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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 All of these outdated stereotypes lead to one dangerous assumption: what’s your value beyond being a mother?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: June, 2018
Jun 28, 2018

Are you content with the way things have turned out in your life? Some people spend too much time and energy living with regret or wistfulness for what they WISHED would have happened. Today’s show is about embracing what life gives you and running with it to follow your personal path to gratitude, satisfaction, and peace.

Fiona Ferris lives in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. She writes about living a simple, beautiful, and successful life and believes you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. Through her books on Amazon and her popular blog, How to be Chic, Fiona provides thousands of women from all around the world with the tools and inspiration to elevate the everyday from mundane to magical. She lives with her husband, Paul, two rescue cats, and two rescue dogs. 

"We can’t imagine our life any other way than it is. We are grateful for that and for the way things have worked out perfectly for us. We feel like the luckiest people in the world."  - Fiona Ferris

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • For Fiona, it was both circumstances and choice that have led to her not having a child.
  • She married her husband in her mid-30’s and they tried to conceive for a couple of years. When it didn’t happen, they decided not to pursue it further and steer their life in a different direction.
  • Does Fiona have regrets? No--she is grateful and happy with how things have worked out and feels lucky to have permission to live in an exciting and non-traditional way.
  • How she feels a small amount of grief in feeling like they will miss out on certain life experiences as parents, but she says that’s only about 1% grief compared to 99% happiness!
  • The assumption that people make that EVERYONE wants to have children and that you can’t be happy and complete without them.
  • The myths that people say about not having a child, having an only child, and not having someone to care for you when you’re elderly.
  • A dream came true for Fiona when she published her first Kindle book that was a collection of her blog posts, Thirty Chic Days, in 2016.
  • How publishing her first book gave her the confidence in her writing and her ability to teach others how to do it.
  • Her home in the country on four acres with her pets, cows, and sheep.
  • Her five books that are available online and a couple are being translated and published in other countries.
  • Taking control with self-publishing: 75% of Fiona’s sales are Kindle books and 25% are print copies.
  • How she helps others with their writing through her 6-week e-course, Create Your Dream Life, and her Writer’s Encouragement email newsletters.
  • Why we should view writing as sharing personal experience and inspiration ---it’s a shame to keep it to yourself!
  • How writers share their tone and voice and actually become a friend to their readers through their books.
  • Using nurturing qualities in her writing and work instead of raising children--if her life had taken a different turn.
  • How we each express creativity in many ways that show we value our strengths.
  • All the “shoulds” that burden our days if we don’t “let them go”.
  • Why it's better to attempt to not to be overly influenced by other people’s opinions, but stick with what aligns with our personal life path.

Resources:

Find Fiona’s books on Amazon

Check out her blog at www.howtobechic.com

Visit her website: www.fionaferris.com

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

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

Jun 21, 2018

Welcome to another fascinating episode of Unclassified Woman. It's a biggie so grab a cuppa and a journal ;-)

Today I'm speaking with a treasured mentor of mine, Seren Bertrand. It's always such a pleasure to speak to her as she weaves together so many colourful threads of wisdom in what she shares.

What do mermaids, swans, Isis, harps, and Cornwall have in common? You might be surprised---and you’ll never know if you don’t listen to this amazing conversation in today’s show.

We’re talking about feminine consciousness, Celtic traditions, the interconnectedness between the human body and the earth, how we tell our stories from generation to generation---and much, much more. Get ready for some major “Aha” moments!

Seren Bertrand is a womb mystic and midwife of feminine consciousness who has been a visionary leader in women’s empowerment for over two decades. She is the co-founder of The Fountain of Life Feminine Mystery School and the co-author of Womb Awakening: Initiatory Wisdom from the Creatrix of All Life, which has been described as a revelation and a masterpiece. It’s an amazing book and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy! 

"Often we are called to a lineage or a place and we don’t know why. We just have to surrender, listen and travel with it." - Seren Bertrand

Seren graduated with a degree in English Literature and Modern Philosophy before embarking on the twin paths of a career in writing as well as journeying deeply into the spiritual feminine traditions. Her writing on female Tibetan refugees was nominated for an Amnesty International Award for human rights reporting.

