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Discussing Postpartum & mental wellness w/Jessica Gale Friesen

JP September 14, 2021


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A discussion about postpartum depression described in Jessica’s new book : This Will Not Break Me. We also dive into leadership, building community, supporting local businesses and the importance of giving back.

JP Gaston 

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Seth Anderson 

So I made my triumphant return to the gym last week. Oh, how is that much better than I was expecting?

JP Gaston 

I haven’t. I haven’t been to a gym in probably far too long. But

Seth Anderson 

I had not been since early March 2020. And I don’t know I just I was I was worried I was a little a little nervous walking for the first time because especially that I’d never been to this gym. So I didn’t know where any of the equipment was gym in a new time. Yeah, like I had finally gotten like my bearings at the YMCA and Seaton before we moved, I felt good. I knew where everything was, I kind of you know, make my way around. And then I came here and you know, I did not know where anything was. So that that was probably my biggest challenge on the first day was figuring out where things were. And then also following along with the workout. So as I mentioned, I think last week, I started a new program, working with a fella by the name of pat Woodcock, he was a eight year CFL Pro, and also some preseason time in the NFL. So I’m expecting a bulky set soon, some something so anyway, so I’m trying to follow along with the program. I’m trying to find my way around the gym. And then you also just have like those thoughts in your head, like, I don’t know,

JP Gaston 

just the terps offset thoughts, people basically, I mean, it’s a different time, like we were saying, like, I, I’m sure there was some of that going through your head,

Seth Anderson 

there was some of that. And I think I was really cautious that I didn’t want to hurt myself. So I didn’t want to overdo it on anything. And I was trying to make sure that my posture was correct. And I was doing some things I’d never done before, which, you know, gives a little natural anxiety and I just mostly wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. So then I was overthinking things a little bit. But I guess my point of all of this is I did not realize how beneficial to my mental health. going to the gym was and taking care of my nutrition last week, man, like I feel like a different person. Like I felt good. You know, we’ve been talking about that I felt good. But I’m starting to tap into another level, just in a week that I didn’t know was there. And I think the biggest thing is my mental health, like the focus, the positivity, the not getting distracted and sort of spiraling on things. Like, I just feel better.

JP Gaston 

Yeah, I started hockey this week. That’s, that’s a thing that started back up to you. And I feel so much better as well, just, it’s amazing how much a little bit of a workout can impact your mental health?

Seth Anderson 

Well, I think it’s partially that I mean, we’ve managed to manufacture some of that best we can, during COVID, you know, using apps and home gyms and stuff like that. But I think it’s also just like, getting up with a purpose and knowing you have a thing to do later. And sort of planning for it. And then going and, and you know, in your, your world, like you get to be all in on the puck and your movements. And, you know, I don’t know, you’re just looking after to

JP Gaston 

play and there’s, there’s a lot less movement than there used to be

Seth Anderson 

there. And then now that’s something you can work on. You got to get a little more purpose out of that, right, like, but I think it’s being able to remove ourselves from just being home and all the digital tools. And I, again, was not expecting as much of a mental health bump up or uplift as I got in just one week.

JP Gaston 

Yeah, I think there’s been a lot of focus on mental health recently. And I mean, you and I included in that. Obviously, we talk about it with each other. We talk about a podcast, we live and breathe it all day, every day in our jobs. And I love it. I love where things are going. we’re nowhere near where we need to be, in my opinion, but there’s a lot of work that’s been done and I think there’s a lot more work to do. And that’s you part, I think where we wanted to go with Jess, in today’s episode,

Seth Anderson 

as he mentioned, we’ve talked a lot about mental health. And, you know, back when we did chopping it up, I think maybe we had some, some deeper discussions on it than some of the pods. But, you know, it’s it’s been an ongoing topic, mental, physical health and how it all kind of intertwines. And I think it was really interesting to talk to Jess, because we got into, from a woman’s perspective, and some of the challenges they go through, and I learned a lot, you know, in particular, about postpartum depression and some of the symptoms and signs and a lot, there’s a lot, lot lot going on there. And, you know, as a husband, and a father and a brother and a son, you know, I don’t know that I had a full appreciation for, you know, some of the some of the challenges,

JP Gaston 

I think that’s the biggest thing with mental health is, you can’t possibly know like, it’s easy to see, when someone breaks their arm, you kind of get a sense of what’s happened, what they’re going through how difficult it can be to open door. But when someone has a mental health challenge, opening a door might not be that easy. It might like, it can be really tough and and especially when it’s something that you may never experience in your life, simply based on gender, or ability to experience that exact thing and, and how it came to be. So like postpartum depression, you hear about it, but I think and I’ve heard this from a few people, but I think a lot of people feel like, once you get over it, once you get past feeling it and you know, your kid grows up a little bit and you feel a little better, you, you’re good, everything’s fine, but it lingers, it’s there, it never goes away.

Seth Anderson 

I think one of the things that really stuck with me from this episode was, she sort of made this comment, almost in passing. And it was along the lines of like, she just wanted someone to ask her how she was or just like, see her because she was hiding a lot of the symptoms and just going on, like everything was okay, and just got me reflecting, you know, how many moments have we been around a loved one or you know, someone we work with whoever is going through some stuff, and you know, they look totally normal. It doesn’t appear that anything is wrong. You don’t want to cry. You don’t want to get into someone’s personal life, per se, but sometimes just saying, Hey, how are you? With the right tone and intention can make all the difference for somebody,

JP Gaston 

you had that story a few weeks back on the pod where you had stopped and talked to a woman who had recently lost someone and just needed the conversation, like even just even just that just being in your community and having a chat with someone you don’t know, can mean a lot, I think,

Seth Anderson 

yeah, just being open. And you never know what someone’s going through and kindness, you know.

JP Gaston 

And on the flip side, like it’s so cathartic to get it out. And I mean, just did that in the form of a book, which not everyone’s going to do. That’s, that’s quite a step. But just for people who have something like having a conversation can go a long way.

