June Diane Raphael, actress, writer, and co-founder of The Jane Club, opens up about her own struggle with new motherhood. “It was very painful for me because I didn’t feel like I had a lot of support.” She tells the story of her first week on the set of Grace and Frankie when, at just 10 weeks postpartum, she wound up with a *very painful* clogged duct in her breast. “I would walk away and back to my trailer and cry because it was so painful.” Plus: how she balances taking care of two small children and an aging parent, all while running The Jane Club, her digital community empowering working moms.
You can follow June Diane Raphael on Twitter @MsJuneDiane or on Instagram @junediane.
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Interested in learning more about June Diane Raphael? Check out the links below:
- You can learn more about The Jane Club’s digital membership, The Connected Jane, here: https://www.janeclub.com/. Good Kids listeners can use code INSIDERJANEFF for $10 off their first month.
- Watch June in Grace and Frankie on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80017537.
- Listen to June’s podcast, How Did This Get Made?, with husband Paul Scheer and fellow comedian Jason Mantzoukas: https://www.earwolf.com/show/how-did-this-get-made/.
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June Diane Raphael
Hi, I’m Jean Diane Raphael and you are listening to good kids. I am an actress. I’m a writer. I’m the founder of the Jane Club and today I am going to talk about motherhood and caretaking and the horrors and pain and pride and education and community that happens when you become a new mom.
New parenting, new motherhood it is not for the faint of heart it is. And I wish people spend so much time talking to you about onesies and the baby and the this and that that and you’ve got to get this special pacifier. And now when I have women in my life who are going through the process of becoming a new mom, I’m like, listen, it’s like we’re going to talk about diapers on you, not baby, we’re going to talk about you were in diapers for a while we’re gonna talk about what happens to your boobs. Talk about breastfeeding, like all of the nitty gritty, because it’s a shock. And I think there’s so much stigma around it, especially breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public places and all of that insanity and the deep misogyny of our culture. And it’s so important for women to talk about it.
I really struggled through new motherhood. And it was very painful for me because I didn’t feel like I had a lot of support. I remember going back to Grace and Frankie, the series I’m on Netflix, and I was still breastfeeding my first child, I audition for the show when I was three weeks postpartum. And then I started shooting when I was 10 weeks postpartum. And that first day I showed up, I was sitting in the hair makeup trailer and I realized this never happened before that I had this clogged duct on my breast. And it happens to women who are breastfeeding happens all the time. It was the first time it happened to me, especially when you’re on this schedule with your newborn and your breasts are kind of your body’s responding to even just sometimes seeing pictures of them.
When I would have to pull over to the side of the road. When I was driving the set to pump breast milk. I would look at pictures of my baby to like get the milk flow going. I mean, it’s so it’s some it’s some deep primal stuff. So, I had been off my schedule that day. And I’d gotten to set it like five in the morning. And I was so nervous. I was doing a scene with Jane Fonda and I started to feel that something was very wrong with my breast and I was really scared and it was getting worse and worse and worse as the day went on. We ended up reshooting the scene I don’t think it was because of my clogged duct boobs because they sort of changed the opening of the pilot.
But I spent the whole day I would walk away and back to my trailer and cry because it was so painful. And I also had to pump milk through it and putting that breast pump on. Oh my god, it was literally brought tears to my eyes and I was texting my I had a lactation consultant. She was like take pictures and send them to me. So, I was sending her pictures of mine. It was wild and this was on like a 10-minute break. She’s like, okay, it’s definitely clogged, you need to go sterilize a needle and puncture it. And I was like Martin Sheen is waiting on set for me to arrive.
I cannot do this. And she was like you have to it’s just gonna be so painful the rest of the day and I worked through it because I was like, I’m too. I’m too embarrassed to tell people what’s going on. So, I will just suffer through it, which I did. And then I went home and my mother in law was staying with us at the time and she is a former nurse. And I didn’t know our relationship was gonna go there. But I was like, I think I need you to puncture my nipple with a sterilized needle and drain my boob. And God bless this woman she did.
Having been in the position of taking care of a parent and elder. Should I say my dad’s elderly, he probably he would take offense to that. But to take care of the physical health of an aging parent, and to take care of small children, and to take care of one’s work outside the home, was virtually impossible. And so much of that labor that sort of mysterious unpaid labor, and yes, it’s a privilege for a lot of us. And it’s sacred work for so many of us. And that’s beautiful. And that’s wonderful. But the truth of the matter is that women are doing that work. And sandwiched in between the work of raising small children and taking care of our parents and potentially even our in laws.
Most of us are having children later, that’s not a trend that’s going to change. And it’s intersecting at the exact time in the critical years, where we should be making the most money wherever make. And so, to me that there has been no adequate response to supporting women during these critical years. And then we wonder why, you know, women are in C-suite level positions, we wonder why women don’t run for office, we wonder about all of these things. And again, what we would prefer to do is to ask one woman how she does it, as opposed to really taking on new systems, new ways of working, that fully support parents and fully support parenting so that we don’t have to opt out.
And I think this pandemic is really brought that to light, who’s doing that work, who’s going to suffer the most, during this time of homeschooling, and online learning and lack of child’s care and lack of daycare and lack of the infrastructure that we rely on to take care of our children, women are going to pick up that work. I was really angry that I had internalized so much of the messaging that I think a lot of women do, which is that we should have it all, and that we should be able to, quote unquote, balance these parts of our lives. And that if we are not able to do that, then the fault is probably within us, and that we haven’t read enough books about how to do it. And we haven’t listened to enough panels about how super Uber successful women do it.
And I realized that the blame was not put where I believe it should be, you know, appropriately placed on institutions on infrastructure that does not nearly do enough to support mothers, caretakers and parents. So, The Jane Club, it was really my answer to that. The Jane Club was founded by me and my co-founder back in 2017. And we started off as a physical location. But since COVID, back in March, we’ve turned entirely digital and we have created a digital platform that supports Janes from across the country and now internationally, with a true village of resources. So, from daily meditations to cocktail hours from writing workshops, we do astrology sessions, we have teachings on all sorts of topics from racial justice, to gender to climate. Our Janes are showing up together every single day and sharing their fears and their hopes and their joys together and it’s been so incredible to expand it during this pandemic and to connect with this really beautiful community every day.
So, to learn more about the digital membership at The Jane Club, which is called The Connected Jane, you can head to janeclub.com and Good Kids listeners can use my special code insider Jane f f for $10 off your first month. That would be $40 a month and you can follow me at @junediane on Twitter and then @junediane on Instagram and thank you so much for listening to Good Kids.
Good kids is a Lemonada Media original, supervising producer Is Kryssy Pease, associate producer is Alex McOwen and Kegan Zema is our engineer. The show is executive produced by Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. The music is by Dan Molad with additional music courtesy of APM music. Check us out on social at @lemonadamedia, recommend us to a friend and rate and review us wherever you listen to podcast. If you want to submit a show idea, email us at [email protected] media.com. Until next week, stay good