Updated: Sep 29, 2020
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Hi and welcome back to another episode of The empowered Birth Podcast! Today’s episode is a bit different. I’m in a transition and as always I love to bring you all along with me. I’m sharing 4 reasons why I am not attending hospital births anymore.
This is an episode I’ve been hesitant to do but I have felt like it was needed for a long time. I want to be very sensitive to women no matter what their choices and in no way want to diminish the birth experiences of those clients I have attended in the hospital. They are all beautiful in their own way. That’s the thing about birth, we can truly pick out the beauty in any situation we are in. My goal is to create and foster an environment that is dripping with beauty in all areas.
Every woman is on her own journey and this is where I’m at with mine. This episode will hopefully empower you no matter where you’re at in your journey. I want those of you who are at the cusp of something totally counter cultural to know that you can be brave and you can speak truth and not fear the outcomes. You can have confidence knowing that you’re not alone on this journey to personal responsibility and birth choice freedom.
For those of you planning on birthing in a hospital and are set and sure in this decision that is totally fine. This podcast will continue to be a place of empowerment of knowing all of your options and I believe that there is something in this episode for you as well! So keep listening.
I think it may be helpful to give you a little context into where this journey first started for me. I grew up in a household where our birth stories were told every birthday. My story included an induction, oxygen, doctor missing my birth and a nurse catching me and then a hemorrhage. This is what first started forming my belief that birth needed controlled and managed.
As I grew I had a strong fascination with the human body. I knew our bodies were all connected and I loved learning the anatomy and physiology of how we were created to work. I had a heart for healing and for wholeness. I wanted to be apart of making people’s lives better. So I decided to go to nursing school.
I was never super interested in Labor and Delivery. Growing up I even told my mom several times I was never going to have children. My how life does change you. God knew I needed refining in a way only children can expose and bring out of you.
As was required in nursing school a month long rotation on L&D and postpartum was required. I was able to see a few births (all were induced) and an elective c-section. I saw low risk moms, high risk moms, VBAC, supportive partners, unsupportive partners. I saw a lot in that short month of clinicals. We also sat with a text book and studies all of the many things that can go wrong during a birth and what interventions were needed to correct it or save the mom and baby’s life. You know what we didn’t learn…. How the body is created to work, the true physiological process, the hormonal cascade, the benefits of laboring unhindered. No… we were needed, we were necessary.
Then comes my first pregnancy. All of these beliefs I had formed since childhood impacted the way I approached my own first birth. It didn’t matter that I had a bunch of knowledge about the process at the hospital, what mattered was my eager willingness to hand over any and all responsibility for me and my childs care to a doctor I saw twice during my pregnancy and nurses I had never met before in my life, they knew better because they did this all of the time right? Let them just do their job… they are the experts. Or so I thought. My willingness to give the decision making right and responsibility to someone else ended up making me feel totally out of control and like the backseat driver of my own birth. This has little to do with the mode of delivery, although that matters but more with the lack of autonomy and the consequences that came, not just that day but for the rest of my days as her mother. Birth sticks with you and transforms you whether you want it to or not.
So what does this have to do with me not attending hospital births as a doula anymore? Well all of these experiences are what lead me to learning about doulas and their roles. I immediately knew that I wanted to be apart of this world. If I could save one woman from experiencing what I did then i would have done my job. This is where the first misconception about doula work came in. I wanted to be the savior. I went in thinking these women would give me the responsibility of protector in an environment I knew was more dangerous, statistically for women. I am a fighter and an advocate and I carried out my job to the best of my abilities.
I soon realized that while I was educating women on the ins and outs of hospitals births that something was missing. I realized I wasn’t the best advocate for women as I couldn’t really speak on their behalf in such a vulnerable time. I started teaching their partners to be their best advocate. Through our prenatals I would walk them through my signature framework to help them dream, educate and follow through on a blissful birth, knowing ultimately that birth is unpredictable but we would have done everything in our power to have the birth dreamt of and we would know that whatever outcome was so necessary.
I started seeing women come out of their shells, find their inner power and voice and start advocating for the birth that they dreamed of and finally felt possible. Yet when we got to the birthing room at the hospital many times the birth they anticipated quickly went out the window. Even worse was that many times these women would thank their doctor or midwife for an intervention, saving their life, their baby’s life when in most all of the incidents they were doctor or midwife caused.
I had another baby while serving women in the hospital setting. This baby I had at home. My eyes were opened to the reality of personal responsibility, freedom, true physiological birth and the transformation that comes when you experience these things. Going back to the hospital never felt the same.
I started realizing I couldn’t save a woman from anything. That shouldn’t even be my job. I can give her all of the information, I can encourage her and emotional support her, I can comfort her with techniques that I have acquired over the years… one thing I can’t do is protect her from a setting that inherently turns something normal and physiological into something clinical. Environment matters.
