Unpacking Your Birth Experience
with Emily Edwards

This is an unedited transcript.

Welcome to the Mondays podcast. I’m your host, Holly Lo, and I am here this week with someone who inspires me as a doula as a birthing Mama. And but I’m also in love with what she does and everything you stand for and represents. So welcome, Emily. And you are the visionary behind the good birth CO and I am honestly I’m fangirling over what you do. Because honestly, after so many years working in the birthing field, as a doula as a postpartum support, breastfeeding, support all of the things without seeing, really the processing that has to happen through birth and through the stories and through kind of the bits that we would do, but not to the depth that you’re bringing. And so welcome. And I’m really excited to chat with you about this, because I think it is such a needed conversation. And you’re hitting it, you’re already doing it. So welcome. And tell us a little more about I know there’s lots that you do and lots that you have going on. So tell us about your life. Thank you



so much, Holly, I continue to say this and kind of giggle of any opportunity. I have to speak with someone and like I’m just here for the intros honestly. fills up your bucket. Right. I love it. But all jokes aside, I do have like a pretty pretty neat story and like dynamic background that brought me to what I do with insomnia inside the birth story, the good birth CO and it really was a combination of a lifelong passion of birth nerdiness. I was reading your ima Gaskins works and midwifery textbooks in high school. And remember, like talking about pelvic ligaments, like did you know it was really in high school. And I was didn’t again, my friends were like, Okay, great. And that I just assumed, you know, my path would lead me to midwifery. And the journey I went on ended up bringing me into nursing. And it was one of those, again, careers that were never was really never mentioned to me. Because of my grades and things in other areas. It just was skimmed over. And once I got into it, I was like, Whoa, this is so cool. There’s that human art to it. But there’s the hard sciences I just felt at home. But again, fast forward a little bit more, I still thought I was going to be doing labor and delivery nursing, I thought that’s where I was meant to be. Between my second and third year, I traveled to Tanzania and did a an elective placement with it in a nurse midwife mentorship for seven weeks, and I saw so many incredible things. And again, this is all inside my nursing career, or in my nursing education. But again, fast forward to I had my first son when I was 21. And I went from that very idyllic, like birth is natural. This is all of the things like I can believe in my body. And it’s fine to having a really traumatic experience. And what happened was, I realized that I was really let down by that one way of approaching birth. And it took me he’s nine now. So it took me a long time to figure out what I really needed. And through that process, and also a nursing career that developed in dementia care of all places were brought me to this place where I can share that that nursing piece, the care care planning, and that deeper insight, plus the inside kind of view of the healthcare system, combined with what families actually need, which is really good support really good knowledge. Like I like to say I bring that kind of secret sauce to the fact that we have to do this within a system. Whether we like it or not, you know, the majority of births are happening inside hospitals, or supported in environments that are still very much the healthcare system. So get why pretend like it’s not happening, let’s directly directly address it. So that’s really my my roundabout really kind of random story. And all of that I have three kids I have my oldest is nine, my youngest is two and there’s a five and a half year old in the middle.






so yeah, it’s it’s a really dynamic journey to get here and it feels like you said feels really good to finally be having the opportunities to spread the good word really about all of this, hidden the hidden pieces of the birth experience and processing.



Absolutely. And I think that’s key that that processing part is what I was super just intrigued by when we first talked to while ago. And I’m like, you know what, that, you know, I’m going on the doula side of things, you know, working with nurses and working with midwives, and all of that for many, many years. And one of the key things that we’d love to do was to give our clients their birth story at the end of it, in their own words, but also with, you know, are experienced, thrown in parts, they might have missed photos, whatever. And I remember how powerful that was, you know, in that whole picture of everything that went on, and anything we served them in, that seemed to always be the main feature. And it was at first it was funny to me, because when I started doing that I didn’t have children on my own, it was a little bit odd that I was supporting birthing mamas before I’d had mine, but I was planning this since I was little like, this was what I was going to do. And I but I was always amazed that that was that processing of their birth of whatever went down, whether it’s negative, positive, beautiful or ugly, you know, whatever the story looked like, they needed that they needed that ability to tell their story. To hear it again, I was sent back to them to process so tell me a little bit more about how you support that what is what are some things we can do maybe as well, even for friends, family, you know, people when mums do have maybe a plan that didn’t or things that didn’t go to plan or a traumatic birth or



