MamaFuel: The Podcast
EP051: Prepare to fall in love with Nick and Katherine North: trans dad, gorgeous queer couple & LGBTQI advocates

EP051: Prepare to fall in love with Nick and Katherine North: trans dad, gorgeous queer couple & LGBTQI advocates

June 24, 2019

This week's edition of MamaFuel: The Podcast is chock full of firsts. I realised recently that the conversations on the podcast weren't fully representative of all mamas, so I'm trying to do better by consciously broadening the scope of people I'm talking to. I asked this week's guests to be on the podcast a long time ago, and I'm delighted that our conversation is the first in what I hope will be a much more diverse series of conversations.

I'm thrilled to introduce you to Nick and Katherine North, a queer couple with a breathtaking love story, a transgender dad and a whole house full of kids (plus a very naughty puppy). Nick and Katherine are the first couple I've had on the show and Nick's the first dad I've welcomed. I couldn't think of better guests to have as my "firsts" in so many ways.

In this week's conversation Nick and Katherine tell us about their introductions into motherhood via abortion (Katherine's first mothering decision), traumatic birth, separation, post-natal depression and so much more. Hearing Nick explain how he tried to be a "good mom" and finding his joy in birthing babies really tugged at my heart.

I loved hearing how Katherine and Nick prepared for so long to tell their kids about Nick transitioning to Dad, only to find that their kids weren't that fussed -- as long as Dad gave as much love as Mom, which he does. We also talked about coming out, and how transgender people are endlessly required to explain their identity and how they present to the world. Nick and Katherine live in a very conservative community, and it was heartening to hear how their friends and the broader world rallied to support them as Nick transitioned (and continues to). 

Any parent who has a gender curious child will want to listen particularly closely to the part where Nick and Katherine express what every transgender child needs to hear and feel: that they are loved NO MATTER WHAT. No ifs, ands or buts. Simply loved. Nick's message that transgender kids (and their parents) don't have to do ANYTHING to make anyone else feel better, and that their only job it to make themselves feel ok really resonated with me. Everyone else will take care of themselves. It's also not a parent's job to make anyone else feel better about their kid or themselves. Other people's opinions are other people's business. Period.

There's so much more I could share about this conversation, but honestly: LISTEN. Again and again. And follow Nick and Katherine, support them and any LGBTQI people in your community. Because everyone could use more love. Deepest thanks to Katherine and Nick for this great conversation.

To hear a rich account of Nick and Katherine's love story, do yourself a favour and listen to this amazing podcast in which they explain how their love unfolded. I'll be listening again and again. 

My favourite places to follow this amazing pair of luminous beings is on Nick's Instagram here, on Katherine's Instagram here, and on Nick's web site and Katherine's web site (her newsletter is, hands down, the best and most precious writing dropping into my inbox. ever.).

I'd LOVE to hear what you thought of this episode, if you have any questions and what this conversation sparks in you. The best way to engage in the conversation is to come into the Virtual Village over on Facebook. It's our free community, and I'd love to welcome you there.  

During our conversation, I mentioned the new decision from Mastercard to allow transgender people to choose the name on their credit cards. Check out the moving video they released about this industry first. Bravo Mastercard.  

EP050: Celebrating 50 episodes of MamaFuel with some deep truth telling

EP050: Celebrating 50 episodes of MamaFuel with some deep truth telling

June 21, 2019

A little over a year ago the MamaFuel podcast was just a dream. Today I'm celebrating publishing 50 amazing episodes by turning the tables and having a dear friend interview me, asking the questions I usually ask my guests. Things get pretty personal, so if you've been tuning in for a while and you'd like to get to know the person behind the questions, this is your chance. Huge thanks to Noomi Natan for stepping into the interviewer role and having fun with it all!

If anything strikes you in this episode, tell me about it in our free Facebook group where the conversation is always ongoing. Click here to join the conversation in our free Facebook group!

EP049: Claire Farrington on the beauties and challenges of life with Down’s Syndrome

EP049: Claire Farrington on the beauties and challenges of life with Down’s Syndrome

June 17, 2019

Have you ever had a moment where the way you see the world shifts? Like a giant kaleidoscope unexpectedly moves and the clarity you took for granted is gone forever, as a new vision takes shape?

That's what happened to this week's guest, the lovely Claire Farrington. Her first son, Theo, was born very prematurely. As she and her partner adjusted to the realities of life in the NICU, they received another unexpected piece of news: Theo had Down's Syndrome.

