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Unclassified Woman

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 All of these outdated stereotypes lead to one dangerous assumption: what’s your value beyond being a mother?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
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Now displaying: 2016
Aug 1, 2016

Welcome to a special episode! Today the tables are turned and I’m being interviewed by my close friend Mariana Rudan.

I met Mariana when I first arrived in Sydney years ago and we worked together, and she’s been a close friend ever since. She’s a journalist, presenter, newsreader, singer songwriter, travel lover, mother of two adorable children, and an amazing cook! She also speaks a few languages, so is a very talented lady.

Sharing a little of my personal story seemed like a great way to mark the first year of the podcast and to celebrate International ChildFree Day, which is August 1.

Ready?

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Michelle’s pregnancy a few years ago, about which she had always felt ambivalent and resistant to the assumption of 'having to have children'.
  • At 10 weeks, she knew something was wrong.
  • Diagnosis: “molar pregnancy”—abnormal cell growth in the uterus, when the embryo doesn’t develop, but the placenta keeps growing.
  • How a molar pregnancy is linked to a pregnancy-related cancer.
  • How the pregnancy was a catalyst for ending Michelle’s marriage.
  • The reason for the title of the podcast
  • When women don’t follow the “normal” script of life
  • How judgment of women has played out in the media recently.
  • The feedback Michelle has received from the show over the past year.
  • “We all have a different story—and that’s OK.”
  • The incorrect assumption that every woman feels the “clock ticking” when Michelle hears all the time from women, who never have that experience.
  • The statistics: Almost 25% of women over 40 don’t have children, and the numbers are steadily increasing worldwide. Around a third of couples in Australia don't have children.
  • The many factors that play into the decision not to have children.
  • “Every woman’s path is unique to her.”
  • How society can change the perceptions and stop the judgment by supporting the choices of ALL women.
  • Michelle’s current relationship and playing the role of stepmother.
  • No right or wrong---it all comes down to individual beliefs and value systems
  • “No children” doesn’t mean “no responsibilities” and often childless or childfree women can feel taken for granted in other areas of their lives.
  • Opportunities to channel creative energy in a different direction.
  • What do you love? What makes you angry? Where do you feel there is injustice? What are you curious about? What brings out the best in you?
  • What if YOU are the one person in your circle that’s meant to create a different path that inspires others and opens their hearts and minds to a different possibility?

Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed then please share with another woman who would find it beneficial. I would be eternally grateful if you could rate the show and leave a review on Itunes.

For more episodes of Unclassified Woman check out michellemariemcgrath.com

Jul 19, 2016

Welcome to a very special show! This episode is monumental because this week marks the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of this Unclassified Woman podcast.

It is also International Childfree Day on 1st August. This commenced in the USA in the 70's, to support and educate those who were consciously choosing not to have biological children.

I’m honoured to share with you conversations with many self-empowered women around the world, blazing their own trails and embodying what it means to be a woman living her own truth. This has been a deeply reflective year for me as I have learnt so much from each of these women and been reminded of how there are so many variables in each woman's life. Sweeping generalisations are harmful and limiting to all women - so let's unite in supporting all women, whatever their life choices and circumstances. We have more in common than our differences and we all want to be loved and accepted for who we are.

Today’s special show features an impactful woman and internationally celebrated yoga teacher, Seane Corn. I had the pleasure of hearing Seane speak in Sydney last year, and have wanted to have her on the podcast ever since. I was thrilled when she agreed and so today I share Seane's wisdom with you. 

Seane is known for her impassioned activism, unique self-expression, and inspirational teaching style. She has been featured in numerous media outlets, through which she brings awareness to global humanitarian issues. Since 2007, she has been training leaders in activism through her co-founded organisation, Off the Mat, Into the World. Seane has travelled across the world, teaching yoga and educating people about critical social issues. Her Global Seva Challenge has raised over $4 million since 2007. 

Let’s jump right into conversation with this inspiring woman who truly is making a positive difference across the globe.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • It was Seane’s personal decision to NOT have a child.
  • As a girl, she never especially liked playing with babies or playing house.
  • “I was comfortable with my decision, even though others weren’t.”
  • How her decision brought a sense of relief.
  • Her family understood that her career interests were her priority.
  • Seane knew that her “mothering” instincts would be employed in different way.
  • She encountered that age-old judgment: “You’ll never really know what love is unless you have a child.”
  • How society measures and frames love in the context of marriage and motherhood.
  • Seane’s frustration and irritation with society’s stereotypes and myths.
  • “It’s better to NOT be a mother than to be a miserable mother!”
  • Your position on motherhood depends on how you feel within yourself.
  • Don’t let other people trigger you!
  • Some people have NO sense of identity outside of parenthood.
  • Seane knows that she can reach MANY children and make a LARGER impact with the life she has chosen.
  • “I had to go and play in that field in order to know that I DON’T want this!”
  • Attempting to get pregnant (one time) and not succeeding was her “line in the sand.”
  • Seane’s total life and energy would be devoted to serving that soul if she had a child.
  • Women have options and can be fulfilled in other ways.
  • “Not having a child doesn’t make me ‘better than’ or ‘less than’.”
  • The power of creativity comes in so many ways besides motherhood.
  • How a non-biological parent has great value in the life of a stepchild. 
  • Seane's partner had custody of his children, so she is in a parenting role. 
  • Seane facilitates environments that shift energy through yoga.
  • How Seane holds space for people in their emotional struggles.
  • How Seane bridges the gap between yoga, social justice, and activation in social environments.
  • The Nurturing Instinct
  • How Seane can serve others more fully because she doesn’t have children.
  • Why Seane is active in combating sex trafficking and exploitation of children
  • Dialogue can create conversation and awareness.
  • Why Seane doesn’t like the “childless” and “child-free” terminology.
  • “Check in with yourself and DO the inner work. Meet others who walk the same path. There are many GOOD reasons NOT to have children.”

