We live in a world that teaches us to battle our bodies. Fight your hunger. Battle your weight. The war on mental health. This omnipresent battle narrative makes it appear natural and the only choice is to battle our bodies.
Is there another way? Yes. In fact, there are lots of other ways.
My client, Kristin Leslie, joins us to discuss how challenging her self-doubt story, which included normalizing distrusting her body and voice, led to one of the peak experiences of her life in a home birth she never originally envisioned. This is a story most deeply about unlearning normal, including who you think you are.
In this inspiring episode, we discuss:
- How Kristin not talking until age four was a driving force in battling herself. Diets aggravated this battle but weren’t the original issue.
- How the media and stories about fearing birth originally influenced Kristin to assume she’d have a hospital birth (with her legs in stir-ups).
- The three keys that enabled her to see other birth options aside from “normal” and that can serve any of us looking for more satisfying choices outside of black and white thinking.
- How Kristin incrementally challenged her body doubt versus self-trust being one big epiphany of “this is the answer”. This was key when COVID hit and all her birth plans went side-ways.
- Navigating what we do and don’t have control over our bodies and how we can take charge of our stories to no longer feel powerless over food.
Interested in Truce with Food, where we take charge of the stories that make us feel powerless over food? Registration is open now. Check out this free sample of the Truce with Food Masterclass: I Want to Want to Eat Healthy
Kristin and Kiko
[00:00:09] AS: Went vegetarian, then paleo. You stopped restricting. You’re trying to love yourself more, but nothing seems to be working fully, and you might feel hopeless about ever feeling good in your body. And every time you fail, you trust yourself less.
As the larger world feels increasingly in peril, caring about how you feel in your body may feel frivolous and even more hopeless. We are at a time when our individual and collective stories about what to do for our bodies, health, and the world are crumbling. Because these stories we have, they aren’t working for how our bodies or our world actually works. And I believe centering our bodies, all bodies, not just thin, white or “good” bodies. And what all of our bodies need to thrive will help orient us in a better direction.
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet, exercise or way to bio hack. Good health is much less about willpower or discipline and more a complex interweb of our societal structures, food choices, emotional history, environmental exposures and privilege. There is a great loss of certainty in safety when we initially have to face what is real versus the half-truths we’ve been fed. But the loss of these stories creates an opening. If this opening is pursued with curiosity and discernment, we can discover our awe-inspiring ability to create and embody a new body story for our physical and political bodies and the earth.
I’m Ali Shapiro, and I host the Insatiable podcast. So we engage in the type of conversations that will lead us to radically new body stories for ourselves, each other, and the earth. To do that, we discuss a more truthful approach to freedom from cravings, emotional eating, binging and being all or nothing. We explore the hidden aspects of fighting our food, our weight, and our bodies and dive deep into nutrition and behavioral change science and true whole health.
But fair warning, this is NOT your parents’ health care or the conspiratorial crazy of the wellness world. This is a big rebel gathering to those who want to hold nuance, context and complexity in order to lead the way to a healthier future for all, because our lust for life is truly insatiable.
Hey, everybody, Ali here. Just two things before we get to today’s episode with my client, Kristen. First, we are going to be talking about birth today, specifically Kristen’s birth experience. It was a really, really empowering experience for her, in part, due to the Truce with Food work that we had done together. But what I want to say is if you are struggling with some birth trauma, or had some birth trauma that isn’t fully resolved, or hearing about other people’s empowering birth experiences might be triggering, you might not want to listen to today’s episode. Our highest hope for this episode was to just really inspire and let people know that the choices that we’ve often been given around our bodies aren’t the only ones available. So, of course, this episode applies to more than just birth. But if you didn’t have that sense of experience around birth, this episode may bring up some stuff for you. So consider that whether you listen or not to today’s episode.
And the second thing I wanted to let you know is Truce with Food 2022, yeah, that’s next month, is open for registration. And by the time you listen to this, the master classes, which are a really free sample of Truce with Food, are probably over. Yet you can access the recordings at alishapiro.com/masterclass. So if you like today’s episode and you’re like, “Really, it’s time to look at the stories that make me feel unsafe and turn to food.” Check out those free master classes to see if this program is a right fit for you.
And then if you are pretty sure it is but you still have some questions or whatnot, head over to alishapiro.com/truce-with-food-group-experience, and there’s hyphens between each of those words. Check out the program page. And also there’s a link to schedule a free one-on-one discovery call with me. It’s no pressure. It’s just to see if this is the right fit for you at the right time. So know that. And you want to definitely consider this before December 31st because we have a really, really awesome expansive bonus for you. You save $500 off the price. That includes off the payment plans, which we have three payment plans this year. Pay in full, six months, or eight months. And then you also get three free private sessions with a Truce with Food facilitator. So it’s a really, really great deal.
Okay that is it. Over to today’s episode. I hope you enjoy it.
[00:05:12] AS: Welcome, everybody, today to Insatiable season 12, episode 6, with my client and turned dear friend Kristen. Thank you so much for being here today, Kristen.
[00:05:24] KL: Hi. How are you?
[00:05:26] AS: Oh, living the dream. How about you?
[00:05:29] KL: Me too. Me too. Finally grounded over here.
[00:05:32] AS: Yeah, yeah. We’re recording this like in the pretty much the kickoff of the Christmas, or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, solstice season. So you can feel the energy, right? It’s intense.
[00:05:44] KL: Yeah, I think so. This year especially.
[00:05:47] AS: Yeah, yeah. So many of us are like getting out there again after last year having very limited holidays. So, awesome. So today what we’re going to talk about is I really – We’ve been talking a lot of this season about trusting satiation. And first, I’m curious what satiation means to you.
[00:06:04] KL: You know what it is? It’s when you don’t question yourself. It’s when I just know. That’s satiating. It’s you just do it because it’s who you are or it’s what you want. There’s no outside energy or thoughts coming in. And that’s a magic place to be.
[00:06:23] AS: Yeah. And I love that you described that, because today we’re going to talk about your story and the work that we’ve done together, and specifically around your birth. And I feel like that sense of like trusting yourself and not letting those outside forces, we’re really going to be able to illustrate to people what that satisfaction looks like in a choice or an experience like birth.
[00:06:47] KL: I’ve learned it from working with you with your program. And then, really, one of the first times it really came out for me in the most powerful way was my process or my experience through pregnancy and birth. And since then, it’s kind of been like a snowball rolling down the hill gaining speed and snow.