In this touching conversation, Claire openly shares how little she knew about Down's Syndrome and how sad she feels now that her initial reaction to the news of Theo's extra chromosome was so frightened and negative. In the three years since Theo was born, Claire has become a campaigner for families with Down's Syndrome, sharing her story and educating people across the UK and beyond. 

Through her blog, Claire candidly shares all the stages of adjusting to life with Down's Syndrome. I'm still struck, weeks after recording, by Claire's deep wish that prospective parents of all ages might hear her message that a Down's diagnosis isn't negative. It's just different.

I'm grateful to Claire sharing her story with our community, and even more so because at time of recording, Claire was less than 24 hours away from a scheduled c-section. Her son Freddy was born healthy and on-schedule, and Claire has told me since that this second delivery has helped heal some of the terror she experienced around Theo's much-too-early arrival. 

When you've listened to this episode, please share it. And if you liked hearing our conversation, I'd be super grateful if you could rate the podcast and leave a review. The more people hear Claire's story, the more perspectives might shift for the better around Down's Syndrome. 

To follow Claire's family's story, visit her blog here or check out her beautiful Instagram account here

Don't forget that the conversation continues over on the free MamaFuel Virtual Village! Check it out and join in! I can't wait to hear what you think of this and all other episodes of MamaFuel. 

EP048: Annika Suoma Frey on the life-saving power of following your soul’s guidance

EP048: Annika Suoma Frey on the life-saving power of following your soul’s guidance

June 10, 2019

Annika Suoma Frey is an ultra sensitive healer, seeker and guide for women who are ready to live their soul’s calling. She is wise beyond her years, funny, vulnerable, open and one of the bravest people I’ve ever met.

She’s also a mama to three little beings under the age of six, in an ever-evolving conscious partnership with her husband, and a person whose willingness to have B-I-G conversations and take scary decisions regularly takes my breath away.

In this week’s conversation, Annika and I talk about her difficult youth and the winding road to recognising that she is a divine channel, how life is so much easier and richer (in all ways) since she decided to tune into that channel, and how being fiercely brave led her to the place she is now.

Annika shares incredible wisdom about how she prioritises her connection to Spirit, her wellbeing and her marriage above all else, and recounts how intentional separation and conscious decisions have expanded her relationships beyond anything she could have imagined.

We also veer into a place that surprised me: systems, and how they support Annika’s freedom and choice by creating true equality in all areas of responsibility in her family. They may not sound sexy, but Annika’s take on systems had this structure-avoider wondering about how I could implement some of what she shares. When she implements systems in the context of self-care, Annika is living her commitment to unconditionally love herself because she knows it’s the only way she can unconditionally love anyone else.

We talk about all of this and so much more, but you’ll have to listen to get the rest of the juicy nuggets.

ALSO: MY SOUND WASN’T GREAT BUT I’VE DECIDED TO SHARE THIS CONVERSATION ANYWAY BECAUSE IT WAS SO SO SO GOOD. Apologies about the sound quality on my end.

If you’d like to learn more about Annika and her work, check her out  online here, on Instagram here and on Facebook here. And be sure to join us over in the MamaFuel Virtual Village here to continue the conversation with Annika and with me. 

 

 

And finally, if you’d like to listen to the podcast episode with Leslie Potter that I mention in this conversation, click here.

 

EP047: Hannah Corne on a shocking wake-up call

EP047: Hannah Corne on a shocking wake-up call

May 31, 2019

We all know that taking care of ourselves first is important. The whole oxygen mask in the airplane explanation. Thing is, we hear it so much that some of us may feel it's over-stated and exaggerated; that we can keep pushing ourselves to the bottom of a to-do list when something feels a bit off.

This week's guest on MamaFuel is living proof that putting yourself last can have grave consequences for you and your family. Hannah Corne is an accomplished marathon runner and triathlete, the founder of the UK's branch of the Mini Mermaid Running Club, a mum of two and so much more. Earlier this year she started to notice her eyesight changing, and when she eventually went to have it checked, was told she had cancer in her eye. Within three weeks her eye (and the cancer) had been removed.

Our conversation was moving, raw and so beautiful. I admire Hannah for her courage facing into the terrifying prospect of cancer, learning to live without her left eye and for her willingness to share her story so soon after living through it.

What really sticks with me from our conversation is that Hannah finally got her eyes checked out of a feeling of responsibility to others on the road and to her children -- not a feeling of responsibility for herself or her own well-being. It highlighted for me how DEEP is the learning that we must care for others first and always, no matter the cost to ourselves. It's such a toxic belief, and it's got to stop.

