Episode 023 - Birth On Two Different Islands

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Anjelica shares her story of giving birth to her two daughters in extremely different settings as a military expat.  Empowered and awakened to the lack of communal support that women receive as they transition to motherhood, she was determined to do something about it.  Amidst raising her children, she became a lactation counselor and childbirth educator, focusing on helping women identify their goals and set up support systems before they give birth.

Anjelica's belief in a safe, loving environment for every woman to give birth in is inspiring.  You won't want to miss this story about how different birth can be yet how it's always possible for it to be an empowering, positive experience.

Anjelica also wrote the best interactive breastfeeding resource we've ever gotten our hands on, and we'll be doing a giveaway over on Instagram this week (August 21, 2017) of Milk Boss 101: The Modern Breastfeeding Journal and Guide.  Check out the giveaway over on Instagram here!


In This Episode:

  • How while working as a medic in the military she realized how much deeper work with women always was
     
  • Mosaic Motherhood - acknowledging how multi-faceted our lives are as mothers
     
  • How access to specialized services like lactation support and doula support is a privilege and one that many don't have
     
  • Growing up with either stay-at-home-moms or working moms and not feeling like she identified with either one as she approached motherhood
     
  • The gap between patients and their care provider in Puerto Rico
     
  • Listening to your Mother Wisdom above any other voice
     
  • The differences between her births in Puerto Rico and Guam
     
  • How every woman deserves to give birth in a gentle and safe space
     
  • Breastfeeding is a minimum 2 person job in the beginning - we NEED SUPPORT


About Our Guest:

Anjelica Malone is a Third Culture Kid turned Global Mama. She is the author of Milk Boss 101: The Modern Breastfeeding Journal and Guide.  She is also a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor, birth and postpartum doula, and a Childbirth Educator serving women in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband, two Little Women, and their mini-dachshund, Aoki. Visit www.AnjelicaMalone.com to book her services or read her writings, which focus on encouraging women to embrace their passions and equipping them to navigate motherhood in the way that’s most natural to them.


Episode 022 - Reluctant Motherhood

Lindsay shares her journey from being unsure about ever wanting kids due to her independent lifestyle and personal goals to experiencing how surprisingly rewarding and enjoyable being a mother was.  Her experience of finding balance between her own interests and goals and the sacrifice of motherhood is one everyone will relate to.

 


In This Episode:

  • Growing up without a framework for how she could be a mother and also have a career
     
  • How a basketball game helped her change her mind about starting a family
     
  • How becoming a mother allowed her to become the best version of herself
     
  • Why we don't believe in the term "natural birth"
     
  • Deciding not to find out if it was a boy or girl and how that helped her let go of expectations
     
  • Knowing when to acknowledge that your needs or the needs of your family are changing and being able to adapt
     
  • Accepting sunk cost and being willing to throw in the towel when kids just aren't getting on board with your plans
     
  • Setting boundaries as an entrepreneur around work - being all in with whatever you are doing
     
  • How giving your best to your kids doesn't mean not taking care of yourself


About Our Guest:

My name is Lindsay. I live in Portland, Oregon. I have a husband (Nich), daughter (Margot), cat (Penelope), and a bunny (Lil Omar).

I often describe my style of cooking as “Slow food for fast life”. I am a freelance marketing consultant, event planner, writer, and stylist. In addition to my freelance work, I serve on the board of a local farmer’s market and host the PDX Food Swap. That being said, I am always on the go! While I’m passionate about sustainable living and eating whole and healthy foods, it’s hard to actually cook wholesome meals in the midst of a hectic schedule. Thus, my cooking reflects the struggles of a working professional and a mom who is trying to find balance. I strive to make food that is simple and attainable, and at the same time is beautiful, celebratory, and seasonally inspired.

Where to find Lindsay:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Food Blog


Episode 021 - Globally-Minded Mother

Mary Grace shares her perspective on raising globally minded kids whether or not you travel or are an expat.  SPOILER - you can do it wherever you live!  She also tells the stories of her 3 different births and how much she learned about relaxing and letting go with each of them.