[00:07:08] AS: Yeah, yeah. Well, and that’s – So let’s start with, because you originally came to me around food stuff in this episode, episode previous with my client, Serena, and then also what I was talking about is just really about food isn’t really about food. It’s about safety and feeling safe. And if we don’t feel safe grounding ourselves. So can you tell us this story that we worked on with you that was really causing the food stuff, even though it wasn’t about the food. Because I think so many times people hear food story and they think, “Oh, it’s about like if I like food or I don’t like food, but this –” Like diets can aggravate our story, but they’re often not like the whole story. So can you just –
[00:07:48] KL: Yeah, yeah. No it’s way deeper than that, at least for me. And through the work I was doing with you, I actually tapped into some feelings that were so deep. I couldn’t even have drawn the parallel to food without the space and tools you gave me, which was not feeling heard or understood. I communicated, but not in words, not in the English language until I was around four. And I always knew that, but I never kind of took the time to dive in that. And then through working with you, I think that we could see the pattern of when I was turning to food, when I was wanting to eat. And not just the pattern, but the feeling from inside. The feeling that was driving the hunger it really connected to. I can like picture closing my eyes right now some of the moments where, through working with you, I could actually see after reflecting and being like, “I ate during this period,” and you would ask, “Well, what was going on around you?” And I wasn’t feeling safe to use my voice or giving myself the space to connect to what I wanted.
I know a lot of the work we’ve done, too, has to do with like giving myself the space. I definitely think in our society and with me, it’s either a black or white, or instinct gratification, or a yes or a no. And I think that’s what food was too. It was like I just didn’t have the space to discern what I wanted between the image in my head of what it should be and the space to allow myself to communicate.
[00:09:35] AS: Yeah, I love that you talked about a feeling. Because when we are talking about emotions and feelings people tend to use them interchangeably. But emotion is kind of what our body produces, like a sensation. And then the feeling is the story we attach to it. And so, often, we say like I feel this, or I feel that, and it contains a story. And we don’t know to challenge that feeling, right? Because we here feel your feelings, which are important. We also have to sift through them. And the fact that you couldn’t communicate until you were four years old, that creates such a like somatic or like a felt sense of not being heard, right?
[00:10:15] KL: Yeah. I really just broke it down for me. And I’ve been in therapy and I’ve been working on in therapy. But the angle we took was a different angle to connect it to the food. And it was almost like I don’t want to say magic because it was work, but it fell in line then, because once I opened that area up, I could see what it was. And then it took the power away from the food, because I came to you originally saying I felt powerless to food. And I really was in a low point where I was like I can’t stop. And being able to gain that freedom – And I don’t want to say it was power to myself, because I just think it was freedom. Freedom of something controlling you. But it was through the understanding, like you said. The understanding of kind of the story that was built up through my experiences in my childhood.
[00:11:08] AS: Yeah. And I think that’s so important because people – Trauma is a really hot topic right now, which it’s important we talk about that. But in our work and in the work I do with clients, it’s more about what we’ve normalized and haven’t questioned that, “Is that what we have to look at?” I mean, and it is challenging to not be able to communicate until you’re four years old, of course. And it’s like you adapted in a way.
[00:11:33] KL: When I was tapping into it in that period of time, it gave me the space finally to think about it and understand and ask questions to my mom or even just for myself. Because I think no one knows, except for yourself, what you go through. But you don’t usually remember that far back. I mean, even now I feel a little tingly through my body just talking about it, because it’s sensitive. But it feels like normal. It’s the only thing I know. But being an adult and understanding what that meant as a child, especially now with a child, it’s sensitive, but it’s a journey.
[00:12:15] AS: Yeah. Well, and the fact that you’ve done so much work, and I’m so proud of you that you have it’s. Like it doesn’t mean the feeling goes away. It just means you have – It doesn’t overwhelm your system anymore.
[00:12:26] KL: Yeah, or you have an understanding. It’s not a story in your head anymore. It’s just a part of your life. It’s a part of who you are and you don’t have a fear towards it anymore, I guess, maybe with understanding. And I feel like that’s satiation right there. It goes full circle to that feeling of calmness and knowing that I do have towards food now. And even if I eat something that’s super enjoyable but might not be on the healthy realm of food, it’s not a big deal anymore. It doesn’t have power over me. That story was broken down to understand the authentic side of just who I am. And that’s a freedom.
[00:13:08] AS: Yeah, yeah. Well, so your story was around self-doubt, self-trust and being able to communicate, and if what you wanted was right, right? And so let’s talk about –
[00:13:20] KL: All the time in my head.
[00:13:22] AS: Yeah, yeah. And of course that plays out. Diets definitely like add to that, right? Because it’s like, “Oh, I can’t trust my body. I have to believe this or that.”
[00:13:31] KL: Always finding someone to try to fix you or try to tell you what to do.
[00:13:37] AS: Yeah, yeah, yeah . And it’s like the opposite, we’re getting kind of meta. But the obstacle is the path when we don’t trust ourselves. We have to have a process that actually is like, “No, you can trust yourself.” And listening to other people doesn’t do that.
[00:13:50] KL: Yeah.
[00:13:50] AS: So let’s go to your birth story. So we had challenged your story in some other ways around work and just in communicating with loved ones. And then you get pregnant. When you first told me about it you’re like, “Yeah I’m going to see this, OBGYN.” And so then you went to the appointment and then we had a session and you’re like, “Yeah, she told me like you don’t need a doula. That’s a waste of money. And you wanted a doula.” So I think this is important, because it’s not like once we see our story, then we trust ourselves.
[00:14:23] KL: Yeah, no. That’s no. I’m still working it out. But the wild thing was the whole pregnancy and birth process was just so magical and strengthening for me. From the beginning, I mean, I found out I was pregnant in Lebanon and on a hike. Yeah, and not trying, but trying. And from the beginning, it was such a magical feeling to feel it happening. I was very lucky that it just happened for us when it was meant to. And I just always had in my head the picture from the movies, from all different movies of like the women in the stirrups. They’re saying push, and you push and the baby comes out. I just thought that that’s what birth was.
Thank goodness, I had people like you and my acupuncturist, Kara, and friends like my friend, Jessa, who are all taking their own paths too to kind of question that for me. I mean, I have goosebumps right now because this is kind of the beautiful essence of womanhood together. Women around me including yourself put other options out that I had no idea even about. And that’s why I started the OB. I went to the best OB at Penn. And I went. It was a very sterile appointment. I went in. You’re pregnant. I said, “I think I’d like a doula.” She said, “Oh, don’t waste your money on a doula. et the post-doula. I find that more helpful.” Okay, great. Told me you’ll come here. This is how it’ll happen. Then someone will give birth to your child in the hospital, one of the doctors. Cool.
The one thing I know about myself through the work with you is just energy is important. The space you put yourself in, the environment, sounds really impact me. Starbucks is awful for me.
[00:16:21] AS: Oh, fascinating.
[00:16:23] KL: I can’t stand all the different sounds. I can’t have a meeting there. I had been working – When I first came to you, I knew I wanted to be pregnant at some point. And that’s part of the reason I came to you. And my friend, Kate, who work on the physical side of things, because I wanted to strengthen my womb as much as possible, and my mind, and my body. So that when I did conceive, I could give the best space possible for a human being.
