Pregnancy and birth are usually seen as a medical event or a mechanical process, but they offer much more than that to moms and to families. And birth is not the end goal of pregnancy and birth. Sure, you want a healthy baby (and a beautiful birth), but when you look beyond that point, the work of pregnancy and birth bring a lot of strength that will help you, your family, and the world. Join me for a peek past the obvious...
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This is the Birth Baby and Life podcast with Kristen Burgess, and we're going beyond your baby's birth and episode number one hundred and sixty three.
Welcome to the Birth Baby and Life podcast. The tips, tools and straight talk. You want the pregnancy, childbirth and bringing up baby. And now you'll host Kristen Burgess.
Hi ladies. This is Kristen from NaturalBirthAndBabyCare.com. Today I wanted to talk to you about something that I've really been pondering a lot lately as I think about pregnancy and childbirth and what pregnancy and childbirth mean. And I could literally get philosophical and deep and go all over the place, ranging all spectrums when I talk about pregnancy and birth, because I believe that they have that much impact on a woman's life, on a family's life, on the baby and your children's lives. But I'm going to try and keep it a little bit tighter today. I was incredibly blessed to be able to run the plan, your natural birth event over the past couple of months. I didn't run the event over the past couple of months, but to be able to do the interviews and all the preparation that led up to the event and it was really awesome. And I hope that you were able to enjoy some of the sessions while the event was going on. If you weren't able to be there live for each day's event, you can still access the recordings. If you go to Birthbabylife.com show, you can put in your name and email address there and look at the lifetime access option and check that out. There were 21 different sessions, 20 different speakers plus myself equaling twenty one. And just incredible. One of the things that really, really impressed me as I did each of those sessions was the unity of the messaging that ended up coming through.
And it had me an all on a level. It's really good. You think, you know, we're here as I'm recording this and 20, 21 and we've been through a lot. But it's really nice to think that there are still things that can bring order in our lives. And that was something that really brought a lot of autonomy because I had people speaking from all kinds of different backgrounds. I had midwives, I had authors, I had unassisted birth advocates. I had childbirth educators. I had doctors. I had perinatologists. I had doulas, I had ultrasound technicians. It's just a wide variety of people, a wide range of experiences that they have lived out and serving pregnant and birthing women. And yet a central messaging really came through. And that was cool to see. And it's left me really thinking, really pondering what do I want to teach? What do I want to impress? How do I want to best serve women and babies? And part of what I've really found is I've done some of that soul searching and wrestling is I've done this I've been at this for a long time now. Ladies, as I'm talking to you, I've had my own eight babies naturally, and I've been helping women for fifteen, almost sixteen years at this point through NaturalBirthAndBabyCare.com and then getting even deeper and deeper and serving women through Amama Baby birthing. And also I've been able to attend a couple dozen births, help a lot of women through prenatal care, which is probably my probably my favorite thing to do.
I love going to births. There's something really special about being at a birth. But to me the real work is done during pregnancy. And so I've loved being able to help women through prenatal care. I love being able to help women all over the world through mama baby birthing. Some women want more than that. And they they work one on one with me through my personal prenatal again, anywhere in the world. That's been a huge blessing. A huge learning experience for me on how to serve women is working with women from all over the place, not just in my little tiny corner of the world, but again, I just I really feel like I've I've brought this into that work that I've done over the past sixteen, almost sixteen years. But listening to all of these speakers across the course of the plan, your natural birth event really helped help me ponder and crystallize on some of this. And that's there are many places to go with it. But what I wanted to talk to you about today is thinking about beyond the birth, how preparation for pregnancy and childbirth isn't. It's not just about pregnancy and childbirth because it represents a fundamental shift, a fundamental core change in who you are as a person, and during the show, it was really cool to have a number of speakers literally speak directly to this.
