EFTROU Season 2 Episode 11 is 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 34 seconds long. (1:08:34)
Chavonne (C): Hello there! I’m Chavonne McClay (she/her).
Jenn (J): And I’m Jenn Jackson (she/her).
C: This is Season 2 of Embodiment for the Rest of Us. A podcast series exploring topics within the intersections that exist in fat liberation!
J: In this show, we interview professionals and those with lived experience alike to learn how they are affecting radical change and how we can all make this world a safer and more welcoming place for those living in larger bodies and those historically marginalized who should be centered, listened to, and supported.
C: Captions and content warnings are provided in the show notes for each episode, including specific time stamps, so that you can skip triggering content any time that feels supportive to you!
J: This podcast is a representation of our co-host and guest experiences and may not be reflective of yours. These conversations are not medical advice, and are not a substitute for mental health or nutrition support.
C: In addition, the conversations held here are not exhaustive in scope or depth. These topics, these perspectives are not complete and are always in process. These are just highlights! Just like posts on social media or any other podcast, this is just a glimpse.
J: We are always interested in any feedback on this process if something needs to be addressed. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org And now for today’s episode!
(J): Hello there to you our wonderful listeners and welcome to the 11th episode (and last interview!) in our 2nd season of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. On today’s episode, we have Jen McLellan (she/her) here to talk about her experiences and work around plus size pregnancy, birth, travel, and embodiment.
(C): Jen McLellan, CBE, is a published author, founder of Plus Size Birth, and host of the Plus Mommy Podcast. She helps people navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, shares tips for embracing your body, and laughs her way through the adventures of parenthood.
(J): With over 7 million page views, Plus Size Birth is the premier plus size pregnancy resource trusted by parents and professionals. The Plus Mommy Podcast has over 280,000 downloads and was named one of the best pregnancy podcasts of 2022 by The Bump. Jen’s work has been featured in major publications, including The New York Times, Glamour, and Huffington Post.
(C): As a public speaker, Jen has been featured at numerous events, including presenting at the National Institutes of Health. Jen is also a certified childbirth educator, wife, and mother to a charismatic twelve-year-old.
(J): You can find links to Jen’s websites, social media, and the My Size-Friendly Care Providers Guide (a free guide on how to connect with a size-friendly care provider) in this episode’s show notes. Thank you so much for being here, listening, and holding space with us dear listeners! And now for today’s episode!
C: The second season has included several chances to fangirl and chat with other podcast hosts, and today is no exception. I’m so excited. With us today is Jen McLellan (she/ her) of Plus Mummy Podcast and the blog Plus Size Birth. She is joining us from right here in Albuquerque, NM, and there are so many things to explore together as we navigate embodiment today. And now let’s get present to your humanity. How are you doing today, Jen?
Jen (M): Thank you so much for having me. I wish we were all in the same room together, that would be a lot of fun, but I’m excited to be here.
J: Me too.
C: Me too.
M: How am I doing? You know, I feel like I could be, like, I’m fantastic, but let’s be real, I, I’m exhausted. I have a reel on Instagram going viral right now on traveling while plus size. And because of that, I’m being inundated with fatphobic trolls and it is nonstop because the reel has hit over 2.5 million plays and it’s done so much good, but it’s just exhausting to be continuously attacked. So that’s, that’s where I’m at today. I was even deleting stuff right before I started this recording with you ’cause I want to create a safe space for my audience that they’re not seeing these horrific things, but I have to see them. So that’s where I’m at today.
J: I’m so sorry that’s happening.
M: I mean, it’s good. It’s good that positive information about traveling while plus size is out in the world and so many people are viewing it and sharing it, it just always brings forth just a lot of unnecessary hate and awfulness that is just rough to take on.
C: I’m so sorry, we’re holding space for you for sure, through all of that.
J: Yeah, how can, how can, is there any way we can support you?
M: No, this is great. Connecting with like minded individuals always feeds my soul, so this is, this is a nice break.
C: Oh, great. Well, we’re so glad to have you.
J: Same, yeah.
C: I’m such a fan, so I’m really excited. [laughs][5:19]
J: As we start this conversation about being present to and in our bodies, I’d like to start with asking our usual centering question about the themes of our podcast and how they occur to and for you. Can you share with us what embodiment means to you and what your embodiment journey has been like if you’d like to share that?
M: Yeah, embodiment to me is being present in my body and that’s something that I fought against for the first 30 years of my life, very entrenched in diet culture and self loathing. I grew up in Southern California, and I imagine it’s hard to grow up anywhere existing in a larger body, but I, you know, existed in a place where looking a certain way that is unattainable for most people is highlighted. And it was rough. And I really didn’t tune into my body until I became pregnant at the age of 30 and realized a lot of, you know, self harming things that I had been doing around food, especially that I couldn’t do any more because I was caring for someone else. But then I realized why wasn’t I doing this for myself and loving myself in these ways? And it was a really transformative experience for me to really sit back and realize how, how many years I had wasted not loving myself.
C: Ah, that’s really beautiful.
J: Hmm. I, I was feeling both the loss and then the, the what has come after both. I grew up in Southern California. My dad was in the Air Force, so I spent five years there as a kid and I chose to go back to do my Masters degree and train to be a dietitian and then chose to leave for the exact same reasons that you were just talking about.
J: The beauty standard as a way of life. How young can we stay? How thin can we stay? How can we show people that we’re healthier than them, sort of body as status symbol, was not for me. I got bored, which means I got irritated and frustrated and then I left. I came back to New Mexico actually, so I was just relating to that, also.
M: Yeah, it was hard. I left when I was 19. I went to college out of high school. I went to Community College and I called it high school with cigarettes.
M: I think that dates my age because you could still smoke on campus. And you just longed for an adventure. So I moved to Denver when I was 19. And that really helped me to see, oh, like the rest of the world isn’t always caught up in these aesthetics, of course as a whole? Yeah, I just, I was shown a different way that it didn’t have to be all me going into debt to try to buy clothes that didn’t even fit, right, to look like everyone else. And I could just, I could just be me and that’s OK. And Albuquerque, even more so. I feel like you can just show up in the world and it’s OK most of the time/
C: Right. It’s one of the things I truly love about living here, yeah, absolutely.
M and J: Yes.
J: Even with the allergies I have to endure.
C: Right. I know. I can’t breathe, but I’m really happy, yeah.
J: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a lovely place for community of all kinds. And as I’m growing and learning and doing that for being a dietitian, being an Intuitive Eating counselor, just being a person who cares about everyone having access, there’s an ease here that I have not found anywhere else professionally or personally, yeah.