And going to the OB, it was sterile. And then I just didn’t know any different though. And then my friend, Jessa, I told her. She was one of the first people I told. And she said, “You know, you could do a natural birth, Kristen.” I said, “You’re crazy. You are crazy.” She said, “There’s this place that’s called the Birth Center. That’s where I went. And you can do natural. It’s possible.” And then I talked to, Kara, my acupuncturist, and she told me about her story at the Birth Center. And I said, “I want a doula. Can you recommend someone?” And she recommended me to one woman who was pregnant at the same time but hadn’t shared with anyone. So she couldn’t take me. But another woman could take me.
And it really starts to show the strength of women. And here I am instead of going just to the doctors, getting kind of checked off as another person being pregnant. Instead, I’m connecting with all these women and they’re telling me their stories and they’re asking me questions. And I’m starting to learn experience, even your podcast, about midwifery. That blew my mind.
So, Kara, my acupuncturist, she said, “Go date around.” I knew I wanted a doula. I didn’t listen to the doctor. So I met this amazing doula, Karen. And I guess i like K’s, huh? Karen. And she also said date around. So I took one appointment for the birthing center. My husband thought I was crazy. He’s like, “We’re going to the hospital.” I said, “No, let’s just go. We have to go to an open house for the birth center. Let’s go check it out.”
We went and checked it out. And inside that open house, there was just so much compassion and energy. And talk about how this is something women have been doing for generations and generations. Our bodies are meant to do this. And I paused and saying that because I know not all of us get to do it. And I know we all have our own journey and how that goes. But I was really blown away by the lack in our society of just empowerment that this is what our bodies are meant to do. This is something to celebrate. Not just drive through like we do in everything else in life. Like this is a beautiful experience.
And in the birth center, at that open house, they talked about the brain and the body, and how, with an epidural, the disconnect from the brain and the pain of the body and how that actually can disconnect your mind and your body then and the birth process. And for me, I had just never thought about that. And here I am being so holistic in every other part of my life and trying to connect my body, and my mind, and my spirit, and grounding. And I was like, “Wow! I have to try this.”
And between that and then when we were there, they just kept talking about how they were supporting the mothers in the birth process. Like it wasn’t about delivering or the doctor being there to deliver the baby. The mother was the one doing the work, and they were just there to support you. And that sounded really right to me.
And then the fact that there were no beeping noises and you had a room to yourself, and there’s a calmness that I think is a really empowering space. And then once I had my first midwife appointment, oh my gosh, I was sold. I was sold. They gave me a binder with all different things in it. And it felt like how it should be. It felt like I was a person. I felt connected not just a person, but I was Kristen coming there.
[00:20:28] AS: Yeah. You just said so many wonderful things. And I think I want to point one thing out, is that you said bringing a child into this world is such a big deal, right? And it can be this magical experience. And what’s normalized is the opposite of that. And birth is feared and all that stuff. And so I just think it’s really important.
[00:20:48] KL: Oh my gosh! Is it feared? When it’s so cool. When I see any person on the street that’s pregnant, the thing I tell them, “Is you are going to have the most amazing birth.” Fear when the baby is here, because that’s hard, and that’s insane. Yet your birth, you should never fear. Because whether it’s C-section, or epidural, or natural, or in your house, or in a hospital, it is the most magical thing that you get to do from your body.
I mean, as women, we get to grow organs. We get to grow life. hat’s so wild to me. And the thing that’s like so exciting that I really connect to is that, for a little period of time – Now, I told you that I didn’t talk until I was around four. So I felt really disconnected to people. And having my daughter Kiko in my belly was one of the most purest intimate moments in my life I just loved with every essence of me. Because for a small silver time, me and this other person got to connect and no one else knew what it felt like but the two of us.
[00:22:00] AS: Oh, I’m going to cry. I have like chills. I think your story, it’s so inspiring, and it’s also practical. Because what you were saying is – Because we’ve talked a lot about in our work together, is like a lot of how you were influenced was the media. And a lot of us are without realizing we are. Like imagery –
[00:22:18] KL: We don’t even question. We don’t question what other things are. I mean, I love to explain to people that there’s different processes. So there’s the doctor. There’s a midwife in the hospital. And there’s midwife in a birthing center. Then there’s a home birth with a midwife. So just right there, finding there’s so many options, it’s not just this pure, like I said, “Oh, I’m pregnant. My water breaks. I go to the hospital. I put my legs up. I push a baby out.”
I mean, the fact that you can move your body when you’re giving birth, come on, I love to dance. There’s so many – And then you get your husband involved. Like this isn’t like the husband faints in the corner of the room. No. That’s not what this is anymore. Your husband there, he’s pushing on your hips. He’s going back and forth with you. I mean, I am so lucky, I have such a supportive husband, because my husband comes from a medical background. I mean, from the beginning, he was like, “No doctors.”
I think when people hear midwife, they don’t fully understand. I think it’s a trend right now, oddly, that people are starting to be more open to it. But I think people feel safer with doctors. they hear a doctor in the hospital and they feel safer. But for me, I felt safer at a birth center with a midwife. I felt safest with a midwife, because for the first time, I felt heard and understood. I felt I wasn’t just another pregnant person. I wasn’t just a woman. I was my own specific person with my own needs. And they were there to give me the time and space for me to connect with myself and grow my baby and birth my baby. And that’s what was so important about the birthing center for me.
[00:24:02] AS: Yeah. And I think what’s important is that you had other people that were willing to give you the space to question, because I joke that like my clients and I are bad joiners. Like you are too. Like we’re not like group people per se. But one of the most challenging things in our stories are, like you said, it’s like, “Oh, you just thought you like go to the hospital, get a doctor, put your stirrups.” Is this like black or white, either or thinking? So it’s like either this or nothing else. And you have to be around other people or in groups that are like, “Hey, have you thought of this? Have you thought of that?”
Because one of the things I wanted to ask you is you had Cal who comes from a medical background, who’s your husband. And then you also have friends who were all doing the traditional hospital.
[00:24:46] KL: I was going to say every one of my friends did a traditional hospital. And then I’ll I’ll tell a funny story towards – I’m going to not jump ahead though. But when we get towards the end of my pregnancy [inaudible 00:24:55].
[00:24:56] AS: Yeah, okay. But how important was it to have people who didn’t tell you what to do but gave you your options because your friends were like, “Kristen, it’s unsafe.” I mean, they were like really concerned for you. Again, I ended up having to give birth in a hospital, but I started with the midwives.
[00:25:13] KL: I think any path is right. I don’t think just because I went off the deep end with actually birthing in my house, I think that any path is really right. And it’s about like what you’re saying, it’s about what feels right for you. But knowing the options. And taking the time to think about what makes you feel safest. Maybe it is the doctor and knowing that you can have surgery right away.
