Unclassified Woman offers an inspiring stream of conversation with women around the globe, who are building lives beyond society’s expectations. Part myth busting, part inspirational story sharing, Michelle Marie McGrath interviews amazing childless or childfree women, including authors, film-makers, activists, entrepreneurs, priestesses, leaders, speakers and creative mavens, who share their experiences and insights, while questioning the expectations of women everywhere.
Michelle shares interviews with women all around the globe who are childless or childfree for a multitude of reasons. With almost 25% of women over 40 child-free by choice or childless through circumstance, it seems absurd that women still have to justify their decisions or endure pity about why they’re not mothers.
Motherhood is not a mandate and yet so many women are made to feel ‘less than’ or viewed suspiciously or disparagingly, if they are creating a life of meaning beyond biological mothering. All of these outdated stereotypes lead to one dangerous assumption: what’s your value beyond being a mother? As mainstream society still tends to over-celebrate mothers juggling ‘it all’, and under-celebrate women who, whilst not mothers, have created lives of purpose and service.
Unclassified Woman is the perfect antidote to limiting female narratives. In the second season, Michelle and her guests expanded on the creative power of ALL women. We explored the power of awakening womb consciousness. The womb or hara is the sacred creation portal from where we birth everything in our lives and yet the unlimited power within is as yet untapped by most women (and men) today.
This includes working with the cycles of the moon, reconnecting deeply with the cycles of nature, aligning with the elements, harnessing the magic of the menstrual cycle and reclaiming the power of the divine feminine within. So if you’re interested in a stronger connection to Mother earth, increased intuition, more soulful sex, more creativity, feeling better in your own skin and joyously walking your own path – tune in! In order to ascend, we need to descend so let’s dive in together!
Season 3 commenced was released in April 2018 and Season 4 will be released mid-2019.
Each woman’s path in life is equally valid and sacred. Michelle is a Self-love Mentor for women birthing their soul gifts into the world. She offers one-on-one Womb Awakening Sessions, in person events, Intuitive Guidance/Distance Healing and the Sacred Self range of vibrational aromatherapy. www.michellemariemcgrath.com
69: Rocking the life unexpected with Jody Day
Welcome to today's episode of Unclassified Woman. As we conclude Season 3, it seems fitting to share this conversation with Jody Day, who was the first ever interviewee on Unclassified Woman a few years ago.
How do you combat society’s ideology about those who are on the “outside”? It’s not an easy task, but one that a few brave people are called upon to challenge.
Today’s show is all about how we approach taboo topics, the dominance of pro-natalistic thinking and current trends in the way families are formed. Don’t miss this eye-opening conversation!
"I found myself in midlife as part of the 'out' group because of something that was not of my choosing."
Today, we’re catching up with Jody and finding out what’s been happening in her work in the past few years. Jody is the founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women and the author of Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children.
