Michelle Arscott and Karenna Wood

Jeanine Bailey: Hello and welcome, listeners, good morning, good afternoon. Good evening. Wherever you are listening to this podcast in the world, my name is Jeanine Bailey and I am the director and co-founder of Empower World Today. I don't have the wonderful Marie Quigley, my business partner with me, and instead I have two amazing women. Michelle Arscott, who I have known, and you might have heard Michelle on our podcast before. I've known Michelle for, wow, quite a few years now. Michelle, and you've come on the Empower World journey through as a coach and I've seen you just wow, do wonderful, amazing things as a coach across the world and through you Michelle, I've met the wonderful Karenna Wood, who we've only met today and already I feel a beautiful energy that's coming my way from Karenna and just across the couple of states in Australia. I'm in Victoria and Karenna in WA. So welcome, Karenna. Welcome, Michelle. And I'm going to hand over to you both shortly. But today's just want to let our listeners know that today's podcast, as it is October the month of October, which is the Health Awareness Month of October. So today we're bringing in Michelle and Karenna to speak about women's health, and both of these wonderful coaches do work in women's health in then in their respective nations. But I'm going to hand over to you both to share what that is. So first of all, I'll welcome Karenna if I can Karenna. Perhaps if you could share with our listeners a little bit about yourself before we dive in.

Karenna: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me really privileged to be with you today. My name is Karenna Wood. I'm an international fertility coach and the founder of www.yourfertilityhub.com. So, I'm really passionate about women getting more emotional support during their fertility journey. So, I don't know many of you listening out there may have been through this journey or may know someone who's gone through this journey, but you probably aware that it is quite stressful. But I think what people aren't really aware of is the deep impact it does have on relationships, on mental health and the real lack of support that unfortunately, is out there. It can be quite a medicalized journey and some people are keeping it private. So, it's a very tough thing to go through, and I think there really is not enough out there to helping women and their partners and families and friends through this, because often people also don't know what to say, how they can support what they can do to help. So, it's a real void that we here at your fertility hub are trying to fill. We're trying to put tools out there that woman can use to support themselves as they go through this journey. And I think that's our message really is that there is support out there to do to reach out for support for that support.

Jeanine Bailey: Beautiful, Karenna. Thank you for sharing and again, welcome and for explaining what you do and how you work as such, but who you work with and really shining a light on something that as you share. Not many people are aware of the situations and circumstances that women can go through that it can be really lonely, journey. Perhaps, you know, the sorts of things that women experience. It brings up shame, all sorts of emotions that prevents them from speaking up and knowing that actually what they're experiencing is something that potentially many women are experiencing so really appreciate Yeah. Thank you, Karenna and Michelle. Welcome once again,

Michelle: Thank you, Jeanine. Thank you. Yes. So, I mean, in terms of what I do, I work with a wide array of different clients. But I remember when we were training that I think, Jeanine, you said that we attract clients. I mean, I believe in the universe and that the clients that we sent us for a reason and often we find that we're coaching the client, but we're also coaching ourselves. So, in a way, this niche just naturally found me. So, I found both in Qatar and in Kenya that the clients are attracting were stay at home moms or moms who were juggling the different hats of being of parenting, so often juggling their career, but also juggling the children and then trying to find that balance. And that was something that was mirrored very much in my own life. So, it's sort of the tail end of this work in a way in terms of the next stage. So, I've done a lot of work with that, and a lot of the work that I do comes from my own needs. So here in Kenya, I set up a monthly group called Coffee Cake and Coaching. So, an opportunity for women to get together during the week because a lot of people are working and it can be a very lonely time, especially when you have young children or you're just not working. Or perhaps a lot of these ladies are doing work that is from home or working with individual clients. So, this was something that's evolved since I've been here and through that helping woman to connect with their values and connect with their purpose, and also just an opportunity to eat cake, though we're doing it virtually now. So, we have to bring our own piece of cake, but we eat it still. But it's just very important and echoes what Karenna says about that sense of loneliness and isolation. And this is very important in terms of mental well-being, realizing that you're not alone and that the support out there. So that's a little tiny, little bit of the one of the issues that I do.