[00:25:37] AS: Yeah. But what I was going to say is my friend who’s a veterinarian. So she’s pretty traditional. She was like, “Oh my God. Are you safe down there?” And I was like [inaudible 00:25:48] research. Because our birth center has to have the outcomes there. And the outcomes that they had were the kind of outcomes I wanted compared to the hospital. So I think people sometimes think that what’s done in the hospital or what’s done normal is evidence-based, and it’s or the best or safest. And it’s not. And we really need people –
[00:26:09] KL: I think there’s options. Yeah. I think people need to know that a midwife doesn’t mean that we’re just going to birth a child on a house in a hill. And if you get hurt or you bleed to death, that’s it. You can only birth at a birthing center if you’re low risk. The moment you aren’t, you get transferred. And that really brings the topic of birthing is natural. Our bodies are meant to do it.
Now, not everyone does it the traditional way. And that’s fine. But in general, it’s super natural. And our bodies are able to do it. And that’s where I think the hospital sometimes disempowers because they have to –
[00:26:51] AS: They have to cover their ass.
[00:26:52] KL: [inaudible 00:26:52] and even putting that monitor around your belly and making sure the heartbeat is there all the time. I didn’t have a monitor around my belly. Honestly, I didn’t even get checked until I was nine centimeters in my birth. I didn’t get checked until like an hour before she came out. I trusted my body. I trusted my midwife. And I think some people would listen to this and go, “Oh my God! She’s crazy.” But that was what was right for me. I really wanted a process where I was connected with myself and my child.
[00:27:24] AS: Well, and so I think this is the important thing, because you had a story around not trusting yourself. And again, I love that we’re just going through this like stage by stage, because I think people get stuck in either or. It’s like, “Oh, either I trust myself or not.” And what you’re illustrating is I got more information along the way. I went there and assessed –
[00:27:45] KL: Yes. And either you have this crazy home birth with no one there, or you have this hospital birth. It’s not like that though. There is this beautiful array of all different areas. And you and I both know, you might even have that plan and it goes completely sideways. I was prepared to go to the hospital if I needed to. I had no problem going to hospital or having a C-section. It’s just not what I wanted to try for. I was fine with no matter what happened though.
[00:28:13] AS: Let’s talk about plans going sideways.
[00:28:15] KL: Yeah. Well, because it’s a real journey. I think the one thing before we switch topics is I think just I was really thankful. It was the one time that I realized, because I feel I have friends and then I have this like wellness community. I was really thankful for my wellness community, because it was just getting different sides of things where I really started to realize like the connection to myself.
[00:28:42] AS: Yeah. And what did that feel like for you, since it’s something that you’ve grown over time?
[00:28:48] KL: At that time, it felt very questioning. It felt like I had an itch like a mosquito bite that I just needed to like itch and figure out. And I just needed to dig deeper. I don’t know if I was doing it for myself. But then once I had this baby – And it’s like I got a little taste of it. I got a little taste by just questioning things. And I just had to keep digging deeper and deeper.
[00:29:12] AS: And I love that, because when we have stories, in your case, it was around self-doubt and self-trust, our stories cut us off from ever thinking that there’s other options or even giving us the courage to get more information, right? It’s we call it closing the story loop in Truce with Food. It’s like we already say like, “Nope, that’s what I’m doing. This is what’s right for me.”
[00:29:31] KL: This is one of the first times I really dug deep into that because it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right where I was starting at, the image, or what the tools I had, the ob and the hospital. It just didn’t feel right for me.
[00:29:47] AS: I love it. I love it. And you listen to that. Rather than it can be so easy, right? And we talk about the protectors in our work.
[00:29:54] KL: Yeah. And it’s one of the first times I really gathered the information too. I gathered. And I didn’t just gather by myself. I gathered with my husband. I think it’s called birthing with the business, business of birthing. I put that on one night.
[00:30:08] AS: Oh, The Business of Baby with Ricky Lake.
[00:30:12] KL: And then it’s like we were on this journey together. Neither one of us were sold in the beginning of a natural birth, let alone a home birth. We were just on this journey for what was best for me and for us. And I was very lucky I had a husband that trusted me so much and gave me the space to trust myself. And then through talking to you, through talking to other women, and then listening to podcasts and reading. There’s just so much out there on birth. There’s so much history on birth. There’s so much information on different births, from different cultures. And I don’t know why we don’t talk about it more.
[00:30:53] AS: Yeah. Well, I love that you brought that up, because when we are in the socialized mind, which, again, we all are in the socialized mind in early adulthood. And the socialized mind is basically you just go along with what was normal. And everyone has a different definition of normal. So like if you grew up Mormon and not believing in Western medicine, like the woman wrote in the book Educated, right? Like going to a hospital may be radical for you. So it’s not about what the choice is. But what you were able to do is step into that self-authoring place. And what’s interesting is once we go into self-authoring, we become open to other kind of information. And it’s kind of like with dieting, like all of us –
[00:31:30] KL: We just hit it on the nail. I mean, that was the magic point for me. I was open. And when I was open, I was able. And then I’d get that feeling and then I’d follow that feeling and it would just feel right. And then I kept going and and going on it. And my partner was there with me and going on it. And it was really powerful. It was so – I remember sitting in a therapy one day. So I found I was pregnant in August, in the end of August. It was like December-ish. And I remember sitting there and just feeling – I said, “I want to feel how I feel about my birth in every aspect of my life. I want that feeling.”
It was like I just wasn’t questioning myself with my birth. It was like I heard tidbits and they felt right and I went with it. And I wanted that feeling in life. And I think I’m still working on that. But at the time, I was really struggling to not just change my life and becoming a mom, but changing my career and closing my company down. I was really struggling with what to do with that.
Now, hindsight, that’s why I say Kiko was the best thing ever, because she opened up all these spaces for me to think about things. And Covid happened. And it was the biggest blessing that I closed my company when I did. But yeah, the energy, there was just this feeling I was getting from making decisions about the birth.
[00:32:50] AS: And I think when we are in – For people, to give you kind of a food example of this, is like if we are trying to – If we are only looking at food through a calories perspective, then we miss the fact that food can be used for all these healing purposes, which is what happened to me, which is why I created Truce with Food. I was like, “Why did I not know?” All of this other information was out there that like I could use food for my depression or IBS. And it’s because I was socialized to think food is only about calories.
[00:33:21] KL: 100%. If you’re searching for that weight, and that image, and that body image, you’re never going to actually – I remember I had a nutritionist trainer person that helped me lose a lot of weight and she used to say, “Food is only fuel, Kristen.” And she’d be like, “You don’t like cookies.” But I like cookies, right? And i would tell, “I don’t like cookies,” because they had warm cookies at the front of my building every day. So you had to walk by them and the smell. And she’s like, “It’s just fuel, Kristen. It’s fuel. Think of it –” I’m sorry, Ali. Like it’s way more than just fuel.