M: Yes, yeah. And a consideration, like the other day, I was out with my husband and just at the gas station and this person, like, literally turned around and walked back to, like, hold the door open for me. And it was just like, thank you. I don’t feel like I experienced it that much, much in California as I do in other areas of the world, so in the country especially, yeah.
C: Yeah, I definitely also identified with the idea of pregnancy really encouraging your sense of embodiment. I think that that was a huge turning point for myself to…having to care for someone else in a…because I biologically gave birth, I’m not trying to make an assumption for everyone, I want to just say that to make sure it’s more inclusive, but as someone who biologically gave birth, it became really important for me to nourish myself in a different way and to stop those messages because I didn’t want my kids to grow up in a home where there were really negative messages about bodies and negative messages about food, so that really sits with me, too. I appreciate you sharing that.
M: Right. And I also think beyond focusing on how we nourish our bodies, for me, it was touching my body, touching my belly, touching an area of my body that for so long had been, uh, you know, a space where I held shame and embarrassment. And then to find myself like walking through the grocery store like rubbing my belly. And I think people just thought I was hungry. I was rubbing on my baby and that really helped me to step into, into my body more and be like my body is awesome and my belly shouldn’t be an area, right, that I’m ashamed of. My body is amazing. And you don’t have to be pregnant to experience it, that was just the, the catalyst for me.
C: Yeah, I still find myself rubbing my belly when I need some extra tender care. Like, oh, I love you. My kids squish it like it’s just a really happy body, body part for me now. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a good pillow for them.
M: Totally, yes.
J: And that, that resonates with me just thinking about an everyday moment of like coming out of the shower in a super dry place like New Mexico and needing, well, I have lotion on this body immediately because I’ve like, I’m like evaporating. It’s like it doesn’t work–that, that loving space of, of rubbing your belly, of caring like for your skin in general. Just like that kind of everyday space I was, I was really relating to that also and thinking about what I think is important. Because something that I was getting from your description of your embodiment journey is that like not feeling present in that for 30 years, it starts with like which everyday things are accessible to you, there for you, do you notice that you’re doing now when there’s a major shift or whatever kind of sparks that journey? So I was sitting with that, too.
M: Yeah, I mean a lot of it also was finally being treated with compassion by healthcare providers and that, that was one of my biggest takeaways. Like I, I switched from the obstetrical model of care, working with an OB to a midwife, uhh, hospital based midwifery practice five months into my pregnancy. And it was such a just completely different care experience, unlike anything I had ever had in my life. Like my midwife, I, I say when I speak publicly, my midwife touched my body with compassion. And that was the first time I had experienced a care provider touching me in that way and I was 30. And she made me feel so empowered and that my body…I remember being, like, oh yeah, I read online that big girls have big babies. And she’s like, yeah, that’s what your hips are for, you can birth a big baby. And I’m like, oh.
M: And she talked about nutrition in a way that, you know, you do on your show and in the work that you do, just in that, you know, more holistic, not a diet-focused way. And it just opened up so many doors for me to be like wow, like reframing so many messages in my life that I hope to carry on throughout, you know, my journey as a parent, but also within the work that I do as well.
C: Oh. Lovely, lovely.
J: OK, I’m, I’m fangirling, like every five seconds, I just want to know that.
C: Same. Same.
[J and C laugh][13:05]
C: Umm, as a human being, how has this pandemic affected your embodiment practices in ways that challenge or process? And also, has there been anything that feels like it connected you further? What lights you up about your work and when are you feeling most embodied? So that’s a lot of questions at once.
M: No, I mean starting with the pandemic. At first it was a real mental health reality of, I need help. And it took, it took way too long, over a year for me to finally. But I didn’t have a care provider that wasn’t fatphobic. So I finally sought out a doctor here and was able to feel comfortable enough with them to be like, I’m really struggling, like this is really hard. And to get on mental health medication that I love and it’s been so life changing for me, and also exploring my community and getting out and walking. So I had to face a lot of hard things but in the end…and it made me, I think, a stronger and more well-rounded individual from a parenting perspective. It has been very hard. I see…we’re on video, so I see Chavonne like, nodding over there. Uhm, really hard to face my kid’s own mental health struggles in a, in a way that…of course we’ve always talked about the importance of mental health and never trying to stigmatize it. But to be like, wow, I’m really concerned about my kiddo in a way I never have been before and how can I best support him? Uhm, and how, you know, feeling like my kiddo’s childhood is robbed, and they’re only playing with friends online. And it was very isolating and hard. So we, we did fun things, we thought outside the box and we created these memories and moments that I know that he’ll look back on with joy and that makes me happy. So it’s been a rollercoaster. But I would say it’s been that for, for most of us, right?
C: Yeah, definitely.
J: Uhm, thinking about being a parent in a pandemic, especially when it feels challenging to be outside of your body, your mind. It’s almost like embodiment or bodies become a way of connection, even if it’s not literally, literal skin to skin contact. I was just sort of reflecting as you were talking, how much it surprised me connecting virtual spaces can be. It’s not the same. I still long for the in person time, but it really surprised me. I think I would have never really realized that without the pandemic and for people where it’s not accessible to come to an office space. It’s really opened that up for me in the future and also for myself to receive medical care over video especially for the first year. There’s a lot of things that my care team, my doctors did not need that they said they needed. One of them is to weigh me. They don’t need that. They didn’t need it. They didn’t even bring it up, right? It’s like we couldn’t even have the conversation. It wasn’t even on their minds until things started to be in person again. So feeling really grateful for that time, too. You have a beautiful way of sharing and it like keeps putting a picture in my mind. So that’s what I was picturing. Sitting at home, feeling very safe from my own doctors.
M: Yes, and isn’t that unfortunate?
M: Like I love that this time gave people more accessibility. There were plenty of people. That had been fighting for years to not have to work inside an office and be able to do the work that they do. And it, it became a big privilege thing where then everyone is given this and then many you know, workforces realize, oh like we should have been listening to our, you know, disability community that’s been fighting for this for so long. And of course this, this can be done, and there’s a lot of privilege and frustration within that. But like you said, a lot of really good has come out of it for people that do prefer that way. Unfortunately, I’m a hugger, uh, and.
J and C: Same. We are, too.
M: The person in the store that will like smile at you and tell you I love your dress. So it was very hard for me to not touch, to not be touched up, to not smile. And for people to know that I was smiling ’cause I love to smile like I just like to be nice. Like it’s just…I was a camp counselor for many years as a teen, and that’s just my personality. So that, that was very, very hard for someone like me. But I love how much it helped people who have different types of personalities to, to flourish, so that made me happy.
J: A more accessible space. It also…’cause my brain just always keeps going, it makes me think of people who don’t even have the Internet, right? Or an Internet not powerful enough to be in a more modern Internet time, like with video.