whatever. Not that I really appreciate that question. And I think that’s it hits the nail on the head that we all have a collective responsibility in supporting people to be able to process their story. Because unfortunately, those stories that aren’t really the ideal, or aren’t just kind of neutral, like okay, I went in, it was fine, I have my baby, I’m home now. And you know, anything outside of that, too positive or too negative, tends to get shushed tends to get silenced, and it everyone around them, the person who experienced that can minimize it in some way, shape, or form. And I think that just number one, validating the fact that what happened to someone was very real, it was still really, really important and powerful.



Because again, it’s your



birth, the day your birth, and again, whether it’s a really horrific story or really positive one or somewhere in between, it’s still happened. And we we really do miss the mark on the fact that you’re becoming a parent, the day you give birth is a transformational day. It’s a getting that Dementia Care space, we call them peaks and peak and valley memories. So again, things that are really, really happy, or very traumatic, or very just again, emotional. Those are memories our body hangs on to you and our mind and memory keep. And again, my role before was to look into people’s lived lived experience in their life story and find those points. And it would be you know, we’re doing a big disservice to each other when we don’t say that birth is one of those days. Again, even the the for the people who it’s not, you know, wild or anything like that, it’s still that shift, and we need to get space for it. So I think number one is just letting people share those stories, saying, you know, how are you doing? Tell me about what happened,



if you want, again, I



I’ve just recently learned the term fire hose. And that kind of describes me like, I’m like, Okay, I’m here for everything I skip, skip like that basic introduction part. It’s like, what is your deepest, darkest secret? That’s my approach. Yeah, not everybody does that. But just being that that place to say, okay, you’re safe here to tell me what actually happened. And then next step is holding your opinions and biting your tongue. When someone shares something with you that you would prefer to fix, because you can see it upsets them, or it might be something that makes you really uncomfortable, which again, is is what I love to do is to ask those questions and do those things because, again, our healthcare system, their trauma, majority of birth trauma comes directly from the care that is experienced and not the the things or those really, and what we associate as catastrophic or big, scary things. It’s less about that it’s more about the care received. So again, the silencing machine often comes in the form of well, at least you have a healthy baby, or they probably had to do that.



We get



I know the difference, but most people in terms of that support, you don’t know enough to really say that. And that’s really, we know, again, through the work that we do and the people we talked to that those comments hurt. And you need to be able to, to just listen and smile and nod and say, you know, what else can I do to help? And sometimes that’s connecting people to more resources. And again, asking how it’s going if they are seeking out support, or, again, not all perinatal health, mental health supports are created equal. And just because you think, okay, someone’s going now there’s, you know, they’re seeing the doctor or they’re, you know, they’re going to a support group, or they’re doing something virtually don’t think that again, they’re just like, they’re good to go now keep rebuilding, keeping that safe spot. So that would be my, my starting point for anyone looking to help is just legitimately creating a safe spot to share.