Seth Anderson 

So, you know, on the way into the pod here, there’s someone maybe you haven’t talked to in a little while that you’d like to reconnect with. Or, you know, a way that you could make someone’s day just by by a friendly Hello, maybe take a minute to reflect on that. And we’ll get into the episode here with Jess. Welcome to The Biz Dojo with satin JP. This week, we’re joined by Jessica Friesen. Welcome to the dojo. Jessica. Good morning. How are you? doing? Fantastic. We were on the tail end of summer out here in Alberta. And it is getting very fall like very quickly.

Jessica Gale Friesen 

Yeah, here in Niagara as well. We’re in for some thunderstorms today. And we had some wicked ones last night, which always means that the weather’s changing. So I’m pretty happy that the cooler temperatures are coming. I’m not a summer person. But you know,

Seth Anderson 

I like I like to fall. You know that first few weeks when Chris bear and you kind of get outside and it’s wetter weather. I’m all

Jessica Gale Friesen 

sweater weather. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Jeans and a sweater and sandals. That’s my that’s my favorite.

Seth Anderson 

I dig it. I dig it. So thanks. Thanks for joining us. Really excited to get into the conversation here. doing a little bit of research on on yourself. You’re an author, Mom, CEO, many hats that you wear. But kind of curious, how do you introduce yourself to people?

Jessica Gale Friesen 

So I usually I usually say hey, I’m Jess. You know, I it’s funny, you know, Jessica sounds so formal to me and I don’t identify as a very formal type person. So professionally, I go by Jessica but I’m just and I’ve always been just but you know, I do a bunch of different things. Professionally, so I am the third generation owner operator and first female of my family business. We have a petroleum business based in Niagara Falls, Ontario. And so we have 14 gas stations, a chain of convenience stores. And we do petroleum delivery throughout the Niagara region. So we have one of the last truly independently owned petroleum businesses in Canada. That’s what I do in my in my normal life. That’s what my business card says. I’m also chartered director. So I sit on the board for a local hospital. And for the mega parks commission. I’m also a newly published author, I wrote a memoir about my journey with postpartum depression after the birth of my son 14 years ago. Like you said, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, housekeeper, taxi driver, you know, all those things that fall in that bucket too. So, yeah, I work. I wear a bunch of different hats, but I like it, because it doesn’t let me get bored.

Seth Anderson 

It’s awesome. just reading, maybe starting on the on the business side of things and reading a little bit about Dale’s gas bar. So it would have been your grandfather, who started the company, with one track one gas station back in the late 60s. I’m curious like was his vision to grow it to something like what it is right now? And surely along the way, there must have been some interest from some of the bigger, you know, companies to maybe acquire and how did you get to this point to be like one of the only Canadian independently owned gas stations, that’s such a,

Jessica Gale Friesen 

you know, I think, I wish I had had that conversation with my grandfather back. He passed in 2010. And I don’t think any grandchild really thinks about actually proactively sitting down with their grandparent and you know, picking their brain over all of these things that happened before we came here. But knowing what he was like and knowing what I’ve been able to collect from my father and my aunt and my uncle, I believe it was just that he didn’t want to have a boss, he had driven truck for champion oil since the 50s. So he was a driver, he did distribute the petroleum himself. And I think just being that true entrepreneur, he wanted to go into business for himself and be his own boss and see where it went. And that’s how he started, we started with a petroleum delivery, he bought the first location, not because it had a gas station on it, but because it had a truck wash on it. And it just happened to have a gas station as well. My dad is the youngest of four, and there’s, I’m going to get this wrong, but I think there’s 13 years between him and his oldest brother. So in the late 60s, my uncle would have been in his early 20s. And so they worked at the station, and they really just kind of put it all together. And that side of the company grew through the 70s. And then my dad came in in the 80s. And he grew the distribution side of things and the stations as well, but really focused on the distribution side of things and it just, you know, things just kind of happen. I think in business, you don’t always really know what you’re doing. You just kind of do what makes sense. And what you think is the right thing to do and and that’s really I think what we’ve all done, you know, be as as educated about the industry as possible, but really know our customers and that’s one thing that I think is sets us apart from other petroleum companies is We are based in Niagara we are Niagara focused, we are incredibly involved in our community all the way through the generations. And we know our customers are we really try to know our customers naggers on a big shift right now with people from the GTA coming down and whatnot. So it’s changing a bit but you know, we roll with the punches and we change as our customer needs change. And that’s important. That’s what being independent allows us to do that

Seth Anderson 

we can do what needs to be done at the turn of a hat one of the things he said there was staying you know, informed and knowledgeable about the industry. And maybe just to touch on the reason why this particular topic piqued my interest is my great grandfather actually had a gas station and a fuel truck back in Rocky Mountain House. Probably the same timeframe and he ended up I believe selling it and then retiring in the okanogan so I’ve always been curious like to learn more about that unfortunately he passed long time ago so like he said he never really get that chance when you’re younger to sit down and pick their brain on it but i think that that independence that entrepreneurial spirit like such an awesome thing and to see it like not only get started in the 60s but carry on the 2021 is amazing. But when in terms of, you know, staying in tune with the industry, is there any, like common misconceptions that you know your your customers or people have about the fuel industry that that you come across regularly,

Jessica Gale Friesen 

that we’re all making tons of money? Hey, you know, anybody in this industry will tell you, it’s a cutthroat business. There’s not many other industries, I can’t think of one off the top of my head, where you have the price of the product posted, outside so that someone can just drive by and have a look, and then go to the next one. And so the next one, and in five minutes, you know, figure out where you’re going to go, if you’re not loyal to one. You know, usually it takes more effort than that. So it makes it very easy for individuals to go wherever they want. And that’s the beauty of the industry. But it’s also very challenging, because on the retail side of petroleum, we work with very slim margins, we really focus on volume. And that is, that is something that, yes, price, obviously has something to do with it. But I believe, and it’s worked out for us for almost 60 years, and I hope it works out for the next 60 years, I believe that our community involvement, and our good name and our customer service go a long way, you know, I can’t compete with the big guys I can’t compete with so or Petro can. But what I can do is ensure that my customer service is top notch. And we we run the service excellent programs within within my company, we can make sure that we treat our staff, who are also members of our community and their families are members of our community with the utmost respect, and and discretion. You know, I am the only living wage champion in the petroleum industry in Ontario. And that’s something that I’m very proud of. It’s something that I committed to a couple of years ago. And it’s something that, especially through COVID, it really sets sets us aside from everyone else, we don’t have problems, hiring staff, whereas many of you know the minimum wage, employers are finding it very challenging right now. Now, not everybody can be a living wage provider, it’s very tough, it was a big decision to make. But if you can do it, then I think the opportunities for your staff, to buy into the company to be loyal to the company to really have that affection for the company. You know, that’s that’s where it’s at, because then they provide excellent customer service to your your customers. So

