Ep 98: Sometimes Change Sucks  “Reflections at the 5 year Anniversary of the Manifesto Challenge” With Graeme Seabrook

Ep 98: Sometimes Change Sucks “Reflections at the 5 year Anniversary of the Manifesto Challenge” With Graeme Seabrook

In 2018, I sat down for a special Mother’s Day episode with Graeme Seabrook, a life coach and maternal health advocate, affectionately known by the thousands of mothers she supported as the “Mom for Moms.” We hit it off immediately, delving deep into her Motherhood Bill of Rights and my E.P.I.C. life framework, and noticing that both had become manifestos for how we wanted to live our lives while raising our children.

During that episode, we co-created what we called a Manifesto Challenge, inviting other mothers to create their own. And afterward, we would reconnect in some way each May, grateful to know that the episode and the challenge could spark an opportunity for others to reclaim themselves in motherhood.

In 2021, Graeme became ill and spent the next several years in bed, visiting doctors, and coming to terms with the fact that she had somehow suffered brain damage. Along the way, she realized she would need to burn her manifesto down to the ground before creating it anew. Living and mothering through hard and sometimes life-threatening times, and now feeling a little better, she has reemerged, reframing her work in the world as a front-porch philosopher who writes about the intersection between modern motherhood and humanity.

When I read a recent blog post from Graeme and realized this would be the five-year anniversary of the Manifesto Challenge, I reached out. I asked if she felt up to recording a special episode with me, where we could interview one another, reflect on the changes and challenges in our lives, and reconnect about the power of manifestos. 

I’m so glad that Graeme said yes to my invitation and I’m honored to share this episode with you. Our hour together was more unstructured than my typical interviews, real and unfiltered, and filled with Graeme’s signature blend of laughter, tears and powerful insights. I hope you’ll leave this conversation, as Graeme and I both did, open to the truth that change sometimes sucks, but that there can be unexpected joys discovered along the way, and that there is always power in owning and sharing our stories.

 

About Graeme Seabrook :

Graeme Seabrook was once a life coach and maternal mental health advocate who supported thousands of mothers. Since becoming disabled in 2021, she has reframed her work in the world and is now a front-porch philosopher who writes about the intersection between modern motherhood and humanity. When she’s not tending her garden, knitting on her porch, or playing video games with her kids, you can find her on Instagram or on her website – graemeseabrook.com.

 

Connect with Graeme Seabrook:

Learn more about one of Graeme’s unexpected joys, gardening, and how you can support her with her gardening dream here.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • Graeme’s experience navigating illness and disability, core experiences that have shaped her life over the last two years
  • The old and negative narratives about herself that Graeme has finally learned, in her bones, are untrue 
  • Author Octavia Butler’s words that have resonated for Graeme about change, and Graeme’s honest reflection that “sometimes change sucks” 
  • My wishes for Mother’s Day, everything from a sauna to a million Mom manifestos 
  • The recommendation from Graeme’s neurologist that resulted in a new passion, knitting, that she can do from her bed 
  • My son’s knee condition, osteochondritis dissecans, a “change that sucks” and some of the unexpected joys we have discovered even in the midst of it 
  • The words of wisdom Graeme has for me, a parent trying to support a child with a physical disability 
  • What I’m embracing at this stage of my life 
  • How Graeme’s husband and friends have shown up for her in amazing ways and what it has taught her about her own worthiness
  • Graeme’s commitment to write a mini-manifesto and why it’s more than ok to make it small 
  • An invitation to participate in this year’s 7 day Manifesto Challenge, a self-guided course  


Other Episodes Mentioned in this Conversation: 

 

This Episode’s Challenge:

Are you feeling lost or trapped in motherhood? Would you like to connect with your purpose and reclaim yourself? Join us in the Mother’s Quest 7-day Manifesto Challenge and explore important questions, through a self-guided course,  that will help you create a manifesto as a guiding light. Let’s open doors together and choose ourselves in honor of Mother’s Day.. Sign up here

Mother’s Quest May – Join Us! 

Happy Mother’s Quest May! This month, we’re celebrating all the incredible mothers (and those who mother!) on a quest to live an E.P.I.C. life – one that’s Engaged, Purposeful, Intentional, and Connected. Mother’s Day is approaching, and we want you to invest in yourself by following along as we share resources, opportunities, and inspiration.