Pam England, Jessie Harold, especially also Dr. Lisa Berlin. She's a psychologist who specializes in pregnancy, postpartum area. They really spoke directly to this and put it really bluntly in a way that may feel a little old fashioned to us today, but they talked about pregnancy, childbirth, mothering. That transition to motherhood or even motherhood, again, is a rite of passage. What we've done is we have taken and reduced pregnancy and birth to medical events. It's really interesting to me. I ran a survey just a couple of days ago. If if you're not on the list, on my mailing list yet, where you get my newsletter and I send out encouraging emails and tell you about new projects that I'm working on in that kind of thing, you can go to trust birth one on one. That's trust birth one zero one dotcom. To get on that list, I probably will send the survey out again, hoping that we get this podcast out really quick, because I know it's been a couple of weeks with the with the show going on. It was just crazy to try and also get a podcast out. So we're going to hopefully get this one out really quickly. And I probably will send that survey out again just because it's something that's really important, I think, to get information for moms. But I've already gotten well over 70 responses to the survey.
And so many of you said on the survey that you do not see birth simply as a medical event. You do not see pregnancy simply as a medical event. And I think that's really important. That's an important perspective to take. And I also think it's important for us to realize that in our culture, in our society, that actually is what birth has been reduced to. So when when we look at pregnancy and birth as women who are, you know, who are looking at and acknowledging that this is a journey, we're we're kind of going against the societal grain. And that's but that's really where I think the power of pregnancy and birth are when we acknowledge that pregnancy and birth are more than just a medical event or even more than just a mechanical process, then we're able to be open to the fact that this is a journey. And I really liked what Pam England said in her session of the show because she talked about the fact that the baby's birth is not the end of the journey. And I really hope that you take that forward from the show. If you were able to listen and forward from this podcast, is that when we're one of the one of the things that I think often happens when we're planning an actual birth is that we do see the birth is the end all be all.
We have watched a couple of birth videos that are incredibly empowering and we see the moms ecstasy and joy at the birth. We see those shots, those beautiful shots that birth photographers have brought to us, where you see that moment of ecstasy on the woman's face. And it's like the culmination, the pinnacle. And that's what we think that we're working towards when we're preparing for a birth. And I do think that moment is awesome. I've experienced that moment eight times, varying levels after a couple bursts. It was a little bit more of a moment of relief or it was like, oh, my goodness, thank you, Lord, that it's done. And especially I think I felt it all eight times when the placenta comes because you know that when the placenta comes, oh, my goodness, I really am done now. And so there's more of a feeling of relief than elation. And I think that's totally normal as well. Let's just be real. But I do feel like we do a disservice to women on a level even as birth workers, like speaking as a birth worker here when we talk about how birth is is the pinnacle and. I don't think it's because births should not be an amazing and empowering event in and of itself, but it's because we don't we don't look at or even talk about, and maybe it's because it's overwhelming on a level, it feels intimidating and we don't want to intimidate women.
And so if this feels a little bit overwhelming to you, it's OK, prepare for your baby's birth and come back to this. But I actually believe that when you do the hard work or even at the very beginning of preparing for the birth, like maybe you're in your first trimester right now or you've just decided to have a natural birth and you really haven't thought before about anything more than, OK, how do I handle contractions without labor medications? And if you're there, that's fine. And that's actually really where when I organize mama baby birthing, I organize my baby birthing to meet you where you're at and then to walk through some of these deepening levels of considering birth preparation, because at first it is often I'm scared of birth. How do I get through it? I'm not going to be able to do it or I'm going to lose control. And it's it's only when you get through that and get some of that basic information, OK, there are strategies and techniques, OK, you know, we know that. Ninety percent of women, 95 percent of women are going to be able to have a non-surgical birth, are going to be able to have a natural birth with minimal interventions. Just if we look at honest statistics about birth, if we look past the inflated cesarean rates in many countries, when you have that assurance that statistically the odds are in your favor and when you know those practical techniques and skills or even when you know the other women are doing this, that this is possible, it helps you gain that baseline confidence and then you can look a little more into it, like I said, in Mama Baby Birthing, then I take you deeper into considering this this journey of pregnancy and birth.
So this feels overwhelming. That's OK. But I also think that it's something that women deserve to know. One of the things that I talk about when I talk about pregnancy diet is I want to clear up misinformation and I want to give women real information. It always annoyed me when I was helping women breastfeed, when organizations would say, let's not give a lot of information about how important diet is to milk supply, because we don't want to discourage women who think that they may have to change their entire diet. And they say, oh, well, you know, I would I would rather formula feed than have to go through all that because I feel like that's a it's it's a disservice to women. You see this in a lot of obese offices is they're giving information to women that's written on like a third to fifth grade level. And they're not really going into a lot of detail because they don't believe that women will change or that they'll want to change. In my experience, you do have some women who are like, I'm going to do it my way.
