How superwomen treat themselves and each other
Interview with Anne Ferguson, Chief Gatherer, Mama Mentor and Podcaster at MamaFuel™ | By Dr Marina Nani
Anne Ferguson has come a long way from the corporate offices of the global communications and healthcare firms where she spent the first few years of her career. After becoming a mother and retraining as a yoga teacher, Anne learned (the hard way) that being a superwoman and trying to do it all isn’t good for anyone. As a result of her personal experience, she decided to help other mothers learn to treat themselves kindly, and created MamaFuel™ , an amazing community where mothers feel seen, supported and connected to themselves and to each other.
How did you come up with the idea for MamaFuel™ ?
Following years in an international role, I stopped working to have my first daughter in Spain, where my husband was living. My first delivery was deeply traumatic and the PTSD and anxiety that occurred right after the birth drove me into isolation. We quickly moved to Geneva, and despite speaking French fluently I found my supermama tendencies and the local culture made it difficult to integrate as much as I’d have liked. I retrained as a yoga teacher and built my own yoga business, offering yoga and community to international mothers in Geneva. It quickly became
apparent that the need was even wider than yoga and meditation– women needed a place to gather, a safe space to be real with each other and more than anything else, an environment that’s judgement-free and supportive
How does MamaFuel help women to overcome the struggle of isolation and feeling overwhelmed?
Mothers often take on much more than is healthy for them. We try to be all things to all people and end up overwhelmed and exhausted. When we remember that our needs are important, and start putting ourselves first, we begin to feel better and calmer. MamaFuel™ helps mothers to remember to put themselves first. When I started offering workshops, there was nothing like MamaFuel™ in the Geneva area, and very little offering globally. Local workshops eventually grew to become a global community of mothers under the MamaFuel™ brand. Many other mother-focused organisations have cropped up since I founded MamaFuel ™ , which is fantastic.
I’m thrilled to see more and more women supporting each other!
MamaFuel™ is a community-focused business that supports mamas who are feeling isolated, overwhelmed and unhappy in their mothering. Many of these mamas are raising their families far from the people and places they come from, often following their partners to an international posting and can easily become isolated. We give them a place – virtual and in person – to gather, speak freely about their experiences of motherhood and build beautiful relationships with other women. Mamas come to us feeling alone and concerned that their mental and physical wellbeing are under threat.
After a few months in the MamaFuel™ universe, women realise they’re not alone, that others are treading similar paths and facing similar challenges, and we find solutions together.
Often the simple act of gathering with others and speaking their truth begins the healing process. MamaFuel™ mothers learn the importance of putting themselves and their needs first, irrespective of what others think. By reclaiming time and space for themselves, they foster an environment where they and their loved ones can be happier. Whole families shift when mama goes from unhappy and overwhelmed to more fulfilled, lighter and more joyous. Kids feel an invisible weight lift and families enjoy themselves and everything flows more easily.
So how does it work exactly?
We offer a monthly membership for mamas around the world, in which they gather weekly, participate in an expert call every month and in 2019 will meet in the real world. A series of workshops is in the works for Toronto in August, Geneva in June and October and possibly the UK later in the year. The mamas build such tight connections online and they’re excited to hug and become even closer in person!
What would you say has been your biggest challenge since deciding
to become an entrepreneur?
The learning curve has been immense: from learning all the business, doing everything from marketing, content creation, web design and logistics myself until very recently; the challenges sometimes seemed insurmountable. Creating products and experiences, establishing a social media following and showing up for my clients whilst simultaneously staying healthy and being here for my kids remains the biggest challenge.
What would you say is the biggest impact MamaFuel™ is making for its members?
Mothers who try to be all things to all people all the time end up feeling alone, despondent, discouraged and resentful. In many cases, the mental wellbeing of these mothers is affected, and they lapse into anxiety, depression, and can turn to numbing behaviours. That obviously has a negative effect on them and on their families. In some cases, marriages
break down, serious mental illness can take hold, relationships suffer, and international postings can fail as a result of mama not receiving enough support. The consequences are far-reaching, because there’s a deep emotional impact as well as often financial and logistical strain when the hub of the family (aka mama) breaks down. Helping our mamas overcome all of this is the biggest impact we can make and my proudest achievement!