Info

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 All of these outdated stereotypes lead to one dangerous assumption: what’s your value beyond being a mother?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
RSS Feed
Unclassified Woman
2018
August
July
June
May
April


2017
October
September
August
July
June
May
March


2016
August
July
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: May, 2018
May 26, 2018

Welcome to another great episode of Unclassified Woman! 

Can one person really make a difference? So many times, we resign ourselves to the fact that “it is what it is.” We want society’s perceptions or opinions to change, but what can we do to affect the change?

In today’s show, you’ll meet a woman who decided to use her talents to create a film to help build awareness---and hopefully, change the narrative around living as a woman without children. 

"Having a child is one of the most beautiful experiences a woman can have, but it is not the ONLY experience a woman can have." - Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller is a writer and filmmaker who lives in California. I watched her film, A Womb With a View, which is available on Youtube, and I knew I had to talk to her.

Jennifer grew up in New Jersey and worked in various positions throughout her corporate career, which took her from New Jersey to Wisconsin to New York. She moved to California in 2002, where she later married her husband, Peter.

In 2012, Jennifer completed her first feature-length documentary film, which was screened at several film festivals, including the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The film explores the lives of many women who either chose or evolved to not have children, and how that impacted their lives. Her second film was Hair Therapy, which she wrote and directed about the relationships between hair stylists and their clients. The film highlights how that relationship transcends other relationships for many people. Today, Jennifer is doing a lot of writing and is currently working on her novel. 

"I had to look deep within myself because I felt very worthless. So much of my self-worth was tied to my ability to create another life."

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • As one of five children, Jennifer absolutely expected to have children, but in her 30’s, she wondered if would ever happen. She battled uterine fibroids, which required a hysterectomy, so after this operation, she knew she would never be a mother.
  • How she wasn’t prepared for the unexpected grief that took over her life and left her feeling worthless.
  • How a comment from a complete stranger prompted her to say, “I need to change this dialogue.”
  • Why she decided to make a film, interviewing 28 women who didn’t have children for various reasons. She calls it a “gentle conversation” and “a cathartic experience.”
  • How she endured the horrible periods and much pain for years before letting go of her uterus----which meant also letting go of the pain.
  • How she took control of the emotional grief and didn’t let it control her.
  • How different cultures around the world view childless women with disdain, pity, ridicule, and judgment.
  • How Jennifer wanted to redefine the conversation because there is SO much more to women than whether or not they have a child.
  • Judgment vs. Wonderment
  • The sweeping generalisation and common perception that if you don’t HAVE children, that you don’t LIKE children.
  • The feedback from the film: that the women in the film were selfish because they chose another path for their lives.
  • Why people make the decision to have an abortion or to have or not have a child, like finances, the responsibility, relationships, and more.
  • The common thread with the interviews for the film: Several of the women had been told that they “would never know true love without having a child.”
  • Supporting children in other ways, and how Jennifer likes to give an alternate perspective other than a parent would give.
  • Creating other things besides children and giving beautiful gifts to people, showing that a woman’s worth is SO much more than having children.
  • Why we have to debunk the myth around motherhood and womanhood.
  • The courage it takes to say no to motherhood---we may never know the reasons behind the decision or the circumstances.
  • You can never really know someone’s story unless they share it, but we are all too quick to make assumptions about other people.
  • Why Jennifer “owns” herself a lot more at her age and holds her head up high and doesn’t need anyone’s approval.
  • What she offers is different and unique compared to what society expects.
  • The gift that these women can take away from a conversation--compassion in the approach to a stranger.
  • Why the dialogue needs to change and how the numbers of women without children are increasing.
  • Some women around the world don’t have birth control available to them.
  • Besides the Hair Therapy film, Jennifer’s creative projects include writing a TV series and writing a novel.

You can watch Jennifer's film 'A Womb with a view' on Youtube at her channel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZmEeAXqCoI

If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com

I also would love to hear in the comments below what you found most helpful about this interview? Thank you.