Jeanine Bailey: Hmm Thank you, Michelle. And again, I'm hearing that that beautiful work of bringing people together and shining a light on what perhaps of the challenges for women and providing that safe place to be able to share what is coming up for them. And I'm guessing that is leading to all sorts of different types of conversations and work and outcomes for the women that you're with. So, what do you believe, ladies are perhaps the biggest challenge in the different focus, the different places that you focus on, what do you believe is potentially the biggest challenge for the women that are in those niches?

Michelle: I Think one of the biggest challenges is knowing where the support is because I get a lot of this, people find me and then they're always saying, oh, we didn't know where to find you or whatever. So, I think it's getting that information out that these services are there. And I think it can be it can be difficult. Karenna, I don't know about you in terms of getting the word out, but I think the fact is people are not always aware of these services and obviously we're not unique in this field. But I know, like in terms of my context, sometimes I would also struggle to perhaps refer or whatever. So, I think it's getting the word out that there are services to support and also knowing that you're not alone because I that's what happens. You can think that you're the only person and a couple of things come to mind. So, as we're talking about women's journey, another important aspect is also miscarriage. And this is also October is also the month actually of infant loss. So again and then we were talking earlier about menopause, and actually this month it was also World Menopause Day as well. So, lots of mental health issues this month. And I think the fact one of the most important thing is for women to realize they're not alone because it's amazing, isn't it, that these things happen to so many people, a large percentage of the world, the population, because it's women. And yet there can still be stigma, there can still be silence and people can still be feeling isolated. So, I think from my viewpoint, it's really getting people to know that you're not alone and that there are various supports to help you realize that what you're going through is actually human. And also, in this context, being a woman.

Jeanine Bailey: Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you, Michelle and Karenna, what comes up for you?

Karenna: Well, really echoing a lot of what Michelle said, actually, in terms of that feelings of isolation and feeling alone and the challenges of actually reaching people. So, I built an app which is called Your Fertility Toolbox app to try and reach people where they are as well, because often now we're on our phones or we're behind screens. And especially with COVID, it's really impacting our ability to be able to actually get together. And I think that's what the difficulty is, is women were actually hardwired for connection. And so, we need that connection. And especially when we're going through these life challenges. So, it's fun trying to find ways to connect with women and connect as a community. And I think that's what's really lacking. Some days we feel like we're more connected because of our technology, but actually, in so many ways, we feel more disconnected. And so, it's ways to build that community of women and to be reach together to feel less alone. I think that's probably echoing Michelle. The biggest challenge really is feeling isolated and alone and the stigmas around different challenges, but also stigma around mental health. You know, we really need to remove those blockages and to be able to talk freely around the pain of a miscarriage or the pain of infertility or the struggles of menopause. Because as we say, there's so many of us going through those things. So why aren't we openly talking about them?

Jeanine Bailey: Yes, absolutely. Karenna, you know, it has been very heartening to see there's been a lot. I've seen a lot more, not that I watch much TV, but I have seen a lot more promotion for groups that support mental health, perhaps from a bigger picture perspective versus going into the niches of women and the particular areas of concern for mental health. Like, as you said, miscarriage Michelle or not being able to have a baby and then going through menopause or pre-menopausal. So, perhaps it's coming, but at the moment, it's still what I see is being promoted to support mental health is the bigger picture which in terms of general mental health, which is wonderful. But again, it seems that there isn't so much awareness about, you know, coaches like yourselves that are available and can support these types of challenges because perhaps not many people would associate going to see a coach for this kind of health issue or challenge or whatever it may be. So yes, it's wonderful to hear that you're potentially trailblazers in terms of creating this awareness. So.