JP Gaston 

I think that’s crucial. You’ve talked a bit about commitment to community. And I know that’s something that also comes through in your book, right from the very start of your book, you talk about how you are actually presenting to a group, where does that come from? Or is that something that’s been passed down to you from, you know, seeing your father and your grandfather? Or is that something that you’ve developed along the way a combination? Where does that building come from?

Jessica Gale Friesen 

I think it’s a combination. When I was a kid, my parents were always very community involved more so than my grandparents even, you know, we were always going to different events and volunteering our time. And when I was a teenager, I began volunteering at the local hospital and for different sports, or events that were happening within Niagara. But I think that I’ve taken it, I took it a little bit differently, because I went into healthcare. After After high school, I went to university and I went in, I’m a registered nurse as well, I still have my designation. So I just like to mention that every now and then to remind my husband really. But, you know, I went into health care, because I really wanted to help people at a very fundamental level. And I wanted to see people improve and see people get better and see people walk out of the hospital or provide them with a dignified death if it came to that. And it did, quite quite frequently. For me, it was always about helping people. I think that that my goal in life was always to make the world a better place. And one of the mantras that I live my life by is to make sure that my part of the world is better because I was in it. You know, I want to be able to look back in 40 or 50 years and know that I’ve done everything possible to make the world a better place for my children, for my children’s children, for my community for the world if I get that opportunity. And I think that with my book, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to really stretch my legs and to really try to Stretch outside of Niagara. I mean, even with you guys based in Calgary, you know, I love doing these kind of podcasts because I feel that this is a healthcare and being good to people and being good community leaders. It’s not a pigeonhole. It’s not just for one area of the world, it is a global phenomenon. And, you know, you can make a difference in the world if you try and why the heck not?

JP Gaston 

Why the heck not I love that. That’s kind of how we started this podcast, to be honest, it was, Oh, my God, but let’s see what kind of difference we can make. If not just for ourselves, if we can, you know, influence one person along the way, we’re gonna call it a success. So

Jessica Gale Friesen 

love that well. And that’s, that’s kind of what what brought me into business. You know, my dad asked me if I wanted, I had just had my daughter, my second child, she was a month old. And he called me up and said, Hey, I’m, I bought two new locations, and they got convenience stores in it in them. And I know you’re looking for something to get you out of the house, and you want to help me out and set these up. And I thought, Why the heck not. And it ended up being a complete career change. So, you know, I think it’s important to always be open to opportunities and and flesh them out.

JP Gaston 

You talked a bit about in your book, you talked a bit about how you grew up in a fairly affluent neighborhood, you went to school, surrounded by people who grew up in an affluent neighborhood. And then when you get hit high school, you started to realize just how privileged you actually were coming up, how

Jessica Gale Friesen 

much did that play into your decision to like, not work towards the business and to head into health care and to do something a little bit different for yourself? That was huge. It was huge. There were a couple of things that went into that one, it truly struck me, when I realized just how different I was. Then Then some of the other kids because I grew, I grew up with kids that were not as as well off as, as, as my family was, they were my parents, friends and whatnot. And they’re good people. And I still know them. And they’re wonderful people. But I never grew up with with blinders on like that everybody was just, you know, they were they were my friends. I guess my parents never, never raised me with that mentality. Because they had not grown up with that mentality. They didn’t grow up in an affluent neighborhood. So they didn’t raise us like that I grew up with Walmart clothes and, and by way clothes, love, by way, miss out store. So you don’t realize your biases, until they are pointed out to you. Even if you have the best of intentions. So there was there was certainly that, but there was also I grew up, and my dad’s gonna laugh at this if he hears this because I say it all the time. I grew up being known as Bob Gale daughter. So the semantics behind that are my dad is a is Bob Gale, my grandfather was Bob Gale, with the petroleum industry being a staple business in Niagara and with their community involvement, and having two generations of Bob Gale running the company. They were a name that that a lot of people knew in the community. And I really felt like I didn’t have my own identity. I was Bob Dale’s daughter. And I wanted to get the heck out of Niagara to establish myself and to become my own person and to earn people’s respect based on my own merit. That was incredibly important to me. So I went to London, Ontario, I went to the University of Western Ontario, I went into healthcare and got my registered nurses designation. And then I came back to Niagara. Simply for the reason that I was engaged to a guy that was from Niagara. And I really did, I really did succeed in that mission of becoming my own person and establishing myself within the healthcare field. Once I went into business, I kind of took a few steps back because all of a sudden, I am working for my dad or I was working for my dad at the time. And, and again, I was known as Bob Beal daughter, but I keep telling him and it’s it’s happening now. And he now gets Oh, you’re Jessica Friesan dad. And he has to tell me every time which is fantastic. I love it. So yeah, full circle. I love it. Yeah. But yeah, so community involvement was was was a huge thing. To me growing up and all through my life. There’s nothing more important than the people that you surround yourself with and how you treat other people

Seth Anderson 

sort of hitting on one of the points you made their way around when you were growing up, not differentiating people based on their social status or economic status. I mean, having been a kid who was I’m gonna just say like a poor kid and a big family who didn’t have much And when you think back like the people who were nice to you, like I made all the difference in the world. And you know, that’s something I try to impart on my kids like, it doesn’t matter where someone came from, what it like anything, just be nice to people and you know, that’ll that’ll serve you well, and I just wonder What do you? How do you approach that with your kids? Like, how do you help keep them grounded and foster that, you know, just being there for people and being nice to people? What do you have any tactics that you use for that

