Jill Blakeway wears a lot of hats. She’s a wife, mom, doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, the Founder and Director of The YinOva Center, energy healer, herbalist, author, teacher, and the host of CBS Radio’s “Grow. Cook. Heal.”
The New York Times has named her one of the city’s top acupuncturists, coining her the “fertility goddess” for the work she does in helping women get pregnant. It has been estimated that Jill has done over 60,000 treatments over the course of her career.
From the moment I started interviewing Jill, I knew I was in for a lively, honest and moving conversation. Jill is not only a driven woman who’s not afraid to take risks, but also an incredible connector, communicator and listener. She has a way of understanding life, people and what truly matters at the end of the day like no one I have ever come in contact with.
I THINK SHE WHO DARES WINS. I THINK LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE PARALYZED BY FEAR AND SELF-DOUBT. IT’S OK TO MESS UP, AND IT’S OK TO FAIL. IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT PICKING YOURSELF UP ONE MORE TIME. – JILL BLAKEWAY
There were so many times during this interview where I got choked up. Not because Jill was saying anything sad but because everything she was saying was about simple beauty.
Her perspective on life, motherhood and relationships came from a place of deep introspection without judgment for herself or others. Hearing her speak of her daughter, Emma, who now works with Jill at YinOva as the Marketing Director was incredibly heart-warming. She joked about their relationship being so different now that her daughter is 26 and a far cry from a baby.
It’s Jill’s openness about her successes and failures, and why to her one does not come without the other that I’m so happy to share the interview with you below.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
- Well, you have to know I have some perspective on this because my daughter is 26 now. What I’ve loved most is watching her stretch herself, do things she didn’t know she could do, and seeing her grow as a result. I saw her stretch herself when she was learning to walk as a baby, and I watched her gain confidence on a sail traineeship as a teenager, to now see her learn new skills as an adult and build and become a stronger human being because of it. I’ve loved all of the stages, but the theme has been watching her boldly go forward. That is my favorite part.
What has been the biggest challenge of being a mom?
- I think juggling work and parenting. There were times when I was building my own business when it called on me very hard and I wasn’t able to be there as much as I wish I could have. I have a very supportive husband, Noah, who took on a lot of the parental slack when I couldn’t. However, I also took my daughter to work with me a lot, and today she works for me in that same company as our Marketing Director. It makes me laugh because she picked up some of the skills she does today like answering the phone at the office at just 10 years old. But, I would say the biggest challenge I’ve found is the pull between work and parenting and how difficult and exhausting it can be at times.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
- Now when I look back, things I thought were more important at work weren’t as important or pressing. Although when I talk to Emma, she says that she felt as though I was always there and that she always felt like she had a model to look up to.
Self-care can be a challenge for moms. What advice do you have for moms who want to incorporate more self-care into their lives?
- Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself or for your relationship. Time alone is important, and sometimes that’s just a bath. It doesn’t have to be really exotic, just something that you can say “This is time just for me.”
You’ve written two books that have to do with relationships, Making Babies and Sex Again. What’s the one piece of relationship advice you would give to new parents?
- You have to remember that you and your partner probably have different views when it comes to parenthood which is ok. Nobody is wrong. What’s normal for your partner growing up might not have been a part of your experience so it all becomes a bit of negotiation. For example, I’m from the UK and had a very British upbringing, whereas my husband is a New Yorker. So we were brought up different which meant we had different ideas about parenting. I was much more cautious and worried about Emma in New York whereas he was much more free and easy. We had to negotiate a way to incorporate our different experiences together. Just bear in mind that no one is wrong, we just come from different family system and you have to come together to build your own.
You wear a lot of hats as far as your career. If you could put them all together, what would be the number one thing you would want to see come out of your work?
- I went into my job because I like helping people and I enjoy people. I love hearing their stories and a lot of the patients I have, I’ve been taking care of for many, many years. I’ve seen them through trying to get pregnant, to becoming pregnant, to postpartum, to their kids growing up and some I’m now helping through menopause. I think what I’ve enjoyed is being a resource for women through all their stages. I’ve written a book about how to get pregnant and about how to rekindle your sex life and now I’m writing a book about energy medicine. I like communicating and writing about that, but I also love helping people in practical ways in the clinic through all of their stages. There’s something very satisfying for me to have had that connection with a patient and to have played some role in her story. To have watched her become an accomplished mom and watch her kids grow up. I value supporting women through the various changes they go through and smoothing those transitions out for people so that they are more welcome rather than seen as a hurdle.
What lesson do you most want to pass onto your daughter?
- I think she who dares wins. I think life is too short to be paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. It’s ok to mess up, and it’s ok to fail. It’s really all about picking yourself up one more time. I was very lucky. My dad was a fabulous dad and still is. He has always told me “I’m your safety net” and what he meant was if something goes completely wrong, I will be here for you. You can always just pack up and come home. I’ve never needed to do that, in fact I’ve lived most of my life an ocean apart from him. But, I’ve built my business because knowing his support was there if I needed it gave me the ability and confidence to take risks. I try to do this with Emma as well. She knows I have her back and that she should play big and that sometimes things will fail and I will help her pick up the pieces and move forward. There’s no point in playing small with your life because it’s your life. It’s your precious life and as far as I know, you only have one of them. I feel like we should be doing and experiencing as much as we can. So I would say to Emma, “She who dares wins” and I have your back so you should dare.
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