Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum & childcareResources & perspectives to help you align more with your unique desires
The Intention of This Space
Our intention is to answer your questions and share about our journey, plus offer you resources that we have found helpful. Our desire is to empower you to have the pregnancy and birth that you desire, tapping into whatever feels in alignment for you. Or, to enjoy the process of learning more about pregnancy and birth and through that more about yourself. You are the expert on you. We will be adding to this page as time passes.
Q&A ABOUT OUR PREGNANCY, BIRTH, POSTPARTUM & CHIldcare
The following Q&A was created in 2018-2019, and answered by Brittany during her pregnancy.
I’m so glad that you’ve decided to share from this raw beginning…why did you decide to open up and share and how did those early discussions with Conor look like about how/when to share with your badass tribe?
Sharing about my experience with a desire to inspire others to live their most authentic life has been a passion of mine for so many years and I’ve grown accustomed to doing it through my YouTube Channel and Conor and I have done so through ours. We have always felt really excited to share about this journey too! In the beginning we thought we would share everything right away and noticed that we actually wanted a couple of weeks time initially to feel all the changes out for myself, so we waited a whole 3 weeks or so ;).
How do you handle/respond to people who think the natural route you are taking is dangerous? For most, monitored home births are considered extreme. The reproduction disconnect is so incredible it’s hard for most to fathom a true natural birth.
This is a great question. I really like the way you phrased it. I feel like over the years sharing my unconventional life through YouTube and other social media platforms, I have become accustomed to having different thoughts and feelings on many topics than others. The main thing I have learned is that it feels like it matters most how we share, not what we share. I feel like I can talk about topics with just about anyone, no matter if our views link up at the time or not, by holding space to hear what is important to them and to validate their experience, and to share my feelings and experiences if I feel there is space for me and genuine curiosity on their end, without a desire for those to be their beliefs too. Truly, I want above all for us all to feel loved and heard and seen, so that is what I stay focused on most of all. I try to embrace the continual practice in holding a loving space of understanding and reflection for others, even, or maybe especially, when they are feeling triggered or charged.
I have also found how valuable it is to share my experience, and how many people tell me that they have had positive, life-changing impacts that were sparked or encouraged by some of my shares. It feels so exhilarating to know that we can make such a difference when we share from the heart in this way.
I know you have had sessions with your friend and holistic doctor. Do you plan on working closer with her during your pregnancy and early childhood years? Over the past 5 years I’ve really enjoyed consulting with Dr. Tumi Johnson if I’m looking for more guidance on with a health-related experience (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual- since it’s usually all of them!). I had a great session with her at the beginning of my pregnancy and like knowing that she and I can link up again if I feel a desire to during pregnancy, postpartum, and to talk about baby or young child things. I don’t have any expectations of whether or not I will choose to do this, though as I have had around 1-2 sessions a year with her the past couple years, I imagine I may be really excited to do so!
This is just out of curiosity: you guys previously mentioned that you will not be doing antenatal ultrasounds or any medical monitoring, but do you guys measure the growth/progress of the pregnancy by measuring symphysis fundal height?
Ooh, great question. So far (now at 22 weeks), we haven’t. However we are open to doing this if it sounds fun to us in the future, which I could see it being! We are similarly excited to play around with a fetoscope, to listen to our baby’s heartbeat.
When is your due date?
We are “due” June 1st, 2019.
Have you changed your diet/eating habits since getting pregnant?
The biggest change has been my eating window. Prior to this I was eating in a 3-4 hour eating window daily, and fasting the rest of the day. Around 5 weeks of pregnancy, I found that my body was asking for more regular meals throughout the day, which helped with feelings of nausea. Now, at 12 weeks, I am eating less frequently, though still throughout the day and that is feeling good.
