In conversation with Lorraine Barlow

Welcome to Coeur et Maman, thank you for joining us today. If you had an opportunity to write your own bio, how would it read? What do you want to be known for?

Hi my name is Lorraine and I’ve a diverse career background which includes Market Research, Graduate Recruitment and running my own online business. Currently I am a full time mum and without a doubt this is my most rewarding job to date!

My biography would probably make quite a read, it’s almost soap opera worthy but as I hit my mid 40’s I am proud of what I have achieved in my life thus far. I persevere at things, I pick myself up and carry on. On reflection it’s the relationships you make throughout life that shape the person that you become.

What is the best part about the town you live in, and why have you chosen to call it home?

Barford is my home and where my family have been since the 1950’s. I love this village, it is a special place with a huge sense of community spirit. I can walk around this village and it can take twice as long because you chat away to numerous familiar faces. I’ve never felt lonely here.

What does a typical weekend day look like for you, and if you had to make it into an ideal day, what would you do?

Currently a typical weekend involves entertaining a one year old through lockdown. My little boy has missed out on so much socialising but he is already showing signs of his love for the outdoors. My perfect way to spend the weekend would involve walking with our Sprocker Tilly and to enjoy plenty of good food with good friends. You can’t beat a good home cooked Sunday roast!

On reflection it’s the relationships you make throughout life that shape the person that you become.

What would you say is the best advice you received when starting out or during the course of your career or business venture?

Probably the best advice I’ve ever received ‘don’t become a busy idiot’ and as succinct as that message is it has on numerous occasions pulled me back from over committing to things and realising my capabilities if I want to do a job well.

What does motherhood mean to you, and what are your thoughts on the current society’s attitude towards women’s decisions to be or not be mothers?

Motherhood is a dream come true for me. I had several miscarriages and I thought that becoming a mum wasn’t meant to be. I did accept that I may not have children and I for one have never questioned other people’s reasons for not having a family. Every woman has her own story to tell. It is not for us to question women’s decisions to be or not to be mothers.

Probably the best advice I’ve ever received ‘don’t become a busy idiot’.

Is there a book, work of art or other creative product that has had the most influence on you, helped you make it through a difficult or uncertain time or pushed you towards achieving your goals?

Just recently I have read Charlie Mackesy’s book ‘The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse’ and it has resonated so much with me and how I hope my little boy will open his mind to the big wide world as he grows. It made me reflect on life in general.

If you could choose one trailblazing woman to be your mentor, who would it be?

My favourite trailblazing woman would be Beatrix Potter. She was an author in a time where women were hugely unrepresented or valued. Her talent and her passion for the countryside have continued to be part of children’s bedtime stories. Not only that but she worked closely with the National Trust and contributed to the conservation of our natural landscape.

I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.


Have you taken any brave action of late? Change, or our dreams, can often times feel scary, what’s your go-to approach for dealing with fear?

I was made redundant in January and this left me feeling quite vulnerable. I recently completed a 6 week course on finding a job you love and it relit a fire within me to think about what I want to focus on going forward. It encouraged me to refresh my CV and reflect on all the skills I have. I am a born worrier but talking to people is the way forward. I have found new doors have opened in my career through discussing and networking with people.

If you had one hope for the future, what would it be?

I hope more than anything that we protect our wildlife. It weighs heavy on me that our generation is contributing so heavily to waste that still cannot be recycled. Developments swallowing up green belt areas. When did the human race decide they were more important than other living creatures? We need to focus more on living alongside our wildlife as they are the equilibrium to our existence.

And lastly, what piece of advice would you give your 23 year old self?

I would have a good chat with my 23yr old self and tell her to not get so absorbed with the minor detail. To always trust her gut instinct and to be true to herself.

Editor’s Note

Much like the first few women I will feature in this interview series, I know Lorraine personally, and I was delighted when she agreed to be featured. I had promised a diversity of voices, and perhaps even I hadn’t quite appreciated how diverse those voices truly could be. By creating a space to normalise women’s decisions to be working mothers or stay-at-home mothers, by profiling women who do and don’t have children, I hope each and every one of us will recognise that there is no need to pit off these decisions or statuses against each other, or judge women based on them.

Reading Lorraine’s profile, I immediately recognised in word the spirit and essence of the woman I have come to know, and it has warmed my heart to feel like I am getting a chance to know her even better through this feature.

Courage, change, hope for the future, the importance of relationships, our social responsibility towards this world that we inhabit, and a gentle reminder that we ought to hold a gentle space as a society to recognise that some personal decisions are quite simply that - personal. As women we are key to change; from fighting for the vote, to championing courses such as maternal safety in childbirth, we have done so much, have achieved so much. If the world is to hold a more respectful and compassionate view to our intrinsic right to not have our lives dissected and made a matter of public opinion and discourse, then you can rest assured that it is we who will be in the driving seat of that change.

I hope you’ll stand braver and taller and champion for a different world in the knowledge that our collective fight achieves far more than we can imagine.

Thank you Lorraine for joining us in this week’s Conversation and inspiring us with the sheer positivity and courage of your convictions, both of which shine through when you speak of your passions and hopes.

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