Moms Who Don't Play it Safe | Elizabeth Flynn
This feature highlights female founders of brands/platforms/communities that are working to promote a vision/version of motherhood that accepts mothers as real, and complicated human beings. Here, we celebrate the brave ones who do not shy away from exploring the rawer sides of women — the parts that feel, that hurt, that lust, that are broken, and that are always shifting and changing. We cannot change the cultural narrative of motherhood without shifts in how the marketplace also reflects it, and so; it is important to acknowledge those brands that are working to portray a more inclusive picture of what it means to be a woman and a mother.
WILD WMN is an entity that’s hard to define — because it intersects so many different areas — from art, to healing circles, to gathering spaces, to creatively inspiring events, and much more. At the helm of this near-mythical enterprise, is Elizabeth Flynn — a woman whose own challenging journey (about which she is brutally honest), and unplanned pregnancy, led her to dedicate herself to helping other women find beauty in transformation — especially through life’s difficult transitions. Elizabeth — and the WILD WMN community which she helps cultivate — is a place that welcomes women to share their unbridled feelings, and raw emotions, in all the different ways one can tell a story and express their art. Hop onto her site, and explore the work of healing alchemists, birth photographers, and activist filmmakers. Read on, to learn more about Elizabeth, and the Wild Woman she is committed to nurturing in all of us.
How would you define WILD WMN in a nutshell? Is it possible to describe it in a nutshell?
I founded WILD WMN in 2018 and I’ve been trying to get my elevator speech down ever since! Essentially, WILD WMN is a lifestyle brand and kula (i.e. community) for creative, authentic womxn who are navigating change and transition, such as becoming a mother. We offer support through events, media, and one-on-one healing services for womxn around the globe. WILD WMN is closely linked to my own personal brand, I work as a creative, and healer — so sometimes the lines get blurred. Our core values are empowerment, truth, love — and of course wildness.
In what ways does WILD WMN not “play it safe”?
WILD WMN is not interested in niceties, trends or rules. It is about truth, above all things. WILD WMN of course believes in compassion, and serving the greater good — but not because society tells one so, but because it comes from the heart. Most of us, underneath the years of conditioning — the hurt, the grief, and the self protection — we are good, and kind and loving. WILD WMN is brutally honest, and we believe by sharing a vulnerable message we can navigate greater healing. We don’t subscribe to any particular belief system, and as mothers we do not subscribe to any particular way of raising our children.
As the founder of WILD WMN, I like to keep things real. Spirituality isn’t about sitting on a cloud or waving a stick of sage around the room. I’m a mom that sometimes uses single-use plastics and doesn’t feel good about it, co-sleeps with my child (and has very mixed feelings on it), employs a nanny twice a week for very long days, and spends most of my free time on my laptop working. I love nature but I also live in a big city and crave stimulation. Living is all about balance and keeping it real — in a way, that’s how we break the rules.
What led you to create WILD WMN? What did you feel was missing, in service of women (in the market or our culture)?
WILD WMN came about after the birth of my daughter, Earth. My brand is deeply personal, and started as an expressive outlet for me, as well as a way to build community. My pregnancy with Earth was unplanned, and came at a time when I didn’t feel ready for a child but had had a history of a severe eating disorder and addiction. After years of abuse to my body, I didn’t have faith in my ability to conceive again, if I didn’t decide to go forward with this pregnancy. Having Earth was the best decision I ever made. My pregnancy coincided with my father receiving a brain cancer diagnosis, he declined rapidly, and died when I was seven months pregnant. I was in a different country from my family, none of my friends at the time had babies, and I just felt pretty alone, crazy and really scared. For the first time in my life I really needed the support of other women. I looked to mentors, to healthcare professionals, and to therapists and they all held me through this very intense time, ultimately changing my life.
Previous to motherhood I was an artist, a yoga and meditation teacher, I also loved nature and had spent an extensive amount of time living in the wild and trained as a relational leader. It’s funny because looking back, everything in my life led me to this point. Becoming a mother was such an incredibly transformational experience. I learned to trust in my intuition and my creative energy really transformed. I couldn’t make art in the same way as a new mother but I could start to piece together WILD WMN. WILD WMN has seen me come into my own but it also provides such a strong framework of support for other women.
