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Meet Naomi Mendes-Pouget

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Naomi Mendes-Pouget. Naomi was introduced to us by one of the most helpful folks we know Milli Fox.

Hi Naomi, we’re so thrilled to have you sharing your story with us today. Maybe we can kick things off by having you introduce yourself to our readers? We’d love to have you go into your story and how you got to where you are today.
For as long as I can remember, I have always deep down been a disruptor. I’ve questioned the way things are ‘always done’, and then proven why and how they can be done differently. I’ve gone against the grain, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do.

I definitely got penalized for it, growing up as a queer (though I didn’t know it), hairy, “tomboy” daughter of immigrants. I stuck out like a sore thumb and I felt it. It felt like either fit in, or get out. So, as a survival instinct, I learned to try to mould myself to blend in more. I got by. I focused on my academics and had great results and achievements. I feel like that’s where I got a lot of my validation– from external sources based on achievements. My social circumstances were lackluster at best. By trying to please everyone, I connected deeply with very few people. Looking back, high school was a lonely experience, because my self-love was missing. (Don’t worry, the story gets better I promise!)

I was lucky enough to go against the grain and to follow my gut when I picked my University major, though. I knew I loved engaging both sides of my brain. I loved languages, arts, and creativity; and I also loved science, math, and logic. So, naturally, I found the University of Guelph’s Arts & Sciences major and went for it. That was the first of many fantastic decisions and instances where I followed my gut, even though everyone was pushing me towards focusing on the sciences because it would “lead to better careers”…

I soon found out, through the grapevine, about the midwifery profession. Upon analysis, I realized it was the most profound and beautiful marriage between the arts & humanities and the sciences I had ever witnessed! I was hooked. I applied to the degree program at Ryerson University (soon to be renamed), and when I didn’t get in on the first try, I did what all second year students do… drop out and become a Flight Attendant. Naturally.

I knew midwifery was my end goal, and the program I was in at Guelph was no longer serving me, so again, I followed my gut and leaped completely against the grain. “Dropping out” felt like committing a crime. I was doubted, cross-examined, interrogated– the whole nine yards. But I stuck to my guns through it all, somehow.

Becoming a Flight Attendant (FA), temporarily, was a completely life-changing decision–for the better. I was among the first group of FAs at a budding international airline, and as such I had incredible seniority. It wasn’t long before I was making my own schedule and flying where I wanted, and being promoted to Lead Flight Attendant on most flights. On my time off, I would travel the world. It was an absolutely incredible experience as a young person, and while I happily let it go to pursue my bigger dreams, it also left me with another sweet bonus gift: my now spouse!

Eventually, in my third year in the midwifery program, I was in an intensive clinical placement as a student midwife, and I had to leave Flight Attending behind.

That clinical placement also completely broke me down as a person. I was simply not prepared for the emotional and mental abuse I would endure from my preceptors who didn’t really want a student to begin with. In their eyes, I would never measure up, and all I wanted was compassion, guidance, leadership, and empathy. I also realized, in hindsight, that it wasn’t the right profession for me. I was destined for even more. Read on.

I dropped out out of sheer exhaustion, but it allowed me the time and space to heal and to realize what wasn’t lining up: I was meant to be of more SUPPORT rather than medical care. Every instance where I shined as a student was in supporting my clients, and helping them feel prepared and safe and cared for.

That realization led me to the Doula profession. I now know I’ve found my true calling, after working with countless clients, being in my zone of genius and truly making a difference in peoples’ lives. I have unlimited respect for midwives, but it just wasn’t the right fit for me and that’s okay. I definitely went through a grieving period because my identity was so tied up in midwifery that I had to completely reinvent myself and start from scratch, and from a place of really low self-esteem at that.

Since becoming a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, I launched my own postpartum support services company in 2020 called The Postpartum Nest, and in 2021 I have expanded to reach more people via virtual coaching, consulting and support services.

My audience for almost the whole life of the company was ‘everyone’. I was happy with that and convinced it was the best option for me.

But by working with my own life & business coach, I soon realized I wasn’t in my whole truth within my business and life. She helped me realize that by trying to speak to everyone, I was truly speaking to no one.

Turns out, I had been hiding my gifts of imperfection from the world (thank you Brene Brown)! Turns out I had been neglecting a huge part of who I am: a Queer person who lives outside of the gender and sexuality norms. I didn’t think it was relevant to anything or anyone, seeing as how I was in a monogamous relationship that passes to the world as simply heterosexual. I thought I was just “rebellious” or “weird”. I realize now the immense privilege I had in that kind of hiding. I also realize now that I was doing a major disservice to the other Queer-identifying folks who need trailblazers and leaders to help move our community forward toward more visibility, safety, and empowerment in this world!

It has since become my mission to center Queer folks in my business. My mission is to help Queer folks and allies have the most empowered, safe, and supported perinatal and new-parenthood experience possible. I am absolutely determined to raise the collective consciousness and advocacy surrounding perinatal health & well-being. I want everyone to know profoundly that they have options and that their experience can be beautifully nuanced and unique to them and their family.

I have also made huge personal strides in living life openly and visibly as a “woman” who is hairy. I now identify as a genderqueer woman and it has been massively validating and freeing.

My decision not to remove body hair came to me when my daughter was born in 2019. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I needed to actually live my truth and practice what I’ll be preaching: that they are worthy and wonderful the way they are, and that she NEVER has to change any part of herself to conform or please others. That is a lesson I wish I had learned wayyyy sooner in life, and wish that I had had role models for!