Yeah, and that’s, I totally agree with you. That’s something that I think the term holding space has really meant a lot to me over the last few years is the ability to let people share their story without that bias without your own personal experience. And you learn that as a birth professional as doulas were trained in that, but let me tell you, family members are not for right, like the amount of mothers mother in law’s, you know, sisters, whatever, who are usually quite immediately in the scene or, you know, part of that processing story, you know, telling, it can be really tough. And in some ways, like you said, it’s that it’s a conversation that was never had, it was just nobody learned to hold space, nobody learned to not just shut it down. That’s a whole generational thing. I know, my generation, you know, you look at that, and you go, Wow, like, I remember her telling stories about my grandma losing babies and and that, you know, stillbirths and things. And it was just brushed under the rug, nobody talked about it, the kids never knew much about it. And that was that, you know, you just moved on with life. And then when we were processing losses in our family and things like that, you know, her learning how to hold space, her learning how not to say things sometimes, you know, that’s hard. It’s hard. And I think we we can only expect so much from people who don’t, you know, don’t have that ability. Um, but again, like, I think there, there’s so many gentle ways to coach, you know, when you’re with someone else involved. So if you are, you know, a caring person in that relationship, or in that family, being able to put some safe boundaries up or to, you know, gently guide people, or shut down some conversations with from others maybe that are not supporting, you know, and not leading in the right direction.



Yes, exactly. And I was gonna say to you, we have to keep in mind, often those direct people that we seek support from, also have their own trauma. They’re also like you said, if they didn’t have the opportunity, or adequate support at that time, they’re bringing that in with them again, at no fault of their own. And the same with partners, birth partners, yeah, they were present, and they witnessed what happened to you. They’re going through their own thing. And it again, even though it was the same day, and technically the same event, it was experienced so differently, that, again, we there’s, I’m finding more and more people that I worked through that unvarying process with things in terms of their relationship and their marriage. Or, again, relationships are surfacing. And it’s because we start to be able to give that vocabulary and the words to that I use three big words is discipline, it’s a letdown. But or was birth a letdown? And are you feeling feelings of guilt or resentment? resentment is one of the big ones that comes then with relationships, but it’s like you can’t put your finger on it. It’s just this vague kind of cloud. And the same be in a birth partner, or it’s in reference really to send sanctuary trauma. So again, those people we expected to be there to be that support to be the person to really keep us safe. And again, that’s a whole other experience versus and just the thing you felt that day. So it’s so complex, and then you’re expected to be kept taking care of a baby.



hormones and sleep deprivation and everything right. And that’s something you know, I don’t I didn’t share too much. I don’t think of my actual history with you. But with my first it was very traumatic as well, as you’d said yours was, and, you know, it took me at least two years to even recognize and you’d think I would understand some of this better, but I wanted to your situation when it’s your story, right? You’re like no, you know, everything’s fine. But it took me that long to recognize that I was suffering from PTSD from my birth, that it was just a dramatic thing for me. And I never acknowledged it because I was just moving forward, right? You have to get up each day and take care of a baby and take care of yourself, and you don’t always unpack it. And I like that you use the term, you know, like unburying it because that’s what happens. I find, you could ask a woman you’ve just met even tell me your birth story. And they will tell it like that with even in, you know, detail, even 50 years later, they can tell you that story. But it’s amazing the emotions that can be buried that happened through that process. So is there a process to that to unburying even, like you said, maybe not so traumatic, maybe normal. But a lot of times I found even in, you know, quote, unquote, normal birth, there were things that went down that left resentment that left confusion that left, you know, a lot of just clouded feelings about I don’t really know what happened, or I don’t know why that happened. So is there a process to unpacking some of that? Absolutely. And that is the the part of unvarying your birth. So that is the process that I have



put together over time. So it started with working with one to one clients who were hoping to have a second birth experience that was different than their first. And so what we started with was what I now call uncover. So that’s the first proper the first phase. And that’s where we gently get a an objective overview of what actually happened that day. Right? So we use a tool called the birth story inventory. And it’s just a checklist. It’s a simple, yet really powerful checklist that you can go through and say, yes, this applies, this applies, this applies that happened, yes or no. And again, it’s sometimes pulls memories up that you’re like, Oh, I don’t even know if that happened, or great. Oh, that did happen. And I forgot about that. And, again, the goal is not to pull up those emotions as much as just identifying what happened. And that is something I do I offer as a free download. But it’s also something that I’ve led to smaller workshops just to introduce people to because again, like I said, I’m a bit of a firehose, and I think like we can all do this in one day, know that you have to under kind of pick it apart. And then once you get that overview, a lot of people start to have a shift at that point where they can start to see that that guilt that they’re carrying, or that sense of failure, when you look at all of the checklists that apply that some of them were 100% out of your control. Some of them were basically 100% out of control based on, you know, the care provided and the way it was offered to you. So we go through that really gently in that stage. So you can see again, wow, I had a lot of checkmarks



