Emma Saloranta Winiecki – Motherhood and Loving Imperfections

In this episode of The Power of Your Story Podcast, Emma Saloranta Winiecki shares her journey of balancing motherhood and her professional life. She talks about self-doubt and finding her way back into the workforce. The impossible equation of “having it all” as mothers is something that she thinks about a lot. Emma shares these thoughts and struggles openly through social media. And in this episode, she also talks about what sharing her story means to her.

“It’s funny, most recently the moments when I’ve felt most confident are those moments when I’m making myself most vulnerable in a way. The moments when I’m sharing without a filter.”

“Learning to trust my abilities as something else than a mom, has turned out to be easier said than done. I’m in the process of trying to rebuild that self-confidence.”

Emma Saloranta Winiecki talks about her journey as a professional and the struggles of reentering the workforce as a mother of two. While sharing about her insecurities openly on Instagram, Emma has connected with other women who have experienced similar situations. Women have shared their own stories, given encouragement and Emma has had the chance to encourage others.

“There is this village of professional women in all sorts of different fields, who have each other’s backs. We just need to reach out and say, ‘I need help’.”

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⁣ ⁣ Be ambitious, woman. Chase your passion. Get an education, define those career goals, become financially independent. Be assertive, but not bitchy. Be brave, but not naive. Smile, but not too much. Be serious, but don’t look angry. ⁣ ⁣ But wait: there’s more to life than work. You can’t just define yourself through your career. Find someone. Fall in love. Start a family. Being pregnant and working full time can be a bitch, but power through – you’re built for this. ⁣ ⁣ Now you’re a mother. Be gentle, but set boundaries. Bounce back, but not too fast. Take care of yourself, but take care of others first. Get enough rest, but don’t expect more than 4 hours of sleep per night. Be crunchy, but in a scientific way – so read those peer reviewed studies. Breastfeed, but not too long. Don’t hover, but always be available. ⁣ ⁣ But wait: Did you think there’s paid maternity leave from that career you spend all that time building? Think again. Maybe you get paid leave if you work for a good employer – but legally, three months unpaid is what you get (if your company has 50 employees or more). Can’t afford it? Too bad. Figure it out. Make a choice: go back to work when your baby is little and pay for full time care. Hope you’re covered by the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law, so that you can take legal (unpaid) pumping breaks if you breastfeed. You have to stay on top of your workload, no slacking! But also, get home by 5pm – you didn’t have a baby just so someone else can raise them, did you? ⁣ ⁣ Or stay at home. Walk away from that career. But you can’t JUST be a mother. There’s more to you then that! Don’t let motherhood take up your identity. I mean, what do you do at home all day anyways? How much work can kids be? Remember to hit the gym and yoga class. Meditation is key to a happy mama, so better find time for that too. And therapy and mindfulness. Happy balanced mama is the key to a happy balanced family! ⁣ ✨✨✨✨ I’m not a fan of the “having it all” narrative, because I believe it just sets us up for failure – but I do believe balance exists somewhere out there. Finding it, though, is easier said than done. ⁣ #balance

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The Power of Your Story podcast is produced by Girls’ Globe in partnership with SayItForward.org. Say It Forward is the platform where any woman and girl can share her unique story of overcoming self-doubt or barriers in her life. The stories are shared unfiltered in any language and shows the immense courage and strength that we all possess.

Instagram, Influencers & Healthy Body Image

Every day, we are bombarded with unrealistic standards that society has created for us, especially as women. There is a notion that everyone should look, act and be a certain way in order to be accepted. Every day, this underlying expectation and generalisation of beauty is continually reinforced by social media. It’s indoctrinating young girls around the world into believing we are not good enough.

I’m sure many people can relate to hitting that low point when we wish we could look like that girl on Instagram or dress the way influencers do online. I can’t stress enough how unhealthy this is for your mental health. Constant comparison to the unattainable online image eats away at your self-confidence.

Truth is, we’re never going to look like social media influencers. The only way anyone looks that way is by a combination of photoshop, edits and filters.

When you have a constant comparative narrative in your mind, the first thing it delves into is your body image. Before long, I was checking and trying all possible fad diets and miracle weight loss products to achieve the unachievable. Loading my body with countless supplements at all hours of the day and night did more harm than good. I ignored the warning signs to try and justify the desired effect of a so-called magic pill. I overlooked irregularity of my moods, periods, skin and immune system with only the end goal in mind. The new Instagram pop up, thanks to a simple algorithm, caused a spiral of addiction more serious than my teenage self could ever imagine. 

Too late in my life, I realised that there are many different forms of eating disorders. I never labelled myself as being bulimic or anorexic and could therefore convince myself that nothing was wrong. But, in hindsight, the way I was treating myself was not healthy. I was religiously monitoring what went into my body and eating far too little to fuel it. More than anything else, I had a constant feeling of guilt whenever I ate.

