#270 | Trusting Birth: The Journey From Maiden to Mother with Lea @trusting_birth

June 19, 2024

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Can you imagine giving birth without ever "checking on" your baby? Without a test, an ultrasound, a need for reassurance from others that your baby is okay? And, what does it mean to cross the threshold from Maiden to Mother? How does a woman step into her wiser feminine self, relinquishing her controlled, organized, masculine energy and need for control in birth? What is required of a woman to feel so safe in her body that she can release hypervigilance and surrender fully to the power of her body? These are some of the untraditional questions we consider in this deeply provocative conversation with Lea, the woman behind Trusting Birth and the Wise Woman Diaries Podcast. This open and deeply personal episode invites us to look more closely at our lifelong struggle to trust ourselves, to embrace stillness, and to distinguish fear from intuition. Ultimately, this conversation dares us to take radical responsibility for the power of our feminine energy and all it can do for us.   

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#14: Roundtable: Mothers of Stillbirth and What They Can Teach Us
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View Episode Transcript

How does this influence a woman when she becomes pregnant? And when she gives birth? I mean, your theory is that most women are coming into pregnancy and birth more in their masculine energy. How does that impact their birth? What does it look like? And, and how is a woman to know?

Because she doesn't trust herself. She doesn't trust her baby, she doesn't trust her body. She needs, all the science, all the statistics, all the authority figures telling her she's safe, giving her evidence that everything's gonna be fine. She's seeking external evidence for proof that she's safe, and nothing's ever enough. When she goes, gets an ultrasound, that shows everything's okay. In a few days, she'll start worrying again, because she doesn't feel deeply rooted and safe in her body. All this external statistics and knowledge to feel safe because you don't feel safe in your body. The fears come back up, the worries come backed up. And it's this like thirst that can never be quenched.

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.

My name is Lea, I am the woman behind trusting birth Instagram account, I have a podcast wise women diaries, and I am passionate about both of these avenues. I'm a very passionate person. So today's conversation, you know might vary over a few different topics, although we're going to try to focus on maiden to mother but also the root of it of why women don't feel safe in their body. Why are they constantly so busy? Why can they not sit in slowness and stillness. So I've been a photographer for about 14 years, maybe I was a wedding photographer. And then now I do in home candid pictures of families and children. A few years ago, I discovered the concept of unassisted birth. And how midwives can act like doctors. And this blew the lid open on learning about unassisted birth and the truth of the medical system of birth. And through the years of learning about this and gaining friends that free birth and are aligned with my values, I now see that I created my birth account, basically for children, for the babies coming in, that deserve to be born in peace and love. That's what babies deserve. I love women, and I want women to be in their power and out I want women to know themselves and to advocate for themselves and learn their intuition. I am a challenger of the status quo. It's all in the defense of children. So that's what I'm passionate about. But it's so interesting, because my journey is that I haven't got pregnant in 10 years. I want a child and that is not what life has given me. And instead what life has given me was blooming from immature, feminine energy, a wounded maiden that is blaming everyone else for her life playing the victim and not taking responsibility and blooming into the mature feminine woman that takes responsibility for her life, and does not rely on authority figures to tell her anything about her body or what she should do. And so my life journey has been magical and amazing. And I've been with my husband for 17 years. And I'm 35 and I'm in awe with the unfolding of life.

What does it mean for you to feel it for a woman to feel safe in her body? And how does a woman know if she doesn't feel safe in her body?

I think this is the epidemic with women because women I think it's it's this primal feeling that we are we are inferior in our physical body compared to men and women have been hurt by the masculine for forever. Most females most women have this deep, deep, deep underlying wound of not being safe in their body not feeling safe in this world. And I would argue that that is the core wound have almost every single woman. So that shows up in daily life in dysregulation nervous system. And that's a that's a buzz word nowadays. But it's because it's what's needed. Women are hyper vigilant, and so consumed with worries and fears and anxiety, because they don't feel safe in their life in their body. Because of their past. They haven't sat in stillness, and slowness and reckon with their past, how they have been hurt by the masculine or just in life in general. Like my dad died tragically when I was 12. So I have a masculine wound from age 12, not at the fault of my fathers. That's just life. So I learned at 12 years old, that life is unsafe, because things get taken away from you. But I also learned the truth of life, that we are all mortal. And we can die any day. And that has been my biggest gift in life, is that I don't take anything for granted. And I constantly keep death in my, in my weekly life to orient, am I proud of who I am being, am I proud of the life I'm living, because I'm not guaranteed anything. So my dad's death, you know, created this masculine shield within me, which is what women have women don't feel safe in this world. So the truth is masculine shield of I am going to be hyper dependent, independent, and I don't need to rely on a man and I need to control everything. I need to control my husband, I need to control my children, I need to control my birth, I need to control my whole world because I don't feel safe. And that's what my journey has shown me. And I think it's true for most women.

