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The Harshe Podcast – Episode #42: The Birth of the Birth Without Fear Book!

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #42: The Birth of the Birth Without Fear Book!

January and Brandon are back from hiatus to discuss none other than THE BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR BOOK!!!

They discuss the entire process, from the initial email January received from a book agent, to the 41 page book proposal, to their trek across New York City with their book agent to meet with six editors, to the actual writing and editing of the book!

It’s a story January and Brandon have been itching to share for a year and a half, and it’s finally here! It’s so exciting that Brandon even busts out his Moviefone voice!

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Click here to download Episode #42: The Birth of the Birth Without Fear Book!


Pre-order your copy of Birth Without Fear: The Judgement-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum today! If we want to see real change in our society where pregnancy and birth are concerned, let’s use our collective voice to change the narrative by getting a copy of this book into every birthing person’s hand! Pre-order a copy for yourself, or pre-order a few copies to hand out to friends and/or family!

Pre-Order The BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR Book Today!!!

Pre-Order The BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR Book Today!!!

In her first book, Birth Without Fear: The Judgement-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum (Hachette Books; March 5 2019), January Harshe, mom of six and founder of the Birth Without Fear website, delivers an inclusive, non-judgmental, and empowering guide to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum life.

Each chapter provides you with the all the necessary information, options, and tools to help you take charge of the experience of welcoming your child into the world.

Unlike other pregnancy, birth, and postpartum books, Birth Without Fear will also help partners understand what mothers are going through, as well as discuss the challenges that they, too, will face—and how they can navigate them.

Shattering long-held myths and beliefs surrounding pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum experience, Birth Without Fear is an accessible, reassuring, and ultimately inspiring guide to taking charge of your pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

The Birth Without Fear movement began as a voice for change in the standard of care in today’s birthing world, and Birth Without Fear will empower YOU to be a voice for change in your own pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Options, support, and respect should be the norm for every pregnant and birthing woman, and it can be if YOU, the Birth Without Fear community, vote for that change by pre-ordering your copy of Birth Without Fear today!

Pre-Order Now!

January Harshe knows firsthand how widely birth experiences can range. She has run the gamut from an affirming and joyful planned cesarean to a traumatic emergency cesarean, as well as a VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans) in the hospital, and two home births. One of these home births was such a dramatic departure from the confusion, uncertainty, and fear of her other births that a beautiful idea was born — she would make it her life’s mission to promote a revolutionary birth and parenting message: you can have a birth without fear, no matter how you birth.

January is the founder of the Birth Without Fear community, as well as Take Back Postpartum, Don’t Forget Dads, and Mothering Without Fear under the Birth Without Fear tent—all of which today collectively represent a social media following of over 1 million and counting.

Within each chapter of Birth Without Fear is a Partner Point of View written by Brandon Harshe. Having been by January’s side for six pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences, Brandon has learned a lot about what it takes to support the woman he loves through the biggest changes and experiences of her life. In Birth Without Fear, he’s shared some of that knowledge to help husbands and partners be the steadfast support person that all birthing people need and deserve!

Members of the Birth Without Fear community on social media are familiar with the conversation shifting regularly to postpartum, and Birth Without Fear is no different. The focus of so many pregnancy and birth books is on, well, pregnancy and birth. But what about after the birth? You have the entire rest of your life to live, only now with a new baby!

This is where Birth Without Fear comes in. With chapters on breastfeeding, self love, self care, mental health, and sex and intimacy, no stone is left unturned for those of you wondering “what next?” after the baby has arrived.

When January Harshe created the Birth Without Fear community in 2010, she wanted options, support, and respect to be the standard of care for every pregnancy, every birth, and every postpartum experience. Individually, we all have a voice. As a united community, we can affect real change in the conversation about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in our culture. Pre-ordering Birth Without Fear is a vote for real change. Order your copy today!

Pre-Order Now!

I Am Strong – MoMo Twins

I Am Strong – MoMo Twins

I am strong, because the day the test finally said, “Schwanger” (pregnant) was the best day of my life.

I am strong, because I had a solid plan for a natural pregnancy and birth.

I am strong, because my seven week ultrasound showed two heart beats, but only one amniotic sac.

I am strong, because for two horrible weeks they were thought to be conjoined.

I am strong, because my pregnancy vocabulary expanded to include monoamniotic monochorionic, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and cord entanglement.

I am strong, because I spent six weeks inpatient under intense monitoring.

I am strong, because I mourned my natural birth, but embraced my C-section.