Hannah is contributing to changing the messages women get about their self-care through her work with girls aged 7 - 11. Together with her coaching team at Mini Mermaid Running Club UK, Hannah helps the next generation develop emotional resilience, self-love and a passion for fitness. I wish such a programme had been around when my oldest was seven, and hope you'll take Hannah up on her generous offer to reach out to her for more information about the Club or anything else that sparked your interest during our conversation. You can reach Hannah directly here

If you'd like to learn more about the work the Mini Mermaid Running Club is doing to foster self-belief and resilience in young girls, click here to reach them in the UK, here to reach them in the US and here to reach them in Switzerland

I hope you'll go have all your checkups after this episode. I hope you'll look at yourself as the precious being that you really are. I hope that you'll hear your body's plea to take loving care of her. I certainly heard mine as I spoke to Hannah. And I hope that you'll reach out and share your story with others, and ask for help when you need it. It really could save your life. 

EP046: Alissa Daire Nelson on switching guilt for gratitude and moving from fear to freedom

EP046: Alissa Daire Nelson on switching guilt for gratitude and moving from fear to freedom

May 22, 2019

Alissa Daire Nelson is a modern-day superwoman, but not in the way that term is usually used. She is bold and courageous, she takes space when she needs it and models for her girls what it looks like when a woman – who happens to be a mother – follows her dreams and asks for support from her family to get there.

I loved learning about Alissa’s early lesson that as parents, we often resort to using our anger and our power (vocal, physical or otherwise) to control situations with our kids that trigger us, and what she chose to do instead.

Alissa decided years ago to draw on this quote from Scream-Free Parenting as her guide: “we are not responsible FOR our children, we are responsible TO them.” That sentence has shaped how she, her ex-husband and her current (and last!) husband parent their two girls.

Taking radical responsibility for and to herself has meant many conversations and reckonings when things have gone sideways, which in turn has given Alissa’s teen girls permission to mess up and make up, knowing they always have a voice and that they’ll be heard.

Alissa talks about how her girls are the best of friends and shares how asking good questions about when things go well has helped the whole family focus on the positive by choosing to engage in positive behaviours rather than harp on the negative when it arises.

It’s fascinating to hear how Alissa and her co-parenting team manage their daughter’s potentially life-threatening chronic illness and how they’ve used practical solutions to empower both of their girls in all aspects of life.

There’s so much richness in this week’s episode, so be sure to listen all the way to the end and then join the conversation over in the MamaFuel Virtual Village, our free group on Facebook where the discussion deepens every week. 

If you’d like to check out Alissa here and on Instagram here.

EP045: Shari D Teigman on carving her own path as a woman and a mother, the maverick way

EP045: Shari D Teigman on carving her own path as a woman and a mother, the maverick way

May 13, 2019

I love all my guests, and this week's is no exception. Shari Teigman is a whirlwind of straight-talking, powerhouse New York determination and grit. In this week's conversation we talk about her realisation that to live and thrive, she needed to break away from the traditional mother and matriarch roles handed down through her Modern Orthodox Jewish upbringing, and what it meant to do that in the community where she was raised.

Shari still lives and mothers in the place where she grew up; she's founded her business, launched three podcasts, raises her two boys on her own and keeps exploring different ways to belong in this new, truer form of herself. Shari and I talk about the insidiousness of mothers being valued for being selfless, how living in the place you grew up can blind you to the structures that others impose upon you, and how damaging it is that we don't learn to trust ourselves from the outset.

We talk about Byron Katie's The Work, which you can learn more about here, how important it is to choose the stories you believe, the importance of learning to be ok with yourself FIRST and foremost, how damaging it is to judge and compare ourselves to others, and so much more.

I know I'll be listening over and over to this episode, and I can't wait to hear what you think of it. Make sure you visit us over in the free Facebook group here to continue the conversation about this episode.

If you'd like to learn more about Shari and her work, you can find her here online, check out her Facebook profile or follow her on Instagram

EP044: Maternal mental health: my journey and why we need to talk about it

EP044: Maternal mental health: my journey and why we need to talk about it

May 6, 2019

At the time of recording, it’s the end of Global Maternal Mental Health Week (early May 2019). This is an episode with a difference, and it feels vulnerable and frightening to share it with you.

But I’m doing it because this story matters. My mental health journey matters, and as I’ve been sharing it this week online, the response has been incredible. So many women are suffering silently, convinced they’re alone. They aren’t. You aren’t.

In this week’s episode you’ll learn why I know first-hand that we must keep conversation and education growing around maternal mental health. I learned about it the hard way, and I wish I’d known of people talking about it at the time. Maternal mental illness is an epidemic that must be stopped.

