Interview with Vanessa Roworth from A Balanced Life
I first met Vanessa Roworth and her gorgeous baby Betsy when she attended one of my Healthy Tasty Treats Workshops. She has looked out for me and been supportive in many different ways ever since, despite being a busy career mum. Her giving nature led her to expand her existing counselling work to offer support for mums-to-be in their conception journey, a service that is strangely lacking in our society. Not any more. I am struck by her strength, positive and abundant energy.. Find out more about Vanessa below.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a single mum by choice and have 1 daughter Betsy and she is 11 months old. I had Betsy in my late forties with assistance from an IVF clinic in Sydney and in Greece. She is my only child and had I have started the journey into motherhood earlier, I would have had more children. I run my own business called A Balanced Life and provide conception coaching and counselling to adults.
What is a conception coach?
Conception coaching is an idea that I turned into a reality in the last 12 months. It wasn’t until after I had my baby that I started to think about adding a service to help others who are in assisted reproductive/fertility programs and decided to add conception coaching to my business. I had been in and out of these programs for 4 years and what I found was there were a lot of services out there for preconception care for the body, Such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, massage, herbalists to name a few, but no one was looking after the emotional and thinking processes for anyone in the programs.
Being in the assisted reproductive/fertility program such as IVF was a lonely process. I had stopped telling people I knew that I was undergoing treatments to have a baby. Most were too opinionated and judgemental, some tried to talk me out of it and most of all I didn’t want to keep reliving the grief and loss by telling people when a round of treatments had not been successful. I was lucky that I had a couple of friends who had been through the programs before me and they were supportive and understood how I was feeling.
My beliefs and values about being a woman, a mother, starting a family later in life, being single, being judged by everyone including my family and society at large was all being tested, turned upside down and inside out.
I had not been through an experience like this before and felt I needed a qualified therapist that could understand it all and had been through the same or similar experience as me who could help me to understand what was happening and how to make sense of it for me. When you are in these programs, you feel out of control most of the time as your life is dictated by blood tests, taking artificial hormones, having internal scans, begin prodded and poked every other day. I felt, and so did many others, that they had given over their bodies and lives to the process of IVF and normality of their lives had faded away.
I spoke to many women who I had met in previous years (from swim classes, to mothers groups, and acquaintances I had met along the way) that had also been in the various programs like I had. I asked many of them how they felt going through these programs and who they had to help them emotionally and psychologically along the way. I was surprised to learn we had the same or similar experience and some had seen counsellors and felt they were not helpful at all. Mostly because they couldn’t assist them in a way they needed. So I decided that as I was a degree trained counsellor and coach I would start offering conception coaching to help others navigate their way on their journey too. I came up the name of conception coaching myself, as I had not heard of it before. I then started to develop how I could take my own experience and help others that were also in these programs.
What do you enjoy about your work as a Life/Conception Coach and Counsellor?
I have always loved people’s stories and each story is unique and interesting. I really enjoy working with people and helping them get back to what is important to them, that being; work life balance, relationships and living congruently with their values and beliefs. My conception coaching is so full of hope for a future and bringing acceptance and balance back into the lives of the parents to be is such an honour to work with them on their journey.
What does healthy eating mean for you?
Healthy eating is paramount in my home. Having good quality produce that is organic and pasture fed meat and fish feeds my families body, mind and spirit. We need our body and brain function to work optimally in this busy world and when it is healthy it works much better for us.
What are 5 of your kitchen pantry essentials?
Organic Coconut oil
Organic olive oil
Himalayan pink salt
Good quality nuts and seeds
What do you indulge in?
Good quality food
Beautiful hand made teas from Ovvio
Chocolate coated macadamias from Byron Bay Coffee Company
A nourishing face cream
What are some of the things you value most in life?
Family, health, loving supportive friends, living in a vibrant city, being free to live life to the fullest and grab any opportunity that is available to me.
What is your favourite quote?
I have 2 if I can share both with you.
When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about & that was the beginning of fairies. J.M. Barrie
And the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin
Do you find time to nurture yourself? What does this involve?
I don’t have a lot of time these days with a small baby. I grab a few minutes each day to breathe deeply and quieten my mind with meditation. I love to cook and this helps to relax me. I take long baths and get a good night sleep most of the time.
What are your tips to staying happy and healthy?
I believe that good health encompasses, mind body and spirit. I can target all 3 with good healthy food as I am nourishing myself from the inside out. I go for walks each day with the baby and the dog. I laugh a lot and find a positive in all my challenges. I am grateful every day and don’t take myself too seriously.
What do you and Betsy like to do on the weekend?
We love to walk in Centennial Park and go to the duck pond and feed the ducks.
We play with her toys and our dog Maudie
Go for long walks
Would you like to share one of your favourite healthy recipes?
Slow cooked leg of lamb in a cast iron pot.
Ingredients, all organic
A leg of pasture fed lamb
2 lemons cut in half
2 bay leaves
4 large ripe tomatoes, heirloom if possible, chop into small pieces. Or use 1 can of organic chopped or crushed tomatoes.
2 tablespoons of Ovvio Grecian Herb & Spice Blend
Home made stock
Handful of black olives
Salt and pepper
Brown off the lamb in the cast iron pot with a few tablespoons of coconut oil on the stove. Takes about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes, lemons, bay leaves, and olives and cover the lamb about 2/3rd with the stock.
Add salt and pepper to taste. I sometimes put in whole pepper and then take them out when serving.
Cover with the lid and put into the oven on 120 C for up to 6 hours. I have many times cooked it for 12 to 18 hours on 90 C. The liquid can be spooned over the meat every few hours. Sometimes I add in sweet potato to the mix too.
I serve with vegetables; either roasted or steamed and if you like to add quinoa, serve it on the side or under the lamb.