Food is – Oh, it’s enjoyable. It’s experiential it’s a connection. It’s an experience. Like it’s not just fuel. It’s socialization. It’s memories. It’s everything. It’s your senses. To get off topic and come back on, I think we have to connect to that, that it is so much more than just calories. Different foods are meant for different things. They’re meant for celebrations, and healing, and –
[00:34:32] AS: And your birth example is the same thing. Is if we grow up just thinking, in your case, birth is I go to the doctor, put my legs in a stirrup, then we miss out on all these other options that are available. And so much of changing our stories is I love how you said you even found out you were pregnant in Lebanon. It’s like when you go to another country, you’re like, “Oh, this is how they do it here. That’s interesting.”
Well, it’s so wild. I was with a friend who we met up with another friend of hers that she used to work with. But she just lived there now. So we went there. We go on these crazy trips. But she was talking about her birth process. And she was saying how if she ever gave birth again, she want to do it sitting. Because we’re meant to sit when we give birth. And that just stuck with me. And that was before I even found out I was pregnant. So like it’s like Kiko came at this perfect, beautiful time where I was so open to other things.
[00:35:30] AS: Well, and I wonder if it opened you up.
[00:35:32] KL: Yeah. And the stars – Just like the people that – I mean, how they say people are meant to come around you with purpose or when you attract the certain kind of people? Like I look at that time period and like it just opened my mind just so – Even you and I, the fact that you were given – You were pregnant a couple – The timing of all of that. It opened it up for me to discover and learn
[00:36:00] AS: Hey, it’s Ali here, taking a brief break from our podcast episode to let you know about a free two-part workshop series, which is a Truce with Food Masterclass coming up on December 1st and 8th this year from 12:00 to 1:30pm Eastern Standard Time. The workshop is I want to want to be healthy. It’s about how to end the care, but not care eating cycle.
If healthy eating is important to you but you feel like you have little motivation to cook or make healthy choices, if you want to eat better and also want to watch Netflix with a Costco-sized bag of kettle corn on the couch, if the last couple of Covid years showed you the importance of being in good shape, yet it worsened your eating habits, this workshop is for you. Because to the untrained eye, these competing desires are a willpower and discipline problem. But when you understand the root causes of battling food, you can unlock powerful energy and motivation to eat well and like it.
I’m going to show you how in this workshop. In the first workshop, we’ll get to the root causes of our food battle, and you’ll walk away with a clear understanding why nothing else you’ve tried has worked long term. A complete mindset shift around the real and true necessary work for food freedom. And the very first step to having a truce with food.
And in our second workshop, I’m going to show you how to have a truce with food. You’ll learn how to stop using food for emotional safety, the three physical stress reactions that need to be honored so we can respond versus react with old patterns in our stories. The three psychological stress reactions that distort the degree of safety we perceive and make our stories come true. And the story revision tools and practices to feel more in control of our lives and interrupt the food self-sabotage cycle in that process. You’ll walk away from that workshop with actionable tools to begin to re-write your story to have a truce with food. No willpower or white knuckling required.
You can sign up for that at alishapiro.com/masterclass. And this is also a free sneak peek at my Truce with Food program, which is open for registration from December 6th through December 31st. And we begin in January. But there will be lots of teaching and coaching. It’s going to be a mix of both. So you’re going to get tremendous value whether you decide to continue on or not. I hope you’ll make it. And I would love to see as many of you there. Now, back to our episode.
[00:38:35] AS: Yeah. And so I think that’s important for people listening, is realizing that you probably have more choices. And what Kristen’s describing about, “Oh, the energy, and starting to just get more information, and it felt right and right.” I think a lot of what we think is normal is pretty wrong. And so we don’t often feel that way.
[00:38:50] KL: The other crazy thing is that whatever might be right for you one month like might be different another month. The first month I might have been fine with. I was fine with just the doctors. Then I wanted a midwife. Then Covid hit. And within a week, I remember the day, my doula, the person I hired, Karen, she called me and she said, “Look, this is getting crazy. Right now I’m allowed in the birth center with you. But if anyone gets Covid in the birth center, you’ll have to go to the hospital. And right now, Cal is allowed with you. But we don’t know. In New York, they’re not allowing anyone in with you.”
To be 35 weeks, 36 weeks pregnant, and I had just closed my company down. My baby shower was the week the city shut down. So that was completely out of – Like just all these monumental things of this last part of your pregnancy we’re all changing.
[00:39:48] AS: So you go from the OB to the birth center. After getting more information, talking to Cal, reading other –
[00:39:55] KL: Yeah. Well, Cal and I left the open house, and I was like, “Babe, this feels right. I know this is crazy.” And he said, “Well, I’m not sure. I still don’t feel fully comfortable.” I said, “It’s across the street from the hospital. We’d be in the hospital just as fast. This is what I want. I want the silence. I don’t want the chaos. This is what I need from me.” And he said, “Okay.” And so we went there.
And then the other big part for me was my birth class, which right now I’m finding from like just other pregnant friends not that a lot of people are doing birth classes. I guess they’re like one-day birth class and things like that. Even at the birth center, I took a pretty crazy turn. I took a intense birthing style class called hypno babies, which is six weeks long. It’s two-hour classes for six weeks and then an hour of homework every day. It’s a full commitment for you and your partner. But it was what I wanted.
[00:40:53] AS: And those classes teach you how your body works. That’s what I found –
[00:40:56] KL: Oh my gosh. That’s the thing. I guess that’s where I was going. It’s like a lot of my friends don’t know what to expect when they’re going into birth. And I don’t know. I wasn’t scared to watch births. We watched births and I thought, “I loved watching births.” I thought it was so cool. And then we had all these different tools. We had practiced it. Cal had a ping pong ball come out of a balloon between his legs.
[00:41:25] AS: I didn’t know that.
[00:41:26] KL: Yeah. No. The birth class is so cool. Karen does hypno babies. And it’s amazing if you’re in Philadelphia. Hit Ali up and I will connect you. And the last hypno babies class, actually it was the week before the city shut down. And thank God we got to do it, because we did a whole visualization of our birth, from first contraction to birth. And it was so magical. I’m actually still close with the three friends that were in that birth class. We didn’t know each other beforehand. But we gave birth in the month Covid hit. And we all gave birth in different ways. One in a hospital. One in a birth center. One in a hospital with a doula. That shows you, you don’t have to do one way. And we’re still all really close. But we all visualize together with our husbands in that room our births.
[00:42:20] AS: love that.
[00:42:20] KL: Yeah.
[00:42:21] AS: Okay. So Covid hits. And you’re 35 weeks pregnant. And your doula tells you like, “Look, [inaudible 00:42:27].”