If you know me outside of motherhood, this episode might surprise you. If you know me as a mama, you might still be surprised because I present as (and am) fiercely smart, sharp-minded and quick-witted. I’m also incredibly fragile, just like everyone else out there. Some people sail through life without any mental wobbles. Many don’t. Those of us in the latter camp need support, visibility and most of all, we need the shame and stigma associated with mental illness to be dropped.

If you’re a return listener to MamaFuel, you’ll know that mental health struggles come up often during our conversations. We’ve talked about depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, post-natal bi-polar and more. If any of those topics speak to you, click on the links above and you’ll find much to comfort and possibly educate you.

If you haven’t ever wrestled with your mental health, I’m so happy for you. But chances are you know a mum (likely many) who are struggling and aren’t talking about it. For them, please listen to this episode and share it broadly. We all need to be part of the conversation.

If you’d like to join the MamaFuel-Up Sessions, starting May 7th, 2019, please click on this link to join us. We’ll be gathering for five consecutive days, one hour per day, to start sharing stories, shifting perspectives and collecting tools to help us lead our best life, even when it feels impossible. I’d love you to join us, it’s absolutely free.

If you’re struggling, please reach out to your local community, a friend or a health professional near you. Nothing is unsolvable, once we find the right help.

Here are some resources in the UK, Canada, South Africa, the US and Switzerland. If you have any more to share for your country, please email me here and I'll gladly add them to list list. Thank you. 

Here's the link to the MamaFuel Virtual Village, where the conversation about this episode will continue!

EP043: Sarah Tucker on living her biggest dream and stepping into the spotlight as an artist and a mother

EP043: Sarah Tucker on living her biggest dream and stepping into the spotlight as an artist and a mother

April 29, 2019

If you’re a fan of The Voice UK, you’ll likely recognise the voice of this week’s guest. Sarah Tucker was a breathtakingly talented contestant on the 2019 version of the show, and she captured hearts and carried the dreams of many mamas as she soared in the competition.

A few months ago Sarah’s run on the show came to an end, but not before scores of people had fallen under the spell of her voice. What few people knew, however, was what Sarah had gone through to get onto that mythical stage. In this week’s episode, Sarah talks about her lifelong dream to become a mother and the parallel dream she tirelessly pursued to become a professional singer.

We talk about Sarah’s difficult passage into motherhood following a missed miscarriage, the power of manifestation, spirituality, social media and the role it played in triggering a crippling post-natal depression after the birth of her second child Josh, and much more.

For more detailed show notes, click here. If you’d like to talk to Sarah directly and ask her some questions, then join us over in the MamaFuel Virtual Village here where we’ll be carrying on the conversation.

If you’d like to learn more about the MamaFuel Sisterhood, be sure to email me here at anne@mamafuel.me and I’ll get right back in touch to tell you all about it. And remember to keep May 7th in your diary, because that’s when the fun will begin!

To follow Sarah's journey and hear her amazing voice, check out her Instagram profile.

To learn more about her mortgage business, click here

 

EP042: Sarah Sproule on talking to kids about sex in ways that connect and deepen bonds

EP042: Sarah Sproule on talking to kids about sex in ways that connect and deepen bonds

April 15, 2019

Many parents dread having "THE TALK" with their kids, fearful of using true anatomical language, saying too much or having to answer uncomfortable questions.

Today's guest, Sarah Sproule, learned first-hand about the importance of the talk AND how much of an impact having (or not having) the talk could have on her social circle and her children's network of friends. Ever since, Sarah's dedicated her life to helping parents navigate the potentially treacherous waters of talking about sex in ways that connect and build stronger bonds with their children.

We explore how to talk to your kids, framing their new knowledge in ways that will preserve their friendships (aka: you're lucky to know this stuff, not everyone's parents talk to them about this), how to talk to them about sexual pleasure, and how to create respectful boundaries around conversations that not every family is prepared to have. 

I loved Sarah's perspective on culture, and how we're now at the opposite of the "don't talk" spectrum where some people feel forced to talk about things they don't want to discuss yet with their children. We talk about sexting, videos, consent, cyber intimacy and so much more. Listen for the nugget later in our conversation when Sarah explains about the four-to-one ratio to help keep your relationship with your kids on the right track. 

To learn more about Sarah's work and find out how you can have supportive and loving conversations with your kids about sex, visit https://www.thetalk.ie/ and be sure to join our free Facebook group here to continue the conversation with other mamas.