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.
78. Mindful Mothering and Internalised Mothering Myths with Dr Caroline Boyd
In today’s conversation I talk with perinatal clinical psychologist Dr Caroline Boyd, discussing the topics in her recent book ‘Mindful New Mum: A Mind-Body Approach to the Highs and Lows of Motherhood’.
We explore the pressures of modern motherhood and the impossible expectations mothers face. In doing so, we consider how we can reevaluate some of the patterns and beliefs that we have internalised about what it means to be a mother.
What are some ways we learn to tolerate our feelings, without self blame, without criticism, and hold both joy and grief at the same time? Can we be a gentle parent, yet also give ourselves permission to be angry?
We also discuss how the pandemic illuminated the gaps in care and the harsh reality of modern parenting without the support systems required to thrive.
Buy a copy of Caroline’s book here - https://www.dk.com/uk/book/9780241531365-mindful-new-mum/
Follow her on Instagram @_drboyd
Explore more of Caroline’s work: https://drcarolineboyd.com
If you leave a review of the podcast, I'll send a little 'thank you' in the mail :) Pop your postal details in here - https://forms.gle/uaDvhtFYnUQvG69EA
77. Seasons of Matrescence with Nikki McCahon
In this episode I’m speaking with matrescence educator Nikki McCahon about her work, journey into motherhood, and framework for understanding and navigating matrescence. Nikki shares about her postpartum and her experience of an ‘identity death’, and how she made sense of her transformation through the framework of the four seasons.
As part of our conversation Nikki speaks to how a seasonal and cyclical lens can provide a framework for navigating times of transition and challenge in our mothering journeys, helping to orient us. This approach can provide us with more space for self compassion and identity expansion, when we are able to name and challenge the limitations in place when life experiences - and the journey through mothering - are framed as linear processes.
We explore the importance of leaning on others to provide support and how to fully be in the seasons of receiving as a mother. We discuss the disjuncture that exists between this desire and an honouring of our matrescence journeys, while living within a society that glorifies bounce-back culture. The ‘endless summer’ that is placed on a pedestal of constant growth minimises the complexity and the gifts that can be within sitting in the truth of whatever season we’re currently navigating.
Nikki uses some beautiful analogies from the natural world to make sense of life’s big moments, seeing ourselves beyond what we can do for others, and to value the opportunity to meet ourselves in deeper ways as we journey through motherhood.
BIO: Nikki McCahon is a matrescence educator, women’s life cycle guide, podcast host and mother to her six year old son.
As a matrescence educator and guide, Nikki helps mothers navigate the often unexpected changes and challenges of becoming and being a mother, whilst simultaneously supporting mothers to explore the opportunities that mothering can provide for their own personal growth and expansion.
Her model - the seasons of matrescence - applies a seasonal and cyclical lens to matrescence, providing a map for mothers to use when navigating times of change and transition and support to explore their matrescence journey within the context of their broader life cycle and rites of passage.
Nikki is passionate about creating community and normalising the physical, psychological, and emotional changes women go through during matrescence. In 2017 Nikki founded Australia's largest meet-up community for mums, which grew to 40,000 members in three years, before it was acquired by a national not for profit, the centre of perinatal excellence (COPE) in 2020.
Her work now focuses on providing matrescence guidance and education to mothers through her podcast and group programs, and supporting those who work with mothers to integrate matrescence education, guidance and support into their practice through her Seasons of Matrescence teacher training program.
Connect with Nikki - @nikkimccahon / and join the waitlist for the 2023 intake of the Seasons of Matrescence training - https://courses.nikkimccahon.com/som
76. Honouring the creative potential in becoming a Mother with Kat River
In today’s podcast conversation with Kat River, we explore the question of ‘how can we disrupt our ideas of what motherhood means, to redefine it for ourselves, through our creativity?’
Kat is a retreat facilitator, former couples coach, and speaker who talks about her transition from maiden to mother, drawing on tools of creativity to honour and traverse self transformation through becoming a mother.
Kat shares her insights on how motherhood has encouraged her to deepen and change her relationship to her work, her creativity, her relationships, and her identity. This involves navigating boundaries and priorities, examining inner fears and beliefs around a loss of independence and taking 'time out', and learning how to facilitate opportunities for our life and work focusses to evolve, change and shift.
We reflect on how the postpartum period has the potential to be an invitation for deeper self knowledge, the importance of self-witnessing and honouring ourselves in a transitional time, and how it can be a training ground for our lives. We also look at relationships and codependency, fulfilment, and navigating the unexpected sides of motherhood with ‘leaps of faith’; relinquishing a sense of perceived control, while also recognising the structural and contextual challenges mothers also face.
This is a conversation that speaks to the possibilities of exploring a life of integration between mother, woman, and creator, and allowing fluidity in how we see ourselves and the world.
Kat River lives in the Noosa hinterland with her husband Tully & two year old son Rafi.
Kat is a multicreative expressionist, and hosts a slow podcast "Mother Maker" centered towards mother creatives, mother entrepreneurs, mother mystics and intuitive motherhood.