 

May 17, 2018

Welcome to today's episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I'm speaking to one of my all time favourite bloggers and all round lovely lady, Susannah Conway in London, England.

Just so you know there is much giggling and we discuss all sorts from tampons and technology -  to dating apps! Grab yourself a drink as this is a long one. ;-)

How does it feel to approach mid-life realising that motherhood will never be yours? Would you have regrets? My guest today shares how her life’s path has taken her to places she never imagined, proving there is so much that we cannot control. The key is to enjoy the experience where you can, find peace with it, and use your journey to inspire others. 

Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer, and teacher who has been sharing her heart online for over a decade. She helps people know, trust, and express themselves by sharing what has healed her own heart. Her work is steeped in self-compassion, kindness, and practicality, and her courses have been enjoyed by thousands of people from over 50 countries around the world.

Her first book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart, hit bookshelves in 2012. Her most recent book,  Londontown: A Photographic Tour of the City’s Delights, was published in 2016. I can personally highly recommend her courses, as I’ve taken a few of them. The first one was Blogging from the Heart that I enjoyed several years ago. She shared behind-the-scenes insights as to how she puts together her blog, ideas for blog topics and writing, and I was so inspired.

You must also grab her amazing free PDF that she shares at the end of every year (something I’ve shared with many others) called Unraveling the Year Ahead, in which she teaches you to reflect on the past year and look to what’s ahead. It's an essential end of year ritual so definitely check it out at www.susannahconway.com

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • It was a combination of circumstances which have led to Susannah being childless. At 45 now, she’s had 3 serious relationships, one of which lasted 10 years and a year of that was spent trying to conceive.
  • A few years ago, Susannah had fibroids removed from her uterus and the surrounding area. 
  • Even when women are unsure or ambivalent about having children, society conditions us to feel a certain way and to follow a prescribed timeline or 'the script'.
  • The “joy” of being a woman, growing up with little to no sex education. We discuss the joys of tampons and sanitary towels ;-)
  • Why it’s important to Susannah to understand and honour her cycle.
  • How being a “mother” can take many forms other than giving birth to a baby.
  • When you feel like “time is running out” and you wonder if a child is even a possibility.
  • Becoming an auntie to her nephew--how it changed everything
  • The disaster of pursuing a relationship solely for the purpose of having a baby, and how a partner usually feels in that position when they can feel that desperation.
  • Being a mother for Susannah would have to be her biological child with shared DNA--there was no other option that felt right.
  • “If it had been my soul path to be a mother, then it would have happened by now.”
  • Why having her two nephews and sharing their lives is a reason she’s OK with not being a mother: “There are two little beings that have me forever.”
  • Why you shouldn’t ask questions or make assumptions about the marriage or motherhood status of others--don’t show judgment and a lack of sensitivity.
  • Why we are hyperconnected to technology, even to the point of ignoring the people around us, but we are constantly disconnected from each other.
  • The difficulties of using dating apps when you’re in your 30’s and 40’s and how the subject of having children is approached when trying to meet someone. Always an interesting topic!
  • Why Susannah doesn’t really want to have a relationship with someone who already has kids, but what she really demands is upfront honesty and transparency about the topic.
  • How Susannah fills her life with passions and hobbies and does her journaling and photography all the time as she is “'livin’ the dream!”
  • The “acorn” of dreaming of furnishing her hew home the way she wants, in a way that brings her peace, and how this can help to alleviate stress and anxiety of life.
  • When she hits 50--and later, 60--she will reflect upon the fact that she hasn’t had children or grandchildren.
  • “I know there will be a little piece of me that acknowledges what I didn’t have.”
  • When your parents have to deal with the fact that they will not have grandchildren.
  • The topic brings up a lot of reflection on our lives and our choices.
  • The crazy ingrained standard in society of the glorification of motherhood, reflected particularly in celebrity lives.
  • The extremes of the representations of womanhood presented in tabloids and online media: either you flaunt your body or you’re a mother.
  • The growing demographic: in the last 10 years, the number of women over 40 without children has doubled, and that will only increase in the future.
  • Why some people are intent on always adding more children--”Why would you have more than you can carry?”
  • Remembering the obsession of trying for a baby for a whole year, after having an abortion with the same partner 10 years prior at age 21---no regrets!
  • Why the decision to have a baby should be a conscious one.
  • The myriad of thoughts and feelings - and coming to a place of awareness and acceptance, understanding the sadness in life is constantly changing and evolving.
  • Looking forward to devoting time and care to her next loving relationship, and creating this very special connection together.
  • Apparently The Guardian Soulmates is where it's all at for online dating in the UK ;-)