For the most part, my diet is similar. I have been tuning in to what feels right for me during this time more than ever, and I feel that my connection with myself (and baby) has never felt stronger or more sure. Some of the changes I have noticed feeling naturally coming through me so far are:
*Eating an even cleaner, more fresh, natural diet. I feel really repelled by things like artificial ingredients, stevia, and some other things that I would eat occasionally as a treat.
*Many of you have asked if I will continue to eat a raw diet during pregnancy or incorporate cooked foods. I have been eating both raw and cooked plant-based foods for some time, based on what feels right. There’s a lot of things that don’t feel good in my body, such as grains, legumes, and often nuts and seeds, so my cooked foods tend to be more like veggies, which I love.
*I am not currently having the “elixir” (which consisted of a multivitamin and some nutritional supplements) I was at the beginning of my eating window in the months prior to pregnancy as it sounds repulsive.
*I am not eating anything that sounds or tastes repulsive.
*I have not been wanting many “heavy” feeling foods.
*I am trying to stay especially well hydrated.
Do you worry about b12 deficiency?
I did feel worried about getting enough b12 some years ago, and I began supplementing at that time. It is not a concern of mine anymore.
Are you taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy?
Thanks for your curiosity. I am still feeling out how I feel about supplementation and how effective it feels for me personally at this time. Meanwhile, I’ve found that it feels better for me than not to take a prenatal vitamin while I continue to feel this out and focus on getting the nutrients I need from whole foods.
What if that beautiful soul decided to crave meat would you do it? I’ve heard of other plant-based mamas having some weird cravings during pregnancy.
I feel really open to listening to my body and my baby and doing whatever feels best for us. There is nothing that comes to mind as a “hard no” that I refuse to do no matter what. I am so into tapping into what feels right for me, considering options, and going from there. I have yet to feel any desire to have meat or other animal products during this pregnancy or during my time eating a plant-based diet.
Have you made any changes to your partner acrobatics practice since becoming pregnant and if so, what are they?
The short answer is “yes.” Change is an inevitable and welcomed part of the journey of being the bearer of this growing being inside of me, and a care-giver to them afterwards. I am currently 17 weeks pregnant and already, I have gone through many changes with my Acro practice, and I know shifts will continue to occur. What is feeling most important to me above all is to be open to what feels right to me each day, each moment. To share a bit more about Acro specifics, here’s a bit of what I’ve experienced so far. During the first few months of pregnancy, I played a lot less and rested a lot more than I had been previously. In the last month or so, I’ve had much more energy and a desire to move and play. There are certain ways that feel important for me to be extra caring in honoring my body and this being right now. One of those things is choosing (with few calculated exceptions) just to play Acro with Conor for now. He and I are so synced up in our practice and we have developed a number of modifications to accommodate my pregnant body. Such modifications include only practicing moves that are “tried and true,” nothing new, nothing that we have the potential of coming out of in a way that wouldn’t be ideal right now. We have also made changes to the way Conor is basing me in L-basing moves, particularly those that would otherwise involve his feet being on my lower abdomen. We have moved his feet down lower to support my upper legs and turned his toes out. And our practice continues to unfold and change daily and moment to moment. In the past few days we have both been called inward and are feeling a desire for more of a yin space in our movement practices, and feeling the unfolding of new shifts in our Acro practice, with a desire to gravitate towards more hand to hand and foot to hand play, and fewer dynamic movements overall. Thanks to everyone who has expressed a curiosity to understand more about this area of my life. I am looking forward to continually sharing here about more of all the things as they unfold.
Are you having any tests during your pregnancy? Without tests and ultrasounds how will you ensure that the baby is healthy?
No, we are not having any sort of tests. We feel very linked to this soul and sense that we are having a very healthy pregnancy and baby, and all signs point to this. For us, ultrasound technology feels intrusive, potentially dangerous and not necessary. If anything were arising for baby that could be detected by an ultrasound, I cannot imagine that there is anything we would do differently.
Since you didn’t do a pregnancy test or get an ultrasound, or go to a doctor, how do you know what week of pregnancy you are in?