[00:42:27] KL: She calls and she goes, “I just want you to have options. If you have [inaudible 00:42:33].” She goes, “If you have any inkling that you want to do a home birth, now is the time. You can always go to the hospital.” But like every midwife only has so many births she does at home.
I look at Cal, and the crazy thing is – Ali, the crazy thing is two weeks before that, maybe a month, I don’t know, a couple weeks before that, I had watched Ashley Graham. Ashley Graham gave birth in her house. And her interview of her birth story was so cool, so empowering and so authentic. I had the week before my doula called me like this. I had looked at Cal and I said, “You know, I think next birth, I want to try in the house. Like I just think I can do it.”
And the crazy thing is like let’s go back to like August, September, October. Going to the birthing center was wild enough for me. Doing in the house? Oh my God. No. The birthing center that was like, “Okay, I’m really going off on a limb here.” Like I’m scared to tell people that this is what I’m doing, but this feels right. So I’m going to do it.
My doula, Karen, called. She said, “I just want you have options.” I looked at Cal. I said, “I want to do a home birth. I want you to be here.” I’ve spent so much time in my birth class working on hypnotizing myself that I am not going to be by myself in a hospital being told that they like need to like put their finger around to open the area. I don’t know. Or put goo on her eyes or something that I didn’t want.
And so we looked at each other and like, I’m telling you, we made the decision within like 30 minutes. I said, “Let’s do a home birth.” He said, “Okay, let’s do it.” And that was it. We were doing a home birth. We went from the OB to, “Okay, let’s do the birth center. It’s okay. There’s a hospital next door.” To, “Yeah, let’s do it in our house. Like how do we get a birth tub? How do we find a midwife that does this? What does this mean?” And in my mind I’m like, “Well, if worst came to worst, we’ll just figure it out.”
[00:44:41] AS: But I think this is so epic because I think people think, “Oh, well, I can’t trust myself. I can never build that trust.” And like your story is showing how like you kept preparing and kept taking the next step in front of you. And then you were able to have all these other choices. And so tell us how the birth ultimately went.
[00:45:02] KL: Oh my gosh! Ali, sometimes it’s hard, because my birth went so well. I know not everyone’s goes like that. But that Christmas, this one woman told me, “Oh my God.” Everyone was drunk at a Christmas party. But me and this one woman, she was like, “I need to tell you, because no one told me.” And she told me about her horrific story in the hospital. And I was like, “I just am blocking this out.”
But I’m here to tell you that there’s really amazing birth stories too. And my birth story is as authentic, and present, and real, and special, and powerful as they come. My father-in-law called me the day before my birth and he said, “You’re having your baby tomorrow.” And my husband said, “Dad, what makes you say that?” And he said, “It’s not a matter what I’m saying. It’s a matter what’s going to happen.” And it happened to be, my mom’s 70th birthday. That night, around 2am, I’m sitting on the toilet my husband’s getting ready to bed. I usually go to bed before him. I come up because like, of course, when you’re pregnant, you go to the bathroom like every two hours at that point. I go to sit on the toilet and I’m just sitting there. And he looks and he goes, “Are you okay?” I said, “I can’t tell if I have to poop or if I’m having a contraction.” And yes, that’s right, ladies. That’s how it feels when you start to have contractions. People might not say it, but that’s how it feels.
Turns out it was the beginning of the contractions. And then my midwife, she’s so chill. I ended up picking this midwife, Sam Magpie, and she’s so chill. And she was exactly what I needed for my intensity. Between her and my doula, Karen, Karen, all she wanted to do she said, “I’m just here to help you figure out what you want.” And that’s what I needed. And then my midwife was just so – She said, “Okay. Go back to sleep. Try to sleep. Sleep for as long as you can.” I had contractions. I felt them. But I kept going in and out of sleep till around like 11, 12 the next day. I just kept –
And then – Whoo! Then we were there. And then I was like, “Okay, I’m having contractions.” Had my husband draw my belly. I had this piece of paper I traced my belly every week. I said, “Trace my belly one more time.” He’s like, “Are you serious right now?” I was like, “Yes.” And then we’re like, “Okay, this is happening.”
And, of course, like in my grand gesture in my head I’m like, “Oh, I’m having a home birth. I’m going to put up all these candles. I’m going to –” No. That’s not how it works. You’re just like, “Oh, whatever.” And we were there. I wasn’t really telling anyone yet. One of my best friends called at 4:30, I guess, because I hadn’t been texting her back and she felt something was going on. As she called, my water broke. I’m walking and my water breaks as I’m going to the bathroom. I’m like, “Okay, it’s happening.” And so no one’s at our house yet. Still my husband and I. Just my husband and I this whole time. No one else. It’s like Covid. No one will come near you. And we’re there. And then they really start to come.
And so my husband texted the doula and the midwife, “Okay, I think it’s time.” He’s like timing them on an app. So he starts running around crazy like unlocking the door. Getting the food ready for everyone. Because, of course, I was crazy. I was like, “Let’s cook a chicken.” And like we need a chicken for everyone. And I’m in the bathroom by myself timing my own contractions like this, “Oooohhh!” And I’m looking in the mirror and I’m going, “This is crazy. I’m crazy. My husband – We’re crazy. This is why people go to the hospital. What am I doing right now in my bathroom by myself like timing this?” But we kept going.
Then my dula showed up around like five and my midwife showed up right after. So we’re going. And she tells me to go in the shower. So I go in the shower. But the hot water is running out. My husband’s trying to fill the tub up. Oh my goodness! I’m like on the bed. I’m trying to do anything. But by this point I’m like in labor and it’s painful. And I’m like, “Kiko’s going to be an only child. This is the only time I’m doing it. This is it. This is way too intense.”
My doula grabbed my hand, Karen. She looked at me and she said, “Just concentrate on this contraction.” She said, “Concentrate just on this contraction. And let’s ride the wave out.” That’s what I needed. I needed her. And then my husband – In hypno babies, there’s all these recordings you play. It’s actually pretty cool. And these mantras. And you know when your husband work where he taps you in a certain spot and it puts you into this trans relaxation. So my husband’s there like tapping my forehead and tapping my arm. And like he’s playing the scripts and reading things to me. It was a circus in the best way possible.
And then I’m on the bed and I was like, “It’s time I need to go in the water. I’m going in the water.” Like if I’m having a home birth and I’m doing a water birth, I’m getting in this. And they were like, “It’s not ready yet.” So we start boiling water with my like tea kettle boil, my water boil and like dumping that in, because we ran out of hot water. I got in the tub. I just tried to remember what they said which is like scream. I guess the word is scream like as low as you can, like, “Oooohhh!” Which it’s funny, because that’s like one of my favorite kind of noises. When I’m at the gym that’s the noise I make.
[00:50:35] AS: Yeah, it’s primal. It’s primal.