or magazine, oh, that might trigger things as well. Yeah, he says that memories, but also emotions, right? You could have those emotions come up where you realize, oh, that did leave me feeling a little picky about that, you know? Exactly. And a lot of those are those routine, routine practices or



common practices that we don’t even understand that it’s an option to question. And then looking back in hindsight, like you said, it can be really emotional to discover what wasn’t given to you. But coming back to that sense of resentment, it validates the fact that all this time when you feel like you said he feels something isn’t right. This is where you start to see what wasn’t right. And again, it wasn’t so much of you know, the the cascade of interventions happened and you have a scenario, that’s not so much it as when you then move through the next phases such as Next comes unbury, where you do then under bury those emotions, those words, those phrases, those things you wish you said in the moment. So again, you work through a strategic kind of process, but you start to see that those checkmarks at each checkmark, it really was a choice point. And so we start to see, did I bite my tongue? And did I really want to say there’s no way you know, at all, I want that cervical check. But in reality, I said, okay, but in my mind, I said all of these things. Yeah. Or again, this is where some of those phrases come up, or those things you wish you said to your birth partner, you know, or you wish you could say now, but you don’t get you didn’t realize it. Again, I’m not a marriage counselor or a therapist in that capacity. But what this does, again, is we bring it back to you. These are the words now that you have. So if you had been going to therapy and you’re still just angry and frustrated, now you can say I feel abandoned and I felt isolated. I felt you know these things, because that’s what I’m very does. Is it really allows you to bring up all of those feelings that were too much or too big for the people around you. For sure. Well, I



guess, the route to right like that idea of maybe this is an ongoing thing you have felt since you were little, you know, that feeling of your boundaries being crossed or whatnot. I mean, I worked with victims of abuse, who were birthing and a whole different story when you’re dealing with someone who needs that body autonomy and control and the ability to say you’re not doing another cervical check at any point in this labor and tell him what to do, you know, and to empower them in that way. There’s so many times I spoke to women after the fact and saying, you know, do you know that that’s not, that’s optional, like, you know, that you have the ability to say no, and I appreciate your, the things you do on social media and your videos and whatnot, because you’re putting a voice to that where we need more of that we need people understanding. And I know there’s there’s backlash to that as well, you know, but coming from a nurse, it definitely helps coming from a doula I always get slammed when I give tips like that. But when you have a little, you know, the medical background that you have as a nurse to be able to say, Hey, I get it, I get that there’s a point where medically there that may be required, or there may come up a situation that is, you don’t have the option, but you might still have some choices in that seat. Exactly.



And I think back to a conversation I had somewhere on Facebook, and it was the idea of like, What choice do I really have in this scenario. And really, as a parent, I understand that you are genuinely you can be backed into a corner, for many reasons. But again, what I tried to do is highlight that usually when that happens, but not all the time. But often, there have been other things leading up to that that have given you no choice. And then it seems as this is the only option. That’s right, in reaction reality, this is something that could have been avoided early on, or, again, champion the fact that you still it’s your body, and there is a there’s ways to treat people with dignity, and respect. Again, coming back, that’s my, who I am as a person, that’s what I what I do. But more importantly, I would say my dementia care experience, and working in settings with the long term long term care homes and courting transitions from hospital to long term care or home. And doing that through a lens. Like I mentioned personhood, because providing dignified care to an older adult who does not have literally legal capacity or capabilities. And you have to get really creative. And I thought we can do this if we can create and find ways to support staff and doing a better job. Because again, looking at the we all know the the horrors that exist within that. For sure, but it’s very similar to the average delivery in the sense of there’s so much family involved, things get involved, so much of you as a person, it’s very different than say, you know, orthopedics? Where, yeah, there’s even in that setting. You see people’s livelihoods, and their personhood respected a lot more. In a sense of choice, you know, what you do for a living? Yes. What will this surgery and recovery time mean to you in all of the other facets of your life? versus labor and delivery? It’s, you’re here now, and you know, we make all the decisions? Yes,