Jody’s a thought leader on the topic of women's involuntary childlessness and a founding member and former board member of AWOC, Ageing Without Children. She’s a former Cambridge Business Fellow in Social Innovation, a TEDx speaker, and a psychotherapist-in-training. She’s a very busy lady who takes great pleasure in helping childless women get their groove back and find their tribe via the Gateway Women workshops’ online communities and social meet-ups that happen all around the globe.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
The update on the last four years: Jody’s blog, the feedback from her work, and finding her tribe. In the UK, 1 in 5 women reach midlife without having children. The difference in the UK and the US as far as making an impact. How Jody developed and branded her blog so that women can identify with it and not feel alone in their experience. How the topic of childlessness is a combination of taboo, painful subjects like grief and infertility. How millennials view childlessness, both chosen and involuntary. The changing narrative around discussions about our bodies, sexuality, and childbearing. One area that still needs a dramatic shift in openness---menopause. Another taboo topic is abortion and its accompanying shame, guilt, and grief. Something we need to discuss more openly... Why Jody says she talks about her personal abortion experience at every opportunity--simply because it’s a taboo topic. Jody’s studies that are ongoing so she can graduate next Spring. In 2016, the 2nd edition of her book came out, with many interviews with childless women and men. The next stages of the social change that will take place and how legacy will play into the grieving process. Legacy can be a lifetime of moments of connection and empathy What “Plan B” looks like and why it doesn’t always mean something different than what you already have. Jody’s fantasy and what it meant about her value of motherhood and the validation of her mother’s heart. The compassion Jody feels for all disenfranchised groups of people. How her eyes have been opened to those who have been judged for something they couldn’t control. Jody’s Fertility Fight Club talk at Fertility Fest (find it at www.fertilityfest.com). The pro-natal ideology: the belief that you are a more important person because you’ve had children. The message is that if you are a parent, your life has more value. The prediction for Australia that by 2030 there will be more non-traditional family units without children than with children. 25% of the adult population will age without having children, but often this sector of the population are ignored. The huge need for reorganisation in our social systems. The future of Gateway Women as they tackle two main issues: pro-natalism in the workplace and getting stories of childlessness into the mai
68: Unchained and unbothered with Keturah Kendrick
Welcome to today's episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I'm speaking to Shanghai based Keturah Kendrick, who shares her perspective on being childfree by choice.
Whose voice do you listen to most? When it comes to marriage and having children, it seems that everyone has an opinion regarding how YOU should live your life. Today’s show is all about listening to YOUR voice and making the choices that make YOU happy.
Keturah Kendrick is an American writer, blogger and podcaster who has lived on three different continents and travelled to more than a dozen countries.
For years she has written about her life as a single woman who sees being unmarried as a lifestyle choice like any other, as opposed to an “illness from which I must be cured.” She also writes about her lifelong disinterest in motherhood, critiquing the cultural expectation that black women, in particular, are destined to birth and raise children.
An English teacher by trade, she has discussed her favourite books with her students in New York, Rwanda, and Shanghai. Her debut collection of essays, No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone, will be published in June 2019. Keturah enjoys food and travel, specifically, eating her way through her favourite countries---and who can blame her?
What you’ll hear in this episode:
Keturah calls New York and New Orleans home. She needed a break and wanted to travel, so spent 2 years in Rwanda teaching English and then found a position in Shanghai. Her not having a child is “absolutely by personal choice”---she always knew that motherhood would never be “her thing”. How she has felt the pressure just beneath the surface and has been told she is being silly, selfish, and must be a broken woman to not want children The mockery she felt when she voiced her desire to never have kids. How she was raised that the only thing that validated a woman's life was to be someone’s wife and mother. The subtle influences that she was “being unfair to her phantom husband” by not wanting children. Where is the logic in anyone trying to convince another person to have a baby? Why Keturah has become more vocal in her writing and her podcast. Why parenting should be a lifestyle choice that some people make and shouldn’t be tied to your gender. Many women around the world don’t have a choice and don’t have access to contraception. Why there should be tolerance for everyone’s right to individual choice about their roles. How Keturah uses her creative energy in her blog, writing, and being with other people. How she’s always been true to herself about what she wanted--”When I look back, I see that everyone was wrong but me.” The ways we encourage and blatantly tell young women that every other voice but their own is important. Why Keturah is glad she trusted in her own instincts and didn’t let anyone convince her to go against what she knew was right for her. How Keturah approached the topic of children with a longtime partner, who believed he may want children. The conditioning by society to fit the dominant narrative and how this plays out in relationships. Keturah’s advice: “Ignore everybody’s voice but your own, including your mother and your man. I want absolute joy and fulfilment for everyone. If motherhood is that for you, then do it, but if not, then listen to your voice until you make a decision.” Parting words from Keturah: Don’t get off the fence if you are undecided! Don’t be afraid to tell people to mind their own business! Listen to no one’s voice but your own! Find out more about Keturah and her work at
Find her on Twitter: @HappySingleGal
Find Keturah’s blog: www.yetanothersinglegal.com
Find Keturah’s podcast: www.unchainedandunbothered.com
If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then
67: Putting Women Back into Women's Health with Kate Powe
Welcome to another great episode of Unclassified Woman! Today, I'm speaking to the lovely Kate Powe.
