Three Minute Squiz With… Dr Ginni Mansberg

Dr Ginni Mansberg is one busy GP/author/medical authority on the telly/mother/businesswoman. With all of that going on is it any wonder her first book was titled ‘Why Am I So Tired’? We’re happy we can make keeping up with the news a bit easier for her How on earth she found time to do a Three Minute Squiz is beyond us, but we’re so glad she did.

How to do you Squiz?
I fit it in somewhere in the morning. It takes less than three minutes and bingo! I’m up to date. Even down to what to wear and whether to take an umbrella! Winner!

What was the first concert you ever went to/album you ever owned?
I got my own ABBA cassette – heaven!! Sadly I never saw them live. I went to a Wham concert yep! In a flouro t-shirt!

Name four people – living or dead – you would love to have at your next dinner party?
1. My dad. He died two years ago. Hands down the smartest, most ethical, wittiest, most knowledgeable, warmest and most admirable person anyone has ever known.

2. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman president in Africa who achieved so much for Liberia and knocked racist homophobic stereotypes out of the ballpark.

3. John Oliver. Every good dinner party needs someone to make us all belly laugh.

4. Annabel Crabb. Firstly I am crap at making desserts so she’d have that covered. Plus – MAJOR GIRL CRUSH!

What’s your favourite book?
Too many to list! Fiction – The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. And my parenting bible, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel.*

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Going gluten free.

Did you always want to be a doctor?
Yes. Also an actress, princess, ballerina and singer. I have actually achieved all of the above with perhaps more moderate success!

You see some gross things in your work. In fact, you co-host a TV series about it called Embarrassing Bodies Down Under. Any war stories you can share?
My most bizarre professional moment was in my first year in general practice. A woman was squeezed in for an emergency consultation for an ‘allergy to Canesten pessaries’. I was already intrigued by her symptoms of a feeling of razor blades in her vagina, but as she started undressing, she said, “Honestly, I think a man must have designed these. Who puts sharp corners on something that goes in the fanny?” WHAT???

Sure enough I found 3 pessaries, complete in their aluminium blister packs, neatly torn along perforated lines right up where the sun don’t shine

After I pulled them out, she asked me to note on her file that she is allergic to Canesten and with a completely straight face I made the note and said good bye.

What’s the worst body part to deal with?
Bottom holes. Not my favourite.

You started your family young. We read you were nine months pregnant when you finished your internship and launched your own practice not long after that. What have you learnt about balancing work and family?
Here are my pearls of wisdom. Ready?

If the stars align – ie you have close, available, loving, capable parents and/or in-laws AND you have a supportive, feminist partner who is willing and able to take carers leave when needed AND you have a flexible family-friendly workplace AND you have healthy children that don’t get sick all the time or have a disability. Lean In like Sheryl Sandberg and keep moving forward with your career even if it means only breaking even financially in the early years.

If, like me, that is FAR from your reality – do it anyway! Just grit your teeth, know that at times you will be wracked with guilt, feel exhausted and feel like your work and your kids get short shrift. And be reassured that 99% of kids are resilient and thrive with being given a little more independence.

Six kids is a lot. You’ve clearly heard of this thing called television but do you not know how to turn it on?
My six are from a blended family. I personally gave birth to three and then I got another three for a wedding present. So I’m mad but not that mad.

You also had a stint working in politics. Did it change your view of how government works and why?
There was the amazingly good – I worked with Joe Hockey, who is a great mentor and teacher, a true gentleman and extreme intellect. Then there was the very UGLY. Go and watch Episode 1 of Rob Sitch’s The Hollowmen. I SWEAR that literally happened to me in real life. On balance, it was a great experience and thank goodness I’m out of there.

What do you think it the biggest health issue facing Australia at the moment?
How do we fund an ageing and the increasingly unhealthy group of Australians with increasingly strained resourcing? Juxtaposed with them are the wellness warriors with their introspective energy and reiki healing; the over-resourced worried well.

What’s the one thing we can all do right now to improve our health?
Just one? Hmmmm ok. Go for a walk. With a friend who makes you laugh. In the sunshine (with sunscreen on!!).

What’s your advice for someone looking to keep their weight in check/take a few kilos off? Asking for a friend
Get organised. If you have decent choices on hand you won’t rip into the Monte Carlo barrel at work at 4pm. Take some veggies to work with you and a boiled egg or a handful of walnuts and you’ll have a better snack at arm’s reach. Walk more, sleep better, laugh more and enjoy life. Stress can make you whack on kilos in many ways.

It’s great that the stigma around mental health is slowly starting to be broken down. What are the next steps, do you think?
1. Genuine connections to people – don’t let those who matter least get the best of you and serve up your grumpy alter ego to the ones you love.

2. Living an authentic life of meaning and purpose. Gratitude for what is good in life leads to generosity towards other. Truly giving to make others better off.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
These days, you can get news about anything if you look for it. For me, my passion is piqued by plastics in our oceans. It is a catastrophe. Needs more zeal and action.

*If you purchase these books using the links The Squiz gets a little commission from Booktopia.

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