Resources:

www.seanecorn.com (Check out Seane’s website for DVD’s, programs, and other resources. Look for her book, coming out in Fall, 2017.)

 

Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed then please share with another woman who would find beneficial. For more episodes check out michellemariemcgrath.com

Jul 9, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Sasha Cagen, an author, coach, and lifestyle experimenter.

Sasha Cagen helps single and divorcing women in life transition to figure out who they are, what they want, and to go get it. She also helps women reconnect to their sensuality and pleasure to help them get in touch with their unique desires for life. She does this work by combining her life coaching with a 7-day transformative tango holiday in Buenos Aires, using tango as a tool to help women reconnect to themselves and grow their confidence. Tango is Sasha's passion and the dance brought her to Buenos Aires.

Sasha is well known as the founder of the Quirkyalone movement, which she created in 2000 to support women and men who prefer to be single rather than settle. Sasha’s books Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (Harper) and To-Do List: From Buying Mile to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster) have received attention on CNN, NPR, and the New York Times. Sasha is at work on a memoir Wet, which tells the tale of her own journey of healing from a childhood incident of sexual abuse through many adventures in sensuality. This book is a female "On the Road," a story of listening to impulses from her body to heal trauma, know her own worth, and create a life on her own terms.

Let’s chat with Sasha!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Why not having a child was a combination of choice and circumstance
  • Sasha, now 43, never found the right partner to embark upon parenthood in her 30’s.
  • How she decided to pursue happiness on a travel adventure
  • “Having a child simply wasn’t something I HAD to do in this lifetime.”
  • The difficulty as a woman figuring out what you REALLY want
  • Sasha never experienced pressure from her family to have a child; she became her own biggest critic.
  • Why it’s easy to go into “comparison” mode when around friends
  • Sasha’s near-death experience that opened her eyes about the value of life
  • How her Tango Adventures became self-exploration for her and for other spectacular women
  • “Relationships are not for the faint of heart.”
  • Is there an expiration date for a relationship?
  • The importance of feeling comfortable with your sensuality
  • Experiencing moments of grief
  • Sasha’s honesty about the reality of life with a child and how HARD it really would be
  • Why she is aware of her needs and limitations
  • Her creativity is expressed in her passions: writing, coaching, and tango
  • Why you MUST be true to your own creativity and your own path
  • The power and energy of simply being feminine.

I enjoyed this conversation so much and I hope you did too. What did you enjoy the most about this episode?  If you enjoyed please share with a friend who would enjoy ;-) To connect with Sasha, find out more at sashencagen.com


Jul 3, 2016

Welcome! Today’s Unclassified Woman is Kristen Barnes from Melbourne, Australia. Kristen is in private practice as a registered psychologist and certified life coach. She has 25 years’ experience in counselling, therapeutic coaching, and using her supervisory skills to help coaches and therapists value themselves and carve out a passionate life.

Kristen believes that you are most passionate and powerful when you simply dare to be yourself! Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Circumstances have combined to prevent traditional motherhood for Kristen.
  • How she pursued motherhood via IVF and adopted embryos  over a 20 year period.
  • Unexplained fertility prevailed, even though she tried everything humanly possible to have a biological child.
  • How Kristen fostered homeless adolescents in a mothering role.
  • “It was meant to be.”
  • Her experience with an ongoing grieving process.
  • Cultural expectations and stigmas that she has observed.
  • “I felt like children were viewed as currency.”
  • How Kristen dealt with inappropriate comments and questions.
  • Why you need clear boundaries around how you discuss the topic with others.
  • “Small talk” vs. “Big talk”
  • How the terminology used about childless/childfree women implies a minority.
  • How we define the “value” of our lives.
  • How mothering skills are incorporated into many roles that women play.
  • The sacrifices and “settling” that can lead to losing yourself.
  • Selfishness vs. self-care.
  • Kristen has seen a dramatic increase in women in their late 30’s whose window of opportunity for motherhood is closing.
  • The assumptions that society makes about women and what they want
  • Many support groups and communities have formed to support women without children and are doing marvellous work!
  • Find out more about Kristen: www.kristenbarnes.com

    Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed then please share with another woman who would find beneficial. For more episodes check out michellemariemcgrath.com 
May 22, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Carren Smith, an author, speaker, presenter, and podcast host. She’s an all-around amazing lady who has helped thousands transform their lives and businesses through her unique approach to self-leadership.

Carren believes that the magic happens when clarity, passion, and action are engaged. She has presented to over 450,000 people across the globe over the last seven years. She writes for many publications and delivers up to 18 live seminars across Australia each year.

