This post contains references to childhood sexual abuse.
Why this podcast?
I am so excited about this podcast!
Well, for several reasons…
1. It’s another new one for me and therefore for this blog.
2. It’s hosted by two midwives.
The first is Robin Lim, founder of Bumi Sehat health clinics in Indonesia. These vital clinics offer free prenatal care and birthing services to anyone who needs them.
The second is Deborah Flowers who works alongside the amazing Ina May Gaskin at The Farm in Tennesee.
(If you are not familiar with The Farm or Ina May Gaskin I beg you to click on the above link and do some serious reading. You’ll be so glad you did).
3. The fact that, after working together at a home birth in 2016, they decided to start Awakening Birth to –
“call attention to the care of mothers, babies and their families, and the sanctity of birth as a basic human right.”
How does it look?
The Awakening Birth podcast released its first episode towards the end of 2016 and there are in fact only seven episodes so far. What an amazing chance to join Robin and Deborah at the start of this journey!
As well as birth having the power to heal episodes have covered delayed cord clamping, the safety of home birth, introduction episodes to both hosts, choosing a care provider and ‘prenatal care not prenatal scare’.
Episode lengths range from just under nine minutes for the one I am going to feature to just over fifty with most of the seven being between twenty and thirty-five minutes long.
I have to say that it was not clear to me how often episodes are released but the website has so much great information and so many fantastic resources that checking in occasionally to see what’s new could only be a good thing.
Why this episode?
Well, I absolutely believe in the power of birth to heal and I was also curious how, in nine minutes, someone would be able to share two birth stories and highlight the healing power of one of them.
Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who is expecting a baby, involved in birth work or just interested in the idea of birth as healing.
This episode features a New Zealand mother (who remains anonymous) sharing her two very different birth experiences.
Her oldest child was born in a hospital in New Zealand while her youngest was born at Bumi Sehat in Indonesia.
As you might have guessed it is almost impossible to share two full birth stories in nine minutes so what you glean from the mother’s story are elements of her two birth experiences and you really get a feeling for the very different atmosphere’s in both.
A midwife led birth in a hospital setting that proved traumatic for this mother who had been sexually abused as a child. Her birth was so traumatic in fact that she experienced flashbacks to her childhood abuse.
Interestingly, she describes being supported by two beautiful midwives who were very supportive but who had a difficult job within the hospital system.
Part way into her labour all the sirens went off and the hospital went into lockdown.
Around this time she was also given thirty minutes to push her baby out or be taken in for a Cesarean.
She describes feeling like she was dying whilst pushing and screaming ‘like crazy’ to try and get her baby out before that half hour was up.
What an intense pressure, both physically and mentally that must have been.
Finally, she managed to push her baby out and avoided surgery.
She goes on to describe how insulted her husband felt when, after going through this traumatic experience with his wife, he was then asked, before going into the post labour room, to sign a form stating that he would not go into other women’s rooms, drink alcohol or walk around naked.
A stark contrast to the welcome he received at Bumi Sehat.
This birth took place a full ten years after the first and the mother held a lot of fear about being nearly forty this time around.
Interestingly, she describes wanting to birth with a midwife but also wanting a whole lot of drugs to ‘knock her out’.
A big part of this was due to the traumatic hospital birth and the difficult memories of abuse that experience had brought up.
The mother talks about sitting down with Deborah and being helped through her fears and then goes on to say how beautiful, spiritual and life changing her birth experience was.
She describes entering Bumi Sehat with oil burning and stepping into a warm bath with flowers floating in the water. Her son held her hand with her husband sitting behind him. The sounds of nature filtered through during the night and the whole scene sounds so peaceful.
The mother talks about the amazing shift in energy as her daughter emerged and about being surrounded by love.
She goes on to say that her experience at Bumi Sehat had an overwhelmingly positive influence on all aspects of her life and that the beauty and peace she experienced there would go on influencing her for the rest of her life.
To wrap up
Although this was a slightly unusual episode and therefore a bit of a different post I loved how, even without sharing a whole lot of details, the important elements of her birth experiences came through.
I absolutely believe that with the right care providers and with a supportive, loving team you can have an amazing, empowering and loving birth in a hospital.
The key is to prepare (informationally, physically and emotionally) and to have the right people surrounding you.
Recently, I had the honour of supporting my first birth as a doula and saw first-hand how important (and wonderful) it is to have the right team there to love and fully support you.
Similar episodes on this topic
Birthful – Healing Your Birth Story
Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.