This is a place for you to find the information and support you need to make the transition to motherhood an empowering one.Together your hosts Kelly Wilkes and Bree Holling will combine evidence-based information with personal insight to help you heal from past experiences, make informed and empowered decisions, grow as individuals and mothers and find solidarity in this journey that is matrescence. Whether you are a mother, a birth worker or just a woman driven to be the best version of herself, as long as you like belly laughs, heart warming stories and over sharing, this is a place for you.
#45 Supporting Your Family Through the Death of a Loved One With Death Doula Amanda
,Content warning: Death, miscarriage, domestic violence
In this week’s episode we chat to mum of 3 and death doula, Amanda.
Amanda became a mum earlier in life than expected. While she breezed through conception and pregnancy, Amanda’s first birth was not what she had planned for, hoped for, or expected. Despite wanting a natural birth, Amanda agreed to have her first birth induced. After 17 long hours of back to back contractions, she was taken for an emergency c-section. She gave birth to a beautiful, healthy and hungry 5.5kg baby boy. Amanda was unable to breastfeed and switched to formula early on. She recalls feeling judged (both by herself and others) for this decision. These unexpected challenges rocked Amanda’s confidence and shaped her early motherhood experience.
After multiple losses, another 2 c-sections (including one very healing one) postnatal depression and more, Amanda’s family was finally complete with three beautiful boys.
Around this time, Amanda made the decision to leave her toxic relationship and move closer to her village. For a short while, she relished in having the constant physical and emotional support of her parents, however shortly after her dad was diagnosed with liver cancer and died within a month leaving a gaping hole.
Amanda soon came face to face with death again, when her mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. While devastated by this news, their family felt more empowered in their approach to end of life this time. She spent the last 9 months of her mum's life straddling the roles of “good mother” and “good daughter.” She shares with us some of the challenges of trying to solo parent her three children, while also providing support to her parents during this incredibly challenging time. Amanda shares with us how they were able to center her mother's needs, utilize their village and weave ritual into her mother's eventual passing.
In a cruel twist of events, Amanda did not have time to process her mother’s death, as 6 short weeks later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a single mum, sole breadwinner and still adapting both emotionally and logistically to life without her parents, Amanda recalls spending the 36 hours after her diagnosis awake trying to understand what would happen to her boys, if she was to pass away. The next few years were filled with scans, surgeries, radiation and more, but as a family unit they made it through and today Amanda is proudly and gratefully, in remission.
These experiences, have led Amanda to the work she does now as a death doula. Today, Amanda works for not-for-profit “Violet,” providing free information and support to families navigating the last stage of life, as well as the grief and loss that accompanies it.
Throughout the episode Amanda shares her wisdom for navigating death when you have young children including; How to talk to kids about death in a way that is both honest and age appropriate, how to talk to aging parent's about their wishes for end of life, how to weave ritual and choice into death, why you would hire a death doula and so much more.
To connect with Amanda: @amicusmortisdoula
This episode is sponsored by Together Pregnancy and Postpartum
To connect with them on Instagram: @together.perinatal
To listen to her podcast "Postpartum like a boss," or book a session with Gemma, or access any of her other offerings: https://togetherpnp.com.au/
Connect with us on Instagram: @Matrescence.podcast
Or head to out website: www.birthofamother.com.au
#44 Our Story: Insights on The Mental Load, Working Motherhood and the Supermum Myth.
8 years ago on a Sunday afternoon, Bree walked down Kel's long drive way for an interview.
After the news that their neurdiverse son was no longer welcome at Before and After School Care, Kel and her husband had been forced to explore other care options.
While the first nanny was okay, the fit wasn't quite right.
18 and with minimal experience with children, on paper Bree was probably not an ideal candidate. In fact, on her first day she had to call her mum to walk her through how to cook mashed potato. However after an hour spent chatting, they both knew that this was meant to be.
For the next 7 years, Bree nannied Kel's two boys: Through both her pregnancies, often with a baby strapped to her back and another in tow, through a cross-the-globe move, both the boys graduating primary school and so much more.
While this experience was no doubt enriching for the boys, as you will hear in this episode, the decision to hire a nanny is one that created ripples throughout both family units and left no part of their lives unaffected.
Throughout this episode Bree and Kel explore topics such as the mental load, the Perfect Mother Myth, how they approached communication and decision making as a team of three, the logistics and finances of hiring a nanny, guilt and shame attached to this decision, some hilarious and heart warming stories from the past 7 years and so much more.