And Leah, do you think that? How does this influence a woman when she becomes pregnant? And when she gives birth? I mean, if a woman is more in her masculine energy, which it sounds like, your theory is that most women are coming into pregnancy and birth more in their masculine energy. How does that impact their birth? What does it look like? And, and how is a woman to know?

Because she doesn't trust herself. She doesn't trust her baby, she doesn't trust her body. She needs all the science, all the statistics, all the authority figures telling her she's safe telling, giving her evidence that everything's gonna be fine. She's seeking external evidence for proof that she's safe, and nothing's ever enough. When she goes, gets an ultrasound, that shows everything's okay. In a few days, she'll start worrying again, because she doesn't feel deeply rooted and safe in her body. And so it's this, women have this masculine shield that also causes them to need all this masculine logic and knowledge. And that's not inherently bad. It's just so unbalanced. All this external statistics and knowledge to feel safe because you don't feel safe in your body. We describe this slightly different. But I think it's a similar concept as being in your left hemisphere of your brain, as opposed to your right hemisphere of your brain and birth, pregnancy, and breastfeeding are all extremely right brained activities. And we want to be in that left brain and trying to control as you said, or just analyze plot plan dictate. When really, in order for our body to work best in order for us to actually trust that our body's going to work best we have to get out of that zone and into the feminine right side freeflowing intuitive side. So how do we do that?

Yeah, I think the answer is always facing your demons facing the things in the dark closet, you don't want to open facing what you actually are afraid of. So most pregnant women or pregnant women in birth, are so afraid of so many things. So you get in. Most women get inundated with fear. Because with pregnancy and birth, you are giving birth to life and the the truth of life is that death is always present. And most people cannot face the truth that death is possible and is present all the time. I can die right now. A baby can die right now and it is so freakin scary. So it's facing the most terrifying, uncomfortable truths. And if you can't, you will keep running and running and running and running and seeking external information. authority figures like doctors, but it's never enough. Because the fears come back up, the worries come backed up. And it's this like thirst that can never be quenched.

We talked in a recent episode about how we will never be able to provide 100% guarantee to any woman that her pregnancy and birth is safe. We wish we could but like you said, chasing it is what builds the anxiety that she might take into her birth. And even when they do these non stress tests, which I'm typically very opposed to, I'm very opposed to, especially routinely, as soon as they do one. They say okay, come back and do your next one. And it's this holding your breath feeling waiting for this, this this ball to drop. We did an episode that is very meaningful to us. It was way back in the beginning Episode 14, it was a stillbirth roundtable and we brought together three women who had experienced stillbirth. Second baby for two of them. First baby for one of them. They did an extraordinary job sharing their experience, they spent the first 30 minutes of taking about 10 minutes each telling their stories. But then in the second half of that hour, they talked about we really focused on how the people who care about them. In the harsh words, all US failed them didn't really give them what they needed, through their suffering was like they got all of this support for about a week. And then everyone never wanted to speak again, ever again about their babies. And these women just want to scream like, I'm thinking about my baby 24/7 You can never remind me about my baby, if you bring it up, I'm not going to start crying a new because you reminded me about this situation. I think your point is making me think of all this because these women, a 1% of women in this country go through stillbirth, and they're in a society that doesn't want to ever talk about death. They want to just truly pretend it's not happening. And these women suffer so much more isolation than they need to, because that's the society they're in, their suffering is so much greater. And for the women who are blessed with healthy, thriving babies, they can hardly enjoy it. There's this foreboding Joy hovering over them because they are constantly afraid something is about to happen to their babies.

