Welcome to The Becoming Podcast, where we talk about modern-day rites of passage, radical transformation, and other times of becoming in women's lives...and how these times can be a catalyst to become more of who you are. Hosted by women's mentor, coach + doula, Jessie Harrold.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 9 | Nikki McCahon on power, potential and sovereignty in the transition to motherhood
54:57I'm delighted to introduce Nikki McCahon to you today. I have been following Nikki for some time – she has so much wisdom to share about the transition into motherhood, and we share so many of the same perspectives and beliefs. It was wonderful to dive deeper with her here on this episode. Let me tell you a little bit about Nikki. She is a matrescence educator, women's life cycle guide, podcast host and mother of one charming and cheeky five-year-old. Nikki helps mothers who feel lost and overwhelmed by the transition into motherhood to reframe their experiences as an opportunity for expansion, transformation, and personal growth. Nikki helps women explore their matrescence journey within the context of their broader life cycles and rites of passage, and to reclaim their self-authority and personal power. She is passionate about creating community and normalizing the physical, psychological and emotional changes women go through during motherhood. I often say that we focus so much on the loss of self in motherhood and all the challenges this rite of passage presents us with that we forget all of the tremendous gifts it offers too. Postpartum growth is a theme running throughout the conversation between Nikki and I. She begins by talking about her own journey into motherhood, and how she began to lose the need for external validation and find another way to regard her self-worth as she entered into her mothering years. She talks about the power of making the transition from the archetypal Maiden to Mother, and how that represents a risk to our "standing" in society, but ultimately results in our ability to develop our own voices and claim a sense of internal power and self-authority. We conclude with Nikki's powerful insights on building community and finding your "village" – and how to do that in a way that doesn't create even more divisiveness between us. Her thoughts here gave me pause, and I hope they'll offer you some insight as well. If you're a new (or new-ish) mama, or love someone who is, you will especially enjoy today's special matrescence episode with Nikki.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 8 | The Becoming Podcast - Season 3; Episode 7: Stepha Lafond on the systemic influences on matrescence, revillaging, and how to live in your season of motherhood
57:14I am so delighted to introduce you to Stepha Lafond on this month's episode of The Becoming Podcast. Stepha is a life coach and mentor dedicated to helping moms navigate the space between who they are and who they are becoming. You can imagine why I just had to have Stepha on the show, right? Stepha started her practice out of a desire to put moms at the center of the conversation, with an emphasis shifting the narrative on modern motherhood to one that allows space for mamas to grow, heal and take care of themselves at all stages of their journey. Her work on Matrescence- the transition into motherhood- invites her clients and spectators alike, to explore and hold space for this common but rarely discussed phase of development, whilst taking a critical look at the unjust systems and power structures impacting motherhood and creating necessary shifts towards liberation. Stepha and I had a totally delightful, high-energy conversation, full of laughs even as we tackled some really difficult issues facing mothers today. Stepha began by sharing her experience of the transition to motherhood, which was marked by the support of her grandmother for her first child, and then the loss of her grandmother right before her second child was born. She shares how experiencing that kind of deep support in the early days of her matrescence made her want to offer the same to other mothers, and catalyzed her to start her coaching practice. From there, we talk about "the things no one talks about" when it comes to becoming a mother, and some of the systemic, cultural and political influences on mothers – especially BIPOC mothers - today. Our conversation moves into the prevalence of birth trauma, and how challenging it can be to traverse identity shift while also navigating a healing journey. Stepha shares how mothers can "embrace the slower pace" and live in your season as a mother. Finally, we talk about taking radical responsibility and advocating for your needs, and how we are all both members of the village we mothers so desperately need, and recipients of its care.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 7 | Lucy Pearce on creativity, motherhood and healing as rites of passage...and how we are never alone
53:46I am really, really thrilled today to share this conversation with author, artist and publisher Lucy Pearce. Lucy's books, including Moods of Motherhood and Nautilus Award winners Medicine Woman, Burning Woman, and Creatrix: she who makes have shaped me, my work and my life in so many ways. One of the common threads in this interview is how Lucy endeavours to write about and give language to the things that so many of us feel we are experiencing in isolation, not realizing that so much of what we are going through is actually a collective experience – and that we are never alone. Lucy and I dive into the paradox of creativity in motherhood, how we can dismantle individualistic ways of approaching our healing, how we can lean into the cycles of nature to normalize the cycles in our lives, and the creative process as a rite of passage. We finish our conversation with Lucy sharing a little bit about her new book, She of The Sea, which is about the mysterious pull of the sea and of water that washes over so many of us as we're traversing changes in our lives. I had full-body chills as she described this book – a sure sign that I will have to have Lucy back on the show to tell us even more about She of The Sea. For now, though, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. We weave through so many important and fascinating topics, and Lucy's wisdom shines throughout.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 6 | Graeme Seabrook on the cultural influences on motherhood, centring your needs, and letting the good things in your life radicalize you