To connect with us:
Instagram: @matrescence.podcast @kel.matrescence.podcast
This episode was sponsored by The Nurture Village.
To connect with them:
#43 Is She A Good Baby? With Dr Alix Vann.
In this week's episode we chat to Alix.
Alix is an eldest daughter, a mother to a 4-year-old daughter, a clinical psychologist, and a recovering ‘good girl’. Through both her post-graduate training and clinical experience, and her own lived experiences of being parented and raised in the pursuit of perfect, Alix has become intimately acquainted with the notion of "the good child” and how this presents in the mothering experience. Alix’s own introduction to motherhood was fraught, with her mother dying of bladder cancer when her daughter was 8 weeks old. Layering the gravity of this grief and loss onto Alix’ in built system of functioning – to be and do everything to the highest of standards, to make achieving look easy, and to self-sacrifice at all costs – created the perfect storm and resulted in what Alix would come to know was severe postnatal depression. Faced with an unsettled baby (acutely perceptive to the emotional environment around her, screaming and wailing for a whole family in mourning and out of their depth), who found sleep extremely difficult, so much about the experience of early motherhood felt like a terrifying failure. Alix has lived and breathed the pressures of breaking down the ‘good girl’ image to be a real girl, and to have the opportunity to try and parent the baby in front of her – not the perfect baby, but her baby. Through her work in two independent private high schools in Brisbane, Alix also has experience in how the pressures and expectations that may accompany mothering, with being a female in our society, and with being parented in a certain way, can culminate to influence a child’s experience of the education system and their development into adolescence. She has fought hard to bring awareness and support regarding perfectionism, self-care, and self-compassion into schools, and this has been well received by staff, students and families alike. Most recently, Alix has instigated the concept of Wellness Groups for high school students, to provide increasingly normalised support for adolescents going through similar psychological challenges (e.g. anxiety, low mood, interpersonal relationships, self-care struggles), and to try to offer some alternative pathways to psychological stability and a solid sense of self, without reliance on performance, outcomes and achievements. Alix completed her Bachelor of Psychological Science with First Class Honours in 2007, receiving a University Medal and topping her Honours Year. In 2012, Alix graduated from a Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), and has 10 years of clinical experience as a psychologist. Despite all of this, she’s a real woman, struggling in her own way, and embracing the rebel within to be vulnerable and re-parent herself, in the hopes that this will benefit not only her own life, but that of her daughter and clients too.
Throughout this episode, Alix applies both her professional and personal experience to the topic of the "good baby." We discuss how and why society expects baby's to be quiet, compliant and make parent's lives easier, how these expectations grow and change as babies age and what we can do to free ourselves (and our children) from these constraints.
This week's episode is sponsored by Chronicles of Play.
Head to their website: https://www.chroniclesofplay.com.au/
To purchase copy of 365 Ways To Play: https://www.chroniclesofplay.com.au/product-page/365-ways-to-play-book
Connect with us on Instagram: @matrescence.podcast
Head to our website: www.birthofamother.com.au
#42 Navigating The Transition From Professional Woman To Mother (And Back Again) with Dr. Lisa.
Content warning: This conversation involves mild discussion of abusive relationships and the lasting affects this experience can have on our motherhood journey.
In this week’s episode we chat to Dr. Lisa about the transition from professional woman to mother (and back again).
Lisa is a doctor of public health and has spent her career conducting large scale randomised control studies, publishing in top ranking journals, supervising students up to PhD level, and more.
These days, Lisa runs a small online business dedicated to stocking high quality baby products and is currently contemplating her return to paid work after the recent birth of her second child.
In her spare time (haha) Dr. Lisa runs an Instagram page, where she utilises her professional knowledge to unpack the research, remove the shame and offer a nuanced look at into the realities of parenthood.
Needless to say, this conversation has both personal and professional context for Dr. Lisa.
Throughout this conversation we discuss how the transition from woman to mother affects women physically, emotionally, financially.
We offer personal insights from our own experience’s navigating this transition and combine them with statistics and research on topics such as the motherhood penalty, the care-career conundrum (as conceptualised by Dr. Sophie Brock), the unequal distribution of domestic labour, the mental load and so much more.
Whether you are currently navigating this transition, want to make sense of it retrospectively, or are preparing yourself for the future, you will love this episode.