well, there’s a lot of assumptions. And I like what you’re saying, like both ends of the spectrum of the life spectrum, because it’s true. There’s assumptions always made, there’s assumptions made about their care about their capacity, about their abilities, and that genuine respect for a person can get pushed aside just to do the job. Right. And I think, you know, having been the the unbiased voice in the rooms for so many years, watching amazing nurses, and watching frightful nurse nurses where you’re like, wow, like you should be retired or, you know, this was not your profession, or they’re on board or something, you know, give me the shift change people. But there’s, there’s so much of that, that still goes on. And in that same respect the idea, then you pull in all the idea of you know, how women are treated. or whatever, you know, we were laughing about someone saying how her husband’s care after his vasectomy was ridiculously pampering compared to her c section. And, like, you know, you were given stitches, someone was given stitches after for a tear with no freezing because they figured you just push the baby out. What’s the big deal? Yeah. To a man and see what happens, you know, no way. Yeah.



There’s so many again, even the fact that no, I’ve my education was within the last 1015 years and and you I heard jokes being made in that setting. While I was a student by OBS you know about a husband stitch within the last 10 years. Really. It’s, it’s alarming, but that’s, again, where I come in with that social media piece. And the piece of education is, I am not anti healthcare,



I am not,



I am a nurse, like I believe in our profession. And I take it really seriously. And I think that’s kind of the same way as some people question how I can be such an outspoken feminist and raise three sons. Because Because I expect a lot from them, they are not resilient, and the same as my peers and in healthcare, we do wonderful work. But the fact is, we’re really missing the mark, when it comes to the type of care that’s being provided in I would say the majority, I would say all all healthcare settings, like we’re not doing an adequate job of treating young birthing people as if they



are adults capable of making decisions.



But again, it starts long before you walk into the doors of a hospital or a birth center, or even a midwife coming into your home. Like it’s the middle care. So yeah, the the processing part highlights, you know, that unvarying, and then you move into which the next part is understanding, which really is understanding how many ways the system has impacted your experience. But we also include yourself, because in all of this, you were still there, you were a person in this and you brought your entire life history to it, too. So we too, can not discount the your strengths. But we






do that part of legitimately, you taking an audit of what did you add to this that could have contributed to these outcomes can rarely have I ever seen an experience where the self side of things outweighs the system. But again, it’s that idea of if you’ve been beating yourself up and feel guilty? Let’s explore that, and squash all of those reasons that that’s, you don’t need to feel guilty, because it wasn’t you who did that. Versus, again, the person who one area that I talked about quite a bit is athletics. Were you a competitive athlete in your teenage years or collegiate athlete? And do you know how that may have negatively impacted your birth? Because again, most people think, well, I’m in great shape. And I’ve trained and meanwhile, nobody’s had the conversation, you know, the pelvic floor health and get up not that I’m, I’m by no means an expert either in those realms, but it’s the idea of like, opening up questions, because then you’ve made assumptions, and they’ve perhaps, again, left you blind. And then finally, you get to redefine it. So you look back at all of those things. And redefining, probably similar to the stories that you you helped your clients with is, sometimes it’s a bulleted list, where you just pick five points that you’re like, you know what I did that, and I felt good about that. Or because of this, this happens, not so much the healthy baby idea, but the, you know, I get just positive points that you feel strong about. Or it could be a long narrative, where you really, you know, it’s this long story. But it’s really up to that person. But I help guide people in picking out what those those peaks are, that would be good to include, and also kind of those transition points that show where you have grown or those things that happened. And not that they’re my opinions, but more from our work together through the process of saying remember this, like this was a big issue. And now you’re looking at it this way. Yeah. Where the gun I’m thinking of, you know, even the cervical check pieces that there’s a lot of people feel that they failed to protect themselves, once they learned that they could have said no, but then there’s a lot of work around understanding the system and why you really didn’t have much choice and say no. And I even think of my own birth experience with my final my final kid. I wasn’t the final








