Give birth on your own terms.
Give birth on your own terms.
"I Love My Scar" | Melissa Pizzo on Why Cesarean Moms Need Doulas, Too!
Melissa Pizzo has had four babies by Cesarean, and four completely different experiences! With her last birth, a scheduled Cesarean, she knew what she wanted and she made sure she got it. That included hiring a doula to hold emotional space for her and her husband in the OR. How ever babies are born, it's a special and sacred time, and one where the emotional, psychological, and social needs of the person giving birth should be priorities.
In Her Words:
I really embrace that this is what was supposed to be and this is how it is and I have these experiences--like, going from my first cesarean to my fourth cesarean, and seeing the progress and what has changed, I think that that part is where I can be like, oh my gosh, I’ve really grown! And I’ve really been able to voice what I want and what I need. And then being able to feel heard is very important. So those things have happened for me compared to that first birth when I didn’t feel heard and I didn’t feel like I had a voice, and I didn’t feel empowered at all. And I walked away very, very traumatized. To then have a completely different experience on the other side of it with my fourth cesarean.
Hiring a doula for me [in the fourth birth] was really important for several reasons. One was to have someone in the room so that my husband can kind of focus on his own feelings, his own experience of the birth… And I want someone there to say what’s happening, what’s going, and also how are you feeling right now and rubbing my forehead. Just soothing me, while my husband doesn’t have to.
Another thing that our doula did for us is she took pictures, which is amazing. Who doesn’t want pictures of your birth?
There were other moments, too. Before I went into the OR, they were having a hard time getting an IV in. I was getting poked so many times, I was having a real meltdown at that point--like, we are not doing this! And Carrie was there, my doula, to be able to really talk to me and calm me down and she took out a little back massaging thing and definitely calmed my nerves, which was needed at that time.
Some friends, some family members, might say something like, “You should just feel happy because your baby is healthy and nothing was wrong.” And I think that those words are not helpful. Not one bit. Because it is okay to say I’m so happy that I have a baby and I’m also sad that the birth didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.
It’s really, really important that we love our scars. And that we are grateful for them. And that we take care of them. It’s a very tender spot now! It’s definitely still a work in progress, but it’s something I strive for. That I love my scar and that it birthed my babies and that I look at it and I’m like, wow, you are an amazing woman who was able to give birth four times this other way.
"We Are Changing the Conversation on Doulas & Advocacy" | Doula Trainer Nickie Tilsner
Advocacy, burnout, self care, sustainability, and the patriarchy--they're all in this episode! Our guest is Nickie Tilsner, the co-executive director and lead trainer of Cornerstone Doula Trainings, and co-author of RE:BIRTH - The childbirth preparation guide for all people to have an informed, dignified and joyful birth in any setting (due for release early Fall). Also announcing a first-ever collaboration between Birth Monopoly and a doula training organization to offer rights training to new doulas!!! The "Rights Informed Birth Advocate" certification will be offered through Cornerstone starting July 2019.
> In her words
In order to thrive in the work and have sustainability: feeding your purpose is what really holds resilience and what is actually being trauma informed for yourself and looking at things through a strengths based lens. And feeding your purpose is knowing that you’re effective in the work and being able to really embody the work. And in think that’s what’s going to keep people really going in this and feeling great about the work they’re doing and enjoying it.
I burnt out about three years into my practice when I first started and had to take a break and came back with a new way of looking at things. I’m still learning what being trauma informed for myself means.
Doulas and birth workers and anyone else in this space need to understand, your brain cannot discern whether this is happening to someone else or if it’s happening to you, when you’re in the situation. And even when you hear traumatic stories, your brain goes into a trauma response. This vicarious trauma is real.
I want this to be a part of every dialogue when it comes to birth and birth work… Number one, how we view advocacy as birth workers, number two, how we view ourselves as less powerful than other people in the room, number three, how we are silent and how our silence is complicity.
Cornerstone's next labor and birth doula training, including the "Rights Informed Birth Advocate" certification in collaboration with Birth Monopoly (!!), starts July 12 in Oakland, CA: https://www.cornerstonedoulatrainings.com/sign-up. More to come after that!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like your organization to offer Know Your Rights training, too!
Ep. 32 - "I'm not vulnerable any more." | Katherine DiPaulo on Alleged Sexual Assault During Labor
**TW: Alleged Sexual Assault and Birth Assault**
This is Katherine DiPaulo's story. She alleges she was sexually assaulted by an obstetrician at a Philadelphia-area hospital in 2005. She has not been able to hold him accountable.
Ms. DiPaulo would like to connect with other victims. If you have experienced sexual assault in your obstetric care in the Philadelphia area, please get in touch with us at email@example.com or complete this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1SURd8e1KBVdm4vcG47Xab-FwKnqUCXO8tbJeqaWB1_k. Your privacy will be respected to the fullest.
> In her words:
Had I angered him, it could have been a lot worse. I was doing what I had to do to protect my baby and myself. But I still have a lot of guilt and shame and anger at myself for not stopping it, not doing something. But my body was frozen and in shock.
I repressed what happened although it never left me. I started to have chronic insomnia, ... panic attacks, anxiety and depression, difficulty in my marriage. I have flashbacks all the time of this person. I have flashbacks of the event itself. I'm hyper vigilant. I'm scared I'm going to run into him in the grocery store.
To be honest, I think if I do see him, I'm going to tell him off, because I'm no longer in that vulnerable position, being in labor and hooked up to all of these IVs and monitors. So, I'm not vulnerable any more, so there's a part of me that still has the strength that if I do see him, I'm going to tell him off.
At this point, I'm so furious about it and just want to put it out there so other women can prevent something like this from happening to them.
> Related episode: "'I found my voice and I'm not stopping' | Sexually Assaulted by Her OB, Marissa Hoechstetter Fights Back": https://birthmonopoly.com/episode-29/
> Know Your Rights: Legal and Human Rights in Childbirth for Birth Professionals and Advocates: https://birthmonopoly.com/know-your-rights-course/
Ep. 31 - Support After (Home) Birth Loss | Mother Ada Johnson and Midwife Sarah Butterfly
What do you do when someone in your life has a stillbirth? In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, Ada Johnson talks about losing her baby Button during birth and the aftermath of that event, and, along with her midwife Sarah, shares how providers and others can respond sensitively when someone experiences a stillbirth. I want to thank both Ada and Sarah for coming on the show and delving back into this deeply personal experience with us.
Consulting and training services from our expert guest, Ada Johnson
Resources for professionals from Empty Arms Bereavement Support
Compassionate Bereavement Care®Certification through the MISS Foundation
https://missfoundation.org/compassionate-bereavement-care/compassionate-bereavement-care-certificationCDC statistics on stillbirthhttps://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/stillbirth/facts.htm
Thank you to Evidence Based Birth for making this episode possible!!
Ep. 30 - “I’m not here to please everybody” | Author Janelle Hanchett
Janelle Hanchett is the author of “I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Recklessness, Rehab, and Renegade Mothering,” out in paperback May 7, 2019. In this episode, we talk about the politics of motherhood and why the idea that controlling our bodies in birth is controversial. Janelle also talks about 'how I discovered I am white' (her excellent post of that title is at her Renegade Mothering blog here: https://www.renegademothering.com/2014/12/09/discovered-white/) and her new book.
> In her words this episode:
"There’s this larger question: 'Is motherhood enough to turn us into perfect versions of ourselves?' I was really looking into the redemptive narrative surrounding motherhood. Like, this idea that we are saved by motherhood, that we are washed clean by it, that we are redeemed by it, and that the dark part of our self can be erased through love of our children. Spoiler alert, I think that’s bullshit. I think it’s more just subtle erasure of women, right? Because if you erase *any* part of me, you’re erasing me.
What that’s basically saying is that the instant a woman has a baby, she is transformed into a vessel of motherhood for this child. She is no longer a fully formed human being. Human beings have fatal flaws! We aren’t that any more. We are now just this clean slate to be used and to nurture this child. And it’s bullshit! So--the book is a story about addiction and motherhood, but it’s really kind of a larger exploration of that theme."
Follow Janelle at www.Facebook.com/renegademothering
Ep. 29 - After Sexual Assault by OB, "I Found My Voice & I'm Not Stopping" | Marissa Hoechstetter
Marissa Hoechstetter is one of more than 17 women currently suing Columbia University and its associated hospitals for a 20-year "massive coverup" of Ob/Gyn Dr. Robert Hadden's sexual abuse of patients. In this episode, she talks about her long path to justice for the sexual assaults she suffered at Dr. Hadden's hands, getting his name off her daughters' birth certificates, and her ongoing advocacy for transparency in physician conduct and licensing and on behalf of survivors of these kinds of crimes.
> In her words:
We say support women, believe women, but then you come forward and it doesn't matter.... In my case and in others, there's evidence [the institutions] were alerted to this behavior and they just look away. They don't want to admit it. It's a business choice.
With cases like [Larry] Nassar and [George] Tyndall at USC, there's been some high-profile cases of serial sex crimes by medical professionals. The way the media treats it still, it's like it's this one odd weirdo out there. But from the people I hear from who reach out to me now, and from my experience, I think it's more pervasive and present than we want to admit.
The people I hear from aren't even sure if it's a crime. They don't know what to do with what happened. We're not talking enough about sexual assault by doctors.
> Marissa's story in the news:
> By Marissa:
> Learn more about Know Your Rights: Legal and Human Rights in Childbirth for Birth Professionals and Advocates at bit.ly/birth-rights