Mary Grace's experiences with birth have taught her that, just like in motherhood, not everything is going to go as planned and you have to be able to release your own desires.  

We get into some of her practices for intentional, globally-minded living and raising kids who are open to the experiences of others around them instead of believing that their way of life is the only or best way.

**Mary Grace wanted to point out that her use of the term "regular" culture during our conversation is a way of speaking that prioritizes and privileges the dominant culture and that is not what she intended to do.


In This Episode:

  • How growing up with foreign exchange students and living abroad impacted her worldview
     
  • Using our window of influence with our kids to share our values
     
  • Finding what works for your family - it doesn't matter what works for someone else
     
  • Being so set on having an unmedicated birth with her first and assuming the hospital staff wouldn't be supportive
     
  • Feeling like a failure because of having an episiotomy
     
  • Badge of honor culture and "natural birth"
     
  • Having pneumonia and a broken rib during her 3rd birth
     
  • How birth is a picture of motherhood as a whole
     
  • How to create a global home no matter where you live

Show Notes:


About Our Guest:

Mary Grace Otis is the host of The Global Mom Show  podcast, which helps mothers connect with global ideas and teach their kids to do the same. She's a wife, a mom of three boys, a former expat and development worker, and a freelance writer for nonprofits and businesses. She's lived and worked abroad in Germany and India, and now she makes her home in the U.S., where one of her goals is to stay connected with a global view of life. Grab a copy of her free guide 10 Ways to Create a Global Home--No Matter Where You Live, and join her free Facebook group to learn from more globally-minded women. 

Where to find Mary Grace:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Episode 020 - Mothering with Baggage

Tiffany became interested in birth support after the positive experience she had with her second birth, leading her to become a doula and ultimately start a thriving doula agency.  Her passion for unconditional, non-judgmental support comes from her own experiences of the transition to motherhood and the troubled childhood she lived through.

Tiffany's mother was a single mom suffering with severe mental health issues, and Tiffany ended up more or less raising herself.  She shares openly with us about her fears as a mother, how she communicates with her boys about their complicated family history, and what it looks like to create your own family story.

Her perspective on providing support for mothers and allowing them to shed the expectations that can be such a burden and lead to having nothing left is so important.  Mothering from a place of abundance comes from tending to our own needs and not from having the perfect mother model or from being energized by self-sacrifice, as Tiffany has learned.


In This Episode:

  • How her caregivers suggestion that she "may want to schedule a c-section so she would have childcare" for her older son made her reconsider her birth options and choice of provider
     
  • Deciding to get into birth work as a doula and building a business around the idea of non-judgmental support
     
  • How words like "support" and "community" have become so diluted in our culture that they hardly mean anything
     
  • Maternal depletion and the "race" to be the biggest martyr
     
  • Asking ourselves - "who is asking this of me?"
     
  • Growing up with a single mom facing severe mental health issues
     
  • How her childhood wounds have affected her own journey to motherhood
     
  • Being transparent with our kids about our journeys while still protecting them
     
  • Dealing with fear that family cycles will be perpetuated
     
  • How we create our own families and our own ways of being

Show Notes:

Tiffany's Doula Agency - Birthing Stone

Portland Doula Training

Getting Connected with a Doula in Your Area:

Find a CAPPA Certified Doula

DONA Certified Doula's

Childbirth International Database

Or, ask your doctor/midwife and ask around in your local community!  Additionally, a location specific google search will provide options in your area, and from there we recommend interviewing to find a good fit.


About Our Guest:

Tiffany is a birth and postpartum doula, sleep trainer (Birthing Stone Doula) and doula trainer (Portland Doula Training). She's the mom to two rambunctious boys, aged 9 and 7. The support she received during the birth of her youngest launched her into the birth world. As someone who has dabbled in many careers paths, the world of birth keeps Tiffany both emotionally and intellectually satisfied, and this is where she plans to stay. 

