Angela Boyle is a mother, social worker and Author living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and we had a quick chat to her about her new book Marvellous Me.
1. Tell us a little about you Ang.
I am a Mother, social worker and Author living on the northern beaches of Sydney. I have spent a lot of my career working with children and their families, and since having my own family I was even more inspired to use my writing (and talking!) skills to help other people.
Writing has also helped me to tap into my inner-wisdom and start trusting my ‘gut’ more. This skill has served me beautifully on my journey into motherhood and also quite profoundly in publishing this book, for example being in the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time and meeting the ‘right’ people to help me along the way.
I like to spend time at the beach with my family, and to go bushwalking and bike riding together. I also really enjoy my own company and like to practice Bikram yoga regularly. This has helped me find more balance in my life, as well developing a new relationship and appreciation for my body.
- Marvellous Me is such a lovely book, who is your inspiration?
Thanks! The book was actually written after the birth of my first son 4 years ago, and my inspiration on a daily basis is my kids! Kids are only ever in the moment, and they remind me every day of the beauty in simply ‘being’ in the moment rather than ‘doing’ or ‘planning’ the next thing. They are marvellous just because they exist and in writing this book I have been inspired to live my life more from this place, that my existence is enough, rather than coming from the space that I need to do or say anything to be worthy.
- Was there a pinnacle moment that made you take the plunge and become an author?
I don’t know that I thought about being an author as much as I thought about how much I wanted to get this message to the world. I had been sharing my writing with groups of women in my life and it amazed me time and time again that they always responded positively. Then, once I finished up paid work a couple of years ago it was actually my husband’s idea to see if we could find a publisher to help me make my dream a reality.
- Why is the books message so important to you?
The books message is important to me because although it is so simple, I know that it is such an easy one to forget. I know that it is so easy (particularly after having one or more kids) to get caught up in the ‘doing’ ourselves and therefor we can get overly focused on the same in our children’s lives. However, I feel that if we all came from the belief that our existence was enough there would be higher levels of self-esteem, resilience and courage in our children and with each other. This is my hope for my children and all children. This is my hope for the world.
- What would you like kids to take home after reading Marvellous Me?
Marvellous Me takes the reader on a journey into the magic of their existence. It has a take home message for children and adults alike – that there is nothing we need to ‘do’ or ‘say’ to be loved. Our birthright is love and our existence is enough. Marvellous Me and Marvellous You!
“Marvellous Me” written for Marvellous You
I want to share with you a story, about a story.
Four years ago, my life changed forever with the birth of my first son. I was lucky enough to really enjoy my pregnancy with him and felt that the ease of the pregnancy was setting us up for a nice transition into parenthood. Little did I know that at 30 weeks I would be admitted to hospital due to a premature rupture of membranes (my waters broke) and in just under two weeks after that, we would meet our baby. Our little boy was born two months early and weighed only 1400grams. Meeting him for the first time was far from the fairy-tale and even romantic moment that I could have imagined. However; despite his almost translucent skin, frail body and tadpole-like appearance, being wheeled up to him on a hospital stretcher was the most incredible moment of my life.
Like any parent, when I looked at him for the first time, all I saw was perfection.
He didn’t have to do anything for me to love him in that I instant, it was literally love at first sight and I would have died a thousand deaths in order to keep him alive. This moment is one that I will cherish forever and was the impetus for me writing my first children’s book Marvellous Me. The whole purpose of the story was to remind little people of their marvellousness in simply ‘being’. It talks about the fact that it is not what we do, or how we look that makes us okay, it suggests that our very existence is enough. I’m sure we can all remember as parents that moment, or those moments where we were literally gobsmacked with love for our children, without them having to ‘do’ a thing! Why is it then, that we so quickly forget this; and then so easily slip into hanging their self-esteem and self-worth on their excellent grades, their popularity or even because of what they look like? I know why, because that is what we learnt. And that is what we do to ourselves.
We see ourselves as valuable or worthwhile because of certain ingrained ideals around how we look, what we do for work or because of how selflessly we juggle being a mum with all of the other commitments and priorities in our life. One of my favourite authors, Brené Brown, often says: ‘’We can’t give our children what we don’t have ourselves” and that it only just sinking in for me now … so after deciding to publish Marvellous Me which initially was written with a message for children, I felt that the universe asked me to step up and start living this truth in my own life. I saw that it had a message for all of us and if I wanted children to get it, adults needed to get it first! I experienced severe postnatal depression after the birth of my second son. I was totally unprepared for the slow and firm hold it took over my life on a daily basis. I felt that if I had developed PND after the experience with my first son, with the trauma of his difficult birth and early arrival, that would have made sense, and I could have possibly given myself permission for that.
But having experienced it after a beautiful birth with my second son, and a relatively uncomplicated time with feeding and settling him, that felt like such a failure on my part! (For more information on my experience with PND please see my story PND and Me) Coming out the other end of PND, alongside publishing a children’s book was interesting timing. The editing process alone, reading and re-reading the words, really got me thinking about what they meant for me. So I revisited my own start in life. I wondered how things might have been different if I had known from the very beginning that just being born was ‘enough’. That my mere existence was enough? I think we all have memories of that on some level, but it doesn’t take long for the messages to take over around the need to ‘do’; to ‘perform’; to ‘achieve’ and to ‘succeed’.
And so how have I made sense of all of this? I have started to welcome in all of the parts of me that I had previously tried to keep separate or quiet about. I have started talking about my experience with PND because I realise it did not define my experience as a mother; it was simply part of my journey. Above all, I have started daily reminders to myself that I am enough! That my existence is enough! These continue to provide me with a sense of freedom beyond words as I realise that I do not have to ‘do’ anything to be worthy. So this is a story about my story, Marvellous Me.
My hope is that my first children’s book will be a reminder for all of us about the magic in our existence.
Please visit my website to get your copy of the book and help me share this important message.