Super Brain Blog – Season 4 Episode 2

Super Brain Blog – Season 4 Episode 2

Happy Mum, Happy Baby with Melissa Hogenboom

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  •  01:14 – Identity
  • 04:59 – How pregnancy changes people’s perception of you
  • 08:01 – Workplace discrimination in pregnancy
  • 14:40 – Parenting comes from doing not gender
  • 18:17 – The construct of mothering across cultures and time
  • 20:55 – We are spending more time parenting than previous generations
  • 21:37 – Why Melissa wrote The Motherhood Complex
  • 27:13 – David Attenborough and pregnancy
  • 29:52 – Pregnancy, pressure and perfectionism
  • 32:48 – Impact of chronic stress on foetus and baby
  • 35:21 – Neuroplasticity, brain fog and pregnancy
  • 40:58 – The pill changes everything including your brain
  • 44:31 – Holland and Happy children
  • 50:00 – White noise
  • 52:10 – When your parenting is parroted
  • 54:48 – Melissa’s tip for thriving and surviving as a parent



Melissa’s Book


Guest Bio

Melissa Hogenboom is an award-winning science journalist and editor at the BBC with a track record of finding original, interesting stories that appeal to a mass audience. Currently she is the editor of the video documentary site BBC Reel, which she launched in 2018.

In over 10 years at the BBC she has written hundreds of articles and produced and reported for television and radio. She is passionate about telling evidence-based stories for a general audience. She reports and commissions exclusive and often experimental stories, from going troll hunting in Iceland, to searching for her cosmic twin in a parallel Universe, to tracing the footsteps of the world’s last Neanderthals.

Melissa is interested in telling stories that reflect how and why we change. This approach has led her to look at how music is helping her father’s dementia and how it may be key to understanding the brain, to investigating the subtle biases that exist in our education system, to understanding whether or not we are in truly in control of our own decisions.

Her journalism has been recognised by multiple awards, including the Webbys, the Kavli AAAS Science awards, the Telly Awards, The Lovie Awards, the Drum Awards and the British Association of Science Journalism awards. She is also a New America/Jacob’s foundation fellow of the Learning Science Exchange, a first-of-its-kind prestigious fellowship launched to spark new ideas and breakthrough approaches for communicating the insights of early learning.

During this episode Melissa spoke about this career-defining interview with Sir David Attenborough, recalling how she felt as a colleague told Sir David that she was pregnant

This photo was taken during that BBC’s Earth Live interview





Over to You

I’d love to chat with you about the episode, please do share your thoughts, insights or questions in the comments below. 

Tune into Thursday’s Super Brain Booster Shot

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Sabina Brennan  00:01

Hello, and welcome to the Super Brain podcast. My guest this week is Melissa Hogenboom. She’s an award winning science journalist, filmmaker, and editor at the BBC. She makes and commissions films and writes articles as well as reporting and producing for television and radio on a range of topics, including human evolution, psychology and neuroscience. Her journalism has been recognised by multiple awards, including The Webbys, the Drum Awards, Kavli, AAA Science Awards, the Telly Awards, and the British Association of Science Journalism Awards. She is also a new America Learning Science Exchange Fellow. The Motherhood Complex is her very first book,

Melissa Hogenboom  00:45

indeed it is,

Sabina Brennan  00:47

I have read that from the inside cover of your book from the bio of your book, and congratulations on your many achievements, particularly writing your first book, that’s a big undertaking. But since your book is about identity, about how our sense of self changes, particularly through motherhood, I want to begin by asking you, who is Melissa Hogenboom?

Melissa Hogenboom  01:14

Well, when I set out to write the book, I think that was a question on the forefront of my mind too. And when I became a mother, I suddenly turned into Melissa Hogenboom journalist, the BBC journalist who was, you know, ambitious, career-orientated, work was my primary identity, I’d say I was always, you know, keen to get ahead. When you’re a journalist or a content creator, as you know, you live and breathe, the topics you write or report about. But then when I became a mother, that identity overtook whether I wanted it to, or not for various reasons that I explore in the book. So I’d say, now, four years into motherhood, I am much more comfortable being Melissa, the journalist and mother, whereas when I first became a mother, I felt this clash of identities. So I felt like one was overtaking the other. So that was when I had this kind of existential questioning of who I was, I guess, if you want to put it on grand terms.


Sabina Brennan  02:10

So why do you think it is that motherhood impacts so heavily on our identity or our sense of identity,


Melissa Hogenboom  02:14

Motherhood impacts us in such a momentous way, because overnight, everything changes, like obviously, you have nine months of pregnancy to get used to the idea. And there’s already significant biological change and physical change that really starts to feel…. some people take to it, some people find it quite intrusive to have this kind of embodied new bump, which can shows their impending changes, especially if how they change doesn’t live up to the socially constructed ideal. But I think one of the main reasons it feels so stark is because there’s so many expectations that come with motherhood. And so you’re going into a situation where you have your own idea of, you might have your own idea, some, some people like, if you’re anything like me, you come home from the hospital, you think what am I doing next with this tiny baby. But  alongside of that, there’s all these ideas of what to do, how to feed your child, what kind of childcare to send them to, how much to work, whether to work, and a lot of these ideals and expectations clash with your own ones. And it’s really hard to constantly feel that tug of judgement, expectation and then internalised guilt, at the same time as just getting on with the job of being a parent. So I think that’s one of the key reasons. It’s lots of interlinked reasons that so heavily impacts upon our sense of self.


Sabina Brennan  03:41

Yeah. And it’s interesting for me when you answered first, who you were, you know, and you describe who you are, who you were, when you were writing the book, and you gave that in a singular, you know, in a sense that I’m the science journalist, or whatever, that was kind of your defining identity, and then motherhood kind of encroaches on that. And of course, you do acknowledge that by the time we become mothers, we have multiple identities. You know, we’re sisters and friends, and we’re someone who wears x type of clothing, or, you know, we have so many identities that sort of blend together. But I think probably what you’re saying and what I certainly, having become a mother myself also, that this is the biggie, you know, this is a kind of a big defining one, I have to say, now, I don’t know whether you were married at the time or whatever. But I find that one a big one, too, I found going from being single to being married. Different. And I certainly found that and probably from the sense of, I felt less seen, I felt I became somewhat invisible. I felt at that point that people looked at me differently. And I think from reading you in that sense, you were saying, you know that becoming pregnant. I know that I wrote right up to where you said something about being frail and pregnant or pregnant as a human being viewed as frail and I kind of wrote “why not strong?”