She is passionate about the practical embodied awakening of women and men in a mystical yet no-nonsense way which calls us into our true feelings, brings us back into the body, and roots us into the wisdom of the earth. 

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How the book-writing process felt like a pregnancy with a gestation of more than five years---and then a birth.
  • Receiving the Silver Nautilus Award for the book, which covers many topics that were considered forbidden and heretical for thousands of years: menstruation, lunar consciousness, and birthing wisdom.
  • For Seren, the book’s release has brought deep feeling states of the feminine consciousness.
  • Allowing yourself to become the container for the primordial birthing energy in every part of nature.
  • The next book that she and her partner, Azra are already working on and how it feels like a continuation of that birthing process.
  • The academic reading and research that goes into the writing journey.
  • Listening with your entire body and not just your mind and ears and how oral traditions factored into ancient Celtic Shamanism.
  • Plans to create an audiobook version with harp accompaniment.
  • How a book is connected to your voice and vibration, which is connected to your womb, transmitting waves of energy and sound.
  • Discovering the path of the swan priestess in Celtic mythology
  • The cellular memory in Seren’s DNA of the Druids and Celtic traditions.
  • The tradition of the prehistoric, feminine, Shamanistic, earth-centric womb religion of the faery folk and their history.
  • Stories as a connection and an intimate weaving of “patchwork consciousness”.
  • Seren’s interest from a young age in having a great love for the land and a feeling that different places have different personalities and characteristics.
  • The significance of Cornwall as a sacred site.
  • How to explain ley lines, womb awakening, and the gift of the human body.
  • Understanding that the human body is more than a “mechanical lump of flesh” and why it’s a sacred landscape.
  • The benefit of spiritual lineage in how they transmit through an unbroken thread in epigenetic memory.
  • The calling in Seren’s life of the harp and how she learned to play and find her teacher.
  • Why womb consciousness is the key to all creation.
  • The story of Cygnus and its significance, Seren’s “Star Swan” name, and the swan connections to ancient Celtic traditions.
  • One of the foundations of womb witchcraft: developing a lineage with the earth.
  • Why the swan is the symbol of feminine Shamanic traditions in cultures across the world.
  • The portals of life and death and the common threads between the mermaid and the swan.
  • The mermaid and the swan priestess: not just symbols, but the legacy of real-life women who are our ancestors who are transmitting to us.
  • The significance of the 11th day of the 11th month in Pagan worship and the swan feast, which is based on the migratory patterns of the swan.
  • The interconnectivity of each of us to the earth and the celestial realm.
  • The importance of taking guidance from our ancient ancestors: “You have to connect backward before you can move forward.”
  • How stories can find a voice to reveal themselves in succeeding generations, even in trauma: “If we don’t tell the story, then we pass it forward to the generations after us.”
  • The courage that comes in the gift of going through the shadows

Resources:

www.thefountainoflife.org  - For more information about Seren and her work.

Find Seren’s book at www.innertraditions.com or www.amazon.com  : Womb Awakening: Initiatory Wisdom from the Creatrix of All Life

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

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

Jun 15, 2018

Welcome to Unclassified Woman and today's episode features the very inspiring Azraella Raphael, a native of New Zealand, who is based in Sydney, Australia.

Azraella is an angelic healer and activator of angelic consciousness. She began her journey many years ago when seeking fulfilment in life in understanding why she’s here, what purpose she offers, and with asking herself, “How can I serve others?” 

Azraella’s journey began when she activated her own angelic consciousness and connected to her higher-knowing self to bring through a different set of life skills, using healing and reading sessions to support herself and humanity with growth and evolution. Azraella offers these sessions worldwide online, by phone, or in person, supporting those who have lost their way to align themselves to their highest path of potential purpose. Azraella also offers a range of healing and activation work in groups and is a mentor of the Divine University, offering happy life sessions, and provides charitable service to one of her deep loves that supports humanity: the Sirius Library project. 