Carren is the author of Soul Survivor, the account of her fight for survival in the 2002 Bali bombing. Carren loves leading others to find their voice and message through her philosophical approach to life.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Carren says it just “never occurred” to her that she wouldn’t have kids.
  • She was always and interested in becoming an entrepreneur and wanted to pursue her career more than a family.
  • Carren realised that the natural path to feeling fulfilled and satisfied didn’t include motherhood.
  • At age 36, she was ready to focus on something other than herself, tried to get pregnant, but couldn’t.
  • She had a tumour removed from her ovary, but couldn’t get pregnant. “The universe made the decision for me.”
  • Often, it seems that the very thing we aren’t sure of, is what the world reflects back to us.
  • Carren finds inspiration by tapping into time and space to figure out what is important to her for RIGHT NOW.
  • Carren explains how to pick a random feeling and figure out where it came from.
  • “We become the instructor for what we want the mind to experience.”
  • Carren says look to do self-discovery work when you’re already in a good place.
  • All the pressure we put on ourselves as women could be a reason why so many women struggle to become pregnant these days.
  • Many of Carren’s clients are mothers, looking to “find themselves” and become a stronger role model for their kids.
  • Some people want a way through the “parent guilt” and “mother guilt” of raising a family.
  • Ultimately, we (women) are all the same, whether or not we have children.
  • People who judge others most often feel inadequate in themselves.
  • “Nobody has a crystal ball to see the future; if you feel right now that you want to start a family, then go for it!”
  • We can’t control people and situations.
  • “Get into the game and keep playing the game.”
  • There are many paths available to us in this world if we step fully into it.
  • Carren explains why the voice in your head should come with enthusiasm and excitement!

    Find out more about Carren and her inspirational work at www.carrensmith.com

If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe and share with another woman whom you feel would benefit. For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com

May 22, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Alana Helbig, the host of the She Makes Magic podcast. Alana is a wild-hearted gypsy writer and blogger. She’s passionate about living life with purpose, and her musings on this topic have been featured in various publications.

Alana moved on from the corporate world for something more in tune with the life she wanted to live. Her podcast showcases real stories from real women who have left ill-fitting lives behind to follow their dreams and their wild hearts. Be inspired when you connect with Alana at www.shemakesmagic.com

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How witnessing firsthand that motherhood is NOT a “walk in the park” spurred Alana to make the personal choice to NOT have kids.
  • For many years, Alana focused on building her career in the IT industry.
  • Her life included a great relationship, great friends, and a great life—but too much alcohol and drugs.
  • At age 28, Alana asked herself some big questions: “What am I doing? What good do I bring to the world?”.
  • How volunteering to help sea turtles in Costa Rica changed the course of her life.
  • How she felt that a career change would help her make a difference in the world.
  • Why Alana needed to break off her relationship to embark on a healing journey to rediscover the part of her soul that had been forgotten.
  • How Alana connected with her sexuality and tore down all walls to reveal her true self.
  • In the past, Alana felt swayed and influenced into behaving in ways that were accepted and expected.
  • How breaking off the bonds of conformity are necessary to align with what you were meant to be.
  • Alana’s core message is that we each need to find ways to come back to what is true and right for each of us.
  • Be careful what you say “NEVER” about!
  • Alana is openminded with her friends who have children. Equally, she doesn’t want to be judged for her choices.
  • Alana admits that she is non-conforming with her lifestyle choices in many ways, but she sticks with what is true for her.
  • Alana shares her unique perspective on the personal creativity that she brings to the world.
  • Why she was happy to quit her ten-year career and travel around Australia in a camper van!
  • Alana now spends her time studying energy and soul medicine and working part-time.
  • NOT being a mother gives me the freedom to move in any direction and experience all that life has to offer.”

Connect with Alana at www.shemakesmagic.com

Thank you for listening! I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Subscribe to hear more unique and inspiring perspectives on this emotive topic at michellemariemcgrath.com or on Itunes.

 

 

May 21, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Kelly Surtees, a consulting astrologer, teacher, writer, and editor. She works with clients and students around the world, sharing her infectious passion for astrology. With 14+ years in private practice, Kelly is warm, experienced, and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history and loves escaping into the ocean.

Kelly’s specialty areas include career, life direction, health, fertility, love, health, and happiness. Kelly meets clients and lectures throughout the US, Canada, and Australia, though she makes Canada her current home. Connect with Kelly at www.kellysastrology.com

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Kelly made a conscious choice in her early 20’s to NOT have children.
  • She grew up as the oldest of six kids, never really wanted her own, and always felt like her siblings were, in a way, her “kids.”
  • Kelly was fortunate to have two aunts who were terrific childless role models and made it seem NOT weird or unusual.
  • Kelly later married a man with two children from a previous relationship, so she does fulfil the step-mothering role.
  • Kelly asserts that childless women have an important role to play in society today.
  • Within any population around the world, there is a consistent 10% of women who don’t have children; this number is higher in some places, like the US, where it is as high as 50%.
  • In the astrological community, TIMING is the major issue and has to be perfectly aligned for a child to result.
  • One of Kelly's specialities is working with women who want to conceive, using charts to predict fertility potential and other contributing factors.
  • Two main astrological factors that influence fertility are the moon and the fifth house.
  • In astrology, the moon is an important factor for health and vitality; the determinant is what the moon phase was when you were born. 
  • Kelly explains the significance of the 5th house and 11th house and how the moon represents your unconscious self and private feelings.
  • Start with knowing your moon’s sign.
  • When we feel comfortable and safe, we have more confidence, strength, and courage to do more in the world.
  • Kelly discusses the nuances of the stepmother role, knowing your partner has had the childbirth experience with another woman - a special experience that cannot be replicated.
  • It’s unfair and inaccurate to call those without children “selfish.”
  • From a young age, Kelly realised that being a parent and raising a family is extremely hard work.
  • Kelly expresses her creativity through her astrology work and writing blogs, articles, and e-books.
  • For Kelly, the major benefits of NOT having children are that she can delight in other people’s children, freedom with time and money, and overall flexibility.

    I do hope you enjoyed this fascinating episode with Kelly. For more about Kelly and her work, go to www.kellysastrology.com

For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com and subscribe on Itunes!

Thank you!

 

May 11, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Vienda Maria, who is a writer and mentor, currently based in New Zealand. She teaches women who want to do great things in the world, to choose freedom in life and work.