Melissa Hogenboom  04:59

So I felt like I had to constantly not let pregnancy change me. So very early on, I made the decision not to tell work until I was, I think, 18 weeks. It wasn’t showing. So I was able to do that. And I was kind of in the, had, this defiant attitude of, I’m not going to let this change me, I’m still able to do my work as well as anyone else. And I didn’t want anyone to think of me differently. And I didn’t realise that at the time because I hadn’t read the literature. But once you start reading the sociological literature on this, you see that as soon as you become pregnant, you’re seen differently in the workplace. And obviously, this is a generalisation. It doesn’t necessarily apply to every single workplace. But you’re seen as suddenly less committed, less ambitious, that you have other things you’re going to put first that you’re suddenly more family orientated. One sociologist literally said that you are seen as leaky and vulnerable.


Sabina Brennan  05:54



Melissa Hogenboom  05:55

oh, we do – leaky –  physically, later on, we do become vulnerable. And that we’re,  one researcher said women are open, vulnerable and leaky. So we’re, we feel sick, later you know, our breasts might start leaking the waters eventually,


Sabina Brennan  06:10



Melissa Hogenboom  06:10

you’re kind of showcasing  your vulnerability by this physical presence.


Sabina Brennan  06:15

It’s horrible description.


Melissa Hogenboom  06:17

It’s a horrible description. But it kind of, they tie it back to the idea that women are working in a workplace designed by men for men. And so often in the workplace, women will act more typically male, I say that in quote marks, for those listening, to get ahead, because the traits we associate with masculinity are seen as the ones that lead you to ambitious or powerful leadership careers. So there’s, there’s even studies that show that when women become pregnant, they emphasise these kind of more stereotypically masculine traits, so that they don’t give in to this feminine identity. And it’s because of these assumptions. And it’s also why women often hide their pregnancy for quite a long time, because they intrinsically know that they’re going to be seen slightly differently. When a journalist friend who understands all these processes at play literally said, I’m going to wait as long as possible, because I might not get assigned the same stories once they realise I’m pregnant. And I’m like, That’s shocking. She’s like, Yeah, but it just is how it is. That’s just how it is. And it shouldn’t be like that. And so I didn’t want those processes to affect me. And then as soon as I did say, I was pregnant, my colleagues, rightly so I would say, you know, told me to rest when I needed to, and take it easy, but I didn’t want to take it easy. But looking back, I was tired, I was able to function as well as I was before, but it was exhausting. And I’d come home feeling literally jetlag at some of the time.


Sabina Brennan  07:37

Nothing left.


Melissa Hogenboom  07:38

Exactly. So I think it is okay to understand that, you know, there’s these momentous physical changes happening that make you exhausted, you’re literally producing food for something growing inside of you. So it’s okay to get into that and understand that you can still function and still have the same commitments and ambitions and still be the same, albeit slightly physically altered version of the


Sabina Brennan  08:01

Yeah, you know, it’s fascinating for me reading the book, as I’m kind of at the other end, mine have grown and flown the nest, but reading the book brought back so many things for when I was at your stage, and when I you know, I was pregnant and, and having babies. So like that, like you I didn’t tell people until I was 18 weeks pregnant. I was very proud that I didn’t show that I had a flat tummy I continued playing, I played soccer was my sport, you continued running, I actually played in a soccer final when I was four and a half months pregnant. You know, I was while I checked with my doctor, and you know, you’ve always been doing it, keep on doing it, it’s okay. But it’s just occurred to me, as you were just saying that you may be treated differently in terms of the assignments you might be given as a journalist. And these are biases. And whilst we’ve moved on, in terms of political correctness, and in terms of trying to ensure gender equality in the workplace, when we had a grade system, and I worked in a life insurance company at the time, and we had a grade system when I was grade four, and then grade five as the highest. And then you became a head of department. And I was next up pretty much to get the grade five, you had to do interviews, but you were still kind of in the running unless you were a poor at your job. Do you know what I mean? You were kind of well, it should be you or so and so that will get it. And I actually remember going for that job interview. And I had already said that I was pregnant, didn’t know this job was going to be coming up and I went for that job interview. And while I was in the interview, they more or less said you’re the perfect candidate for the job. But unfortunately, we need someone to start immediately. And there’s a backlog already and we just couldn’t deal with you being on maternity leave for this position. Now that would be unheard of now,


Melissa Hogenboom  09:41

It definitely is illegal now, but it happens. There’s an organisation that outlines just how many discrimination cases there are. And often they’re subtle, because like if on paper, you’re a perfect candidate, but so is someone else. Who are they going to pick? Not the pregnant person, quite likely and they’ve even done those kind of CV studies where fictional job applicants applied for real jobs, and the callback rates, if you indicated you were a parent were significantly lower for mothers, not for fathers. And the only thing that was listed on the CV was that the parent was a member of a PTA, so parent teacher organisation, so it was a really subtle thing


Melissa Hogenboom  10:21

, and also mothers, if they were offered, interview or then job were given lower pay as well. So it just shows that it’s not an overt bias, necessarily, sometimes it is. But even when it’s not, there’s these subtle kind of ideas about what mothers do. And it ties in to these socially constructed ideal worker norms is what sociologists call it, the fact that we’re expected to put work first rather than our family. And if your work expects overtime every single night, the carer cannot do that. And if the carer is most likely to be the mother, the main carer which it often is the case, then it’s the mothers who have to leave work early and sacrifice their career.


Sabina Brennan  10:42



Sabina Brennan  11:01

Yeah, I think overtly, things have changed in that people know what they’re not allowed to say and do but covertly it still happens in much more subtle ways. You know, it beggars belief. I don’t know if you saw that on I think it was on the BBC, the two women who developed the AstraZeneca vaccine were asked how they balanced their career and their home life


Melissa Hogenboom  11:20

Exactly, You’d never ask a man you’ve never ask a man that


Sabina Brennan  11:20



Melissa Hogenboom  11:22



Sabina Brennan  11:25

Oh, yeah,


Melissa Hogenboom  11:26

also you’d call a mother, a working mother, but you wouldn’t say working father, a worker?  it just shows the contradiction.