My mind was playing cruel tricks on my body and was totally in control of it. My type-A personality and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) added to a recipe for disaster. I was constantly hating myself for what I put into my body if it contained even a single calorie. Once I recognised the depression and anxiety this was spiralling me into, I had to make a change.

I did a lot of reading and listening to talks about my condition and had to train myself into believing something new…

The way I am is enough in its entirety.

There is not one thing in this world that should take that thought away from you. It becomes a lot easier when you can distinguish for yourself that the images you see online are edited a whole lot more than you realise. That’s the power of social media – people can be whoever they want to be – and unfortunately, it is often at the indirect expense of others.

I strongly feel that social media ‘influencers’ have a social responsibility towards changing this. Somewhere there are young girls looking at YOUR page, wishing so deeply that they were you or lived your social media life without realising that it’s completely glamourised. Why not encourage, empower and assist these young girls by showing real struggles and celebrating small successes. I lost a good few years by falling into this exact trap and have made it my mission to ensure others learn from my mistakes.

I still count my calories but am slowly feeling more comfortable. In fact, I eat double what I used to. I feel fitter and stronger than ever before. I’ve found informed and educated advice and built a network of support – they are the reason I am getting by. More than anything I am enjoying the process and celebrating my progress. I am proud of my body but even more proud of how far my mind has come to overcome the past.

I still don’t look like ‘that girl on Instagram’ but I sure as hell don’t want to anymore.

This is what I want young girls to realise. You are SO much more than the unrealistic standards society has forced upon us. You do you and be absolutely 100% yourself whilst doing it.

Tariro Mantsebo: Being Enough by Existence

Tariro Mantsebo is a medical doctor and feminist from Zimbabwe, currently working in a remote part of South Africa. In this episode of The Power of Your Story Podcast, you will hear about her journey to confidence. She speaks to Julia Wiklander, founder of Girls’ Globe about reaching her goals despite other people’s doubts, her recent struggles with stress and working in a male dominated field. Tariro’s heartfelt insights gives us so much inspiration to be true to ourselves and to know that we are enough, purely by existing.

“Girls and young women, take the time to know who you are. When you are clear with who you are, what people say and what people do won’t have so much of an impact and influence on you.”

In high-school, Tariro’s teachers had doubts about her ability to study medicine. As a practicing medical doctor, she still encounters sexist comments and disbelief. Yet, Tariro has coped with the help of friends and family, and moments of solitude. Tariro shares her path of figuring out who she is, despite governing gender norms, and stressful situations in her life.

“Sharing my story meant I could start to heal. I could share and pour out all those parts of me that were really eating at me, all those emotions – and just release them. I was able to create a space in myself to grow and put myself together again.”

The Power of Your Story Podcast is a production in partnership with SayItForward.org. We are so inspired by the many stories that women and girls share on the Say It Forward platform. Personal stories of overcoming fears, doubts, or circumstances that have held women and girls back. Sayitforward.org welcomes any woman, any girl from anywhere in the world to share her unique story and inspire others. We hope you are inspired to share your story too.

Daniela Arango: Finding Authenticity

In this episode of The Power of Your Story Podcast, Girls’ Globe founder Julia Wiklander speaks with Daniela Arango. They talk about her journey to confidence, overcoming fears and finding authenticity. Daniela dedicates her life to strengthening others spiritually and physically. Born in Colombia, she moved to the US as a teenager and now lives with her partner in Sweden.

Early in life, Daniela had to take big responsibilities in her family as she was the eldest in the household when her parents divorced. She talks about imposter syndrome, taking on too much responsibility and panic attacks. She also shares her tools for finding balance and encourages us to be our genuine selves.

The Power of Your Story Podcast is made in partnership with SayItForward.org – the platform where every woman and girl is encouraged to share her unique story of overcoming the fears, personal beliefs, or circumstances that have held her back. In this episode, Daniela Arango talks about experiencing limiting beliefs and what confidence and courage mean for her.

“Courage is to have fear and doubts, and still go.”

Too often, women are inhibited by doubts, fears and limiting beliefs that come both from other people and ourselves. We need more visible examples of women who have experienced and overcome their own barriers. We also need more space where women can have honest conversations with one another. When we are listened to, when we realize that our voices are important, when we feel supported by others, and when we are reminded that we are not alone in our experiences, wonderful things can happen. 

Through solidarity, encouragement and inspiration, women can support one another’s self-belief. That’s why we’ve created The Power of Your Story Podcast in partnership with SayItForward.org.

“We don’t do any good in pleasing others in the way we think they want to be pleased.”

The Power of Your Story Podcast is an interview series with women from around the world and you can find it where podcasts are found! As this is a brand new podcast, we would love for you to share it with others and rate it in whichever app you use.