Karenna: It's pretty interesting what you say that you, Jeanine, around coaching because often people think I might need to go see a counselor or psychologist. And but I think it's also important to put coaching in the mix because coaching adds that motivation, inspiration, accountability and those other aspects which can actually be really, really helpful in a sort of health and wellness journey where, you know, we do need, for example, with infertility inspiration to just keep going because it's just so hard and you get so many knockbacks in so many delays and things like that just needed that motivation and somebody there to hold your hand and walk you through and keep you going. And that's a very different relationship to a counselor and particularly within fertility circles. People often only go see a counselor for a mandatory thing, like if they're going through surrogacy or donors using donor sperm or donor egg. Those are only touch points that they're having with a mental health professional. And we've got a really low uptake of the use of counselors within clinics here because clinics have to have fertility. Clinics must have a counselor here in Australia, but they're just not utilized really strongly enough. So, it's trying to find ways of, you know, like you were saying, promoting and being there. And now your fertility toolbox service is now available to clinics. So, we can actually say we can be your support, we can be your mental health provider. We have yoga classes; we have recipes to keep people inspired and all this sort of thing. But even that, you know, is its sort of in the future. Do you know what I mean? It's probably a little bit ahead of the wave, but it's definitely where things are going in the US and it's definitely where I stop starting to hopefully see things going here in Australia and New Zealand as well. Mm.

Jeanine Bailey: Yeah, I hope so, too, because, you know, I really do believe, as Michelle would know through the Coach Training that we provide Marie and myself, it really is about supporting people to connect with, with their purpose, with their values, their dreams, their aspirations and to understand who they really are and what it is they truly want to experience in the world. But also, you know, what are the emotions that are coming up in not only when imagining the future, but also right now? What's coming up right now and listening to the emotions that are coming up right now when working with someone so that they can understand what's the wisdom here of these emotions? What am I on track with perhaps my fertility or my menopause or whatever it may be? Or am I off track? So, yeah, I'd love to hear what you would say to that, what you would add to that Michelle?

Michelle: Yeah, I was just going back to what you said about, I think, you know, you're talking about the definition of a coach. And I think again, it's getting out there what we do because I think that people can have a very limited belief in, you know, understanding what a coach can do. And the fact is, it is a very versatile profession and we can really help. And it's I've recently become a I mean, I freelance, so I wear lots of hats, but I've recently become a modern health coach. And so, this concept now this is what's happening now. The world of coaching is changing. Mental health is again, we're still on that, that projectory but mental health is becoming more and more understood and more prominent and people are hearing about it, but there's still a way to go. So, this is a company where companies can buy it, mental health insurance and when they buy this as an employee, you then have access to coaching and counseling. Now what I really like about the modern health model is they've trained some of their coaches to be mental health coaches. So, we're all ICF accredited coaches. But we've all gone through CBT training and over at the fields, and it's through the W.H.O... They did a training program for coaches. And what it is how they define is a mental health coach is that step in between a life coach and a therapist because what they realized W.H.O. was the fact that there is are not enough therapists and counsellors for the need in this world. And obviously they were looking particularly at poor countries. So, they then have trained up their staff to have this halfway house. But I really think it's important that people realize what coaches can offer in terms of you don't have to necessarily mean. Obviously, we can't negate therapists and counsellors, and they are certain situations that are very helpful. But there's a lot of other situations where I think people don't realize where coaches can also be helpful as well. So again, it's getting that word out to people what we can do. And I think so people are less scared, you know, with mental health, it's still taboo. People are still a bit like, oh gosh, go and see a therapist, it must be. There must be something wrong with me. And I think also with seeing a coach, it can be an easier route to be helping with your mental health. It's less threatening. And I've had this, particularly with the men that I work with, but often it can be an easier way to stop talking and getting that awareness, as you were saying. Jeanine, which is at the heart of coaching the awareness about your emotions and what your body is trying to communicate with you.

Jeanine Bailey: Yeah, thank you for sharing, Michelle. That sounds like an amazing course that you've attended and yes, there are so many shades of different coaches, counselors, psychologists, therapists. So, it really is about, I believe, finding the right person for you. And potentially if you're interested in seeing a coach having a complementary session to see if the fit is right, because potentially not everybody is going to be the right fit. So. ladies, what would you recommend to women who are listening, who potentially may need some support, may recognize that actually I am struggling, or maybe they've got a blind spot about struggling what you know, what might be the telltale signs that perhaps seeing a coach or whoever a specialist can support them? To be able to create the outcomes that they want to create.