I don't care what anybody says. I'm just not going to change. Most women, though, all women want the very best for their babies. And most women are willing to make changes. And the reality is, is if something like diet is going to increase your milk supply, boost the nutrient level of your milk, if something like diet is going to help you keep your pregnancy low, risk is going to help your baby develop optimally. Most women are willing to start working towards that, even if they baby step towards that. I feel like we do a huge disservice to women when we don't talk about things like that because we assume that they wouldn't make the effort or when we assume that it would be over their heads. Instead, we meet you where you are and then we help take you a little further. We help break it down. And so this topic is the same way I want to meet you where you are. And I've got plenty of podcast episodes that that are really nitty gritty. And the deal with some of those direct fears like, oh, my gosh, how am I going to handle labor pain? How what am I going to do to have a faster labor? A lot of women are really worried about that. And I want to meet you there. But I also don't want to shortchange you.
I don't want to not talk about some of these deeper issues just because some women might not be ready to hear that yet or may not be at the place where they're ready to start wrestling with that or start processing that or start embracing that. And I want I want to help women get where they are. And when I look at what my heart is towards, it is really towards helping women on the entire journey, towards having a healthier birth and a healthier baby. And as I ponder everything that's happened in my family over the past few years, just a lot of trials and tribulations that are literally heartbreaking and heart wrenching, just tearing things apart inside of me, tearing me down to the very core of my being. And when I ask myself, trying to rise back up from literally having who I am destroyed on a fundamental level. When I look at where did the strength come from to keep going in the face of terrible odds and in the face of all kinds of attacks on every level, if you've listened to any of my podcasts, you know that I got a pretty strong faith background. My faith is what has helped get me through. And it also, you know, and also influences my world view. I believe that many of the attacks that have been levied against me and my family are not just practical attacks that are very real, but also, you know, on other planes, mental, emotional, spiritual soul.
Planes were just, again, the to the very core of who I am has been shaken. And when I look at where did the strength come from, people look at me and they go, how did you keep going, Christiane? When I look at that, I look at my pregnancies and I look at my births, I give thanks to God that I've always had some stubbornness and some tenacity in me. You can ask my parents when I think back to, oh, my gosh, I was a stubborn kid and I was a really stubborn and headstrong teenager. And when I look back to that, I'm like that stubbornness matured into a level of tenacity and some of it stayed just plain stubbornness that served me well. It served me well at 19 when I decided to have a natural birth. But I really do believe that the strength that I gained in standing up and saying this is the birth that I want and also being blessed with especially a mentor, my first midwife, Charlie, but being blessed with her and then kind of virtual mentors that I had through the books that I read and and that sort of thing. The women that I talked to that really helped me begin to grow and develop a strength that helped me to have a natural birth with my first baby and my second baby and my third baby.
My fourth baby. My fourth baby was a huge turning point because he was born unassisted. My midwife didn't make it. That gave me a lot of strength. Even my second baby's birth, when his dad wasn't there, he was he was deployed. And it was it was just me and women that gave me strength because because I did that birth without the support of a partner, I had my birth team there and they were present. But I had to pull on a lot of my individual strength. And then my fourth baby's birth again, midwife didn't make it. My fifth baby's pregnancy and birth were extreme learning experiences. For me, that's significant and profound. Postpartum depression during her pregnancy and coming through that and birthing her in triumph. And also there was difficult parts of that birth, especially right at the moment that she was born and the circumstances surrounding the days going into her birth. A lot of strength there. My six baby's birth was a beautiful, peaceful, I would say probably the most pain free birth that I had. His pushing stage was so beautiful and gentle that nobody except me realized he had been born. And I actually have his birth video on momma baby birthing. But what I'm saying and then Sadie's birth just gotten myself there again. The midwife missed it and it was just this beautiful, intimate experience. And then Phoenix's birth, everybody was awake. So that was a fun family experience.