Sabina Brennan  11:34

Yeah, yeah. But just going back to my instinctive, you know, reading that where it says frailty, and you’re viewed as frail and less able. But actually, in fact, being pregnant is a sign of strength. The baby book that I bought, at the time, it was about what’s happening, this baby inside me and I do remember around tiredness, because until you become pregnant, you have no idea, the tiredness that you do feel in those first few months. And I had always thought pre pregnancy that you feel tired, because of the bump as you get further along. But it’s actually the earlier stages where the real fatigue kicks in. And I remembe that book described it as it’s okay to feel tired, you are doing the equivalent every day of climbing a mountain in growing and creating this baby. And I know that certainly allowed me feel it, which is terrible ‘allowed me feel okay’ about being tired,


Melissa Hogenboom  11:37



Sabina Brennan  12:10

But what I just don’t understand is that having children is an essential part of being human, of our species. And like, why do we not account for that in how workplaces are set up having say, worked in science myself, where you get funding to do a research project, and you have funding specifically for just the team members that you have. And there’s a push to have, you know, gender equality, and a push to have more women, particularly, you know, in science, and then having a situation where that’s the only money you have, and then one of the team goes on maternity leave. Now, at least when it was my time back then when I didn’t get the job, we only had 12 weeks maternity leave, we could be gone for a matter of weeks. But now it’s kind of up to a year or whatever. So that can completely destroy or derail a project and you’ve no way out of it. And so having been in that situation. I understand that from the people working on the team perspective and for small companies. But, rather than that being an issue you have to deal with, that then goes against women, why can we not factor these things in? In terms of there has to be funding, there has to be cover, there has to be allowance or it just beggars belief to me, you know, and the same with childcare, it should be available And I think if you’re in a workplace having childcare within the workplace, is a fantastic option. It means that if a child is unwell, a parent can go over for a few minutes, and then come back to work. If that’s all it takes.


Melissa Hogenboom  14:10

depends which parent’s work place to the child goes to you, right?


Sabina Brennan  14:13

That’s true.


Melissa Hogenboom  14:14

Yeah, yeah, these are really important points you bring up and it again, ties back to, like, who designed the workplace? Who puts the policies in place? Why is there such a low take up of shared parental leave? There’s lots of reasons why that happens. I mean, in the UK, it was like it’s hovering at the one or 2%, maybe a little bit more in recent times. And of course, if the higher earner isn’t going to have a salary as high as they would if they were working and the higher earner usually it’s the man for lots of reasons. Of course, they’re not going to take time off. And then add in the fact that men who have who have taken time off have reported feeling judged by it and I’m like, Okay, well just leave it all to the woman then. So it’s constantly reinforced from all levels that childcare is a mother’s domain, even though we know that there’s huge benefits when both couples whatever shape the family is, that it helps for them and the child, in turn, even like from basic biological functions, like the more present you are, the more lived experience you have with your child, the more beneficial hormones your brain is creating, as you’ll know, as a neuroscientist


Sabina Brennan  15:20

yeah, you’ll get more oxytocin. You know, I love that study, I’ve quoted that study myself, where it’s same sex couples, parenting, you know, and your brain adapts from doing, you know, your behaviour shapes your brain. And you know, that applies across the board, you learn how to be a carer. And I mean, really, it is only in more recent times that this sole responsibility of parenting falls on the mother. Because if you go back in time, you couldn’t afford to have a fit strong young woman sitting at home minding babies, when she could be out hunting or gathering or doing whatever. And I do think part of it as well is interesting. It’s something that I’ve said and this is kind of slightly a sidetrack, but it’s still around societal and the influences of society is that I often think that we sort of took a wrong turning somewhere that we’ve taken many wrong turnings as a species, but one particular one jumps out of me. And that’s that we measure in Western society anyway, we measure success by how big a box we can isolate ourselves in. But we’re social creatures. And we don’t do well in isolation, actually, and being a mother in isolation is very challenging. I mean, I was a mother at home alone in a time before there was mobile phones or internet. And my first baby was a really challenging baby, cried all the time and just never slept. And I would have moments where I had to kind of put him in the middle of the bed and go “please stop crying, please stop crying’ Because I was afraid that I might go somewhere, thankfully, I never did. But I mean, I remember on occasion, having to pick up the landline and ring, my husband who wasn’t really allowed take phone calls in work like this is a whole different [time], and say, I can’t, you know, you talk about your stress texts. But that, for me, I was, you know, ‘I cant’, you’re going to have to come home, I can’t cope today with the crying.’ Now, if you go back to how our societies used to be set up, where we lived in a communal basis, that saying, you know, it takes a village to raise a child, but it absolutely does. And the thing is that if you live in a group setting and children are raised, that cuts out loads of problematic issues, where if one mother is actually not very well or can’t cope, or whatever, the child still gets parented, that still happens in some cultures. And I remember speaking to somebody, I gave a talk, I think down in Cork about brain health, and then was talking to the organisers, and they had helped set up an agricultural college way out in Brazil. So were way out from major cities or whatever. But he said, everybody had babies with them. So if teenage boys went to play soccer with their friends, they would carry the baby down, and that baby would be with them or the granny or whatever. Yeah, I do think part of that is, and certainly when you’re talking about this identity of motherhood, I do think it’s it quite? Well, we know it’s influenced by society and culture. It’s relatively modern, in the evolution of our species.


Melissa Hogenboom  18:17

Yeah, absolutely. Like we’ve gone from these nuclear family norms now where we are conditioned to believe that we have to do everything and we, it means both parents obviously, but then this falls more to the one who is at home or who works less. And the one who takes parental leave or maternity leave. So that’s usually the woman and all these behaviours are subtly reinforced over time. And it’s why women take on most of the mental load. So this is the thinking and the organising, and the planning and anticipating the needs, which is all mental work, and it’s invisible. And there’s lots of evidence to show women do most of it. We’ve lost our village, there’s no easy solution to that, because a lot of us live further away from our family. Some have argued that childcare is the new village. So you’ve got these additional parents or figures who are raising your children in childcare and which is great for the well being for the parents and for the child to get something slightly different. And if when you look at research done on traditional societies, or hunter gatherer tribes, you can see very different ways of parenting. So there’s one that I really loved reading about the Aqua tribe. So the hunter gatherers in the Central African Republic, they looked at the split of child caring, and the men were doing just as much if not more than the woman, the woman would take the babies on hunts, or would just leave them behind with a man it was the men that would get up in the night and rock the babies to sleep. And this was a real you know, status symbol. Men would even occasionally give their baby a nipple to suckle on, just for a comforting thing. And it just shows that the ideal mother, perfectionist ways of child rearing is a Western construct that sets us up for more stress.


Sabina Brennan  19:58

Oh, absolutely.


Melissa Hogenboom  19:59

More failure. And of course, mothers are more stressed and stretched than they’ve ever been before. And it makes us less happy.