And that and the side effects of never being willing to look at death, never being willing to talk about it never been willing to accept that. Sometimes pregnancy is not perfect. Sometimes birth goes awry, no matter what we do, we don't have 100% control. The side effect of that is that we intervene excessively, we excessively monitor, we excessively worry, we excessively dig at women to try to find a problem. Basically, we're looking for that problem in order to avert the possibility of death, the possibility that nature is just going to do what nature does.

Control. It's just obsession with control to try to control your worst fear from happening. And it's when our force fear does happen. You know, like when I was 12, and my dad died, I learned, okay, I don't have control and be at such a young age. I was very unconscious and unaware of life. And so I created this hyper masculinity of, of control to try to feel safe. So the masculine shield of women of the hyper control is to try to feel safe, and it doesn't work. It's our coping mechanism. But it doesn't work.

It doesn't make us safer. It might, it might have the opposite effect, because we change our actions and our decisions based on that fear. So let me let me ask you some very direct questions that I know everyone is thinking right now. And I'm so curious about I have really two that are coming to mind. One is if you were pregnant and expecting a baby, would you refuse all and any Reliance or dependency on the medical community whatsoever? Would you truly have no. Check on your baby at all? Would you just follow your intuition and have a free birth? And would that be the end of it? Where would you have support? I mean, it was certainly at some point. Where would you have that support? What's your position on that?

Yeah, I have most amazing friends. I've friends at birth unassisted at home that truly have my same values. And so I, if I were to birth in the future, I would have like my husband or a friend or two supporting me, but I would not utilize the medical system in any situation unless I was my body was showing a symptom that I felt required medical attention. So I would never take Because I haven't been to the doctor, I'm 35. I haven't been to the doctor since I was 18, I think. So if I don't go to the doctor right now, with my current body, why would I go when I'm pregnant? It's just totally out of my realm of how I live. But if I got pregnant, eight years ago, I would have immediately hired a midwife or a doctor, because I was in that programming of when you get pregnant, you hire a medical professional, I just, I didn't understand that midwives could be wolves in sheep's clothing.

Let me ask Oh, yes, indeed, they can. Let me ask the follow up question to that. What about the real? As you are aware more than anyone, right? What about the real possibility that something could be wrong in any pregnancy? And the possibility that intervention could potentially save a baby? So my guess is you're going to say that your plan would be to tap into your intuition along the way. And that if your intuition told you something was wrong, that's when you would intervene? Because I don't want I'm wondering if listeners will think you are just throwing caution into the wind. And we have that the women who would say, oh, that's crazy, something could be wrong, and she'd never know it. But I know you have an answer to that. I know you've thought about that already. What is it? What's the response? Is it that your intuition would guide you and you would know if something's wrong?

My intuition, because I know it so well, because I know that worry is not my intuition. Because I know, intrusive fears are not my intuition. I have been learning my intuition for more than a decade now. And it's been a really long process. And so if a woman is not rooted in safety in her body, she thinks worries or intuition, but they're not. And so she just said that in a recent recording, she just said, is very loud. Fears loud. She was quiet. And it's intuition. Yeah.

Yeah, exactly. And, and if you've had circumstance or circumstance showing you a big fear came from something you read, or something you saw on Instagram, there's, there's there's a paths you can use, it's like a breadcrumb path you could usually follow, like a fear or intrusive thoughts usually comes from something in the past that you read recently or from way in the past. And intuition. My my experience with intuition is you cannot make sense of it. There's no way to explain intuition, because it doesn't make logical sense. And I've been learning my intuition so deeply, but but also my body would tell me, my, the communication and connection with a body like going without going to the medical system without a sign, to me is asking for their interventions. And so it's just like, I will go to the medical system for a specific intervention, not for surveillance, because once you open up your womb to their surveillance, they can give you a list of a dozen things that they want to do to you. And it's when you open their womb, your womb, to the system, that you invite all of their fear, because they're rooted in fear. I'm not aligned with the medical systems values, they are terrified of death, they are terrified of fear, I am not aligned with their values. So I would only go to them for a specific intervention.

So for example, if you were going to give birth at home assisted by trusted people who you felt would keep you safe. Would you in your pregnancy, do something like a anatomy scan to ensure that your baby could be born safely at home and wouldn't need immediate intervention? Or would you trust that you would have a sense of that, because that would be a difficult thing for any person to even have their body, give them that indication?

