After having a challenging pregnancy herself, suffering from postnatal depression and losing her identity in motherhood, Shirley McGowan was inspired to do something to help other women go through their pregnancies and motherhood with more ease and happiness, allowing them to focus on their growing baby. She is passionate about supporting and empowering women to thrive through pregnancy and become the mums they want to be. Through Mom to Be Sisterhood, she guides women on their transition into motherhood, helping to reduce their risk of postnatal depression. Here Shirley talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about how her own experiences and learnings have inspired her to help others.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
In short, my firstborn gave me the strength to set up my own business.
I experienced a traumatic childbirth and I remember thinking that what happened to me and other new mothers I met at the hospital was very unjust, and that someone had to create a more effective space to empower women during their pregnancy journey. I just couldn’t believe that generally women were not taken seriously, their wishes were ignored, and they were made to feel guilty for the pain and emotions they naturally faced due to a very personal and intimate event such as giving birth.
With knowledge comes power! I’m very passionate about this.
When women are trained regarding their birthing rights, where to look for trustworthy information and where to find the much needed support, they will be more confident to speak up for themselves when in a conversation with their medical team but also after coming home with their baby.
PND (postnatal depression) can be avoided by educating women more about motherhood.
I experienced PND after giving birth to my son in 2018 and it was no surprise, as the care I received at the time was very poor, despite explaining that I was a case at risk of developing PND. However, I realised that if my partner and I had a different preparation, I wouldn’t have developed PND.
I say this with confidence, because everything that I put in place inside my business, I used in 2021 when I gave birth to my daughter. Everything that I desired for my second childbirth experience, I created it.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
As a Project Manager, I decided to make my pregnancy a project, as the overwhelming information on the internet was more confusing than helpful. I set up the Baby King Project Plan, which became later the foundation of Mom To Be Sisterhood.
I included in the plan everything that you can think of: from antenatal classes (costs and timelines to attend) to a shopping list for baby and new mom (including must haves and desired items) and organising a baby shower.
I took a few online courses and I started talking about my first childbirth experience on social media. Women were reaching out to me to ask questions or to receive insights from one mother to another. They wanted to speak to someone who was very open to share all the secrets behind pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, including what midwives don’t share due to their professional restrictions. I was that person and they appreciated that.
In December 2020, I hosted an online event during lockdown while I was 8-months pregnant with my second child. I contacted many high-level professionals around the world to speak about their expertise. We covered many topics regarding childbirth with a holistic and spiritual approach, breastfeeding, mental health for moms and dads, baby and toddler brain development, etc.
It was a wonderful 2-day online event packed with all the information a future parent must know.
The vision of Mom To Be Sisterhood ‘Making Pregnancy Easy’ came to life during that summit. I provided training and insights about pregnancy and motherhood from an emotional, practical, and spiritual perspective. The experts shared their knowledge in their field of expertise.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Mom To Be Sisterhood has given me amazing opportunities to collaborate with and learn from the best professionals in the world of pregnancy and motherhood.
I also invested time to develop on a personal level and worked on my mindset following in particular the teachings of Bob Proctor. In preparation for giving birth to my second child, I used Bob Proctor’s techniques and fused them with everything I learned from the childbirth world.
What came out was incredibly powerful!
I created my personal and unique childbirth experience.
Therefore, I launched a program called ‘How To Manifest Your Desired Childbirth’. I teach there everything that I did and the ladies can adapt it to whatever their situation and wishes are.