Lou's Time to Shine
When life took a different direction to what she was expecting, Lou Feltham Smith used it as an opportunity to help others.
When it comes to empowering other women, both in business and in life, Lou Feltham Smith tackles the role head on. Not only is she a mum to five, but Lou is a networking superstar helping women in small business on a local, national and international level grow their client base. To add to her very full plate, Lou is also the founder of not-for-profit organisation Miracle Mums Movement Inc. a group assisting women who have experienced domestic abuse, giving them help with tools and resources to get back on their feet again. Not to mention, she’s a health and beauty ambassador and an author too! Life may be busy and full on, but Lou wouldn’t change a thing.
To call Lou inspirational, motivational and a role model for other women is really just the tip of the iceberg. Originally hailing from England, Lou settled in Australia with her family when she was 16. After starting out in Sydney, she eventually found her way to sunny Brisbane and now lives in Newport. Her life has been one of ups and downs, but it was ultimately the biggest down which would lead her to be living out the most fulfilling version of herself, guiding and mentoring others.
“I didn't feel like I had a good enough reason to leave because he hadn't hit me. And I now know from a lot of women that I speak to that they feel the same way. In that there's a stigma around domestic abuse, they feel that unless it's physical it's not actually abuse, which is not true at all.”
Lou was at a point in her life where she was struggling with her mental health, when a session with a psychologist uncovered that she was experiencing domestic abuse.
“I thought I was suffering from postnatal depression and anxiety, as I had done with one of the other kids,” Lou says. “So I booked in to see a psychologist to try and work through what was happening and during one of our sessions my psychologist said to me that she thought that some of the things I had described was domestic abuse.
“I didn't feel like I had a good enough reason to leave because he hadn't hit me. And I now know from a lot of women that I speak to that they feel the same way. In that there's a stigma around domestic abuse, they feel that unless it's physical it's not actually abuse, which is not true at all.
“It was at that moment when she gave me that lifeline, she gave me a card to a service called DV Connect in Queensland. I rang them and told them what was happening. And they started the process of helping me to write a safety plan and helping me to plan to leave the relationship.”
With her three children, a suitcase and some money she had secretly put away, Lou started over from scratch. After going through her own personal development, rediscovering who she was and regaining control over her life, Lou came up with an idea to help others through the process.
“I thought I just really wish that when I had been leaving, that I had someone that had been through the same thing holding my hand and kind of guiding me through the process,” Lou says. “So I knew I wanted to do that. I wanted to be that person for others. So that's kind of where the charity idea began before I even knew that it was going to be a charity.”
With that idea churning, Miracle Mums Movement Inc. started to come to fruition. During her personal development journey, Lou read The Miracle Morning, a book that centred around different mindfulness techniques. It was these techniques that Lou wanted to pass on to other women to guide them in their own journey and start building their dream life, just like she had.
“I'm now married to the man of my dreams who loves and supports me to be the real me I lost all those years ago,” Lou says. “I also have another two beautiful children as well.
“So my life didn’t take the path I thought it would, but there’s storms in life you have to weather and if you can weather the storm and yes this is going to sound cliché, but there’s a rainbow at the other end and you’ll become stronger because of it. That’s the kind of message I like to give to others.”
With a positive outlook and a strong mindset, Lou just wants to help others. Although she does strongly highlight that Miracle Mums Movement Inc. is not a counselling or crisis service, but more of a starting point.
“I speak to women from my own lived experience and from my own personal experiences in dealing with the system,” she says. “The professional advice is so important, but I think our point of difference is that everyone on our board has lived experience of DV. So we can really, really understand what they're going through because we've been through the same things.
“It just makes me feel so good knowing we can be there for someone, even if it is just one person, because I just wish that I had that when I was going through my own situation. There's something really different about having someone that has that lived experience talking to you about what’s happening.”
Along with sharing her own personal experiences, Lou spends a lot of her time working alongside women in business for Mums in Business International, right from the comfort of home.
“I have the opportunity to help women who have lost themselves after they become mum, reconnect with who they were before they started putting everyone else first, so they can create the life they have designed,” Lou says. “I just really love building relationships with other ladies and being around other women who are also working from home and working for themselves. I also see it as an opportunity to continue working on my own personal growth as well.
“Not only do I look after the area of Moreton Bay, but I also oversee all of the groups in Queensland as well. While it may seem like a lot, to me it's fun though, because it's stuff that I do every day anyway, a lot of it is online networking, so I'm talking to people every day already because of my business and my charity.”
To find out further information or to connect with Lou, look for Miracle Mums Movement Inc. or Mums in Business International via Facebook.