Australian podcaster + author
My guest this week is Alisha Burns, a podcaster and author based in Melbourne Australia, and a solo mum by choice (SMBC) to her daughter Lexi.
Alisha was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia 8 years ago. After getting married, going through a stressful IVF journey, and then experiencing a pregnancy loss, Alisha's marriage broke down. She spent the next 6 years searching for 'Mr Right,' on all the dating apps, even moving countries.
It was during a time of great loss for her family that Alisha made the realisation that what she was looking for wasn't actually a husband, it was to become a mother. Alisha then began the journey of having her own daughter Lexi using a donor.
After appearing as a guest on another podcast for SMBCs, Alisha became inspired to not only share her own story, but of those who had also experienced this journey, and also to make available resources and information for those thinking of taking this path. Thus began the No Need for Prince Charming podcast and online communty.
Alisha is also an author, with her book My Perfect Family available now. Her book aims to normalise the language around families, that all kinds of families are perfect, no matter how they are made up, and that all children are really just the same.
**This episode contains mentions of IVF and pregnancy loss**
Alisha would like to offer a special for podcast listeners - 15% off her book. Use the code ART15 at checkout before the end of February 2023
If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here
Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.
When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!
Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
Welcome to the Art of Being a mum podcast, where I Alison Newman, a singer songwriter, and Ozzy mum of two enjoys honest and inspiring conversations with artists and creators about the joys and issues they've encountered. While trying to be a mum and continue to create. You'll hear themes like the mental juggle, changes in identity, how their work has been influenced by motherhood, mum guilt, cultural norms, and we also strain to territory such as the patriarchy, feminism, and capitalism. You can find links to my guests and topics we discussed in the shownotes along with a link to the music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our supportive and lively community on Instagram. I'll always put a trigger warning if we discuss sensitive topics on the podcast. But if at any time you're concerned about your mental health, I urge you to talk to those around you reach out to health professionals, or seek out resources online. I've compiled a list of international resources which can be accessed on the podcast landing page, Alison Newman dotnet slash podcast, the art of being a mom we'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and water, which this podcast is recorded on has been the bone dig people in the barren region of South Australia. I'm working on land that was never seen it. Thank you so much for joining me today on another episode of The Art of Being a mum podcast. It is a pleasure to have you here, wherever you are all around the world. As I record, this is the final week of school holidays here in South Australia. We've had six weeks and I'm ready to go back to work and my kids are ready to go back to school and I think most of you, if not all of you in South Australia or Australia, probably feeling the same way. It's been a long six weeks. My guest this week on the podcast is Alicia burns. Alicia is a podcaster and author based in Melbourne, Australia, and she's a soccer mom by choice to her daughter Lexi. Alicia was born in New Zealand, but she moved to Australia eight years ago. After getting married, going through a stressful IVF journey and then experiencing a pregnancy loss. Alicia his marriage broke down. She spent the next six years searching for Mr. hight on all the dating apps, and even moving countries. It was during a time of great loss for her family that Alicia made the realization that what she was looking for wasn't actually a husband, it was to become a mother. Alicia then began the journey of having her own daughter, Lexi using a diner. After appearing as a guest on another podcast for solo mums. By choice, Alicia became inspired to not only share her own story, but of those who had also experienced this journey, and also to make available resources and information for those thinking of taking on this path. Thus began the no need for Prince Charming podcast and online community. Alicia is also an author, with her book, my perfect family available now. Her book aims to normalize the language around families, that all kinds of families are perfect, no matter how they are made up, and that all children are really just the same. This episode contains mentions of IVF and pregnancy loss. I hope you enjoy today's chat.
Thank you so much for coming on, Alicia. It's an absolute pleasure to have you welcome. Thank
you so much for having me today.
Yeah, it's my pleasure. So we're about to you can detect your necks in you in Australia or New Zealand.
I'm in Australia. I'm in Port Melbourne. I've been here coming up eight years. So they're still I think it's ease I can't say properly apparently. But a lot of the time people don't pick it.
I haven't read anything for accents. I really love imitating and doing accent. So it's like, I'm really like listening to how people talk and how they shape their mouth when they talk. So yeah, don't take it personally. It's not
a while I still pretend that most people can't tell. I'll go with that.
Yeah, cool. Idea. So whereabouts were you born? Or where did you grow up?
So I grew up in Wellington and I moved over here when I was 35. But yeah, I spent most of my life in Wellington City for a little stint in Palmerston North when I went to uni, and that was it. In other words, yeah, Wellington for most of my life.
Yeah, you are a podcaster can you share with us what, what your podcast is about and how it all came about?
So my podcast is interviewing Australian women who have decided to take motherhood into their own hands by having child using donor conception. So it's called no need for Prince Charming and basically Plan A didn't work out or maybe that wasn't even your plan or you just didn't want to partner and you've gone on to to have a child alone. It was inspired because that's the journey that I've been having to take. It's been a long road to get to that point but at 30 I decided to have a child on my own because Plan A wasn't working out, though this will hopefully help inspire and empower other women who are considering this journey, because it's something I wish I had when I was going through.