I think that WILD WMN has provided a voice for many women, not just mothers — and has allowed us to open up our hearts and share really honestly and openly about our experiences as women. Our culture tells us lots of the ways we should do things, some of them are different or opposites, we are bombarded with information. WILD WMN is about switching that off and just doing what's right for you.
How would you describe the community you’ve built? Who are the people who make up the WILD WMN community? Do mothers factor in largely?
The WILD WMN community is such an incredibly beautiful community of varied womxn. They are all inspirational, strong, real. Mothers do factor in largely to our community as some of our events are particularly focused on mothers. Being a mother myself, I also attract other mothers who are working through similar things to me. I speak about about motherhood in my podcast and write about it on my blog so it does cater to a particular demographic; however, we also have a wide range of contributors.
One contributor received a hysterectomy, and will never become a mother in the physical sense. I work with women who are still in their maiden phase of life, some women who are just thinking about becoming mothers, and women who are now grandmothers. At our last fire ceremony we had women ranging from the ages of 14 to 62, and the most common denominator was women looking to live an authentic life. There is a strong creative energy in our community, and this may mean expressing creativity as a mother, creativity as an artist, writer or maker, creativity as an entrepreneur, or creativity as a healer. There are lots of different ways to be a mother or to connect with the Great Mother. I guess that’s what links us all together !
In what ways did motherhood, or changes in your motherhood journey, shift how you curate WILD WMN?
Motherhood woke me up fully to our creative, sexual, divine power as women. I had no concept of what being a women really meant before I became a mother, and I definitely had no concept of what being a mother was like. I was completely green. I don’t think you have to become a mother to wake up, but for me that is how it happened. Becoming a mother also provided me with the obstacles that forced me to have to work for myself, and provided me with the drive to do it. Motherhood changed me in every way and continues to do so. I can’t wait to see what I will be like in 5 years . . . or what WILD WMN will be like. I really was fascinated by the whole pregnancy and birth experience, and I continue to be so. I’m excited to be completing my doula training with Carriage House Birth, and I can’t wait to work with mothers for the rest of my life.
I am lucky to have been put through many situations and challenges in this lifetime, as well as many joys and opportunities in which to grow. One therapist pointed out that motherhood has really placed me at the centre of human experience (not that I believe you have to be a mother to be at the centre of human experience) but I’ve experienced loss, grief, divorce (both that of my parents and my own), depression, anxiety, creativity, poverty as well as all the highs that come along on that journey. It’s all made me very empathetic to the situations that humans can be on and it’s helped me to create WILD WMN as what it is.
What are “Wild Sessions”?
A wild session is where the “work” is really done. This is our opportunity to dig deep and transform. I work one-on-one with women to shift old thought patterns, work on embodiment, set intentions and create a mentality of freedom and transformation. We use a combination cathartic movement and breathwork to get into the body, visualization, and journaling to connect with the higher self; reiki and energy work to shift blockages, and talking to reassess thought patterns — and create actionable steps for change. Some women also want to work on physical limitations, and as a yoga teacher I enjoy helping moms recover from diastasis recti, and birth trauma, and help pregnant women prepare for birth. It’s a cross between a private yoga class, therapy, and energy work. We look at things from a holistic perspective, a personal perspective, and the aim is to transform.
As the moderator/creator of the site, do you find yourself straddling that fine line between revealing yourself so that your audience knows you, but also trying to keep your private world your own? Do you ever have difficulty keeping boundaries?
I share really openly about my life but of course, everything in a sense is curated. The day-to-day tends to be private most of the time, the dragging around, the crawling out of bed, the bathing, the hugs, the kisses. I share about things that I feel I need to and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to post or I simply don’t want to. There are days where it’s a real strain to look at a computer or pick up a phone, when I just want to be present with my family, so I am.
I’m fairly good at boundaries. I’m an empath and I’ve been practicing pushing people away or blocking off energy all my life. I’m learning to let people in now and I think people are surprised to hear how good I am at being alone. That said, I am working on asking for what I need more often and making sure I give myself worth when it comes to asking for energy transfer for my services.