But the idea that I really advocated for myself, I had a pre labor meeting, I met with leadership on the floor, I met their social worker, I had like all of the above and it was on my chart. They knew all of the things and still like how it happened. I still feel good. And it’s like, it was my choice. But I also saw how the wording could also override choice and it was around cervical checks that I did not I just said minimal. Really I didn’t say no, I’ve always GBS positive. And you get it. I just, I don’t need too many. But it was getting close to shift change. I had a really supportive team. And I did feel different and knowing, like she said, You’re sounding different. She said, I’m it’s almost the end of my shift. She



said, you know, are


you come? Would you be comfortable if you know if I checked in the next 10 minutes or something like that. And again, all of the phrasing was very, very good and polite. But I also understand that, like, for someone who really didn’t want them, like was a hard No, that could have been kind of coercive or manipulative, versus understanding that where I was coming from was she was presenting like, I know, you don’t want that many. I know, you’re probably curious, because I can tell you, you’re not feeling the same changing. Yeah. And again, so just seeing that even that scenario could be different for different people. But the idea is, yeah, why are we looking for this info? Or what’s the purpose of doing this intervention? And why do we care about it? Again, coming down to end up how it all played out was shortly after the physician came in, and it was 10 centimeters at that time. They he the physician checked me. And he asked me a bunch of questions and basically boiled down to Well, he’s really high and facing the wrong way. And that wording was like, we took all the air out of me, right? I, he so he left the room. And he was barely to the elevator and I had a temper tantrum, and I rolled over in the bed. And I basically did a sideline release, in my temper tantrum moment, the positioning perfect. And I went, I literally felt Pharaoh, like, rotate and drop down. And I was really to push



now. And they they’re like,



Oh, he’s right here. So they like they caught the physician before he went down and all of that, and it was good. But again, going back to language matters in the way he present information completely changes. Because again, if I hadn’t, like I rolled over, and luckily, and it all works out. Yeah. But it would have really been tough for me to get over that hurdle. If he literally wasn’t born, like within it. Yeah. I’m not doing this for four hours. So yeah, that’s really the I help people get into that inner dialogue that they had along the way and understand, again, were those points of I wish this was different, or that tug that it wasn’t right, or I didn’t feel good when this happens. And a lot of nurses actually our people I support too, because they carry that same kind of beliefs that that as a doula or other perinatal professionals of like I should have known, or how how did this happen to me, I know I’ve worked there, where I should know better. And again, we come back to the way it’s set up just is it doesn’t matter who you are. And we do. The other other piece that I I really speak out about a lot is the fact that like we don’t carry race, or collect race specific data in Canada, when it comes to not only like our birth experience, data is terrible overall, but actual mortality and morbidity rates and things like that is really dismal. And if we know that these numbers are impacting, you know, birthing people as a whole, we’re going to assume that they is disproportionately impacting you. Black Indigenous women are absolutely, and they’re dying,



because of



this type of attitude and treatment, and lack of dignity. So that’s the bigger conversation, right? And a lot of people come to Well, isn’t it selfish? Or I feel selfish, that I’m complaining because I have a healthy baby. You’re like, no,



the point is, we



need to figure out it because people aren’t coming home with healthy babies or healthy. Again, I hate that term. But it’s all relative. The term in the sense of reality is that’s not happening. Because when people come home with PTSD, or their heirs come home with PTSD or everybody comes home,