Sabina Brennan  20:05

Yeah. And it’s, it’s a form of oppression really. And I’m sure that’s not a popular thing to say, you know, because we’ve revered motherhood, I do think some of that comes from religious contexts, which I find rather interesting. Actually, always, when I’m preparing and researching to talk to a guest, I always kind of, I don’t know, it’s probably an instinctive thing, I always look for commonalities, you know, things that we share in common, or whatever. And I was really quite surprised to discover that your family, your parents come from a Catholic village in the Netherlands. And so very, very similar to the kind of Catholic Ireland that I would have grown up in.


Melissa Hogenboom  20:42

But it was literally a village in my dad’s age, you know, they slept to two a bed in this tiny house, and there was 11 kids with the oldest ones watching the youngest ones. And because mum didn’t have much time to like, mother,


Sabina Brennan  20:54



Melissa Hogenboom  20:55

I mean, of course, that was mothering, then it was just a different, like, we think of motherhood now as something all encompassing, and we’re doing everything all the time and sending our kids to extracurricular activities, or constantly playing with them and enriching them. Whereas, you know, my father would say there just literally wasn’t the time. And so it’s no surprise that when you look at like data for how much time parents spend with their children, a generation ago, parents spent less time with their children than they do now. Even though there was more children.


Sabina Brennan  21:23

I just want to ask you, you know, writing a book is a very, very big undertaking, had you always wanted to write a book? And was it just that this became the now I have the thing I want to write about? Or had you other ideas? And


Melissa Hogenboom  21:37

Yeah it was a strange evolution. So I’ve always wanted to write a book, I had an agent for a few years, we were brainstorming book ideas. And when I had my first, I was like, we agreed on an idea. And I’m… because I’ve covered sciences, like write one or more, write something scientific, but I just never felt passionate enough. And the first the first time, actually, I just had my first baby. I was like, can’t possibly write a book, when I’ve got a new baby. And then when I had my second, two years later, it was one moment in a horrible sing and rhyme time session at the library. I literally went to it because anything was better than staying at home and trying to deal with the two screaming at the same time, because you know, literally makes your brain go into fight or flight response, as you said, So I was like right, what can I go to I went to one of his library sessions that I managed to avoid the first time around because they’re awful. But I went because it would entertain my toddler. And then I met another mum there who had the same age gap and the new baby and a toddler, the same age, so a two year old and newborn. And I was like, oh, how are you finding? And she’s like, great, you know, it’s much easier this time around, because I know I’m doing Yeah, it’s really nice. And then she goes, how are you finding? And I’m like, it’s absolutely terrible. It’s awful. And I said it quite like matter of fact, like, I wasn’t struggling with any mental health issues, but I was very stressed. And I did not enjoy the time because it was constantly like running around, trying to prevent them hurting each other, or the toddler hurting the baby anyway. And she looked at me like I was like, how can you say that? How can you be experiencing that? And I was like, Why is no one writing about this?


Sabina Brennan  22:42



Melissa Hogenboom  22:43

Why is noone talking about how it affects you not just like, there’s a lot written about mental health. And there’s a lot written about child rearing and tips and tricks. And I was like, I need to write about this because I didn’t read those prescriptive advice books precisely because they’re full of conflicting advice. So when I decided to write about it, and I was like, I need to explore if there’s any science to back up this identity change I’m feeling I found out there was. I felt very conflicted to be writing about the identity that I didn’t want to consume me. So that was a bit of a strange reckoning. And I almost felt like when I explained what I was writing about, I was like, I’m writing about the science of identity change, I’d almost hid the fact that I was writing about motherhood. Because motherhood is a topic that isn’t necessarily seen as serious It’s seen as a feminine, girly womanly thing. But it’s absolutely serious. And it’s seen as like an everyday ordinary event. But I tried to argue in the book that it’s extraordinary, the changes we go through, so we need to write about it and validate how we’re experiencing. So actually, writing the book has definitely empowered me to feel like I’m now writing a monthly parenting column for my team at the BBC, I love to talk about it. Now I want to you know, write a follow up book. And so I feel having written it, it’s kind of taken me on this journey, where it’s helped me mould my identities together, which has actually been really cathartic. So now I absolutely realise I can be both career driven, ambitious women, and I can be a mother and the two don’t always have to align, and that’s fine. And sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But by understanding why and how I changed, it actually really empowered me to kind of appreciate the struggle and the joy at the same time.


Sabina Brennan  24:53

It’s a very empowering book. I think, number one, the first thing you said that, you know, for anyone listening, if you do want to write a book, it is really, really important that you write about something that you’re passionate about, it’s a tough process and being passionate about something. And something that you’re naturally curious about if it’s a nonfiction book, you know, because there’s really exciting and really insightful information in this book. And whilst it’s the motherhood complex, I mean, I think it’s a book that any woman should read. I mean, men should read too, but you know, I’m not sure they’re going to pick it up and read it. Maybe they will to try and understand what’s going through.


Melissa Hogenboom  25:25

Quite a few men have read it, actually.


Sabina Brennan  25:27

Yeah, yeah. I will put my hands up there that I was probably making a very gendered statement.


Melissa Hogenboom  25:33

I assumed the same Honestly, I thought the same. But then yeah, I think having… writing about an experience I was living in certainly made it easier to do, because I was living, what I was finding out, I was like literally uncovering what was going on. At the time, it was happening


Sabina Brennan  25:49

Yeah. And I think that will be very exciting for readers, whether you’ve never had a baby, whether you’re wondering whether you should have a baby, whether you’re going through motherhood, whether, like me, you’ve been through it, and it’s a long time ago, I firmly believe and it’s what I do is, you know, I explain how the brain works to help people understand themselves better. And I just think that’s empowering. If I understand why I’m feeling something, or why this is happening to me, I then feel okay, I can either accept that, okay, or I actually have a route to change it or to do whatever. And I think it’s really important as well, you know, I mean, it does cover a huge amount around societal expectation, and those kinds of things. And I think that’s important for people to realise that, you know, these are just new constructs. These are just new notions. These haven’t been around forever more, which, certainly, in my younger days, I would have thought that that’s always the way it has been. So it’s fascinating from that perspective, what I wanted to talk to you about as well, and I won’t miss this. There’s one lovely anecdote in your book, you said, you know, just even in pregnancy, are you worried about being taken less seriously in your job, and you eventually said that you had become pregnant and on the day that you announced that you had this mega interview with Sir David Attenborough, who sounded like he was the most wonderful individual in the circumstances.