Vienda shares her message and insights through her blog and many magazine articles. Connect with her at www.viendamaria.com

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Vienda made a personal choice to not have children. Motherhood wasn’t something she really dreamed about or felt was a top priority.
  • A couple of years ago, her mother let her know that her expectation was that Vienda should have children, to bring meaning into her life.
  • Her mother was hurt and upset with Vienda’s choice, feeling it was a waste.
  • This clarifying incident helped cement Vienda's choice and feel empowered about it, even though it was a confronting situation.
  • It can be challenging when we have differing views on such emotive topics, from our families and friends.
  • These huge life choices can change over the years. As the decades go by in your life, priorities also change.
  • Vienda has never felt any social pressure from friends to have children, but feels that society at large seems to expect every single woman to have a child!
  • The world is full of archaic thinking around families and what is expected.
  • We, as Western women, are privileged to be able to make choices, because so many people in the world don’t have that freedom.
  • There was a grieving process that Vienda experienced, complete with sadness and tears from letting go of the idea of motherhood—even though she knew it was the right decision.
  • Whatever creative expression we choose is where fulfilment comes from. This is an extremely personal choice.
  • Vienda’s mother chose to have her at age 21 so she could experience love; it’s a big responsibility for a child to bear.
  • The decision to have/not have a child should be made from a place of wholeness and not from a place of lack or fear.
  • People automatically assume that people without children have ZERO other responsibilities and commitments. We need to challenge our limited perspectives and perceptions.

To find out more about Vienda and her work, visit her at viendamaria.com

Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Subscribe for more at michellemariemcgrath.com

 

May 4, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Jennifer Spaulding, a relationship coach, speaker, writer, and passionate supporter of single women. Her own journey from being single until her late 30’s, to finding real love with her husband helps her teach others about healthy and meaningful relationships.

Jennifer has been featured in several publications and has spent 20 years coaching clients with her relationship expertise. Jennifer lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and dog. Let’s talk with Jennifer!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Jennifer always assumed she would be a mother because that was what was modelled for her as she grew up.
  • At age 16, she began having issues that she suspected would affect her fertility.
  • At age 30, she was single and decided to adopt a dog (instead of a child.)
  • She met her husband at age 39 but had recently discovered that she had premature ovarian failure, which meant early menopause symptoms. So often we never hear about these types of health issues, until we are investigating if there is a problem. 
  • She later found out that two aunts in her family had also gone through menopause prior to age 40.
  • Jennifer went through a grieving process to mourn the loss of the possibility of motherhood, but also because she was single and didn’t have the relationship she wanted.
  • When you are single and childless, there is a heightened awareness of people around you who have what you do not. It can be very isolating.
  • Jennifer was nervous about dating and having the difficult conversation with a potential spouse about having a child, so early on in the connection.
  • Telling her then boyfriend (now husband) was a positive experience, as even though he had always wanted children too, but he valued their relationship first and he was very supportive.
  • Immediately after their marriage, they felt the pressure and heard the questions about when they would start a family.
  • Jennifer and her husband have both found other ways to love, nurture, and mentor people in other relationships besides parenthood.
  • They both have the gift of more free time to serve others in various ways since they don’t have children.
  • The benefits for Jennifer to not having children are having time to write, speak, coach, and mentor to help others.
  • She also appreciates being able to cultivate a great relationship with her husband, since they started their lives together later in life than most people.
  • She and her husband love to travel and explore together, and Jennifer loves to find joy in her own life and help others do the same.
  • Find Jennifer at www.jenniferspaulding.com.

    I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Subscribe for more at michellemariemcgrath.com  Thank you!
Apr 23, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Kamalamani, a Buddhist author and psychotherapist based in Bristol, England. Her first book was published in 2012, and titled Meditating with Character.

Her latest book, Other Than Mother: Choosing Childlessness with Life in Mind is published by Earth Books. Kamalamani is a regular writer for several publications. She loves travelling, gardening, researching ancestry, and cooking for friends. Let’s hear more about her story!

What You’ll Hear in This Episode:

  • Kamalamani began practicing Buddhism in her early 20’s, when she saw how the age-old teachings of mindfulness and loving-kindness are relevant for the 21st century.
  • She has chosen not to have children, but didn’t realise until age 27, that she DID actually have a choice. She decided to see how she felt after a year of consciously choosing 'not' to have a child.
  • She used to say, “I’ll have a child by the time I’m 30.”
  • How she became interested in researching and talking to people who choose childlessness voluntarily.
  • How making the decision to be childless gave her eye-opening insights to some internal judgements.
  • How most of her family and friends have been supportive, although she believes it’s been hard for her mother, who loves children. This is a topic that is being more discussed recently about how our mothers may need to grieve the loss of grandchildren they are not going to receive.
  • How Kamalamani experienced writer’s block and had to do some soul-searching about going against the grain.
  • There can be a “sense of lack” that is projected if you are living as a woman without children.
  • There is pressure for ALL women, whether or not they have a child.
  • Her newest book is divided into three parts: The Worldly Words, A Private Decision, and Baby-Sized Projects.
  • Her new book considers the environmental and ecological factors associated with having/not having children.
  • How Kamalamani most expresses her creativity through writing and gardening
  • She advises that we can all have more awareness in our lives, of what we do and why we do it.
  • For Kamalamani, the benefits to being childless include having quiet time to write, having time to be a loving auntie, and having time to devote to friends, family, Buddhism, and meditation.
  • You can reach Kamalamani at www.kamalamani.co.uk 

I do hope enjoyed this episode! For more please subscribe and check out michellemariemcgrath.com  Thank you!

