The Female Changemakers Series is dedicated to individuals whose professional and personal passions have driven them to do something extraordinary, bringing sustainable positive change to women’s wellbeing. Join Lola&Lykke´s Laura McGrath and Maana Lindqvist as they chat to women´s health experts, parents, and other incredible people about life, loss, parenting, mental wellness and everything in-between.
Ep 12: Conversations with Stuart Armfield and Francis Haugen: on love, positive mindset, and becoming fathers through surrogacy.
59:36In this episode, Laura discusses love, happiness, and masculine/feminine relationship dynamics with Stuart and Francis, who recently became fathers through surrogacy. We discuss what it means to embark on a surrogacy journey as a gay couple, what life looks like as new parents, and how to go after your dreams. Stuart and Francis are successful business owners who teach others about personal freedom, leadership, positive mindset and how to become the best version of yourself. The two men have always been big advocates for women´s health and wellness and are delighted to be working with a brand like Lola&Lykke that endorses and supports parenting in all its different formats. Stuart and Francis candidly speak about their experiences and agree that having more feminine energy as gay men may make it easier to navigate parenting, business, and life in general. Laura draws attention to Stuart´s post: ´I am creating the life of my dreams´ and compliments the two men of setting an incredibly positive example and living their ideal life, which has been made possible through digitalisation and the acceptance of difference in general. Stay tuned until the end to learn some exciting news about what the men have in plans next!
Ep 11: Conversations with Ruth Maguire from Boobingit: Challenges of Breastfeeding
26:01In this episode, Laura talks to Ruth from Boobingit, an online resource for all breastfeeding mums. Boobingit has grown to become a single space for breastfeeding information, advice, and real-life stories with a view of empowering mums as they navigate their own feeding journey. Ruth and Laura discuss the challenges faced by breastfeeding mums, and what the differences are like in how breastfeeding is perceived and supported in Finland and UK/Ireland. Laura describes how her difficult birth experience affected her breastfeeding journey and reminds listeners that each breastfeeding experience is unique, shaped by individual circumstances. Ireland has the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe and one of the lowest rates in the world, so the two women discuss the reasons behind this and how new mothers can be better supported. Both Ruth and Laura agree that parenting is difficult enough without casting a judgemental eye over a family’s preferred feeding method. Information is power, however, and the best choice any parent will make will undoubtedly be an informed one. So empowering parents with information and support is key to happy, healthy parents and babies.
Ep 10: Conversations with Eva Wahlström: from Women´s Boxing World Champion to Designing Maternity Products
1:01:54THIS EPISODE IS IN FINNISH. In this episode, Laura and Maana are joined by Eva Wahlström, Lola&Lykke´s new Brand Ambassador. Eva is a former Women´s Boxing World Champion, a designer by profession and a mother of two. The three women discuss Eva´s background and her experiences as a professional athlete including the severe illness that made her change her approach to sports and life. Eva talks in depth about how becoming a mother has shaped her as a woman and what her life looks life after recently finishing her professional sports career. All three celebrate the collaboration between the parties and agree that Eva represents what Lola&Lykke is all about: female empowerment, chasing your dreams and celebrating the many roles of modern mums. You can be successful as an athlete, a designer, a mother, and many other things simultaneously. Eva is currently designing the new model of Lola&Lykke´s Smart Electric Breast Pump which is due to launch later in 2022.
Ep 9: Conversations with Elliott Rae: Music, Football, and Fatherhood
1:16:13This time, Laura and Maana are joined by Elliott, a dad of one, a newly published author, and the founder of MusicFootballFatherhood, “The dads’ version of Mumsnet.” (BBC) The three launch into a conversation through how MFF became to be, and how a hobby turned into a fulltime job. Talking through gendered parenting, societal expectations, masculinity, and what life can look like for working dads, the three end up with possibilities for dads. Exploring the importance and presence of partners in mum’s wellbeing and child’s formative years, the three conclude that fatherhood is in transition and most men fit neither the ultra-masculine nor the more soft, even feminine fit given to men through social media. How the gap fills with time through workplaces engaging with fatherhood, and the society levelling up with dads is something all three are hoping to contribute to. The natural conversation flows through Elliott’s experience in the workplace, NHS, among dads and with collaborations like the commencing one with Lola&Lykke – catching up to and allowing the modern dad experience, everyone needs to do their part.