 Find out more about Susannah's wonderful work at:

www.susannahconway.com

 

If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com

I also would love to hear in the comments below what you found most helpful about this interview? Thank you.

May 11, 2018

Welcome to today's episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I have the pleasure of talking to Faith Agugu.

Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball that could show you the future? Often the decisions we make today might be different if we knew what was around the bend for us. Finding real peace, though, means coming to terms with the past, including the decisions we’ve made and the way those circumstances have grown us into who we’ve become today. My guest bares it all to share her story and how it didn’t quite turn out like she had expected. In spite of it all, she is thankful for the path she’s taken and the impact she can have on other women in the world.

Faith Agugu has always been motivated by service. Her first job after leaving school was with a not-for-profit organisation in London, working with children from troubled backgrounds. She then discovered the bright lights of the fashion industry and worked as a catwalk model for over five years before she left London for the sunny shores of Sydney, Australia.

Faith landed a job with one of Australia’s leading fashion houses, and continued to advance her career as a model, and then launched her own fashion business--Raw Fashion Agency-- in 2004. Representing local fashion designers as a PR and sales agency, Faith also began teaching at FBI Fashion College in 2006, mentoring the next generation of up-and-coming fashionistas. 

"I thought it would be irresponsible of me to hand my child over to this man every weekend if I chose to carry on with the pregnancy." - Faith Agugu

After 25 years in the fashion industry, and approaching her 50th birthday, Faith felt the call to return to helping others and took time out to study for a bachelor’s degree in social science, majoring in counselling. Faith launched her new business, The Healing Process, where she offers counselling, energy healing, and mindfulness coaching to women tackling the challenges of mid-life. She also runs regular workshops to assist her clients to work through issues of self-esteem, relationships, and addiction.

Faith also has a particular interest in balancing the disadvantages experienced by the indigenous community. Faith is a passionate, motivated, and driven entrepreneur, and through her private practice, she seeks to help women find their voice and claim their place in society. She is a very inspiring lady, indeed. 

What you’ll hear in this episode: 

  • The circumstances that led to Faith’s child-free life. In her 20’s, she thought she would definitely be a mother by age 30 and she assumed the man she was in a relationship with would be the father of her children
  • That relationship ended, and she met another man and actually got pregnant at age 31, but she knew there was no way the relationship would last or that she could share a child with him
  • She made the decision to terminate the pregnancy, never realising at the time, that it would be her one and only opportunity to be a mother.
  • Why many women don’t talk about the topic of abortion and terminations, because of the shame, guilt, and pain.
  • Why Faith felt an urgency with every ensuing relationship to have a child, even rushing the relationship along to accomplish her “agenda”.
  • The desire to have a child felt natural for Faith. She had a strong sense of it that she took for granted, and it never occurred to her that it would NOT happen.
  • The difference in cultural expectations for women of colour or certain ethnicities around the topic of childbearing.
  • How Faith’s mother had to “come to terms” with the idea of Faith--and some of her siblings--NOT being parents and giving her grandchildren: this affected Faith profoundly and made her feel “less of a woman” at the time.
  • The estimated facts are that by 2030 in Australia, there will be more family units without children than with them---there are BIG changes occurring!
  • How Faith felt judged and “less than” when compared to other women who had children.
  • The deep grieving process it takes to “let go of the dream”.
  • For Faith, the best tool for getting through the grief was therapy. It helped tremendously to talk about the grief she felt each week with a therapist.
  • There are different ways to find meaning and purpose through nurturing. Faith resonates with what Melanie Notkin says in using the word "child-full" in that she has children in her life, but they are just not her own. Faith finds fulfilment in her close relationship with her godchildren and her hands-on work as a case worker and counsellor for girls ages 18-27. Ironically, this is the age that her daughter would be today if that pregnancy had continued.
  • Faith is grateful for the chance to “mother” and mentor other women, to hold space for them, and to nurture them. “I’m at peace with my soul’s choice.”
  • Faith expresses her creative energy and essence in cooking as a way to show love and intentionality in a purely meditative process that transforms people that receive it.
  • Faith’s also currently works with daughters on the powerful healing journey for the mother-daughter relationship. This of course impacts all of our relationships with women and how we perceive ourselves as women.