I’ve been tracking my moon cycle for a couple of years and know when I’m ovulating, so we knew when I was fertile and when we could get pregnant. Then, I had this amazing experience of feeling my egg being fertilized, and the incredible physical and spiritual awakening that was (which I share about on my podcast).
I know you’ve got some resources on your website but has there been someone particularly influential when it comes to new parents and natural births?
Yes. I’m really digging Indie Birth, along with the other resources I’ve recommended on this page below, such as the Free Birth Society. Also, I have found my friend and badass blogger Chantel Quick to be a source of inspiration for me here. And Jin Sowelu is a lovely being and now friend who I first heard about free birth from and watched her birth story, which changed my life.
Are you less nauseous now?
Yes! Thank you for asking. I am now at 12.5 weeks, and feeling nauseous every day still, but it’s a lot less intense. Ditto on the exhaustion. The nausea seemed to be at it’s peak for me between 5-9 weeks. I think I’ve also gotten more accustomed to it and have made lifestyle changes that help.
Do you think it’s safe to have orgasms while pregnant? I’ve heard it can lead to miscarriage..?
I have been very much enjoying orgasms during my pregnancy so far. I have not heard of this. However, I think if it’s something that is coming up for you in any way, or something you are curious about, it sounds worth feeling into more for yourself. I am enjoying tuning into my body and reading any signs that something doesn’t feel good, as I always tend to do, and making alterations if any based on that. I feel like I’m the only expert on my body and that we are all really the ultimate sources of understanding and care for ourselves.
Do you have names picked out?
We have a name picked out for this beautiful being and have for some time now :). We look forward to sharing it with the world when they transition from my womb to their own space in the world. We also have a nickname, which we have been calling them for years, ever since we first started to connect with this sweet soul, which is “Jaja.”
Will you find out the sex of your child and why or why not?
No. We are not interested in finding out the sex of our child. This is why I feel this way…
Because it does not matter to me and will not make a difference to me in any area of their life or mine. Because it does not feel natural for me to find out (in terms of the methods that would be used to discover this). Appreciating their whole body for the first time when they immerse from my body will be a beautiful moment and I look forward to appreciating their whole being just as they are in that moment.
How common is it to hear, “are you having a boy or a girl?” or , “are you going to find out if you are having a boy or a girl?” Or even, “are you going to find out the gender of your child?” (as opposed to the “sex”).
There’s so much I feel when I hear these questions. The first is, what about the beautiful beings who aren’t a “boy” or a “girl”, such as intersex individuals, who make up some 2% of all births (on par with the percentage of redheads, by the way). How come nobody is asking me if I’m going to find out if I’m having an intersex baby? I would be honored to. I would be honored to have any being who chose me as their caregiver, as I have chosen them as my child.
The other big thing that comes up for me is around people’s assumptions. When someone says they are having a (insert baby’s sex here), the person who is asking most likely already has an idea in mind about who this being is going to be. They have a sense of what would be “appropriate” for them or not, based on their own experiences, they may have an idea of specific items of clothing or toys they would want to give this child, or ways they will interact with them. And they most likely also assume a gender based on the sex that they have just heard the child will be. I am not interested in any of that. I’d so much rather focus on other areas of sharing about who this child is and for each person to get to know them and to celebrate and support them as the individual they are and the individual they are always choosing to become.
LABOR AND BIRTH
Are you going to have a home birth?
Yes, we are looking forward to being at home during our labor and birth.
Will you be having an all natural birth?
Yes, it is very much our vision to have a natural, undisturbed birth. I imagine that however it unfolds will be natural and right for me and us.
Will you guys have a midwife or doula?
As of now, we don’t feel a desire to have a midwife or doula physically present at our birth. Thanks for asking!
Do you plan on having any assistance during your delivery?