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • It was personal choice that led to Azraella’s childfree life, even though she always thought she would eventually have children. “Through walking my path of my divine consciousness, I came to this conclusion."
  • Azraella’s divine path with two choices, the “crossroads”: she had the choice to become a divine healer OR become a family-maker. She has no regrets about the choices she’s made.
  • Why she chose the path of bigger service to the planet, rather than service to her own children, and she gets to use her work to help women align to their higher purpose.
  • The science of life is to love yourself and your purpose first and THEN love another, instead of thinking that finding a life partner is THE answer and will guarantee lasting fulfilment.
  • A void and emptiness can eventually occur over time, when you keep yourself so busy with career and family, at the expense of focusing on any personal fulfilment.
  • Why looking inward for answers goes against the cultural pressure we feel from society to follow the “normal” script for life and its purpose.
  • Why it’s not impressed upon young people to look inward for their purpose, but to be constantly be distracted by the external.
  • When Azraella experienced the deepest amount of hurt and pain in a relationship, but never became “desperate” to have a child.
  • Having “the best of both worlds” occurs for Azraella as she enjoys a special relationship with her two nephews. “Not having children doesn’t mean that you don’t have children in your life.”
  • The sudden loss of her sister last year catapulted her into a special mothering role for her nephews, being the bridge between them and the spirit world and their mother.
  • Her role as aunt has changed, even though it’s a temporary change, but it’s one she couldn’t throw her full self into if she was mothering her own children at this time.
  • Motherhood may be calling to you in a way much different than actually giving birth to your own children. We can 'mother' in many different ways, that we hadn't foreseen.
  • Why there are many paths to fulfilment, and sometimes we don’t know what lies ahead or how circumstances may be working out for our good, even though it may not seem that way at the time.
  • Azraella expresses herself creatively constantly, creating her healing programs and workshops. “I’m in constant creation mode.”

To connect with Azraella and find out more about her work go to www.azraellaraphael.com

f 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.

 

Jun 10, 2018

Welcome to Unclassified Woman and today's episode is with another wonderful lady, Therese Shechter, whom I could have spoken to all day!

How many people have children because it seems “the thing to do”? Most of us grow up with the pressure to follow what society deems “normal.” My guest today, Therese Shechter, was 40 years old when she realised she really could make her own decisions and follow her own path, and for her, it was feminism that helped her figure out what she wanted in life.

Therese Shechter is a filmmaker, writer, and multimedia storyteller from Brooklyn, New York. Her work fuses humour and personal storytelling to disrupt what’s considered most sacred about womanhood. She’s currently writing and directing My So-Called Selfish Life, an in-progress documentary about women who choose not to have children in a culture where motherhood feels mandatory.

Her previous documentaries include How to Lose Your Virginity, about the myth and misogyny around our most precious gift. She also curates the interactive crowd-sourced story collection, The VCard Diaries, which was recently exhibited at the Kinsey Institute. Her films, including the award-winning documentaries, I Was a Teenage Feminist and How I Learned to Speak Turkish, have screened in festivals, college classrooms, and on television from Rio to Seoul to Istanbul.

Therese’s work has been covered in the Atlantic, Salon, Elle, Jezebel, The Guardian, and the Jakarta Globe, amongst others. In her spare time, she co-hosts Downton Gabby, a podcast that discusses media by and about women.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Why it was a personal choice for Therese to not have children, to the point of her being vocal about it in high school.
  • How Therese explored beliefs and desires that were very different than her sister’s about marriage, career, and family.
  • How every woman feels the pressure to follow what the outside world thinks should be a woman’s identity.
  • The liberating clarity and realisations at age 40 that she could create her own path.
  • How Therese felt no pressure from friends and family as such, but felt pressure more from society and media about how she 'should' live her life.
  • How feminism helped her figure out what she wanted in life.
  • How a 70’s TV show defied all conventional wisdom and blew her mind with possibilities.
  • The push to make My So-Called Selfish Life.
  • The backlash and conversations that occur when people feel free to open up about their stories around motherhood.
  • Why we should question society’s norms about womanhood. How womanhood and motherhood are NOT equivalent.
  • How our economy, history, and the media perpetuate beliefs about what is “normal and accepted”.
  • Some sensitive topics covered in the film are sterilisation, regret about motherhood, and fertility treatments.
  • The messages sent to young women by cultural and religious groups and how limiting and damaging these can be.
  • Why there is more than one path in life, but society presents only one that’s deemed “normal”.
  • How talking about our beliefs provides a sense of community--”Telling the truth about our lives keeps us from feeling lonely.” said Sheila Heti.
  • The film’s projected release date: August 1, 2019--and why that date is significant.
  • How Therese shows her creative expression (and gains MUCH satisfaction) through singing show tunes, baking, paper engineering, graphic design, writing, and her podcast.
  • Why not everything in life should be attributed to a “thwarted maternal drive”.
  • Why it’s OK to be ambivalent about motherhood and to have a conversation with yourself about what you truly need and want
  • Even skin colour affects the pressure we feel, because not everyone has the same privileges and some women don’t have the same level of control over their lives.
  • The myth of “the urge of the biological clock”--”The desire for children is NOT innate within every woman.”
  • The bottom line: We won’t all agree, but we need open and meaningful conversations about these topics.

