THE BIG QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
Neuroscientist and hypnobirthing practitioner, founder of Birth Secrets.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
My days vary between speaking to expectant parents, teaching group and private hypnobirthing and mindfulness classes and workshops, expanding my business, planning classes and developing new relaxation tools, meeting up with other businesses and entrepreneurs about sponsoring or teaming up for events, writing about birth and motherhood and researching a lot about the neuroscience and psychology of pregnancy and early infant development. Last but not least, running around my 11-month-old baby boy!
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
I wanted to become a doctor. However, as a teenager I fell in love with neuroscience, studying the brain for me is a way to dabble into life’s most intriguing questions that we will never really fully understand (at least not during our lifetime), that sense of mystery fascinates me. When I became a mother, I felt the same about pregnancy and motherhood. I became passionate about understanding and learning more about how we can make the best out of this life changing experience - something that most humans experience and yet it is the most complex, mind-boggling, rewarding and challenging ride of our lives.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have a BSc in Psychology, an MSc in Neuroscience and I’m currently halfway through my PhD also in Neuroscience. I’m also a fully qualified hypnobirthing teacher.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
That success and strength don’t come from things constantly working out for you. It’s the accumulation of things going wrong and how you handle them that ultimately teach you valuable lessons and eventually take you to where you want to be.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
I’m in awe of any mother who has become inspired to set up her own business and/or juggle work, family and life. They are all unsung heroes to me.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
The sense of fulfilment that I get most days for doing what I enjoy, as it hasn’t always been this way.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
I’d add a few more hours to my day if I could! I wish I could implement some of my ideas faster, everything takes time when you also have a young baby and no other teammates, but I’m very grateful for my flexible work schedule.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
I would love to see positive birth stories becoming more widespread as the mainstream view of what birth can be. But that would take a lot of re-educating and reframing of ingrained society views, as well as changing a lot of how the healthcare system works, so not so realistic. I’d like my business to expand and for Birth Secrets to become a place where women come to for positivity, support, birth education, friendships and also to help inspire other women in the journey of motherhood and sisterhood.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Actually, yes, doing what I do, I can’t be anything other than myself - I have to work with my most human side, in order to best support and help the couples that I teach. It’s a constantly humbling lesson. I daily remind myself to stay in touch with my compassionate, understanding and supportive side so I can help women to feel confident in achieving an empowering and joyful birth experience, no matter the kind of birth.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
I run all aspects of my business so far, but I constantly team up with other mum entrepreneurs.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
Very much – particularly coming from a science background that has historically been male dominated, and even though things are slowly changing, still only about 5% of women go up the academic ladder to become professors. I personally know so many mothers who have left their jobs because their bosses could not offer flexible work. This is incredibly sad - a new mother is at her best game in terms of efficiency and productivity, particularly if given the flexibility to care for and enjoy her family as well. It’s a serious issue in our society today, we still have a long way to go.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
I’d like to say that generally it’s pretty good. There’s also guilt involved when I leave the house, but that’s one of the main themes of motherhood. When I’m with my son, I always remind myself to stay in the moment. I try my best to forget about future tasks, problems and work. Of course this is easier said than done, we all have bad days and days where we are just so busy, but just being aware, and taking 5 or 10 minutes to breathe and be in the moment, thinking of nothing else can do wonders to our mind, and can actually make us more productive.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Being good with people and being a good listener. Couples come to me from such a wide variety of backgrounds, life experiences and expectations of pregnancy and childbirth. My job is to listen, help and support them in a way that feels personal and unique to their circumstances and personality, with the end goal of helping them feel confident, prepared and informed about the birth of their baby.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS?
Success is the sum of all the failures that ultimately make you into YOU, the strongest, most resilient and most badass version of yourself. So don’t be afraid of challenges or failures, they are not your full story, and do not define you.