And also he was a big boy, came late. A lot of different levels of testing there for me mentally and emotionally. So really what I'm saying is all of my babies births have taught me something. And and I drew a lot of strength from the journey of their pregnancy and into their birth. And it has really helped me to see how that strength has helped me walk forward in life and how going through that experience and into mothering and doing that preparation helped me as a mother making choices and advocating for my babies. And then even as I faced the biggest crisis of my life and needing to advocate for my family, stick with my guns, make decisions that weren't necessarily the decisions that, you know, other people, whomever those other people were, wanted me to make, whether that was my perception or whether that was reality. And that's something we all face a lot of difficult decisions in life. We all face a lot of difficult situations. And when you look at pregnancy and birth as not just a means to an end, not just a medical process or a mechanical process. And when you do the soul searching in the work, the physical work. Yes. But also the mental and emotional work to lead up to birth, you're essentially laying a foundation not just for the pregnancy and for the birth, but for the rest of your life, because the strength that I drew from my birth experiences didn't come just from the moment of birth.
When I pushed my baby out and held my baby into my arms. It was a journey that I had taken all through pregnancy, even through the difficult pregnancies like my pregnancy with my fifth baby was really difficult. You know, my pregnancy with my six baby was difficult because I had even though his birth was really triumphant and pain free, the pregnancy was difficult physically for me, and my fifth pregnancy was probably the most difficult. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Her postpartum mentally and emotionally was much better, but physically terrible postpartum. I had this awful diabetes that caused me so much physical pain and it took a lot to overcome that. But those things were part of the journey. That difficulty was part of the journey that helped forge a strength in me that I hadn't known and or I hadn't I hadn't had to pull on before. Another thing that Pam talked about in her session was the level of compassion that you grow going through these experiences. We all want to have a super straightforward pregnancy, a super straightforward birth, a super straightforward postpartum. That doesn't always happen. And that's OK. It doesn't represent a failure on any level. Honors pregnancy. My fifth pregnancy doesn't represent a failure, even though a mother's tendency is to look back with guilt. It's my tendency to look back on that pregnancy with guilt because it was really a lot of my own stuff, a lot of my own icky stuff, feelings, inadequacies as a mom, anxieties about a baby coming when I hadn't necessarily planned a pregnancy right.
Then our fourth baby had medical issues and I really just wasn't ready for another baby when I fell pregnant with her. And so there's a lot of guilt wrapped up in that. And I think that many of you can you can identify with that because babies don't always come according to plan. And even when you've been trying for a baby, a lot of women experience that. They get pregnant and they realize the enormity of the change, even if you already have kids. And then there are second thoughts and there are feelings of guilt and there's stuff going on in the world that you can't control, stuff going on in your life that you can't control. And it can be an emotional journey. And that tendency is to guilt. But also when I look back, I look at the the huge gift that was there. And that gift has given me a lot more compassion for women who may struggle through pregnancy and birth. The pain that I experienced in my pregnancies from just the physical pain of going through a number of pregnancies and having trouble and having hip pain and pelvic pain and back pain and heartburn and every other pain under the sun has given me a lot more compassion going forward.
And working with women and pulling on my own experiences is giving me a lot of compassion. Going through my journey of pregnancy, birth and mothering has given me a lot of compassion and helped me bring to the world something that I wouldn't be able to anyways. One of the ways that human beings resolve trauma and all of us have trauma on varying levels, some people get more than their fair share. Some people have really difficult childhoods. Some people have things happened in their adult lives that are really traumatic. But as human beings, most of us are wrestling with some level of trauma. And one of the ways that humans work through that trauma is to try to find a level of meaning in it. And often that meaning comes from the way that we can go forward and serve others. And it may not be there in the early moments of wrestling with difficult things that have happened, but it usually comes as we process and work through. And I'm a huge fan of getting help to walk through the journey. If you need help, if you need the help of a therapist or a counselor to work through traumatic experiences that have happened in your past, then I definitely am a believer in that, or I have been blessed to be able to help a lot of women work through things I did.