Melissa Hogenboom  27:13

Amazingly, you bring this up because I sent him a copy of my book, The week before it was out. And three days later, in the post, I got a handwritten note from him saying thank you for my book, congrats, and all the best luck, wonderful. So it’s because I wrote him a little note saying you’re featured in chapter one. The reason why that was the day I told my team was because my team was split between Bristol and London, and I was like, it’d be nice to tell them in person. Because otherwise it’d just be over the phone. This was pre the days when zoom was, you know, normal. So we had this big session, and I was like, okay, it’s 18 weeks by now, I’m, I’m probably going to start showing soon. I’ve got all these doctor’s appointments it’d be nice to tell them in person. And everyone was very congratulatory, you know, parents on my team, nobody batted an eyelid really. So this internal struggle I was having with telling was definitely, partly in my own head, partly because of some of the reasons we discussed regarding how you’re then seen. And my colleague at the time, I guess, he was perhaps a bit nervous and wasn’t sure what to say to Sir David, I don’t know what was going on in his mind. But one of the first things he told him was Oh, and she’s pregnant, by the way. So David was like, Oh, well, well don’t lose her. You know, she’s really good. And he probably knew I was nervous and was being very complimentary. And that way that he just is super charming. But um, it just sat very uncomfortably with me. So I enjoyed the compliment. But I didn’t want the fact that I was pregnant suddenly, to be a talking point. And I was there to interview a national hero. And I was super nervous. It was live, there was no pre recording


Sabina Brennan  28:40

Oh really,


Melissa Hogenboom  28:41

it was live for our social media audience. So we had like a super small crew, he was… allowed us to do it in his home, because we didn’t have a big camera crew. And so it was, you know, a career defining moment. And so it was like this perfectly symbolic of one of the reasons I wrote the book, because was that personal identity intruding on huge career, proud moment for me. And so that was a nice way to write it. And if my colleague listens to this, or reads it, you know, it was absolutely nothing that he did wrong. He was just sharing some really nice news. But it was that internal


Sabina Brennan  29:14

it would have been just at the forefront of his mind,


Melissa Hogenboom  29:16



Sabina Brennan  29:16

because he basically has been told, you know,


Melissa Hogenboom  29:18



Melissa Hogenboom  29:19

he was excited. He was excited for me. He’s recently become a parent. He was excited for me and was happy to share it. And I was happy to share it. And so but because it was that specific moment, it felt quite jarring.


Sabina Brennan  29:30

yeah I think we have this sense in our head. And it comes from well, gosh, everything that we have in our head, everything that we think is subject to multiple influences, our own experiences, whatever but we do have this thing that there’s somehow an either or, or that like what goes through my head when you say, you know, this career defining moment, and it’s almost you can hear people saying, …


Melissa Hogenboom  29:30



Sabina Brennan  29:52

you know, oh, she’s brilliant. She’s doing so well. She’s at the peak, and then she went and got pregnant. You know, it’s like almost you’ve put a spanner in the works you were doing so well. And that’s terrible. And that’s awful then I think at a time, as you said earlier, and you alluded to earlier, and you talk about in the book, at a time when you actually do need to rest, for your own health and for the health of your baby. And at a time, when you may also be dealing with things like nausea and other various things. You call it mum brain, brain fog. And I’ll talk to you a bit more about that later on. Because obviously, I’ve written a book called Beating Brain Fog, so and that is of interest to me. But at that point, many of us feel compelled to work even harder, and to show that this is not having any impact. Whereas actually, we should be empowered to say, I’m really good. In order for me to continue to be as excellent as I am, I need to sleep a little longer than I used to. And I need to do x y, z. And actually, to be honest, now that I know things that I know from neuroscience, actually, if we didn’t take those risks, and if we did listen to our body, we would be able to work in the same way, I think we actually try and push ourselves to do more, you know, that ‘proving’ and I think time and again, what comes up in your book is around the issue around perfectionism. And I was certainly brought up to think that perfectionism was a good thing. And it is definitely not a good thing from any perspective. It’s not good for your mental health. It’s also not good for your efficiency and your effectiveness in whatever role or job you play. But I think when it comes down to those particularly early stages of motherhood, I mean, I remember, I can’t even remember why I was at the doctor. But I remember the doctor saying to me, you know, Sabina, your house doesn’t have to be spotless. You’re raising a baby sort of thing, but it is that sort of, I don’t know what everything to be, you know?


Sabina Brennan  31:47

there’s definitely that Super Mom thing and I think when you’re pregnant, I think it’s being pregnant is so all consuming, because there’s so much going on in your body, and you’re kind of getting your head around this. But then trying to balance that with your identity, because your thoughts and your feelings are overtaken by that. There’s one other thing around that. And I think it was in that chapter around pregnancy. And it’s a very, very important point that you brought up. And I just want to say it aloud for the readers that all this stress that we put ourselves through when we’re pregnant, or even in the early stages of motherhood is not good for your baby. And you write about it in the book, the impact of stress on the unborn child is quite substantial.


Melissa Hogenboom  32:30

We’re talking about prolonged stress. If someone’s a little bit stressed, that’s part of everyday life, but definitely prolonged stress.


Sabina Brennan  32:37

Yes. And I say that time and again, you know, in my podcast, and in my books, there’s nothing wrong with stress, we need stress, it’s the thing that motivates us to achieve our goals, etc. But poorly managed chronic stress.


Melissa Hogenboom  32:48

Exactly. We’re talking Yeah, there’s links between if there’s prolonged stress, or depression in the mother, it’s more likely to result in infants that have mental health issues and stress as well. If mothers are really stressed, and if that results in postnatal depression, they actually respond differently to their infants cries, their brain is activated in different ways to a way that they’re not quite as in tune with their infants, and then the infant’s pick up on that. So there’s all these kind of links that the mother and the baby’s brain are meant to work in tandem, together, they listen to each other, the mother’s brain during pregnancy changes significantly and in a lasting way, in a way that helps her bond with her baby. And then hormones give her a good kickstart. And then exposure and experience kicks in, which is when you know, all partners biological or otherwise can experience beneficial brain changes. So obviously, if there’s a process at play that’s affecting that, it’s going to affect the brain in a time for the infant when it’s literally moulding itself to the environment. So it’s also important to note, as you probably mention, all the time, the brain is plastic, the brain can constantly change. So it’s recognising that that’s really important. And then this kind of comes back down to what you were saying about the village. If you have support, if the mother or isn’t doing well mentally, and the father steps in, that can actually mitigate some of these negative effects. So having that support is not only important for the mother’s well being and happiness, and obviously the whoever she’s living with or her partner, but also for the child in a lasting way. So it just goes to show once again that reaching out for support and help is so important. If you feel you need it. I think it’s critical.