One invitation we hope you say “yes” to is our fifth annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge! Create a powerful manifesto to guide your life with our 7-day course for just $7, culminating in a live celebration on Sunday May 21st 11 am PST on Zoom.

Season Eight of the Mother’s Quest podcast is also starting this month, featuring a special 5-year anniversary conversation with the manifesto challenge co-creator, Graeme Seabrook.

Join us this Mother’s Quest May as we come together to support, inspire, and uplift each other on our journeys as mothers and “whole human beings” as Graeme always says. Sign up for the Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, join the Mother’s Quest email list and become a member of the MQ Facebook group. Invest in yourself this Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Quest May Gift Guide 

Find a gift for yourself or a Mom you love! One day, Mother’s Day, isn’t enough, so this Gift Guide should be a source for inspiration all month long. See the specially curated items here

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

Throwback Thursday: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood With Graeme Seabrook

Throwback Thursday: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood With Graeme Seabrook

 

“We need these manifestos. We need each other. And we need each other’s stories.”  — Graeme Seabrook

For Season Seven, I’m excited to introduce our Throwback Thursdays segments!

In honor of Mother’s Quest turning 5 (such a great milestone!) we will be revisiting older episodes from the archives with messages that resonate more than ever. Whether you’ve heard the episode before, or its entirely new to you, I hope you find some treasures in these conversations that help you more fully live your E.P.I.C life.

This Thursday, in honor of our Mother’s Quest May Manifesto Challenge, I wanted to bring back this episode with Graeme Seabrook, known as “the Mom for Moms” which started the Challenge four years ago.

Graeme bases her approach to coaching on the belief that you need to put yourself first in order for you to thrive. Following a traumatizing birth experience and postpartum depression with  anxiety and PTSD, Graeme started her healing journey by teaching mothers and women to reclaim their humanity in a world and culture that expects women to be superhuman.

Listen in as Graeme shares with us the disillusionment she experienced in her first months of motherhood, and how she reached out for support to reclaim her life, something she then paid forward by creating and holding space for other mothers. You’ll also hear us lay out the inspiration for the Manifesto Challenge which has become an annual tradition.

Unfortunately, Graeme has been ill over the last year. She’s set up a GoFundMe to help fund her medical expenses. Proceeds from the Manifesto Challenge Course this month, now a self-guided journey with Reflection Journal, will go to Graeme’s GoFundMe. After she has given so much to our community, we now have an opportunity to support her! 

Not up for the Manifesto Challenge this year, or want to make an additional contribution?  You can help Graeme’s healing journey by going directly to her GoFundMe: Fundraiser by Graeme Seabrook: Help Graeme Heal


This Year’s Manifesto Challenge + Live Zoom Celebration with Andrea Scher:

Join us for this year’s Manifesto Challenge!

At the Mother’s Quest MemberVault, register for the Challenge and move through a reflective process, with video recordings and a special journal to capture your thoughts. All will lead you to create a guiding framework, or manifesto, that can become an anchor for how you want to live your life.

Then celebrate with me, recent podcast guest Andrea Scher and fellow MQ community members on May 24th. Register here for the live zoom event. Visit here for the episode with Andrea

Pay from the heart proceeds benefit Graeme’s GoFundMe.  Register here for self-guided experience: https://mothersquest.vipmembervault.com/…/courses/view/6

Mother’s Day has passed but it’s the right time to invest in ourselves. 

Reflect. Create. Celebrate.

 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The experiences that shaped Graeme’s childhood and conception of motherhood, including her observations of her own mother’s experience parenting, the many times her family moved, and how her home and heart landed in Charleston
  • Graeme’s honest retelling of her early months of motherhood where she remembers holding her baby and feeling like there was a wall between them
  • The E.P.I.C. spark moment that came when she shared her story online and received an outpouring of messages from other mothers going through the same experiences
  • Graeme’s “true truths” and the concept from her current favorite author, Octavia Butler, about God
  • Graeme’s description of the Ten Articles in the Mother’s Bill of Rights, how she champions and helps mothers reclaim themselves through this framework, and the support she offers in her Mom Center.
  • Graeme’s E.P.I.C. Snapshot moment revealed reflections on the legacy of our matriarchs, the mothers we claim for ourselves, and how we can become the ancestor we aspire to now.
  • A description of our co-created #OneMinuteMomManifesto challenge.