You can find out more about Faith and her work at 

www.thehealingprocess.com.au

If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help more women access these stories, then please subscribe and leave us a review or rating on Itunes. Thank you so much for your help. Much appreciated. 

For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com

May 7, 2018

Do you have regrets about the choices you’ve made regarding having or not having children? Many people make a decision and then wish they had made a different choice, but not my guest today. She made the conscious decision to NOT become a mother and to pursue her own dreams in life.

Yamini Toohey is based in Sydney, Australia, and is an astrologer, educator, entrepreneur, and the founder of Global Woman. One of her favourite things in life is seeing women get energised about stepping into their power, finding a life that’s theirs, and living revolutionary lives. She believes that this time of personal, cultural, and planetary change is the time to bring forth new ways of living, relating, and economy.

Yamini started Global Woman because she wholeheartedly believes that the revolution will be feminist-connected and global. Every day she goes to bat for her Global Woman sisterhood, helping them to call on their intuition and hustle, slashing through obstacles fearlessly, boldly, and powerfully.

Yamini’s soul work champions women to explore, evolve, and embody boldness, fierceness, creativity, power, and ambition, which are universal themes in every woman’s life. I can highly recommend Yamini’s work!

"It took me a long time to love and understand my menstrual cycle and realise that it is a creative act. It helped me be curious about the world and want to create." Yamini Toohey

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • As one of eight children, Yamini saw that mothering was hard work and caused her mother to give up a lot of herself.  She chose to be childfree, saying, “There is no way I could do this.”
  • How she felt pressure, not from her mother, but from others who would say, “Your time is running out!” Complete strangers would pass judgment on her fertility, but she never waivered about her decision.
  • How she made unconscious decisions to have relationships with men who were NOT interested in having children.
  • How she became pregnant once, but then miscarried, which was the best thing that could have happened. It taught her that she couldn’t be carefree about birth control if she clearly didn’t want children.
  • Having and raising a child is serious business and should not be taken lightly.
  • How some men assume that EVERY woman’s dream is to have a child, even though many mothers say, “I want my life back”.
  • The mixed feelings and envy that some women have who are busy raising children, compared with the perceived freedom possessed by those who don’t have children.
  • The ambivalence that many women feel toward motherhood, but they don’t talk about it.
  • The myth that every woman feels the need to procreate, because it isn’t true!
  • How she loves children, but that’s not the same as having what it takes to be a great mom or wanting that permanent responsibility.
  • How Yamini shows the nurturing qualities in her life through creativity and curiosity.
  • Her work with the Goddess asteroids and how they tell the story of relationships, autonomy, and gender roles.
  • How do we “mother” the earth for sustainability?
  • How small changes can make an impact on the planet and its resources.
  • How we are individual activists with the choices we make each day.
  • Yamini’s advice to women to find a life that’s theirs--”Work with your menstrual cycle." We also discuss what you can do if you are no longer menstruating.

Find about more about Yamini and her work at www.globalwoman.com

I really hope you enjoyed this episode. Please subscribe and I would also be so grateful if you would leave us a rating and review.
For more episodes go to michellemariemcgrath.com

1