A proud single mum and birthing entrepreneur

Siobhan shares her story of being a single mum and fighting against all odds

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A proud single mum and birthing entrepreneur

In this episode of Our Voices, we are introduced to Siobhan, a proud single mum who founded The Positive Birth Company. She talks about a crucial decision she had to make as a young woman, and her difficult relationship with her mother.

A difficult mother


In this episode of Our Voices, we are introduced to Siobhan, a proud single mum who founded The Positive Birth Company. She talks about a crucial decision she had to make as a young woman, and her difficult relationship with her mother.

Siobhan grew up with a powerful mother figure. Her mum, Eileen, domineered over the household. “She was this force. And when she was angry, she was angry. She was a strong character. She stuck with her opinion and there was no changing it.”

From being a single mum to founding a Hypnobirthing company, the story of Siobhan


Single-minded vision

Eilen was also extremely dedicated to her family. She was determined to provide her children with a more prosperous upbringing than she had herself received. But the extent of her focus on her children threatened to become stifling.

 “She was a martyr, really, to her children, which I don’t think is a good thing. She never did anything for herself, never went shopping, she never had any hobbies. Her whole life was taken up with providing for her children. But the downside to that is she had a very clear vision of what she wanted us to be.”

This clear vision excluded the desires that Siobhan had for her own future. Eileen was particularly fixated on the idea that Siobhan become a doctor, for example. A desire that Siobhan did not share. Yet Siobhan did not feel confident revealing her own ambitions to her mother and when she selected her A-Levels, she felt she had to do this without her mother’s knowledge.

A tumultuous relationship with her mother


Eileen’s presence wasn’t just felt in terms of Siobhan’s future career choices. She was also extremely strict when it came to her daughter’s social life.

 “She didn’t want me to go out, she didn’t want me to buy fashionable clothes, or waste my money on those things that she felt were frivolous. We had such a tumultuous relationship, where I really wasn’t supported in what I wanted to do. And so we just fought a lot.”

proud single mom and her story


A life-changing decision


At the age of 17, Siobhan made a life-changing decision: she decided to leave home. She had carefully planned the situation in advance. Her boyfriend at the time lived with his family who had a spare room. She had also saved up some money from weekend jobs. 

The only barrier was having to tell her mother what she had planned. She finally arranged to do this in her childhood bedroom. As she prepared to speak, Siobhan describes feeling physically sick. 

“I was absolutely petrified. And I really thought she was going to lose her cool and shout and scream and be really mad.”

Unexpected reaction


When the words eventually did come out, however, her mother calmly consented to her daughter’s decision to leave.

 “I expected that there would be these big huge arguments and conversations but she didn’t try to persuade me to stay and she didn’t tell me I couldn’t go. I still to this day don’t really know why… Something in the way that I must have said it, she must have realised I was serious.”

Giving birth led her to find strength


Becoming a single mum


Clearly, Siobhan had taken on something of her mother’s determination. This was further evidenced when, 3 years later, Siobhan found herself in an extremely vulnerable situation. She was a university student and she had become pregnant.

Feeling fearful and ashamed about the prospect of becoming a single mum, she had gone to an abortion clinic but her mind was not yet made up. On the one hand, she was a student with bleached blonde hair and piercings, surely she wasn’t ready to be a mother… Yet the conversation she had with the consultant fundamentally changed her perspective.

 “He said something like, of all the people he’d met today, I seemed like the most capable of being a mother. Whether that was true or not, I have no idea. But those were the words I needed to hear. I needed someone, an adult, to tell me you can do this.” 

Graduating with First-Class Honours


Unfortunately, her mother continued to be unsupportive. She feared that Siobhan’s pregnancy would mean her daughter would not be able to continue with her studies. But not only did Siobhan get her degree, but she also got it with First-Class Honours and her young son was even present at her graduation. 

“I absolutely wanted to prove that you’re all wrong. It was only my mum that was saying it, but I felt like the general kind of societal attitude towards me was, ‘you’re going to be a young single good for nothing mother’. And I was determined to not be that.”

fixing a strained relationship with her mother after giving birth


Discovering Hypnobirthing


Ironically, not only has Siobhan not let being a single mum get in her way, but having children has been a clear motivator for Siobhan’s success. After the birth of her second child, she discovered the benefits of Hypnobirthing: 

“I gave birth without any intervention, no pain relief. I felt invincible, and that gave me a confidence that can never be taken. From that moment, I was like, this is what I want to do – everybody should have access to that.”