Yeah, it's I mean, it's certainly a lot more common than I think people realize. It's, I mean, personally, I've known I mean, I, my, my town's only got a 30,000 people. And I know two people, like friends of mine, that that have taken that journey. And I'm sure there's so many more, but we just don't hear about it. So yeah, like having having the podcast. In the end, you're very active on your Instagram, sharing the stories and sharing experiences. And I think that's really important.
I think going into it, I knew one person that I worked with who had done it, but I didn't really know her to have a proper open conversation about it. And I had a different perception in my mind about who does this sort of journey. So I was very big on joining the Instagram community and finding a lot of other like minded women. And then once I start the podcast, I'm just blown away by the variety of people, and the variety of ways and stories that they've had to go through it. But at the end of the day, they all tend to be very strong, very determined woman. So I'm building an amazing village of incredible woman surrounded with which is fantastic.
The reasons that that mothers decide to do this, what sort of reasons are they very varied reasons paths are
for for quite a few. It's just, they've tried the internet dated, they've been married, they've had relationship failures, whatever else. And they just get to the point where they just haven't found the right partner to have a child with. And for me, personally, I am divorced, I went through a pretty, pretty rough time and went through three years of infertility, a lot of IVF and ended up unfortunately, my son was stillborn. And after that my marriage didn't survive. And what was it? Six years later, I still hadn't met anyone. I even tried moving countries to see if I could find my elusive Prince Charming. I've done all the dating sites, I've done everything, but just nothing close to a relationship. So the day my dad died was actually the day I decided to do this. I thought what was most important to me was finding a partner. But actually what was most important was having a mother. And I'm glad that it happened when it did. Otherwise, it could have been too late. And yeah, and now I have my beautiful little Alexandra and having a partner is probably the last thing on my mind. At the moment. I don't know how he'd fit in, to be honest. But my life is so full, and I feel so content and just feel how I was always meant to be. So if anyone else is in the same situation where motherhood is the most important thing to them, rather than compromise or do something slightly dodgy, like doing a one night stand or something. There are other options nowadays, and it is a lot easier than it used to
be. Yeah. on that. Are there particular sort of rules in different states in Australia, about accessing the treatment or the procedures to get pregnant by yourself?
Yeah, so all states are different. Of course, there was one thing that really surprised me about Australia. And so I'm in Victoria, which is one of the most regulated in Australia, you basically can only use clinic referral recruited sperm. So every donor will be based in Victoria themselves, they asked darling to tweak the rules a little bit that they might be able to do overseas sperm, but it does mean that each individual clinic has to recruit its own donors. And it can be quite hard for them to do that. So you might have, especially after the pandemic, people are finding very hard to get access to sperm. So whereas I had a choice of, I think, 30, and 14 of which were Caucasian, and I wanted my daughter to look like me, so I wanted a Caucasian donor. So I could have like a fun party with my girlfriends and have champagne and, you know, made sperm cookies and sperm, bruschetta, toasts, and we, we went through all the profiles and, and worked out which one we want to cut out heads for magazines, and we gave them names, you know, made a really big deal about it to try and make it really fun. Women going through it today might have a choice of two, if they're lucky. So it's a little bit different. So any men if you're listening, and you would consider being a donor, please go and contact a clinic. And there's a definite need for it. Now, there are quite a few rules in regards to how many families can be created from a donor as well. So you would have probably potentially seen a lot of media, especially coming out of the states, where you know, there's donors that I've got hundreds and hundreds of children all around the world. In Victoria you can only give to 10 families so potentially there are nine other families that my daughter has half siblings created. and they can have unlimited children in their family, but it's only 10 families total. Yeah, there are other ways, I suppose that you could go down this path using a known donor, or there are some that aren't clinic recruited, that are doing through websites and that sort of thing. And just have to be very careful, if you are going to go down that route is just there are a lot of legal potential implications and other things that could come about. So the safest way is to go either with someone that you know, and get the proper legal documentation, or to do it through a clinic. So also in Victoria, there's a governing body, I guess you call it called Vatta. And they look after managing all of the donor donors and donor recipients. And then in the future, if my child wants to make contact with her donor, they'll help manage that for us, because you can't actually be an anonymous donor anymore. So you have to be what's called an ID release. So when the child turns 18, they can get access to contact you.
I was actually going to ask about that, like, what's the ramifications down the track if if a child decides they'd like to meet their, their biological father? Yeah, right, it's really interesting
with that are as well, they do counseling and things before you make the donor. So they help facilitate their contact in the first place. And then you do counseling for yourself, your child and the donor before those meetings happen as well. So everyone's going into it in the best frame of mind to get the most out of it. A lot of donors will say that they are open to contact before the child is 18 as well, if the child wishes that. So that's something you can push through again through Varta. And I think all states are different. But I think Victoria is the best for that sort of support, which is great for us because we live here.