M: And , and we saw that a lot within the school system. And I, I really appreciate living in a state like New Mexico where it is totally imperfect, let me state that from the beginning. But that they were very clear that they needed to get technology to all children, especially in the school district where my child is, before just moving forward with those that had accessibility. And I really, really, deeply appreciated that because it was so, so important.
J: That gave me a good kind of chills about New Mexico. I find, I find lots of reasons to be grateful to be here. And you’re right, it is not perfect, not even close. And I still feel grateful.
C: I agree, absolutely agree.
J: I felt safe here, yes, in this pandemic, and that makes a big, there’s a privilege in the pandemic to feel safe. That’s what made me fall in love.
C: My parents live in El Paso, so like 4 1/2 hours away. It’s not even that far and every time I talk to my mom, she’s like, oh, your governor, your governor is just so on it. I’m like, that’s right. And that’s when Biden became president, like, don’t you take her, don’t you take her.
C: Yeah, but I agree with you that it is, it has been a challenge having kiddos answering this pandemic. I had a baby during the pandemic, like my oldest turned 1 the month that we started hearing about it, and then I had a baby three months later. And so it’s been, like my husband and I talked about this, like, were we lucky that our kids were born during this so, they didn’t know what they’re missing out on? Like one’s had a birthday party, the other one’s never had a birthday party. Uhm, or would it be easier if they knew what life could have been? Like it’s just, it’s a weird dynamic for sure.
M: Well, not only that, I, you know, really think about your postpartum experience. I’ve interviewed a lot of people for the Plus Mommy podcast during their birth stories in postpartum. And that has been, you know, yes, it was very obnoxious to wear a mask while giving birth and like many of those stories, I’m just like, my heart is just wrenching. But, but then it was the postpartum and that, that there wasn’t that infrastructure there to help with postpartum mental health, connections, resources, support, nurturing, nourishing, all of that. And, and that really broke my heart, so I’m sorry if that was a hard place for you, to.
C: It actually was better than my first, so I was grateful. Like you, thank God for mental health medication because I had to have it the second time around.
C: But one thing I actually enjoyed–and I know I’m an introvert . And so, in some ways I was really glad. Like, I had this kid and there weren’t like a gazillion people coming to visit, it was just like here’s our new, here’s life. Like, we just jumped into life really quickly. So that part was nice. And honestly, I felt safer in the hospital than I did at home because it was right at the beginning of the pandemic. And so it was like everything was super secure. So yeah, I was very, very lucky.
M: Yeah, I love the different perspectives, right? For some people this has been great. I mean, we’ve all had our hard moments through it, but with postpartum it’s really great to hear that your experience with it was a positive one, that makes me really happy.
C: I was really, really lucky.
J: Thinking about the people element and just the presence of others that you’re both just talking about, it also made me think of sending children to daycare, into school, and the trust that you have to have in the experience there. If they’re taking a bus and back, dropping them off, picking them up, and not having eyes on them during the day, just thinking a lot about safety and security and how, you know, knowing that it’s OK and that it’s going to stay OK and nothing coming to mess with that hasn’t really necessarily been available. And that must be really tough, just sort of sitting with that, not, not just for myself, but for people who are not myself.
C: Yeah, our kids went to daycare and I think it was a very hard decision, had a lot of pushback about it from family, but it was the decision that was best for us. But it’s a hard decision to keep them home. It’s a hard decision to, to put them somewhere, too.
M: Absolutely. Yeah, as a full time blogger and podcaster, in January of 2020, umm, Dove flew me out for this huge event in New York. It was a huge event, but for an event in New York. It was this huge moment for me and I felt like finally after doing this work for almost a decade, like things are changing and Dove flew me out for this thing and I, I stayed up all night one night in New York after the event was over and my flight got canceled. And I was in Times Square at like 4:00 o’clock in the morning. I walked for hours. It was just like a magical experience. And I was like this is the beginning and this is what I’ve been waiting for and two months later…And I have the privilege as someone who’s self-employed, paid, umm, to work from home and then my child at home and these long lists of projects and dreams and brand connections that I had finally had. Because I’ve been doing this work since 2011 and for so long brands wanted nothing to do with people in larger bodies and now all of a sudden they’re, you know, a lot more outreach, a lot more recognition of where things have lapsed, especially with representation of not only people of color and Black people, but people of size. Uh, and then I became like a stay at home mom, which stay at home parent, which for some people that is their joy. It’s not mine. I love being Brayden’s mom, but I never wanted to be a full time parent, so that was very, very hard for me.
C: Yeah, yeah.
M: Let alone a teacher. Oh my goodness. Any teachers listening, I love you. Thank you for all you do. I, I can’t even thank you enough.
C: Yeah, yeah. They’re amazing. They’re sincerely, I, I, I can’t imagine. Nurses and teachers throughout all of this like I just have such profound respect, absolutely. And gratitude, of course.
J: Yep, underpaid, underpaid, and doing the hardest of the hardest things. Well, you were just talking about, right, these brands and, and, and it’s finally changing is making me think of the next question which is the second-half of the podcast title which is The Rest of Us.
J: I’m curious what the rest of us means to you, how you identify within the rest of us, and if you could share your pronouns and privileged identities in context here, too.
M: Sure. I, you know, self-identify, pronouns she/her, as a woman, a female. Uhm, I really have worked hard in my work, especially with plus sized birth around inclusivity of language because I understand that not only people who self identify as women become pregnant. You’ll see a lot of language on Plussizebirth.com, pregnant people. I wrote a book that came out in 2016, my Plus Size Pregnancy Guide, and in 2020, a blessing of the pandemic, I rewrote the whole thing to be inclusive with language, so that has always been important to me within my work of plus size pregnancy. That when people came to my website they saw themselves represented because for so long there wasn’t much body diversity. It was always thin, white women shown on pregnancy magazines, pregnancy ads. So while I exist in a large body, I am a white woman, too, so that has always been something that I’ve been aware of, working on that privilege and making sure that I’m bringing in not only stories of people of color and Black people and people who identify in different ways, but imagery too, has really been something that has always been lacking with diversity and pregnancy, but especially for those with larger bodies. So hey, I’m always learning. I mess up and that’s OK, and I work harder along to learn to do better. You know, I’ve struggled some time with, o h my, my podcast is Plus Mommy. But there’s a space for that, right? There’s people who identify as plus size moms and want to have certain conversations, but Plus Size Birth has been a place where I’ve really honed in on making sure that that language is very inclusive and, and it’s been a journey. And I’m really, I’m really glad that I’ve taken that, that step and gone down that path, and it’s, you know, only opened up my eyes to different ways that I can support people and provide resources that help people feel great in their bodies, and that’s a wonderful thing.
