Meet the Expert: Elly Taylor
Elly Taylor is an Australian parenthood and relationship expert. She is the creator of the groundbreaking Becoming Us ‘whole family’ approach to wellbeing in early parenthood and author of the award-winning book.
With a background in relationship counselling, Elly is a regular contributor for print, radio and television. She lives in Sydney with her firefighter husband, their three children and a menagerie of pets.
1. What is your role?
My background is relationship counselling but now I’m the founder of Becoming Us, an organisation I created for birth, healthcare and other professionals to help prepare expecting parents for the big life changes and new challenges that come with parenthood.
2. What was your first job?
Working for my Dad in his marketing business during the school holidays.
3. Who is your hero?
Mark Williams is a fourth-generation coal miner in Wales in the UK. He and his wife both ended up with Postnatal Depression after the birth of their first baby and then for years Mark doggedly pestered the UK government into screening new Dads for depression as well as new Mums. And he succeeded. I’m amazed at what one person can achieve in their lifetime if they care enough and don’t give up.
4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
In a stone villa on the side of a hill overlooking the ocean in a medieval village with cobblestone streets, an ancient church and a market square that’s close to mountains and cold enough to ski in winter and snorkel in summer. Oh, and with good wifi. You can tell I’ve put a lot of thought into this!
5. If you could have a dinner party with anyone in the world, which three people would you invite?
Do they have to be alive? I’m fascinated by how much of “us” is us, and how much we inherit from previous generations, so it would be my dad because I miss him, my grandmother and her mother, who I never met. If they have to be alive, it would be my husband, Kelly Slater (his hero, who I’ve met but he hasn’t) and Rick Stein for his well-travelled conversation and cooking.
6. What makes your heart sing?
When I hear my husband or kids laughing or whistling because I know they’re happy.
7. What do you do to switch off from work?
We live near the beach, so a low tide walk on the sand or whale watching from the cliffs takes me away from my desk. Reading and Netflix binges when I’m cocooning, or the weather isn’t good.
8. How do you manage the stressors of work and life?
I try not to take on too much at once, talk issues through with my husband rather than letting them fester and prioritising self-care like eating well, doing yoga, going for long walks, having a laugh with girlfriends, and googling medieval villages with cobblestone streets.
9. What is one thing all businesses should be doing to support the health and wellbeing of their people?
Be aware that pregnancy and early parenthood are high-risk times for mental health issues. One in three women and one in five men suffer from perinatal anxiety or depression. Mental health issues have a ripple effect on close relationships, work and life. And, yet, in many cases, for parents anyway, they’re preventable.
10. CTM Partners are about Conversations That Matter. Why are conversations that matter important to you?
Honest conversations are important so expecting parents have more realistic expectations of life with a baby as this supports their mental health. Open conversations with new parents let them know that if they’re struggling, they’re normal and not alone. Most couples struggle in the beginning, it’s a phase and it will pass, especially if they know how to work with the normal changes and challenges of parenthood, rather than against them.
11. How can we create more opportunities to have conversations that matter?
Be open and honest about our own experiences so others know it’s OK to share theirs. Sharing our experiences is good for the mental, emotional, and relationship wellbeing of us all.
Thanks for your time, Elly!