MamaFuelTM: The Podcast with Anne Ferguson is a weekly show where Anne shares real, honest conversations with mamas living their regular, yet extraordinary, lives. Anne’s solo episodes and the raw, heartfelt exchanges she shares will remind you that you’re not alone on this amazing and challenging journey of mothering. Wherever you’re listening from, there’s support available for you from other mamas around the world. Anne’s broader mission is to change the way mamas treat themselves and each other, for a kinder, friendlier world for all. MamaFuelTM: The Podcast is part of her mission to make sure there’s no mama left behind. Happy to have you along with us on the journey.
EP065: Christa Couture on navigating the messy middle as a cyborg, mama and artist
Before I tell you anything, let me say this: today's conversation with Christa Couture will move you. Take time. Listen closely. Of the nearly 70 episodes in MamaFuel, all of which I've loved, THIS is the one. THIS is the conversation I'd urge you to listen to again and again.
Not only because it's not every day you can listen to a cancer survivor cyborg amputee chanteuse mama of three (as she says "two have died and one is here") mixed indigenous Cree Scandinavian queer radio host non-fiction author and singer-songwriter.
Not only that.
But also because Christa is a sensitive, generous, warm, kind and thoughtful woman whose intelligence and talent seep through everything she creates, including this conversation.
Given the name "Singing Woman" as a child, Christa weaves and shares stories about grief, loss and life as she processes how life is unfolding.
I loved hearing how, at time of recording, Christa was reworking her narrative around Christmas, making space for both grief for her absent sons and delight for her vivacious and very present daughter.
I appreciated learning more about the importance of representation and how critical it is for us to share and talk about our differences. When Christa decided to showcase her "cyborg" limb in its full floral glory, she and the world started interacting differently. It's an important reminder that it's critical for us to share and celebrate difference.
There's so much more, but these are "show notes" and not "show encycopediae" so I'll leave you with this: listen and share this conversation far and wide, and support Christa and her work by pre-ordering her book AND ordering her record. You can find her on www.christacouture.com and you'll find links to everything we talk about in the episode when you read the full show notes here.
If you loved this episode, remember to head to the MamaFuel Virtual Village to tell me what you'll keep in your heart from this conversation. Even better, leave us a review and a rating over on iTunes so as many people as possible can hear and share this conversation. Be well!
EP064: How can we make this moment meaningful? Samaria Williams on grace & writing your own narrative
"We have this extra time as a family right now. How can we make it meaningful?"
Samaria Williams, this week's guest, couldn't have been more timely with her question. The world is slowing down right now, providing us all with the opportunity to look at the families and relationships we've created. That might be uncomfortable, delightful or any combination of both.
Samaria's wisdom is perfectly timed for us all as we enter this unchartered territory of COVID-19 closures. In this episode, we talk about how important it was for her and her partner to take a frank look at themselves and the stories they had around what was possible in life and in parenting. After separating early in their daughter's life, they decided to reconcile and consciously build their family around their values and their sweet daughter.
They chose the road less travelled and faced resistance from the people who loved them the most. "You CAN'T get back together." "You SHOULDN'T give it another chance." "You SHOULD just do it on your own." It's EASIER to parent ALONE..." these were only a few of the stories they held individually and that were shared with them by others.
But Samaria and her partner are rewriting their story with conscious decisions, and by allowing in Grace when they feel like they've given it their all, and trusting that all will be as it should be.
I can't think of a better conversation to share with you right now. Samaria talks about how she consistently asks herself "what is the best thing I can do to set my daughter up to live a limitless life, and to avoid her having to spend the rest of her life recovering from her childhood?"
Head over here to read the full show notes and find the links to the book Samaria mentions, as well as other podcasts I refer to in this episode.
Most of all, loves: stay safe. Huge love to you.
EP063: Navigating guilt to find fulfilment: Valerie Knopik on brain science, family harmony and chasing your dreams
Ever felt conflicted about wanting recognition, fulfilment and challenge outside your family context? Get ready to feel a warm wash over your heart and a burst of inspiration as you get to know my guest this week on the MamaFuel podcast.
Valerie Knopik has navigated the guilt-ridden conflictual waters of maternal love and personal aspiration and, with her husband and children, has forged a life she and her family love. I love hearing how her she and her post-doctorate thesis advisor got creative to cobble together a maternity leave for her. I love how she and her husband waded through all the ICK they faced individually and as a team to land here, twenty years into their marriage, in a solid, mutually-supportive place.
I love how Valerie, her dreams, her talent and her career get to fully breathe, expand and flourish in the container of her family. A container where everyone’s dreams have a place and enough space to grow.
If all of that wasn’t enough, those of you who are curious about how and why our brains work the way they do will LOVE hearing Valerie talk about epigenetics (her speciality), brain plasticity and how it’s hard but entirely possible to rewire your brain, and in doing so change your life.