I am strong, because I gave birth at 31 weeks and five days to beautiful, healthy boys.

I am strong, because I stayed another five and a half weeks in the hospital so I could room-in and bond with the boys.

I am strong because, although everyone said it wouldn’t be possible, we left the NICU exclusively breastfed.

I am strong, because in the hardest phase of my life, I chose love over fear, joy over sorrow, and was blessed with gifts greater than I could have ever imagined.


I Am Strong – Because of Hudson

I Am Strong – Because of Hudson

I am strong, because I was told I would never have children.
I am strong, because I have Endometriosis, PCOS, and Lupus.
I am strong, because in 2013 I became pregnant.
I am strong, because throughout my pregnancy I was hospitalized numerous times for problems stemming from lupus.
I am strong, because a week before my due date I had to be induced.
I am strong, because after 36 hours of labor I gave birth to my healthy baby boy, Hudson.
I am strong, because I breastfed for as long as I could before having to go back on medication to control my lupus.
I am strong, because I suffered from severe postpartum depression and being unable to breastfeed impacted that severely.
I am strong, because six months after having my child, a child that I thought would never be, I was told I needed a hysterectomy.
I am strong, because in December of 2014, eight months after giving birth to my miracle baby, I had a total hysterectomy.
I am strong, because I will never feel another kick in my belly or the gnawing anticipation of meeting the miracle that’s been growing inside me for nine months. I will never again get to experience the beauty of giving birth.
I am strong, because I have every single reason to be strong and never give up.
I am strong, because of Hudson.


I Am Strong – A Premature Birth Story

I Am Strong – A Premature Birth Story

I had my birth completely planned out to the smallest detail: I had a midwife, a birth center, a natural birth plan. Everything was perfect.

At six weeks until my due date I woke up to my water being broken, I had to rush to the nearest hospital without my midwife and with all plans going out the window.  My water was broken, but my body wasn’t going into labor, so I had to be induced. After 14 hours of hard labor I developed an infection and had to be rushed off for an emergency C-section.

My son Benaiah was born at 4:30AM, June 30th. Since he was six weeks early, he was rushed off to the NICU. He was hooked up to a CPAP breathing machine for his underdeveloped lungs, he was living in an incubator, and we didn’t get to be close to each other for the first 24 hours of his life.


My son spent two weeks in the NICU – growing, getting healthier, with both of us learning how to breastfeed and live life together. Through this whole process I learned how strong I was; for my son I am strong. I am strong enough to watch him struggle and be by his side through it all. I am strong to work with my premature baby on breastfeeding and be patient with him while we both learn. I am strong to smile and laugh with him when all I want to do is cry. My son made me strong and our birth experience bonded us in a way I can’t even explain. He was worth it all.


Now he is home with my husband and I, he is gaining weight, breastfeeding, healthy, and happy. We are in love with him.

I Am Strong – VBAC Without Fear

I Am Strong – VBAC Without Fear

There are a number of reasons why I am strong.

At 17 I became pregnant. At three months pregnant and only a few weeks after my 18th birthday, my daughter’s father threw me out. I felt like garbage – abandoned and alone. How would I raise a child just out of high school?

I am strong because I picked myself up by my boot straps, got a full-time job working nights, went to school full-time, and made myself believe I was enough, more than enough, to leave the mentally abusive man who had left me and his seed.

Two months later (and after many turn downs) I finally went on a date with a regular customer. I had no idea what the future held, but if a man was that persistent about dating me – pregnant, young, little ole me – maybe it was worth a shot.

Fast-forward four more months: I was told my daughter was big and I would be too small to go into labor naturally. I had been borderline with pre-eclampsia for months and trusted that induction at 39 weeks would save me and baby a lot of troubles. All the while, this loving, patient, persistent man stood by my side and held my hand. I am strong because I endured having my waters ruptured, Pitocin, and horrible, painful contractions for three hours before giving in to an epidural, and later having a cesarean at 18 hours in. My perfect, little 7 lb. baby was here.

I didn’t know my options and my recovery was miserable. I didn’t leave the house. I couldn’t walk for more than ten minutes for roughly three months, and I felt as though my birth was robbed of me. I was depressed. I knew PPD was a thing, but given my history of depression and anxiety I knew I had to overcome this. Pills weren’t an option for me since I was breastfeeding (I refused). The love from my man and daughter were enough. I am lucky to have pulled through it by love alone, but I did it, because I am strong.