Starting The Positive Birth Company


So Siobhan started The Positive Birth Company. It’s an organisation which provides future parents with affordable and inclusive information about pregnancy and attempting to conceive.

Describing a particularly memorable situation, she talks about trying to support a woman who was going to have a stillbirth as her child had passed away just before he was due to be born. Naturally, the woman was extremely scared but the information and guidance she had had on hypnobirthing helped her to manage the situation. “She used everything she’d learned to be able to have a positive, empowering and beautiful birth, even though she knew that her baby was not going to be alive.” 

Reflecting on the situation, Siobhan says “She’s a role model for me. How she navigated that experience, I think of her and I think, you’ve got to try and find the positives, even in the darkest times. I think she’s inspirational.”

Being a single mum at a young age wasn't easy


Fixing a strained relationship


Siobhan’s life experiences, including becoming a single mum, have helped her to understand her own mum better as she has got older. She realises that she has inherited her mother’s dedicated work ethic. This has helped to provide her with the drive to start and succeed with her own business. 

But she also realises that it is important to attain balance. “I am now having to learn how to relax, and how to disentangle the importance of relaxing for your well-being from feeling shame about being lazy or guilty…. but I certainly owe a lot to my mum.” Perhaps this recognition can lead Siobhan and Eileen to one day start fixing their strained relationship.

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Laura is the mix engineer for the Our Voices podcast. She has a BA in Music from Nottingham University and an Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering from Abbey Road Institute. Alongside working for Our Voices she is a freelance sound designer and technician. Her highlights include sound design for JK Rowling audiobook ‘The Christmas Pig’, and sound effects editing on The Outlaws, on the BBC.

For the Our Voices podcast, Laura is typically provided with a Voice Over and interview. She then cleans the dialogue, integrates the podcast intro and outros, chooses the music that will add to the storytelling and pacing of the episode, then bring all the elements together in the mix, followed by mastering and then delivering the final edit.

 

Experience in Industry: 3

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Favourite Food: Potatoes

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Favourite Movie: Anything Marvel

Favourite City: London

Hobby: Music

Favourite Book: Northern Lights

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I’m the community manager at Our Voices. I spend most of my time focusing on the implementation of our marketing strategy, achieving goals and KPIs, and the rest of the time listening to the amazing stories of our guests from all around the world. What I love most about working for Our Voices is the impact it has on peoples’ lives. It requires a lot of courage to tell your story out loud so I make sure these stories are heard by as many people as possible.

 

I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’ve been living in Hungary for over two years now. I have a Master’s degree in Marketing and I live for mastering the art of digital marketing.

 

Industry experience: 2.5 Years

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Favourite Food: Biryani – introduced by the Mughal rulers in the Indian subcontinent; this dish is an absolute delight. Also, can never say no to a good burger – extra cheese!

Favourite Sport: Cricket – I grew up playing and watching cricket with friends and family.

Favourite Show: Stranger Things – I love how an odd group of friends fight against challenges bigger than themselves.

Favourite Movie: Harry Potter – The only movie I can watch over and over again!

Favourite City: Prague – Absolutely love the Baroque and Gothic vibe of this city.

Hobby: Netflix, Travelling, and Eating- I want to try different cuisines from every country once in my lifetime!

Favourite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A fast-paced thriller that keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.

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I run Fascinate Productions, the production company behind the Our Voices podcast. I’ve had a wide variety of roles in media, from underwater videography, to live televised sporting events around the world. But since listening to my first audiobook in 2016, I’ve been all about audio and jumped in with two feet. Podcasts are enabling the world to democratise its most valuable information. They’re about spreading messages, and sharing ideas, and it’s my mission to help those holding the knowledge, to distribute it far and wide.

When Alex approached us with the idea of making a short stories podcast, with a big social impact, he got our attention. As the producer of the show, I’ve heard his guests’ highest highs, their lowest lows, and the moments of change that made them who they are – it’s been a privilege helping to craft their most intimate experiences into stories for you to enjoy.

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Favourite Food: Ice cream. It’s just the greatest culinary invention.

Favourite Sport: Rugby. I played from the age of 5 until 26 when a dislocated shoulder put me out of action. Still like to watch now though.