If you’d like to connect with any of the resources we mention during our talk or quickly find any of the podcast episodes I mention, click here for all the goodies. And if you’d like to be part of the ongoing conversation about this podcast and so much more, join us in the MamaFuel Virtual Village here.
EP061: Lindsay Bong on taking up space and asking for help as a self-love practice
Lindsay Bong hurtled head-first into marriage, motherhood and all that comes with both of those big life changes. Now that the dust has settled, she reflects on her early years as a mama living in a new state with a new husband and a new life... while grappling with her identity, her role as a mama and the challenges of creating a vibrant community around her.
I loved our conversation about learning to ask for what you need, and how as you get more comfortable asking for help (and surviving if the answer is no) you get clearer on what you need and how to get those needs met.
In addition to being a very funny human, a loving mama and an adventurous being, Lindsay is a therapist whose compassion for her patients took some finessing before she could offer it to herself.
Lindsay now keeps a list of what makes her most herself, and consults it often when she's feeling funky. I'm going to do the same, and wonder if you might join us?
If you liked this conversation and would like to connect with Lindsay, click here to find the full show notes including links to her gorgeous art, her podcast and more. And, if you haven't already, click here to join the MamaFuel Virtual Village so we can keep this conversation going. Have a gorgeous week.
EP060: This breaks my heart
This week I’m celebrating a big milestone: 60 episodes of this podcast, celebrating mamas around the world doing big and small things! To mark the occasion, I want to talk about something that breaks my heart: women who are disappearing under their SuperMama capes.
So many of us do our VERY BEST for our children. We want to give them what we didn’t have, prevent their suffering and plan for every eventuality. It’s not realistic, but we torture our schedules, our bodies and our minds to try and make it possible. We take up less and less space, in hopes of finally satisfying our little humans or giving them THE BEST of us and the world, all the time.
The problem is, in addition to this not being fun, it's also entirely unsustainable. And it's hurting our mental health, our physical health, our careers and our relationships. It's an epidemic, especially amongst international mamas: we expect high levels of functioning from ourselves, with little or no support, and when something's got to give it usually ends up being us.
It's got to stop. In this episode I’m sharing three ways that you can start taking up more space in your life, and loosening the stranglehold of the SuperMama cape. It'll feel great, I promise.
If this resonates with you, I’d LOVE to hear from you. You can email me here or join us over in the Virtual Village on Facebook so we can talk about it. It’s free and I’d love to meet you there. Happy 60th, beauty. I’m so grateful you’re listening.
EP059: The power of legacy: Shermain Philip on art as a doorway to conversation
Today’s guest is a talented artist, a deeply reflective woman and a conscious mama whose decision to mindfully shepherd her young son through the world has broken many moulds.
Before I’d ever spoken a word to Shermain Philip, I was captivated by her art. Her bold strokes and the way she uses light infuse life into the people she’s painting. When I learned some of the stories behind her work, I was hooked.
Shermain uses her paintings as doorways into conversation with her son; conversations about the American Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panthers, the Windrush Generation in the UK and so much more. By sharing her art with her son, Shermain gently invites him to be curious. Their conversations have covered complex topics like racism, civil rights, naturalisation, inequality and so much more.
Hearing Shermain talk about the different treatment her son receives in school relative to his white school mates was essential -- those of us who don't have to tell our children that people may assume they're naughty because of what they look like have a duty to listen to the mamas who DO have those conversations. Because we've got to do and be better for every child in the world today and tomorrow.
As we spoke I was struck by Shermain’s focus on legacy, both as an artist and as a mother. She’s mindful of the impact she’s having on her son, and hopes to have a broader impact with her art long after she’s gone.
I don’t doubt that will happen. To find out more about Shermain and to see her art, click here. That’s where you’ll also find information about the book we talk about and the other podcasts we mention in this week’s episode.
If you'd like to be part of a bigger conversation about the issues we discussed in this week's podcast, head over to the MamaFuel Virtual Village, a free community where we discuss the podcast and so much more. See you there!
Insightful, warm and thought-provoking
I really enjoy the Mama Fuel podcast. Anne is a wonderful host, warm and thought-provoking for mummas and people in general. She asks questions and explores with her guests, which makes it a rich dialogue. I appreciate listening to the podcast whilst pushing a pram or doing loads of laundry and then taking moments for myself and to reflect on what’s been shared, I would encourage everyone to do it. There are ALWAYS great takeaways. Thanks Anne. Keep up your work.
Podcast for moms
I love listening to Anne Ferguson’s podcasts Mama Fuel, she always have super interesting guests from all paths of life and with a wide variety of topics. To me the episodes often makes me reflect on new topics of life that i have paid very little or no attention to before!
Thank you. So. Much. And congratulations! Every episode is a gem. Anne, you are indeed a chief mama nurturer. What a powerful fuel you created here.