1:05:27I am so jazzed to share this episode of The Becoming Podcast with you today. Graeme Seabrook and I have the most vivacious and far-reaching conversation about motherhood, and I know you will enjoy it. Let me tell you about Graeme: she is a maternal mental health expert, advocate, and community leader who helps moms and reconnect with and embrace their humanity. As a certified life coach and founder of The Mom Center, an online community exclusively for moms, she’s coached over 3,000 moms on how to place their names at the top of their priority list, without guilt or shame. I first learned of Graeme and her work when I listened to her amazing interview on our mutual friend Mara Glatzel's podcast. Graeme totally blew my mind on that podcast when she talked about the concept of what I've come to call "reclaiming the matriarchy," which essentially says that if mothers are going to do all the emotional and physical and spiritual labour for their families that they do, their needs should be centred in their families. I've since written about that concept in my own way here. In this conversation with Graeme, we explore that theme more deeply, and she shares with me how that philosophy has evolved over the past couple of years. We talk about the societal and cultural influences on motherhood, and she reminds all mamas that you're not broken, motherhood is. Graeme totally debunks the idea of "putting your oxygen mask on first," which basically stopped me completely in my tracks during our interview. We talk about what empowered motherhood looks like, the power to be found in surrender, and finally, Graeme shares how we can better understand and support BIPOC mothers. She shares the best piece of guiding advice for this, reminding us that we, as a collective of mothers, are only as healthy and well as those of us who are most marginalized.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 5 | Lara Veleda Vesta on illness as initiation and earth connection, myth + ritual as support for transformative times
54:00I've been working with a theme of healing and illness as a rite of passage in my writings and offerings this month. I could not think of anyone I wanted to speak to more on that topic than Lara Veleda Vesta. Lara has an MFA, is an artist, author, storyteller and educator transforming chronic illness into a path of healing and reclaiming. She is the author of The Moon Divas Guidebook, and The Moon Divas Oracle, illustrator of The Moon Divas Oracle Cards and the newly released Wild Soul Runes: Reawakening the Ancestral Feminine. Her research interests include ancestral connection, mythtelling and disability as initiation, and she is currently creating an illustrated guide to death transitions. Her path of myth, folk magic, ancestor lore and ritual practice is shared through classes at the Wild Soul School. This is an incredibly rich conversation that I know you will love: Lara shares her experience of chronic illness and how thinking of this experience as a rite of passage and an initiation supported her. We talk about the fundamental optimismthat a rites of passage lens allows us: that fallow times are okay, that grieving is okay, and that you will emerge from this time with some kind of lesson or gift. Lara talks in-depth about four things that have supported her during the radical transformations she's traversed in her life: myth, earth connection, ritual and her connection to her ancestors. She shares her "non-negotiable" daily ritual that keeps her grounded and attuned to her inner knowing. Finally, we talk about divination and the cultivation of intuition and meaning-making. There are SO many pearls of wisdom, reassurances and big ideas in this podcast. You'll definitely want to grab a pen and notebook for this one! Enjoy!
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 4 | Becca Piastrelli on belonging to yourself, your community, to the land and your lineage
57:50Today's guest is Becca Piastrelli. Becca is a writer, coach, and host of the Belonging podcast. She holds space for women to explore ancestral wisdom, connect with the earth, and find meaningful and inclusive community. In the age of loneliness, Becca shows us how to feel like we truly belong - to each other, to the earth, to a lineage, and to ourselves. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner, child, two cats, and five chickens, where she gardens, cooks, mothers, and gathers with the ebb and flow of the seasons. Belonging is Becca's jam, and I knew I had to have her on the podcast because so very often, when we traverse radical transformation, we experience a disruption to our sense of belonging. I had the pleasure of connecting with Becca a few months ago when she interviewed me for her podcast, and we've been enjoying connecting about motherhood, earth connection, ritual, and so much more ever since. In this episode, that's exactly what we dive into: Becca shares her experience of being a new mom of her eight month old daughter, Atlas, and how even though she had done so much work before having a baby to slow down her life, reconnect with her body and the land, and get comfortable with discomfort and liminality, motherhood taught her so many lessons and allowed her to deepen this often-confronting work. We talk about what it means to belong to yourself, and how influences like social media and diet culture can so easily pull us away from that sense of rootedness. Becca shares how her connection with the earth has been a grounding force in the last year, and how simple it can be to develop your own relationship with the earth. Finally, we explore the topic of Becca's upcoming book, Root and Ritual: Timeless ways to connect with land, lineage, community and the self, including how to build ritual into your life in the smallest ways, and how we can all be engaged in the act of culture creation through ritual design. I know you'll love this conversation as much as I did, and you'll come away with so many insights and potential new practises! Enjoy!