We are envisioning a beautiful undisturbed birth. As I’m feeling into it right now, it feels almost inaccurate to call it unassisted, as I know that I am going to feel so supported in the process. I envision Jaja and I leading the way, along with the universe, my intuition, and all the magic that doesn’t fit into words, plus Conor’s amazing loving support, intuition, and knowledge around us all.
I am curious about your interested in having a free birth/unassisted birth
On the deepest level, the reason I am envisioning having a free birth is because it is what feels natural and intuitive to me. If I were to have turned off the chatter around me in society long ago and truly checked in with what felt right for me, I would have known this always. And as this is the way I now live, deeply in touch with myself, this is what feels true and right for me to do.
I understand and innately feel birth as a normal, physiological process. We are not taught how to poop or sneeze. Our bodies know what to do. There is no fret over them happening or not, or if we are doing them “right.” We see this in birth with other animals as well. There was no doula at the birth of my cat’s first litter of kittens. She followed all her innate instincts and birthed on her own, as is customary and normal. This is how I choose to birth. Like my innate, animal self. Following all my normal, human instincts.
I am so looking forward to sharing the journey of this beautiful being’s arrival with them, with me, and with the support of Conor in our home (or whatever beautiful, comforting place we happen to be when it all unfolds). Haha, probably in our home. But hey, if we happened to be on a walk in the woods and things happened surprisingly fast, that sounds magical too.
Honestly, it feels like the most natural, obvious thing, now that I have recognized this desire to birth freely. Allowing and welcoming the natural physiological process of “labor” and “birth” to unfold as they will feels deeply resonant, satisfying, freeing, and real. It is so obvious to me, the more I sync into this knowing, that my body will complete this normal process, just as it does all the other physiological processes that being a human require. There is nothing I really need to do. And the best ways I can prepare are all the things I am doing regularly, in my daily life to become a more grounded, healthy, more self-loving, whole being.
I am an animal. I am a human animal and I am looking forward to birthing with my animal instincts and this sweet being’s, plus the added support of Conor, who knows, loves and supports us both beyond comprehension.
There are so many ways I keep coming back to this truth for me and I’m enjoying the unfolding of discovering new ones all the time.
Are you planning on having a water birth?
I’m planning on getting a birthing tub so I can enjoy that space during as much of labor and birth as it feels right for me to at the time. I’m so open to however baby and I are wanting to move together at that time, and the environments that are calling to us most.
Will you be filming your birth?
Yes, we are planning on filming and sharing the labor and birth with the world later on if it feels right. Also, it is a priority for us to feel like we can be very present during all of the time of labor and birth, and recognize that we may not be able to also coordinate filming everything as we would ideally like. We are sure it will all unfold beautifully one way or another and we hope to have some great footage to share.
If you have any issues throughout your pregnancy/during labour (I hope you don’t though!) would you consider seeing a doctor?
I am not sure what issues you are thinking of specifically. There are very few things I could imagine coming up that I would not feel better supporting on my own or with the help of a support system that feels right for me. I don’t find myself drawn to Western medical assistance in general. I am also not so set on not seeing a doctor that I wouldn’t if it ever felt right for me.
I know you are against western medicine & I’d love to hear more about why you feel that way. If during your birth you need medical assistance what is your plan? Would you go to the ER?
I don’t feel that I am against anything in particular, western medicine included. I notice that I am not drawn to western medical practices in general. I don’t find myself excited to think about them, or medical settings. I have never had a desire to receive medical attention in this way around something. I think that in general the western medical system is a business that does not function well for the ways I am aligning in my life. The system focuses on treating symptoms, not underlying causes and in my opinion it involves huge amounts of unnecessary intervention. Overall I do not feel that it encourages alignment with one’s natural rhythms and true self.
(See above answer for the second part of this question).
Since you aren’t engaging in western medicine practices and are planning a home birth, do you plan on someone letting a hospital know or something? So that your baby can get a birth certificate and such?
We do not see any reason to let a hospital know about our birth. We are going to get a birth certificate through the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, as is protocol with such births. I am not sure what else you may be thinking of when you said “and such.”