 

Apr 9, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Sara Eckel, who lives in New York state with her husband. She is the author of It’s Not You: 27 Wrong Reasons You’re Single. Sara has been a freelance writer since 1997 and has written for numerous publications.

Sara is a nationally syndicated columnist in the USA and has also written short fiction. She is a student of meditation and Buddhism. Let’s catch up with Sara!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • For Sara, living without children is a combination of choice and circumstances.
  • She met her husband at age 39, but they didn’t marry until a few years later.
  • It was a bigger priority for Sara to have a relationship with the right partner, rather than have children, even though they were totally open to it happening.
  • She and her husband spent a year “not” not trying, but no pregnancy resulted. They stopped using birth control and so were happy to becoming pregnant at any point. They chose not to embark upon the journey of IVF, which is not without its challenges.
  • Sara realised that life was hard enough without putting herself through the uphill climb of making her body do something it wasn't doing naturally.
  • Sara discusses the very small percentage of a chance that she would ever get pregnant, either with or without intervention, at this point in her life.
  • Since she married later in life (comparatively speaking), there was no pressure from family or friends to have kids.
  • Sara enjoys her work, her friends, and spending time with her husband.
  • She expresses her creative feminine energy by trying to be useful—not successful--in the world.
  • For Sara, writing columns and books and coaching other women is extremely fulfilling.
  • Women in this generation have options that those in previous generations did not have.
  • “Women today don’t HAVE to get married and are not dependent on men.”
  • Sara shares her thoughts on the “child-free vs. childless” terminology.
  • Sara has some set responses when people ask if she has kids; she doesn’t go into detail or “take the bait” to get into conversation about it.
  • Women should be empowered to define what womanhood means. Relationships are important, but they don’t define who we are.
  • The major benefits of a life without children for Sara are being able to continue the work she does and facing its challenges, rather than having a set salary.
  • The financial stress of being a writer would have been extremely difficult if her life included motherhood.
  • Find Sara at www.saraeckel.com  (Look for the link to download a free bonus chapter of her book, sign up for her newsletter, and click on the link to purchase her book!)

I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Please go to michellemariemcgrath.com for more episodes of these valuable conversations. Thank you!

Apr 1, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Star Khechara, also known as “Miss Monetisation.” She’s a passive income strategist and e-course expert for leading women. Her online academy, Passive Income Rocks, has helped hundreds of women (and some men!) monetize their passions, knowledge, and expertise into automated recurring income for maximum impact.

Star created The Wealth-Gasm for women, because “Smart women sell their knowledge, and not their time.” Find Star at www.starkhechara.com.

One of the aspects I really appreciated about this episode is Star's honesty in expressing what some may feel is taboo to mention. Everyone is entitled to their perspective and it's important to create a space where every woman's voice is heard.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Star always knew that she didn’t want to have children since she was very young.
  • She wanted to walk a different path and not experience the whole marriage/mortgage lifestyle.
  • At age 40, Star realised that the urge (to have a child) never came, in fact, the urge to NOT have children became stronger with greater clarity.
  • When Star got married in her 20’s and her husband wanted children, and ALL her friends were having children, she realised that still did not want to have a child.
  • “I don’t like being responsible for living things. I get nervous if I have a houseplant!”
  • Growing up, her sister was the exact opposite as far as wanting to have that mothering experience.
  • Since Star has always been open and outspoken about her wishes, she has never experienced pressure from family members about having children.
  • Star loves being an aunt, especially when they reach that 2-3 years of age period.
  • People who don’t want kids should not feel alone.
  • The issue of having/not having kids can make or break friendships.
  • One dilemma is how to handle having visitors to your home with their small children.
  • Star has had to figure out how to handle being around other people’s children with tact and without being offensive.
  • Parents have a duty to NOT wreck everyone else’s world when they take their children out.
  • Star’s creativity is expressed through dance, graphic design, setting up businesses, writing and mentoring other women.
  • Star expresses her viewpoint about how we are socially conditioned, and the stigma surrounding child-free women, but not men.
  • Star loves to play with children, but can’t fathom the 24/7 emotional needs of a child and does not want that experience.
  • The language describing a woman without a child is not easily defined. “Childless” and “Child-free” both have negative or inaccurate connotations.
  • Visit Star and find out more about her work at www.starkhechara.com

I do hope you enjoyed this episode and please subscribe to receive more at michellemariemcgrath!

Mar 23, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Marianne Elliott, a mouthy introvert who collects treasures and tells tales. She is the National Director for Action Station, a digital platform to enable social action. She rallies fellow New Zealanders to fight for truth, justice, and a kinder way. Marianne trained as a human rights lawyer, and worked in several places around the world before going to the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan.