J: Absolutely, yes. Uhm, I loved hearing you not just talk about it as a static thing, but as a dynamic thing. Always be learning and unlearning, challenging yourself and also asking other people to do better.
M: Oh yeah.
J: Putting media out into the world is a demonstration. Uhm, and that felt really important, just to hear you talk through and go through and it’s a noticeable change. I want you to know that I can see the difference. It’s a noticeable change. Thank you. It’s wonderful. Uhm, it’s part of my, why I’m fangirling.
[J and C laugh]
J: I hope It’s OK if keep saying that, I’m just really in awe of you always, and it’s just really special to have a conversation with you.
M: Thank you. That means a lot. Thank you.
C: Yeah, so if you had to define the rest of us, what would you name is the rest of us, or who are the rest of us?
M: Yeah, I mean there’s a million different ways that we could break this down, right? And I feel, uhm, you know, I walk through the world and I’m treated different because of the way that I look, yet I also hold a lot of privilege with the color of my skin. And, you know, I’ve built my own business. There’s a lot of privilege with that financially and accessibility, and I’ve had the mentors. My mom is an entrepreneur. I grew up in, uh, you know, Southern California. So I think it’s complex. I don’t want to just say, well, I exist in a marginalized body, so I’m part of the rest of us when I still have privilege within my marginalizations. But I do identify with the rest of us, because I, I don’t just walk through the door and not out the door and not realize that people look at me in a way that doesn’t always feel good. And clearly online, I mean, I take so much harassment and it’s exhausting, but even just the other day when I was doing an Instagram story, I, I acknowledged that, I still have so much privilege when I’m being attacked by trolls because they’re only commenting on the size of my body and that’s it, and not the color of my skin or so many other, or my abilities, or so many other things. So, uhm, I, I think it’s not an easy thing for me to answer. It’s something that I’m always working on. I also find something that’s really important to me is meeting people where they’re at because I like to pull in allies and I like to educate, and I do that on a personal level and professionally. Like I really want people to understand who don’t exist in larger bodies, what it’s like to have that experience. So we’re helping to break down some of these stereotypes and bring more allies in. So yeah. I think it could go in a multitude of ways. But for me it’s, it’s knowing that things are different and a lot of people know what it feels like to be othered and why not make that a positive thing where it’s the rest of us? And we have a space, and we have a voice. And, and life can be beautiful within that, and we can also identify, you know, common struggles as well.
C: That was a great answer. You said you didn’t know how to answer, but that was fantastic.
J: Yeah, thanks for making sure that got asked. I was too busy fangirling. Thank you.
[J and C laugh]
C: But now I think that you, you said it pretty clearly. You live in a marginalized body. You have privilege. But that’s the nuance of the rest of us, this intersectionality, right? Like fat and white versus fat and Black or, you know, fat and disabled or, you know, like the whole gamut, right? And I think you answered that.
M: Thank you.
J: I love that, and I actually felt that in my body in a rather calm way, you know? And it just really landed and resonated.
M: It, I mean, it can be intimidating. I’ve stood in front of, you know, 150 labor and delivery nurses as someone who exists in a very large body and talked about how people of size are treated during pregnancy. And I know that there’s a percentage of people in that room that feel like there’s nothing wrong.
M: And that can be really hard, but it’s also really empowering ’cause, I hope that when I’m done, when I was out in the world, doing public speaking, that people walk away with, with hopefully a little bit of change in their hearts and an understanding of what it’s like to exist in a larger body and access health care in general, let alone all the other marginalizations that people face accessing health care as well. And I’ve, I’ve had some amazing experiences where I’ve seen direct change occur that has been fantastic and I just continue to put myself out there in hopes of just moving things forward inch by inch. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and I feel like there’s finally shifts happening because of so many people that have been doing a lot of work longer than me, and even, you know, much newer than me. It’s exciting to see the Tik Tok advocates of the world, these young people just saying how it is. And I have so much hope for the future that things will get better. But, well, we’ll see, we’ll see. Then I, then I watch the news and I don’t know so much, but I’m going to keep working and moving forward, ’cause it’s important.
C: Speaking of your podcast and all the work that you’ve done, how has hosting a podcast about, by, and for fat people enhanced your connection with your embodiment? What learning and unlearning feels like it was only possible because of the space that you hold with others on the Plus Mommy podcast?
M: I love that question, and I was, I was thinking of it as I was showering before [laughs] connecting with y’all for the podcast. Like, what has that journey been like for me? Because I originally started as a blogger in 2011 and then in 2018 we launched the podcast because as you know, this is my full time job, so it’s not only the work and advocacy work that I do, but this is my business. So I saw media shifting to audio and video, so I knew that I either needed to go with video and a YouTube channel or audio and podcasting. And my husband Chris had really been pushing for podcasting and he is a musician and has a you know, editing background and equipment. So it felt like, OK, let’s, let’s try this and we had no experience with it whatsoever and we just went for it. And I’m so glad that we went for it because it really allowed me, someone who’s spent so many years talking and sharing and educating, to really step back and to listen and to bring on voices and people and stories that I had always longed to hear. And so I, you know, hand select nearly all of my guests, I hardly take any pitches. And I, I will research people who I bring in where that’s appropriate, but for most of the time when it’s someone’s story, I’m just sitting back and listening and asking questions like I would if we were at a coffee shop together and I’d be like, oh, but tell me more about this. And it’s so organic for me because of my past work history to be able to facilitate conversations, but it’s giving me this opportunity to really to sit and hear and to allow other peoples experiences to be highlighted and hopefully give them a platform to where they share their work as well and have growth for them. And it’s been a really joyful experience. And for me, it’s been that listening thing that I had spent so long talking to sit back and to listen was, was needed and powerful. And I mean, the podcast is like over 200,250 thousand downloads. I don’t know, it’s something. It’s been a great journey. Uhm, and I just, I’m glad we took it. It’s also given me an opportunity to not just talk about pregnancy while plus size. It’s given me an opportunity to dive into so many other topics that I, I felt, uhm, I was sharing on social media and they were resonating with so many people like, oh, you know, my kids said, you know, Mommy, how did you get so fat? Well, how do I unpack that conversation? Or I wanna go get a Brazilian wax and someone else shared this story. I, I’m, I’m not quite there, but maybe one day that they shared as an esthetician what it’s like to give and do a Brazilian wax on a larger body. And that was so rad. And so I’m, I’m so glad I went down that path and, and it’s been, it’s so well received, which is so awesome.