Supporting families in getting the support they need after baby comes, especially when it involves getting sleep, is an area Tiffany specializes in, offering sleep training as well as early sleep conditioning. She added this service after seeing the deep struggle so many parents go through after months of sleep deprivation. She is passionate about ending maternal depletion. 

With both clients and new doulas, Tiffany believes in transparency and sharing practical information, as well as offering nonjudgmental support. She supports families with diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, varying parenting style and birth choices. Her support for someone choosing and epidural is just as strong and committed as someone choosing a home birth. 

As a doula trainer, Tiffany's support and training is far from superficial. She takes the time to get to know each person she trains as much as she can, offers on-going support, and specializes in encouraging doulas to move out of their comfort zone and take the next step to take their businesses to the next level. 


Episode 019 - Birthing Abroad

Michelle was living in Guatemala when she got pregnant, and knew right away that she didn't want to return to the US to give birth.  She also knew that she didn't want to give birth in one of the national hospitals, and was fortunate to find a local midwife with a birth center practice.

Michelle shares her story of delivering both of her babies out of hospital and the incredible experience she had with her midwife, whose care Michelle felt was perfect for her and her family.  We get into how strange it was for her husband and his family to be able to be involved in the birth as that was uncommon in their area, and the various cultural differences and similarities in birth, postpartum and motherhood.

We love Michelle's description of mothering in community and how interconnected the lives of mothers and families are where she lives.  Motherhood can be such an isolating time in western cultures and it's refreshing to be reminded that there is another way.


In This Episode:

  • Choosing to give birth in Guatemala vs returning home to the US
     
  • Privilege and birth options in developing countries
     
  • Having her mother in law be present at her second birth, which is very uncommon in Guatemala
     
  • The experience of having a Cephalic Version performed to turn her breech baby (see show notes below)
     
  • How hyper aware of science and safety we can be in western cultures
     
  • Cultural values, the different ways to raise kids, and finding what works for you
     
  • Mothering in community

Show Notes:

Birth Center in Antigua

Birth Center Facebook Page

Article (in spanish) about rate of c-sections in Guatemala.  2 out of 5 births in Guatemala are at home with a "comadrona" or locally trained midwife. In private hospitals 94% of the births are cesarean sections.

Cephalic Version


About Our Guest:

Michelle Acker Perez is a former special education teacher from California. She currently lives in Guatemala where she works with a non-profit organization while also trying to raise two bilingual and bicultural kids. Michelle writes about motherhood, marriage and life in between two cultures and countries at simplycomplicated.me and documents daily life abroad on | Instagram | Facebook twitter


Episode 018 - Unplanned Vaginal Birth

Ericka was on track for a scheduled c-section with her 2nd baby, after a difficult labor ending in c-section with her first.  When her water broke at 38 weeks she still thought that was the plan - until shortly after she started getting the urge to push.  What happens next is a whirlwind as everybody kept preparing for a c-section - but babies have their own plans!

Ericka's shares her beautiful perspective on getting on board with how things were going down and letting herself follow her instincts even though she had never prepared for an unmedicated, vaginal birth.  The intuition of women is remarkable and Ericka was able to follow her body's lead instead of giving into fear.

We talk about honoring and appreciating all experiences of birth, and her ability to see the strength and beauty in each birth she has had, instead of comparing them.  There's so much good stuff in this exciting episode - both fun and inspirational! 