Yeah, absolutely. And is there also screening or testing to make sure there's no genetic abnormalities or illnesses or
Yeah, so it's actually quite a process. If you're going through a clinic recruited donor, I think they have to have they do a lot of blood test, and they do a donation, and then they have to wait six months, and they do another donation and do more health checks, just to make sure nothing's changed in that time. And when you get the donor paperwork, when you're selecting which one you want, it's got the full family history in that as well. So if they had some sort of, they're a carrier for some sort of, say chromosomal issue, potentially, they wouldn't be allowed to be a donor, or it will be clearly displayed on the billing profile, so you knew what you're getting into. But you can see you know, that your grandmother, the grandmother had cancer, or their father died of a heart attack, all of that sort of thing. So you've got the full medical history, if you're going clinic recruited, that you can see exactly what you're getting yourself into, because some people might have in their family a high chance of cancer. So they might want to avoid a donor that's got that as well to try and minimize and passing things on. So you get a lot of information if you do the clinic, recruited path.
Yeah. Just another question. I'm finding this really interesting. When when you get that the little book to look through to see who you're choosing from, do they give you information on what they're like, personally, like, their traits and stuff like that? Like how much information do you receive about the donor,
the mind is going back, what, three, four years now. And things have changed a little bit. But I got you get a list of the profiles was very simple information, like the age height, not the age, just the height, hair color, eye color, nationality, I think. And then from that list, you would narrow it down to the ones you want to get full profiles for the full profiles, then give the demographic demographic information for the parents as well. So you can see so I could sit there and do like my fifth form biology and I've got brown eyes, my dad had blue, there's a chance that you know, and hit his mother had green so and it worked out because she got Hazel, so bad, but you can do that sort of thing better than it also they answer some questions. And then it's up to the donor, really how much information they put in there. Some are very short answers. Some are very long, but it can give you a bit of an indication about their personality, my donor, specifically when I read his profile as that I know, I feel like I know if I met you in real life, we'd get on really well. We had very similar values. He was all about family and animals. And just the way he'd written his answers. I could have written that myself. So yeah, and there's there's a wide variety there's, you know, highly educated there are some concrete workers there's there's everything. So there should be someone for for everyone, because everyone has different tastes and what they're looking for. But you do get quite a bit of information. And since I, what had my success well, for my daughter, though, they have changed things and they have a new sort of donor Bank, which they call Adam, I went through City Fertility and that's that's who they use. And when I rang up because you can ring and find out if there are any siblings, you can't get much information, you can just know that there's one or not. And they had more information from him, including toddler photos. So I now have title photos of my daughter's donor, which is really interesting because I always thought she was identical to my dad. Yeah. And then I saw the donor photo and it's like yeah, so some some clinics give you a lot of information. I think if you're in other states, but particularly in Western Australia, they use more American sperm banks and you get a lot of information. Some people even get recordings so they can hear the voice of the donor. So there is quite a bit that you get. But it's not quite like the movies where you've looking through the books.
Oh, that's so interesting. Thank you for sharing that.
So I want to go back a bit to obviously you went through the journey, and you were compelled to share it. Why did you choose podcasting? Like, are you do you have a background in like, writing? Or have you done anything like this before? Or?
Not really? No, I was actually asked to be a guest on a podcast, a girl in America who runs a similar podcast called The single greatest choice. And I did the first half of my episode, the day before I got induced, know, the day I got induced, I think, Oh, yeah. And then six months later, I did the follow up to and so from that, then I sort of started listening to them. I hadn't really listened to podcasts a lot. Before that, I used to listen to kind of self help motivational ones, maybe on my walk to work, but nothing specifically to pregnancy, or solely mom by choice. And then it just got me thinking, and I think I had her in the beginning of the pandemic. So I first year maternity leave was basically the two of us at home, and couldn't leave the house more than an hour a day. Yeah. And I didn't realize how much I would love being a mum, and how much I became myself as a result. And it just made me really want to help other women make that choice as well. The amount of women that I met who are a bit older than me, will I wish that had been an option or that I'd gone down that path. I didn't want other people to be in that situation. So I thought this is a resource that I could help create. And what was most important was that there was an Australian voice for it, because there were many podcasts around the world, but not specifically with an Australian voice. And of course, every state is different, what you go through, and just want to provide a variety of stories, but also give people hope. I have some people who got pregnant they first IUI I have people who've had to go to South Africa to get egg donors as well. You know, there's a wide variety. So no matter where you are on your journey, or what you're contemplating, hopefully you can find a story relate to.
And that's fantastic. I think that's wonderful.
On to the more about your podcasting, how did you find setting it up and getting into a week? Are you the sort of person that I was talking to someone else the other day about when they started their podcast, and we're comparing our styles? Do you need to have everything like organized ready to go before you do it? Or are you the sort of person that just does it, and then sort of works things out? As it comes up as you're going?