Will you be keeping the placenta and umbilical cord attached until it falls off?
We are interested in a lotus birth. We are excited to learn more about it and feel it out. For now we are sure that we won’t be detaching baby from the cord anytime soon after birth, and we very well may be keeping it attached until it falls off on its own.
What are your plans for the postpartum period?
I am super excited about the postpartum time! I’ve been soaking up a lot of wisdom from beings who have written books and created podcasts on this topic. As of now, I’m envisioning a sacred 40 day period for us all, where Jaja and I can share ample skin-to-skin contact, rest, learn one another in a new way, rest, and enjoy the gentle transitions. There are so many details I look forward to sharing about in the future around this time period. I feel that the importance of it cannot be stressed enough.
Are you planning to breastfeed? For how long?
Heck yes! I am SO pumped about breastfeeding. It just feels like one of the most magical abilities that our bodies have! I’m eager to be a part of that and to share this special space with Jaja. I feel really open to how long feels right for us to breastfeed together, though I imagine it will be for a number of years, until they naturally wean themselves.
Are you worried about post-birth depression? You are such positive person, but this can get everyone.
This doesn’t feel like something that has come up for me as a fear, or something I’m putting energy into worrying about. I have a great intellectual understanding and internal sense of the hormones of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and the natural cycles that can occur. I feel like the whole process is beautiful, and being present with each part of the journey feels key for me. As does nurturing myself. I have a great plan for my postpartum time and feel really confident that it’s going to be a great experience for me, as well as for Jaja and Conor.
CHILD CARE AFTER BIRTH
Where did your baby’s nickname “Jaja” come from? Did it just come to you guys or did something inspire it?
That’s a fun question! Thanks for asking. A couple years ago, while getting excited about creating life together, we began talking about names for a future child and both had one that we loved in particular. From that name, we created the nickname, Jaja. We have since changed our future child’s name, though it is still quite similar to the original one that we chose, so we are wanting to wait to share it with the world until Jaja is outside of my womb.
Would love to hear your thoughts on circumcision if you have a boy, but I think your answer would an astounding no.
Haha, the way you phrased that makes me chuckle. You are correct. I am not interested in altering the state of my baby’s natural body, especially in a way that I think is highly intrusive, traumatic, unnecessary, and desensitizes the penis.
Are you planning on vaccinating your child?
We have recently received a lot of questions about this. We honestly have not gotten to talking about this yet, as we are really excited about pregnancy and soaking up info about birth at the moment. We are looking forward to feeling more into this and considering all the information and options that feel important to us when the time feels right. We look forward to sharing it with you then.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and fears here. I can understand feeling that way. We are very much looking forward to this part of our journey with our child. We imagine we will all feel it out together and just have a blast exploring life and the world, and that all continuing to learn as we go will be a natural part of it. We are not interested in any sort of traditional schooling. Is schooling anarchy a term yet? Maybe you could say we will “unschool.”
Will you be using cloth diapers or would you be interested in elimination communication?
We are most excited about elimination communication. It feels natural to us that we would have this connection with our child from the beginning and foster routines around it together. We would love our baby to be in just their natural skin as often as possible and cannot imagine it is comfortable to have a diaper of any kind on. We imagine there will be certain situations where we may use cloth diapers.
Also, if for some reason you would not be able to breastfeed would you choose to use a vegan formula? If you can breastfeed how would you feel about pumping?
I haven’t put any energy into thinking about not being able to breastfeed. I feel so excited and connected with this part of our upcoming journey.
I don’t know how I would feel about pumping. It doesn’t sound appealing at the moment.
Why I don’t plan to raise my child with some assumption around a gender role they should adopt:
Because I don’t feel that there are worthwhile gender roles in our society to adopt, nor do I feel there are many “roles” or templates that our society has set up that I wish to adopt or encourage others to adopt as they are. I actually cannot think of any such role.
