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The Harshe Podcast – Episode #2: Instincts and Boundaries

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #2: Instincts and Boundaries

On our second episode we talk about the importance of trusting our instincts, January’s recent experience in listening to her gut, and putting yourself first by setting appropriate boundaries with the people in your life. Also, Brandon says some things that are just… CRAZY!

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Click here to download Episode #2: Instincts and Boundaries!

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Our online store Self Love Generation is open! Our classic Birth Without Fear logo, “i don’t babysit. I PARENT.”, and “You Do You Boo” unicorn T-shirts are back, along with a re-imagining of our popular “Team NO Sleep” raglan shirt, as well as a “You Do You Boo” rainbow unicorn lanyard that Brandon loves!

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Join January in 2017 at a Find Your Village event near you! She will be in New England, specifically Portland, ME, on August 5th and in beautiful San Diego, CA on August 19th!

Trusting Birth and Trusting Ourselves as Birthing Women

Trusting Birth and Trusting Ourselves as Birthing Women

Birth, pregnancy, intuition, instincts, babyWhen it comes to birthing in our country, there are many different opinions on what is safest for mom and baby. What it comes down to is, there is not one blanket right answer. Yes, most of the time, the more unhindered the birth, the safer it is. However, every mom, pregnancy and baby are different. Each woman needs to choose the tests, interventions and place of birth that makes her feel the most comfortable and safe. The best way for this to happen is each woman being educated and informed of her choices. Making decisions for her and her baby should be made from a place of trusting not only birth, but trusting herself. This takes faith, strength and support.

I want to share a story I first heard when watching The Pursuit of Happiness. This is my friend Liz’s version.

There is a horrible storm and an entire city is flooded. A man of great faith knows that God will save him. As the water starts to fill his house, rescuers in a big truck knock on his door, “The city is being evacuated, come get in the truck.” “No,” he says, “God will save me.” Soon the water fills the first floor of his house and he climbs up and stands on his upper-level porch. Rescuers come by on a boat, “We’re here to save you, get in the boat!” “No”, he says, “God will save me!” The boat leaves. Soon he is standing on his roof, and the water is almost to the top. A helicopter comes to get him. “No!” he yells, “God will save me!” Soon he is overcome by the flood and drowns. He meets God in heaven and says “God! I believed in you, why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “I tried! I sent a truck, a boat and a helicopter!”

I do believe in God and I also believe he gave the gift of having instincts and intuition and knowing when I need help or to check things out. If I believe in God, would I not do those things? Believing in God doesn’t mean you just sit back and say ‘oh everything will be fine’. It means I have faith to follow the promptings of the Spirit and do what those promptings/my intuition tells me!

I trust birth more than most people I know. Birth Without Fear is about helping women educate themselves, letting women know they have choices and helping women overcome fears so they can trust birth. With knowledge comes responsibility. Trusting birth is very important, but of equal importance is women trusting themselves! This can go either way. If a woman feels tests in pregnancy are not right for her, she should be listened to. If she educates herself and feels a VBAC is more safe than a repeat cesarean, she should be supported in this. If a woman doesn’t want vaginal exams, no one should come near her vagina. If a woman knows in her gut that being induced early for whatever reasons she is being told is unsafe for her unborn child, that must be respected.

On the other side, if a woman will know she will feel reassured everything is OK if she hears baby’s heartbeat, then she should hear it. If she feels something is not quite right and wants an ultrasound, she should get one. If a woman feels that anything at all is off or not OK, she should get it checked out, be listened to and supported. See, it goes both ways.

Women are criticized for having too many interventions or not enough. There has to be a middle ground. Birthing Without Fear means a woman is educated and knows her choices. It also means she follows HER INTUITION and what is right for HER. It is her body, her baby, her birth. Every mama is on her own journey, every pregnancy, birth and baby are different. If a mama is making informed choices and listening to her intuition, who are we to judge? That is when we have compassion, respect and give support.