Many people make assumptions about others without even realising it. We see a woman in her 40’s without children and assume she is selfish or too career-oriented to take time to raise children. Often there are circumstances playing out behind the scenes that we just aren’t aware of. Today’s show focuses on the problems that endometriosis can cause in terms of fertility and family-building and the need for women to have the knowledge about their bodies to make empowered choices. Imagine if we learnt about these subjects in school....
Kate Powe is an amazing naturopath based on the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, Australia. Kate has a passion for helping women balance their hormones and create happy, powerful lives. By integrating evidence-based medicine with mind-body principles and addressing underlying causes of cycle and hormonal disruption, Kate aims to support women mentally, emotionally, and physically to feel balanced and in control of their bodies, moods, and energy.
Kate holds a BA in English from the University of Sydney, an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy from Nature Care College, and a Diploma of Advanced Metaphysics from Chiara College. Kate’s a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) and regularly furthers her education in naturopathic medicine, particularly in women’s endocrinology, including thyroid disease, endometriosis, and PCOS. She has contributed to many podcasts on endometriosis and written articles on the topic for numerous magazines. She has an obsession with all things Italian and sneaks to Italy and the UK as often as possible. Who can blame her!
What you’ll hear in this episode:
How both circumstances and choice played into Kate’s not having children. As one of six kids, she always assumed she’d meet a partner and have children---but it just didn’t happen How she suffered from endometriosis and adenomyosis during her reproductive years, which complicated matters and impacted her fertility. The factors involved when your life doesn’t follow the assumed “pattern” and the judgments that people make about you about being selfish and career-driven. Endometriosis is a real issue and taboo topic as a condition that impacts fertility and causes painful periods. Lesions, scar tissue, and inflammation impact the reproductive organs. Adenomyosis affects the muscle wall of the uterus and contributes to painful flooding periods. These conditions can take 7-13 years to correctly diagnose because everyone assumes having painful periods is completely normal. It isn't....and women should not suffer in silence. Both endometriosis and adenomyosis are not isolated conditions, but part of a larger inflammatory process in the body that can have a genetic component. Women in the past dealt with these conditions in silence, not knowing how to treat them. They weren’t aware of what was happening in their bodies and their doctors weren’t concerned. The cost of treating endometriosis can be higher than treating diabetes! Two keys to know about endometriosis: The only way to accurately diagnose it is with surgery--not a scan; It’s a moveable disease with sometimes silent and inconsistent symptoms. Endometriosis presents a wide variety of symptoms, including heavy and long, painful periods, pain in legs, discomfort after sex, and a connection with yeast infections. Now we know that endometriosis is a systemic inflammatory condition around an immune disregulation in the peritoneal fluid and much more than simply a reproductive issue. Naturopaths look at diet and lifestyle approaches to remove inflammation, detox the liver, and keep regular bowel function A key in endometriosis treatment is to guard against toxins in personal care products. How education can revolut
66: The Female Orator with Adebisi Adewusi
Welcome to another episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I'm delighted to share my conversation with Adebisi Adewusi, based in Nigeria.
How much courage does it take to REALLY go against what society deems the norm? As far as women’s rights and feminism have come, we sometimes forget that there are places in the world where women don’t have independence and are truly stigmatised for making 'unusual' choices. Today’s show is about someone who walks her own path and shares her own truth with immense courage.
What was even more humbling is how modest she is about her choices. I truly hope you enjoy today's conversation with the inspiring Adebisi.
"African tradition teaches that if someone doesn’t have a lineage to pass on then their life has no meaning or purpose."
Adebisi Adewusi of Nigeria is a rockstar photographer, writer, and content consultant from startups in Israel to multi-million dollar companies in America. She’s helped various companies across the world improve their content strategy and marketing. Besides helping businesses succeed, Adebisi uses her skills to bust myths about women and bring issues that African women face to the forefront.