we’re not healthy,



well and healthy babies. One thing, healthy parents. What happened to that, you know, and that was something that I felt with my first baby I went, that was not the concern. Everything was about his baby. Okay, Is everything fine? You know, all the baby checks all the follow ups. And thankfully, I had amazing midwives who were able to walk me through some things in the following six weeks, but I thought I was dandy. Breezy, like he was born in an ambulance, just five minutes from my house, you know, on the side of the road. So yeah, it was nuts and it shouldn’t have gone down that way. And I I carried such dramatic guilt like it really was intense for years over that idea of I should have known and it was honestly what triggered it. And I know this now today was the ambulance, one guy, it was four men helping me. It was great. When guy in the back man, those who seem to take the lead, who said to me, I’m sure I’ve met you before. And I said, oh, maybe at the hospital, you know, I just named where we were going. And he’s like, I have I remember bringing in it was a transfer that we had done once. And I said, Yeah, he goes, Well, you should have known better. Like, just that term. And here I am holding my baby. And I’m like, in an ambulance, naked. Men I’ve never met before all the dignity, you know, that is completely stripped from you. And you’ve just told me Shame on you for not knowing better in a joking manner. But wow, you know, and you don’t in the moment, I laughed it off. And I went, yeah, you know, what was I thinking kind of deal. But that whole experience, just came full circle when I unpacked it later. And it I didn’t have someone as gifted as you at that it was actually my sister, my older sister, who was also we worked together as doulas. She really was such a huge support for me to talk that through and unpack it because I would tell random people, my freaking verse to anyone who would listen, I wrote it out as a blog post one time, because it’s, I tell it to my my oldest, he’s 13. Now we repeat the story every year on his birthday, because he wants to hear the dramatic story. But it’s amazing to see the healing that happens over the years, when you do have somebody who helps you unpack it, who helps you process it. I was, you know, it just took me too long. Unfortunately, you know, in the first couple years of his life, I we were inseparable, like, I had separation anxiety, he had separation anxiety, high needs, high everything. And that just played into so much of who he became, in his early years, that I look back now and go, I had some options. I had some choices I could have done differently, yes. But I didn’t have the tools or the people or the equipment, you know, to to unpack that. And just to process what happened.



Yeah. And really, I think you had a such an important point was you even with great support afterwards, that first six weeks is a blur. for pretty much anyone, even again, we we both have more than what one kid like it’s still a blur. And even it’s not until the dust settles, you know, and you can really feel and look back. But at the same time, you don’t need to wait until two years down the road to process that. You shouldn’t have to carry it for that long. But what often happens is people get then caught in the getting another piece of the system in terms of the kind of pre perinatal mental health space. Again, be it psychiatry, mood disorder, clinic, psychologists, whatever can is an incredibly important part of the puzzle. But often we are missing in what that group is, or you are given tools to cope with the symptoms of what is going on. But nobody’s actually talking about the fact that it’s that comment that someone made, that you were belittled as an adult



and your your,



again, your capacity was undermined by another adult. That is it. Because again, everyone’s like, Well, of course you’re going to be upset. This was such a stressful birth, like,



a whole, but there’s one, there’s always key triggers throughout the process. And it and like you said, it could just be a procedure that wasn’t explained. It could be you know, when a doctor walks in and says you’ve got a long way still to go, like it could just be Come on, you know, like, that’s it. You’ve got other ways to say these things, you know, and it was amazing to me how that as I did learn to unpack it, and this took years, like 1012 years, but I realized how deep that that shame went right back to childhood. Like right back to the idea that I was the little sister who you know, always got into Mitch, not mischief necessarily, but just didn’t follow through or I was gonna mess it up in some way. And it was very heavy. It was that feeling of I screwed up. Of course I did. You know what, why would I not be surprised by that? It’s



