Today we’d like to introduce you to Eve Sturges.
Eve, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Two years ago, my world was turned up-side-down. A man contacted me to say he was my real father, and he’d been waiting for me to figure it out since 1980. I made him take a DNA-paternity test with me, and he was right. The man who raised me, who I call “Dad,” was not related to me at all.
It was shocking, to say the least. I’m still shocked, honestly. Sometimes, I still think nothing about it makes sense and wonder if I’ve misunderstood something or it’s all a dream. But enough has been confirmed by my parents and science to prove that it’s the truth.
It was only a few weeks before I started to uncover a whole world of people who are experiencing the same thing as me. The ins and outs are always different from person to person, but the popularity of mail-in DNA kit (like 23 and Me or Ancestry) is a huge factor in this growing phenomenon. As I connected with people online, I noticed common themes about family, secrets, and shame. Each person had story to tell, and I wanted to think of a way to spread the word about what was happening in homes across the USA and around the world. My podcast, “Everything’s Relative,” was born!
I asked around the people I was connecting with online, and I received more offers to share than I could keep up with — a DNA-discovery can be an isolating experience, and people are dying to tell their stories. Now, I rarely have to ask anyone; most people contact me because they’ve heard the show or learned about it from someone else in the community.
I feel determined to make people talk more about family, secrecy, shame, and sex; I’m halfway through season 2 of my podcast, and I think it’s going pretty well!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’d never made a podcast before, so there was a lot to learn. I still feel like I don’t know exactly what I am doing, and anxiety gets in the way a lot. It’s been an exercise in letting go of perfectionism and believing that the message and the effort are more important than the technical details. I have made every single mistake possible, but I still got season one produced while I was pregnant, and season two is happening during covid-19.
The greatest obstacles have been in my personal life; it has not been easy. My family is navigating complete emotional upheaval, There’s determination and love, but there’s also betrayal and confusion. I also have a new family that I’m learning about and getting to know. There are a lot of moving pieces, and every single person involved has their own emotions and opinions about them.
The biggest struggle will probably always been time and resource management. In addition to the podcast, I have a private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have three children, I am a writer. There are never enough hours in the day. I try to be grateful for such a full life and take it one day at a time; sometimes that’s easier said than done.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
“Everything’s Relative with Eve Sturges” is a podcast dedicated to exploring the growing phenomenon of DNA-discoveries (also called “NPE” or “Non-Parental Events.”) Society has been existing with the truth of “mis-attributed parentage” for centuries, but mail-in DNA kits are revealing something more common than anyone imagined. I believe that the only way for these surprises to stop creating shock-waves through families is to start talking about them.
My podcast invites everyone within a DNA-discovery to tell their story, share their experience, and offer their perspective on something that is most often hidden as a deep, dark secret. Most of my episodes, so far, have been adult children who learn about mis-attributed fathers, but I think everyone from every angle should have a voice, so I’m always working to expand the pool of guests. For example, I’ve talked with a father who didn’t know about his son’s existence for 35 years, I’ve talked with siblings who’ve found each other on Facebook, and I’ve interviewed geneologists who help people navigate complicated family trees and all the secrets buried within.
There are a few other podcasts out there that explore the same issue, but I think what sets me apart is my sense of humor. I don’t try to make a joke out of anyone’s experience, but I aim to make the podcast as conversational as possible, which makes space for some levity. It’s not a formal interview, nor a therapy session. Let’s just talk about what happened and revel in the absurdity of life. The trauma of secrecy is serious, but the details of our individual humanity can be funny, and I’m not afraid to laugh.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
This is a hard question. Do I have time to feel happy and recognize it? Yes. Does this define success? Maybe.
- Website: www.evesturges.la
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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