Through her writing, Adebisi explores issues connected to feminism, gender, and other topics with strong social and political context. She’s written about child marriage in Uganda, ending sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gender stereotypes at work, and other spaces. She’s been featured on numerous international platforms, including the Huffington Post, She Thinks, BBC’s Why Factor, African Feminism, and many others.
Adebisi also runs a gender advocacy blog, The Female Orator, where she educates non-profits on how to get funding and interviews subject experts in the non-profit sector. She’s a feminist raised by women who climbed trees and spoke their minds when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. Adebisi’s feminism is shaped by the past and sustained by the present.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
How Adebisi made the choice to be a writer and do her work--without being a mother. Adebisi’s path is VERY unusual for a Nigerian woman and some of her family think it’s odd to not have children. Breaking through traditional boundaries and creating her own path--and being at peace with it. How she handled the topic of children with her boyfriend, who was fine with the decision (even though men are expected to pass on their lineage). How African society’s attitudes dictate that marriage and having children is normal and not having them is not. How people believe that a childless women may be a witch. The connection between religion and African tradition in having children. If you speak openly about not wanting a child, people just assume you must be crazy. It is just not acceptable. Not having children is taboo and like placing a curse on yourself. The pressure for women of colour compared to a white woman--”It’s a grievous offence.” Being a role model for other young African women. Women in African culture are bound to the husband to do what he wants, so it takes an open-minded man to be OK with not having children. Adebisi is from an open-minded, educated family who understand her choices. Women who can’t have children will even buy them on the black market to avoid the stigma of being childless. Even though this is officially illegal, the buying and selling of babies happens more frequently than many realise. Adebisi is a strong voice who writes what she wants to, even about taboo topics, and she doesn’t care what other people think. How Adebisi is fulfilled by her writing, mentoring young women, and telling stories through photography. Adebisi’s words of encouragement: “It’s OK not to have children and to make choices about your own body. It doesn’t make you less of a woman. You can nurture other peopl
65: How to be Chic with Fiona Ferris
Are you content with the way things have turned out in your life? Some people spend too much time and energy living with regret or wistfulness for what they WISHED would have happened. Today’s show is about embracing what life gives you and running with it to follow your personal path to gratitude, satisfaction, and peace.
Fiona Ferris lives in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. She writes about living a simple, beautiful, and successful life and believes you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. Through her books on Amazon and her popular blog, How to be Chic, Fiona provides thousands of women from all around the world with the tools and inspiration to elevate the everyday from mundane to magical. She lives with her husband, Paul, two rescue cats, and two rescue dogs.
"We can’t imagine our life any other way than it is. We are grateful for that and for the way things have worked out perfectly for us. We feel like the luckiest people in the world." - Fiona Ferris
What you’ll hear in this episode:
For Fiona, it was both circumstances and choice that have led to her not having a child. She married her husband in her mid-30’s and they tried to conceive for a couple of years. When it didn’t happen, they decided not to pursue it further and steer their life in a different direction. Does Fiona have regrets? No--she is grateful and happy with how things have worked out and feels lucky to have permission to live in an exciting and non-traditional way. How she feels a small amount of grief in feeling like they will miss out on certain life experiences as parents, but she says that’s only about 1% grief compared to 99% happiness! The assumption that people make that EVERYONE wants to have children and that you can’t be happy and complete without them. The myths that people say about not having a child, having an only child, and not having someone to care for you when you’re elderly. A dream came true for Fiona when she published her first Kindle book that was a collection of her blog posts, Thirty Chic Days, in 2016. How publishing her first book gave her the confidence in her writing and her ability to teach others how to do it. Her home in the country on four acres with her pets, cows, and sheep. Her five books that are available online and a couple are being translated and published in other countries. Taking control with self-publishing: 75% of Fiona’s sales are Kindle books and 25% are print copies. How she helps others with their writing through her 6-week e-course, Create Your Dream Life, and her Writer’s Encouragement email newsletters. Why we should view writing as sharing personal experience and inspiration ---it’s a shame to keep it to yourself! How writers share their tone and voice and actually become a friend to their readers through their books. Using nurturing qualities in her writing and work instead of raising children--if her life had taken a different turn. How we each express creativity in many ways that show we value our strengths. All the “shoulds” that burden our days if we don’t “let them go”. Why it's better to attempt to not to be overly influenced by other people’s opinions, but stick with what aligns with our personal life path. Resources:
Find Fiona’s books on Amazon
Check out her blog at www.howtobechic.com
Visit her website: www.fionaferris.com
If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For information about more episodes go to: michellemariemcgrath.com
I would love to hear in the comments below what you found most helpful about this interview? Thank you.
