The Becoming Podcast – Season 2; Episode 8: Aurélie Athan on the psychology of matrescence, motherhood as a path to spiritual growth + the “next level” of postpartum support

Sep 15, 2020


Welcome to the eighth episode of The Becoming Podcast!


I am delighted to have Dr. Aurélie Athan on the show with me today. Aurélie is a professor at Columba University in New York City, and is the world’s leading researcher in matrescence and the transition to motherhood.

To say that this conversation was absolutely sparkling is an understatement. Aurélie and I talked about what matrescence, or the transition to motherhood, is, and, as she says, “how to raise a mother.”  We talked about the pathologization and the potential of this transition in women’s lives, and how challenging our modern-day context can make this process of initiation and growth.

We dove into the inner workings of the psychology of matrescence with a depth of conversation that is rare in today’s discourse around postpartum, talking about “the next level” of postpartum support that goes beyond saying *that* the transition to motherhood happens and into *how* it happens.

We also talked about motherhood as a spiritual path, a path toward sovereignty and self-authorship, matricentric feminism, and the competencies that motherhood teaches us that lend themselves to leadership and, you know, smashing the patriarchy and saving the world.

It’s no exaggeration to say that this is probably one of the richest conversations about the psychology of matrescence I’ve heard (and gotten to participate in!) in all my years of working in this field.  This truly is the “next level” of how we understand and traverse the transition to motherhood, and it will be fascinating for both mothers and birth and postpartum support workers alike.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



Listen to the episode on iTunes



Show Notes…


Aurélie’s Matrescence website


Reproductive identity website


Three of Aurélie’s (excellent) academic papers on spiritual development during motherhood


Pitocin, Pinterest + Patriarchy:  why becoming a mother has never been harder


My Body is Your Wonderland (and other thoughts on reclaiming the matriarchy)


Graeme Seabrook, the “mom for moms”




The 2020 Season of the MotherSHIFT program


begins September 29th and completes on December 15th.


  Registration is OPEN, and remaining spaces are limited.


MotherSHIFT is a three-month program (yes, a full trimester of support) for women in the first 2-3 years of motherhood who want support with the deep identity shift that becoming a mother represents.


MotherSHIFT is where you turn when your postpartum doula has packed up her magic Mary Poppins bag and your neighbours have stopped delivering casseroles…


MotherSHIFT can help you make sense of who YOU are, as a woman, now that you’re a mother.

It’s a place to receive guidance through the unknown, to be mothered as you mother. To know that your experience is real, meaningful, and okay.

MotherSHIFT will help you learn the skills and traditional wisdom that are your birthing-right as you traverse this rite of passage

and it’s a place to grow real friendships and receive wholehearted support.


Find out more by clicking the image below:




Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more women find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!