I do this periodically so you can go to Birthbabylife.com/masterclass and get either the replay of the most recent master class that I did or sign up for a live one, because, like I said, I do a live one periodically. But I did the three keys to a natural birth master class yesterday afternoon. And on that presentation, I share the story of one of my students saying she had a really traumatic birth with her first baby and with her second baby. She had a necessary caesarean, but it was incredibly traumatic the way that everything unfolded for her. And so when she fell pregnant with her third baby, there was a lot going on there. And I was really blessed to be able to walk through her virtually. She was in France, be able to work with her, walk with her, help her just to think and go through work through all these emotions. And she ended up having a beautiful, triumphant home birth with her third baby, had a V back. It was a beautiful experience, a healing experience for her. And she took a lot out of that. And the birth was triumphant. But really, it was a culmination and and a step on the journey that she ultimately has taken. But a huge part of that journey was her pregnancy and doing that work. And so I I like being able to walk with women through that experience and that work of pregnancy.
And I know that some you know, some of this podcast has been really rambling and maybe I haven't even gotten to a point. But the point is, is I fully believe that pregnancy and birth can be transformational experiences. They are not an end in and of themselves where the goal is to have this beautiful natural birth experience. And then you write that off and that's it. You know, you get a blue ribbon and then you go on in life. It's so much more than that. And if you do have that beautiful, incredible experience, that's wonderful. But even if that experience is difficult and like I would say, that honors birth was and I would actually say that my first three babies, there were a lot of difficulties in each one of their births. And if I could go back and change things, I probably would, even though ultimately each one of them was a natural birth. I feel like they were empowering experiences. But then I also look back and I say, you know, each of those experiences taught me things. If you've been in the momma baby birthing Q&A calls, I end up talking about Cassidy's birth a lot because it was a first birth and I had a lot of those nerves and anxieties and things that a first time mom has and a lot of things that held up labor that a first time mom has. And again, that has helped me to really teach and speak to that experience and those worries and those anxieties and then, you know, things in each of my baby's birth.
So even if I wouldn't say that any of my pregnancies members were these perfect experiences, the things that I overcame in each one of those are the things that have helped me to develop strength. And the the awesome moments also helped me to develop strength. But part of growth is going through the difficult experiences, staying resilient, keeping on keeping on learning from those and realizing that I had the strength to move through those things. And what makes a satisfying birth experience for women is knowing that they did the work and knowing that they were heard. And so part of doing the doing the work of pregnancy and viewing pregnancy is more than just a process or more than just a moment in time where it's one and done. And I realize some women want to look at pregnancy that way. But if you're listening to this podcast will be frank, that's probably not you. So, you know, pregnancy is more than that. And so when you take this experience to do the solo. Searching to do the work, to realize that it's something deeper and that it's something more and that something isn't defined when we look at, OK, the goal is to have this wonderful, amazing natural birth experience and then I'll be set and I'll have checked that box.
That's really that's a defined thing, right? Even if we say that natural birth can look different for different women. This one gives birth on our side, this woman on hands and knees, this woman standing up, you know, this woman on the toilet, this one in the shower, this woman in the bathtub. You know, we acknowledge that there's variations, but really we say, oh, natural birth, check that box. It's kind of defined. But the truth is, is that pregnancy and birth aren't defined. They're not a definitive experience. And it's going to look different for each woman. And the journey is going to look different for each woman, even if the end goal to have that beautiful natural birth. What we need to acknowledge is that this is a journey. And that journey involves really practical stuff like Kristen is going to talk to you really practically a momma baby birthing about let's get down dirty and write this down to the simple building blocks of pregnancy diet. And these are the birth skills that you need. And this is how to write a birth plan and this is how you breathe and birth so that you can make your way through this journey of having this baby and the intensity of birth without losing it. Or if you lose it, this is going to help you get it back. I'm going to talk to you about really practical stuff like that, but I'm also going to talk to you about this soul searching in this journey and handling these ups and downs, because that's what's going to give you the resiliency and the strength that journey walking through this transition, this rite of passage and acknowledging it as more than just that practical level stuff, though I believe that the practical level stuff is super important.