C: That’s awesome. I love the idea of this podcast being a way for you to listen more. I think that’s why I enjoy this podcast so much is that I can listen to myself talk. I love that we have these opportunities to interview people like you, other people who really inspire us and just learn. I think it helps my embodiment. I know it helps Jenn’s, too. I think it’s just a really, it’s just such a gift to be able to just listen.
M: Yeah, yes, absolutely.
J: Umm, what does listening feel like when you’re embodied and you’re listening? I’m very curious, ’cause, I did not believe I was a good listener, and something having about guests is teaching me that you have to be.
C: You’re such a good listener. You’re such a good listener.
J: Thank you. Chavonne teaches me this all the time, too.
C: So great. [laughs]
J: And I trust you, Chavonne. When you say I’m a good listener, I trust you, right? That takes a lot. It’s a lot for me to be like, OK, thank you and just like take that on. But it’s making me curious, what it feels like for you to be an embodied listener, right? A person who is embodied in whatever way while listening.
C: To be very present and as like my work, I’m like, ooh, shiny new object, wait, I got oh, I got a ping over here and it being over there. And, and but for the hour or 45 minutes or however long it is, I’m just present and listening and genuinely curious, like in my bones, like, what do I wanna know? What do I wanna feel? What, what would, do I think my listeners would want me to ask? And so I would say that that, that’s, that’s how I would answer.
J: Hmm. Curious in my bones, I love that there is the curiosity, invitation, choice. They have a really specific way of sitting as like deep, deep, deep in embodiment. I love that.
J: And I’m getting chills. I’ve gotten a lot of chills in this conversation, because I really am feeling it, taking it on, letting it land. So I, I, I appreciate that and thanks for letting me, letting me ask that.
J: Uhm, you mentioned your blog Plus Size Birth earlier and inclusive language that you have there. Umm, how is your experience advocating for fat pregnancy and expanding agency and autonomy on that blog changed your experience of embodiment? If it has, what have you found that we can learn and or unlearn from each other surrounding the stereotypes of birthing while fat or just birthing?
M: Oh so much. Let’s go with the first part of it and then well then you have to remind me of the, the second question. ’cause, as you’re saying this, my, my initial thing is like it has just been such a, a life changing experience, but also completely draining and exhausting because I’ve given my everything to this. I, umm, you know, as someone who got pregnant in a larger body, going online in 2010 and not seeing any positive resources, hardly anything, not seeing images of people my size pregnant, maybe someone with their head cut off. I mean, it was really like not seeing myself, struggling to find clothes that even fit my body, worrying what things would be like in a medical facility and how I would be treated and how my body would be exposed, all of that. And then I had that wonderful midwife who I mentioned earlier, and then I had an incredible midwife for my, my birth. I wanted an unmedicated birth and I totally respect anyone who wants all the meds or none of the meds, but I was honestly terrified of not having control of my body. So I wanted to be in control at all times, so I did not want an epidural, and I was able to have a really empowered and transformative birth because of the midwife Moggie that was there for my birth and she didn’t leave. And I think you both would appreciate the story she was actually supposed to leave. She was supposed to go to a friend’s birth and she just said there’s something about this woman, I, I need to stay. And Moggie, when it was time for my son to be born, said climb up on the bed on your knees and birth your baby. And I was on my knees, which was a very just empowering stance, and my husband reached between my legs and caught our son. And then the baby was passed through onto my chest and it was so changing and changed everything for me. Like how could I ever again hate a body that could do something so magnificent? I’m home. And so when Braeden was about four months old, I started my work having no idea what it was to blog. I was just like why aren’t there more positive stories? Surely I could not have been the first fat woman to have a vaginal birth, but there’s not a lot of stories out there. And so I started writing and it took off. And this was before Instagram, so Facebook blew up and the trolls were even worse back then. It was like, how dare I talk about how fat people can have a healthy pregnancy? So I was like, wait, I’m waiting, but it just didn’t make sense to me how I was being attacked, And, and it’s been a lot. And I became a certified childbirth educator, I…now this is my whole career and my whole life that I…it’s dedicated to this and it’s been exhausting. And my family has had to sacrifice so much for us to get to this point. Uhm, but it has been a beautiful journey. And I mean my website, I think it’s like over 7,000,000 page views. Like, it’s really impacted a lot. I’ve collaborated with the National Institutes of Health on their Pregnancy for Everybody Initiative and was flown out to speak on campus at the NIH campus. And I’ve had all these amazing, incredible experiences, but it has taken a massive toll on, on me, and I don’t think that that actually comes up much. So when you ask the question, I’m like, I’m just gonna be honest. Like I’m tired, and I’m so thankful that there are now more people and more voices in this space. It’s like there’s a lot of new awesome Instagram pages focusing on getting pregnant and other, you know, spaces on Tik Tok, too. And it’s it’s so, so incredible to see the growth and the reach and see doulas. And a doula is someone, if you don’t know, that provides educational, emotional, and physical support to people during pregnancy and postpartum. You know doulas who self identify as size friendly and like all care providers that are like having it on their website now. And not to say that I’m the reason for that, but I’ve worked so hard to help push and to help educate. And, and, and it’s been an incredible journey. But I’m, I’m tired and, and so now it’s, it’s shifting of, OK, now there’s a lot more voices in this space and how can I continue this work in a way that has some healthier boundaries around it? But it’s been an incredible journey.
J and C: Hmm.
J: Thank you for doing this work, and I also wish you didn’t have to, is something that I was sitting with while you were saying that.
M: It’s always been my goal to no longer be needed, like…
J: Me, too. I can’t wait for the day when Plus Size Birth is not needed. I mean, yeah, there will always be the, where to find cute plus size maternity jeans? Let’s still have those resources available. But not having to have the resources on, how do you advocate for yourself when you’re, uhh, fearful of being not shamed by your care provider? Or my whole free guide on how do you even connect with a size-friendly care provider? Like, yeah, I wish none of that was necessary at all, and in fact I’ve, I’ve spent since February, I’ve been working incredibly hard. So when this episode launches, it’ll be live. On a week by week free pregnancy, umm, email newsletter. Well, you’ll know week by week what to expect during your pregnancy in a larger body because there are so many of those apps and subscriptions, but it doesn’t specifically talk to things that people in larger bodies are faced with, and so that has been something I’ve always wanted to create. I just didn’t make this space for it and finally I was like, OK, put everything else on pause and work on this Plus Size Pregnancy, week by week breakdown and I’m really proud of it. It’s been peer reviewed. It’s like over 25,000 words with all like evidence-based, notated all these studies, and, but that’s what I’ve been working on for months while still trying to hang out with people on Instagram and get the podcast going and doing all of it, but I’m really proud of how, uhm, how everything I put out in the world, I put a lot of thought and time and care behind it, and I’m, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and so thankful that this has been my journey.