In This Episode:

Ericka nearly ripping off her husbands gown

Ericka nearly ripping off her husbands gown

  • How a serious sports injury as a teen affected her likelihood of having a vaginal birth, as well as how she prepared for labor
     
  • Choosing to have a c-section after 3 hours of pushing and knowing that it was better for her child to have a healthy mom than for her to have birth go just the way she wanted it to
     
  • Being the mom you want to be vs having the birth you want to have
     
  • Choosing to focus on the positives of having a planned cesarean for her second birth after doctors recommended it for her safety
     
  • The importance of doula support even when having a planned c-section, especially for partners
     
  • Water breaking at 38 weeks and rushing to hospital because of the urge to push
     
  • You are not your pain
     
  • Discovering that her body knew just want to do instinctively even though she had never prepared for an unmedicated, vaginal birth
     
  • Learning to be prepared to "adjust your sails"
     
  • In the day to day while parenting, drawing on the strength she experienced during labor
     
  • Finding the beauty in both experiences of labor and realizing how much strength they both required

Show Notes:

Red Stick Mom's Blog

What is a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)?

Ericka's Doula :: Three Chords Birth

Baton Rouge Birth Photographer :: Cher Bebe Birth Stories

Hospital of delivery :: Woman's Hospital with OB Dr. Nicole Chauvin


About Our Guest:

Ericka Poole is originally a New Orleans gal who was raised to begin many dishes with a roux. Since 2011, she has happily embraced the Red Stick life with her husband of nine years. After graduation, she and Tyler tied the knot. She dabbled in the corporate scene but eventually returned to school to pursue her passion for teaching and earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She’s traded in her beloved Expo pens and clipboard to stay home with her two little boys (and three yorkies!). She is also the Market Manager for Red Stick Moms Blog, connecting moms in her area one at a time. Motherhood has been the best roller coaster she’s ever been on and even at the most challenging times, she tries to remember to embrace the chaos and “bless this mess” mentality. Ericka loves good conversation, coffee, empowering other women, laughing, baking and making memories with her family.


Episode 017 - Spirit Birth

Lauren's interest in the mystery and power of feminine wisdom began when she was pregnant with her son many years ago.  Feeling awakened to her true self for the first time, she began to explore her intuition and found herself drawn to creating space for women undergoing the transformation of motherhood.

Lauren shares with us her incredible perspective on the identify shift that women experience when they become mothers, and seeing the season of early motherhood as a time of creativity and full bloom instead of closing off or isolation.  Bringing the wisdom of over a decade of supporting women in birth and motherhood, her compassionate and gentle soul radiates throughout our conversation as we talk about everything from aligning with the season of life you are in to believing in your body.

Lauren's work in creating Spirit Birth is a culmination of years of holding space for mothers, and we are so excited for what she offers.  Believing that each woman's birth path is important and beautiful, she knows that every mother deserves the support and education to create an empowered, spiritual birth experience.

See the Show Notes below for more information!


In This Episode:

  • Early motherhood is a season of creation - we are the most full of life and creativity we will ever be
     
  • We have the birth we need to become the mothers we need to be
     
  • Our children are our mirrors - we can look at them and often it's a reflection of where we're at
     
  • Taking responsibility for our own state of being - we can't change anyone but ourselves
     
  • Birth is a bridge - no matter how it goes down, you have to cross it in order to transform
     
  • Confidence over control in birth and motherhood
     
  • Living in alignment with the seasons of life
     
  • Seeing motherhood as a time of opening, not a time of closing off
     
  • Living in rhythm rather than routine

Show Notes:

Lauren's Website Hub - Featuring all of her projects

Spirit Birth - Lauren's incredible online birth course

Sneak Peek into Spirit Birth 

The Life Pod - Lauren's Yoga Studio in Sydney

Calm Birth Childbirth Education

The School of Shamanic Womancraft

Lauren's Influences: Ina May Gaskin, Sarah Buckley, Peter Jackson, Pam England


About Our Guest:

"I’m Lauren Falconer and I am the creator of The LifePod and Spirit Birth. I’m a birth educator, a doula, a yoga teacher, calmbirth practitioner, shamanic midwife in training and a blogger. I work with pregnant women, mothers, and women looking to reignite their connection with their intuition and passion for a soulful life.