[00:50:37] KL: Yeah. So I’m doing that and I’m like in my head like, “When’s this ring of fire coming? When is this ending? This is so intense. This is the worst thing ever. I’m never doing this again.” It was pretty fast though. As I was getting in the tub, my midwife was like, “You can touch your child’s head.” I’m like, “I can’t. Get me in.” And we got in the tub. I was on all fours. I was over hanging over the tub. And the coolest thing happened. My midwife goes, “You can do this.” She said just push when you feel like pushing.
So in the hospital, a lot of times they tell you when to push, right? Like, “Time to push. Push.” My birth was completely different. She said trust yourself. You know when to push. And when I felt like pushing, I pushed. And I’d say it was like 45 minutes of actual like serious active labor. And I pushed and then I paused. And then when I felt that feeling again, kind of like that poop feeling, I’d push again and then I’d pause. And I just kept going with my body. And then all of a sudden she was there. And she was amazing.
And there wasn’t all this like we need to do this, or this, or she needs this. No. It was just me, my husband, our baby, my baby on my chest. I was like, “This is my baby. This is my baby. I have a baby.” And I was also really excited to see her head because it’s like a mold of your vagina canal. I was really excited to see that as well as the artist in me.
[00:52:22] AS: Did you catch her too?
[00:52:24] KL: She came out and just went right on top of me from the water. I wanted Cal to catch her. I don’t know. That part was pretty fast. But the coolest part was that I did self-guided pushing. The midwife was so present with me and so present to what I was able to do and what I was calling for like emotionally and physically. She gave me that space. And that was one of the biggest blessings I think just having that power.
Like I said that whole pregnancy, this human being and I were connected. And then to have this experience where going through this process together and I’m connecting really to her and I and how to do it, and I’m trusting that I can do it that like she’s going to be okay, I’m going to be okay and that we’re going to do it together. And knowing that at the end of this pain, this human that you’re connected with is going to come out. And it was just so special.
The thing is I think if you’re thinking about giving birth in a different way than the classic hospital, look into it. And like you don’t have to go extreme into just going from a hospital birth to a home birth. But there’s all this gray area of beautiful different avenues that you can take that and really connect to you.
[00:53:45] AS: And so many choices, because like I ended up in the hospital, but I did everything like unconventional there. It’s just, really, in my situation. But it ultimately was super healing for me to be in a medical setting and calling the shots, whereas when I had cancer obviously I wasn’t. So you never know how it’s going to turn out.
[00:54:05] KL: No. I had a friend who was supposed to be in the hospital and then Covid hit and she decided to go to home birth. And she ended up in the hospital with a midwife. And she had the most beautiful experience too. There’s so many different experiences to be had. I mean, maybe that’s like just like weight loss in your body and working out and birth. And there’s not one size – Even parenting. There’s not one size fits all.
The thing that I think we all have to connect to a little more is the fact that only you know what’s best for you. Only you know what works for you. Everyone who’s out there telling you something, it’s just what works for them or it’s what they’re trying to sell. And only you can do you. That’s the real special thing Kiko and my pregnancy gave me, which like we had been working on. But it just supercharged that inside of me was that decision making. And it really gave me the space to do what I felt like doing, which was a blessing.
[00:55:11] AS: That’s ultimately – Like we really change our stories when we have new experiences. By just like telling ourselves stuff, it’s like, “Wow!”
[00:55:19] KL: This was a huge one. I mean, it’s changed my life. My whole trajectory now of who I am is –
[00:55:23] AS: Yeah, I want to hear. Yeah, tell us about how that one experience – And again, it’s hard to compete with birth, right? It’s an initiation like of no other.
[00:55:32] KL: I don’t know. I feel like motherhood is – I feel like birth is like a marathon, and motherhood is like life. Like birth, like I tell people like that’s just a process. There’s a start and an end to it. You’re pregnant and then a child comes out. Motherhood, that is like – I just had someone tell me that like, “Oh, you really get your feet grounded in motherhood in around 10 years.” And I was like, “Really?” It might have been you, Ali.
[00:55:59] AS: Yeah, yeah. Someone told me, yeah. This is someone told me. I don’t know.
[00:56:04] KL: I’m like, “Wow!” But it’s true.
[00:56:08] AS: I just also want to just highlight your story, because I think a lot of times people will say, “Well, we don’t have control over much in life.” And the reality is we do have control and we don’t have control. And when we don’t have control, it’s about choice. What choices do we have? And I think your story exemplifies that beautifully. Like you did take control of your birth in terms of I think I want something different. And then you couldn’t control Covid. It was like you just made different choices as they became available. And so that’s –
[00:56:37] KL: The line you taught me is giving yourself space for the choices. That’s the big thing I did with my birth. It wasn’t like, “Oh, I have to make this decision.” Because in the beginning I really felt like I have to pick a midwife or an OB, right? And in the end I didn’t even go with either. I went with the home birth with a different midwife. But I felt like I had to make this choice. And what really was the magic was when I gave myself the space to explore both. I went to the OB and I went to the midwife. And I felt it out until something felt right.
[00:57:11] AS: Yeah. Well, and I love that because when you describe the midwife, when you were saying that I was thinking about the midwives who were with us. Like Carlos said, he kept being like, “Is everything okay?” And they were like knitting. They’re like, “Yep, that’s what happens.” But like a midwife, metaphorically and literally, gives you the space. It’s like she’s got this. She [inaudible 00:57:29] to figure this out.
[00:57:31] KL: That’s what’s so beautiful. Oh gosh! I’m going to get down a tangent real quick. I mean, midwives are women. That’s history. And women, and knowledge, and experience, and things handed down from midwife to midwife years and years and knowledge. And male started gynecology. Like, “Oh my God!” It just makes sense. Like they never experienced this. Of course, it’s so sterile and like uh-uh-uh-uh, like mechanical. Oh, I’m not going to go down that tangent. But yeah, I have a real passion for midwives.
And you and I talk a lot about the masculine and the feminine. I think there’s a real genuine space for femininity and softness that a midwife provides. Just even learning about your body. I remember I took a different birth class, because one of the beautiful things that when Covid did hit, you could take any birth class virtually you wanted to. So I started taking like every birth example a class.
[00:58:36] AS: A little bit, a little there.
[00:58:37] KL: Yeah, I really did. What else was I going to do with my time? So the one birth class, she talked about connecting with your body. She really talked about how the head goes through the upper part of your hips and then the bottom part, and how you open your hips different ways, whether your feet are turned in or turned out. And if you even do that right now, you can feel your hips. You can feel them open on the top and then open on the bottom. And that was just like why doesn’t every single person who’s pregnant get taught this? That simple connection with your body to understand and help support what’s happening.
[00:59:15] AS: Yeah. Oh my God. I know. Some of the stuff that I’m like – I feel like that’s a lot of the work I do with clients, like why did we ever learn this in school? I’m like, “I don’t know.”