Currently as most of you know I am pregnant with my third baby. As soon as I got pregnant I started being very sensitive to the fact that secondary trauma is a very real thing. That leads me to my second reason, I knew that I had to protect my heart and mindset from trauma. When I am with a mom at the hospital and witness things like, non consented episiotomies, accusing a mom of her body not working, babies being disconnected from mom during a resuscitation, women being told in what position and how to push with strangers all around her, I take that home.
I fully believe that so much of preparing for labor and birth is mental. We have to rewire a lot of beliefs that have been formed since childhood. We have to get rid of lies that have infiltrated our thought life. We have to learn about the physiological process. I knew this time, I had to protect my thought life and avoid secondary trauma.
Third Reason...The Rona…. this is also something that has impacted this decision greatly. I’m going to be super honest and tell you that I believe the measures being taken for this virus is totally unnecessary and even harmful. I have seen and heard from women who have birthed in this system during this time and a traumatized. They have experienced things that will stick with them the rest of their lives. My heart hurts for the women who have birthed during the craziness. The medical system is complicit in spreading fear and not health. Instead of mandating sunshine, zinc and fruits and veggies we have mandated masks and isolation. When this first started I had women reaching out to me left and right asking for recommendations on how they can birth at home. They wanted to have the option of having their moms, partners, doulas, photographers and who ever else in the room. They wanted to walk around and have freedom, they didn’t want to be induced for a non medical reason such as moving the assembly line along because the hospitals didn’t want to be unexpectedly overwhelmed. They didn’t want to have to wear a mask during labor or have a chance at being separated from their babies. The many women that reached out, I would do my best to refer onto those serving women in a homebirth capacity but the reality of the State that I’m living in right now is that midwives have been run out and there are little to no options for women who want to stay home to birth their babies. The Rona started opening up eyes to the fact that the hospital, which is there to serve sick people, may not be the best place to birth a healthy child and a healthy mama. I knew these are the women I needed to help serve at this time. I started holding online Homebirth Interest meetings and I was blown away at how many women wanted this option but felt like they had no idea what to do or what next step to take. I knew this is what I needed to be stepping into.
Last reason I am done attending hospital births is I felt like I was contributing to a system instead of reforming it. I went in with every intention of showing women it was possible to have a birth they wanted but there was disappointment at almost every birth. When expectations aren’t met a little bit of disappointment is inevitable. The problem was the women who would come to me knew they wanted a natural birth, a holy one and powerful experience. I can only educate and reveal their inner advocating power so much but for most low risk women desiring a natural or undisturbed birth the hospital isn’t the most conducive environment. My stance has always been to support the woman where she is most comfortable by giving her all of the options she can make an informed decision and I stand by that. I do however want to serve in the best capacity I can and that is by birth planning sessions for women who don’t know what they want, are working through a decision, have fears they are working through about birth or need a quick 1 hour chat to help them get organized with next steps to plan a blissful birth. This is for any woman no matter what type of birth or where she is planning to birth. My framework that I have taken women through has helped women find their power and to make the best decisions based on the expectations they have. They gain clarity and confidence to say what they want out loud. I have seen women feel empowered because of this process no matter where they birth. The second way I serve women is by attending them at home in a non medical support role. This looks different for everyone. There is a relationship that is built, and when it comes to birth I can cook, clean, give gentle guidance and encouragement, give you counter pressure, make sure you’re drinking water, preparing your herbal bath and making sure you have everything you need and your home is all clean to snuggle up with your new one and just enjoy! This is where my heart is. This is where I feel called to be at this moment. The third way is this podcast. I want to continue bringing you the best content available to help you know your options, fear birth a little less and find the encouragement you need no matter where or how your birth. This podcast is a labor of love for sure. It takes time to find guests, come up with content, record, edit, market. All of this is totally worth it to get the message out there but if you’re looking for ways to help keep this podcast going would you share your favorite episode with a friend or on social media and tag me on IG @empoweredbirthpodcast. You can also leave a rating and review. These help me find more guests to come on the show and share their knowledge and expertise on all things birth! The last thing is if you know someone who is wrestling with what type of birth they are wanting, mulling around some decisions or have some fears they need to voice outloud and talk through with someone then refer them to a birth planning session. I share my 3 step framework that has helped women dream, clarify and discover things about birth and themselves they may not have known. We will come up with a plan specific to the type of birth they are wanting whether that is home/hospital/vaginal/planned c-section etc… You can learn more by going to bit.ly/birthprepsession or send me a DM on IG and we can see if a session is right for you!
For all of the clients that I’ve had in the past 3 years thank you! Thank you for trusting me to come into your sacred space, thank you for your referrals, thank you for giving me the honor to serve you. For my future clients I’m excited to be apart of your special day and serve you to the best of my abilities. To my podcast listeners thank you so much for being loyal and sharing this podcast with others. This has been a crazy ride and it’s not over yet…. Just evolving, growing, changing. Thanks for coming along in this journey, i’m excited to see where it goes.
Until next time.. Stay empowered!
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FREEBIE: Top 5 Things Every Pregnant Mom Needs To Know: https://blissful-birth.teachable.com/p/5things
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