 

Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full show notes from the original episode here: Ep 41: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood ~A Mother’s Day Special~ with Graeme Seabrook

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/ 

Ep 61: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood: Revisited with Graeme Seabrook

Ep 61: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood: Revisited with Graeme Seabrook

“We need these manifestos. We need each other. And we need each other’s stories.”  — Graeme Seabrook

In honor of Mother’s Day 2019, I wanted to re-release this episode I recorded a year ago with Graeme Seabrooke of The Mom Center, Self-Care Squad and recently launched podcast, Your Mom Friend.

I so appreciated this conversation and the invitation Graeme and I co-created for you called the #oneminutemommanifesto. Graeme and I are all about helping mothers claim their lives and realized we each had crafted our own manifestos that were instrumental in reclaiming ours. For her it was her Mother’s Bill of Rights which you’ll hear us talk more about, and for me, it’s The E.P.I.C. Life framework that’s become the foundation of all things Mother’s Quest. We also realize that a manifesto doesn’t have to be long or time-consuming to create, but can be something you can declare in as little as one minute. 

Graeme and I have a vision one day for the creation and sharing of one million of these on social media using the hashtag #oneminutemommanifesto. This year, to support you in creating your own, I’m facilitating a Manifesto Challenge in the private Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, from May 13th to the 17th. You can join the group by visiting www.mothersquest.com/community. 

Each day, I’ll share a reflective prompt to help you claim the next chapter in your life and I’ll host a different mother, including Graeme, who will share their stories and their #oneminutemommanifestos for inspiration. 

I hope you’ll say “yes” to this challenge and creating your own #oneminutemommanifesto as a Mother’s Day gift to yourself. You must be a priority in your own life. And, this is an opportunity to claim it and declare it. Because as you’ll hear Graeme say in our conversation, “We need these manifestos. We need each other. And we need each other’s stories.”

Have an amazing Mother’s Day! 

Much appreciation,

P.S. Check out the announcement below to join us for the #oneminutemommanifesto Challenge in the Facebook Group in honor of Mother’s Day.

P.S.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by:

Desiree Adaway of the Adaway Group. Sign up for four weeks of reflection, discussion, and sisterhood through Desiree’s upcoming Sister Summer – a 4-week writing intensive. And learn to become a force for freedom –for your liberation and the liberation of others through the Freedom School.

In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • The experiences that shaped Graeme’s childhood and conception of motherhood, including her observations of her own mother’s experience parenting, the many times her family moved, and how her home and heart landed in Charleston.
  • Graeme’s honest retelling of the challenging early months of motherhood where she remembers holding her precious baby and feeling like there was a wall between them.
  • The E.P.I.C. spark moment that came when she shared her story online, received an outpouring of messages from other mothers going through the same experiences of emotional pain, depression, and anxiety and realized she needed to do something about it.
  • -Graeme’s “true truths” and the concept from her current favorite author, Octavia Butler, about God. It’s so powerful and a metaphor for the reciprocal relationship between parents and their children.
  • Graeme’s description of the Ten Articles in the Mother’s Bill of Rights, how she champions and helps mothers reclaim themselves through this framework and the support she offers in her Mom Center.
  • Graeme’s E.P.I.C. Snapshot moment which revealed reflections on the legacy of our matriarchs, the mothers we claim for ourselves, and how we can become the ancestor we aspire to now.
  • A description of our co-created #OneMinuteMomManifesto challenge.

Resources Mentioned:

This Week’s Challenge “Revisited”: 

Graeme and I have a vision one day for the creation and sharing of one million of these manifestos on social media using the hashtag #oneminutemommanifesto.

Join us in the private Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, from May 13th to the 17th.

Each day, I’ll share a reflective prompt to help you claim the next chapter in your life and I’ll host a different mother, including Graeme, who will share their stories and their #oneminutemommanifestos for inspiration. 

Hope to see you there! 

Announcements:

Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year

Anyone else feel like they need a spring reset to their year? 

A few months ago, we declared February the new January and facilitated a Mother’s Quest Workshop/Virtual Milestone Hike experience to help us all start again.