C: Wow. I’m like emotional right now.
J: Me, too.
C: So yeah, even before we started recording like I, I got the guide and I was on your website nonstop when I got pregnant with my, with my first, because I was fat and pregnant and never had gone through this process. And it was such a gift to like know how to talk to…I had a great OB. I was really fortunate to have a really size inclusive OB here. And, umm, I just remember just like because, well, I cried all the time when I was pregnant, but crying because I found your information, I found your site and I just felt so seen. And the idea of like the app, I’m like, I’m not having any more kids, truly done, but like how amazing that would have been to have or the guide, like this is what you expect this week and it’s not like and you should gain this much, or you shouldn’t do this or you should eat this or you shouldn’t, like all the other ones do now.
C: Or the site, you know, the clothes recommendations of things that are not going to fit me even when I’m not pregnant. You know, like, it’s just it was just such a gift, and I’m gonna fangirl one more time. And there was an episode that came out on your podcasts last year around when Texas was doing the bullshit abortion stuff. I mean they’re always doing bullshit abortion stuff. But you did a podcast in September about getting pregnant after having had an abortion, and that was really significant to me, ’cause that’s my experience too. So I…and I’m really emotional ’cause it just you just don’t get seen.
M: Thank you.
C: In this body when it’s around child birthing or Rep–I got really worked up. Reproduction, is that a word?
C: I’m so emotional I can’t even use these words right now. No reproductive choice.
M: Thank you, Chavonne. That was beautiful. It was actually my story. I told my abortion story for the first time publicly and I’d always wanted to and I’ve always been cautioned by people not to. Ummm, you know, my, my work with Plus Size Birth, I always wanted it to be approachable to everyone. I am a very strong liberal feminist. Uh, but I knew that I wanted to work on how to even be treated with dignity by a care provider. To, to reach someone who was conservative and pro-life. Because it wasn’t about my core values, it was about, how do we even tell people that they deserve to become a parent if they want to, regardless of their size? So that had always been something really important to me with Plus Sized Birth. And that’s why I’ve loved the Plus Mommy Podcast so much, because it’s more about me and the Plus Mommy Instagram is more about me. And then Plus Size Birth remains way more open to really anyone in a larger body who becomes pregnant. Uhh, it was scary to put that story out there. I did not share it on Facebook because I knew what would happen. I did not share it in an Instagram post, I still have been thinking about it, especially with what’s happening currently in the world, but I shared it on the podcast and I knock on all the wood, I did not get it at…My podcast did not get inundated with negative reviews and I shared it via Instagram stories and I heard from so many people like you, that were like, this is my story, too, and thanks for helping me to feel seen. And I, I think that’s the core of who I am. When I was in 6th grade, I started volunteering and that was my parents’ thing is, you, you volunteer, you give back and then you can get a job if you want your senior year of high school, but until then you volunteer. And so that kind of just cultivated who I am, and then my career before that was I worked for the leading end of life advocacy organization Compassion And Choices for death with dignity and getting those laws passed and managing, uh, you know, nationwide volunteer teams. So I spent so much time learning and giving and doing, and now to be able to do that on my own, with my own work has been really incredible, but also scary because it’s just me and putting something like that out there could be terrifying, but it wasn’t. And I, I’m so thankful it’s made a difference. So I’m really touched by what you said.
C: Thank you. And like Jenn said, I’m sorry. I’m grateful for all you’ve done. I’m sorry you’re exhausted. And it’s, it’s what happens with people who are marginalized, have to do all of this emotional labor. Yeah, you’re exhausted.
C: I hope you can get the rest that you need.
M: One of these years. [laughs]
J: Yeah, it’s, it’s not just a passion project, it’s who you are and it’s your life. You’re always, you can’t check out necessarily while doing that work because it is so intertwined with your actual life. I just have a lot of compassion for that. And I think you already answered this, but I’m going to the second part ’cause you told me to remind you, so we’ll see.
M: I knew, I, I knew I’d be a little long winded with that question, like remind me of the second.
J: I just want to make, I feel like you answered this a little bit, but I’m just going to do it again, ’cause maybe with the specificity of it, it might land in a different way. What have you found that we can learn and unlearn from each other, surrounding the stereotypes of birth while fat?
M: Oh, so much. And I think that’s yeah, that’s a different answer. OK, uhm. I think one of the things that I love so much about my work is when people come to me and they’re like, you know, I became a parent because of you and this is because of you. I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. I just put resources out in the world. I did not birth your baby. [laughs] And so it’s really important to me, and one of my favorite things is to give people back their power, or you, like you, sought out these resources, you did the hard work, you advocated for yourself, like I just put the information out into the world. You did all the hard work, and I feel like for many of us in larger bodies, we give away our power so often and we give it to other people and we don’t feel represented. And so that’s been the beauty of my work, ’cause like, share your maternity pictures if you take them, or share mirror selfies. Just take photographs and you don’t even have to share them. But take these images of your body. Touch your belly with love. Talk to your body with love. Talk to your baby like, tune into your body unlike maybe you ever have before. And this is this prime opportunity. But how do we continue to have this conversation once this baby is no longer inside your body? Like, how do you continue to love and embrace a body that society tells you is wrong? And being a plus size parent has whole other layers on it just like plus size pregnancies. So I think the more that we can love ourselves and show ourselves and feel represented, the more we start to shift the narrative of what it is like to be plus size and pregnant, and that it isn’t these polarizing shows on TLC that is actually the majority of the population in the United States, over 60% of people in their childbearing years can become pregnant are classified as the two ”O” words we don’t like, so I don’t even need to say. But we know that it’s the majority and of that 36% are in that higher classification, so I’m 36%. That’s a pretty big number there. So why do we treat people so horribly? And that really needs to change. And that change is by us individually displaying ourselves pregnant on our social media feeds with smiles and living our best lives without shame. And people realize, oh, wait, yeah, people of all sizes and colors and abilities and shapes, they all get pregnant. And then they don’t, and people struggle with infertility and PCOS, and how do we Create space for those people who are struggling? So yeah, it’s, it’s a lot, but I think just showing up and knowing that it’s safe to show up in certain spaces if you’re not ready to do it publicly? Yet you can do it in my little bubble and we can do it together and feel empowered and then help to shift how people view plus size pregnancy and plus size parenting.
J: Thank you for being a safe place for other people to land while they practice and learn that for themselves.
C: Yes, absolutely. It’s such a gift.