I don't see myself doing that. Because like I said, once you open up your body to the system, they can literally tell you a few things that you didn't know before or that they're worried about that may not even be true. And so then starts a cascade of fear and you open your body up to them. And now you're they're telling you all these fears and and what ifs and possibilities, which they're not God. They, they act like God, but to me, all of it is stories and the stories So if I stayed home, my baby would have died. Or if I didn't have a C section, my baby would have died. These are all stories. And yes, the evidence could really point to that. But I am so aware of the ego mind in our body, and our wisdom in their body or soul. They're two totally different voices. And the ego mind creates stories like, if I didn't do this, my baby would have died, it creates this story, so that we can have peace, so that we have meaning in the events that happened. And that's not bad. We're just a human trying to have meaning and peace in our life. But most of these stories cannot be proven, as fact, doctors might say it, but I question everything. And I think most of these stories are stories, and they cannot be proven, because we cannot know for 100%. In fact, what would have happened, if we chose a different choice, we will never know. And that's the unknown that we can never know. And that's uncomfortable. So we just tried to make peace with the story that that occurred. I'd love to talk a little bit more about the concept of maiden versus mother. And what the maiden is, who is that woman? What does she look like? How does she behave? And how does a woman make this transition from maiden to mother? And how does she know? She's made that transition? And how does she behave differently? Other than what we've already kind of discussed? Just you know, being more in your feminine being more trusting? Are their life events that transform a woman from maiden to mother? Or does it just happen at a certain age? Does it happen with birth?

Yeah, I love this topic. The maiden is a beautiful time in our lives, it's when we're younger, in our 20s, and we're discovering who we are. And we're the princess. And we want male validation and, and authority figures telling us what to do, because we don't know who we are, we're figuring out who we are. And all of us can relate to that, because we've all lived that. But also, what happens in those mating years, often is that we are hurt, or we are told that we are too much or too loud or too emotional. That's called the wounded maiden where we are kind of shamed for aspects of ourself or too much or too long or too needy or too emotional. And so these are aspects of our maiden that we shame ourselves for, and we try to hide and we we can't reckon with these parts of ourselves. So then we have this shadow part of maiden where we want to be the victim, we want authority figures telling us what to do, because we don't know who we are, we don't know how to trust ourselves, we don't know our intuition. And that's us in our early 20s. But when we have a child, that is usually the best time to make the transition from made into mother, which is immature, feminine energy, it's a maturation process. Any time that there's a huge identity shift in your life, you get a divorce, you lose a job, suddenly, it's this dark underworld experience in your life. You're like, who am I? Who am I? And so it's the made into mothers a dying process to be reborn as a new woman, which every women, every woman goes through this process in different ways. But childbirth, and becoming a parent is the best opportunity for most women, because most women go through that.

Although a lot of women don't make that transition, and exactly first birth, but it seems more like a initiation that happens when a person goes through a, as you said, it's a dark experience, a dark night of the soul type of process, where exactly go deep into some sort of major life transition. And becoming a mother is one of those things. And maybe the woman who goes through a birth trauma experience accelerates that process.

Yes, so a lot of women in their first birth experience, plead the victim and want saving because they've never done it before. They don't know what they're doing. They don't feel confident. But then if birth trauma happens, like you're told your baby is going to die in the union C section. That is insane trauma of WoW, yes, I am not safe in this world. My body's not safe. So then it reaffirms that wound of safety Enos and then it's like, I wasn't enough for my baby. My body is dangerous. So I can't trust myself. I need to trust doctors, and most women have birth trauma on some level. I think a lot of women don't need and recognize it I think their body feels it. We we've been get so gaslit of what abuse and trauma is. And so women are in their first postpartum in this insane underworld experience of darkness of who am I? What am I doing? But I think that they're confronted with, with such stillness for the first time in their life present. A baby is here to give you presents, can you receive a baby's presence? That's why they're here. They're here to give you presence and stillness and slowness. And most women cannot sit in that they abort, they abort the maiden, the mother transition and run back to maiden hood. Because all of that too unsafe?

Well, yeah, I have to make a comment on that. Because the most precious time in life for me in the time of life that I would live in permanently is the first two weeks of a baby's life. That is my bliss. And it never really dawned on me that that's probably why, because it is the most present I will ever be in any situation ever. And it's it's not easy for women to do that. For me, it's it's just, it's, that's it, that's what I crave. It's natural. But I know how we talked to women all the time about how important it is to stay in the bed to just be with your baby to just be skin to skin. And it's very hard for people.