To connect with Dr Lisa on Instagram: @drlisa.researcher
Head to her website: https://www.playnourishthrive.com.au/
This weeks podcast sponsor is Erin from WattleTree postpartum.
To connect with Erin on Instagram: @wattletreepostpartum
Head to her website to book her services: https://www.wattletreepostpartum.com.au/
(Mention this ad for a discount)
Come chat to us on Instagram: @matrescence.podcast
Or head to our website: https://birthofamother.com.au/
#41 Blind Mum of 4 Ebony Uamaki Shares Her Insights on Matrescence
Content warning: Child physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
In this week’s episode we chat to Ebony Uamaki
Ebony is an mother of 4 children under 5 (including twins), an intuitive reader and a coach. She is also completely blind.
Ebony has worked with thousands of people around the world sharing her intuition, insights and wisdom. And today she shares them with us.
As you will soon hear, in many aspects of her life, Ebony’s disability has challenged her. Growing up she endured child abuse, bullying and complex trauma- at times related to her disability. But when it comes to both her work and motherhood, it has become her greatest gift. As Ebony says: her insight has become her eyesight.
Throughout the episode, Ebony discusses some of the logistics of navigating motherhood when you are blind, how matrescence was a catalyst for her personal growth, her decision to employ a support worker, how she is fostering secure attachments with her children and so much more.
This conversation was both profound and hilarious. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed chatting.
If this conversation brings anything up for you, please know that there is support available.
The Beyond Blue Support Service provides 24/7 advice and support via telephone (call 1300 22 4636), webchat and email (email response provided within 24 hours).
Alternatively, please reach out to us on Instagram @matrescence podcast if you need to chat or explore your options for further support.
To connect with Ebony on Instagram: @ebonyuamaki
Ebony regularly shares snippets of her life as a blind mum of 4; including videos of her cooking, doing her make-up and caring for her children. She also shares beautiful reflections related to her work as a coach and intuitive reader. To work with Ebony, please send her a DM.
This week’s episode was sponsored by Sarah from Blossom and Snooze
To connect with Sarah on Instagram: @blossomandsnooze
Join the waitlist for her August Blossoming Mums group program: https://blossomandsnooze.com/group-program
Book private sleep support here: https://blossomandsnooze.com/1-on-1-consultation
#40 Matrescence as a Catalyst For Professional Rebirth with Rachael Rose
In this week’s episode we chat to Rachael Rose.
Rachael is a women's circle facilitator, teacher, doula and business woman.
While her business is multifaceted, it is connected by a common thread of wanting to build communities, connect women and offer spaces where mothers feel less alone and more loved.
As her business has evolved, she has moved into the business coaching space as well.
In her words: “There is no village to return to, we must create the world we want to see.” Rachael is doing exactly that.
In this episode, we chat to Rachael about how matrescence can be a catalyst for professional rebirth, what to do when the work you once loved no longer feels like a good fit for you, why so many new mums start business, the unique challenges and benefits of starting a business during new motherhood and so much more.
To connect with Rachael on Instagram: @the_rachael_rose
Or, head to her website: https://www.rachaelrose.com.au/
The friends I didn’t know I needed
I used to spend so much time putting my baby to sleep at night and getting frustrated with how long it would take. Now I use the time to listen to this podcast with my headphones in and I’m sad when he falls asleep and I have to wait for the next night to continue the episode. It literally feels like I’m friends with Bree & Kel and having a chat about all things motherhood. I’m a first time mum and it’s been a wild ride: so much love mixed with some of the hardest days of my life. The guests they have on the podcast are amazing and offer so much insight into motherhood, the changes we go through and the girls are the friends I never knew I needed. I wouldn’t be getting through motherhood without you so thank you 💫
Insightful, engaging conversations
I enjoy listening to Kelly and Bree and their interesting guests. Particularly Grandma Tanya - her story and way of telling it was remarkable. Thank you to all involved in the podcast.
Adore this podcast
This podcast is everything a new mum needs in the sea of overwhelm that is new motherhood. Bree and Kel have such insightful discussions and I have found I can take bits from all of the chats. There is also a wonderful Instagram page where Bree shares her day to day life and musings on motherhood. She holds so much space for her followers. Just a wonderful space to have landed in as a new mum myself. 💕 definitely worth a listen and a follow!