M: I sure try and it’s been an honor. Like, I’ve, I’ve been so touched by the response that I’ve gotten throughout these years. I think it’s why I still, I still, hang in there and do what I do. Because it feeds my soul to be able to help people feel great about themselves and to help people know that they are worthy of dignified health care and that they can have outcomes so vastly different from what you read about online, primarily from Meta, pull resources and it’s so frustrating. Like the, when, if you Google fat and pregnant, the Mayo Clinic comes up first with like all these negative words. So I’m working. I do a lot of work around search engine optimization for my website. Like I gotta get some, but I don’t know that I will, but I’m sure trying.
J: Oh, oh, I love that. Thank you for sharing that and for prompting me to remind you ’cause I would not have remembered, so thank you.
J: It’s great.
C: We’ve talked a lot about the big and small picture perspectives in this conversation. What do you think we can all do to make a difference with what we have learned today?
M: Umm, I mean, I think, it’s a lot about what I just said, about like, showing up in whatever way feels good and is comfortable for you, wherever you’re at along a journey to like parenthood or no parenthood. Like just, just walking through the world and showing up in whatever feels safe to you starts to become so life changing. You know, there’s these, like, well, you gotta do all these things to like, love yourself. No, like, yeah, there’s a lot of little tips and tricks I could share, but sometimes it’s just as simple of, like, walking out the door wearing a dress without leggings underneath if, if that’s something, you know, for you. Or it’s, you know, cutting your hair short if you have always had it long but felt like you couldn’t have short hair, or it’s just simply saying something nice to yourself every day. But you don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it in a certain order. You just want to keep showing up and I think you’ll be amazed by what happens. And then one thing that I think is really important for parents, too. It’s like we advocate so hard for our little ones, like for the pediatrician that they see, making sure that someone isn’t, you know, fat shaming our child in the office, and yet we don’t always do the same advocacy for ourselves. So, you know, fighting for ourselves as hard as we fight for our children, for our best friends, for our moms, for our sisters, because we are so deserving of dignified health care and that’s a huge platform of mine, ’cause so much is messed, right? When we don’t go to the doctor because we’re afraid. And for me it would last year with skin cancer, like I wasn’t going to the doctor forever, and there was a thing on my head and it turned out to be cancer. It’s literally turned out to be cancer. And yes it was skin cancer and yes, it was very treatable and, and it’s by now, but uhm, but it could have been so much worse if I hadn’t realized that I was worth it. And I’m someone that teaches people how to advocate for themselves and I hadn’t gone to the doctor for two years because of how I’d been treated. So it’s always a continuous journey, but I want everyone listening to hear that you’re worth the journey, you’re worth the fight, and you’re worth having that ability. And it doesn’t even have to be the word love. It can just be self acceptance, whatever it is that you can walk through the world and not hate yourself, I think is really, really important. And if you’re at that place where you hate yourself, that’s OK, too. Like we all just need to meet each other where we’re at and keep taking baby steps forward. And it is a lifelong journey, but again, it’s worth the journey.
C: That’s a great take away.
J: OK. OK, Jen. Thank you. I’m like taking notes.
C: Yeah, absolutely.
J: Uhm, I appreciated the permission for everyone to do things their own way. Part of the stigma that exists in health care with bodies and on and on. One is that there is a way to do it and we are not doing it or we already didn’t do it, or they, they just know by the way that we look that we’re not going to be able to do it right. Whatever that shit is. I was really sitting in, umm, I, I’ve always loved that phrase, meeting people where they’re at, but actually I hadn’t, until this moment, just been like meeting myself where I’m at. I’ve never liked phrased it quite like that. Umm, so journal topic, because I’m like, what does it mean to meet myself where I’m at? There’s this app, it’s called Finch. This is not an advertiser for the app, I’m just obsessed with it. Where, it’s like you daily, like check in with this little it’s called a wobble. It’s this little like bird creature that you interact with, but it’s engaging with yourself. The visual is a bird, but it’s actually all about you. And, and it’s the first one of those that is like that, like it’s often let’s go to Animal Crossing and take care of our things we’ve created in there. This one is OK, thanks for checking in, remote reminder that you said this about yourself. And it’s a lot of reflection and like space holding. So I was actually just thinking I want to go into the app and say that. Uhm, meet myself where I’m at, ’cause I, I can create daily goals. And this little thing goes on adventures and stuff too, and comes and tells you about it’s freaking cute. I don’t. I don’t know why no one ever, I forgot who told me about it, but…
C: I’ve never heard of this. Interesting.
J: But I was just thinking about what I’ve been doing it for only one week, that’s, it’s, that’s all I’ve been doing. I’m talking about like, I would do it for a long time, but it’s been one week, but already I’m like, I’m gonna be doing this every day for a very long time. Because it doesn’t feel like I’m doing work with myself, but I’m doing an incredible amount of work ’cause I like to think about it outside of it’s like 5 minutes. I think maybe maximum I do every day but there’s just something about that. And as you were saying, like baby steps, I was like, yeah, I only do like 5 minutes on this app, which really surprised because everything is just so like keep checking in. There’s one called robot that’s like, how are you today? And you have to be like, I’m just tracking mood. Like they’re like, oh, OK. Are you sure like there’s always like some sort of thing that makes me feel a little shameful for not continuing. But this one is like thank you, see you later. Going on an adventure for six hours or whatever. Like it’s just very cute. So, uhm, gamifying something will work for my brain. That’s why I went straight to that spot. But whatever that means for anyone, like just meeting yourself where you are, even if it’s like I will lay in this bed for another 5 minutes. Like whatever, whatever it is that just was, It’s very empowering to me. So I really wanted to name that part specifically. That was really sticking with me.
M: No, I love it. I think like for me, a, an example has been like, oh, I deserve to be safe when I’m flying. OK, I don’t need to pretend like I’m wearing a seat belt, it’s OK, for me to ask for an extender and then like slowly reaching my hand up and doing the, you know, flight attendant button and then asking. And the first time I did that, they actually forgot and I didn’t remind them and so then the next time being like OK, I’m gonna ask when I walk on which is scary because you know who might be listening. And then that was hard the first time and then the next couple times being like I don’t care who’s listening, I need an extender. I need to be seen, I want to be comfortable. Why would I like? And now getting to the point where I, you know, make a video on how to–flying while fat, using a customer of size policy where I get two seats and I videotape the whole thing and like it gets 2.5 million plays. Like could I have done that the first step? Heck no. No, you can’t go, right, to like sharing that whole experience. It took years of me like advocating for myself, even, you know, starting off with hiding the seat belt, pretending like it was clicked when it wasn’t. And it’s it’s a long process, but whatever it looks like for you, whether it’s an app where you’re checking in on yourself, or it’s a, no, I deserve to have a seat belt that fits today and asking for the extender, or getting in an Uber and realizing that the seat belt doesn’t fit and saying actually this doesn’t work for me. Like, that I think would be my next step because I haven’t done that before and I still have pretended like it fits, which I’m like this is ridiculous. Why am I still doing these things? But like I said before, it is a continuous journey and wherever you’re at with your journey, that’s awesome.