I help them to feel nourished and supported, prepared and deeply aligned with their inner wisdom. I help to take the fear out of the birthing process and empower pregnant women to trust their own innate intelligence, reigniting the spirited experience that birth is."


Episode 016 - Discovering Your Worthiness

This weeks guest shares her long journey to believing that she is enough, just as she is, as a mother.  When her first son was born, she struggled with resentment and grief as she felt the pressure to be perfect and knew she couldn't be.  Over the years she struggled more and more with her relationship with her son, reaching a point where she felt there was something wrong with her because she didn't want to be around him.

It wasn't until years after Kelly's son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at age 5 that her turning point came when she began to understand that she had always been conditioned to perform for worthiness and that this had carried over to her experience of being a mother. Learning to let go of perfectionism and her need for control was an important part of her journey, and now Kelly helps others do the same through her coaching work.

Kelly gets real about learning how to understand her son's needs and advocate for him, what it's like to embrace imperfection, and how she has stopped "hustling for her worthiness", in the words of Brene Brown.


In This Episode:

  • How never feeling like she was good enough as a child led to her becoming addicted to external validation
     
  • Being imperfect as a mother made her feel like she was failing
     
  • Being vulnerable can be in sharing of the hard moments of motherhood but also in believing in yourself and letting people see that
     
  • How her son's Aspergers diagnosis helped Kelly move towards believing she was enough
     
  • Learning to advocate for her son and teaching him to advocate for himself as he got older
     
  • The need for more moms to stand up and say "this is freaking hard"
     
  • Learning not to dismiss our own struggles just because someone else "has it worse"
     
  • Exploring personality type through The Enneagram
     
  • A special visualization Kelly does to help conceptualize your inherent worthiness
     
  • Kelly's year of Intentional Underacheiving
     
  • Learning to recognize and listen to your inner voice
     
  • Kelly's invitation to join her private Facebook Group: The Worthy Collective

About Our Guest:

Kelly Covert is an inner voice coach with a passion for helping women lay down their lifelong habits of perfectionism and chronic overachieving, so they can listen to their inner voice and love themselves fully every single day. 

Through her coaching, online programs, writing and speaking, she is creating a movement of women that are practicing worthy now instead of worthy if or when. She is the creator and host of the In Her Voice podcast. Her work has been featured on The Huffington PostThe Elephant JournalYourTango.com, and she has been a featured guest on many podcasts. 

Kelly is also a professional flutist with Symphoria, a wife and the mother of 2 big boys and 1 baby girl beagle named Piper.

You can learn more and connect with Kelly at www.kellycovert.com.

Links:

Free 5 Days of Journaling Program: www.kellycovert.com/journal

In Her Voice Podcast: www.kellycovert.com/inhervoice

The Worthy Collective (my free private FB group): www.kellycovert.com/worthy


Episode 015 - Creating a Birth Plan - Part II

In Part II of our Birth Plan episode, Laura and Mellisa get deep into what happens when things don't go as planned.  Using the BRAIN evaluation tool for making choices during childbirth, we help you explore both your philosophical approach to labor as well as how you handle changes of plan.

 

If nothing else, we want to get across the concept of holding your birth with open hands - this frees you from the possibility of being disappointed in yourself, your care providers, or the outcome itself if things deviate from the plan in any way.

You can count on us to tell it how we see it - from the perspectives of both a mom who has completed several variations of a "birth plan" and from a labor and delivery nurse who sees the impact they have all the time!