I think I watched quite a few YouTube videos that I found. I didn't even know how to do the RSS feed or how it even got on to Spotify. So I just did a bit of Googling and research and I'd work that much out and was like, okay, so I need to get a website where I can do this all and then I need to find some guests and how am I going to record it. So just Googling again, I found some great YouTube content and just watch that and my garage band. Sure. That's already on my computer can't be that hard. Need a microphone. Okay, buy a microphone. And then I just put the call out on Instagram and just said, you know, if I was to do this, would anyone volunteer and immediately I had I think 15 woman go yes. It was like, Okay, I've got the bass, I can do this. And it's just, I just backed myself and the first one probably took the longest to record because that was my story. Yeah, yeah. You're always so critical of yourself and what you sound like and everything else. And I think honestly, one of the biggest surprises is people keep commenting on how nice my voices never had that my whole life. Like I could listen to you for hours. You're so relaxing. I'm like, Am I okay? My dad always told me off for talking too fast. So maybe maybe I've grown up with a microphone in front of me. I don't know. But yeah, it's and then yeah, I just I just winged it. I don't get it. A lot of it. I have basically the same format for all and it seems to work. I have some feedback along the way which I've tried to incorporate so making it less about pregnancy and more about the conception and then life. So yeah, same kind of format everyone kind of know As what's coming if they've listened to an episode? Yep. And just whatever they're talking about, I guess which is probably the same for
you. Yes. Very similar. Yeah, I find it's good. I like to have the the rough idea of the way I do each episode. Same thing people know what's coming, but then yeah, wherever it goes, it goes and I like that because I think people will talk about what they need to talk about. And same thing I don't eat it too much for takeout in my library and you stumble over my words, so do be careful
you, daughter, how old is it? You call it Alexei? I've noticed on your Lexie on your Instagram and she calls
herself Alexandra though so she will be she was Alex to start with but she was had no here for so long. Even though she was wearing a lot of pink. Everyone thought she was a boy. So my favorite Grey's Anatomy character.
Or I loved I was actually watching that this morning. I've been rewatching it rewatching all
the rewatching it for like the fifth time. Yeah. That's easy background noise when you're doing other things. You know what's coming? So yeah, that's thing
you you miss a little bit. You've you've sort of know where they're going to be at when you come back to it. They're not going to do anything radically different. I'm actually I'm up to the what I don't even know what season it is now lose track. But Christine has just like quit. And so Derek's taking her fishing, and it's like this. It's just hilarious. So anyway, so far,
I'm at the point where Christina and Burke are just about to get married. So ah,
yeah, that that's that's that's a long time back. Yes. But now it's it's really I love that show. I never used to love it. I thought I'd watched it because everyone else was watching it. And I was like, oh, what's the so I'm gonna watch it. And then I sort of got off of it. But now it's up and you can watch everything on streaming and just sit there and watch it all day long.
And Shonda Rhimes is another Solomon by choice. Oh, there you go. He's up via adoption. But yes, she has three kids by herself. Yeah.
So there are a lot of inspiring, very successful woman who have gone down this path as well, which I think that's an interesting lessons just on it, Natalie.
Yeah, baby guy. And I think that, can that be? I don't know, I was gonna say it can be inspiring, but it's at the same time. Could that make? I don't want to say normal people, because we're all normal in some, you know what I mean, but non celebrities who have access to buckets of money, you know, you might think, well, they're doing it because they've got a nanny or, you know, that sort of thing. Like, so I guess it could go either way. Couldn't? Yeah,
I made a real a long time ago, which had a lot of different celebrities that most people weren't even aware of had done it by themselves. Yeah. And I think it's just if you see a powerful, successful woman, and she has been able to have do it as well, because of my Hollywood romances don't seem to last very long do they? But there are other options. And if they can do it, why can we?
Yeah, no, I think that's that's fantastic. So How old's your daughter now? She will be three at the end of April. And times three year old? Oh, yes. I've been seeing your journey with a giving up the debris. That's fine.
It has gone surprisingly well. Very glad. But now we're battling. I don't want to go to bed. And now she's climbing out of a cot. And yeah, I was at 1030 last night, and I thought was 10. And in my bed, which I'm not overly keen on. But it also means that I'm not getting any time for me, which I struggle with a bit mentally because that's, that's when I have my creative time and go after all my passion projects that I'm doing. So you know what it's like with a two and a half year old, if you're in the room, they need to be doing whatever you're doing. So you can't do anything for yourselves. Yeah, I had some really good routines previously.
Yeah. Yeah. They like to throw spanners in the works, right.
So I'm about to start recording the next season is like, how am I going to fit this in? If you're not going to sleep? I don't want to just stick you in front of an iPad or night. It's not the best habit. So hopefully, we can get that sorted in the next couple of weeks.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I was gonna ask like, how what? When do you fit in doing the things that you'd like to do? So when, when she's in bed, you just go to go to work?
So I get up at five in the morning now. Oh, wow. So I have to read two to two and a half hours to myself in the morning and most of that the last year has been spent on the podcast or my book. But this year, I need to start prioritizing my health so I'm going to try my gets on doing some exercise in that time as well before I move on to the passion project, so yeah. And then I used to be able to do it when she went to bed at seven. And that gave me a few hours at night as well. But yeah, that's not going to work if she goes to bed at 10, so I can get that fixed soon.