Using photos from my favorite local hike, I took a small group on a virtual journey to:

✨Reflect on our last chapter (as we ascend) 
✨Decide what we want to release (using an image of a big bad bonfire!) and what we want to carry forward
✨Then, set intentions along the E.P.I.C. guideposts for our new chapter. 

There’s a special planning sheet we created to guide you and help you document the whole process. 

🌟Truthfully, we can start fresh any time we choose.🌟

If you decide you want to reset and begin again, today, this afternoon or this weekend, using this experience and worksheet to support you. Just sign up here.

Join me on my #100dayproject Journey

I’m doing Lindsay Jean Thomson’s #100dayproject and decided to record 100 stories about the making of Mother’s Quest on my Mother’s Quest Bite-sized Reflections on Living an E.P.I.C. Life Podcast (an unedited sister podcast to my interview show.) Releasing perfectionism, I realized a few days in, these 100 episodes won’t be consecutive, but I’ll get to 100 still! There are almost a dozen recorded now and I’d love for you to tune in!

Follow Mother’s Quest on Anchor and join the #100dayproject!

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Ep 41: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood ~A Mother’s Day Special~ with Graeme Seabrook

Ep 41: Reclaiming Ourselves in Motherhood ~A Mother’s Day Special~ with Graeme Seabrook


I’m so honored to bring you this special Mother’s Day edition of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with Graeme Seabrook, a woman whose recent writing on reclaiming ourselves in motherhood through a Mother’s Bill of Rights had me laughing, crying and cheering out loud. The moment I read it, I knew I wanted to have this conversation on the podcast.

Graeme is a Motherhood Life Coach, who bases her approach to coaching on the belief that you must be a priority in your own life in order to thrive. Following a traumatizing birth experience and postpartum depression, anxiety, and PTSD, Graeme began a healing journey as a mother and a woman. Believing that our global culture treats mothers as if we’re inhuman and expects us to be superhuman, she helps mothers reclaim our humanity through her work as the founder of The Mom Center, a social and coaching network for mothers, and through her speaking and writing.

In our conversation, Graeme shared generously about her life-long quest to become a mother, the disillusionment she experienced in her first months of motherhood, and how she reached out for support to reclaim her life, something she now pays forward by creating and holding space for other mothers.

We discuss the ways that living an E.P.I.C. life resonates for her, the E.P.I.C. guideposts in her life, and how the floodgates for impact opened as she crystallized everything she’s experienced and thought about into the “Mother’s Bill of Rights” with Ten Articles which I think are revelatory: a mother’s right to Personhood, Privacy, Space, Care, Voice, Respect, Name, Dreams, Desire, and Visibility.

In time for Mother’s Day, I hope this conversation inspires you to examine your own truths and that you’ll record and share with us what you uncover using the hashtag #OneMinuteMomManifesto. It’s a co-created challenge, and a Mother’s Day Gift to you, from me and Graeme…an invitation to you for nothing less than a reclamation of your whole SELF.

This episode dedicated by:

Desiree Adaway of the Adaway Group. Sign up for four weeks of reflection, discussion, and sisterhood through Desiree’s upcoming Sister Summer – a 4-week writing intensive. And learn to become a force for freedom –for your liberation and the liberation of others through the Freedom School.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The experiences that shaped Graeme’s childhood and conception of motherhood, including her observations of her own mother’s experience parenting, the many times her family moved, and how her home and heart landed in Charleston.
  • Graeme’s honest retelling of the challenging early months of motherhood where she remembers holding her precious baby and feeling like there was a wall between them.
  • The E.P.I.C. spark moment that came when she shared her story online, received an outpouring of messages from other mothers going through the same experiences of emotional pain, depression, and anxiety and realized she needed to do something about it.
  • -Graeme’s “true truths” and the concept from her current favorite author, Octavia Butler, about God. It’s so powerful and a metaphor for the reciprocal relationship between parents and their children.
  • Graeme’s description of the Ten Articles in the Mother’s Bill of Rights, how she champions and helps mothers reclaim themselves through this framework and the support she offers in her Mom Center.
  • Graeme’s E.P.I.C. Snapshot moment which revealed reflections on the legacy of our matriarchs, the mothers we claim for ourselves, and how we can become the ancestor we aspire to now.
  • A description of our co-created #OneMinuteMomManifesto challenge.