In This Episode:

  • Learning the BRAIN way of evaluating choices, alternatives and "changes of plan" in labor
     
  • It's ok to ask for time to evaluate things on your own (when there's time), even without your doula
     
  • Collaboration with your support team can help you feel confident in your birth choices
     
  • It's an ongoing dialogue, not a closed conversation.  There are very few one-way tickets in labor
     
  • How important it is to have conversations about your birth preferences with your care provider BEFORE you are in labor
     
  • Listen to your body in labor - what's actually working for you?  There's no way to know until you're in it
     
  • Most newborn care can happen while baby is skin-to-skin unless there's an emergency
     
  • Don't neglect the pediatric care portion of planning
     
  • If a birth plan becomes about control instead of confidence, it can negatively affect the outcome and experience
     
  • A birth plan can be a powerful bridge in a hospital setting if it's done right

Show Notes:

Mama Natural's visual birth plan

Mama Natural's visual birth plan

Stage by Stage Birth Plan

Another Stage by Stage Birth Plan (PDF)

Easy, Customizable Birth Plan from Earth Mama

Visual Birth Plan from Mama Natural

When Birth Doesn't Go As Planned - an article written by Mellisa about drilling down to what really matters about your desired birth experience

Tips for a Gentle Cesarean Birth - having a cesarean birth doesn't mean that your preferences don't matter any more

 

 

 

Episode 014 - Creating a Birth Plan - Part I

In this episode, Laura and Mellisa dive deep into the why, what and how of a birth plan.  We talk both about the birds eye view and the nitty gritty - and how a birth plan can be relational instead of confrontational.

Part 1 of a 2 part episode, this conversation will get you thinking about your motivations and beliefs about birth, as well as reframing what the benefits of "planning" ahead really are.

It's our goal to get you thinking about what's important to you about birth, helping you reframe the way we approach goals and preferences around birth, and giving you the tools to evaluate your birth options successfully and in collaboration with your birth team.

You can count on us to tell it how we see it - from the perspectives of both a mom who has completed several variations of a "birth plan" and from a labor and delivery nurse who sees the impact they have all the time!


In This Episode:

  • A birth plan is not just for the birthing mother
     
  • A birth plan is not just for labor and delivery but also for postpartum and newborn care
     
  • How detailed you get really depends on personality
     
  • How planning for birth is like planning for a camping trip
     
  •  One of the best benefits is getting a chance to think through the different scenarios and how you will react if things DON'T go according to plan
     
  • On the other side of everything you don't want is something you DO want - proactive vs defensive
     
  • A birth plan can be a bridge
     
  • Talking to your care provider about your preferences and their style/model/perspective
     
  • How a doula can help evaluate birth choices and preferences

Show Notes:

Mama Natural's visual birth plan

Mama Natural's visual birth plan

Episode 013 - The Roller Coaster of Fostering & Adoption

After years of unfertility and wondering why this wasn't happening for her, Megan and her husband finally did testing and had to face that having children wasn't going to happen easily.  For a time, they decided not to do anything other than wait and see.

Inspired by a few different people, the couple eventually made the difficult decision not to pursue fertility treatments but instead to open their home to foster children.  They knew that this would be a challenging and often heartbreaking endeavor - and their families were initially concerned for their emotional wellbeing.  Megan and her husband knew that this is what they were meant to do and that no matter how hard it may be to have children they loved come and go, that they were willing to open their hearts and their home.

What follows is an incredibly inspiring and emotional journey through the ups and downs of falling in love with each baby that came into their lives and not knowing what the outcome would be.  Megan talks about the emphasis on reconciliation with birth families and how heartbreaking that can be, especially when it can sometimes be in conflict with what seems to be best for the child.  Learning to advocate for her foster children has been an important part of her motherhood journey.

The dramatic story of adopting their first foster child is one you cannot miss - Megan shows the fierce love she possesses and her passion for fully loving each child no matter how long they are with her - "Today you're here and we love you today". 


In This Episode:

Screenshot 2017-06-11 19.10.17.png
  • Getting creative with photographing your kids when you aren't allowed to show their faces
     
  • The nightmare days when they were separated from their first foster son and he didn't eat or drink
     
  • Having to accept that they couldn't control what happened to these precious children
     
  • How their families came around to supporting them in their choice to become foster parents
     
  • Deciding not to take on special needs children and later learning their first foster son had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
     
  • The emotional battle of constantly advocating for your children


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Episode 012 - Infertility, Loss and Survivors Guilt

Rebekah knew early on that her inability to get pregnant wasn't just a fluke that would easily pass.  And as time went on and testing didn't reveal anything clear, they were left without a lot of hope or clarity as they began to explore options.

