupt the cycle of our mother wounds. She designs experiences that honour women with joy and celebration.
You can connect with Kamya O'Keeffee further through her Instagram at @kamyaokeeffe or find out more about the Rites of Passage programs on Facebook @theritesofpassageinstitute
Find out more about Sophie’s group The Liberated Motherhood Membership and join the July special of $149 for a 6 month membership bundle - https://drsophiebrock.com/liberatedmotherhood/
60. Perfectionism in Partnerships and in Parenting
How do the pressures we experience both individually and contextually, shape the relationships we have with our partners, children, and ourselves, and what can we do to deepen our sense of connection?
This episode is with Michaela Thomas, an experienced Clinical Psychologist, Couples Therapist and founder of The Thomas Connection. She is also a speaker and author of The Lasting Connection, about developing compassion for yourself and your partner.
Michaela has a special interest in perfectionism and parental mental health, and in this conversation we explore the interrelated ways that the pressures we experience and place on ourselves effect the relationship we have with our partners (if we’re partnered), ourselves, and our children.
Michaela shares what she sees as being the biggest challenges of early parenthood for couples, and explains the differences between sacrifice and compromise, and how these can operate for new parents.
We reflect on the disjuncture between our expectations of parenthood and the lived realities, and the tension between individual and structural responsibility for where we find ourselves, and how we move forward into change.
Michaela shares her ‘pause, purpose, play’ model to help guide us into self-compassion and challenging the perfectionist pressures that pervade so many of the expectations of partnerships and parenthood.
You can find Michaela on Instagram @the_thomas_connection and Facebook @TheThomasConnection as well as on the podcast Pause Purpose Play with Michaela Thomas. You can purchase her book The Lasting Connection here: www.thethomasconnection.co.uk/thelastingconnection is the link for the book, and my couples and see her couples course here: www.thethomasconnection.co.uk/thecompassionatecouple
59. The Sexual Revolution of Motherhood
“We become mothers in the womb of society. A mother’s relationship with sex can’t be disentangled from how she feels about herself, how she feels about her partner, as well as how society impacts and constructs her worldview.” Sarah Forbes.
This episode is with Sarah Forbes, a curator, sexual culturalist and author who has been dubbed a ‘sexpert supreme’ by Cosmopolitan Magazine. Sarah is trained as an anthropologist and spent a decade as the Curator of the Museum of Sex in New York, captured in her memoir ‘Sex in the Museum’. She is now working on her second book ‘Mama Sex’, an anthropological look at motherhood and sexuality.
In this conversation Sarah explains how modern relationships and the mental load placed on mothers is representative of an anti-aphrodisiac cultural tsunami. This dive into motherhood and sexuality is framed by both individual questions of self and identity, as well as broader sociocultural and historical questions about how context shapes individual experiences.
Sarah shares powerful insights into the potential that motherhood has as a pathway to sexual revolution. She speaks to the barriers and obstacles mothers face in their sexual fulfilment - leading to the ‘orgasm gap’ - and offers advice for how we can rebuild and strengthen our own relationship with our sexuality, without it having to be another thing on our to-do list.
Head to Sarah’s website https://www.mamasexbook.com/ take the ‘Mama Sex’ quiz, and follow her at @mamasexbook and @curatorofsex
58. Alternatives to The Perfect Mother Myth
Our ongoing journey through Motherhood can involve a process of letting go as much as of new learning and growth.
In this episode I reflect on the process of what it means to go on the journey of unpacking how we have internalised the ‘perfect mother myth’ and have been socialized into the expectations of what it means to be a ‘Mother’.
The birth of a new awareness, and (re)creation of a new identity can feel alluring, exciting, liberating, and/or empowering.
But it can also feel really unsettling, especially at first. This episode speaks to this experience and on how we can build new models of what it means to be a mother.
I consider a model of ‘integrated’ motherhood, and invite you to reflect on some questions about your own sense of self and identity.
57. Embracing Our Maternal (and Professional) Expertise
Maternal knowledge and the expertise we develop through the practice of mothering our children is often defined as being in the ‘private’ realm, while professionals are regarded as experts in the ‘public’ realm.
When the two are brought together, there can be collision and challenge, and/or there can be the meeting of experience and expertise in a way that is powerful, transformative, and enriching for our children.
This conversation about this meeting point, is with Emily Adler Mosqueda, M.S., CCC-SLP who is a bilingual and bicultural pediatric speech-language pathologist, associate clinical professor, and mother of two.
Emily experienced postpartum depression late in her second postpartum, and has become an advocate teaching about parental mental health factors to her graduate speech-language pathology students.
In this episode we reflect on the intersection of knowledge, experience, and authority, and the claiming of maternal authority and utilizing of professional expertise.
Speaking of the experience of both being a mother, and working in supporting mothers, Emily also shares how the development of maternal thinking as mothers can inform and enrich our careers.
Connect with Emily at emilyadlermosqueda.com and on Instagram @emily.adler.mosqueda and her account @postpartum365 where she shares peer-reviewed research on postpartum and Motherhood Studies topics in an effort to shift the cultural understanding of how long the postpartum time is, and how to centralize mothers in their mothering and experience of motherhood.
Emily is also the author of the free children’s book My Big Feelings and The Big Bad Virus available at mybigfeelings.com in English and Spanish.
Spoke to my soul!
As a mum of two toddlers (4yo boy and 2yo girl) who (prior to children) was VERY outcome focused/KPI driven I related so so so much to your podcast on the perfect child myth. I wish so much that this information was the norm of what was shared because social constructs of the perfect mother and the perfect child can be so damaging to both of these subjects!
Rich with wisdom and heart
I adore this podcast. Each episode is jam packed with thoughtful conversation, commentary and wisdom. Easily the top of my podcast list 🤩
I LOVED the episode on Maternal Ambivalence I can honestly say I have never heard a better explanation of what maternal ambivalence actually is and the power of of it. Thank you so much for your unique talent in breaking down concepts that can feel a bit out of reach into such relatable explanations. 🤩👏
Thank you Sophie
Sophie, listening to your podcasts has lifted a massive weight from my shoulders. I had been taking full responsibility for the many challenges of my mothering journey, blaming my inadequacies and scrambling to be better. I am now relaxing into myself as a mother and a woman. I know I’m doing a good job, I am able to just enjoy my children and let them be without so much imposing and worrying. I’ve seen a shift in my kids as well.. like a strong bond of trust, respect and safety. They can also relax. I believe your work can change the foundations of our social structure to be more balanced, equitable and harmonious. Thank you