Sabina Brennan  34:29

Yeah, it is critical and


Sabina Brennan  34:30

 it isn’t. It’s not about failure. It’s about understanding that you need support to do whatever, or to get over a particular period. And anyway, I don’t believe that parenting is a singular job. You know, it’s a 24 hour a day sort of thing really in the initial stages. So it’s something that requires more than one person so you’re not incapable if you are alone and you’re struggling. No, it just means you really need more people to help.


Melissa Hogenboom  34:31



Sabina Brennan  34:46

It’s more fun with paper.


Sabina Brennan  34:56



Melissa Hogenboom  34:57

like I have so much more fun if I’ve got friends around in the afternoon. Even If my kids are acting up and shouting or screaming, it’s like, it’s easier to deal with it, you have this extra buffer and it ties into a lot of research, we know about what makes you happy social connections are literally how we evolved and are so important for our well being. And it’s the same when we’re parenting if we have supportive friends, family, people around us, that buffers us from this stress, it’s hugely beneficial.


Sabina Brennan  35:21

Absolutely. And you know, the thing is, you mentioned that the brain is plastic. So that  neuroplasticity just describes the brain’s ability to change with learning. And those beneficial changes around bonding, etc, that you talked about releases of oxytocin that help you to be a better parents, you know, that’s your brain adapting to the new situation and to learning. And also I think prioritising the bonding over some other functions, which I’ve come back to talk about in terms of the brain fog. But I think it’s also important to remember that as much as the brain can be adaptive, it can also be maladaptive. So this is, I think, where things like when chronic stress gets out of control, basically, what can happen is that a developing child or developing infant actually learns maladaptive ways to respond to stress, their stress response kicks off sooner than it should, or even doesn’t kick off when it should. So that’s as important, to kind of watch, out for and I think that’s where those things kick in. And obviously, if a pregnant woman is chronically stressed, and there’s cortisol and adrenaline circulating, they are going to impact on the baby. So talking again about what you refer to as mum brain and in fact, you actually say the myth of mum brain. And this is the one point I would argue if and I would say that it’s not a myth, brain fog very, definitely exists. I think that possibly, we hear it spoken about in a sort of a derogatory way, in a sense, and we do that ourselves, Oh, God, I’ve pregnancy brain or I’ve, you know, and this happens in other periods of life as well, not just that, but I think that perhaps, it’s talked about without actually acknowledging the other changes that happen


Melissa Hogenboom  37:04

Yeah, that’s exactly uh,


Sabina Brennan  37:05

You know, that the brain actually is focusing in another area. I think that and you do, of course, allude to this, you sort of point to all the various factors that contribute to brain fog, of course, so many of those are associated with pregnancy. So the disrupted sleep, the stress, in addition, you could have an iron deficiency, perhaps you’re not eating properly because or regularly, because of the infant, perhaps you’re not getting out to get the exercise that you used to get. Furthermore, you’re not actually most probably. And I think that’s the hardest thing about being at home minding children, in a way is that you’re not getting the adult mental stimulation. Now, every one of those factors that I have listed, all contribute to brain fog. So they are kind of come together really around motherhood. But then on top of that, you do have the hormonal changes. And we tend to think of oestrogen and testosterone as our sex hormones. But they’re involved in very many other of our activities. And you actually have a lot of oestrogen receptors, in the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory. So I think on top of that, and that the combination of those things can give rise to brain fog. So if you’re actually getting your sleep and eating healthily and exercising, you may have minimal impact from the hormonal issue. But however, unfortunately, we tend to have a a  chaotic kind of life and time. And we see that also like in PMT, you know, before you have your period, we often see signs of brain fog. But for me, certainly, that would manifest in my spatial navigation. So I would become more clumsy. And you know, and that’s a symptom of brain fog. But a lot of people won’t link to it. But I kind of write all about that, you know, in my book, and around pregnancy, as well as a whole chapter kind of on the influence of hormones on it.


Melissa Hogenboom  38:52

I think it’s more that the mom brain is used in a derogatory way. So obviously, there’s studies that show cognitive decline. But the cognitive decline that it’s being measured is not necessarily the brain regions that you’re using during motherhood. And so there’s other research that shows these these optimised areas in terms of empathy and emotional regulation. And so I think it’s not helpful that it’s, of course, it’s it’s important to understand that there’s times that, you know, memory might be a bit more vulnerable, but putting it as a light way of poking fun at pregnant women and mothers that they’ve become stupider. And that’s what my issue is with the term of mum brain


Sabina Brennan  39:32

Yeah, I use an umbrella term and I just referto brain fog because it affects so much more. And but actually, if you were to use a clinical term, you would use cognitive dysfunction. And I would use that rather than cognitive decline because the inference from cognitive decline we use that term with ageing, because it’s as if it’s progressive. However, with brain fog and with cognitive dysfunction, it is most generally temporary, and there’s lots of other factors that would feed into it, you know, it’s associated with various autoimmune disease, also associated with depression and anxiety, you know, so you kind of have multiple factors. And in addition, as you said, a lot of women take on the mental tasks, the planning the organisation, they’re all executive function skills, and they can really be disrupted. And that can add to a mental fatigue. And fatigue is very different to physical fatigue. And when you are mentally fatigued, you actually have a distorted perception of your own endurance levels. So you think you are less capable of doing some things. So I just think it helps people, if you can understand those things, you say, Oh, that’s what’s going on. Okay, right. I really do prioritise my sleep, I really do need to kind of eat regularly, you also speak about the pill. And I’d love you to kind of talk about that. I think a lot of people listening may be unaware that the pill has an impact on brain function,


Melissa Hogenboom  40:58

yeah, the pill changes many things in the brain. And it’s very subtle. And I’ve talked to friends who are on the pill, who understand this. And it’s important to know that, you know, for whatever reason, you’re on the pill, some people go on it, because it helps regulate their mood, according to a friend of mine. And so it’s a personal decision, right. But there’s studies to show that you’re attracted to different people, when you’re on the pill versus off the pill, the way you process emotions, and certain tasks are different for pill users and non pill users. And if you’re ovulating, you have as you alluded to fluctuations in your cycle times when you’re processing, is slightly different. And you describe slight brain fog before your menstrual cycle, when you’re in the pill, all those hormonal changes are evened out, they’re gone, you don’t get those natural fluctuations. And so you might process emotions differently, you might process certain stories differently. So it’s really important to understand that there are different processes that your brain goes through naturally. And when you’re on the pill, those are gone. And I thought it was interesting as when I was learning all about the pill in my undergraduate degree. But shortly after that, I went off the pill because it scared me.


