Ever since I started my coaching business I’ve had a burning desire to connect with women (and recently men) around the birth of babies, whether before or after, I see the connection with self and partner as being so critical during this transformative period. A friend tipped me off on a fantastic book about a year ago, written for this exact purpose, and by an Australian woman! Becoming Us is that very book. It’s an honest, informative and relatable guide for any new parents – it offers practical and insightful approaches to tackling tricky issues on managing your relationship after having children. I’ve since recommended it to loads of Clients and friends who have found it incredibly beneficial.
Then, sitting in a women’s breakfast, a mutual connection of the book’s author handed me her contact details, I boldly emailed Elly and arranged to meet for lunch. Elly Taylor is just as pleasant as her book. She is engaging in conversation and such a grounded presence, we hit it off quickly, Elly and I got talking about a whole range of challenges facing new parents; how we both arrived in careers where we get to connect with people through doing what we love, and sharing learnings from our experiences in business so far. I really felt I was sitting with a woman who was following an authentic path and reaping the success. So now I get to share some of her thoughts with you, on how she got to writing such an important book through her own journey.
L: Can you tell me what having a ‘passion’ means to you?
E: Passion to me is synonymous with connection. My passions come from being connected to myself and then being connected to others. This is the conduit for creativity, loving and community.
L: How do you describe your ‘connection’ in practical terms?
E: Through facilitating ‘family bonding’: supporting new parents to stay connected with each other as they each bond with their baby and supporting family and birth professionals to facilitate the same.
L: How did this unfold for you?
E:Through my own experiences of disconnection. When I first became a mother, I was as well prepared for pregnancy, labour and delivery, but soon afterwards I found myself having to deal with issues that I was totally unprepared for: feeling like I didn’t really know who I was any more and feeling disconnected from my husband, at a time I thought we would be closer than ever. This confusion and distress lead me to researching and writing my book Becoming Us to provide a resource for other expecting and new parents to guide them through this unchartered territory.
L: What is the feeling you get from doing your passion, when you know you’re connected?
E: It just feels right. There is a sense of inevitability about it, a drawing deep in my core that pulls me to do this work.
L: Do you get a sense of life being different before and after understanding this connection?
E: It’s been a slow progression; as I worked on my own personal development, so my work life unfolded. My first job was in advertising and then ten years in recruitment. There were fun times, a good salary and lots of travel, but I just felt hollow on the inside. It felt like I was living this great life, but it wasn’t my life, it was according to other people’s expectations of me: my boyfriend, my boss, my parents. I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do.
So I had my mid life crisis early, in my mid 20’s, when a series of panic attacks alerted me to the disconnection inside. I started doing some personal development courses, read some books and then my Psychology degree, not really knowing what I wanted to do with it but just knowing that I wanted to work at a deeper, more meaningful level with people, and that lead me into relationship counselling. And then when I became a mother I had another identity crisis which lead me to doing the work I’m doing now. Since publishing Becoming Us I’ve left my safe, long-term employment to do more freelance writing. Leaving a paid job was a financial risk but the personal rewards have more than outweighed that.
L: Can you tell us about the impact or difference it has it made? Have you learnt anything?
E: At first it was scary but I think conquering your fears rather than avoiding them is what gives you the confidence that then translates into other areas. I’m certainly less stressed now that I am in control of my time and energy and can work around my family. I’ve learnt lots of lessons along the way but the most important is that the quality of the connections we have with others is a reflection of the connection we have with ourselves – it all starts with us. When we know who we are it’s another step to what we want and then another to how we get it.
L: What enables you to keep your momentum?
E: I’m still working with families so I am highly aware of the need to support them and the work that needs to be done for this to happen. Seeing the need and knowing I can do something to fulfill it is what keeps me going. Luckily there are lots of other wonderful people doing other wonderful work that I have connected with, and it’s this shared sense of doing something important that also keeps me afloat and moving onwards. Connecting with the larger birthing community is also creating huge opportunities, both here and overseas, to do this work that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
L: Do you think you could get the same feeling doing other things?
E: Staying connected with myself translates into lots of different areas in my life, my other passions and my relationships so I get that feeling of rightness from other things as well, particularly in my counseling work which I am still doing and which I love.
L: What advice or helpful tips would you give someone else looking to find what they’re passionate about?
E: Listen to yourself. Get to know yourself. Tune out everybody else’s expectations of you and ask yourself: what do I want? Even “I don’t know” is a starting point: “what do I know I don’t want?”
L: What are your thoughts on people expressing their passions as their work?
E: I think we spend an awful lot of our time and energy doing our work so it makes sense to me to expend this on something that ‘gives back’ if this is viable, but there are also very real constraints to people doing this. I think if we can’t work doing something we love or that is a natural extension/expression of who we are, it’s good to make time/opportunities for this outside of work. Self-expression is so important for our emotional wellbeing as it’s how we connect with others.
L: How would you sum up your business?
E: Assisting to birth a family.
I really encourage any expecting or current parents reading this to consider grabbing a copy of Becoming Us. It tackles more that the physical changes of birth and babies, and looks more in depth at the emotional response and how it effects the relationship with your partner, yourself and the bond with the baby. It is truly amazing work by a remarkable lady, making a huge difference in the lives of many parents. It’s available for purchase through ABC Books and amazon kindle, or you can connect with Elly via facebook.