Karenna: Well, personally, I see some of the signs that come out within my nation, my area being strain on relationships is a first one. So even just saying, you know, how do you talk to your partner when they come home? That can be that little conversation can be a little indicator there of how you're both feeling. Some of the other signs are around. You know, how are you feeling? What is your mindset doing, you know, all the time? So where are you going with your mind? A, you know, sort of you taking control of that, you know? And I think that's where, you know, you mentioned CBT Therapy, Michelle. It can be so helpful in terms of actually realizing that we have control over our thoughts and that we can manage our thoughts and actually taking an active role in that. So, I think when our thoughts are really running away from us as well, that can be, you know, we really can't almost get control of themselves that we might. You need someone to help and see things from an outside perspective. So, I think some of those are some of the main signs in my areas, the sort of the mindset, a strain on relationships and also sort of the continuing delays and things like that. Like often and it can be two years into a fertility journey when the impact of mental health can be quite severe. And I think the other thing to mention on that is one study actually also compared going through infertility with going with having a terminal illness in terms of the impact on stress, anxiety and depression levels. So, it really is very serious. And I think that's the thing is to actually really draw that line and say this is actually very serious. This is infertility, for example, is a disease. Even if you don't have a diagnosis or a tick, a certain box that you do need support to go through that and that it is out there and available for you.

Jeanine Bailey: You have fantastic ideas about clues that perhaps, yeah, there is there is an impact on mental health. And again, it's normal to experience that when you are going under so much stress and putting yourself under so much pressure, wanting something so, much so. Yeah. Great. signals. Michelle, what are your thoughts?

Michelle: Yeah, I mean, I would say at one end, there's a feeling of overwhelm, you know, when things are just feeling. I would say, like, for example, that inner voice, that it's getting really loud because obviously a lot of us have that inner voice and it's actually normal, isn't it? But sometimes that volume is just getting a bit too loud so that it’s impacting our day, it's impacting what we do. It's becoming louder. So, the sense of overwhelm, but also with coaching, we have to remember that you don't necessarily go at the point where everything is completely overwhelmed. Coaching is a is a journey and it's I think I see coaching as throughout your life. I don't think necessarily people have coaches continually, but there's different points of your life. So also knowing yourself and just realizing that things are perhaps beginning to shift a little bit and things are beginning to get a bit worried. So, we don't always have to wait until the extreme if we know ourselves well and we have that understanding, then perhaps when the just the little signs where things are just, you know, maybe you're getting a bit anxious, maybe not sleeping so well. So perhaps if we can have that awareness before the buildup, but obviously coaching can be helpful at any stage. But it's about that awareness, isn't it, that things are just not quite as they usually are?

Jeanine Bailey: Hmm. Yes. And having experienced myself going through perimenopause, potentially, you know, out the other side. If I feel under pressure, if I feel that sense of pressure, I will create heat within myself. And so, it's a really good sign for me to actually, OK, what am I, thinking about myself? What am I focusing? What am I choosing to focus on? What are my beliefs? So, it's real showstopper, so to speak. It supports me to take stock and have a look. What's going on within me? What are the perhaps the emotions that are going on inside? And to be able to take a moment to again take stock and be able to make different decisions, make different choices, choose to focus on different things. So even though it's uncomfortable, it's my I believe it's my body talking to me and letting me know that something needs to shift, something needs to change. Sometimes I choose to ignore it. Sometimes I take actions.

Michelle: Yeah, but it's all I think ultimately all comes down to stress management, isn't it? So, it's really important to and I believe as you do. And I always say that your body and those signs, those emotions, those feelings, it's like your body's sending you a text message so you can choose to read this or not. So, it's you trying to interpret. So, I think particularly myself going through perimenopause as well, it is about stress management, and I'm sure it's the same if we look at all the issues. Ultimately, it's about listening to the signs and stopping or pausing or thinking about what is it that my body wants? What do I need to do? And the great thing about coaching is it can help with that awareness because sometimes that text message is a bit garbled or whatever, but it's really tuning in. My body is not feeling right at the moment and then thinking about, well, perhaps it's time for me to have that coaching or that support. What is it? So, it's all about awareness, isn't it?