J: Mmm. So not just meet yourself where you’re at, but it’s OK where you’re at.
J: That I hit like a ton of bricks.
C: It really did. Like, oof, I had to dance for a second. I like it.
J: So Jen, other Jen, from Jenn. [laughs] Thank you so much for being here with us. As we finish up this episode today, what would you like everyone listening to know about what you’re up to and how they can find you? And what direction do you see, work, your career and work, taking in the future? You’ve talked about this a little bit, but I want to give you a spot for this to just really be dedicated to.
M: Yeah, so for anyone who’s trying to conceive or pregnant, everything is over on plussizebirth.com and the Instagram there. I love just really displaying other people’s pregnancy photos and celebrating pregnant bodies. And then I do a lot of educational reels over there that I try to make a little fun to, umm, and all about, you know, just having a plus size pregnancy that looks different than many of the resources you’ll find online. And how to have, you know, connect with that size friendly care provider, where to find those, those that, that…how to advocate for yourself. How to feel good in your body, to approach nutrition in a different way, how to find joyful movements, you know, all those things that are so important for people of all sizes during pregnancy. And I do a lot of that normalizing like there is no one thing that only plus size people incur during pregnancy, not even stigma. You know, we, we look at the mortality rates for some, you know, Black people during pregnancy and children and it is astronomical and horrifying and so tragically sad. So doing all I can to help raise awareness to many different issues that people marginalized body space during pregnancy and I do that over on plussizebirth.com. And then for parenting, lifestyle, all of that good stuff, and a lot of Jen, a lot of Jen over on Instagram, but Plus Mommy. And the podcast is the Plus Mommy podcast. So uhm, that again, it’s just been really great to be able to connect with people I admire and have amazing opportunities like I’ve had with you lovely humans today. Like it’s just been an extension of, of what I do and what I love and a lot more of me versus Plus Size Birth being a lot more of education, you know? My ultimate goal is obviously put myself out of business. Which you know, is not something most people say, but I, I would really love to, to, to do things that I haven’t been able to do for a decade. Like it would be amazing to have a documentary on plus size pregnancy that isn’t fatphobic, right? I would love to have a plus size maternity clothing line, like thinking really big, that’s far more inclusive and not just frilly patterns. Or like or just black. Like I loved when Torrid went up to a 6x in maternity, but it was primarily all black. I’m like, come on. Like yes, everyone loves a pair of black leggings, but not everyone just wants to wear clothing that’s black. Like we want to wear bold colors, too, and some people don’t, and some people do, but give us some colors, too, you know? So I have a lot of big dreams. But at the end of the day, I just hope I create spaces where people feel seen and heard and safe, and that they can learn how to be their own best advocates. And that is what brings me joy at the end of the day.
C: Oh. We both did it. [laughs]
J: And I’m like, I’m hugging the feeling that they gave me, so I was just doing it just. Like hugging myself. Wow, I, I feel seen and heard.
C: I feel seen and heard, definitely.
M: I do, too.
J: Thank you.
C: Uhm, this was wonderful.
J: It was an honor to hold this space with you. An honor.
C: Such a gift. I’ve been excited about this one for months. I was like, we got it. This has been huge. Sincerely.
J: Thank you so much for being here with us.
C: Thank you for having this space for me personally, I really appreciate it. That, that was huge, actually. Sorry, I interrupted other Jen.
J: Oh, that’s fine. I was just gonna say thanks for letting us see you, too.
C: Yeah, yes.
J: Your, your honesty is really, really refreshing, and we’re really honored that you would even share that with us, it’s really nice.
C: Yes, thank you.
J: I think being transparent has always been something really important to me, because when I started this work I didn’t see any representation of my journey. So then I created this space and I always just wanted to be honest and be me and who I am. And uhm, which has sometimes been really hard, right? I’ve pushed myself to share pretty much every skeleton in my closet. Like literally. Yeah, hopefully, uhm, but that is also freeing, too. And I, you know, I think being raised by an entrepreneur and doing so much volunteer work and working in the nonprofit sector for over a decade and then building my own business, it’s like, I just want to put good in the world and I just want to to make a difference and that’s just who I am and it’s not always easy and I will be honest that I am so tired, but I’m going to keep fighting. Because it’s just how things are still to this day, just make me really sad and I, I wish things could change faster for people in marginalized bodies. And, and it’s not, and so I just want to be part of that change in whatever little way I can.
J: I look forward to when you can really take rest.
M: Yeah. Thank you.
C: Yes, yeah. I do too, and at the same time I look forward to new things coming. That’s not helpful.
J: Yeah, and you know, you were, you were, you told us at the beginning, like, I’m really concise and I’m just really hearing in what you’re saying that it’s the transparency aspect. If there’s nothing to hide, there’s not anything to talk around. Uhh, and I’m just sitting and realizing within your writing that is there, too, and I’m just feeling I don’t write or talk like that. I consider myself transparent, but that’s not how it shows up for me. So I was just like just sitting in kind of awe of that and how, how grateful I am, uhm, that you are willing to do that. Because if I tried to do it, I don’t think I’d really get anywhere except the exhaustion part. Like not to the rest of it. So I’m just feeling, I’m just feeling super grateful for you, for your presence, for your words, for all of it.
M: Well, thank you. That means a lot. It keeps me going strong. It’s the, the community that keeps me working hard ’cause it, it, there are, there is change and there is beauty and there’s, you know, just that person who does ask for the extender and that’s coming up because it’s, you know, the focused thing right now happening in my bubble, but like, the messages I get being like, I’m traveling and I’m gonna get an extender this time. Like, I’m like, Oh my gosh, like, that makes me want to cry. And I’ve also said like when I stop feeling emotional when I get those responses, then it’s time for me to step away because then it’s no longer my passion project and then it just became a job and I’ve always been someone who wants to work towards change and I, I get to do that every day and it’s amazing.
C: Oh, wow. Thank you again so much for… I know… like I just…
J: No, that was like a laughter for me of just like pure feeling, yeah.
C: Yeah. Thank you so much for this, this has been such a gift, sincerely.
M: Thank you. Thank you so much for the work that you both do. Thank you.
J: Thank you for listening to season 2 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. Episodes will be published every two weeks-ish (because let’s be real here) wherever you listen to podcasts.
C: You can also find the podcast at our website, embodimentfortherestofus.com and follow us on social media, on both Twitter @embodimentus
J: And on Instagram @embodimentfortherestofus We look forward to being with you again next time in conversation.