Stories are her secret weapon and yoga is her medicine. Her memoir, Zen Under Fire, is a moving account of working on the world’s most notorious battlefield and her personal story about the effect of her lifestyle on her relationships. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Marianne’s decision not to have a child came from a combination of choices and circumstances.
  • For many years, Marianne made life choices that didn’t coincide with life as a mother. When she contemplated parenthood, she didn't have a suitable partner with whom to embark on this life experience.
  • “Sometimes, the choice is not between A and B, but between B and C.”
  • How we control with technology SO many aspects of our lives, but the circumstances surrounding having/not having a child cannot be controlled.
  • One of the most hurtful comments is that parenthood alone transforms you from selfish and shallow to caring and compassionate.
  • A deep, compassionate heart can be awakened in other ways besides motherhood.
  • “Closing the door” on parenthood did bring grief, that this part of the human experience would NOT be a part of her life.
  • Marianne saw a therapist for six months to process the decision she’d made.
  • Zen retreats, journaling, meditation, and therapy all were helpful.
  • The MOST helpful support for Marianne came from a friend in a similar situation, the only person with whom she could be totally honest and transparent.
  • Women without children are perceived in stereotypically negative ways.
  • Ironically, men who chose to not be parents are not questioned or perceived in the same selfish, negative ways that women are.
  • Society seems to define women according to their state of motherhood or non-motherhood.
  • Women need to be allies to each other, whether or not they have children.
  • Marianne has nephews, nieces, and many children in her life.
  • Marianne has an increasingly small number of close friends with whom she has much in common, being in mid-40’s and child-free.
  • Social networks DO exist for women in this narrow niche.
  • The major benefits for Marianne to not having children are that she can pour herself into incredibly important work.
  • She enjoys incredible freedom and flexibility, which allow her to be a support system for many of her friends who do have children.
  • Marianne describes herself as an introvert who LOVES to be alone, so she wonders how she would’ve coped if motherhood had come to her.
  • Find Marianne at www.marianne-elliott.com, which features her writings and her book about her time as an aid worker in Afghanistan.

I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Please go to michellemariemcgrath.com for more episodes of these valuable conversations. Thank you! 

Mar 6, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Cherie Hausler, a freelance food writer, stylist and restaurant owner. She operates from Sydney to Bangkok to the Barossa Valley in South Australia. She lives her life in the fresh country air and is dedicated to experiencing good food in its entirety.

Cherie believes that there are few things in life that can’t be helped with a fabulous cup of tea! Visit www.scullerymade.org to learn about her unique teas.

Cherie shares the following about her life:

  • The decision whether to have or not have a child is the biggest and most emotional topic for a woman.
  • Cherie has made the choice to not have a child as a result of much “deep thinking” and consideration.
  • People assume if you don’t have children that you don’t like children. Cherie says, “I ADORE children!”
  • Cherie was adopted, and has met her birth mother.
  • Cherie’s parents adopted two children, and then had a biological son who passed away at 6 months. They lost another son to premature birth and then proceeded to adopt Cherie.
  • Cherie has experienced the supernatural love of a mother.
  • “A mother’s love is an unconditional love not restricted to biology or species.”
  • Many women without children are caring, nurturing, and mothering.
  • Cherie has felt some pressure from others to have a child, and even worked as a nanny for 9 years. She has loved and looked after many kids.
  • Cherie has learned that there are over 45,000 children in Australia in foster care due to the breaking down of the family unit.
  • Cherie is also sensitive to the issues about our planet and our natural resources being depleted.
  • She looks at the bleak lives being lived around the world and has decided to put her love and care into the lives that already exist in the world.
  • Consider how many disposable nappies (diapers) are sent to landfills around the world!
  • Having a child is a much bigger issue that “just having a child!”
  • The creative force that all of us feel can be manifested in other ways besides creating a child.
  • Sometimes the creative urge that women mistake for the desire for a child is the desire to create something else! An idea to consider.....

Find out more about Cherie at www.scullerymade.org

I do hope you enjoy this episode. Please subscribe at michellemariemcgrath.com and share with a woman who would benefit from this wisdom. Thank you! 

Mar 6, 2016

Welcome and today's guest is Lisa Manterfield!

Lisa is the creator of Life Without Baby.com and the author of the award-winning memoir, I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. She offers workshops and popular e-books.

Her new book, Life Without Baby: Surviving and Thriving When Motherhood Doesn’t Happen, is recently available. She lives a contented life in southern CA with her husband and cat. Lisa has successfully created an online community that gives a voice to those without children. Let’s chat with Lisa!

In this episode, you’ll hear the following:

  • Lisa’s child-free life is not really by choice, but by circumstance. She always wanted and expected to have children, but experienced fertility issues and a unpleasant fertility clinic encounter.
  • She and her husband came to the realisation, “We ARE already a family—just a family of two.”
  • Lisa explains the anger, grief, and confusion that plagued her for a long time.
  • The loss of any hope of biological children was a HUGE loss that no one around her knew about.
  • You have to give yourself space and permission to grieve the loss of plans and dreams.
  • Lisa never set out to write her book about her experience; she was primarily a fiction writer. The book was an outgrowth of her personal healing process.
  • I just needed to tell my story.”
  • Her 2nd book is the How-To resource that she couldn’t find when she needed it most.
  • Regarding prying questions that others sometimes ask, Lisa felt defensive, hurt, and embarrassed about her inability to have a baby.
  • Her advice is to prepare some stock answers to those questions and pick whichever one you’re in the mood for!
  • Some of the myths that Lisa has dealt with are: “you didn’t want it badly enough if you stopped trying,” and “you just have to keep on trying.”
  • Lisa’s meaning and purpose comes from her writing and the freedom she has to do things she wants and needs to do, like being available for her aging mother.
  • She enjoys the life she now leads with infinite possibilities for travel and living ANYWHERE!
  • Lisa hopes her writing will be her legacy.
  • I want to live as fully as I can and care deeply about those who are important to me.”
  • An added benefit of her lifestyle is the deep friendships with others that might not be as possible or as accessible if she had children, as they don't have the same amount of time available.

Grab a copy of Lisa's new book at http://amzn.to/21QjrxA

Find out more about Lisa and her work at www.lifewithoutbaby.com and www.lisamanterfield.com.

I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Thank you so much for listening. For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com

 

Feb 20, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Catriona Pollard, founder and director of CP Communications, one of Australia’s most respected and innovative PR agencies. She is an international speaker and popular media commentator who made the transformation to the public eye; she shares these experiences in her writing and speaking. She is the author of From Unknown to Expert: How to Use Clever PR and Social Media to Become a Recognised Expert, which is a step by step program.