During this time was when I found Birth Without Fear. Oh, January, if you only knew how you impacted my life! Through your posts I began arming myself with knowledge and information. I knew what I wanted with my future births. I am strong, because you are strong.

18 months later, my little one was growing more independent by the day. I longed for the feeling of being needed 24/7 again. Though we weren’t exactly trying to conceive, we weren’t trying to prevent it either. Just before Easter we found out we were pregnant! My little one had self-weaned abruptly and I knew something had to be going on! I am strong, because I faced this pregnancy with options; I was empowered and ready to take this journey head-on!

I knew from day one that I had to build the perfect birth team. I started interviewing doulas. This led me to finding a chiropractor specializing in Webster technique. Come to find out, I wasn’t incapable of having babies naturally, nor was my daughter “too big”. I had an anterior tilting pelvis. I hired a doula, the ever sweet Deanna Norris (@holisticbirthingservices), and began driving 35 miles to the chiropractor three times a week! I live in a very small, rural town, so my only option was to drive an hour for the care I needed with the best midwives the state has to offer at OU Medical Center in downtown Oklahoma City. I am strong, because I was armed and ready for whatever was coming my way.

My pregnancy was wonderful – smooth and humbling. I fought a lot of fears with the help of D. I embraced the birth of my firstborn and learned to be at peace with it. I talked to the moon a lot and fell in love with meditation. The person I was becoming was unlike any person I had ever been. I had found myself – humble, peaceful, and strong. I am so strong.

In early November my daughter fell terribly ill and was admitted to the hospital. My due date was only weeks away and I was terrified that the stress I was under would throw me into labor. One late night I was having a hard time resting (who CAN rest in those awful hospital beds?) and began having sharp contractions. I woke my mother to sit with my daughter while I showered. Luckily that put me back at ease. November 16th (my EDD) came and went. Fear began to brew within me. However, I am strong and knew my little bundle of blue joy would be here when he was good and ready.

Prodromal labor began around November 18th. I’m sure I was on the verge of pre-labor a few times, but as soon as my daughter would wake things would slow down. November 20th I went in to schedule some NST and a possible induction, one day before 42 weeks. I had no intentions of showing up and they knew that, but we were simply following protocol. I declined the stretch and sweep, but had my midwife check for dilation. She left the room and I began to get dressed. As I squatted to pull my pants up, it happened. My worst fear – my water had ruptured BEFORE active labor. I was hesitant to go straight to L&D. I didn’t want to be put on the clock. But who was I kidding? I was flowing like a river. No way could I go walk around Target until labor really kicked in. I put my best brave face on, called my doula (who was with a mother having her baby a little early) and reminded myself that I Am Strong.

I won’t go in to all the details, but after about five hours of labor (I had no clock or windows, therefore no track of time) my midwife discovered baby had had a bowel movement. Though she was concerned, she only monitored us a little closer. I walked, I showered, I sang “You Are My Sunshine” while swaying through contractions 1,000 times, squatted, groaned, breathed…all un-medicated. 14 hours in, fear came knocking. The midwives had switched for the day and the new one was a little less than pro-VBAC. She immediately started talking cesarean if this this and that didn’t go as she would like it. I needed this VBAC. I knew I could do it; I Am Strong.

I asked for an epidural to help me relax and it did…for my left side! I could still wiggle my toes and scoot my legs, but this only benefited me. My doula, mother, and sweet man helped me use a peanut ball. 24 hours was creeping on me and I was dreading what would soon happen to me. I couldn’t give up now. I thought about it, I even almost told my doula to go get the OBs to take me back, but I resisted. D rubbed lavender on my legs and we laughed and talked. Then, it was time. Like magic, I transitioned. At this point we were 22 hours into labor and thankfully the midwife was busy in other births. I had a nurse come and check me and sure enough – 9 centimeters. I went on to have my VBAC on the evening of November 21st. It wasn’t “easy” and it came with some scars, but as soon as that 8 lb. 16 oz., blue-eyed, spitting image of his daddy laid on my chest, I knew it was all true…I was strong and I will always be strong – for my children, for my soon-to-be husband, for my peers, and for myself.


We are strong. We are designed to be powerful beyond our understanding. We can do any and everything we set our minds to. Thanks a million to D, January, and Lauren for educating me and pushing me – even when you didn’t know you were. Here’s to all the mommas who think they can’t. I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN. #vbacwithoutfear


I Am Strong {Emily Weber}

I Am Strong {Emily Weber}

I am strong because at the age of 19, my husband and I became pregnant with our first child.