She went through a long season where coping with the continual disappointment and pain was incredibly hard to deal with.  This was time was also hard on her relationship with her husband.  Facing this was so raw and she had a hard time reaching out to friends and family, leading to finding amazing support through online communities for infertility.  

1 round of Clomid and 4 rounds of IUI later, they weren't any closer to their hoped for child.  At the point that they were considering IVF, after almost 5 years of trying to get pregnant, Rebekah randomly decided to take a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant.  Completely shocked by this outcome, Rebekah then entered the overwhelming and unfamiliar territory of navigating pregnancy and dealing with survivors guilt among the infertility support groups she had been a big part of over the years.

Rebekah ultimately had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby - but you won't want to miss the story of her long, challenging and unmedicated labor!  


In This Episode:

  • Why Infertility is like being at the craps table with a 20 sided die
     
  • It doesn't help to tell someone "just relax and it'll happen"
     
  • How hard it is on a relationship to be constantly in this cycle of hope and disappointment
     
  • You never know who's going to show up for you
     
  • Dealing with "Survivors Guilt" when you do finally get pregnant
     
  • How hearing "If you two really want to be parents you can be parents" was at first frustrating but later comforting
     
  • Why she wanted to have an unmedicated birth after years of infertility
     
  • How having a baby made her feel really dependent and vulnerable, which she was not used to
     

Show Notes:

Information on IUI

Information on IVF


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Episode 011 - The Infertility Sample Platter

Jess's brush with death in her early 20's and subsequent management of lupus and stage 4 kidney disease set the stage for fertility challenges when she was finally ready to become a mother.  Faced with the choice to do emergency chemotherapy knowing that there wasn't time to harvest her eggs and she would likely never be able to carry a child, she moved forward: "you can't be a parent if you aren't alive".

With a lot of determination and heart, not to mention no small amount of heartbreak, Jess's journey to motherhood includes most of the possible paths available to those dealing with infertility.  She shares candidly about managing her chronic illness and making decisions with that in mind, loss and vulnerability, and the beautiful gift of surrogacy that finally brought her daughter to her.

Find out how Jess and her husband are trying to expand their family again!  This powerful story inspires the courage that it takes to be a mother - from the big, hard decisions to the showing up every day for our kids.


Show Notes:

(After Lupus caused her kidneys to fail in 2004, Jessica Goldman Foung refocused her life and work to study food, health, and the many ways they interact. She began SodiumGirl.com in 2009 to capture her adventures in a low-sodium life.)  Here are links to her work:

Jess's website

BOOKS! Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook and Low-So Good

WORDS! Food52theKitchnHuffington PostFood NetworkAmerican Heart AssociationLean In

VIDEOS! Access Hollywood LiveDr. OzFood52 LIVEBetter TVABCNational Kidney Foundation 1National Kidney Foundation 2National Kidney Foundation 3


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Episode 010 - The Moment We Knew Things Would Never Be "Normal"

Stephanie was excited, like any mother, to see her baby at her 20 week ultrasound.  When the ultrasound tech showed concern and then called in a doctor, Stephanie and her husband knew their world was about to change.

They learned that their daughter had a rare congenital condition called Fibular Hemimelia, where the fibula bone is short or missing (along with associated bone length discrepancies).  The news that their daughter would likely have to have her leg amputated early in life was very difficult to hear - but Stephanie and her husband were able to remain positive.

Stephanie's storytelling of Charlotte's first surgery is poignant and emotional.  Thrown right off the bat into the deep end of parenting, she has learned how to let go of control, focus on her bond with her daughter, and accept what normal is for their family.  Yearly prosthesis changes, hospital visits and helping her daughter advocate for herself are all part of theirs!

