Hi, I’m Jen!
I never intended to write a book. Having babies made me do it. Honestly. The only things I ever published were medical articles and findings of my scientific research (I have a PhD in Medicine – you are welcome to devour my work at the bottom of this page). But after having my three babies, within three-and-a-half years, and finding out first-hand that there are so many things that happen to women during labour, childbirth and the first few weeks of motherhood that nobody talks about, I clawed my way out of my postnatal breakdown and went on a mission to inform the yet-to-be mums of the world about what really happens. And I mean what really happens.
The scientist in me was not content with just my experiences and cried out for data. So, I also interviewed almost one thousand mothers from around the world about their experiences of having a baby and becoming a mum. And I Wish Someone Had Told Me… was born.
I wrote this book as a mother for mothers. To help inform and empower mums and mums-to-be. I want you to feel ok with whatever is happening, or has happened, to you. And most of all I want you to feel like you are not alone. Because you are not.
I write postnatal instead of postpartum and mum instead of mom because I’m Australian (pure-bred German but I have lived in Australia for 75% of my life). It is also the reason for my dry humour (humor).
I love science!
I gained my PhD in Medicine (Neuropharmacology) from the University of Sydney. I looked at opioid (morphine-like drugs) withdrawal in the midbrain, which was fascinating and very rewarding work. I have also worked as a medical writer for many years, usually typing late at night or with one hand, while the other one is wiping poo, making dinner or breaking up arguments.
Bagley E.E., Hacker J., Chefer, V.I., Malet, C., McNally, G.P., Chieng, B.C.H., Perroud, J., Shippenberg, T.S., Christie, M.J. Drug-induced GABA transporter currents enhance GABA release and produce opioid withdrawal behaviours. Nature Neuroscience (2011) 14:1548–54
Hacker, J., Pedersen, N.P., Chieng, B.C.H., Keay, K.A., Christie, M.J. Enhanced Fos expression in glutamic acid decarboxylase immunoreactive neurons of the mouse periaqueductal grey during opioid withdrawal. Neuroscience (2006) 137:1389-96
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is a cause close to my heart, because…
… it is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of childbirth injuries called obstetric fistulas
I had an obstructed labour with my first son and I thank my lucky stars that I was in the fantastic hospital I was in. All I ended up with was extensive tearing (and a healthy baby). Thanks to the amazing and immediate care I received I don’t have any complications nor repercussions due to this delivery, even after having two more vaginal births.
I feel for the mothers who Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia care for and I know that in a different time, in a different place, I could have easily endured an obstetric fistula myself, and probably my son would not have survived.
Please have a look at their website www.hamlin.org.au