This Week’s Challenge:

A challenge co-created by me and Graeme in honor of Mother’s Day to invite you to create your own one-minute manifesto about what you want to claim or reclaim in your motherhood. Use video, photos, poetry or any other form of your choice to express what matters most to you and share on social media using the hashtag #OneMinuteMomManifesto. Visitwww.facebook.com/MothersQuest for more information and inspiration. Help us reach our goal to inspire the creation of one million of these Mom Manifestos!

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Announcements:

Dedicate an Episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast

On this special Mother’s Day edition of the podcast, I want to honor my own mother Fran Lieberman, my mother in law Anne Neale, and the matriarchal ancestors that came before us, both biological and those as my guest Graeme Seabrook says we claim for ourselves.

I invite you to take a moment in honor of Mother’s Day to think about the mothers who have impacted you. And if there’s someone special you’d like to dedicate an upcoming podcast episode to, send an email tojulie@mothersquest.com. I’d love to hear your story and share how you can tell it on the podcast.

Spring into Your E.P.I.C. Life Clarity Coaching Package

Spring is an amazing time to more fully seed the E.P.I.C. Guideposts in your life. I’m opening a limited number of one-on-one coaching spaces for a 90 day coaching package that includes bi-weekly hour-long coaching sessions where I will help you mindfully close the chapter of the last season, identify your vision for what’s ahead, set strategic action steps for moving forward, and provide inspiration and accountability along the way. Email me at julie@mothersquest.com to set up a free discovery call and learn more.

Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot

I’m excited to announce that the first founding Mother’s Quest Virtual Circle has been filled. If you’re interested in a future circle, and want to receive notice when the applications open again, please add your name to this wait listjulie@mothersquest.com

Help us Grow the Mother’s Quest Community

If you’re finding value from the Mother’s Quest Podcast and would like to get more involved, please join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, help us find more like-minded mothers on a quest by spreading the word and sharing your favorite episodes, and make a donation or apply to dedicate an episode. You can also share your story on the Mother’s Quest Blog.

Acknowledgements:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Desiree Adaway
  • Rachel Steinman
  • Katie Hanus
  • Denise Barreto
  • Sage B. Hobbs
  • Samantha Nolan-Smith
  • Jody Smith
  • Emily Cretella
  • Collette Flanagan
  • Titilayo Tinubu Ali
  • Carly Magnus Hurt
  • Lizzy Russinko
  • Suzanne Brown
  • Mara Berns Langer
  • Mallory Schlabach
  • Katharine Earhart
  • Jessica Kupferman
  • Jen Jenkins Dohner
  • Genese Harris
  • Tonya Rineer
  • Liane Louie-Badua
  • Cristin Downs
  • Erin Kendall
  • Niko Osoteo
  • Erik Newton
  • Claire Fry
  • Divya Silbermann
  • Rachel Winter
  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman
  • Cameron Miranda
  • Fran and David Lieberman
  • Debbie and Alan Goore
  • The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Ep 102: Milestone Hike Revisited: A Mother Son Neurodiversity Journey

Ep 102: Milestone Hike Revisited: A Mother Son Neurodiversity Journey

Welcome to this first episode of Season Nine of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with a returning and special guest, my own son Ryan Neale.

I first sat down to record an episode with Ryan in 2017, on his 13th birthday, after we embarked on a milestone hike, using the ascent and descent at our local Sugarloaf Peak to pack up the lessons of his first 13 years of life and my first 13 years of motherhood. 

At that time, Ryan knew he wanted to close out his teenage years the same way he began them. So this past March, in what felt like the blink of an eye, his 20th birthday approached and Ryan returned from college so we could set out on the trail again.

Though the path was familiar, we soon recognized just how much we each had grown, maturing through heartache and triumph in our own ways.

We knew we would want to record our reflections from the hike again in a special recording studio and with the support of someone who might help us go even deeper. The answer to our quest appeared in the form of Tricia Creason-Valencia, co-founder of PowerHouse, and who Ryan and I have been partnering with on a new initiative, the Autism Storytelling Project.

It therefore also felt right to invite Tricia to dedicate this episode. Listen in for her beautiful dedication. You’ll also hear her voice toward the end of our conversation, asking us each a question that brought us both to tears. 

