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Never Underestimate the Power of YOURSELF!

Never Underestimate the Power of YOURSELF!

These will never get old. Because women feeling supported and empowered should be the damn norm, no matter how we birth. 🌟 “Never Underestimate the POWER of a Woman. Never underestimate the power of YOURSELF. Sometimes it means digging deep, but I can tell you…you come out the other side feeling on top of the whole entire world. 💙 It felt SO dang good to celebrate birthing Trey and I really cannot wait to tell you guys the full story! Let’s just say it’s a good one: the OB had to deliver him with her fleece on, barely had time to catch him, and it is official that the only way I give birth is standing up. 🙃💙 • I’m also over the moon to raise TWO little gentlemen, because if there is one thing this mama can teach them…it’s that women are every bit as strong and capable as ANY man. They will give women the respect that we DESERVE, that is my #goals.” 🙌🏽 @ameskiefer #birthwithoutfear #optionssupportrespect

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Dancing Doctor & Mama

Dancing Doctor & Mama

“Who you choose as a provider will play the biggest role in the options, support, and respect you receive through your pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum journey. Choose carefully, be picky as hell, and don’t hesitate changing if needed. Love yourself enough to get the care you deserve. As much as you would for someone else you love. Yes, love yourself that much, darling, because you’re worth it!” – January Harshe

We love seeing providers like @drfernandoguedescunha who is dancing with mama to get baby down and earthside!

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #8: BeardBaby’s Birth & Closed For Business!

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #8: BeardBaby’s Birth & Closed For Business!

January and Brandon tell the birth story of baby #6 aka BeardBaby! They reveal how Brandon’s newly grown beard in 2014 magically led to another pregnancy, how January received prenatal care from both midwives and an OB/GYN, and how a newborn baby can temporarily cure the flu!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on iTunes!

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Click here to download Episode #8: BeardBaby’s Birth & Closed For Business!

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We are having a 30% sale on all “Team No Sleep” raglan shirts at Self Love Generation! We also have our classic Birth Without Fear logo T-shirts and “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! January will be in Nashville, TN on September 23rd! Make sure to get your tickets because this is the last year January will be holding Find Your Village events!

Oxytocin Vibes, Covered in Vernix, & Birthing Next to a Baby Deer

Oxytocin Vibes, Covered in Vernix, & Birthing Next to a Baby Deer

In case you missed the Birth Without Fear Instagram this past week…

✨weekend mood & oxytocin vibes✨ 📷:@lindseymeehleis #birthwithoutfear #oxytocinvibes #optionssupportrespect

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Just a sweet little baby and a whole lotta vernix. ♥️ @kendalblackerbirth #justborn #oxytocinvibes #birthwithoutfear

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Happy weekend friends! TAG a pregnant friend. 🤰🏾@januaryharshe #birthwithoutfear #optionssupportrespect

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Prepared by Bradley Method: 3 Birth Stories in 1!

Prepared by Bradley Method: 3 Birth Stories in 1!

I have three beautiful children. All born very close together within the 5 years that my husband and I have been married. I jokingly call myself “Fertile Myrtle”. My husband is more of a natural/holistic person than I am and convinced me to go the natural way for our first pregnancy. We read a Bradley Method book that prepared us extremely well for all of our pregnancies. We chose a OB/GYN that was highly recommended by friends. She agreed with our birth plan and was very nice at every office visit. What we didn’t know at the time, was that she was in the middle of at least one lawsuit where she had lost a mother.

Two months before the delivery, she asked us to give birth at the birth center in town since she didn’t have rights at the hospital anymore. We didn’t know any better what that meant at the time. We lived 14 hours away from family and chose to keep that information a secret and let our parents know we were still giving birth at the hospital. We felt like it was too late to change plans anyway. We were kind of excited to get the “best of both worlds.” Labor was long and hard but pretty much by the book. No surprises and 12 hours long. I was able to give birth to a beautiful 9lb baby girl. We named her Luciana.

It wasn’t until after the birth that my doula told us all of the awful things the doctor did to me during labor that could’ve ended badly. The doctor broke my water without my consent, physically dilated me the last two centimeters, pulled on the placenta and fished it out herself, pulling out globs at a time. I had bad tearing but never found out what degree it was. It took me two weeks to recover. Let’s just say she’s not a practicing doctor anymore.