So your book, I'm guessing that's about your journey and your experiences? No, no,
tell me what it is. It's actually an illustrated children's book. And it's trying to bring awareness and normalities and language associated with donor conception. So it's showing that that all families are beautiful and perfect, no matter how they're made, and that all kids are just the same as everyone else. So there is 12 families in it. And I've got everything, same six families, divorced families, widower, and solid mom by choice and just normalizing the language. So you know, if the same sex family they had their child as a result of a surrogate or it's written better than that, but and then with me, it's with the help of a donor. So just normalizing that language that ideally, kids will get to the stage where they say, oh, Lexi doesn't have a dad, she has a donor and not think anything more of it, and possibly comments and just completely normalized. So yeah, I'm just waiting for my first print run to arrive. Really excited.
Oh, congratulations. That's so exciting. So did you did you illustrate as well, you knew, you. Give me another surprise.
That was probably the hardest part out of all of it. So when you asked him before how I went about doing the podcast, this was something I've had ideas about writing books for, oh, my God, I don't know how long I've started my memoir, probably about 50 times, and never done it. But then I had the idea of doing a children's book. And then this idea kind of came to me that there's nothing really in the market that normalizes that language. I think my target market is, shall we call air quotes, normal, traditional families. So then if they've got, you know, little Sammy comes to school, and he's got two dads, how do I explain that to my child? Here's a book that just shows you all that. And it makes it really normal and really fun. So a woman that I'd met through Instagram had published some donor conception books, which are more targeted to couples who've had us donate eggs, or sperm, or I've done it by themselves and and talks more for the child about how they were conceived. And I didn't want to do another book like that, because there are a few out there. But I had a really good conversation with her to understand exactly what she went through. And then I got over that whole paralysis of how, and they had a clear plan. Okay, this is what I need to do to get it. The words were probably the easy part was finding an illustrator, that was the hardest. Yeah. And I went through a few through on Fiverr, and everything else, and I ended up putting a call out on LinkedIn and Instagram to see if anyone knew anyone. And then I got recommended my my beautiful illustrator through that. She's got a friend that's actually solid mom by choice, it was following me. And so then I got in contact with her and Oh, my God, I loved the process, like both here and I miss it. Because like, every day, she'd be drawing different pictures. And we'd be having calls on it and going, Oh, what about doing this and these changes and tweaks and, and she learned a lot on the process as well. She's comes from a very traditional family construct her husband's a detective, she's got three kids, she lives in a small town, Victoria, you know, very different from the world that she was, she was illustrating. But she managed to take the pictures out of my head onto paper. And I just love the result. And the collaboration that we did to do it as well was just a really beautiful process. So
fantastic. So what did you call the book? My perfect family? Yeah, right. I love that. So when will people be able to get their hands on it?
So pre orders are open now. And I'm just waiting for the first print run to arrive. And so yeah, you can order it now. And by the time this podcast comes out, I'm sure it'll be in my hot little hands. And I'll be sending it out and spending my nights fighting a toddler to package up books, but you know, that's okay.
Oh, fantastic. So you've got a website? What's your website called?
It's my perfect family. book.com
beautiful. All right, I'll put a hyperlink in the show notes for people to click away on. Oh, well download. It's fantastic. I work in early childhood education. So I've worked in childcare, long daycare setting for nine years and now working kindergartens. And I'm really amazed by I want to say the quality of children's books and then the knock quality of children's books. There are some really really poorly written books and I think how the heavens did this ever get printed, like how did this get past the checking of what's appropriate? You know, and then there are some lovely books but I've never seen a book that is doing what you're doing so well done. I'm really excited on the graphic Copy. Yeah,
I think there's some beautiful books out there that show different families. But they don't talk about how they made. Yes, yes. Hopefully just solve that little gap as well. And I'd love to get it into daycares and schools. And yeah, like I say, I think their target audience is actually more traditional families so that they can help explain to their children, that families made all sorts of different ways. But every family is perfect, no matter how they're made. So yeah, absolutely.
And I've spoken a bit lately to particular people about getting children involved in social issues, and from a young ages possible, because when they get to a certain point, they're really led by what adults, what sort of beliefs that they hold, so then they put them on their children, they change, you know, the innocence of that what that child held before that point. So I really think it's yeah, this will be really, really helpful for adults too, because it can be a little bit confronting and confusing to know how to refer to people and how they like to be referred to,
I think it's the whole thing of my daughter doesn't have a father, she doesn't have a dad. It's not that there, he lives in a different house, or overstays, although I don't know who he is, is that she doesn't actually have one, she has a donor. So the more we can normalize that language, and that kids just say she doesn't have one share the donor. And there's, there's an acceptable alternative that they can put in there instead of dad, then hopefully, that will help build acceptance out of everyone. So like you said earlier, you can get that information into kids, the better. Yeah, and then be like, Oh, they've got donor, oh, well, this, this family's got two mums, or they had to use a donor as well. Okay. Donors are useful for lots of people.