 Resources:

www.myselfishlife.com

www.trixiefilms.com

A book we discussed, Motherhood by Sheila Heti

Free to Be You and Me TV special: www.freetobefoundation.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.

Jun 2, 2018

Welcome! I'm delighted to share another great episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I'm speaking to the inspiring Dr Kimya N Dennis in Salem, North Carolina, USA.

How much actual freedom are you willing to give people in their beliefs? Most people fall into the trap of trying to impose their beliefs on others in some way. Liberals, for example, will speak of freedom in many areas of life, but they still hold onto pro-natal opinions about people having children. My guest today explores with intellect, experience and research the topic of being childfree by choice.

Dr. Kimya N Dennis is a consultant, speaker, community advocate, educator, and researcher who works with organisations and community members in the areas concerning mental health, suicidal self-harm, reproductive freedom, and being childfree by choice.

Between 2013-2016, she conducted the first known study solely related to immediate African diaspora people who identify permanently as childfree by choice. There were 62 respondents, with 59 women and 3 men across the US, Canada, England, Kenya, Sweden and Switzerland.

Dr. Dennis created and teaches the first known college course of its kind: The Childfree, about reproductive freedom and being childfree by choice. Her research and course are featured on sites such as werenothavingababy.com, lauracarroll.com, and thenotmom.com. Dr. Dennis is an associate professor and the creator and coordinator of the Criminal Studies program in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Studies at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"There are people who believe that women exist only to reproduce, so those who are infertile are seen as failures. Those who are childfree by choice are seen as failing on purpose." - Dr. Kimya N Dennis

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Kimya’s decision to be permanently childfree, because she never wanted to have a child.
  • Why her work addresses cultural variance because being childfree by choice impacts different cultures and communities in different ways.
  • Why it is much less common to find black and Hispanic women who are not having children than it is for white women.
  • African women are told that if they aren’t reproducing, that they are helping to “ethnically cleanse” their people.
  • Why your beliefs are manifested in behaviour when you vote and in the policies you vote for.
  • How most liberals are pro-natalists in their views.
  • The definition of “childfree by choice”--those who have decided to not have biological or adopted children.
  • “Bingos” and what that means.
  • The best “bingos”---”Why do you exist?” and “Just have a child anyway, and others will help you take care of it.”
  • Why pro-natalism is based on a trap and is used to prove male dominance.
  • How to look at being childfree without “pros and cons”.
  • How Kimya’s family is accepting and respectful of her decision, even though she is the only daughter in a family of boys.
  • Kimya’s work and the way it is reaching across the nations
  • Why child-free men are under-represented.
  • Some ethnic groups see “childfree” as having a viewpoint that challenges your culture.
  • Being childfree shouldn’t feel “lesser than” or like losers, or that their voice doesn’t matter.
  • The hurtful comments that are directed at childfree people.
  • Why most people have a narrow view and perspective of what love and family look like.
  • We say we want freedom and equality, but that must include reproductive freedom for all women.
  • How Kimya shows her creative expression and purpose: “I love being able to do what I want and have my own peace every day, doing my community work, working with my students, and living with my life partner.”
  • How we can release the taboos connected with not having children and having reproductive choices

To find out more about Kimya and her work:

www.kimyandennis.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.

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