“Birth does not ask you to be fearless. It asks you to be brave.” – Britta Bushnell
This video is my victorious birth!
I was so full of fear at the beginning of this pregnancy. After 2 previous traumatic births, I didn’t know if I’d be mentally able to birth again and was definitely unsure if I could do it at home, though that’s what my heart wanted.
My first birth at 15 years old, was a traditional feet up / back down vaginal birth at the local hospital. I was voiceless and choiceless. I was told that I needed to be induced early, that I’d be getting an epidural and an episiotomy, that I’d be placing my daughter for adoption and she wouldn’t leave the hospital with me. For my second birth, 2.5 years ago, I decided this time I would reclaim my voice and autonomy and chose to birth my way at home with only my husband, midwife and doula present. Unfortunately, this birth led to the unexpected triggering of childhood sexual assault trauma, I panicked, froze and dissociated during my son’s birth. I was unaware that even after years of intentional hard work on my painful history (see My Healiversary), that trauma could still live in my body. After my son was born, my placenta did not detach (I believe it was pscho-somatic) and I was rushed to the ER by ambulance. If that wasn’t traumatic enough, the entire experience in the hospital was pretty horrendous in itself, the way we were treated, like some backwoods hillbillies who birthed our child in an alley somewhere and were not to be trusted. The hospital staff tried to not let us leave and we were definitely threatened with Child Protective Services before we legally left. I can only imagine how we would’ve been treated if we weren’t educated on our rights, if I wasn’t white and if we both were not English speaking American citizens.
So when I found out I was pregnant this past August (*SURPRISE*), I didn’t know what I was going to do. Abortion was a quick and easy but unwanted solution that popped into my mind for a split second. Next, I seriously considered birthing in the hospital this time so I could have access to an epidural and I wouldn’t have to deal with potentially being triggered from the physical feelings of birth again. I visited a hospital and because I’m low-risk, I was paired with a midwife. I wanted to find out what birthing looked like at the hospital and then she shared with me that two of their midwives were out on maternity leave and they had both had home births, I took that as a sign. Later that week, I saw a forreal sign that read “what would you do if you weren’t afraid” and I knew the answer. Thus began a new chapter in my healing journey as I walked the path of preparing for birthing at home again, learning to move through uncharted territory of “AND”, being both afraid and brave at the same time.
I had very simple intentions (see below) and am so proud of myself for the work I put in and how I showed up for myself the way I did. I am now able to contribute a positive birth narrative, the powerful tools that worked for me and share with other mamas that it is possible to have the birth you want after trauma and as a survivor. I’ll be sharing more on this topic in coming posts as I am also currently working on a documentary about the long term affects of sexual assault on the birthing person and on the birth spectrum.
1. To remain present in my body.
2. To move my body.
3. To turn off my thinking brain.
4. To listen to & trust my body & my baby’s innate wisdom.
5. To let my birth unfold naturally, undisturbed.
6. To use my voice aloud (talking to my body, baby and any resources I needed to call on).
7. To not say “I can’t”.
8. To catch my baby!
9. To have my placenta detach and deliver without intervention or an ER visit!
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or are looking for some guidance to claim your right to an empowering birth post trauma or not.
Our Birth Team also my postpartum team! – (this was smart pandemic planning!)
Birth Doula: Daisy Hamony of Monarca Birth
Sibling Support + Photographer & Videographer: Lauren Archer of Love of a Little One (We also took our childbirth class with her and she is our lactation consultant for new babe)
Midwife: Lauren French Hoy of MadreLuz LA Midwifery Services
*Special thank yous to the following womxn for their various tools that I incorporated during this birth.*
Lauren Archer of Love of a Little One for our childbirth class and SO much off the clock love and support.
Marie Mongon of Hypnobirthing
Sheila Kamara Kay of Ecstatic Birth
Debra Pascali-Bonaro of Orgasmic Birth
Robin McLeavy of Birth Temple