64: Mermaid & Swan Magic with Seren Bertrand
Welcome to another fascinating episode of Unclassified Woman. It's a biggie so grab a cuppa and a journal ;-)
Today I'm speaking with a treasured mentor of mine, Seren Bertrand. It's always such a pleasure to speak to her as she weaves together so many colourful threads of wisdom in what she shares.
What do mermaids, swans, Isis, harps, and Cornwall have in common? You might be surprised---and you’ll never know if you don’t listen to this amazing conversation in today’s show.
We’re talking about feminine consciousness, Celtic traditions, the interconnectedness between the human body and the earth, how we tell our stories from generation to generation---and much, much more. Get ready for some major “Aha” moments!
Seren Bertrand is a womb mystic and midwife of feminine consciousness who has been a visionary leader in women’s empowerment for over two decades. She is the co-founder of The Fountain of Life Feminine Mystery School and the co-author of Womb Awakening: Initiatory Wisdom from the Creatrix of All Life, which has been described as a revelation and a masterpiece. It’s an amazing book and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy!
"Often we are called to a lineage or a place and we don’t know why. We just have to surrender, listen and travel with it." - Seren Bertrand
Seren graduated with a degree in English Literature and Modern Philosophy before embarking on the twin paths of a career in writing as well as journeying deeply into the spiritual feminine traditions. Her writing on female Tibetan refugees was nominated for an Amnesty International Award for human rights reporting.
She is passionate about the practical embodied awakening of women and men in a mystical yet no-nonsense way which calls us into our true feelings, brings us back into the body, and roots us into the wisdom of the earth.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
How the book-writing process felt like a pregnancy with a gestation of more than five years---and then a birth. Receiving the Silver Nautilus Award for the book, which covers many topics that were considered forbidden and heretical for thousands of years: menstruation, lunar consciousness, and birthing wisdom. For Seren, the book’s release has brought deep feeling states of the feminine consciousness. Allowing yourself to become the container for the primordial birthing energy in every part of nature. The next book that she and her partner, Azra are already working on and how it feels like a continuation of that birthing process. The academic reading and research that goes into the writing journey. Listening with your entire body and not just your mind and ears and how oral traditions factored into ancient Celtic Shamanism. Plans to create an audiobook version with harp accompaniment. How a book is connected to your voice and vibration, which is connected to your womb, transmitting waves of energy and sound. Discovering the path of the swan priestess in Celtic mythology The cellular memory in Seren’s DNA of the Druids and Celtic traditions. The tradition of the prehistoric, feminine, Shamanistic, earth-centric womb religion of the faery folk and their history. Stories as a connection and an intimate weaving of “patchwork consciousness”. Seren’s interest from a young age in having a great love for the land and a feeling that different places have different personalities and characteristics. The significance of Cornwall as a sacred site. How to explain ley lines, womb awakening, and the gift of the human body. Understanding that the human body is more than a “mechanical lump of flesh” and why it’s a sacred landscape. The benefit of spiritual lineage in how they transmit through an unbroken thread in epigenetic memory. The calling in Seren’s life of the harp and how she learned to play and find her teacher. Why womb consciousness is the key to
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Michelle interviews a wide variety of interesting women in these honest raw conversations about an important subject which isn’t talked about very often. It’s great to hear these women getting a voice and sharing these differing perspectives.