Yesterday, my baby turned three and tomorrow my eldest, Tom, will officially be an 8-year-old. Their birthdays are making me incredibly nostalgic. I’ve been going down the rabbit hole looking at all their baby pictures. It’s also made me reflective about motherhood and childbirth. Hearing others’ birth stories was so helpful and empowering for me. So, I wanted to share my birth stories with all of you.
I grew up with a mom who gave birth to all three of my younger siblings at home. I saw how empowering the experience was for her and always knew that having a home birth was something I wanted for myself. However, as you’ll see in the video below, I learned very quickly that childbirth doesn’t always go the way you’ve planned. In fact, all of my kids’ births were wildly different than I had imagined. Regardless, the biggest lesson I learned through all three labors was how important it is to have people you trust and can rely on in your corner to cheer you on and make decisions on your behalf. For me, that was my midwife Sally Avenson, my doula Carrie Kenner, and my husband Jared. (And a special shout out to my dear friend Alia for support and Jasmine Bay for comfort and pain relief.)
Sally and I made this video about my birth experiences in hopes that it might shed light on homebirth for other people out there who are curious. I’d love for you to watch it and let me know about your birth experiences. Where did you give birth? And how did it go?
I’ve also compiled some helpful resources below for anyone who is pregnant or hopes to be someday. Regardless of where you give birth, it’s good to arm yourself with as much information as you can!
MY FAVORITE CHILDBIRTH RESOURCES:
Known as “the mother of authentic midwifery,” Ina May Gaskin has been teaching fearless childbirth since the 1970s. This book is filled with birth stories and practical advice, including how to lessen the pain of labor without drugs, and how to feel safe and comfortable in any birth environment. It’s a great read—whether you are hoping to have a home birth or not!
This 2008 documentary by actress and former talk show host Rickie Lake examines how the American medical system handles childbirth. While it definitely pushes home birth, the documentary does show that emergencies can happen: The documentary’s pregnant director, Abby Epstein, has to have an emergency C-section. The film raises a lot of valid questions about the way mothers are treated during childbirth. And it highlights the importance of informed consent and how to be your own advocate.
This book from Dr. William Sears is great because it encompasses everything from preparing for a healthy birth to potty training and temper tantrums.
Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
If you want to give a book to your partner to help them learn how to best support you during pregnancy and childbirth, this is a good one. If anything, it can get you talking about key issues, including epidurals, C-sections, and breastfeeding.
This is a great book written by a respected OBGYN that helps to separate fact from fiction on all the lifestyle questions pregnant women face about exercise, diet, travel, medications and more.
This is another good read to ease anxiety around pregnancy and childbirth. Emily Oster is an award-winning economist who digs into all the research on common medical advice given to pregnant women. Surprise: A lot of it is wrong! The good news is that there’s a lot less to worry about than you think and all of her research will help give you some peace of mind.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how you give birth. Whether it’s at home, a birth center or a hospital. The truth is that you have to be open to things changing at any minute (that happened to me with my first birth transferring to the hospital). The end goal is the same no matter what: to have a healthy baby!