Ep 8: Conversations with Sophie Martin: Becoming a Mother
52:31This time Laura and Maana are joined by the person behind @the.infertile.midwife, Sophie Martin, an NHS midwife and a mum to Cecil and Wilfred, who never made it home, and to Percy, who did. The three talk about the painful experience of second trimester loss and infertility, which for Sophie finally ended in a positive pregnancy test and baby in late Summer 2021. Talking through the experience with her twin boys reminds Laura of her own late miscarriage and the experience and conversation around stillbirth. Through her work as a midwife Sophie has seen everything possible, but in the end, going through loss of that magnitude can only ever be felt inside. Through heartbreak and sorrow to the literal pain of IVF, Sophie, Laura and Maana talk about what changes when a positive pregnancy test becomes the ultimate goal. They observe how harmful existing preconditions of how motherhood is supposed to look like can be for those that struggle and explore the extent to which women are willing to go to fulfil the dream of motherhood. Furthermore, Sophie has helpful insights to offer to everyone seeking professional help for infertility in the UK.
Ep 7: Conversations with Margaret Zablocka: on Entrepreneurship and Motherhood
50:22This time Laura and Maana sat down with Margaret Zablocka, the CEO and founder of Onoco, and a mum of two. The three women talk about the challenges mums face today juggling career and motherhood. Through experience, Margaret saw a gap in the market for routine building with a new family, gathered a team of colleagues and built the first 3-in-1 baby tracker, family organiser, and baby development app to tick all the boxes she desired. All three have used pen and paper to keep track of babies and it’s easy to agree that being on the same page with all caregivers can be a relief to mum and everyone else involved. Conversation flows from Margaret and Laura’s experiences of building businesses as working mothers to digitalisation and its possibilities, to neuroscience and development, to Margaret’s interest in early childhood development. Through mum guilt in the fast-paced society, Margaret also reveals how routine and schedules saved her sanity.
Ep 6: Conversations with Eeva Hiila: The Midwife Perspective
55:31THIS EPISODE IS IN FINNISH. This time Laura and Maana are joined by Eeva Hiila, the chairwoman of the Uusimaa Midwifery Union, municipal councillor, and a deputy member of Tehy council, a midwife with nearly 20 years’ of experience, and a mum. The three women talk about the midwives’ call for help this year, and how especially ethical stress can put everyone in the birth ward in danger. The number of births has risen in Finland in the past two years following a long decline. Eeva talks in depth about the response from HUS and how it was received among the midwives’ ranks. The women further pinpoint lacking human resources, closures of birth wards, and the existing power structure in health care as barriers to effectively solving the midwives’ crisis. With enthusiasm, the three emphasise the importance of getting every story heard.
Ep 5: Conversations with Ann Bacon: On Being a Working Mother
1:02:41This time Laura and Maana are joined by Ann Bacon, a mum and baby nurse from California, and a mum of two. The three talk about Ann’s incredible journey from psychiatric nursing to paediatrics care with HIV positive children and being a mum and baby nurse, to having children of her own, becoming a school nurse in China and now in Finland, and going back to school. The women talk about how new mums face similar challenges in every country, no matter how good or great the social support and healthcare systems are: pressure, isolation, competition, education and financial challenges, work culture as a parent, mental load and the unpaid work of mums are just some of the heavier topics touched on. Ann shares her own experience of being a working mother and what kind of decisions led their family to travel abroad for work, encouraging Laura to compare similarities in living in different countries with your family.
Ep 4: Conversations with Lähiöfaijat: The Opportunities of Modern Fatherhood
50:58This time Laura and Maana are joined by Emppu and Tomppa, two dads from East-Helsinki who host the Lähiöfaijat- podcast. Traditionally maternity spaces have been signposted to be women-only areas. Modern fathers have challenged this discourse, and the conversation flows accordingly: Tomppa and Emppu share the origins of how the Lähiöfaijat podcast started during times when there was practically no Finnish peer support for fathers. The four talk about the necessity of including men in maternity processes to provide best care available and highlight the change fatherhood has been through: the stereotypical father figure is history, as the modern involved dad has taken over his share of family duties. Through the two men’s stories it becomes obvious that men go through the same changes within and among their social circle as women do, and involving them in the pregnancy, birthing and postpartum processes benefits the mum, but also the men themselves. Finally, the four theorise on what engaging dads could look like in practice.
Ep 3: Conversations with Stiliyana Minkovska: Bridging design and maternity care
49:57This time Laura and Maana are joined by Stiliyana Minkovska, a London-based architect, designer, and mum of two. The conversation flows from birth experiences to the lack of mother-centred design in the equipment and surroundings at hospital birth. The women talk in-depth about Ultima Thule, an alternative birthing experience designed by Stiliyana and inspired by her first birth experience, and how big of an impact the crossover between architecture, design and healthcare can have for the birth experience. By going over the ‘what is’ the three consider ‘what could be’ in an ideal world where the birthing suite is designed with mothers in mind. Looking into the future, Stiliyana reveals some projects she has in mind for making childbirth a more empowering experience for mothers.