I am strong because at our first ultrasound we were told that our son would be born with “myelomeningocele”. The most common and most severe form of Spina Bifida.

I am strong because on July 05, 2011, I went in for a c-section. Jonah was born at 12:32pm with Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus, bilateral club feet and Chiari Malformation II.

I am strong because two years later we decided to try for another child, even though the chances of this baby being born with Spina Bifida were even higher than the first time. I am strong because I went through an emotional battle with myself when we found out our daughter did NOT have Spina Bifida.

I am strong because even though I had a c-section the first time, I knew I needed to go for a VBAC for the quick recovery. Our son needed me to carry him and take him to his therapies.

I am strong because I went in for my VBAC January 1st.

I am strong because I was induced with Pitocin, even though it was much against my birth plan. I am strong because I was given foley bulbs to help the process, which was also much against my birth plan. I am strong because after 32 hours of labor, I decided to get an epidural even though it was against my birth plan. I am strong because after two “failed” epidurals, the pain was excruciating. I am strong because even though I was dilated to a 7, I knew something was wrong and I needed a repeat c-section.

I am strong because I went in for my c-section around 6pm, and I woke up around 10pm that night. I knew something had happened. I am strong because I listened to my body and had my c-section just in time to save my baby and me.

I am strong because my uterus had ruptured.

I am strong because after my surgery, I spent the night having nightmares of my daughter Genevieve crying, and I could not get to her. I am strong because I finally decided to take a sleeping pill, and ease some of my emotional pain.

I am strong because I spent the next few days in the hospital, in terrible pain, with a surgical drain attached to my c-section scar, all while waiting to find out if I would need a hysterectomy.

I am strong because at the age of 22, I was told I could not have any more children without risking mine, and my unborn child’s life.

I am strong because I could not lift my son. I am strong because I had to watch him fall down and get back up without my help.

I am strong because just two weeks after Genevieve was born, I was in the same hospital again for two surgeries to remove my gall bladder. I am strong because I fell into a dark depression during this time, and I never let anyone know of my struggle. I am strong because even though I felt emotionally and physically drained, I continued to produce the milk my daughter needed.

I am strong because I continue to have those same nightmares of my daughter crying and I cannot get to her.

I am strong because even though one doctor told me not to try again, I am looking for another specialist to get a second opinion. And I will get a third, fourth, and fifth opinion if I have to.

I am strong because even though both my c-sections were traumatic, I cannot forget how alive and strong I felt during my labor with my daughter.

I am strong because if it is God’s will…we will try again.




I Am Strong – I Continued to Live

I Am Strong – I Continued to Live

I am strong because at 36 weeks, I gave birth to a baby who I knew would not be with me very long.

I am strong because at my 20 week ultrasound, there were a few “little things” that looked off and a possibility for Trisomy 21. Even though I am 31 years old and had less than a 1% chance of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome, I had to reimagine our lives together as a family of four. I pictured a life where our family might be different, and our daily lives would be challenging, but beautiful. I cried, yelled, and then began to embrace the beautiful boy who was coming to us.

I am strong because at 24 weeks we saw dilation in my son’s brain, and consented to a long needle into my stomach, to check the genetic material in my son’s amniotic fluid. I soon learned my son did not have an extra chromosome, but instead was missing very important genetic information on his first chromosome, and was carrying extra genetic material from his fourth. I learned that no one was documented to have both of those issues combined, but each on their own is quite severe. There was no guidebook for this.

I am strong because I began to transition to care with highly specialized doctors, and prepare for a birth at one of the top five hospital in the country for children like mine. I let go of my dreams of a water birth at home, even though I, a 31 year old, fully healthy prenatal yoga teacher was capable to birth without interventions. But my son needed much more, and I would lay down my life for him.

I am strong because I was poked, prodded, MRI-ed, and transferred many times from doctors and midwives who had not worked with cases like his. I was starting to feel untouchable. Like a liability no one wanted. How many doctors’ office ceilings did I stare at, tables did I lay on, machines did I get scanned by? I don’t know.

I am strong because after my 32 week ultrasound, the maternal fetal medicine doctor got up out of his chair, and suggested we “make plans in case he doesn’t make it.” And then he left the room, and transferred us on again.

I am strong because as the weeks went on, I watched my son’s life rapidly unravel around me.