crazy. It’s actually funny you mentioned that is I am just getting ready for the pre launch period I would co authored in a book and my chapter really was about that specific thing was about that I was the good kid. I was the good girl. I got good grades. Everybody had dreams for me. Like I mean, people had my life planned out for me. Like that I didn’t even know. Right. So when I was pregnant at 21 in my third year of university, I burst a lot of bubbles. And when I decided to again, continue with a pregnancy and become a parent, I burst even more and I felt a lot of shame through the pregnancy itself. But the birth experience was that cherry on top was like someone patting me on the head. There’s my head patting me on the head and saying, like, you tried. Yeah, but you just bit off more than you can chew. Mm hmm. That was the attitude then that I went into parenthood with that, that like, you tried. And it’s really hard, then. It’s kind of like this birthday, you’re set up? Like, why don’t you ask for help? Ask for help. Yeah, no, I did have Don’t get me wrong. Our family was there. But in that deeper way of really understanding what she needed. It was like, No, like you’re now carrying on and but yeah, that that sense of guilt, shame, resentment. Yeah, failure



that goes along with it’s



as powerful. It’s and again, it’s not a birth plan going wrong, or a birth plan not playing out that leads to that it’s those really get deep, lifelong pieces of who you are, and your personality. Again, and we evolve, we as different kids come I or you as a doula you watch other birth experiences, as much as we want to be unbiased. And we still have moments when you’re like that, or like, Whoa, like, you’re okay. All right, I’m, I’m cool with that. But knowing yourself and being able to kind of like I’m the queen of not keeping my face says it all, that I really, really got in trouble with


zoom meetings.



But really, it comes back to this is one person’s experience, and they should be the one to make all of those choices without other people’s



two cents in



concern, genuine curiosity is great. And we’re all here together, we learn from each other. But at the end end of the day, my favorite phrase now is I think it’s from working bottoms actually is no one’s coming. Like it’s just you, it’s really, it is you is you and your uterus or you and now this child, or the guy is just you and no one else is going to be able, well and owning not

owning your story, owning the process and being able to face it head on with someone who can help you unpack it is very, like powerful, but beautiful, that you know, there that you’re doing what you’re doing and that people have access to this and oh, my gosh, I mean, I hope I hope at some point you’re able to either, you know, like train doulas, or, or have some kind, of course, because I’m all in I would be in it. Because it’s it’s something that we’re not, you know, we’re trained to hold space, that is definitely a gift. And it’s something you learn to do. But there’s so much more like there’s there’s just more to it. And we need more people doing this, you know, it’s your one person who’s going to need a lot. But we need to keep this going. Yeah. So tell us how we can find you How can people get in touch with you if they want to work with you or see what you have going on? The best



place to always find me is Instagram. As you mentioned, I am quite active there. I share videos, reels, all of that fun stuff. And so if you’re curious and learning more, or just my general approach at the good birth code, or visit my website, which is the good birth code comm You can learn more about me there, you can book a one to one call if you’re curious about birth processing. So basically, what I do offer is prenatal support services. So I help people plan the birth they want or process the when they didn’t. So if you fall into those categories, everything I do is virtual, which is awesome. Those care planning skills do not have to be in person. And I have a pretty awesome robust referral network as well. So I am a big believer in those hands on supports. I am not your birth doula like you don’t want me that’s arthritis and not built for that support. And same with postpartum support. I’m not the person you want to eat overnight with twins. I can work and hustle to get you connected. So really, if you’re you’re in that area, and my sweet spot really is those people who have had that first traumatic experience, or a birth that they just don’t want to go through again, but they are pregnant. That’s that’s really who I love to connect with. Because we can do a lot in a shorter amount of time.



Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s nice to have that plan set up and walk through some of the past plan for what’s happening next and get some of that information that maybe they didn’t have the first time around. So Exactly.



I love it. Well, thank you.



That was That was amazing. I want to talk more. I know we’ll do this again. Because there’s, I’m sure we could pick out you know, specific scenarios and even go further. There’s so much involved in the changes that need to happen.



Yes, and it’s



Absolutely and it’s going to take everybody everybody has a has a role in this. So from consumers, I pregnant people, right through to the people that you know, support them and care for them. So I’d be happy to chat to anyone who’s who’s interested in learning more. So thank you so much, Holly. Amazing. All right. We’ll talk soon. Bye.