Gayle’s Birth Story: knowledge is power

In this episode, Gayle tells us about two very different births that took place over 20 years ago. I am, as always, amazed by how crystal clear this experience is for us – even many years later. The process and the feelings that are created are timeless and never go out of date.

“You can’t script a birth and you can’t script your life.”


The Positive Birth Story Podcast features empowering & positive stories about birth. Swedish midwife Åsa Holstein shares her in-depth knowledge of birth and speaks to brave women who share their personal stories. This is a podcast with women, for women about the super power that resides in all of us.

Find all episodes of The Positive Birth Story Podcast here.

Sharon D’Agostino: Recognizing our Common Ground

The Power of Your Story is a brand new podcast by Girls’ Globe in partnership with SayItForward.org. Say It Forward is the platform where every woman & girl is encouraged to share her remarkable and unique story. The platform focuses  of overcoming the fears, personal beliefs, or circumstances that have held her back. Through the power of storytelling, Say It Forward celebrates the strength, determination and triumphs of girls and women on their path to empowerment. Read the stories and share yours on Sayitforward.org

“When we share our stories, we are inviting other people to get to know us and to understand a bit about who we are. When we listen to their stories, we begin to see the many ways that we are similar and we recognise our common ground.”

In this very first episode you will hear from Sharon D’Agostino, who is the founder of Say It Forward. She has had a long career within the private sector and has for many years been a champion for women and girls. A few years ago she left her corporate job and started the storytelling platform Say It Forward. She has been a huge supporter of Girls’ Globe from the very beginning and we are grateful and thrilled to be collaborating with her wonderful organization. Sharon meets the world with love, and has a very humbling and powerful effect on others. We are in awe of the way she supports women and commits her life to sharing other’s stories. 

Talking to Sharon is Julia Wiklander, founder of Girls’ Globe. They speak about overcoming doubts, building confidence and finding your inner voice.  

“Throughout my life I have been really interested in the ways that women and girls navigate the challenges and opportunities they face because they were born female.”

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 the podcast app you use.

“Every single person I have ever met, I know that she is more amazing than she or he believes.”

Be inspired by Sharon’s journey and message to find your own strength within in this episode of The Power of Your Story Podcast.

The Cost of Sharing My Mental Health Story

Here at Girls’ Globe, we believe that storytelling is a way to bring about real change in the world. It’s something I believe in wholeheartedly. 

However, there is one issue in particular that I have written extensively about. I sometimes wonder if I should actually write about it. What are the real costs of doing so for me and the people in my life?

The issue is mental health.

The internet – social media in particular – has made talking about our mental health struggles easier and more accessible than ever before. Without leaving our homes, which we may be bound to due to anxiety or depression, we can share our experiences, read others’ stories, and connect with people who understand our struggles. We can feel, even if just a little, less alone.

Sharing publicy about issues that are still taboo and stigmatized in modern society can come with costs and consequences. Online trolls are always ready to dismiss or doubt our experiences, struggles and accounts of what has happened to us. 

Ever since I wrote my first post about my mental health on girlsglobe.org over two years ago, I’ve questioned my decision to be so open in such a public way about something I’ve hidden from others my whole life.

And then I wrote about it again – and then again and again and again. I wrote publicly, on the internet, for all to see. I also started sharing my mental health struggles on social media – sometimes just to my friends and at other times more widely.


Every time I press ‘send’, I feel a wave of anxiety but also a sense of relief.

On the one hand, writing publicly about my mental health struggles has been incredibly healing. It has helped me connect with others who are also struggling. I’ve received heart-warming comments from people thanking me for talking about something so stigmatized and telling me that my experience resonates with them.

On the other, writing about my struggles with anxiety and depression make me feel vulnerable and I fear people’s reaction. I fear what people who know me personally may think about me, since they’ll usually see me looking and acting so ‘well’ and ‘normal’.

I fear that sharing my personal stories of mental illness may harm my academic and work life, and even personal relationships.

What if a future date looks me up online, reads one of my mental health stories, and decides he doesn’t want to go out with me anymore? What are the costs of giving someone I’m still getting to know in person access to such a deep and intimate glimpse into my life online?

People have told me I’m brave and strong for being so honest and open about my mental health. This has been crucial to my healing. To talk about my anxiety and depression as something outside of myself has helped me realize that I’m more than my mental health issues (even though I still struggle to fully accept this).

But talking about it is still hard.

I still worry about how sharing my struggles may affect my life. Will it cost me friendships and romantic relationships? Will it cost me respect from colleagues and employers?