Catriona has helped thousands of people use her program to success. She is passionate about social media, public relations, business and bringing it all together, in real financial success for entrepreneurs and organisations. She shares insights on her blog: www.catrionapollard.com. She is also a successful artist and sculptor and you can find her work at www.theartofweaving.com.au

In this episode, Catriona shares the following:

  • Catriona wanted to be a mother, but never had the right relationship at the right time.
  • She went through a 6-7 year grieving process because she NEVER imagined her life without a child.
  • Looking back on that difficult grieving time, Catriona realises that she should have sought counselling for her loss.
  • She finally realised that her life was a blank canvas: “What is my life going to be? What are the positives about my circumstances?”
  • She focused on building her business, personal development, public speaking, art and creativity.
  • Catriona has figured out how to turn the negatives into positives.
  • “Do you keep sitting in the loss or do you use it in ways to propel yourself forward?”
  • We should all avoid blanket statements that pass judgment on others’ choices.
  • She explains how she feels and responds to the question: “Do you have children?”
  • She manifests her creative energy through artwork, writing, and public speaking.
  • She has realised the value in telling the stories of our lives.
  • Catriona knows that many people in the world don’t have the chance to enjoy life and make it something beautiful.
  • Find out more about Catriona and her business at www.unknowntoexpert.com

I do hope you enjoy this episode. Please subscribe and share with a woman who would benefit from this wisdom. Thank you! For more go to www.michellemariemcgrath.com

Feb 7, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Adrea Peters, who is a writer about all her obsessions, such as love, physics, food, wellness, logic, grace, cleverness, word play, and imagining the best in herself and others. Adrea retired at age 42 to write full-time. She graduated with a journalism degree as valedictorian of her class at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and then earned her master’s degree in Popular Fiction Writing from Seton Hall University.

Adrea has co-authored several books and apps. In 2015, she and her business partner created Storyteller Ink. It’s a company dedicated to serving writers and helping them find success in completing a book in nine months’ time. If you are an aspiring writer, then Adrea has the plan to help you achieve success! Join us!

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How BOTH choice and circumstance have played into Adrea’s life choice to NOT be a parent;
  • How Adrea knew IF she ever had a child, she would want to have a life partner with whom to share the experience;
  • “The rules that people follow just aren’t priorities for me.”
  • “I nurture all the time and feel maternal and like a mom in many ways.”
  • Adrea’s two main life goals are to find a mate she loves and to have success as a writer;
  • How she has never felt external pressure to have children;
  • Adrea believes that women need to take the time to get to know themselves;
  • Moms need time and space that their busy, demanding lives don’t often allow;
  • Being feminine and being a mom are NOT the same things;
  • Adrea has creative expression through the time she has to herself, to come to new understandings and awareness that she can share with others;
  • How Adrea has dedicated her life to bettering relationships between human beings;
  • “It’s the little things each day that connect us to others.”
  • How Adrea would never use the terms “childfree” or “childless” to describe herself;
  • Adrea urges all women to take charge of themselves and their identity.

Find out more about Adrea and her work at www.adreapeters.com and

www.storyteller-ink.com

I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Please subscribe and share with another woman whom you feel would find helpful. Thank you so much for listening.

Find more episodes at www.michellemariemcgrath.com 

 

Jan 26, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Ashleigh Mills, who originally trained as a social worker in Australia. She worked in clinical mental health and policy for over 10 years, but then followed her heart to begin writing creatively at age 32. Ashleigh began her blog on life, love, travel, and her crazy cat lady stories.  She later started a freelancing writing business focusing on adventure and travel articles. In 2015, she traveled to Bali and the Philippines to write stories with her husband, who is a fashion and travel photographer. Ashleigh is always busy planning her next adventure. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How this podcast has been encouraging and refreshing for Ashleigh, hearing other women’s perspectives, and knowing she isn’t alone in her journey
  • How Ashleigh’s childfree life is a choice that resulted from ambivalence toward motherhood, even though she always assumed she would have “the urge” someday.
  • Ashleigh has seen the “bad” side of family from her social work experience; she believes that unless you are 120% committed as a couple, you shouldn’t undertake parenting.
  • Like others, Ashleigh has experienced insensitive questions and comments about her life choices.
  • She finds creative and nurturing outlets through her writing.
  • How being childfree allows you to nurture relationships with other children and support other family members who are parents.
  • How Ashleigh was privileged to experience several positive childfree role models in her childhood that made it a valid option for her.
  • How Ashleigh has experienced the myths and stereotypes, “that life is meaningless and empty without a child”
  • “Our lives are full. We have plans together to travel and share common goals. I don’t feel like anything is missing.”
  • How Ashleigh encourages women to be supportive in whatever decisions they make and not pass judgment upon others who chose a different pathway than your own
  • How the change must start with the media and how “the ideal life” is portrayed
  • You can find Ashleigh’s blog at www.mymeow.com.au.  

If you find this episode helpful then please share with a friend who would enjoy! For more episodes go to www.michellemariemcgrath.com

Jan 16, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is an experienced commercial research consultant who was born and raised in the UK. Dr. Chloe Peacock earned a Ph.D. in Consumer Brand Participation and is an expert in Semiotics. She loves beaches, traveling, the outdoors, and all creatures. She is the founder of the UK Lifestyle Network for Childfree Women and The League of Fabulous Women. Her hope is to gently shift and soften cultural perceptions of women without children and to help these women connect with each other. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.tlfw.co.uk.