We learned that we need to keep tissues in the studio - and we think this episode will give you all the feels too.

 

Show Notes:

Info about Fibular Hemimelia

Episode 009 - Navigating Family Expectations

Carolina had heard all about what it would be like to have a baby from her grandmother - and had no idea how it was setting her up to have her expectations sorely disappointed.  As she struggled through the initial months of motherhood, she found herself confronting these expectations one by one.

In this episode, we talk about trying to fit your family (and child) into a mold that doesn't actually work for you, and learning to accept who your child is and what's going to work for your unique family.  Now, with her second child, Carolina has learned a lot about going with the flow and speaking up for herself in a traditional, outspoken family.

Sleep when the baby sleeps only works if the baby sleeps, we discover in this conversation - it's full of relatable tidbits that every mother will find encouraging!

Show Notes:

Carolina's Article at The Good Mother Project

Episode 008 - Choosing Your Birth Team

In today's episode, Laura and Mellisa do something a little different - we have a one-on-one conversation sharing our thoughts on how to choose who you want to be at your birth.  This episode gets at the heart of why labor support is important and how much of an impact who is present and how they show up can have... 

We talk about the pros, cons and personal considerations of anyone you may choose to have at your birth - from mothers-in-law to children, and even go deep on the sensitive subject of "what if my partner isn't able to be the kind of support I need?".  Whether you're pregnant or may be in the future, this episode is a must-listen.  Plus, it turns out we're kinda funny.  ;)

We're also excited to share that we're doing our first ever Instagram Giveaway this week - we've teamed up with the talented Lindsay Gilmore over at www.lindsaygilmore.com.  We will be giving away one of her custom portraits - head over to our Instagram account (@motherbirth.co) for all the details and to participate!  The contest ends on May 9th at 9pm PST and we'll be announcing the winner the next day.

 

Episode 007 - When Birth Goes Upside Down

This week’s episode features Danielle Mayfield. Her unique journey to motherhood began with an experience that can only be described as what happens when things go upside down. Danielle’s pregnancy wasn’t as dreamy as she had heard it would be - in fact, she kind of hated being pregnant.  When she was around 33 weeks pregnant, she wasn’t feeling well and was sent to the hospital by the urging of neighbors and her midwife to discover she was in hypertensive crisis that developed into HELLP syndrome.

On today’s episode, she shares that journey and the experiences in her life that have informed her ability to embrace the births she was given and look back on those seasons and find the lovely things that came from her trauma.

My reality happened and I couldn’t do anything.

Laura says: Danielle was the type of girl I wanted to meet. Pink hair, cool Myspace page. She worked the front desk of my college library. She always seemed to know something I didn’t and that thing was her calling. Danielle knew then and lives now a life that is given to the poor. Danielle began working with refugees around the same time I was surfing her Myspace and reading her BlogSpot.   

She has since, with her family, carved out a life and a ministry to the growing population of refugees in Portland, Minneapolis and Portland again. This has brought her to a conclusion that the best way to live life is with downward mobility.

 

Danielle is an incredibly gifted writer who has chronicled parts of her journey in the upside down kingdom in a book: Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith. Buy her book


Show Notes:

Danielle  regularly writes about her life and work. She shares her views on faith, refugee politics, social norms and privilege on her Blog and on  Twitter and even the Facebook. 

On the show we discuss HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia. It is important that if you have any concerns about your health you contact your provider but we also want to say these conditions are rare. May is preeclampsia awareness month and we'll be sharing more on social media over the coming weeks!

We also talk about Maternal and Infant Mortality world wide and here in the US. The most important thing we can do is advocate for women's health care. Regular preventative women's health care is the most powerful intervention to reduce maternal and infant mortality. 

Find a way to join the fight for equality for women in healthcare and see what is being done: International Justice Mission; Women's Refugee Commission ;Planned Parenthood ; CARE; Global Fund For Women ; Engender Health. If none of these organizations are for you find one at Charity Navigator.