My hope is that when other people–especially kids and youth– see my leg hair and queer visibility, that their mind is instantly broadened to accept the possibilities for themselves and for humanity. I never saw women with leg hair growing up, so I didn’t even consider that it was within the realm of possibility to just be my natural self out in public. I was conditioned to believe that body hair on a woman was an affliction that had to be mitigated at all–and great– costs.

Please tell us more about your practice.
We proudly help other Queer soon-to-be and new parents and our allies have abundant, empowering, well-supported, safe, transformative perinatal and new-parenthood journeys. We do our best work in 1:1 settings where we offer custom-tailored coaching, consulting, and support throughout the perinatal and specifically postpartum journey–as an individual, a parent, a couple, a family. We specialize in preparing PREnatally for the postpartum period. We serve folks both virtually AND in-person. We’ve also just launched The Queer Nest Club, for Queer expectant and new-parents to find their ‘village’ (because it does take a village!) and access support! Community and support are vital to perinatal well-being, happiness and thriving. Our greater purpose and what drives us every day is to have more happy and healthy Queer and ally parents and families, and to reclaim power currently held by patriarchal systems within the perinatal world. When families thrive, it has a ripple effect through neighborhoods, countries, and the world. New parenthood is a powerful opportunity for healing and transformation. And one of our foundational tenets that guides us is the fundamental importance of self-love in the perinatal journey. Self-love is revolutionary. There’s a cultural myth in Western society that new parents can ‘figure it out on their own’ and ‘get through’ life with a new baby. We are here to disrupt! We say EFF figuring it out on your own. Societal norms will have you feeling like struggle is a badge of honour, and asking for help is weakness. False! It takes courage and humility to ask for help whenever it is desired, and it can have extremely powerful results! And we are here to make this major life transition enjoyable, not just ‘get through it’. Nobody was ever meant to do the new-parent thing on their own. Support and community are key! As a brand, we are committed to being sensitive but having fun, being authentic and imperfect, and celebrating what makes each person, and each family, unique. And we are here to also dispell the myth of the perfect parent. Just because you’re becoming a parent or are going through it again, doesn’t mean you have to become a boring, perfect, self-sacrificing, identity-less parent! Planning for an awesome perinatal & new-parenthood experience doesn’t have to be boring. It should highlight your uniqueness and what makes you awesome–not try to cram you into a box or pass you through a perinatal conveyor belt. Your perinatal education and support throughout your journey should empower you and inform you of options you never even knew you had. And it CERTAINLY doesn’t have to be the cisnormative, hyper-feminine, heteronormative, patriarchal stuff we are used to! Not all people who birth are women or mothers. All bodies are incredible. And spoiler alert! Babies don’t come from storks. I’m here to flip the current birth paradigm on it’s head and crack it open–making a positive, empowered, safe, and supported perinatal & new-parenthood experience much more accessible and available to the masses. Everyone deserves this–in all their unique glory.

Milli Fox and Milli Fox Inc have been great to us and I know you’ve got a great relationship with them as well. Maybe you can tell our audience a bit about Milli and Milli Fox and your experience with them.
I first discovered Milli through a mutual Instagram account that had taken one of her programs and recommended her. I was immediately intrigued! I soon learned that she was launching that program again and my gut told me I needed and wanted it. The very first lesson came before I even signed up and started working with her, and I was completely stopping myself from investing in her service. It was a self-worth and a money scarcity mindset issue. She encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, shift into abundance, and trust my gut and myself. It absolutely worked. I connected with her, her mission, her education, and her leadership immediately.

After that program, and a few other Masterclasses and calls, I decided to hire Milli as a 1:1 life and business coach. This has been a dream come true for me. A dream I never even knew I had until earlier this year. I was brought up through a scarcity mindset and lens, and that is absolutely how I viewed the world and lived my life up until this year. I had no idea of the potential that awaited me when I would shift into abundance with Milli’s guidance and leadership. Though I still have lots of growth to do, the growth I have experienced in this half of a year has been exponential and nothing short of miraculous.

It is well-worth noting that she single-handedly helped guide me deeper towards my truth. She helped me uncover that serving the Queer community was what I was meant to do. I strongly believe this. She has a visionary gift! She has faith and vision for her clients. It has changed my entire life. She has helped me step into my truth on such a deep level.

She has helped me greatly improve my self-worth, self-image, self-trust…and catches my old, limiting beliefs and habits and helps me course-correct, in a very compassionate and empathetic way. My confidence, determination and resilience have SKY-ROCKETED. She has helped me fundamentally understand manifesting success, from a humane, compassionate, worthiness lens. There is absolutely no going back from here, only up & up! When our first package was ending, I couldn’t wait to continue working with her, to keep growing and expanding. I’ve written in my gratitude journal so many times how grateful I am for her coaching. The expansion is REAL!

I think what sets her apart as a coach, for me, is her humanity-centered practice. Wholeheartedness is the cornerstone of her coaching practice. She treats you as a whole human, not as an entrepreneurial robot. She helps bring the feminine (and at times masculine) energies when required. She is a parent herself, so I connect with her in that way as well. She doesn’t tell me how to do things. She knows from her own experience that this doesn’t actually work. She fundamentally knows that each person is different, and she uses human design to drive that fact home. Her incorporation of human design has been so validating and has helped me understand myself on a deeper level.

Website: https://queernest.co

Instagram: instagram.com/myqueernest

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-postpartum-nest/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thepostpartumnest

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDKAA0JTI73wksjSiVIM9WA

Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/thepostpartumnest/

Image Credits
Erika Matkovich

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