Towards the end of my second pregnancy, we were back in our home state and living at my parents’ house. We opted for a Certified Nurse Midwife and homebirth, much to the disappointment to my mother, a Labor & Delivery nurse. I absolutely loved our midwife. She had 30+ years of experience and gave me so much confidence. This time around, labor was 16 hours long. I think it was because I laid down in bed for most of it; afraid of going too fast and getting torn again. Our 9lb son, Matthew, came into the world at my mother’s home and it was absolutely beautiful. No tearing and no complications.

We planned another home birth for our third child but things didn’t go according to plan. My water broke on its own on a Friday morning. My husband and midwife were confident that I would go into labor soon…but Friday turned into Saturday and I was beginning to freak out. My husband didn’t want to go to the hospital and was convinced that I would eventually go into labor. But I knew with each passing hour we were putting myself and the baby at risk for infection. I had to beg him to bring me to the hospital Sunday afternoon. He was convinced that the hospital would give me an epidural or whisk me to a C-section without our consent. I, however, was so happy to be there and so happy when they hooked up that pitocin. I was so tired of not being in labor. I just wanted my baby!

My husband wasn’t kind to the nurses and I had to convince them to listen to me and not my husband, who very obviously didn’t want to be there or trusted anyone. They kept saying “I’m just trying to make everyone happy.” But I informed them that they weren’t gonna make him happy. Just focus on me. Once the contractions got intense he was able to come back to reality and be the birthing coach that I needed. I was so happy to have him there. I could not get through my labors without him. He is the best coach. Better than my doula was for our first labor! He always ends up being more exhausted than me at the end of the birth. Labor only lasted 5 hours and I pushed for 5 minutes and had no tearing. I loved that the labor was so fast even though it was a little more painful than my first two. Our second boy, Augustine, was so beautiful at 8lbs.

However, 9 days after he was born he ran a fever and his breathing was sounding funny. We brought him to the ER and he was in septic shock. He was intubated, put under sedation, and immediately started on antibiotics. He had contracted E-coli. They said we’ll never know how he got it, but the nurses said it was probably from my waters being ruptured for so long. We stayed in the hospital for over 3 weeks. He recovered like a champ. He is now 18 months old and is quite possibly the happiest baby on the planet. He has been so easy and such a delight to see grow up.

We are now pregnant with our fourth baby! I’m due in late July and can’t wait to write up that birth story next.

Story and photographs submitted by Kristin J. 

The Role of Marijuana During Pregnancy

The Role of Marijuana During Pregnancy

Photo courtesy of tagesschau.de.

Marijuana. Cannabis. Weed. Pot. Whatever name you refer to it by (there are dozens more), legalized marijuana is a very prominent topic in our nation.

Currently there are four states where you can legally buy weed if you’re 21, with California joining the mix in 2018. You can legally possess and smoke weed in eight states and Washington, DC. 29 states have legalized medical marijuana.

Chances are in the next 5-10 years or less that medical marijuana will be legal in all 50 states, at the very least.

So what role does marijuana have, if any, during pregnancy?

Currently, over three percent of women admit to using marijuana during pregnancy according to a 2015 government survey. The number is more than likely higher than that.

According to a woman going by the name of “Jane” in a recent article on WECT.com the nausea during her pregnancy was too much to bear.

“I would just eat a few almonds here and there, That was the only thing that I could keep down, almonds and seltzer water. And as soon as I vaped the cannabis, instantly I was hungry and was able to hold down entire meals, and it was great.”

The story goes on to quote Emily Earlenbaugh, Ph.D., a medical marijuana card holder herself for chronic pain issues and a cannabis consultant.

“I think using cannabis during pregnancy is a growing trend right now. It’s important to look at the medical research and see is this a safe option relative to other medications that you might use in place of it or relative to using nothing at all.”

Safety has always been the reason of opposition for legalization of marijuana, with opponents often claiming weed is the gateway drug to harsher substances such as meth, cocaine, heroine, and more. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association admits there is little research on the subject of marijuana and pregnancy, but there is cause for concern. It links anemia and low birth weight to marijuana use and says there is a higher chance for infants to be placed in the NICU.

Dr. Earlenbaugh says there is more to the story.

“If you’re already using tobacco, alcohol during pregnancy, you’re more likely to also be using cannabis, and we really can’t say whether those patients who are reporting cannabis use are not taking other substances at the same time.”

What are your thoughts? Is cannabis something to be considered during pregnancy? Would you consider it? Have you considered it or used it during pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!