Yeah. And it just becomes that's just the normal way of speaking. It's not, Oh, don't say that. Or do you know, like this dad, and I think it when I was
growing up, yeah, growing up in such inclusive times anyway, then it's not going to be like, what it would have been for us in the 90s. You know, if someone didn't have a dad, it would have been very strange. And now we'll just be like, I have one. And yeah, it's really great time to be embarking on this, because there's so many different families. And I feel that they are all really accepted no matter how much how they constructed. Yes, great.
No, I love it. And I put on Yum, that's fantastic.
You're listening to the art of being a mom was my mom, Alison Newman. Now, I want to talk about your identity before you became a mom. So you mentioned before, it was really a really positive thing that becoming a mum allowed you to be become who you are sort of thing. How was that experience for you? It really, really positive, positive thing really?
Yeah. So I think when I look back on it, as long as I can remember, all I wanted to do and all that determines success was for me was to get married and have children. I don't know where that's come from. If that was just, you know, I grew up in the 90s. And watching Beverly Hills nine to one, I don't know. But as long as I can remember, the most important thing was to find that husband. So I found a husband, and got married, when he eight turns out he wasn't the best husband for me. And I probably just settled because I wanted to tick those boxes, and have the husband had the white picket fence, everything. I also wanted the career. And that was kind of what defined me. So once I lost the husband and the big house, and the only thing that was left was my career. So I started focusing really strongly on that, and doing everything possible, and usually not in the best ways to find the new man and the husband. Number two, I was convinced. So New Zealand, you have to be separated two years before you can get divorced, I was convinced I would be engaged by the time, you know that I was divorced. And I think so much of my self worth and everything else was determined by whether I had a partner or not. Which is, in hindsight, very sad. But I haven't got to the point, I moved to Australia, and I contemplated freezing my eggs, but I thought no, what's more important is that I find that other person to share my life with and if it's meant to be a workout. And that was I think just probably bearing down the trauma of having to go through infertility for so many years. And Lester Watson and the rest of that. When I made this decision that night when I when I got pregnant, I had quite a bit of anxiety throughout the pregnancy after obviously, pregnancy after loss. But once I could start feeling her move and that sort of thing. I relaxed a bit more into it and I just I just had this overwhelming feeling that it was going to work out. And I just had faith from that one that I was going to and then went to it was just me and her. So like I said it was full pandemic. I think my last seven weeks of work. I was at home and then my neighbor dropped me at the hospital. So I could have stayed in the hospital for five nights came home. And then it was basically just us for the first six months. And it was just a beautiful little bubble, I didn't have to worry about work, I didn't have to worry about proving myself to anyone, I couldn't have visitors. So my house ended up being the tightest it's ever been. But you know, it wasn't that pressure because people were here or just because I had nothing else to do. They were so relaxed, she was a great sleeper. And either and I don't know, I just I just felt so content in myself and my own little life. And I still feel that way. Now. I mean, it's a bit bit of a hustle at the moment, because I have a full time job, as well as all my side things. And her and I want her to experience as much as possible and do things that, you know, interests here. So we're doing swimming lessons, and dancing, and all of that stuff. So it's a pretty busy life. And the thing that's gone is my social life. Yeah. But I don't need that. Like I used to. I used to fixate on that being a definition of how popular or how like there was whatever else and it's like going out to a bar is the least interesting thing possible to me right now. I want to spend it with quality people and doing quality things. And ideally, that involves my daughter as well. So yeah, life has changed considerably. And then a element.
Yeah. That's wonderful. That's wonderful. So sure, I keep looking at your cat sitting there. Teresa. What what breed is she
is Burmese and she had her teeth done last week, so it's just a bit too late today. She hasn't been very quiet since normally. She just jumps up and down on my desk and cries the whole time. So yeah, at least quiet. But yeah, she's seen a lot of meetings,
like Jilin like, oh, I used to have a bit of maize. And his name was Teddy. And he was because she's gorgeous. What's your name? Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, he was he was a beautiful boy. But he, when he came, sort of matured, he started attacking my other cat that he had leaving with us and older cat. And we ended up having to find him a new home. But she had a lovely home as a single cat. He just wasn't the sort of cat that could live for you. That
was she had a brother, who I lost last year, a year ago. And then I got the dog. And they were not happy about that. And the old cat that her brother used to beat up the dog when we lost Rodrigo. Now knocklyon Let me like cuddle up together and things and nothing they protecting each other from the toddler states. Oh, love it.
topic that I really like to talk about with mums is the concept of mum guilt. And I'm wondering what you think about that, if you have any thoughts on that.