Jessica Gale Friesen 

I can tell you what I did, I don’t know if it’s the right way to do. But it, it was something that I was very conscious of, it was something that I was very explicit with, with my kids. And so far, it’s worked out really, really well. My kids are both very loving, very independent, both leaders. I’ll focus on my daughter in particular, because I think as females, it’s easy to females are different than guys. I like guys, because I’m a guy’s girl, okay, more important more than more than a girl girl, you know, guys are you have a disagreement with guys, and you hit the nail on the head and you move on. with girls, it’s not always so easy, at least in my experience, you know, with with girls, things tend to get a little bit more dramatic, things tend to get a little bit more complicated. And my daughter is not like that at all. She’s just like me, you know, we wear our heart on our sleeves, you know exactly where you’re coming from, which means you either like or don’t like us as well, you know, and I’m fine with that you’re not going to you’re not going to get along with everybody in the world. But one of the things, I’ll give you an example, we have some very, very good friends. And we about 10 years ago, their son was diagnosed with autism. And we had really just met them and my daughter Cameron was in school with with the little boy. And I had to explain to my kids what autism was and what that meant to them and what that meant to us. And I said to my kids, my kids are not fighters. I don’t I don’t ever advocate for, you know, taking blows with with people. But my thing with my kids has always been, you protect yourself. So I never want to hear that you take the first punch. But if somebody is coming at you, you better you get one, one shot kid and you better level them. And then then you’re running, right because I’m not going to I’m not going to raise kids who are not able to defend themselves either, right? And I said to my kids, that goes for the little boy as well. If somebody is is going after him, if somebody is making fun of him, you stand up for him, you know, it’s important that you stand up for your friends, that you’re honest with your friends, that you’re blunt with your friends that they know exactly where they’re coming from. And if they can’t handle that, then then they’re not a real friend, but that you also stand up for your friends, especially the ones that need it more. And now 10 years later, you know, my daughter is in grade seven, and the teachers have emailed me and I actually kept a copy of the email because they say, you know, he’s such a good friend to him. He is such a, you know, bright light in his school day. And I know that they actually put her in classes with him, because it calms him down. And and and she advocates for him. And it’s not just him. He’s just one example. But you know, my son took me literally when I when I when I had that conversation with him about you know, you get one one shot kid. And there was one day I’ll never forget it. The principal called me and he was in grade three, and one of the boys was was being mean to him and pushing him and pushing him and pushing him. And he hauled off and slugged the kid and the kid hits the floor. And I said to the principal, so you know, the kid was coming after my son. And she said yep, I said, so what’s the problem? And she said, No, no problem. Just wanted to let you know. And I said okay, great. Because you know, in this day and age, absolutely Use your words, you know, but at some point they’re children and it you can’t not defend yourself either so I don’t know what you guys feel on on that but that’s always been my my strategy is is stand up for yourself and what’s right

JP Gaston 

my my little guys two. he’s not quite hopefully he’s not quite at the needing to defend himself. I don’t know what goes on at dayhome but I mean, I

Seth Anderson 

baby fight club

JP Gaston 

Yeah. Yeah, no, I I honestly, I hope that that’s how I can raise Declan to you to be the same way to be able to defend himself when when need be to try and talk it out to try and work through it but also be able to stand up for himself. That’s, that is exactly how I plan to raise Declan. We’ll see how it goes. But that’s how I that’s my plan right now.

Seth Anderson 

Yeah, my son just started grade five and he’s such a loving kid naturally, but like from day one, I’ve I’ve tried to coach him to defend himself right like, and there’s a bunch of different ways you can do that a last resort maybe like if someone’s coming at you, you got to be able to defend yourself. So we put them in things like type one. And, you know, just some basic defense skills because you never know what’s going to happen. But, you know, ultimately, if you can use your words, if you can walk away from a situation, you know, learn the difference between reaction response, like, I try to, I try to impart that. But at the end of the day, you got to defend yourself. And I think the other thing that I, I offered to him as advice is, if somebody else is being picked on, you know, especially, you know, someone in the in your class that’s getting bullied or you know, not doing so well. help them be there for them. Be kind to them. Yeah. And I’ve seen that approach. Yeah. So I think that’s it, you know, you got to be able to defend yourself, helping others being kind, like,

JP Gaston 

I know,  adults, that need that message. like, honestly,

Seth Anderson 

it’s an oversimplification, but like, at the end of the day, like, what else is there, like, if you’re kind to people, like, if you start from that place,

Jessica Gale Friesen 

good things happen. Well, and you know, now my son, I’m aging myself, my son just just started high school yesterday. And he is the gentlest communist. You know, he’s my, according to my daughter, he’s super popular, you know, the girls like, and like he’s done. He’s, he’s a great kid. But he plays hockey, and he’s on defense, and he’s a little rune on the ice. And I said to my husband, you know, I don’t know how this happened. Like, he morphed into this, this mutant on the ice, and, and lets go of all of his aggression. And I guess, I guess that’s, that’s kind of the point when he’s on V. You know, he’s, he’s there to defend the goalie. But I don’t know, he comes off. And I’m just like, I don’t know who you are. But no, it’s they are good kids. So, you know, it works. That not advice. I got that advice from somebody, and I raised my kids with that, and it worked out really well, for me.

Seth Anderson 

And all the, you know, just in doing a little bit of looking at it, I’m sure we’ll get into your book, but being a mental health advocate, and having teenagers, I mean, it scares the hell out of me thinking about my kids being teenagers, I still got some time there, you know, five and 10. But you know, eventually that’s going to come like how are you navigating? That I mean, with mental health, maybe more on the forefront than it was when we were growing up? Or at least the terminologies clear, and the resources are more available? But just curious, how are you navigating, though, I,