Victoria Azarenka Returns to Tennis at 7 Months Postpartum

Victoria Azarenka Returns to Tennis at 7 Months Postpartum

Belarusian tennis star and former world number one Victoria Azarenka has announced she will return to the tennis court at this year’s Wimbledon on July 3rd, only seven months after giving birth to her baby boy Leo.

Her last tournament was the French Open in May 2016, where she was in her first trimester of pregnancy, an impressive feat to say the least.

Last ranked as number six in the world, Azarenka can retain her ranking if she returns within 12 months of giving birth. Granted, it is a warm-up event prior to Wimbledon and not actually Wimbledon itself. However, she has announced she would play in the Bank of the West Classic at the end of July.

That stands to reason that she has extra time to return to the tennis court, possibly waiting until the US Open in August, or possibly even a smaller tournament closer to December.

Seven months postpartum may seem too soon for some, it may not to others. There are many factors to be considered, including previous training, the type of birth you had, and your variation of normal. When did you feel comfortable starting your favorite activities and exercises postpartum?

Let us know in the comments below!

Born En Caul, Majestic Spirit, & Family Before Everything

Born En Caul, Majestic Spirit, & Family Before Everything

In case you missed last week on our Instagram

Sweet dreams.🌙 📷:@elisehurstphotography. #nicubaby #birthwithoutfear

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“I spent the night in the company of a remarkably intuitive woman. Alongside her equally amazing partner, I was privileged to witness a birth unlike any I have seen before. It was by far, the most connected, the most primal, the most sexy, the most vibrant, the most intense, the most wild and the most fulfilled birth one could ever hope for. Dancing, moaning, furiously moving, screaming, ecstasy – a lioness in her full power. In a day where mainstream birth culture commands a deep disconnect and rigid chill, where red tape and politics cloud the core message, where parameters of what birth needs to be restrict birthing people from living their truth and transformation…I feel encouraged. What I experienced in this space – what this woman experienced in her birth – reaffirms that the wisdom and knowledge of wise women who have come before me, the knowledge they have always tried to pass down – this secret…that somewhere along the line, the majority of folks decided to stop listening to…it is still alive. In the darkness of nights, where people like me and people like you fight relentlessly for birthing people to be TRULY and UNCONDITIONALLY supported, I feel encouraged to keep doing the right thing and to continue to use this space to raise awareness for what my heart calls me to. I don’t care how you birth, my wish is to see you feel like THIS. If I could bottle the twinkle in her eyes and the linings of the clouds she is walking on, I would hand deliver it to every ripe and round woman I know and say, “You DESERVE this.” ✨Words and image by @angelawombwarrior. ✨ #birthwithoutfear #optionssupportrespect

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Seven years of waiting and then this moment. @elisehurstphotography #birthwithoutfear

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27 ways to Support Pregnant, Laboring, and/or Postpartum Mama

27 ways to Support Pregnant, Laboring, and/or Postpartum Mama

birth without fear, partner, pregnancy, labor, postpartumThere are so many different ways for a partner to support mama. Some are obvious, some are not. Read on for some ideas on what to ask for from your partner. If you are the partner, here are some examples for you take note of.