This is for Zelda…

This is for Zelda…

I recently read Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent, CNM. It is an inspiring book that took me on a 40 year journey of obstetrics, nursing and midwifery. It is an emotional ride with slow buildups, screaming with excitement drops, unexpected turns and even solemn moments. The first chapter grabbed me by my heart and reached into my soul before I even knew what was happening. I was hooked.

It all began with Zelda…

In the 60’s birth was a medical event to the extreme. Drugs that made women hallucinate and do things they couldn’t remember or pass out and not know where they were. Fathers not present at all to defend or support their wives, or witness the birth of their child. Arms and legs strapped down, babies being pulled out and whisked away because they were ‘cold’ or ‘mom would drop them’, all were the norm of hospital birth.

This is what Peggy was learning as a nursing student…until Zelda. This skinny African American woman with her big tight belly was different. She had no drugs and literally walked along her bed shouting and praying to Jesus and God. Peggy didn’t know what to do with her and ended up looking like the silly one when lifting the guard rail on the bed up and down afraid Zelda would fall off. See, Zelda was doing what she innately felt was right. She walked, moaned, yelled, prayed and trusted birth. She birthed her previous two babies at her Granny’s house. All Peggy knew was this woman was crazy and that as a nursing student she was going to get into trouble if she did not get this wall-banging woman to lay down and cooperate.

They finally came to an agreement.  Zelda labored how she wanted and when the head nurse was coming, Peggy gave her notice so she could lay in bed and be a ‘good patient’. It was working for them and Peggy was blessed to witness a woman in the bliss of labor. A woman who surrendered to the pain and process of her body as it worked with her baby to enter this world.

Unfortunately, as she was close to meeting her sweet baby, she was heard. Within minutes she was attacked by vultures going for the kill. She was put on a gurney and they strapped her hands and feet down as they tried to gas her. She fought with all her might and Peggy stood there helpless. The doctor said horrible things, calling her names and saying women like her shouldn’t be able to ‘breed’. He finally pulled her baby out of her and they took him away. The birth was over and they still decided to gas her and knock her out. The abuse that Zelda endured after hours of precious laboring was horrendous. Peggy tried to speak up for her, but she had no authority. It was done. Zelda didn’t even know she birthed a baby boy.

I cried. Then, I pulled myself together quickly to move on to chapter two. I didn’t get a paragraph into it before I had to put the book down. I sobbed. I had to let it all out. I let the tears flow and flow until there were no more. Here I am nine months pregnant, in the bath, sobbing as if it were me that had just been through birth rape. After I let my emotions and mind process what I just read, I thought about my upcoming birth.

No woman should ever feel the betrayal and pain Zelda did. Every time a woman does, it feels like a part of me knows it. I feel it in my bones. My heart is burdened by her pain. As I wiped the tears from my face, I felt this sense of responsibility to birth this baby with a new found determination. Not just for me. I am going to labor my way, but to the rhythm of all women who have birthed before me, are birthing with me and who will birth after me.

African American baby overlooking mother's shoulder, birth

I am birthing for me, my baby and his/her generation, for all women, for Zelda. It is my small way to offer healing, encouragement and power.

3 Videos to Teach Us Nature’s Lessons About Birth

3 Videos to Teach Us Nature’s Lessons About Birth

I homeschool my children and we were doing a project about horses. I looked up a few videos on Youtube and our learning led us to birth videos of animals. We watched a few different types of births and I could not help but see the strong correlation between humans and animals birthing. I also noticed the huge differences. Animals listen to their instincts. What other choice do they have? Humans, on the other hand, have an ‘educated mind’ that unfortunately interferes with the natural process of birth.

I want to share three videos with you. I am going to title them and let you see the differences for yourselves.

 Unhindered

Inteference (or as my 5 year old son said, “They were mean.”)

Instincts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWLCzw4rJ-w

What would it be like for women if we truly started listening to our instincts when we birth?

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