It's interesting one, I don't feel like I have much mum guilt. But then I questioned whether I'm doing a good enough job quite a bit lately, as and I think maybe the mum, guilt will come more as she gets older. And I think if I do not have the downtime to be able to have time to myself and pursue my things, that really starts taking a toll on me. And unfortunately, that can come out on her as well. So you know, if she's not going to be detained 30 My Yeah, not my best morning, I have never felt guilty about going back to full time work. And my mum and dad both worked full time, what I am very conscious of is that I don't want her to see me working and prioritizing work over here. So going back to work, I've had very strong boundaries, and I've managed to stick to them. So previously, before her, I would be working sort of 60 to 80 hours a week, sometimes now, you don't get me out of nine to 530. That's it. And I think going back to work and working from home for most of it because of the pandemic did help make that transition a lot easier. And we have really strong routines that mean that we have some quality time in the morning and we have quality time when I pick her up at night as well. And we try to do the same sort of things. So don't think that daycare is actually the best thing for her as well like being with your little buddies and what she's learning in that social interaction. So I don't feel guilty about that. And I don't think I'd be a very good stay at home mom anyway. My dream would be that I don't have to work for someone else. And then my book and whatever else I pursue, can allow me to have sort of an income where I can be the more present especially when she goes to school and she has no shorter days. I would love to be able to drop her off and pick her up each day and take Get your whatever activity she's doing and be more involved in her life rather than leave that to someone else. But my mum actually moved over here when I had my daughter. Yeah, so she lives 10 minutes walk away. So if it's not me, it will be it will be grandma. So I'm very, very lucky for that. But yeah, ideal world, by the time she's at school, I'll be able to be even more involved. She definitely is the priority when I'm not at work. So you're trying to get that balance between working from home and work in the office makes a big difference, as well for trying to have that quality time at home to just focus and do work and do most of my meetings. They when I go to the office, it's just back to back meetings all day. But take all those things off so that my days at home, I can just focus and get work done. So again, and then trying to do so like do the washing during the day, that sort of thing. That's always waiting for a meeting. Yeah. So again, when it's my daughter and I, it's just quality time, it's not doing bullshit chores and that sort of stuff.
I knew you wouldn't put on your truck, that monkey, I just had a feeling that that wouldn't be
like feel like it. It's yeah, I think
that's awesome. I love that I once had someone, give it to people on who didn't have it. And one of them had to google it, because they just didn't even know what it was. And I thought that is so awesome. That's what we all should be like?
Well, I think most of it is sending them to daycare, isn't it, but I think that's the best thing for him.
Honestly, I feel guilty about that. I never feel guilty for that. Because I've been like I've been in that industry. And it is wonderful that the children thrive, the social interaction, what they're learning, and just the stuff that they can do there that they could never do at home. You know, it's just
when you pick them up, you get these lovely compliments, and it's like, well, I must be doing something. No. And then the thing the other thing is by working full time, it means that I can afford the lifestyle that I want to give so I'm not gonna feel guilty about that. Yeah, I would rather have that and then struggle and have to worry about you know, if I had enough food to feed or or pay the bills, I'd rather be able to, you know, go to Fiji. Yeah.
Yes, that'd be excellent. Have you done much traveling? The two of you.
We went to New Zealand at the end of last year. I'm gonna say that was a trip not a holiday. It was it was hard work. New Zealand is not a great place for toddlers. And I think we probably went too long. But it was really important for mum to go. And it helped her solidify that she had made the right decision. So that was good. And it was lovely for me to be able to introduce Lexi to my friends that you know, haven't seen in years. But know next time I want kids clubs so that I get a holiday to sound sounds perfect. And I'm actually going with another solo mom friend that I've met through Instagram. It's one of those people like she feels like your bestie but we've never actually met in real life, but her daughter's similar act. So I think we'll have a really great time together.
Oh, lovely. That's exciting when you get when you're doing that in June, so I'm going for my birthday. Love anymore does it so and you'll be escaping the Melbourne weather in winter two, which we love with
that's usually not too bad. By this ages. I've could have lifted longer to really escape but it
no good on Yeah, you got to do these things. So do you find that? Um, no, I think people and even families with young kids, regardless of whether they're, there's one parent or two can be really reluctant to do things with young kids because they're put off you know, this is going to be hard or whatever. Like do you have any advice for for people listening that might feel like that?
No, I'm already feeling like it's gonna be hard. I'm hoping this time though, she'll be a bit more open to just sitting with the iPad on the plane. But the first time it was like this is all new. I did have to make a big call on it though. Stupidly, if I went via Sydney it would save me $1,100 Oh, so I had to really wait out but that's a lot of money. Yeah, to a save it and take nine to 10 hours to get there and have to get through like Sydney Airport with a bag and potentially sleeping toddler because we were getting to Melbourne and live 11 o'clock at night or something or do I just pay the money? And it's like, no, I'm just gonna pay the money. It's just easier just to fly direct get here hopefully have lounge access if I can Wingull that. And then just like direct and be there not two flights, having run in between and all the rest of it because it's the time at the airport I found was probably the hardest. When we went to New Zealand was coming home she just knows time of day. So it's like if you can get an early flight I think that we're really helped us or when they're going to likely sleep. But yeah, there's just no easy way I think to travel with kids. So just suck it up and go, because it'll be amazing once you're there. Let's see theory.
Don't let it stop you from doing it. Just do it. Yeah, and it depends on the kid to like, they're so different, like my two, I've got seven years difference between mighty. And one, you could do so many things within the other one you've just been, you'd just be a full believer and try certain things. Oops, you know, it's it's like, you just never know how things are gonna work out.