My one weakness is saying no to people who I’ve already let in. I often feel obliged to go all the way. I have a great desire to support people but I’m trying to learn how to do that without taxing myself.
Are there any stories in particular that women have shared on the site, that have stuck with you, that you just can’t shake?
I really love listening to all women’s stories however Rita’s story, A Story Of Feminine Awakening After Hysterectomy is so powerful because she has really tapped into her authentic self despite all odds. I also love Nicole’s story, The Long Way Home about her journey to Guatemala, leaving her two-year-old at home to work with women and children. It’s a story about finding herself after becoming a mother but also such a poignant cultural essay. We actually have some of her photographs in our store. You can buy a download for almost nothing and all the money goes to Together Rising.
Do you feel like the landscape is changing, in terms of how we perceive motherhood, or is it still culturally seen through a filtered, rosey lens?
I feel like the landscape is changing; however I am also lucky to be surrounded by incredible, honest, raw, vulnerable women. I think we have to bear in mind that we create a community that reflects us. It’s a bit like the algorithm on FB or IG — we see what is suited to us. During the election none of us thought Trump would actually get voted in because everyone we knew was supporting Hillary — but he did.
I didn’t actually have a rosy view of motherhood before I became a mother. I actually thought it would be awful. I thought I would be giving up my life, I thought it was mundane, I thought it was giving up on my dreams. I thought it was incredibly “ normal “ — I had an artist mentality, so I felt different, and I definitely didn’t want to be normal. I thought becoming a mother was something you did when you had done everything else. I thought it was great for some people — just not me. Luckily, motherhood has surprised me, and I am now so much more open, and know that motherhood is incredible. Of course it is incredibly challenging and there is a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of the mundane but there is also so much growth!
Who are some other sites/communities/brands that you admire?
So many ! I love supporting other women. I’m going to list their IG handles because most of us can find things this way!
@carriagehousebirth — I’m completing my doula training with them in March, so excited!
@bossladiesmagazine — I love this community and the support they provide for entrepreneurs!
@wandulusiwoman — I’m really inspired by this girl and the creative tattoo work she does. It speaks to me.
@thisisloom — an incredible community! I visited with my daughter in her first few months and it really includes all.
@wanderlusthlwd — I’m biased because I work here but it so much more than a yoga studio! A real community and the founders have achieved so much whilst having three kids. Incredible.
@onecommune — stay tuned. We are releasing an exciting project soon!
If WILD WMN could run the world, what would the world look like?
I hope it would be a beautiful place with humans getting back to their roots, and really listening to their inner wisdom and living their truth. I realize, as a society we can’t go backwards, we can’t take away everything we have made, and I wouldn’t want to; but living would be about community and togetherness, environment would be number one, and of course women would be in charge in the most sensual, creative and loving way possible.
I also hope that it would be about teamwork, and no specific person should have complete power. I wouldn’t be able to run the world but I would like to be part of that.
Anything else you would like NSFMG to know?
Just that if anyone wants to reach out to me, if you’re looking for support, if you’ve got something to share, if you have something creative that needs to get out — I am here for you and I would LOVE to hear from you. Working with me one-on-one is a great way to navigate transition and healing, but I also try to be as supportive on social media to anyone that feels called to contact me. If you haven’t visited our website then please do, and pop over to our podcast, the WILD WMN Podcast to listen to my ramblings. We have frequent events in LA and I love meeting new people. I hope our paths one day cross!
Elizabeth Flynn is the founder of WILD WMN, yoga & meditation teacher, circle facilitator, artist, and mama to baby Earth. Her journey has been a long one filled with intense healing, planet traversing, creative living, vibrant highs and deep lows. On her path to freedom, Elizabeth has encountered many wild women who continue to inspire, teach and encourage her, giving life to the women she is today.
When Elizabeth isn't recording her podcast, working with clients, or running events in LA, she loves traveling with her family, growing sage in her garden, exercising on her yoga mat and connecting to the natural world.