That's why I teach three steps in the mama baby birthing process. The the the best our blueprint for your baby. That's the physical stuff, the instinctive birth code. That's kind of the practical nitty gritty birth skills. But then the birth of your usher encompasses all of this kind of deeper level stuff where we really dig into that. And it can feel scary again, especially when you've got trauma in your past or when you're wrestling with who you are on a core level. And pregnancy can bring us to that. But it's also an experience that really helps us in this, I believe is what really helps make pregnancy and birth a transcendent experience. It's you know, you hear about dudes going on a vision quest or living like monks for years or whatever to try and find themselves and to have this transcendent, transcendent experience while we as women, we have that opportunity when we have a pregnancy and a birth, even in the nitty gritty, in the morning sickness, in the in the difficulties and the aches and pains and trying to chase three other kids around while you're very heavily pregnant and people are looking at you going, why did you have another kid? You know, even in those experiences, there are ways to find the small moments.
There are ways to take that time to dig into the deeper level and the deeper experience and really to find something more. And like I said, I know I didn't go quite all over the place like I could go, but I know that I've been a little bit rambling. This podcast isn't quite as practical and down to earth. I sometimes try and keep podcasts, but I hope that you've gotten some out of it. I hope that you've gotten the gist of it, that pregnancy and birth really do have the potential to be so much more. And it really does have the potential. To see something in you and to help that, something to grow and to bloom and I at this point in my pregnancy, birth, mothering journey, 20 years and having gone through eight births, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of really, really lows and a lot of I'm just managing to barely tread water and keep my head above the water, even moments that I'm not sure I can go on and having having come through that I have not arrived. I am still very much on a journey. There are still very much days when I'm like, I don't even know how I'm going to get to tomorrow, ladies.
So do not think that I have in any way arrived. But what I have seen is that a tremendous amount of the strength that I have developed to keep going to make hard decisions, to advocate for my family, to be a strong voice and to say, you know what, I'm going to say a prayer. God, please help me get through this day and then I'm going to shred up, know that he's going to help me look above that water and just keep going for another day. A tremendous amount of that has been pulled from my pregnancies and births, from the soul searching that I did to find the strength to stand up and say this is the experience that I want to work towards that to say that I'm having these challenges, I'm going to keep working through them any ways to seek support. And those from people like like my midwife, like other women, like a childbirth educator, like a, you know, a childbirth mentor that I try to be for women all over the world because I realize how necessary that was. You know, learning to find that support system, learning to step into my power, learning to find my voice has had such a profound impact on my life. And what I want for you is for you to find that it's going to look different for you, because the way that you serve the world, the way that you serve your family, even the way that you find strength in your own journey is going to look different than what it has looked for me.
But I firmly believe that pregnancy and birth offer that gift in a unique way for every woman. So I want to end with that. I want you to realize that this is so much more that this is an opportunity and that's not meant to be intimidating because the journey is individual and part of the journey is starting from where you're at and moving through and just just sitting with this and just, you know, just pondering it for a little bit, just letting it tickle your brain and thinking, can this be something more? And and and really just taking a look at that and playing with that and being curious about that and not necessarily even doing anything about that, but just being curious and seeing how even even if you just peed on a stick today and got a positive pregnancy test, there's an emotional journey that started right there. Even if you're trying to conceive and asking yourself, being curious, has this already started to offer something in me? Has this already started to prompt a little bit of growth, a different level of being, a different considering consideration of who I am and my place in the world and what all of this means? Just that seed.
Just that seed. And then as your baby grows, there's the seed of my body knows how to do this. That's kind of awesome. And even if I felt really unsure about my body and who I am, there's this fundamental wisdom in there already. And are there a little ways that I can start to honor that and grow that coming from the seed that is literally the seed of my baby that's growing in me? That's the gift. That curiosity, just that consideration, that acknowledgment that on a small level there is the strength and awesomeness in me and this journey may offer a little bit. So just start with that. I will talk to you see soon. Again, if you want to hear what's going on, if you want more for me, check out trust birth one on one dotcom that'll get you signed up for the newsletter. And if you're interested in in walking with me, I do a group Q&A call every week. So you get personal information for me as well as all that practical nitty gritty stuff. The inspirational stuff. Do check out mama, baby birthing mama, baby birthing dotcom mama, baby birthing dotcom. Excuse me, Dotcom. I would love to work with you. Get to know you more or just shoot me an email if you've got questions. But again, mama baby birthing dotcom, I hope that you have a blessed week. I will talk to you next week and just many, many blessings to you and your family. Gentle mama.