Well, women were taught that their value and their worth is in their sexy body and then making money and being busy and being productive. And so if you're sitting in a bed with a baby, your wound of worthiness is blasted open. You have to sit with that, and most women can't. How do you know when you're hearing your own good intuition? How do you know? Where do you get that certainty from? What is that like?

Well, I've been sitting with myself for years. So I saw the difference between fight or flight and my body dysregulation. clammy hands, butterflies in the stomach, shallow chest breathing, that's survival. That's when your stress hormones are running rampant, or does on adrenaline are pumping through your body every day. So that's why women can't sleep. That's why women have anxiety. We're inducing these stress hormones on our daily life. And if your body's in survival, you can't hear your intuition. Because your stress hormones are predominantly in your body. So if your body's in survival mode, you are scanning your environment for threats. So you can't even access your intuition. And then there's the whole conversation of birth control, which has numbed ourselves from hormones. And people have said, they were in like a coma state, and then they got off birth control. And then they actually came alive. So there's that whole conversation too. But I have gotten so in tune with my body that I'm in rest and digest. I have a peaceful nervous system every day. Like it ramped up a little bit before this podcast, because this is a different thing in my normal day, but I shouldn't have a ramped up butterflies in my stomach feeling on my normal day. It's unexplainable. That's intuition.

So how do you distinguish that voice from the voice that's saying, whatever other voices, you know, those other thoughts that we have rambling in our head, the monkey mind going all the time and, and then there's this clarity of thought that sometimes comes through. But I guess this is something that you just really people really have to practice and it's like a strengthening a muscle and you're not going to catch it every time in the beginning. But as you start to catch it and listen to it and observe the downstream effect, you start trusting it more.

Yeah, totally. It's a muscle that you have to practice. And it's been a really long, long practice has been so many years. And years ago, I look back and I really thought I understood my intuition. But now I am to a greater level. And so I think the monkey mind is always the monkey mind that has fears and worries is usually attached to feeling and logic. How did

you get to that point? How did you get to living in rest and digest? How did you face the anxiety and get rid of that and live in a different state do you meditate? How much do you meditate? What else do you do? Do you do body work? What's your journey and what's your recommendation?

It's what do you value? What do you value? I value peace. I Value Trust. So I orient everything in my life to that. Most people say they trust and then they're acting out of fear, because they have this monkey mind selling them fears all the time. And then they act on the fears. I have fears in my mind. But I have this awareness level of knowing. That's my monkey mind. That's fear. And I don't take action from fear. I have fears I have worries just like everyone else, but it's our power of choice is acting on it. So my value systems are peace, trust, taking radical responsibility for my life. So taking radical responsibility for my life is noticing when I acted in fear, or noticing, when I didn't listen to my intuition, and then learning for the next time, reflecting on your experiences, I think, you know, to your point of the nervous system, like when the nervous system is highly activated, we really can't hear what's what's real, and what's true. So anything that a woman can do to calm her nervous system, self care, walks, exercise, good night's sleeps, whatever it is, I think personally, meditation is transformative for learning to trust yourself, and trust your intuition, because it is actually getting you into that deep state of relaxation, where even if you're not good at it, you eventually get good at it. It's a muscle, like anything else that requires exercise. But those intuitive thoughts actually can come to you, in those quiet moments, like the truth can actually just download in those moments.

I just want to invite women to become aware of their body, their body sensations, the thoughts in their mind, the worries in their mind, because you can't change what you're not aware of. And so once we become aware, then we could just be curious. But just worried about that. That's interesting. Oh, I just reacted to my child. Oh, that's interesting. It's about becoming aware. And when we become aware, that's when we can really create our lives the way we want. That's how we can create a life of peace is first we have to see all of the moments of chaos that we cause. And it's in the moments of stillness and presence that we receive, especially from babies and children because that's their gift. Their gift is so many things like unconditional love, and forgiveness, but it's the presence that they offer every day will you receive their presence.

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.

It just dawned on me that when people say right mind, they don't mean right mind like your correct mind. It means your right mind, your right brain and your thought.

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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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