And you just don't know how much they're gonna change. And that time as well. I mean, that's six months from now. Yeah, be like a little angel. That's the or she could be a complete terror that wants to run around the whole plane. I'm not sure. Let it put me off booking. So yeah, that's what you said a time. Yeah, no
good on. Yeah, I think that's really good.
Other things that I wanted to trips we want to take, but I just need to wait till she's older. Like I can't wait to take it to Disneyland. But there's no point doing that until probably about eight and actually appreciate it properly.
Yeah, that's it, isn't it? Yeah.
So you talked before about the needing to do your passion projects like that as your outlet is that is that something that you really hold on to is as something that's really important to you and, and part of who you are?
I think so I think previous to Lexie, it was my outlet was sewing in the did a lot of that. And when my first year maternity leave again, I still did a lot of sewing and I was making a lot of things for her. But now it's going to, I've got a why, since I've had her. It's I'm so passionate about creating these things. And actually having follow through as well. I think I've been someone who's always had a lot of ideas, but just not the courage to back myself to follow through with them. And I want her to see me as someone who does that, so that she can be encouraged that she has ideas, she can just go ahead and go after her dreams as well. And I think maybe it started with my dream was to become a mom and I had the follow through to have it on my own. So if I can do that, I can do anything. And I think getting really clear. So I did some some dream life work through an is Kiki K book or something and that I would love, I would love to not have to work for someone else. And so it's finding one of those things, and I guess getting over the imposter syndrome a lot of the time as well. To say, you know, I can be that person and I can do these things and that there is worth and what I'm doing and I think the podcast was the first start, the fact that I have people volunteering, I haven't really had to go out too hard or chase people down. And I've got enough to do the full season. And I've already got, you know, the first few months of next of this year, done, I just have to eat at them. Sure you put that off to like, I can do that. And that was successful. I just need to work out a way to monetize it. And it's like, now I've got an idea for a book. Why not? It's just understanding the how to do it. I'm getting the networks that will back what I do as well. And it's helping them help their kids. So
yeah, yeah, good on. Yeah, I love that.
It's very inspiring.
It's awesome. Have you always felt like that throughout your life? Or is that something that's happened as you've gotten older, do you think?
I think I've always had ideas, and I've always ideally would work for myself. But I've just never had the courage to do it. And I haven't I think I've been surrounded by the cheerleaders that I needed to do that. And now, I guess I've got the cheerleaders in the online community, but it's also I've become my own cheerleader with things. Yeah, but it's also who I've met, that can help and to actually ask for help. So you know, talking to Nat, who'd already published her book to understand how she did and I basically just completely copied exactly what she did. It's just with my illustrations and my words, but you know, the same size book so that I know that all fit into a certain size envelope, so that I can put it as a large envelope instead of having to pay package, you know, postage and all those sort of things. Yeah. Consider things when you can just learn from someone who's already done it. So yeah. And then doing a few kind of self development courses as well. Just to really get clear what my vision is. And what why I want the life that I do for Lexi and I and I think it's because I want it so much for her. Yeah, it just gives me that real drive to try and create it. I've got it really clearly in my head what it looks like and I can't wait to have that with her but it's gonna take some work so she needs to go to sleep
that's a part in the plan because she all she has to do is go to sleep.
Go to sleep and we're going to have an amazing yeah, yeah.
I have funny. Oh, that's great. So obviously, in the future, you've, you've got the book coming out, which is so exciting. I'm really excited to get a copy of that, actually, and to take it to my work T.
What can you share this coming up,
I would love to actually write my memoir. Like I said, I've started about 50 times, I would think there'll be really, and I think the ending has changed so much, and what the focus would be has changed so much as well, that exists every, every year, it evolves a little bit more. And I think I'm probably getting to become one of the best versions of myself at the moment. So the journey of how I got to that, and maybe it's just part a, I don't know, but I'd love to do that. But again, that's going to take considerable amount of my child being asleep to write that. I've got other ideas about building a body more resources and community for other women embarking on this journey, and, and to help support them just to kind of have everything in one place, really. So if you're thinking about, you know, finding information needs, maybe some online courses and that sort of thing. But again, for that it's time and getting over impostor syndrome, I think is the biggest one for them. I've got the domain name and I've got the Instagram page. I just haven't done anything with it. It's got to coming soon. So yeah, right. It makes you do solo solo mum society. So Oh, I love it. I've got a cool name.
Yeah, do something. Yeah, no good on. Yeah. That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on today. I really love chatting with you. And I've learned so much. And I'm sure a lot of my listeners have learned a lot to you. So thank you for sharing. So honestly, it's been great. Yeah, and all the best so I'm really excited for you.
If you want to learn more, no need for Prince Charming is the podcast on my Instagram page. So I share probably way too much on that but
good on. Yeah, that's awesome. Thanks again, if
the music you heard featured on today's episode was from LM Joe, which is my new age ambient music trio comprised of myself, my sister, Emma Anderson, and her husband, John. If you'd like to hear more, you can find a link to us in the show notes. Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mum.