  1. “Because he is interested in knowing my birth plan, my wishes and needs, and willing to be my voice in the hospital when I may not be able to communicate well for myself.” -Kimberly D.
  2. “When I wanted a home birth after my first was traumatizing and in a hospital, he supported me 100%. And when I received my GD diagnosis and was heartbroken and afraid of losing my midwife, he helped me make meal plans and get a handle on my diet so that I was able to manage it on my own and did not require insulin. When I was in labour he helped apply counter pressure during contractions, poured water on my back, got coffee and tea for the birth team. Oh and he baked pies for everyone who helped deliver our little girl. Basically, he was my rock and my source of strength.” -Robin K.
  3. “Lots of things, but one that comes to mind was him picking good songs for us to listen to.” -Moriah B.
  4. “Every pain, tear, doubt, decision. He was there. He held me up (literally) when I was too weak to stand. He washed my sore body after 18 hours of labor and an emergency c-section the first time and then held me again after 26 hours of labor and another emergency c-section. When I was too weak to hold our babies after surgery, he held them for me while they nursed. When we got home he showered me until I was strong enough to do it with out pain. He got up every time the baby cried to bring her to me so I didn’t have to get in and out of bed because it hurt so bad. Even though he works 12 hour shifts. He fought the doctors with me when I refused to be induced after I passed my due date. He supported me when the doctors doubted me trying a VBAC. He’s my favorite person.” -Michelle G.
  5. “He supported me whole heartedly to have a water birth at home even though he was scared. He never once left my side during labour and gave me so much strength and courage when I needed it. He was simply amazing!” -Mai W.
  6. “When we were exhausted from a false labor and my hubby bolted from half sleep to tell the doctor I did NOT want pitocin. I was so tired, not dialated, contractions had stopped. My doctor was pushy and seemed upset with me and I’m a bit of a pushover especially when I’m stressed. If it wasn’t for him I would have had a very long, strenuous labor. Baby came safe and easy 2 days later (at a different hospital)” -Kate I.
  7. “Feeding me after the baby was born.” -Kristina M.
  8. “He reminded me that we were so close to meeting our rainbow baby.” -Susanna Y.
  9. “He stayed awake…. 50 hours of labour and that man managed to stay awake with me. Just that in itself was enough. I don’t know how a person does that when you’re not in labour yourself.” -Karen H.
  10. “He worked well with my doula and basically did whatever she said which helped us both a lot. He never left my side. I don’t think he even left me to go pee. He was amazing.” -Cora M.
  11. “Being with me through my entire labor applying counter pressure and wading through the whole gruesome scene, and knowing breastfeeding is very important to me and making sure I was able to do it successfully and without public shame. (Boobs out all the time anytime).” -Tosha M.
  12. “His response when we did non emergent transfer. I was a puddle of useless mess. Totally triggered out from birth trauma from the minute I walked into the hospital. It was awful. I couldn’t get it together. They kept asking me if I wanted pain medication because I was so hysterical and it had nothing to do with pain. He stepped in and knew the answer to every question. He demanded they respect my body. He demanded they respect my midwife. he was there to take me home when they said we were both fine and I didn’t need to stay. He was there when my baby was born, at home as planned, 24 hours later.” -Jessica M.
  13. “He turned his hat backwards when I started pushing–like he was about to work too! Like ‘here WE go’, together.” -Meg M.
  14. “My husband spoon fed me many times while I nursed postpartum which is an incredibly sweet memory for me.” -Melissa H.
  15. “Our girl is our second and I had a rough, rough pregnancy this time around. But on our induction day he had learned all my birth cues. He advocated for me, requested a new nurse when it took her 8 tries on different spots on both arms to hook up my IV, made sure I was given juice on top of my water, bought me 6 boxes of Popsicles, rubbed my back and made sure that, even though transition kicked my ass, I got my med free delivery! I don’t think I would have done so well without him. My daughter was born in 4 minutes, 2 total pushes, no blood and no tearing. He was my rock.” -Eliyana T.
  16. “He helped calm me and relax me during labor and helped me with the birth by reminding me how far we’ve come and how close I was. We both cried during the birth. I had so much love and respect for him in that moment.” -Cassielynn O.
  17. “Foot massages really helped me!” -Chelsea R.
  18. “He read on natural birth and breastfeeding without prompting. And then would rattle off random facts and information. Told me we didn’t need a doula because he was all I needed.” -Ashley M.
  19. “He got all of my craving food and followed directions well during labor and delivery.” -Sarah W.
  20. “Second day home and I was having trouble getting my baby to latch. I was exhausted and in tears. My husband sat by my side and used a bottle of formula to help entice my baby and squeezed my breast just like the nurses in the hospital while I tried to adjust the baby with my hands. Now I’m going on 7 months breastfeeding!” -Jessica M.
  21. “The fact that I was literally in (primal) beast mode, unshowered, broken blood vessels all over my face, straight up demon-screaming, clawing at his hands and arms, and he was looking at me like I was the single most beautiful and amazing thing on this planet.” -Katie S.
  22. “Caring for our toddler after baby was born so I could focus on nursing and resting.” -Imani C.
  23. “My sweet husband just said ‘Whatever mama wants’ during my whole pregnancy.” -Devin S.
  24. “He made a schedule for my recovery so some one was with me at all times.” -Jocilin O.
  25. “My method of coping with labor pains was to “bah” like a sheep. My husband got right in my face and ‘bahed’ with me. It made me feel safe and comfortable and allowed me to let my body open up and baby to come out.” Jodi R.
  26. “He is working many late nights leading up to the birth of our daughter so he can take time off to take care of us postpartum.” -Allegra L.
  27. “My husband sat with me while I labored on the toilet (stalled labor, very intense toilet contractions) and prayed over us while I squeezed the life out of his thigh. During this time my other birth attendants left us alone and I progressed from 6cm-8cm.” Amanda S.

 

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