[00:59:25] KL: Oh, it’s a dream of mine to open a school. So maybe we’ll have a class there. I’m putting it in the universe right here right now. My daughter, I’m going to be teaching her a lot about her body. Like let’s not even talk about like periods and ovulation. Like why were we not taught that young?
[00:59:39] AS: Right. Right. It was all don’t get pregnant. That was the extent of your health education. It was like don’t get pregnant. And here’s a lot of other things to learn. So what do you think, Kristen, was some of the biggest personal unlearning that’s happened as a result of kind of really investigating this self-doubt and self-trust story and learning to communicate both to yourself and to other people what you need and what works for you? What do you think is some of the biggest unlearning you’ve had to do?
[01:00:10] KL: Through getting a little taste of that connection and that experience, I wanted it in every other aspect of my life. I wanted to feel the grounding and certain I felt in my pregnancy and birth. It just felt so authentic. And it felt so real. And I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I think that’s really what we want in the world. We want to be able to be present. We want to feel fulfilled and strong and connected to who we are and what we want. And that experience did that for me. So I started really questioning every other aspect of my life. Wow! Hormonally, I’m going through it. And I’m still on that journey. But I think it’s about giving yourself space and questioning. And the one thing I really try to do is anytime I have a feeling and something doesn’t feel right, I really try to learn and discover all the different options. It’s not so black way. And I’m working on that in every aspect of my life you know in my career in my personal life. And just time for myself. Even how we schedule the days out, or what your interests are. And maybe you want to take a trip but it doesn’t feel right. Maybe you don’t have to take a trip as far as you thought you had to. Maybe it’s a closer to home trip. I think that just giving your space to find the thing that works for you, it’s not a this or that. It’s a whole gray rainbow of unknown that you get to pick what it is.
[01:01:49] AS: Ah! I love that. I love it. I’m someone who loves choices –
[01:01:52] KL: And then you sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. Yes. Choices are hard though. I think choices are really hard. We want to be told we want to feel safe. And at the end of the day you can only make so many decisions in one day. You only have so much energy. And so I think that can be really overwhelming. So I think it’s a little bit of softening into maybe today’s not the day you make that decision. Maybe you just gather information for a while. That’s something we don’t do as a society very well. We want to do it. And we want to do it now. And we want to know it now. And we want to see it. And I think being okay with letting things take time.
[01:02:36] AS: Yeah. And over time, you start to realize what choices are really worth the work. And I think that what’s really important, and I think about your story really exemplifies this, because especially around self-doubt, is we start to try to make other people happier. We try to accommodate other world views. And in the process, we abandon ourselves.
[01:02:58] KL: Oh my gosh! Yes. And women, we do that, because we take care of everyone. And if I would have followed that, I would have given birth in a hospital and it wouldn’t have connected to me at all. I think I would have just shut down and let it happen.
[01:03:14] AS: Yeah. Well, I think that’s what’s – For people listening, think about this metaphorically, right? Like if you feel like there’s something missing, it’s often like there is part of us that we can always reclaim it. I don’t think anything’s ever lost. But I think that was the hardest thing in my own stories and emotional work around my food obsession, is just like I didn’t know what I didn’t know. It wasn’t what I did know. It was what I didn’t know was out there.
[01:03:40] KL: But then it’s having the courage to go look, and that feels daunting. And that can be super overwhelming to even just take a second and Google something or listen to a podcast. It’s so much more comfortable to just keep doing your routine and feeling that something is off.
[01:03:58] AS: For sure, especially probably for a lot of people. I mean, you and I are both coming out of burnout from Covid.
[01:04:04] KL: That’s real. It’s real.
[01:04:06] AS: And pandemic parenting your first child without the community you need and all that stuff. However, I think it’s important, to your point, like maybe today’s not the day. Trust that.
[01:04:17] KL: Yeah, trust it. Like trust that what you did today was perfect. Maybe that person you talk to two years from the road is going to tell you something that you never knew and going to lead you to your birth in your house. Never paid me a million dollars to say that I was going to have my birth in my house. I mean, after I did it, I was screaming from the mountaintops, like, “I gave birth in my house.” It was just the wildest thing. Who knew that – I don’t even know.
[01:04:49] AS: Well, it’s like in the movies, like when you see people deliver their babies, like, “Oh my God!” Because I did mine and medicated. And so when Essa came out my first words were like, “I fucking did it.” And I was like that doesn’t sound like the motherly thing. But I was like I don’t care. Like I was just on such a high.
[01:05:06] KL: It’s so cool. The thing is when you’re pregnant, there’s something really special, I think, for females when we’re pregnant. It’s one of the only times we’re really taken care of and we’re really told or we’re given anything we want. The doors are open for you. People are thinking, you go to the airport and you’re first in line. You’re hungry. People get you food. You’re thirsty, people – It’s just like it’s this real special space where you are really allowed and given the space to think about what you want. And I think that really helped me for the first time, like the societal norms were around me.
[01:05:49] AS: I love that. I love that.
[01:05:51] KL: So I think it’s taking that though with you. And that’s really hard especially after you have your child, because in that moment, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about this beautiful little thing that doesn’t stop crying. I guess just called my daughter [inaudible 01:06:12]. My daughter’s not a thing. She’s a beautiful, beautiful human being.
[01:06:21] AS: So is there anything that you want to part our listeners with or that I didn’t ask you that you think is important to share about owning our stories, advocating for ourselves, birth?
[01:06:33] KL: Be gentle with yourself. It’s something I’m working on every day. And give yourself the space. And if the answer to the question doesn’t feel right, give yourself a space to explore other answers. And then just be excited for your birth. Lean into it. Learn everything out there. Watch birds. Like we all have vaginas. It is the coolest thing ever. The more you learn about it the less you’ll be scared.
[01:07:05] AS: Yeah, that is so true.
[01:07:07] KL: I think when we’re scared, it’s just we don’t want to face – You’re going to have to give birth. So why not check it out and see how other people – See what it looks like. Because then you’re not as scared. It’s the coolest thing ever. It’s so cool. And everyone’s journey is how it’s meant to be. And then you give life. And there’s a human being.
[01:07:29] AS: Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time today, Kristen, and your story. I know so many people are going to be inspired and so lucky that they stumbled across this, because it could change the trajectory. I’m so proud of you. And it’s been just so fun to watch the whole process and watch you challenge and question all of that socialization in the media that was so prominent for you in your life. And really, I think how healing that you had such a strong voice for your child when you couldn’t speak for four years. It’s like so poetic.
[01:08:03] KL: Yeah. Yeah, it definitely is rewriting my story for myself even.
[01:08:09] AS: Yeah. Thank you so much, Kristen.
[01:08:11] KL: Thank you. Thank you. See you soon.
[01:08:15] AS: See ya.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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