I don’t have a concrete answer, but I do know this: I want to live in a world where sharing our struggles about mental health or any other issue considered stigmatized will be accepted and respected. I want to be around people who accept vulnerability as a strength and not a weakness.

Most of all, I want to live what I say. And so, scared and all, I’ll keep sharing my story, because it’s one of the ways I’ve been healing. And maybe, reading my story may help someone in their healing journey. That makes all the costs feel worth it.

Connie’s Birth Story: voicing your fear and letting it out

“I really just feel like, ‘I did that?! I can do anything.'”

In Episode #19 of The Positive Birth Story Podcast, Connie shares her beautiful story. She talks about the power we hold inside of ourselves, explaining that it’s a power so strong it can feel frightening to come face to face with it during labour.


The Positive Birth Story Podcast features empowering & positive stories about birth. Swedish midwife Åsa Holstein shares her in-depth knowledge of birth and speaks to brave women who share their personal stories. This is a podcast with women for women about the super power that resides in all of us. Find all episodes of The Positive Birth Story Podcast here.

Gerri McHugh: Storytelling & Films for Change

Last November we wrote about a specific event: the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference. The event focused on the importance of female leadership in health and science and led us to create a series of blogs. In each post, we encounter a woman who has reached a position of leadership and can be a role model for many young women out there. 

We hope you will feel inspired, and maybe even decide to follow in their footsteps to become the leaders of tomorrow! 

Our second guest on the series is Gerri McHugh. Gerri is director and founder of Global Health Film, a nonprofit organization that promotes storytelling and film as tools of catalytic discussion and change. Her interesting lifepath shows that a career can be more like a series of interconnected roads, rather than a straight line. 

Gerri McHugh

Gerri has been working in positions of leadership for a long time. However, she hasn’t always been part of the nonprofit world. At the beginning of her career, she worked for profitable businesses. Something changed when, in her late 20s, Gerri lost her father. This triggered a series of life changes.

She came back to the UK, after years of living in the South of Europe, and started to work in the non-profit sector. She started in a junior role, but thanks to her commercial experience and the acquisition of an MBA degree (Master in Business Administration), she quickly advanced to a senior level.

After talking with Gerri, you realize how passionate she is about her work and it is not surprising to hear about her long-lived interest for social justice and fighting hidden inequities, such as female genial mutilation (FGM) and sexual violence as a weapon of war. She says she believes all people should live their life fully and be in a condition to utilize their potential and create their own opportunities.

“Luck is when an opportunity arises and you are ready to take it; you can create your own luck.”

Today, Gerri spreads knowledge through great movies from all over the world through Global Health Film. She is not a film-maker, but in 2011, a small group of people started a film club to organize a few movie events a year. They were all members of the Royal Society of Medicine and interested in storytelling. Then, in 2014, supported by a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, they started the adventure that led to Global Health Film as it is known today. 

“You need to understand what storytelling is, you don’t need to be a filmmaker; you just need to bring new ideas, which is very similar to scientific thinking.”

Volunteers at the Global Health Film Festival 2017


She continues by saying that storytelling is the perfect way to show the grey areas, because reality is never black and white. Movies have the capacity to show you different people’s perspectives, and can help you understand those perspectives. Understanding is fundamental to connection, especially when you talk about global health topics which are complex and involve multiple disciplines. A great movie can capture this complexity.  

When asked what leadership means to her, Gerri said leadership is risk-taking and being unafraid to fail. Adding to that, it is also a collective effort, so as a leader you need to make everybody part of the journey.

Gerri feels very hopeful about the future. She would like to tell every young woman to remember that she is unique, and needs to grab any opportunity to make the most out of her time on this earth.

Feeling inspired by Gerri’s story? Would you like to use movies to spark positive change? Look out for gathering places in your community for people who are passionate about journalism, photography and media. Spaces like Front Line Club in London host events and workshops are can be great opportunities to meet people and build networks.

There are also many study pathways to consider, such as an MBA in Communication. Admission criteria and fees vary around the world, but one example is the EU Business School with programs in different European cities and online. This could give you some ideas about where to start, but remember that everything always starts from within, from you.

Krissy’s Birth Story: the greatest meditation

The Positive Birth Story Podcast is back! In this episode we hear from Krissy Shields – founder of Maha Mama. She shares two very diverse experiences of giving birth – one hospital induced and one at home.


The Positive Birth Story Podcast features empowering & positive stories about birth. Swedish midwife Åsa Holstein shares her in-depth knowledge and speaks to brave women who share their personal stories. This is a podcast with women, for women about the super power that resides in all of us.

Find all episodes of The Positive Birth Story Podcast here.