Along with some tears, there were many moments of insight and even some laughter, as we share about this 20 year milestone in both of our lives, the lessons we’ve learned about our neurodivergent identities especially, and about the exciting chapters unfolding for us.

It was a gift to experience this and also to share it with you. Ryan and I both hope this conversation inspires you to find your unique way to mark the milestones in your life, to reflect mindfully with your children, and to give yourselves opportunities to see one another, champion one another, and to grow alongside one another.

About Ryan Neale

Ryan Neale is a neurodivergent sophomore at UCLA, planning to double major in Communication and Disability Studies with a minor in Film Studies. He is part of the College Scholars Program at UCLA and recently was selected as part of the 2023 Chancellor’s Leadership Program cohort. He is passionate about neurodiversity advocacy and sharing his own experiences to pave the way for others. He is currently a staff member at the Bruin Resource Center, where he is a student lead on a new campus-wide neurodiversity initiative, the Bruin Neurodiversity Collective, to make UCLA more inclusive for students like him. This summer, he served on staff for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project – Research, Education, and Advocacy Camp for high schoolers wanting to create neurodiversity advocacy projects. He was also a speaker at the 2021 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit and has been a guest host on the Mother’s Quest Podcast. Ryan was diagnosed with autism at the age of 18 months old and also identifies with ADHD and anxiety.

Connect with Ryan

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The origins of our first milestone hike and why it was important to Ryan to end his teenage years in the same way he began them. 
  • Ryan’s grappling with his autistic identity, and how his desire to be “normal” over his teenage years was like navigating a “toxic ex.” 
  • Our growth and learning journey as a spiral, inviting us to revisit similar challenges but with new levels of self-awareness and knowledge. 
  • How Ryan’s perception of autism shifted over time, from internalized ableism and heavy masking toward self-acceptance and more authenticity.. 
  • My diagnosis of ADHD just before my 50th birthday and how my own perceptions of neurodiversity have shifted. 
  • The ways that both of us used our voices to highlight gaps in support for neurodivergent students at UCLA and how that led to Ryan co-founding The Bruin Neurodiversity Collective. 
  • Ryan’s first quarter at UCLA crash and burn and how writing his story about that experience for Business Insider was a turning point. 
  • How Ryan putting himself out there and experiencing rejection after rejection ultimately led him to the greatest gift of all. 
  • The letter of acknowledgment I wrote for Ryan about all the qualities I see in him. I read through tears but am so glad I persevered and could share it with him (and you!)
  • The power of mother and son sharing and growing alongside one another. 

This Episode Dedicated by: Tricia Creason-Valencia and The Autism Storytelling Project

Tricia Creason-Valencia is a dynamic force in the world of filmmaking, education & community building. Through the art of storytelling, Tricia weaves her own raw narrative of mothering, making movies, resilience and rediscovery. As an Emmy-Nominated Director/Producer, Motivational Speaker and Co-Founder of PowerHouse, she pioneers the way for women, people of color and youth to amplify their voices and claim their power through creative expression. She believes, deep in her soul, that truth-telling fosters empathy and connection, serving as a catalyst for social change.


About The Autism Storytelling Project

The Autism Storytelling Project empowers young autistic people who aspire to tell authentic autistic stories through creative expression by awarding unrestricted grants. The goal of the project is to expand understanding about autism by elevating stories about the personal experiences of autistic young people ages 16-25 in Santa Clara County, CA. All forms of art and creative expression are welcome, but the story must focus on the artist’s lived experience as an autistic person, or on autism as a whole. Connect with the Autism Storytelling Project:

About PowerHouse 

PowerHouse is a creative co-working space for women+ entrepreneurs, video and podcasting production studio and venue for professional development & creativity workshops committed to amplifying women’s voices. PowerHouse is a women & minority-owned social entrepreneurship venture in the heart of downtown San Jose founded by Farran Tabrizi and Tricia Creason-Valencia.


Other Related Episodes and Resources: 

Mother’s Quest May Gift Guide – Gift Yourselves and the Mothers You Love Beyond Mother’s Day!

Put yourself on your priority list and choose something special for yourself this Mother’s Day. Take a peek inside the Mother’s Quest Gift Guide at some of my favorite things I’ve curated for you. 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

In celebration of our recent 100th episode, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 reviews to honor our 100th episode milestone of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest