#230 | The Free Birth Dilemma with Sara Rosser

September 13, 2023

Sara Rosser is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). While she has not had a free birth herself, she has supported women in her community who have chosen to do so.  Free birth (or "wild birth") is a controversial practice in which a woman chooses to give birth in the absence of a trained birth professional, whether that be a midwife or obstetrician. In today's discussion, we dig into why a woman might choose free birth, whether or not free birth is "safe" for a mother and baby, how those women who require medical support are treated if they transfer from a free birth, the role of the doula in free birth, and a general discussion around how and why the free birth movement has taken hold. Ultimately, we seek to answer the question: Are those who support free birth enabling the movement or simply supporting a woman's right to choose what she believes is best for herself and her baby?
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View Episode Transcript

Either the state owns our bodies and has a role in our bodies or the state does not. And I'm much more concerned, when the state does, I think the missing link that we really need is for women to have full access to all options. It is a shame that there's any cohort of women having a free birth just because they're out of options.

And in birth. Safety is always relative, right? I mean, is hospital birth truly safe? Is homebirth. Safe? is free birth safe. How do we define that? How do you think about safety,

I would say to anyone that's considering free birth that they have to recognize that they're accepting full responsibility for the outcomes. And that means that they get to take all of the credit for absolutely everything when it's over, you know, they get to be extremely proud that they did that completely on their own. But if something doesn't go the way that they want it to, there isn't any one to blame.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Hi, my name is Sarah Rosser. I am a certified professional midwife licensed in the state of Tennessee, I was raised into midwifery by the farm midwives. I'm the co -ounder of Born Free method and faculty member at the College of Traditional Midwifery. I'm also a mom of two and a wife. And I'm excited to be talking to you guys today about the complexities of rebirth.

We are excited to have this conversation as well, because we know that this is a it's happening around the country. I don't know what's happening, I'm sure around the world as well. But it seems to be a very intentional movement here in the United States. There's a lot of mixed opinions on it. There's a lot of plus sides to it. There's some risks to it. But we really want to get into your knowledge and experience around it and why you see women choosing this path like what what are what is a that is I don't want to say making but sometimes it does feel like it is women having to make this choice because they don't have other options, or we'd love to just hear your perspective on what's happening in this movement.

Sure, well, I should give a bit of a disclaimer that I've personally never had a free birth, I've birthed three times, and it shows midwifery care for all of them. And so I can't speak to it from a personal standpoint, and I've never attended a free birth because it wouldn't be an unassisted birth if I were there. But I have been able to build some relationships in my community with folks who do free birth. And I feel like maybe I have a little bit of a different perspective on it than a lot of licensed midwives have. And I'm hoping that that means that I have stronger relationships with folks who are free birthing, and can be of some level of support to them, if that's what they want. But yeah, I think asking why people have why they want to have a free birth is a really important question for us to ask ourselves as professionals like, similar to like, why OB should probably be asking themselves, why are people choosing homebirth instead of hospital birth? Like yeah, good, good introspective question for yourself. Maybe we should have that for ourselves, as well as birth provide birth providers are
professionals, they have the answer to that already. Anyone who doesn't choose a hospital birth of an OB is just wrong.

Lack of introspection, okay. They're just wrong. Well, that's what is even a free birth in your mind. Is this somebody who has a birth completely unintended? Nobody is there or just not a licensed professional health care provider? Are they having prenatal care? Are they going you know, completely through an entire pregnancy, birth and postpartum without any support of any kind from any type of medical professional? Yeah, well, there's anything in between. I'm sure there's a wide variety.

It's a huge spectrum like we've got we've got folks that don't even use the term free birth. Maybe they're using terminology like unassisted birth or sovereign birth. And I think they can mean different things to different folks. Like, I'm often hearing this term wild pregnancy now, are you all hearing that? Yes, that's maybe No, no prenatal. Hair from a from a professional, but potentially those folks are doing some of their own care, maybe they're checking their own blood pressure listening to the baby's heart rate themselves. And so that's not like a completely, you know, ignored pregnancy care situation like they are checking in on things just not with a licensed
provider. Right. So So I actually had my third, all three of my children were born at home, all with same midwifery practice, but my third came so quickly. And when I described that birth, I describe it as an unintentional assisted home birth, and somebody was talking about one time on Instagram, and somebody was like, What the heck is that? Like, there are all these different ways of having a baby and being cared for and my intention saying that was like, you know, I had midwifery care, I had prenatal care. I was doing all the things. I planned to have a midwife, and I just ended up having the baby alone.

Right? Yeah, well, and I mean, you know, that's certainly happening. Sometimes, folks, you want a very medicalized birth and a hospital with pain medication, or sometimes having unintentional unassisted births. But yeah, I feel like this conversation, we're talking more about folks who are choosing that for a reason for themselves. Maybe it's because they don't, they had a negative experience in the past with a provider, and they're like, nevermind, I don't think I need your help anymore. Maybe they have a very primal instinct that they want to kind of recluse and be on their own and not be surrounded by very many people. Maybe they feel like birth is not something that needs to be managed at all. And or maybe they have so few options, that it really becomes the best option because the alternatives are so poor, so about, so Right, like just can't do it.

Yeah, exactly. Like if there are maybe a few midwives in your community who will attend a birth and respect your decisions not to disturb that birth, and those midwives aren't available, then your next option is a very medicalized midwife, possibly, and so so choosing a free birth may be something that people feel a little backed into a corner about, and that I hate for them. I hate for anyone to be making choices around their birth that they feel forced into, even if it is free birth. But yes, I think lack lack of access to the type of care that you want has got to be one of the reasons that they choose this as well. And then, you know, I we're talking about a free birth being only with a birth without a licensed midwife or physician. But now we've got birth keepers in the mix. And that's kind of something in between a midwife and a completely free birth, in my opinion, potentially, people would still call that a free birth is that you guys is experienced as well.

I don't know that we have a lot of experience with it. But I can see exactly what you're saying. I mean, if you have a really experienced doula who's attended hundreds and hundreds of birth, well, how she may be really all that different than a traditionally trained midwife. She's somewhere in that spectrum of experience. Right? Was that really a free birth? Or is that true? Is she really in that spectrum of experience? I mean, does she really know what to do with traditional cases? Traditional midwives are trained all through apprenticeships. So if I mean, if that's the person getting experience with other professionals who do know, so throughout history with women supporting women, they were in that doula sort of role, but they were surrounded by women who did know how to intervene when necessary. So I imagine if I were a doula and I had attended hundreds of births, I just feel like I still wouldn't know exactly what to do, because I never was an apprentice to anyone who didn't know what to do.

And it primarily depends on the doula. I mean, some dealers are much more hands on in that stuff. And some are more removed, and just they're really just doing the emotional support. And then others might be really curious about birth and doing some hands on stuff. Yeah, they might have done training on their own side and learn certainly more involved. It's to have somebody there who has hundreds of bursts under their belt, at least just it'll just watching them and learning is going to it's going to be a little bit different than being completely on your own. Yeah, so yeah, it's a spectrum.

Right? I mean, I used to call myself a traditional midwife. I feel like I've been asked not to by people of color, and I will respect that. But a lot of you explain what can you explain why? A sure because the the customs and the tradition involved in black Midwifery, the history of that here in our us in the US, would mean that the tradition was held alive by people of color. And so a lot of people of color have asked us not to use that term to describe ourselves. And there's plenty of controversy around that because a lot of folks that call themselves traditional midwives maybe are they felt like they did learn this practice through custom or a tradition or culture. And I in some ways I did I did it as well, but but mostly from white women.

So what do you call yourself.

I call myself a community based midwife. Okay? It's all just terminology, though. I mean, we're all just trying to find words that fit what we do and how we fit in. So this is
the word traditional. Anything, it's potentially offensive because it implies something.

Well, I think that's what I'm being told. Yes.

And what does it imply? I'm just trying to understand i It's not hitting me that way. I want to make sure I'm understanding, it's helpful to understand.

Sure, and I don't I don't think that a lot of folks necessarily understand or agree with us. So I'm not necessarily like advocating for that. I'm just saying that this is what I've been told and that I will respect it. And that's that the tradition of midwifery was held alive during times where specially during segregation when birth was moved into a hospital setting. So many black folks were keeping the midwifery tradition alive by attending homebirths even when it wasn't legal, that they need to be given the respect that the tradition is held alive through black midwifery.

What does the word tradition imply? Does it represent the black women who kept birth going without the support? Or does it imply the ones who moved into a hospital? Because the word seems so neutral to me? Which one does it represent? Do you No, no, not necessarily. No.

So why isn't that a good word to use and showing support for the women who kept him alive?

I think it's a fantastic term to use, and especially describing black midwives.

She's saying that the black community isn't wanting it to be applied to white midwives.

Yeah, and I and I'll and I'll say is, it isn't just the black community. I mean, it's definitely Native Americans and people who, who really are responsible in the US for holding up this tradition of midwifery.

So there's, so they're saying white midwives of today shouldn't get to use that term necessarily.

I think I'm hearing that some Yes. Hmm. Okay. Yeah. Like, I feel like I derailed us a little bit, because I know that's very useful. This is how we learned this is really useful. And I know everyone's interested, if we just say, if we just throw out there that you're being asked not to use the term, everyone's going to be saying, Wait, please stop and tell us why. And I know that you're gonna appreciate the the side conversation.

Sure, well, we will learn we would learn this best from people of color. I'm definitely not the best teacher. I know, our listeners can't necessarily see, but I'm just as wide as they come.

So you can't say that we got it. Right. And that we're, we're not here though to write. Okay, but I still couldn't, I'm still trying to get my head around it. Okay, so I'm sorry to interrupt. Oh, that's fine. That's great.

It was really helpful to have that conversation.

I am hearing a lot of folks in our community though, using the term traditional midwife. And they are what their what I am learning is that they mean that they're not licensed in the state. So like a bird keeper or a traditional midwife. So I stopped using traditional midwife also, because I am indeed licensed and I don't want to miss misrepresent myself as somebody who isn't. I am following my state's laws and regulations. And I think that is what a lot of women are running from, with their free birth choice is that they don't want state regulations on their birthing choices. And so hiring someone like a traditional midwife or a bookkeeper may would allow them to still have some level of care and wisdom from someone who's comfortable in the birthing space, but not be under the thumb of whatever state regulation is there. And I don't know much about you guys's state here, we got pretty we have pretty cushy birthing laws here. We get to we get to kind of practice in the scope that we would like to getting worse everywhere. And it's very, very concerning to me personally, we're hearing increasingly from our followers that, you know, they're so scared because they're having they're planning a home birth. And they say, if I go past 42 weeks, I'm now not allowed to birth at home, like the state is getting so involved as to tell women who've been responsibly by I think most people's standards with a professional responsibly managing their whole pregnancy. And if they go past 42 weeks, all of a sudden, you have to do this total about face and go to a hospital with an OB it's ridiculous. Yeah, I mean, I thought it was bad enough when I was birthing in a birthing center, my first time around. I was so anxious in my pregnancy, because my midwife said if you go past 42 weeks, you still have us your midwives, but we have to take it over to the hospital. And that caused me some anxiety, but it was with the same group. But to say that even for the midwives to say, I'm so sorry, I'm going to be forced to abandon you and turn you over to the hospital system if this goes past 42 weeks. So naturally, women and their midwives are taking matters into their own hands and they're sometimes fudging the due date because how this is what happens when you don't support people. They have to find a way so it's clearly not working in the mothers and babies best interest clearly.

I completely agree. Yeah, finding loopholes is right, I'm say for like half of my job and that's right. ridiculous way for me to spend my time personally, and certainly a difficult way for a pregnant woman to spend the end of her pregnancy. Right having to go into it with her dukes up instead of being able to roll into her birth with a lot of peace of mind and, and confidence in what she's about to do.

And I'm sorry to jump in again. But I have to say we've also had conversations. And I think you might know her mean, Hayes Klein, but she did one of our best episodes on this, I believe it was last August. When this happens. And the woman now has to go to the hospital, she's often received by an unwelcoming biased hospital system because they don't respect what her Plan A was. So that's now setting her off in the wrong direction for her birth. And she's sometimes sensing after what might be a traumatic birth, that they were purposefully invasive and not respecting of her because of how she entered the system at the last moment. Right. Right.

And I mean, I imagine the same is true for free birthers. Yeah, my personal experience with our hospital system is really lovely. But I think that we've we've just got a really ideal setup here. And that we, you know, we've picked the right hands, We've kissed the right asses. And now we have a pretty like warm invite when we show up in the hospital. And they're thankful that we got there before, everything was amiss. And so, but I can't imagine how it must feel as a free birth or who has no established care at all, to need to walk into a hospital setting and being treated like you have three eyeballs. And you know, I don't know, I've started I've heard certainly heard some of those stories. But I can't say that I know what that feels like to experience them.

That's good to know. But you have to go to all those efforts to establish the good relationship, as you said, it can't always be done when it's done. It's a great thing that says what we need. But the system isn't set up to be that way.

No, no, it's definitely not. And I think that it has a lot to do with our egos. And I think as as a homebirth midwife, I have to check my own ego when we're talking about free birth. And certainly hospital care providers are going to need to check theirs when they have a home birth or a free birth or walk into the hospital and say all of a sudden, I do want your care changed my mind. And now I need your help for them to let go of it and say like, that's my job, I'm here to take care of you. It doesn't really matter. Whether you chose me earlier in this journey or not. Now you're asking for my help. That's what I have to do. We sure don't sit around and lecture people or the the ER staff doesn't lecture, folks, when they walk in from a car accident and say, Wow, you really should have been making some different choices here, before they provide care and then change the way that they provide care based on whether or not they think that person's decisions that lead them to this moment where their idea of good decisions or not, like how about instead we we just we just take care of what's immediately in front of us and treat that person with a lot of decency and respect. That would change everything, though, I think, right? For sure.

Yeah. I mean, that that really is, of course, how it should be done. And in some cases, it is that way. I've seen hospital home to hospital transfers that go very smoothly like that. And the women are treated very respectfully. And nobody's giving her a hard time for her choices. But you're absolutely right. So much of the time, it's something about it's something about women and birth, where they just look at you and say, Well, you did this to yourself. Sorry. Like, I made your own bed. So yeah, I'll help you, but I'm gonna be an asshole about it.

Right. Right. Well, I know like, you guys know, Dr. Riley that a hand that I've had to I've watched him I've known him long enough and watched him go through the process of like, Well, shit, I spent half a million dollars on this education. And I've invested so many years of my life into becoming an OB and like, maybe this isn't the role that I'm the most helpful in birth, and maybe this isn't the career that is actually making birth outcomes better. For me, that's a really hard piece of yourself to die to. Yeah, this brings us to like, the conversation around safety, like the those, you know, being received at the hospital from a free birth or a home birth that needs a urgent transfer. The thing on the provider's mind is safety of mom and baby and why did you why did you make a choice that you know, put you and your baby at risk? And in birth? Safety is always relative, right? I mean, is hospital birth truly safe? Is home birth safe? is free birth safe, what is the safest choice? Right? How do we define that? And how do you think about that as somebody who supports women who choose free birth? Sure. Well, how do you think about safety?

Well, I think it's a bit of an illusion. Safety is and we've all we all have different ideas of what safety is. But there's a lot of folks who are just so desperate not to have something traumatizing done to them, that they're willing to accept other risks that some of us may would say, well, that's not safe. But it's not our birth, and it's not our body, and it's not our baby. And so we're not the ones that make those choices. I've certainly I've certainly worked with folks who are willing to accept some risks that other people would not be willing to take, because they are trying to avoid being re traumatized. Maybe they've had a history of having their placenta snatched out. And that was extremely painful or had some long term consequences for them. And so they're willing to wait a couple hours to let their placenta come out and see if see if they can get it out without having any type of intervention like that. An OB would probably think I'm nuts for sitting there with that risk. But it isn't my choice.

And if you were counseling a woman who was discussing free birth, whether you let's say she was kind of going between free birth and using her midwife, and she asked you, what are the biggest risks of me having a sovereign birth or a free birth or an unattended birth? Like, how dangerous is it? How would you answer that,

I would say that she is going to need to accept radical responsibility for all of her choices, that she needs to know that there isn't anyone there with previous experience with different types of emergencies. And that her ability to manage them on her own may or may not exist. I'm I'm a licensed midwife, and I know how to manage a postpartum hemorrhage. I also have postpartum hemorrhages every frickin time my birth. And I knew that that wasn't something I could manage on my own. I needed a midwife to help me with my fundus to to help me with medication after I gave birth, and that I was too weak in those moments to manage those risks. And but that was my decision. And so I would say to anyone that's considering free birth, that they have to recognize that they're accepting full responsibility for the outcomes. And that means that they get to take all of the credit for absolutely everything, when it's over, you know, they get to be extremely proud that they did that completely on their own. But if something doesn't go the way that they want it to, there isn't anyone to blame. And that's, that's a really, we are so accustomed to blaming people. In this country, we like we were just very su happy. And we can always find someone, well, if that person would have done this differently, I wouldn't have had this negative thing happened to myself. When you choose free birth and my opinion, you are dropping that completely. You are you are taking on all of the responsibility yourself. That's not something that I personally can even get my head around. It's so big, you know, but some people can maybe they are deeper, more enlightened than I am. Because I see it happen. I see women who are incredibly proud of their choice to free birth, and I support them in that it's just personally not something that I could take on.

Yeah, I mean, I personally can't imagine ever free birthing, but I completely agree that we should have the the personal human freedom to make any decision we want. And we wish and pray no baby on Earth would be born to an abusive parent or to a drug abuser or to, you know, someone who's living out on the street and hasn't I mean, we don't, there are so many things we wish for every baby in the world. But when we start assuming responsibility, or having the state assume responsibility for women's choices, it gets really ugly. And we're at the point now, I mean, it was not this way 15 to 20 years ago, that pediatricians were kicking out families who chose to not vaccinate fully, that parents were being threatened with child protection services, if they weren't doing the vitamin K shot. This was not happening. So I think because we're forced to take a position like either the state owns our bodies and has a role in our bodies, or the state does not. And I'm much more concerned, when the state does I really feel even at the risk of the person who is making the irresponsible decision that is simply the nature of being human. And it just gets really scary to me when the state gets involved. I think every I think the missing link that we really need is for women to have full access to all options. And I agree with what you said earlier, it is a shame that there's any cohort of women having a free birth just because they're out of options. I've supported in my years of teaching almost 200 women who've had V backs and all but one of the many women I've taught who had V backs after multiple C sections, all but one of them had a home birth. And these are the women who trusted the lease. It's the last choice they want but they truly ran out of options and knock wood, it always went well, and they're so happy it went that way. But it shouldn't have gone this way. They should have had the choice to birth in a hospital if it's what they wanted. And the choice to birth at home, if it's what they wanted, not pushed into it, and Oh, thank God, it all went well, in the end. Yeah, you made that comment earlier about, they do have that risk of, of losing the baby. And they do have to assume responsibility for that. And the state should not come down on that, and blame them after the fact that they now took their baby's life at risk. And that's, that's kind of what happens when we're born to whatever mother were born to on this earth. But have you known actually a woman or even known of one who did lose her baby? Who did still stand by her choice to free birth? Or Did did you? Did you hear of that? And was there absolute regret?

I don't, I don't personally know anyone who has lost their baby during a free birth, it's always worked out awkward. So far, it's either worked out or I mean, their plan may not have worked out, they may have ended up going to the hospital. And I'll be honest, I feel like that is I know of higher transport rates during free birth than I do have midwife managed births. And so I've got some bias there. I feel like there are some preventable things that could be done sometimes. But your only option, maybe this is something we need to be addressing as midwives being available to free birth or so that they don't necessarily have to just run into an emergency room and begin care with a team of physicians, because they have some small thing going, you know, abnormally, and they don't want to stay home with that abnormality. But, ya know, I don't know if I don't know of anyone who's lost their baby in a free birth. And, but certainly that has happened. But it's not anyone that I know well enough to speak to you. But I can imagine that that's an over an overwhelming feeling no matter where you are. And, but Right, there's no, there's no person, there's no provider there that you can push any blame off on.

Well, to have midwives step in to support them puts those midwives at increased risk now in their work, and how much would they have to charge? What kind of surplus would they have to charge to compensate them for that added risk, that they're now only getting calls from a certain group of women, because they're free birth at home, didn't have any prenatal care, and now suddenly need someone there? I'd be pretty nervous as a midwife to take home that population, maybe you can help them transport to a hospital. But that's that's a lot. That's a lot to ask of those midwives.

That's the same feeling that the OB who backs up the home birth midwife has, you know, that's it's kind of like the same concept.

So to them, it might be Yeah, you're right. Trisha, may be to them it is. But they did have care, right?

Yes, yes. So, yes, but it is. It's all relative, like the risk, it's just all relative. And that midwife who chooses to do that, like Sarah is saying, I support you, whatever your choices are, I will help you if you need my help, but you're still but the responsibility is still on the woman like this is your choice, this is you are taking radical responsibility for your choices. And OBS, who receive women from home birth transfers or backup midwife, homebirth midwives to be there can take the same approach, and say, Yes, this is my duty, to provide the best care that I can for whatever situation I am faced with. But these are your choices, you are responsible. And if you remove the ego and the liability piece, it becomes really easy to support people. It's just those two elements that are always in the mix that just mess with everybody's head and make them feel that, you know, they have to have more control, and more control in the outcome. And we don't know when difference of you know, a home birth or walking into an OB and asking for carers that they are required in that setting to provide care at that time. Whereas as midwives, if we agree to support free birthers in whatever way they've asked for our support, and they don't necessarily always want any support from us. I don't mean to imply that that's a common, like a extremely common request. But we're almost signing on and saying like, yeah, okay, I'm on board with your plan to some extent, even if I'm not, if I'm not saying this is a great decision that you're making. I love all of these choices. We're still somewhat saying like I'm with you in this, we're something of a team, you can call me if you need me. And it is it is a big liability and there's paperwork, you can have people sign that says like, this is not my birthing midwife. This is just someone who's doing some prenatal care for me, or is who's going to come and check up on me postpartum or check the baby postpartum. They're not necessarily my birthing midwife. And I feel good about that. Having that little, little bit of paperwork saying we have agreed that these are the terms of our Our relationship. But yeah, I think we have a real lack of rebellion in midwifery, and I, I'd love to see a little bit more of it.

In my practice, in my home birth practice, we actually all, anyone who chose care in our practice had to sign an arbitration agreement, so that we could remove that element of liability. And basically, you know, that said that you're taking, like, I'm going to provide the service, but you're taking responsibility. And if there are disagreements or problems that come up, we are going to come to terms through arbitration and there is no, you know, lawsuit.

Right. Yeah, I think that's fantastic. That's, that's one of the one of the loopholes that make me feel good about taking care of folks who are planning something like this, the type of help that they're asking for, from me for the most part, or just things like prenatal care? Can we order an ultrasound to make sure my placenta is where I want it to be that is not covering my cervix? You know, maybe they are RH negative. And they would like to have a real game injection after birth. And a quick, sometimes there's the need for paper trails, different states have different rules around birth certificates. But here in Tennessee, they do want some confirmation that you are indeed pregnant, when you go in to try and get a birth certificate for this baby.

And by providing those few simple things you are making that mother and baby's birth safer. You know, when we're talking about safety, I mean, if you can rule out that there's a placenta previa, and she's planning a free birth, you're making that situation safer for her. And that's a beautiful thing, and she's still able to honor and honor her own birth desires.

Yeah, I think so. Some folks would say we're enabling the free birth process.

Oh, it's complicated. Well, if

You're enabling the free birth process, you're supporting a woman's freedom. I mean, this is exactly what the argument we're really having is, do you believe that people should have freedom? Do you believe we have an inherent right to freedom? Or do we not? And if we don't, when did we lose that exactly? Through History? How did it ever come that we've lost this freedom, it's a wonderful thing that we have prenatal care and hospitals, and even this dreaded C section that we don't want to have, right? But it's such a comfort that we can do all of these things on how to have all of these things. But the very idea that we're arguing whether a person should have complete autonomy over their body, that you have to drive home the point that like you are wholly responsible for the outcome of this birth, is pretty remarkable. I've learned over the years long before I had a podcast, I just came to it all by myself with my own observations, a theory that I've still hold on to very dearly that I really believe there's a very strong correlation between a woman's positive unsatisfying birth outcome and the degree of responsibility that she took going into her birth. And when women totally relinquish all responsibility, which so many first time moms do in this country, because we're so driven by culture and practice, I think it's much more highly correlated to an unsatisfying, if not traumatic birth outcome. I think it is a key component.

Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree.

Sarah, have you ever have you worked with women who just wanted a free birth, they could have birthed anywhere, and we're not not the group of women who felt cornered into it pressed into it, but who just totally had such a deep amount of trust. They couldn't wait to birth their babies without anyone there, but their partners?

Yeah, I mean, and honestly, maybe not worked with them. But I work with them as other birth workers and just women in the community, they may not ever need my help for anything. But I know them and I see them and they are choosing this because they have this like really deep trust and birth, and believe that the outcome of it will go the way that it's supposed to go. And so they settle back and they're educated women, and my experience, they're never just like head in the sand kind of folks. They are truly educated folks. They love their children. They are preparing their space, their nest for this experience to birth and end up just having these like incredibly wonderful birth stories. They don't need me for anything. They don't need a hospital for anything. They'll figure out a birth certificate when they whenever they get around to it. But yeah, like we're talking a lot about how the system plays into all of these different birthing scenarios. And there's some people that are just like, Screw this system. I'm not even touching it. And I think that's a really like, I'm, I'm very inspired by that personally.

It's another choice. We're talking about. Freedom of Choice. It's another choice, right? Yeah,

it's not it's Nathan always says he would have A free birth if he could birth. And I think that's incredibly easy for him to say as a man, but okay. Tell us more about how you would birth, Nathan.

But he knows he knows a lot about birth and he knows that it is best left undisturbed. It's a shame the midwives don't know how to leave it undisturbed on a regular basis. So I think that it's I think it's helpful to have someone with you, at your birth, have a wise person that's familiar with birth, I think it's helpful to have someone there. And I hate the idea that they have to be afraid of us that we're going to do things they're not consenting to.

I don't see free birth is something that has been like a natural part of human history, I think birth has always been attended by people who understand at least something about birth something about babies. So I do feel like this is a new concept. And it's a little bit of grown out of like a rebellion and a fight for freedom. And it's completely understandable because our system is really messed up. So we go the other way, and we, you know, we do what we feel we need to do to protect ourselves and that's understandable. So if you had to pick like the characteristics of a good person to have a free birth, is there is there can you do that? Or is there are there people who would say free birth really isn't the right choice for or it's free birth for everyone and your opinion? Hmm, I mean, only for people who are who are very resolved in that choice who are extremely dedicated to the choice of rebirth like someone who doesn't feel a lot of confidence in their ability to give birth might not be the best candidate. And that may be because of a medical reason it may be because they haven't let go of what culture has told them about birth. You know, maybe they have a yeah history of some type of pregnancy like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, maybe they've had listened to previous more than once. That may be reasons that they decide that they need some support. But I don't know that I get to decide honestly. Other than for myself.

Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

No one's ever wanted to chat with me about that for very long, so I appreciate it. Yeah, I don't I don't I don't feel like the the conversation in the way that we just had it is being had very often. So it's an important one.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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