I have a desire for this being I am currently carrying in my womb, for me, for you, for everyone to be encouraged to be whoever they truly are and want to be, and/or to have a blast figuring this all out on their own journey and then to share that beautiful, unique being with the world.
I don’t see how gender is helpful in this at all, and I see so many ways that it is unhelpful. I am very eager to support my child in whatever they know is right for them. I imagine there are elements of expression that our society may recognize as being familiar through some expression of a certain gender role, which my child will express, to varying degrees, on various days.
I don’t believe they will need a word or a label to define who they are or to have a sense of self or to thrive, to feel loved, to feel empowered, to have an epic life. They can make it all up as they go along. And I imagine they and the world with be such a more beautiful place for it.
Meanwhile, I feel through my experience with the world (as well as Conor’s and so many other people I know and have heard from), feeling confined to a gender designated to us has felt limiting, to say the least, and sometimes deeply traumatizing.
Conor and I both enjoy being unique beings. I don’t feel I need a word to describe my “gender,” some social construct that really has nothing to do with me and is not of my creation, though since it’s often helpful to use words to share about how we are feeling, I feel that words like “gender-nonconforming,” “gender-anarchist,” “non-binary,” “gender-queer,” “queer,” “gender-neutral” all feel accurate enough for how I would describe myself in that area at this time.
There are so many ways to refer to a being that do not suggest a gender or stick someone into a box that someone else has created for them, or more accurately, that everyone else they interact with will have their own assumption of what it looks like. I am eager to play around with fun ways to share about them with others, and for starters imagine I will just use their name when talking about them :).
“The Indie Birth Private Contract Association is a source of inspiration and knowledge for the modern pregnant woman who knows that her body and her baby are wise; and for the modern birthkeeper who believes in these women as much as we do.”
Website | Podcast | Facebook | Instagram | Midwifery School | 13 Moons Course | Our Birth Story Shared on Indie Birth
Podcast Archive (easy to read topic titles)
Free Birth Society
“Welcome to Free Birth Society, where birth is wild and on your terms. Free Birth Society is a movement of women reclaiming their autonomy during pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood.”
Website | Podcast | Facebook | Instagram
Bauhauswife, Yolande Clark
“A writer, birth consultant, educator, and mum, I work with smart, independent women who are done with feeling disempowered by the myth that childbirth is a medical event from which we need to be delivered. I help mothers navigate the process of planning and manifesting their freebirth without fear.”
Website | Podcast | Facebook | Instagram
Dr. Tumi Johnson
“This holistic medical practice is dedicated to supporting people to live with optimal health while minimizing the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Here, the focus is on identifying the underlying roots of health issues, and offering holistic individualized therapeutic solutions that help people achieve and sustain their true wellness and vitality.”
Website | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook
Books We Recommend
There are a plethora of great books we are making our way through, which we recommend. Here are some of them:
Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley
Orgasmic Birth by Elizabeth Davis and Debora Pascali-Bonaro
Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Kaplan Shanley
Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read
The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
The First Forty Days by Heng Ou
Radical Unschooling by Dayna Martin
How Children Learn by John Holt
Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue by Christia Spears Brown
Resources on Specific Topics
These are some of my favorite podcasts, blogs, books, etc with more dedicated info on certain topics you may be curious about.
I also highly recommend Sarah Buckley’s Book (the first one recommended above), as she has a chapter thoroughly dedicated to this topic.
Meconium in Labor
Natural Menstrual Health
Siri’s Freebirth Story from the Indie Birth Podcast with Maryn Green
The Benefits of EC with Andrea Olson of the Go Diaper Free Podcast
Our Birth Story
Brittany & Conor filmed the freebirth of Ilya Greyfox so they could share it with the world.. They also recorded reflections on the experience of IIya’s emmergence into the world, both on Britt’s podcast and on Indie Birth Podcast, in an episode hosted by Maryn green. Conor also shares a written reflection on his experience.
You can be all of yourself and be a badass mama too