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 3 | Sarah Kerr on the alchemy of ritual, the necessity of grief + how to honour the "tiny deaths" in our lives
53:24I'm so excited to be welcoming Dr. Sarah Kerr on The Becoming Podcast this month. Sarah is a death doula, ritual healing practitioner, and trainer, and in her work, she helps dying people and their families connect with each other, and with the innate wisdom of the dying process. Sarah’s work draws on ancient wisdom teachings, nature-based spirituality, sacred sciences, and the richness of the human soul. She designs and facilitates ceremonies that help her clients and their families to integrate experiences of illness, death and loss. These rituals honour the spiritual significance of what is happening, and bring healing to the living, the dying, and the dead. I came across Sarah and her work several years ago when my curiosity was sparked about how I could better support women through grief, as well as understanding my own relationship with death and grieving. I've since taken all four of Sarah's classes on Ritual Skills for Living and Dying, and appreciate her as a gifted teacher and wise guide to those of us who are working to reclaim ritual and rites of passage, and contemplate grief and loss. In our conversation, Sarah and I talk about the alchemy of ritual as "energy medicine for the collective body" and how we need ritual to help our souls catch up when massive change has occurred to our physical reality, or when our souls have traversed a radical transformation but our physical reality hasn't caught up yet. She shares that ritual can be simple and still powerful, and doesn't have to involve all the "bells and smells" that we often associate with ritual. We talk about rites of passage, and the difference between "change" and transformation - as in the difference between getting older and becoming elder, or having a baby and becoming a mother. We dive into a deeper conversation around grief and how we are often denied - or deny ourselves - the opportunity to fully grieve our losses. Finally, Sarah shares what she's learned about life from supporting people through death. I loved every minute of this conversation, and soaked up every piece of Sarah's wisdom - and I know you will too.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 2 | Britta Bushnell on what we can learn about radical transformation from birth, how life changes affect intimate partnerships + the collective cultural rite of passage of our times
58:33In this conversation, author, mythologist and childbirth educator Britta Bushnell and I talk about the domino effect that radical transformation tends to have in our lives, and how we often end up experiencing shifts and changes to many areas of our lives rather than only one. Specifically, we dive into the experience of how to re-negotiate our intimate partnerships in the wake of major transformation - one of Britta's specialties. Britta also shares wisdom about how to meet your needs and re-parent yourself in times of radical change. We talk about what Britta has learned from supporting birthing people that can be applied to all rites of passage, and then we traverse into eight cultural ideals that influence birth, exploring how these are actually phenomena that deeply influence our entire culture, and might just represent the collective rite of passage of our times.
The Becoming Podcast | Season 3; Episode 1 | Molly Mahar on becoming more yourself, reclaiming joy and telling the truth about your life
51:33It was SO exciting to get to chat with Molly for this episode. In our conversation, Molly and I dive right into a moment of full honesty and transparency, and then traverse through the question of authenticity and how social media impacts how we share our lives - or don't. We talk about what reclamation means to Molly, and she offers her thoughts on what it means to be more yourself in your day-to-day life. We jam on the big intersection between my work and hers: how living a life that is more authentic often necessitates us to make radical changes to our lives. Finally, our conversation completes with a beautiful gift that Molly offered to all of us. This episode is so fun, and listening to it is like hanging out with two girlfriends around the fire and talking about what really matters. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
The Becoming Podcast | Season 2; Episode 10 | Sharon Blackie on redefining our cultural mythology, the Eco-Heroine's Journey, and reclaiming women's rites of passage
59:30I am so unbelievably excited to bring to you the final episode of the first full season of The Becoming Podcast. In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking to psychologist, mythologist and author Sharon Blackie. I first learned of Sharon's work when a friend recommended her book If Women Rose Rooted. For me, I feel as though I can almost define my life and my work into what it was before I read If Women Rose Rooted and what it evolved into after. It was profoundly awakening for me. (you can imagine how excited and nervous I was to have Sharon on the show!) In this episode, Sharon and I talk about "falling out of myth," when we question the cultural narrative that we've been indoctrinated to follow, the rite of passage of becoming what Sharon calls a "mythical misfit" who opts of out the overculture to follow a more authentic path, and how we mythical misfits drive the change our world so badly needs right now. We spoke of the "Eco-Heroine's Journey" and how connecting with the earth and place defines and supports our rites of passage, particularly as women. Sharon shares wisdom about eldership, menopause, motherhood and women's rage, and how to trust rather than deny the inherent power of our embodied rites of passage. We dive into the importance of apprenticeship and liminal space in our process of becoming, and also how so many of us are what Sharon calls "cultural orphans" who need to remember our way back into belonging with our own lineage and ancestry. This conversation was everything I hoped it would be and more: it's so incredibly rich and I literally cannot wait for you to listen, enjoy, and steep yourselves in Sharon's wise words.