I am strong because at 33 weeks I was taken into a conference room at Children’s Hospital of Colorado. I sat with my husband and my midwife, as my mouth became increasingly dry and eyes wet, and looked across the table into 16 eyes of specialists, who seemed surprised that things had taken such a turn for the worst. I saw images of my son’s brain, with no neurons growing, having never branched out as they should. They were shocked. So was I. I allowed it to wash over me. I listened without crying, saving my breakdown for the moment when I escaped from that awful room.

I am strong because I had to then, at 33 weeks, choose what to do next. Subject him to a short and miserable life kept alive by machines, and surgeries? Choose to interrupt the pregnancy so he would not have to suffer? Oh the irony of having moved to Denver, CO this year. 20 minutes from the best Children’s Hospital in the US, and 30 minutes from the only doctor in the country who will perform late term abortions for chromosomal abnormalities.

I am strong because at 34 weeks we decided to press on and let our sweet Jack decide when he would come on his own, and when he would pass… on his own. We were told, in that case, we would have about a week with him.

I am strong because at 36 weeks, I went into labor. I watched them bring the infant warmer into the room, and listened to it beep as my contractions, which were strong at home, began to stall in this sterile and scary environment. I was told that instead of days with Jack, I would have hours. Maybe.

I am strong because I went through an incredibly painful labor anyway, knowing I would not get the reward of a plump and healthy baby. I was hooked up to pitocin as the impatient OB on call rushed me along. He said I would be there for three days if I didn’t.

I would have been happy to have three more days with Jack. My body knew this, and held on tight to stall labor and to give us more time together.

I am strong because I labored on, without an epidural.

I am strong because I had to hold my son’s lifeless body, as he was born still on August 20, 4 weeks before his due date.

I am strong because as everyone cried and left the room, I did not cry. I needed to be a mother for my son. As my husband fell apart next to me, I spoke calmly to Jack as I held him, and told him how loved he was, how brave his was, and how proud we were of him. I thanked him for showing me how strong I could be in the midst of physical and emotional pain.

I am strong because I prayed for a miracle. And the miracle was not that Jack lived, it was that I continued to live, even when he passed away.

I am strong because I had to go home to hug my three year old, and explain that Jack did not come home with us.

I am strong because when he asks me if I am sad, I say yes.

I am strong because I will tell his story. Our story. He will be known for the beautiful boy that he is, not a baby forgotten or never spoken about.

You are strong for opening your heart and reading this. You are strong for listening to a story about a baby who doesn’t make it, which is an unthinkable tragedy.

If you have had a high risk pregnancy, or a child whose genetic blueprints are different… you are a warrior. If you have had to consider a life for your child so different from what you imagined, you amaze me. If you have had to face your child’s death, you are an incredible force of maternal nature, and I see you. I see you and the incredible effort it is just to wake up. Brush teeth. Get dressed. Get out the door. Smile. Cry. Walk. Eat. Breathe. Live anyway. Your strength inspires me.

Logan Kinney, MA, RYT, RPYT


I Am Strong – Overcoming Abuse and Addiction for Motherhood

I Am Strong – Overcoming Abuse and Addiction for Motherhood

I am strong because I fell pregnant with my first son at 14 from sexual abuse. After being physically abused and pushed down a flight of stairs I lost my son at 17 weeks gestation, I was torn. I went off the rails and off the grid, developing a drug addiction and experiencing the worst drop in my mental health yet.

I am strong because I fell pregnant with my second son at 15 to my abuser. I left him at 14 weeks pregnant after he tried to punch me in the head and stomach, chasing me down the street.

I am strong because after a year of emotional, financial, physical and mental abuse, I now had a reason to be strong and a reason to stand up for what I knew I deserved.

I am strong because I beat my drug addiction for the sake of my unborn.

I am strong because I met my husband a few weeks later after moving across the country to get away from my son’s father.

I am strong because I endured endless phone calls and messages of abuse and threats of violence.

I am strong because I went through 12 hours of labor and two weeks of slow labor without drugs and gave birth vaginally to a 7lb 11oz perfect little boy after being told my hips wouldn’t accommodate him and I’d need a c-section.

I am strong because I have made it seven months exclusively breastfeeding despite my lack of support and the teen mum stigma.

I am strong because I’m loving motherhood at 17 without my abuser and with the support of my husband.

I am strong because I am beating severe postnatal depression and not letting it control my life or what kind of mother I am.

I am strong because I am now strong enough to stand up for what I know is right and for what I deserve!

And its all because of my rainbow. Without him I would have died long ago.

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