Those who are finding their own harmony (And often not harmony) between motherhood, and creative/work/career pursuits. She supports mother creatives in their magnificence through Mother Maker, as it evolves from a podcast, to events, retreats and a festival to cultivate community and reimagining the modern village of motherhood... though above all else, navigating the slow days of motherhood, and raising a little wildling.
You can find Kat on her instagram: @the.kat.river and turn on post notifications if you want to keep up with everything she shares.
Her podcast is "Mother Maker" and available on spotify, Apple Podcasts & Anchor.
Email is Hellokatriver@gmail.com
75. Who is the 'bad mother'? Unpacking The Lost Daughter with Julianne Boutaleb
This podcast episode is an unpacking and discussion of the recent Netflix production The Lost Daughter, based on the novel of the same name by the pseudonymous Italian novelist Elena Ferrante and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film explores the textured, complex, nuanced, challenging parts of the mothering experience and positioning of motherhood culturally. The themes explored shine a light on the shadow side of being a mother, the boundaries of maternal ‘transgressions’, and the experience of maternal ambivalence.
To reflect on the film, I’m joined in conversation by Julianne Boutaleb, a passionate and highly experienced perinatal psychologist who has worked for over 15 years in the NHS and private practice with parents and parents-to-be and their babies. Julianne and I discuss the importance of this film in exploring the complex and raw portrayal of motherhood on our screens, something we so rarely see examined in such a demanding and articulate way.
We look at mothering and the experience of maternal violence, peacemaking and repair, and explore the gap between the idealised version of motherhood versus what is real. We ask and explore questions such as - what do we do with the loss of the imagined future we had before having our children? What are ‘maternal transgressions’ of the ‘bad mother’ and who defines these? Who decides which are acceptable and which ones aren't? What stories and rules have we internalised as mothers, and where have these come from? What standards are we holding ourselves to as mothers?
We look at the possibility of self-erasure and self-surveillance, and explore why it could be helpful to start with the basic premise that we are never going to always meet our child's emotional needs, and why perhaps that's not our job.
This is a powerful episode full of interesting discussion on the cultural, social and deeply personal experience of mothering and the sacrifice, tension and fierce love involved. Acknowledging that this film can raise challenging, fraught, and sometimes painful responses in viewers, if you find aspects of this podcast conversation raises difficult feelings for you, please reach out for support.
Australia - https://www.panda.org.au/ - 1300 726 306
UK - https://pandasfoundation.org.uk/ - 0808 1961 776
USA - https://www.postpartum.net/ - Text “Help” to 800-944-4773 (EN)
Cultured magazine: ‘In the lost daughter mums are people too’ - Mariah Kreutter.
The Guardian: ‘How The Lost Daughter confronts one of our most enduring cultural taboos’ - Adrian Horton https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/jan/05/the-lost-daughter-elena-ferrante-maggie-gyllenhaal-motherhood
Winnicott’s theory of A Good Enough Mother
Sara Ruddick; Feminist philosopher and the author of Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace
Foucault and Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon
Melanie Klein; Austrian-British author and psychoanalyst known for her work in child analysis.
74. Resourcing ourselves to carry the load of motherhood with Sophie Burch
This episode is designed to be a little tonic; a moment of presence and space to breathe.
I am talking with Sophie Burch (aka The Mamma Coach).
Sophie is a mother, an author, founder and leader of the Beyond Birth Collective, an executive director and trainer for Perinatal Mental Health Training CIC, hypnobirthing practitioner, baby massage teacher, holistic and pregnancy massage therapist, and more.
Sophie is on a mission to bring mental health awareness and emotional wellbeing practices into the lives of all parents, and in this episode she gives us some amazing strategies, tools and perspectives to really support us in our everyday experience of mothering.
Sophie takes us through a beautiful process that can be used at any time which can create a sense of safety and calm. She also shares what to do when self-care feels like just another thing we have to add onto our to-do lists, and some ways we can tend to our nervous systems.
You’ll hear about what Sophie has observed in mothers within her work, and the massive load they’re carrying. We look at what modern parenting means to us, and the significant shift in consciousness she has perceived recently. Sophie shares the one wish that she has for all parents in the world right now, and the importance of fostering self-connection and agency in our lives.
Connect with Sophie:
Sophie's book, 'Beyond Birth: A Mindful Guide to Early Parenting':
Sophie's Mental Wellbeing Practitioner Certified Training:
73. How understanding the sociology of motherhood helped me step into my power as a single mother
In this episode I share 5 different ways that my understanding of the social construction of motherhood helped me to step into my power as a single mother. I wanted to share this episode as a lived-reality example of how theory, concepts, and understandings can come to unveil new possibilities for how we lead and live our lives as mothers. I talk about the nuclear family and how it is held up as an 'ideal' in our society, the pulling down of facades, how the 'family' is socially constructed and our capacity to create fluidity in what the 'family' means, and the opportunity in unpacking social scripts that we inherit about what it means to be a mother. In the episode I mention the Council for Single Mothers and their Children - https://www.csmc.org.au/ and the 3min animation of The Fish Tank of Motherhood Model - https://drsophiebrock.com/thefishtankofmotherhood