Jeanine Bailey: It absolutely is, and for me, it's about either seeking support through perhaps a coach that would be my choice, but it could also be another trusted individual that, you know. But as coaches, I believe we can also coach ourselves through what we're experiencing as well. But I know my body will speak very loudly if I don't listen to it. If I don't take action, it will. It will turn up the heat literally for me to take a different choice, take a different path, take a different road. So, there was something else that came up earlier that I thought I just came back again. I lost the thought, but it came back up again, and so I thought, I'd share it here because I have decided to work with a personal trainer. And that's through the recommendation of a friend of mine and who's about my age. I'm not going to disclose that here. What that is, but it's, you know, it's getting on a bit. And um, and she said that she had a discussion with this personal trainer who is a man in his 30s. But she said she was able to share with him what she was going through in terms of peri- perhaps going on to post menopause. And so, she's shared with me that, you know, he seemed really switched on and open to that, which I thought was fantastic, that there is this movement of creating awareness about the things that are important to women, the things that it can impact our mental health and wellness and our well-being. So, it's we trust. It's the beginning of more open conversations and communication and awareness.

Michelle: I think, yes, because I think that's important and the Karenna as well, you talked about yoga and other things. You know, we are lucky that there's so many great things that can support us, you know, not only coaches, but things alongside as well or, you know, the stress management. I mean, I bring the mindfulness into my coaching. When you talked about yoga, the great thing is nowadays there are many things that can help to support those stress levels. So, it's also tapping into what works for you. You know, the connection with nature, gratitude, many things that can help us to feel more positive. Also, having that awareness around what is out there to support me with my mental wellness and my mental health is.

Jeanine Bailey: Absolutely, So, ladies, I'm guessing we're getting close to the end of our podcast together. I've really enjoyed conversing with you both, so I want to check in with you both before we close up what would be your pearls of wisdom that you would like to share with our listeners of potentially those that are experiencing some of the symptoms that you talked about Karenna of, you know, being aware that, yes, I am. My body is under stress. I am putting myself under stress and Michelle with overwhelm, etc. So, what would be your parting words of wisdom to our listeners, particularly the women who may be relating and resonating with what you've both shared?

Karenna: Well, personally, I always say that infertility is a club you never wanted to join, but seeing as you are here, let's make it the best experience we possibly can. So, I think that's the message that the there's things that we can do. Like Michelle said, there's tools that we can use a lot that you can choose from. Like, I always talk it like a buffet, a smorgasbord of tools, and you can choose what works for you. But knowing that using those tools, getting that support, being part of a community actually makes a huge impact on your mental health and can really change your everyday experience of what you're going through. And I think that's what's important is that you you're thinking that this situation is overwhelming you. You're feeling like it's very permanent, but often what you're everything we go through is temporary. Everything moves and even infertility is temporary. So, I think, you know, we have to understand that there's tools there to support you whilst you are in this. The mindset is that big a vision, that bigger picture of your whole life, really, and knowing that things will move and this thought will come and go away, that infertility hopefully will come and be gone from your life at some point. And the same with menopause. It's a stage we go through. And I think that's important to know that the support there for those stages, but we will move through them.

Michelle: and that echoes what I was going to say. I'm a firm believer, a believer of affirmations and working with the subconscious. So, one of the things that I did a lot of things during the first book run on Mental Wellness and I always used to end with this chapter shall pass. And, you know, just emphasizing that it's just a chapter in your life. And I think the other important thing is that it's normal what you're going through because I think that's the thing, we feel that we're different. But when you get that connection, when you talk to professionals or you get into a group, you realize that yes, there are many other people in the club of infertility in the club of perimenopause. So, knowing that you're not alone?

Jeanine Bailey: Beautiful. Thank you, Michelle. That's great to know that I'm not alone with my 20 years of coming through the other side. So, thank you so much for coming onto the podcast today. I really appreciate all the wisdom and learning and knowledge that you have shared today on such an important topic around or topics around women's mental health, specifically infertility, perimenopause, menopause. And we also touched on miscarriage as well. So, I really appreciate everything that you've been able to shine a light on today. So, thank you for doing what you do. And we trust that the listeners have enjoyed this session and somehow, someway find their way to you if they're meant to or whoever them into. So again, thank you.


50% Complete

Free Workshop: Experience the Transformational
Power of Professional Coaching