It was my middle child, Sam who outed me as a professional homeopath. It happened during his class assembly in front of the entire school and a bunch of other year 3 parents. Their topic was “All about me” and they’d been learning about the human body, relationships and family trees. The whole class was on stage - some children spoke about their hobbies, others showed off their self-portraits. But Sam had chosen to talk about his family. This is when he announced my vital stats. “My mum is from Yorkshire. She likes cappuccinos and she is a homeopath”. And just like that, it was official.
I realised at that moment that I was re-emerging as an individual after almost ten years of motherhood. Ten years of glorious, exhausting, life-affirming, all-consuming motherhood. I’d birthed, breastfed and attachment-parented three babies who, all of a sudden, had grown up and were firmly ensconced in the school system. So where did this leave me? I was no longer defined primarily by the baby attached to me, but once again for being me - my Yorkshire roots, my love of coffee and my profession. It was my seven year old son who helped reboot this.
I am aware that lots of mothers go through a similar transition. Many of us choose to pause or scale back our careers for a few years so we can be the primary carer for our young children. We devote our very existence to their wellbeing. And whilst this is done without regret or resentment, I have talked time and time again with other mothers who emerge from the baby and pre-school years similarly unsure of how to reclaim that other part of themselves, how to redefine themselves as an individual with an identity beyond their motherhood.
For me, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when my son declared me a homeopath. After all, it had been eight years in the making. I had decided to retrain when my first-born was a toddler and I had been studying on and off ever since, squeezing it in amongst the chaos of family life.
In my previous roles, I had campaigned for human rights, peace and the environment and I remained committed to a natural and ethical approach to life. But starting a family had forced me to rethink my career path as I wanted to be around for my three boys. Homeopathy had always been alluring, and I knew from personal experience that it could make a real difference to health and well-being. Here was my calling.
Homeopathy is a natural, safe and gentle system of medicine that is designed to work holistically for each unique individual. Remedies stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism to restore the entire system to health and harmony and many people use them to help with childhood illnesses, asthma, eczema, IBS and depression, to name a few. It is based on the principle of like cures like – a substance that can cause symptoms in a healthy person can be used to cure the same symptoms when taken in homeopathic form.
For those unacquainted with it, homeopathy is often misunderstood, sometimes even maligned. Yet it is estimated that over 200 million people around the world use and trust homeopathy on a regular basis. That’s a lot of people making it their healthcare choice. Six million of them are in the UK and include the likes of David Beckham, Jude Law, Emma Watson, and even members of the Royal family.
For me, homeopathy has been particularly important during times of personal transition. Life is full of changes, both physical and emotional, and homeopathic medicine has helped me ride these sometimes challenging times. It has helped me navigate teenage and university years as I transitioned into adulthood, supported my changing body through three pregnancies and helped me deal with emotional trauma. It continues to be the healthcare of choice for me and my growing children and it seems fitting that homeopathy is now playing centre stage in the story of my post-baby identity.
Homeopathy holds a lot of promise. Both as the focus of my new career helping others during their periods of transition, but also for the health of the planet. For the Earth is mired in its own critical change with CO2 levels rising and global temperatures climbing ever higher.We all know we are part of the problem and we all have to act.
Fossil fuels and the transport industry have been in the environmental spotlight for years, and now it’s plastics and food production that are under scrutiny. Yet as we search for cleaner and more sustainable alternatives to our high carbon lives, the pharmaceutical industry, with its resource intensive manufacturing processes and inextricable reliance on petro-chemicals, has largely escaped mention.
Growing levels of pollution are also causing concern as alarming amounts of pharmaceutical ingredients have infiltrated our waterways, with trace amounts detected as far away as the Arctic. Meanwhile, antibiotics, hormones and antidepressants are found in drinking water in big cities around the globe and the implications of impending antibiotic resistance are frightening.
It is clear then that transforming our approach to healthcare must be part of the picture when tackling our climate crisis.
In these times of perilous change, homeopathic medicines offer us a safe, low cost and effective solution for some of our health issues. Of course, there will be times when I may still need to rely on conventional meds - it’s about making sensible choices and using sustainable options like homeopathy as a first port of call whenever I can. Reducing our exposure to chemicals is better for our health, and it’s good news for the planet as well. And as homeopathic remedies are made from natural materials which are repeatedly diluted during the manufacturing process, it means that literally thousands of doses can be made from a single sample. It’s the ultimate in sustainable medicine.
So, after several episodes of uncertainty and self-doubt, here I am, entering the professional arena once again. I may have moved on from my days of environmental campaigning, but I feel just as proud to be able to support others on their journey towards better health. And I am committed to doing so by using this most gentle, ecological and transformational of medicines.
Sam knew it all along; I just needed a nudge: I am from Yorkshire. I like cappuccinos. And I am proud to announce that I am now a homeopath.
There are currently around 1200 professional homeopaths registered by The Society of Homeopaths. The Society holds the only register dedicated to homeopathy with the stamp of approval from the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), the government agency that oversees the regulation of healthcare professionals. Membership, indicated by the letters RSHom, is a guarantee of a well-trained, registered and insured professional homeopath.
To find a homeopath near you, visit: https://homeopathy-soh.org/find-a-homeopath/
To find out more about homeopathy training visit: https://homeopathy-soh.org/training-and-events/become-a-homeopath/
Jo Magowan qualified as a professional homeopath in January 2019 and is enjoying building her practice in Lewes, East Sussex. When not at work, she is looking after her three children and enjoying the beautiful South Downs.