I have really tried to keep very good communication with my kids. So when I was growing up, you know, my parents would say, No, you can’t do that, but not give any reason. I try to explain all of my decisions to my children as much as possible, so that they understand where I’m coming from and why they can’t do something, or you know, why I want them to do something else. To me, it’s all about keeping the lines of communication open, and taking them seriously, even though you think that something might be totally hokey? Well, here’s an example. My daughter came to me with a concern last week, because he feels that he may have ADHD, okay, this is this is active. This is honest, right now. He feels like he might have ADHD. And I’m certain that she just doesn’t like math. Okay, it’s the only class that she has a problem with. But she, she’s researched this sees, Look, she’s investigated it, she feels very strongly about it. So, you know, I take her seriously. And I called the doctor and we have we have a appointment for later on this month, just in case I’m wrong. You know, and I think it’s very important to take your kids seriously and to let them that thing like we would as adults, you know, I mean, if I thought I had cancer, I’d be going to the doctor and letting them make the decision. I’m just her mom, I’m the one that’s supposed to help her navigate through these years and through her life and to help her make the best decisions for herself, you know, and the best decisions possible. It’s not my role to make the decisions for her, unless it’s something that is safety related, or you know, what have you so I really pick my battles with my kids. I really tried to not worry about the things that aren’t important and to put a lot of stress on to the things that are important. And know another example is my daughter dresses like, like she is she she has always had her own own little fashion sense. And whatever, you know, she’s 12 years old now she can dress however she wants to. She’s been doing it since she was five. As my role, my role was always as long as it’s weather appropriate, and then have our kids and I’m kind of hoping that she can get all of her you know, crazy bad fashion. sense out of her before she before she becomes a real teenager because some of it’s really scary.

JP Gaston 

Is that why you like fall? You’re like, Alright, it’s getting into colder weather.

Jessica Gale Friesen 

Yeah, I mean, she’s got some great outfits, but some of them I just looked at go. Well, I don’t know what you’re thinking. But how about

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JP Gaston 

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JP Gaston 

I know there is a number of times in the book where you actually talked about naming your daughter and the importance that the name had for you. And how, how are you feeling about that naming choice now

Jessica Gale Friesen 

that you have a daughter who is wildly independent in all of the things that you were hoping to get out of the name that you chose these C’s exactly who I wish I had been at her age. She is an amazing little girl, fiercely independent, incredibly smart, kind, caring. You know, she’s just everybody loves her kids. Everybody thinks that kids are wonderful. I am no different my daughter does. Both of my kids are great, but my daughter just is absolutely fantastic. But you’re right. I named her cameras. It’s cM RYN, just to feminize it a little bit. And I named her that intentionally because I wanted to give her a bit of an ambiguous name, so that people couldn’t make snap judgments or have her followed by any kind of stereotype because she was named Jessica or Jennifer or Stephanie, if you’re talking about a camera and freezing, you don’t necessarily know if it’s a boy or a girl. And I think that I know how hard it was, for me being a female, especially in the petroleum industry. So any kind of leg up that I can give my daughter, I will, so many things

Seth Anderson 

hit there, I think one of the things that I went to is like, love my kids, both so much. But my wife and my daughter, she’s just wired different. Like, you cannot tell her that she can’t do something or help her like she literally she’s four years old. And over the course of the last month, because I mean, with COVID, we didn’t really go swimming for the better part of two years. So she never really swam. She taught herself how to swim, like just literally take this life jacket off me, I’m gonna figure it out. And she has completely taught herself how to how to swim without a life jacket. And I just see like this drive that applied to anything, she’s gonna do unbelievable things. And I’m just like, how do I harness that? How do I make sure that that light doesn’t go out over the next

Jessica Gale Friesen 

1015 years. And that’s what it’s all about. Because we used to say when she was when she was about your daughter’s age, so three, four. She was my daughter was just wild. You know, she was a bundle of energy, and it wasn’t always good. So we always said, you know, we have to channel that energy positively somehow. So took us a while our daughter is actually a competitive swimmer, although not during COVID, but it’s an independent sport that is based on a bigger team. He is her own worst enemy in it. But it’s all about ensuring that they are safe doing what they want to do. So you know for your daughter, you know, yeah, take the life desktop be right beside her or be close to her. But yeah, give her that opportunity and literally sink your sink or swim. Right?

Seth Anderson 

Well, it’s amazing because you go you know, over the course of like, literally a month from her not knowing how to swim because she can jump in the deep end and flow. And you know, I gotta be right there but like she can do it. And it’s like, with my son. He still had a lifejacket on at like seven and like I was like No, no, no, I’ll just I’ll just stick around here and I’ll wear my life jacket and pick a very cautiously nothing wrong with that just just wired completely different and so like your parenting style. has to kind of adjust the beat with that. Absolutely. That person and their needs are going to be totally different. So it’s not like there’s like this playbook like you raise one kid. Okay, I’ll apply that to kids. It’s totally different. Yeah. And isn’t it funny how you can have, you know, two parents who have two kids, and the kids end up being completely different, although all of the metrics that you think, think are all the same sin results in two kids that are relatively the same, and it just doesn’t, and it’s just wild, it’s so much fun watching them grow up.

JP Gaston 

So we do want to make sure that we, we talked a little bit about your book, one of your many endeavors. So you you went to school, just to give a bit of the backstory you went to you went to school, you became a registered nurse, you found love of your life, you got married, you got pregnant, there’s a part in the book that talks about how excited dad was, how excited you both were, but I really enjoyed the part about, you know, ad, you leaving a card and the sticks for ad and ad and finding them and then running out and being really excited and hugging you and hugging the baby. You know, everything leading up to we know the book is about postpartum depression. So everything leading up to that space seemed like it was on track. So then kind of from there, what what happened and what led to you experiencing and identifying that you had postpartum depression? And yeah, we’ll, we’ll we’ll go from there.

