CHANGE YOUR BRAIN, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Hi, I’m Jen!
Mother, neuroscientist, author and speaker.
It may sound simplistic but I believe “If mother is well, all is well”. Too often women are forgotten in the birthing process. Focus is often only on the baby, but we must remember that along with the baby, a mother is born. I wish I knew this when I became a mother. Having studied for many years (I have a PhD in Neuroscience and a degree in Psychotherapy) I understood the brain well. But when I had a breakdown (read: stress, anxiety and overwhelm) after my third baby was born, I was at a loss to understand what was going on within me. This resulted in my embarking on a journey of self-discovery.
I spent the better part of two years analysing and learning about my mind, tapping into neuroscience knowledge, researching and learning, and creating a life within myself that I previously didn’t even dream of (… and I am still going). And it all started with my brain. Although I would never want to re-live my breakdown, I am glad it happened. It has made me a better person, a better mother and a better wife. I am now lucky enough to educate and support women during pregnancy and motherhood, to help them create their best self, using the knowledge, tools and techniques I used to change my brain.
By making mums a priority, and illuminating what is going on in their brain, mind and body, through translation of neuroscience, scientific research, and findings and theories of how the mind works.
Because if mum is well, all is well. I know first-hand how difficult the journey into and through motherhood can be.
I now also know it doesn’t need to be so hard.
By better understanding how the brain and mind work, and how these affect our body, emotions and life, mums can design tools and techniques specifically for themselves to reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm, and create a wonderful life for themselves.
I’d love to hear your story.
I was born in Munich, Germany and lived there until I was 10 years old.
1987- Mum, my brother and I move to Australia and settle in Byron Bay – tough life!
1995 – Graduate from High School. I was 18 and knew everything. Ha ha ha!
1996 – Work abroad and travel the world. I realise I know nothing.
1997 – Move to Sydney to attend University.
I planned to stay 3 years…
2005 – Meet Marcus. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, this was definitely it.
2009 – Finally leave University, with three degrees including a PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience & Pharmacology)
2009 – Marry Marcus. Best decision of my life (except when he doesn’t do the dishes)
2010 – Daniel is born and my life changes forever – The I Wish Someone Had Told Me… journey begins accidentally.
2012 – Jake joins our family.
IWSHTM… becomes a more serious project as I realise how important its information is.
2014 – Everly, our baby girl, arrives. She challenges me in ways I have never experienced.
IWSHTM now becomes a must.
2016 – After
interviewing 1000 mothers, and hours of research
IWSHTM… is released to rave reviews.
We leave Sydney after 20 years (it was meant to be 3!) and move to Auckland, New Zealand, for new adventures.
2018 – Complete Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy. This adds so much to my mind-brain-body-life connection knowledge.
2018 – Tough Mothers and The Mother Mentor is born. Supporting women during pregnancy and motherhood using neuroscience as a basis is now what I live for.
2019 – Join the board of not for profit organisation PTSD Help NZ, as their Neuroscience expert and adviser.
Join Our Village!
*I write postnatal instead of postpartum, labour instead of labor, and mum instead of mom because I’m Australian (pure-bred German but an Australian citizen). It is also the reason for my dry humour (humor).
as seen on …
MY ARTICLES IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS
Nature Neuroscience 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
Neuroscience 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