Sabina Brennan  42:06



Melissa Hogenboom  42:07

And about half year later, I met my husband. And I like to think if I’d been on the pill would I have been as attracted to him. I mean, the results are small, they’re really, really small. But you know, even the way we smell our partners is affected when we’re on the pill versus off it.


Sabina Brennan  42:19

See, the thing is, I think people don’t really realise the influence that hormones have. So basically, your brain controls pretty much everything, it’s bi directional, your behaviour influences your brain and the chemical messages of your brain are neurotransmitters, a lot of people will have heard of things like dopamine and serotonin and all that. But then your hormones are the other chemical messengers. And the thing is, so while neurotransmitters are involved in the immediate actions, that you take hormones, their responsibility… you’ve  hormone receptors for lots of different hormones almost all over your body. And so the responsibility of hormones is to ensure that your entire body is on the same page about whatever it is. And so our hormones play a huge role in absolutely everything that we do. And you were talking about the pill. If you’re naturally cycling, when you ovulate, you find different people attractive than when you’re not ovulating. So your point is there, even as you know yourself as well, though your libido changes across your cycle. And I think sometimes we kind of lost touch with some of those things Whilst the pill and birth control is hugely liberating for women, I think it’s also incredibly important that people actually realise the influence that it is having on your brain and your body. And moving from one pill to another – and I’ve taken a lot of your time, so I’m conscious of it. But you have a chapter called Happy Baby, Happy Mother. When I read that chapter. I said, No, I want to switch that around ‘happy mother, happy baby’. Putting yourself first is not selfish. It’s sensible. It really is. And so flipping that around, but your book for people listening, it’s a combination. So there’s lots of science in it, but it’s told in a really, really accessible way, but also you tell your own story throughout it. So it’s a really enjoyable read, just in case people think because we’re just talking the science part. You know, this is interesting. It’s a really enjoyable read. But you actually talk about your own childhood in this chapter. And I think you said that your brother if I’m right, said he wished there was a pill that you could take so that you could stay children forever.


Melissa Hogenboom  44:24



Sabina Brennan  44:24

that said to me, I said, Oh, my God, you had must have just had a lovely childhood. I don’t think I could say that about my childhood.


Melissa Hogenboom  44:31

Yeah, we had a quite idyllic upbringing. We were like, We lived on this island called Texel off the north coast of Holland. You could cycle around in a day you were 10 minute walk from the beach. We’d go to the beach every day. And it’s that time where we could play every day and we were playing outside it was pre screen times obviously, often entertain each other. So we were quite content children. It wasn’t, obviously when we were young it was super stressful for our parents as well for similar reasons, but it It led me to think about how different cultural ways of bringing up children is because I grew up in the Netherlands and I know that it’s often been dubbed one of…. the country were the happiest children in the world. It always scores high on happiness, indexes. And so I wanted understand what it is specifically about the way families raised their children, and how that differs. And so I spoke to a few happiness researchers and they said, there’s this key emphasis on not achieving the top. So in the UK, and in the US specifically, it’s quite an individualistic culture, where being the top is the best, you know, parents buy toys that advance their children cognitively, when you know, as a neuroscientist, the whole world activates and stimulates your brain, you don’t need specific toys.


Sabina Brennan  45:47

And that applies to adults too. So buying brain training, brain training games, is really kind of a waste of money, you should just be out experiencing the world.


Melissa Hogenboom  45:56

Absolutely. And because it’s a cultural norm, where being average is accepted and fine. In fact, it’s seen as you know, faux pas to boast or like to talk about the best grades you get in that school, rather than saying, you know, you got an A or B, you say, I passed, and that’s congratulated, you don’t talk about all great, it’s a pass fail culture. Obviously, there are leanings towards a more individualistic style of intensive parenting there. But on the whole, there is less of that kind of competitive nature. And Dutch children sleep more than other children, Dutch parents sleep more,


Sabina Brennan  46:30

yes. And they’re happier than US children, and they’re easier to soothe. They smile more, they laugh more, they cuddle more. That was brand new information for me, you know, I wasn’t kind of aware, you know, and you have another chapter called the secret of success. And really it is that the Dutch have it, they have its sewn up. I mean, I remember when I was studying undergrad psychology and understanding different cultures, you know, and I really feel we really do need to teach anthropology in primary school. And, you know, let kids understand that the ethnocentric perspective that we have and broaden their horizons. But I remember kind of learning about Japanese cultures and their babies were quieter, and kind of cried less, but I hadn’t, I know, wasn’t aware about this thing in the Netherlands. And I love this idea. But given that you grew up in the Netherlands, and there’s this greater focus on average, but certainly reading your book, you would definitely come across as having perfectionist tendencies.


Melissa Hogenboom  47:27

I only lived there till I was six.


Sabina Brennan  47:29

Oh right….Your parents with you


Melissa Hogenboom  47:33

the culture


Sabina Brennan  47:33

Oh the culture changed, of course,


Melissa Hogenboom  47:35

The culture changed


Sabina Brennan  47:37

actually how did that fit and feel, was that very strange?


Melissa Hogenboom  47:40

Well, I was young enough that it was an exciting move. And you know, I learned English within a couple of months because the brain at that age, just absorbs language


Sabina Brennan  47:48

is plastic


Melissa Hogenboom  47:49

exactly. And then I went to quite, lets say a liberal hippyish school of… it’s called a Steiner Waldorf school where the emphasis is on play. And, again, it’s not academic successes isn’t emphasised, but then, you know, I guess I’ve just always had this natural ambition, I don’t know where it came from, could be cultural related, it could just be something myself. And it could also be the job I ended up in, right? I ended up in journalism, where everything is very competitive. And you have to constantly strive for achieving a certain measure of success and success in quote marks. Because otherwise, you might not get ahead. I think that kind of pressure also.


Sabina Brennan  48:29

But I think it’s entirely different, if that matches with inherent, the satisfaction that you feel. So if you have a natural curiosity for something, you know, it enhances learning, but you get intrinsic satisfaction out of it, as well as the external rewards. Does that make sense?


Melissa Hogenboom  48:46

Yeah, and maybe from your schooling where the focus is on play. There’s so many fascinating chapters in this. I mean, I really just touched the tip of the iceberg. You call one of the chapters techno?


