Episode 3.4 Parenting, Mental Health, and Drinking Wine in a Rec Room with Marcelle Kosman

Content warning for discussions of mental health, depression, and infertility.

This episode opens with me explaining the entire premise of Secret Feminist Agenda to my long-term collaborator and dear friend Marcelle Kosman, because Marcelle does not listen to Secret Feminist Agenda, and the fact that my love for her is unimpeded by this negligence is a good sign of just how much I care for this human being. If you aren’t already a fan from Witch, Please, our formerly-fortnightly podcast about the Harry Potter world, then you certainly will be after you listen to her frank, vulnerable, and hilarious discussion of parenting, mental health, and the places where the two intersect. Here, have some links:

  • I was googling around and found this glorious manifestation of Marcelle and my friendship, which is clearly based on both of us being adorable rather than knowing one another particularly well.
  • My googles also led me to this great essay that Marcelle wrote, prior to the birth of Eliot, about baby showers and the disciplining of the female body. Oh, and it also explains my Foucault reference, so definitely read it!
  • And here’s a beautiful piece by feminist icon Anne Thériault about mothering with mental illness.
  • And, okay, here’s one more link, about raising your kids not to be fatphobic, which is only kind of related to this episode, but it’s still about raising kids to be compassionate and it’s such a great series so just go read it.
Read Transcription

The podcast theme song is “Mesh Shirt” by Mom Jeans off their album “Chub Rub.” Listen to the whole album here or learn more about them here.  Marcelle’s theme song is “Postdoc Blues” by John K. Samson, and you definitely need to go watch the beautiful video for it.

Secret Feminist Agenda is recorded and produced by Hannah McGregor on the traditional and unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

5 thoughts on “Episode 3.4 Parenting, Mental Health, and Drinking Wine in a Rec Room with Marcelle Kosman

  1. I’m one of the followers who travelled hear from Witch, Please and it was an absolute treat to get to hear you and Marcelle together! I love this episode and the thinking through of parenthood and the decisions around it. The one thing that I wasn’t comfortable with was the use of ableist language – talking about how you wanted to be ‘blind’ to escape the bad-at-small-talk colleague and the idea of a constant two parent system as ‘dumb’. I understand that neither of these were intended hurtfully, but obviously language has great power in shaping how we view the world. The ableist language used here trivialises disability, and feels distinctly hostile to any disabled followers – something I know is not your intention, with attempts to increase accessibility such as having podcast transcription. I guess what I’m trying to do here is to ask you to think about your language choices. Society in general as well as feminist and activist spaces continually marginalise the disabled community and minimise their experiences, and I think that this podcast is better than that. I’m linking a blog post by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2013/09/14/ableist-language/ highlighting why this is an issue we should care about.


    • Hi Megan! Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment. I have been working on identifying and getting rid of the ableist language in my vocabulary, and so I really appreciate your pointing out the places where I’ve fallen back on it — it’s really impossible to change how you speak without these kinds of reminders. I’m going to keep working to do better.


  2. So much feels ❤

    After I had an ectopic pregnancy, it took me an alarming amount of time to seek help. The world seemed grey and empty and everything was pointless and also I was having panic attacks and actual flashbacks, but I didn't want to bother anyone with just me being bad and lazy for not getting on with things. It wasn't until a year later, after I had also gone through divorce, my Mum was diagnosed with stage four cancer, I left my well paid stable job for a PhD, my Granddad died, and my Auntie died, that I recognised that if I didn't get help, I was not going to be able to do life at all.

    And a lot of that change was so tangled up in my head over my decision not to have kids (which was behind the kids), because I needed to concentrate on my own things right now. I love what I'm doing and my new lifestyle…. but I also associate that decision with my life falling apart and everything going wrong, and I still struggle with guilt over making that decision.

    i wish I had been able to know about myself earlier that I didn't want children. But I like children, and parenting is what people do, and I figured that I would regret it later if I hadn't had them earlier, right? The cultural narrative over having children, particularly for AFAB people, was so difficult to pick through enough to figure out what I was actually thinking.


    • Thanks for sharing this. You’re absolutely right, the narratives around having children are so challenging, and there are so few celebratory images of childlessness that it can be hard to imagine what a happy life could look like without kids. That’s why I’m also on the lookout for books about spinsters!


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