Hi, I’m Jen!
I’m Dr Jennifer Hacker Pearson.
I’m a PhD-qualified neuroscientist, psychotherapist, matrescence and neuroplasticity researcher, best-selling author, international speaker and podcast host.
To my 3 kids I am Mama. That’s my favourite title and also the most challenging one.
Motherhood has tested me in many ways. Not just the part of mothering my children, but how becoming a mother has changed me.
Only after my babies were born did it become clear to me that when a baby is born, a mother is born.
Matrescence – the term used to describe this process of becoming a mother – was not in my vocabulary until matrescence hit me in face, at force. There was no way to avoid it (and trust me I tried!).
So, I had to learn about it.
And mostly I had to learn about myself, the “new” me, the mother.
I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the brain for years before I had children. My neuroscience research was published in some of the top peer-reviewed journals including Nature Neuroscience and Neuroscience.
However, it was the knowledge I took from my research that allowed me to go on the journey to explore how a woman’s brain changes when she becomes a mother, and how she can use these changes to her advantage.
Are these brain changes the reason we feel “different” when we become a mother?
I started investigating this question while experiencing my own matrescence transformation, and simultaneously learning about it. And I am still going!
I feel honoured to now pass on to mothers what I have learned during my matrescence experience – including my 25 years of neuroplasticity* research and knowledge, my psychotherapy training, learnings about the mind, plus my matrescence understanding.
My mission to support mothers is three-pronged:
1. Help you understand how your brain and mind change during matrescence.
2. Explain how this affects you and your experience of motherhood.
3.Teach you simple, evidence-based neurocognitive techniques, so you can train your brain and mind to be the happiest mother you know.
SOME OF MY WORK IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS
Bagley E.E., Hacker J., Chefer, V.I., Malet, C., McNally, G.P., Chieng, B.C.H., Perroud, J., Shippenberg, T.S., Christie, M.J. Drug-induced GABA transporter currents enhance GABA release and produce opioid withdrawal behaviours. Nature Neuroscience (2011) 14: 1548–54
Hacker, J., Pedersen, N.P., Chieng, B.C.H., Keay, K.A., Christie, M.J. Enhanced Fos expression in glutamic acid decarboxylase immunoreactive neurons of the mouse periaqueductal grey during opioid withdrawal. Neuroscience (2006) 137: 1389-96
*Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself in structure and function due to our actions and experiences.
Dr Jen has been FEATured in…
I was born in Munich, Germany and lived there until I was 10 years old.
1987- Mum, my brother and I move to Australia and settle in Byron Bay – tough life!
1995 – Graduate from High School. I was 18 and knew everything. Ha ha ha!
1996 – Work abroad and travel the world. I realise I know nothing.
1997 – Move to Sydney to attend University.
I planned to stay 3 years…
2009 – Leave University with three degrees including a PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience & Pharmacology) and 1st class honours in the same.
2009 – After 4 years of dating, I marry Marcus. Best decision of my life (except when he doesn’t do the dishes)
2010 – Daniel is born and my life changes forever – The I Wish Someone Had Told Me… journey begins. Accidentally.
2012 – Jake joins our family.
IWSHTM… becomes a more serious project as I realise how important its information is.
2014 – Everly, our baby girl, arrives. She challenges me in ways I have never experienced.
IWSHTM now becomes a must.
2016 – After 6 years of research and writing, including
interviewing 1000 mothers from around the world,
IWSHTM… is released to rave reviews.
We leave Sydney after 20 years (it was meant to be 3!) and move to Auckland, New Zealand, for new adventures.
2018 – Complete Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy. This adds so much to my mind-brain-body-life connection knowledge.
2018 – DrJen.com.au is born. Supporting mothers during matrescence, using neuroscience as a basis, is what I live for.
2019 – Join the board of not for profit organisation PTSD Help NZ, as their Neuroscience expert and adviser.
2020 – After 4 adventurous years in NZ we move back to Australia. This time to sunny Queensland.
I’d love to hear your story.