Melissa Hogenboom  48:46

I think so. I think I understand the difference between success and happiness and ambition. But I also think like talking about perfectionism, I do have those influences of trying to do the best for my children. But I’ve also constantly got, like, my mother’s voice in my brain, telling me, you know, you don’t need to stimulate your children, they don’t need to stimulate activities, just take them outside, let them play, you don’t need to constantly play with them, you know, they need to learn to play by themselves that will help them and you later on, and it turns out research backs that up, the more you like, get too involved with their play, the more they lose the creative way of doing it themselves, and you’re actually interfering with their imagination in some way. Obviously, there’s a balance as with all these things, so I still think I have when it comes to parenting, I do still have that cultural influence, I’d say from my mother a lot in terms of the fact that I’m okay with essentially letting my children learn things for themselves and not getting too involved and not trying to encourage my daughter to start learning to read before she needs to and those sorts of things are still left over Luckily, from my Dutch upbringing


Melissa Hogenboom  50:00

technoference te


Sabina Brennan  50:02

and I thought there was just one interesting anecdote in terms of the white noise. Yeah. One discovery that you made.


Melissa Hogenboom  50:10

Yeah, I had one of those dream sheep things that pleased the baby’s heartrate. And it’s meant to … plays the baby that womb sound and it’s meant to help the baby sleep. And then we had white noise on our phones that we put beside our baby, our firstborn’s ear when she’d nap, because it instantly helped switch her off. And then I was at this conference, and I was speaking to this quite well known neuroscientist called Nina Krauss. And she studies like auditory processing, and music, music and learning language. I was interviewing her about something slightly unrelated. And she talked about how exhausting noise is in our life and I think a lot of us have recognised that now we’re working from home a lot of the time, we have less interference, like every time there’s noise in the background, right? A part of your brain is processing that noise. And I said, Oh, that makes me a bit concerned. What about white noise made? My first was then nine months old? I think she’s like, Oh, yeah, the white noise is completely terrible, you know, you’re essentially teaching your baby that noise is meaningless, because you’re assigning them this noise in their environment that isn’t giving them any meaning about the world. It’s just blank white noise. And as well as that she says that these apps are often too loud for their fragile ears. And I was like, Oh, no, that’s instantly something to feel guilty. Now.


Sabina Brennan  51:20

I know. I know. And that chapter on guilt guys. Yeah. It’ll resonate with so many people. And when I was reading some of those things, some of my old guilts came back from when mine were kids you know, I have to keep trying to say to myself over and over again, it’s one of those lines I trot out. But guilt serves no purpose. You either learn from the experience, and you don’t do it again. But the actual feelings of guilt, they have no function, but they have impact. And I think kind of letting them go. It’s a learning curve. Look, you know, the thing is, you’re very early in your journey on parenting. I let you know that no matter how perfect you are, and how hard you try, you will still screw your children up in some shape, make or form


Melissa Hogenboom  52:04

Oh great, yay


Sabina Brennan  52:05

But. That’s what creates humans, isn’t it?


Melissa Hogenboom  52:10

Your point is you can’t mould people into how you expect them to be right. I’ll tell you one, anecdote you’ll enjoy. So I was having a particularly stressful afternoon I was I think my husband was working or away for whatever reason I was trying to cook my like then one and a half year old was trying to touch everything, you know, at risk of burning himself. And he was like, he got every chair, comes and stands right next to me. And I was like, I’d shout at him to get away because it was dangerous for him. It was messing myself up and I was just feeling very stressed. Like they were they’re constantly in my ears and shouting. And so my then three and a half year old goes, Mommy, I know that you’re stressed right now, but you have to say sorry, like, parrots cause she knows when you say you scream. You say sorry after you scream or you shout when she was parroting what I told her before. Because when I lose my temper, sometimes I would say I’m really sorry, son. And mommy’s just a little bit stressed right now. Because when you scream, scream, it makes me stressed. So let’s try and not scream. So I try and explain to her what I’m doing. And then to hear that parroted back at me. I was like, oh no, what have I done?


Sabina Brennan  53:10

I know, I know. I know. I remember when we got our youngest. You know, they’re sitting in the chair and you could get this thing that suctioned done in front of them. That was a steering wheel of the car. And it had gears on it had a horn in it, whatever, you know, that you could be, you know, and he was only a tot of the obviously wasn’t even speaking properly. In the car. First journey. We’re both sitting there and vroom… your you know, he’s making the steering wheel noise and then he hits the horn and goes fucky ejit, fucky ejit


Melissa Hogenboom  53:38

Oh no


Sabina Brennan  53:40

Which was clearly what he thought you said when you beep the horn. Yes, they do parrot they learn an awful lot of stuff. You have to be very careful. I remember speaking to a teacher once in primary school, and he they said, Look, there’s no greater entertainment than what four and five year olds tell you about what goes on at home. And you know, they’re kind of full of it. Thank you so much, Melissa, this has just been fascinating talking to you, your book, The Motherhood Complex. The story of our changing lives is a fantastic read, go get yourself a copy. And I think it’s amazing that you’ve written a book, while you do have young children, you know, it’s challenging to kind of get that focus. But I firmly believe if you want something done, ask a busy woman is a phrase I heard years ago. And I think it’s very true


Melissa Hogenboom  54:26

True yeah


Sabina Brennan  54:26

you kind of make the time for it. So I just want to leave with you know, this podcast is about surviving and thriving in life. And this book is definitely going to be sort of very helpful. I mean, it really does kind of touch on surviving and thriving through motherhood. But in any sense, or in any way, is there any tips that you would like to share with the listeners about surviving and or thriving in life?


Melissa Hogenboom  54:48

I think to thrive as a parent, we have to learn to remember to put ourselves first and this is important for our own happiness and that for our children, if we’re neglect ourselves, What message does that give to our children? Right? If we don’t put ourselves first, it will continue the cycle and they will learn that that is what you do as a parent. Whereas, if you’re less happy in the process your children might be too. So put yourself first find what makes you tick and find a way to get some downtime in however way you can.


Sabina Brennan  55:19

I think that’s a fantastic tip. I totally agree with you on that. There’s like I said, Happy Mother’s make happy babies,


Sabina Brennan  55:26

you know, they really do. My name is Sabina Brennan, and you’ve been listening to Super Brain the podcast for everyone with a brain. Super Brain is a labour of love born of a desire to empower people to use their brain to thrive in life and attain their true potential. Please help me to reach as many people as possible by sharing this episode, or by simply liking or rating the show. Imagine if we could get to a million downloads by word of mouth alone. I believe it’s possible. I believe that great things happen when lots of people do little things. So you really can help to achieve this ambitious dream to get a million downloads. Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to superbrain that helps too.  Visit For additional content, including images and videos related to this episode and a transcript of the show. Follow me on Instagram @sabinabrennan and on Twitter @Sabina_Brennan. I am grateful as always, to my exceptional editor Emily Burke, to my fascinating guests, and to my listeners. Thank you for tuning in.


Melissa Hogenboom  55:26