Why this podcast?
The Birth, Baby & Life podcast has only featured once on this blog but with one hundred episodes to date, I felt it was time for another!
The host, Kristen Burgess, is an advocate of natural birth but says that blind faith in birth is not enough. She stresses the importance of working with your unique body and your unique pregnancy and baby to prepare for the birth you want.
Kristen has eight children and so definitely knows a thing or two about birth. She developed Natural Birth and Baby Care in the hope of providing –
“evidence and facts, but more so practical information to help you have the safest, best birth and healthiest baby possible… that’s the information that frees you to trust your body and be open to giving birth.”
This podcast is definitely geared towards natural birth but there really is so much information on pregnancy, birth, the postpartum and even bringing up your children, that I’m sure there will be episodes to interest everyone.
Kristen is very open about her experiences, which I like, but just keep in mind that these are Kristen’s experiences and what worked for her may or may not work for you.
Listen and take what resonates with you.
How does it look?
Episodes are released every couple of weeks and tend to be between twenty-five and thirty-five minutes long.
Areas covered include getting ready for baby, plus-sized pregnancy, handling loneliness while mothering, working from home with young children, standing firm in your choices, how to avoid induction, how to beat morning sickness and the truth about the first few months.
Why this episode?
To be honest, I was so intrigued by the title that I had to listen!
Also, of course, as a doula, I believe that women should have the pivotal role in their own birth. Of course, they need support in doing this and yes, birth is its own thing and you can’t predict everything, but that doesn’t mean you cannot prepare for exactly the kind of birth that you want and go for it.
And, if things change along the way, you can absolutely have a huge say in what you do, or don’t do, next.
Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who loves the idea of taking charge of their own pregnancy and birth. Anyone who has experienced losing that control before or anyone who just wants to know more.
“I want to start a revolution”.
This is one of the first things you hear when Kristen begins to get into her topic. She soon qualifies it to “I want to be a part of the revolution” as she realises that women have been fighting this fight for years.
What would happen if we started asking different questions?
Instead of asking “Why would you choose to birth out of hospital?” we could ask “Why would I birth outside of my home when my labour flows so well in a safe and familiar environment?“
Or, rather than saying, “Why wouldn’t you have an epidural? You must just want to be a martyr” we could say “Why would I choose an intervention that interrupts the flow of hormones and could impede labour and negatively affect my baby if I can use other tools to help me birth?”
I was really glad to hear that Kristen does acknowledge that in certain situations, interventions are necessary and life-saving and that in those situations, thank goodness we have them.
The issue is when these interventions are used unnecessarily, as a matter of course.
What Kristen doesn’t add but I will, is that given that this episode is about standing up for what you want, if an epidural or planned cesarean is, in fact, what you want, then that is what you should have.
I believe very strongly that it is important to research any choice; the side effects, risks, benefits and the overall impact of any intervention or pain relief, but whatever decision you make should be respected.
What could happen if we asked these questions?
I actually really liked that Kristen puts forward the idea that maybe we don’t have to get angry or shout or make accusations in order to be heard.
Maybe, when someone asks us one of those first, negative questions, we simply look at them and calmly ask “Why would I do that?“
That might just be enough to make the person questioning your decisions pause, think and maybe ask you, not in a negative, but in a curious way, “So, why have you made that choice?“.
Women own birth
So, what does that mean?
According to Kristen, it means that we have to stand up and demand, well, better. To truly own who we are and what we want.
Maybe not in an angry way, because that often doesn’t transmit well, but in a clear, unapologetic way.
We need to share the evidence behind our choices.
Kristen suggests that maybe we even need to turn the tables.
Raise the idea that, perhaps, in wanting to birth in a way that will not only have the least negative effect on ourselves and our babies but could actually be an amazing and empowering experience, we are not, in fact, the crazy ones.
How will this change take place?
Talk to your loved ones, says Kristen. Talk to your husband, mother, aunt, cousin, sister, friend, neighbour.
Change happens one person at a time.
To wrap up
There is a lot more to this episode than I have covered here (including some ideas on precisely how to have those conversations with your loved ones) and I definitely think it’s a super interesting one to listen to.
Whilst I agree with so much that Kristen says and I know that an unmedicated, intervention-free birth will likely be the safest birth, not to mention incredibly empowering, I don’t think we can suggest that women who make another choice are crazy or that their choice is wrong.
This is, however, a podcast centred around natural birth and Kristen is a staunch advocate of that. There is definitely a lot to be learned from what she says but, if natural birth is really not your thing, you might need to listen more carefully to hear it.
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.