Jessica Gale Friesen 

Yeah, so prior to having children, I was always an exceptionally driven individual. So I was always working two or three jobs on top of going to school full time, even after I graduated, I had two or three jobs. You know, I just, I had a goal. And that goal was to be a mom. And that goal required a certain amount of money. And, you know, to be to be a good, you know, nothing to get off on the right foot. And going back to our earlier discussion about the neighborhood that I grew up in. Being from an affluent neighborhood, I didn’t know how skewed my perception of running a household was, I didn’t know what kind of funds I would need, how much money I’d have to make. So I just decided I’m going to work my butt off and make as much as I can, and, you know, see how it goes. Right. And I was successful in that. And after I got married, we decided that we were going to try for kids right away. We wanted to be young parents. And we were again successful in that. And it was a it was a good pregnancy, there wasn’t anything huge speak of any any huge complications or anything like that. But because of my nursing background, I was very scared of epidurals and that it’s really silly. epidurals are very safe. I’ve just always, I didn’t like needles, I still I’m still not great with needles. I’m good at giving them but not receiving them. But Neal in my back, you know, I just really wasn’t comfortable with that. So I had explained that to my doctor. And he had, we had kind of talked a little bit on different methods of pain management, but we hadn’t really gone down that road in depth, because my son, my son came both days early, two weeks early, almost. So we kind of missed that conversation. And so while I was in labor with my son, again, I didn’t want the epidural, but I wanted some kind of pain management. And he said, Okay, well, we’ll give you a shot of Demerol. And I thought, okay, that’s fine. I’ve given Demerol hundreds of times to my own patients. But I am one of the one in the millions who’s allergic to demo. And I didn’t know that prior to the labor. I had never had Demerol before. So the last four hours of labor with my son I was hallucinating. I was violently ill. I really don’t remember a lot of it. When my son was born, he was also affected by the general he had low oxygen when he was born and he was rushed off to the nephew and he was taken from me and I actually didn’t see him when he was born. He was just rushed off a few hours later, when I I was in my now postpartum room my my husband was in a recliner off on off in the corner sleeping and I woke up in an absolute panic. Not knowing what had happened where was my son what was really going on, somebody’s not telling me something. And I and I panicked. And once the nephew and it really it’s a little A bit of a fast forward, my son’s totally fine. But I had worried that he would have three of the palsy because of the low oxygen. I had nurse, a couple of children slash adults, they were kind of teenagers. When I was in nursing school, I had cared for two individuals that had cerebral palsy. And I knew exactly how that manifested for them. And I was petrified that one wrong decision that I had made, would result in a lifetime of a lifetime of challenges for my son. I had done everything right up to that point. And all I could focus on was the fact that one wrong decision would change everything for my son. And it didn’t matter to me, or nothing, it didn’t matter to me, I didn’t realize at that point in time that hundreds of 1000s of women received Emerald. But my doctor would have never given me a demo, if he thought that there was going to be a problem, that if it was a one, one in a million type shot, all I could focus on what I messed up, I made a decision that impacted my son, and it was going to impact him in my mind for the rest of his life. And it in that moment, something broke in my head. And that’s the only way that I can really describe it. Because from that moment on, I was I was petrified that someone was going to realize that I was not capable of being a mother, and that my son was not safe with me. And they were going to come and take my son away. And that’s what really, if I can say that there was one thing that really caused my postpartum depression. That’s what it was, was that error that I was not fit to be a mother. I had I had horrible, horrible, recurring nightmares about people coming and taking my son away. You know, I did not. I was not, I did not trust myself. To be with him. I was scared to be with him by myself. The only time that I was comfortable being with him was when I was in my home. And that was literally because I controlled absolutely everything in those four roles. So he was on a schedule, we did not deviate from that schedule whatsoever. You know, it I would, there were days where I wouldn’t get out of my pajamas. There were days where I couldn’t clean up the house. I did not cook, I would, you know nuke some things I really liked like microwave pizzas back then. So I know I had a lot of microwave pizzas. But you know, it was bad. It was really bad. It was very scary. It’s important to know that my son was born at the beginning of June. So a lot of the programs then this is, again, 14 years ago, a lot of the programs that were available to new moms were just kind of winding down. So there weren’t programs, steady programs through the summer, that could provide me with a group of individuals that were going through the same thing as me the same time, I was the first of my friends to have a child, so I didn’t have them to rely on. My husband knew that something was wrong, but he didn’t realize how wrong things things were. I was very good at hiding it. And that’s probably because of maybe my nursing experience. So I had done some mental health classes and whatnot. And I kind of I knew enough to know that something’s wrong. But I didn’t didn’t know enough to I didn’t want to admit that something was that wrong. So I didn’t call my doctor and my doctor never asked me, the one thing I can say is nobody ever asked me how I was doing as far as a medical professional. Everyone wanted to know how my son was doing. How’s the baby? How’s he growing? You know, JP, we were talking, you know, yesterday about the 97th and 98th percentile and and whatnot. You know, that’s what it was all about. But nobody stopped to say how are you doing? Just how are you coping with with with what’s going on here? And that’s really something that I would like to see change within Canada is public health nurses not going to visit? No, I’m not saying going to visit but checking in with new mums. You know, a phone call once a week just to say how are you because you If if new mums are anything like me, then you’re hiding it desperately because you’re scared that that you’re going to lose your child or that something else is going to happen. So that’s really what the summer was like for me. In the September, so my son was three months old, I enrolled in a class called baby talk. And it was a once a week, kind of forum where new moms would get together with the babies, and you would talk about everything that you’re experiencing, and all the challenges that you’re having and whatnot, and it’s exactly what I needed three months earlier. And if I had that three months earlier, I think that that my world would have been different, I think I still would have suffered from postpartum depression, but it would have been, you know, mitigated significantly. So once I started chatting with the other other women and realizing that I’m not alone, that my fears are not that that, you know, outside the box of what all of the mums are, are, are just are feeling, I started being able to cope a little bit better. And it also pulled me out of the house, by myself with my son, which was something that I did not do, I was leaving the house prior to that my mother was coming, or sometimes my sister would come, or I would have to wait for my husband to come home. And it just that going outside of the house with with my son was something that was just totally beyond what I was even capable of thinking of, let alone doing this, so is my postpartum depression really lasted about six months. And I say six months, because it was in the December of that year, where I really started being able to look back and realize how bad it had actually been, you know, where I started to think that’s not normal, that’s not normal, you know, I shouldn’t have felt like that, I should have done something, somebody should have done something. But again, I hit it, and I hit it really, really well. So that’s, that’s kind of my journey, in a nutshell, is something that even to this day, you know, mental health is not, it’s just like physical health, you know, you have to maintain it, you have to be aware of it all the time. You know, if I break my arm, I’m constantly going to be a little bit worried about that arm come in the future. Because, you know, it’s, you know, something that bugs me a little bit, right? I actually, for instance, I sprained one wrist, cheerleading in high school. And now 25 years later, I’ve got arthritis, it’s fantastic. But you know, so how, why should mental health be any different than that, you have to constantly be aware of what you are doing, and how you are feeling. And it’s not just any one thing, it’s everything in your life, but you have to be proactive about it, you have to be cognizant of it, I believe. And by being able to be aware of myself, and how I am feeling and what my triggers are, I’m better able to navigate life, and, you know, plan for what might be a hard day and I have bad days still, you know, just like anybody else. But I also know what will usually work to help me or to help me get through that day. And I also always know that it’s just a phase. And that’s one thing that I learned with my children is no matter what they are going through and what what challenges. There are, and this is for anything in life, physical health, mental health, kids, anything, everything’s just the phase. It’s a moment in time, it all passes, whether it’s good, or bad or ugly, you will get through it. And there will be better times ahead