In this episode, you’ll learn the following about Chloe:

Chloe has always been very comfortable with her ambivalence about motherhood.

Even as a childfree woman, you can still be a caring, nurturing person and have children in your life.

We all have different peak life experiences that we view as huge and fulfilling.

In her mid-30’s, Chloe considered her “fertility window” but never felt the compulsion to plunge into motherhood.

Like many childfree women, Chloe has dealt with pressure from family and friends: “You’d make a GREAT mom! You’re such a caring person!”

The issue of legacy is important to Chloe and she has had many conversations with her father about this topic.

Ultimately, you have to follow your own path.

The League of Fabulous Women started small, as a product of her own experience, and then it grew rapidly. It exists for the purpose of connecting childfree women in friendship.

Like many childfree women, Chloe noticed a dramatic shift in her social life because of others’ pregnancies.

She read about Melanie Notkin’s work and then began meet-up groups of her own.

Women over 40 without children are an increasing demographic for the present and the future.

Not being a mother is no less natural or feminine than being a mother and having children.

There is much cultural mythology surrounding motherhood as THE ultimate feminine experience.

Chloe likes to express her creativity through creating relationships.

For Chloe, the major benefits of NOT having children are the sense of freedom, being able to travel, and being the author of her own life.

The League of Fabulous Women now has meet-up groups in Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, and London.  Connect and find out more at www.tlfw.co.uk

 

I do hope you enjoyed this episode. Please subscribe and share with a friend. For more episodes go to www.michellemariemcgrath.com

Jan 5, 2016

My guest today, Meghan Daum, has been an Op Ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times since 2005. Meghan is also the author of four books, including The Unspeakable and Other Subjects of Discussion, which won the 2015 Penn Center USA Award for Creative Nonfiction. She edited the NY Times best–selling anthology Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, which is a compilation of 16 writers’ essays on the choice to not have kids. This book has sparked wide ranging conversation around the topic of choosing to have or to not have kids. Meghan’s message is that opting out of parenthood is NOT a sign of laziness or immaturity, but a complicated and intensely personal decision.

Join us to hear Meghan discuss the following:

  • It was Meghan’s personal choice to not become a parent, and it was something she always knew deep-down, but didn’t realize that option existed.
  • Having/not having a child is an interesting subject to write about and lends itself to a deeper look and deliberate thought about that life choice.
  • Meghan became pregnant at age 41, miscarried, and actually felt relieved. “I would have, of course, loved that child, but I’m not sure I would have loved my life.”
  • Even when you KNOW you’ve made the choice to not have kids, there still can be certain degrees of grief involved.
  • Her anthology includes 13 women and 3 men who wrote about the topic, which is unusual because we don’t usually hear the male viewpoint.
  • The fear of future regret is NOT a good enough reason to have a child.
  • Many people who have chosen to live childfree lives have put much more thought into the decision than some who have chosen to be parents!
  • It’s human nature to give our opinion and advice and look for commonality around the choice that WE make, including parenthood. We all seem to want others to make the choices we have made.
  • Meghan’s goal is to change the conversation about which side of the issue is more/less selfish.
  • It comes down to knowing yourself and giving yourself permission to know what you really want.
  • Meghan’s creative energy is expressed in her writing and expressing opinions, but even people NOT in creative careers can make the choice for themselves and not based on society’s expectations.
  • It’s important for kids today to have role models from all different perspectives and know that they don’t have to fit into a mold that is uncomfortable.
  • For Meghan, the major benefit of choosing to not have kids is that she feels lucky to live in a time and place where she has the ability to make that choice for herself.
  • To find out more about Meghan and her work, visit www.meghandaum.com.  

For more episodes of Unclassified Woman go to michellemariemcgrath.com

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on Itunes and share with another woman who you feel would benefit. Thank you so much!

Jan 2, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Nicole Graham, an Aussie who currently lives in Hong Kong. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who has reinvented her career over the last 25 years. She has studied a range of healing modalities and co-authored two guided writing journals and numerous blogs.

Nicole is a certified online business manager who leads her team of dedicated and experienced specialists in supporting small business with administration and marketing. She and her husband travel extensively and Nicole is happy to share her life experiences in choosing to be child-free.

In this episode, you’ll learn the following:

  • Nicole and her husband have made the mutual choice to not have children. They have the understanding that the topic is open for discussion if either of them feels differently.
  • Nicole was moved by the vast numbers of abandoned, neglected, and unwanted children in China and India, and decided NOT to bring a child into the world.
  • IF she and her husband ever felt differently about parenthood, then adoption would be their choice.
  • Their families have been supportive and understanding, but several friends have questioned their decision.
  • One classic response was, “You’re SO good with animals that you would be a great mother!” (Whoever said that raising animals and children are the same?)
  • Nicole acknowledges that their lives would be very different if they were raising children, especially regarding money and travel opportunities.
  • Nicole has also been asked the classic question, “But who’s going to look after you when you’re old?”
  • In Hong Kong, there is the cultural assumption that younger family members help look after the elderly, and the elderly grandparents assist younger parents by living in and helping care for their children.
  • Nicole has also experienced looks of pity from others when she explains her child-free life.
  • Nicole’s advice?  ”Process your decision before you make it known. Have supportive people around you to help deal with the common myths and expectations.”
  • There are other ways to fill your life besides having children!
  • Nicole expresses her creativity through art, supporting animal organizations, and working with special needs children and young adults.
  • She says that her life and its creative expressions give her much more joy than motherhood  ever could.
  • You can reach Nicole at www.bauhiniasolutions.com

Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed this please share with another woman who would be inspired and subscribe.  For more episodes, please go to michellemariemcgrath.com 

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