Favourite Show: The 100 – I love those ‘what if humans nearly got wiped out?’ type shows.

Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite City: London. As a country boy from Yorkshire, I never thought I’d enjoy living here.

Hobby: Listening to podcasts while on long walks with my dog Alfie.

Favourite Book: I love to read anything business/startup related… One of the most recent great ones was Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt

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Richard Willan is the CEO of Fascinate productions, a podcast production and promotion company. Before starting Fascinate, he worked an audio engineer, mastering tracks for artists on major and independent labels.

He is an executive producer for ‘Our Voices’ where he assists with production, creative direction of the show, and marketing strategy.  

 

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Favourite Sport: I enjoy watching combat sports like MMA – Isreal Adesanya is my favourite fighter at the moment, due to his Tae Kwon Do base and speed. 

Favourite Show: Succession – an American satirical drama. The character development is incredible, and the writing is top notch. 

Favourite Movie: True Lies. I find it amazing that someone who can’t act (Arni) has so many great films.

Favourite City: London, because it is a melting pot of culture and the music scene is amazing. 

Hobby: Making music, going to gym and eating out. 

Favourite Book:  The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the world she created, and the incremental path the characters take into darkness. It’s amazing.

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I am responsible for writing blog articles for the Our Voices podcast. I have the privilege of listening to fascinating stories on the topics and issues that are of greatest relevance to our society today. Once I’ve done this, I create articles that provide an overview and description of the conversations in order to help spread them to the widest possible audience. My job is to make these articles as engaging as the conversations themselves.

As an English teacher who has worked with students from all over the world for over 10 years, I have got used to successfully communicating with those from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me to appreciate the value of connection across borders and boundaries. It has also helped me to appreciate that we are all able to learn from each other’s experiences.

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Favourite Food: Chocolate. It’s an indulgence, I know, but it tastes so good. I particularly enjoy dark chocolate for its richness and smoothness. 

Favourite Sport: Football.Unfortunately, my local team (Nottingham Forest) is not in that top league but I hope that one day it will be.

Favourite Show: The Wire. 

Favourite Movie: The Godfather. 

Favourite City: Reykjavik. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks there a number of years ago and I loved the place for its beauty, culture and calmness. It’s rare that you can be in a capital city and experience genuine space and peace and quiet. There’s also a black sand beach to walk along, although, due to the cold, I wouldn’t recommend bathing in the sea!

Hobby: Watching films. I love films, foreign films, classic films, contemporary films, just all good films.

Favourite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

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Favourite Food:  In a word, sandwiches. The possibilities are endless.

Favourite Sport: Show jumping. When I was little I wanted to be a professional horse-rider, and I still get a kick out of watching the pros in action.

Favourite Show: Fleabag: the writing and acting create a thrilling kind of intimacy I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Favourite Movie: Victoria is an incredible German thriller that’s all shot in one take – it’s a real trip. Plus it’s beautifully soundtracked by Nils Frahm.

Favourite City: Very hard to choose, but it’s got to be Barcelona. The food, the pace of life, the winding streets – there’s nowhere else like it. 

Hobby: exploring city streets on my bike – preferably while listening (safely!) to a podcast – is when I’m at my happiest. 

Favourite Book: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning, utterly unique portrait of womanhood, race, ageing and the principles we choose to live by.

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I am the host of Our Voices. I help to find the guests that have a powerful voice to share and then I speak to them and help to tease the stories out of them that will have a positive impact on the listener. 

While running Swoosh English, an online English school from 2013 – 2021, I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and many of these people had incredible stories. This inspired me to start ‘Our Voices’ because I wanted to give these people a platform to share these stories with the world.

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Favourite Food: Avocados – an incredibly delicious fruit that can be used in so many dishes. My favourite is guacamole with nachos!

Favourite Sport: Boxing and football (couldn’t choose one!)

Favourite Show: 2 comedy series: Alan Partridge and The Office (UK version). I just love English humour!

Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption: An unbelievable journey full of twists and turns.

Favourite City:  New York – Living there for a year in 2008 changed my life. It made me believe that anything in life was possible if you want something badly enough.

Hobby: Football, boxing, reading, learning Spanish, travelling and watching fascinating conversations on Youtube.

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a book about an incredible journey.