Seth Anderson 

of like 100 questions. But I’m going to pivot slightly to this week’s question from Mama Seth. So this is a segment we’ve been running this this year. My mom had suggested to me that we start incorporating listener lists listener questions, and so she’s been providing the question. And yeah, so this week’s question is, as a mom of five I suffered some serious postpartum depression with my first child, which is me. And my last which were twins. Sadly, back then the treatment was stopped watching TV or reading anything sad. All these years later, I actually still sometimes struggle with how dark those thoughts where do you find that other women find themselves haunted 35 years later by dark postpartum thoughts and feelings, and how do they manage it?

Jessica Gale Friesen 

I absolutely do. Now I can’t speak for 34 years, 35 years or 34 years, but I can certainly speak for 14 years, you know, there are moments where I just have to give my son a hug and make sure he knows I love him. And not even because anything happened or because I’m upset about anything, it’s literally just because it’s about me, I need to know that he knows that I love him. And that’s something that I think for the first six months when I was when I was suffering from postpartum, I would look at my son and feel absolutely nothing. I didn’t love him, I didn’t hate him. I didn’t feel anything. He was just there, I was in charge of feeding him and bathing him and making sure that he was dressed and there was absolutely nothing else. Until, again, that December. And I remember the moment when I looked at him. And you know that when you give birth, I had always heard about mother’s having that moment where your, your heart just breaks, and you just fall intensely in love with your child. I didn’t have that. When my son was born, I didn’t, I didn’t even see him. I had that moment six months later. And it was there was a dark edge around that moment for me, because as much as I literally can picture in my head, where my son was, where I was, and that that breaking of my heart. But I also thought, Oh, my God, this is what I should have felt for six months. What have I done. And that’s something that I think I was making up for for many years, that I still make up for, that I made sure didn’t happen with my daughter. And I think that that’s something that for his whole life, I will I will be doing and it’s just finding that touch point with him. him specifically I need, you know, he’s taller than me now. But I go and I give him a huge hug. And I even said to him last night, you know, can can we have? You know, like he started in high school. So I’m all emotional yesterday. And I said, you know, can we can we just have some Mum, mum and mum in any time because, you know, I need that. I think it’s something that as a mother, how do you get past that? Truly? How do you how do you? How do you come to terms with that? I don’t know, I don’t have that answer. It’s something that I am consistently working on. writing my book was extremely cathartic for me, it brought up a lot of stuff that I had actually forgotten. Some of it got included in the book, and some of it didn’t. And I think for me, talking about it is one way that that it, I am trying to deal with what happened back then I’m trying to make sure that new mums in the future don’t have to feel the way that I feel. Or on the flip side of that, that mums who did feel that way, know that they didn’t do anything wrong, this isn’t something that you did, this is just something that happened. It’s something that there are other people around the world, they know what that feels like. And it’s so important to be there because to be there to support them. Because as a mum, you’re you’re constantly going through what has happened in the past with your kids and what your kids are going to go through and go through in the future. And you’re trying to always make the right decisions and everything and you’re regretting the decisions that weren’t right by society standards. And that’s something that I don’t think any of us ever get over. So, for the mums that did go through that, I think it’s imperative that they know that you did all you could to provide the best life that you could for your child, and you got through it. And they’re older now and they’re okay, and you’re okay. And you’re going to have bad days. But that’s what the rest of us are here for. And I think that we need more groups that are willing to talk about that and support people that have been through that. And I think we need more people that that are going out on a limb like I’m trying to do and talk about it. It’s something that’s very hard to talk about. It’s something that I’ve gotten very comfortable with talking about but I get it that there’s a lot of people that can’t talk about it. But the more that do the more we will realize as a society that this is something that we really should support and that we need to accept and be aware of. So that we can mitigate it in the future. That answer your question.

JP Gaston 

Yeah, I think what like I mean, I don’t want to give away the book I’m probably three quarters of the way through right now is a is a great book. It is very much I know you said you held some stuff back it is still very much a tell all book. It is it goes deep. And I think it’s it’s really well done. So I mean, congratulations on on releasing the book what what led to you wanting to put together the book and get it out into the world. What Where did that come from?

Jessica Gale Friesen 

So I took over the family company in 2014. And in 2019, I was very proud of the fact that I was a third generation owner operator. And the stigma around that is that the third generation usually takes the company, I’m a female in a male dominated industry. So you know, check there as well. And also that I had hit my five year anniversary, and most startups die in the first five years. So I felt like, I’ve hit those three goals, I want to do something to celebrate that. And I want to give back to the community in a financial way. So I had been looking for an organization that really was a mirror image to my own. And by that, I mean, my company is all through Niagara. So there are 13 different municipalities, we operate in each one of them. So I was looking for an organization that operated in all 13. And I came up with United Way niagra. Coincidentally, a friend of mine was the chair for their capital campaign that year. So we got in touch, and I committed to a $50,000 donation to United Way. Very happy about that. And they offered me the opportunity to speak at the kickoff breakfast that September. So this is September of 2019. And I took that very seriously, I knew that there would be some important people in the room. And I felt like it was an opportunity for me to again, establish myself as Jessica freezin, not Bob Gale daughter. And I thought by doing that I should really be honest with people about why United Way why that why now why, why is this important to me. And that led me to thinking back about my health care, experience. And, you know, helping people and being community minded. And it led me to really thinking about the fact that United Way helps people who suffer, United Way helps people who are having a really hard time in life. And I had suffered, I had suffered with my postpartum depression. So for the first time in my life, I publicly stated that that was why I had that was one of the reasons why I had helped united way that I suffered from postpartum depression. And I went into a little bit of detail about the fact that when I looked at my son, I felt absolutely nothing for the first six months. And to me, that was just kind of a sidebar, it was a tidbit. It wasn’t the big part of my speech. But the response that I received from women in the audience, both day of coming up to me, literally with tears in their eyes, saying, thank you so much for being so honest, thank you so much for being truthful, I suffered as well. And it’s nice to know that there are other people out there phone calls and emails afterwards. And I thought, you know, I’m okay with my with my history, I’m okay with what I went through. It’s, it’s a part of my past. And it’s part of who, what, what made me who I am today, I started thinking, maybe there’s something here, maybe I should, maybe I should write my journey down. So I started doing that. And then COVID happened, everything got put put on the back burner. And then all of a sudden, one day this past January, I woke up and I thought, nope, let’s just do it. And I did what I now know is called a dump. And I think it was three days. And I just thought everything out on paper. And it was the first draft and I sent an excerpt off to a girlfriend of mine, who was a publisher, and I said, Brandi, you know, is there anything? Is there anything here? Like what do you think, you know, is this something that could help people? Or is this something that was good for me just to get it out? And she did a little bit of market research. And she said just there’s not a lot of people that are talking about this. Even in this day and age, there’s nothing out there in the first person, someone talking about their own experience. There’s a lot out there from the experts and the doctors that are saying, you know, do this, do that and do whatever, which is great. But what about real life? What about women who want to talk about what it actually was like for them? And that’s how it all started. So Brandi put me in touch with a fantastic coach. And my I think it was 15,000 words. first draft became a 42,000 words published novel. And you know, JP, I’m, I’m very happy with how you’re seeing this because I was trying to be totally open totally honest. Totally real. I wanted people to know that. You know, I’m a successful businesswoman, I on paper, I look like I’ve got it all together. But that doesn’t mean anything. Mental Health does not discriminate based on based on anything. Anybody can I struggle with their mental health, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what color your skin is, what your socioeconomic status is, none of that matters. Everybody can struggle with their mental health. And I am certainly an example of someone who has who does on occasion. But I can still be successful, I can still help people, I can still do what’s right for my kids, and my husband and my community. And I think that’s important for people to understand.

Seth Anderson 

So Jessica, the book is called This Will Not Break Me. Where can where can people get it?

Jessica Gale Friesen 

it? Oh, it’s on Amazon. This will not break me. And it’s also on my website. So I have printed under my maiden and married names. So it’s Jessica Gale Friesae. It’s Gale, G, A l, e. And my, my website is Jessica Gale Friesen dot com. You can go there to purchase the book, you can go on my Facebook, and everything links back there. Facebook is also Jessica Gale Friesen. I’m really taking this as a starting point. Because, again, it’s all about helping people. And I think that I am turning 40 in a few weeks, like two weeks, and I know JP that you are too. Not that I’m outing you. But I remember JP and I grew up well, we grew up together for a few years anyways. But yeah, I i’m really looking at what’s the next 40 years going to bring for Jess and what can just do for everybody over the next 40 years. And I’m looking at this as a launching pad. I’ll be starting a blog. And I’m looking at doing more more speaking about anything that I have experience in so mental health, community leadership, business, leadership, female empowerment. You know, I think that I’ve got a lot of experience that I can share with people and that people might be able to benefit from and I think that it’s important to offer that to individuals. Because what’s the point of getting older if you’re not helping the younger generation? I guess with

Seth Anderson 

that one, one last question for you, Jess, how are you feeding your mind right now? What do you what are you working on what the great podcasts or other resources that you’re using?

Yeah, so um, I do a lot of reading a lot, a lot of reading, I read a lot of news. Uh, you know, I try to stay very much in touch with what’s happening in the world. I also try to read as strange as this might sound, I read a lot of biographies to learn from other people, either auto or otherwise. But I also when I really just want to zone out when things are getting a little too. Real. In my real life. I like to read a really good fantasy book too. And it kind of goes one way or the other for me. So right now I’m actually in the middle of some kind of vampire trilogy, which, you know, it just it takes you away from the real life and sometimes you need that break. And I think that for my own mental health that’s that’s very important.

Seth Anderson 

I love a good biography. Is there a recent one you’ve read that you would recommend? You know what?

Jessica Gale Friesen 

I usually try to go for the the oddball ones just because I’m, you know, you never know what you’re gonna find. Right. I read read Katharine Hepburn’s and that’s really interesting. Portia de Rossi is another very interesting one. And Jody sweeten from Full House is another very interesting one as well, both both. Both of the younger women struggled heavily one with drugs, one with anorexia. And, you know, again, looking at women who are not just women, but people who have been through significant times in their life, you know, significant challenges and seeing them successful. That’s really what draws me to, to to somebody.

JP Gaston 

Well, just just thank you for taking the time today. I know there’s so much more we want to dive into. So what you’re really talking about in the future. Really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and your stories and to tell us more about your book. Thanks again.

Jessica Gale Friesen 

Awesome.

JP Gaston 

It’s been great.

Jessica Gale Friesen 

Well, you guys, thank you so much for the opportunity. This this. This is fun. You know, I really appreciate the opportunity to come on with you guys.

JP Gaston 

Awesome. Thank you.

Seth Anderson 

Take Care.

Jessica Gale Friesen 

Have a great day. Bye.

JP Gaston 

You too – buh-Bye.  Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode.

Seth Anderson 

If you like what you heard today and you’d like to tap into your inner wisdom, check us out on The Biz dojo.com, Instagram, LinkedIn

JP Gaston 

or Facebook or send us a message for a free discovery session to coaching at The Biz Dojo Com.

Seth Anderson 

We hope to hear from you soon. See you next week.

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