BWF Conference Speakers

This past weekend I attended a Birth Without Fear Conference here in Austin. I honestly didn’t really know what to expect but I had met January, the founder of Birth Without Fear at an event in Portland and really enjoyed her talk and I’m a huge fan of Birth Without Fear so I knew that this event would be wonderful.

Ever since having babies I’ve been really passionate about birth and when I was pregnant I read nearly every birth story on Birth Without Fear. BWF was actually a huge inspiration to me for starting The Birth Hour Podcast so it was great to be around so many women (and a few men!) that were passionate about birth and making informed choices regarding the births of our children.

The morning started out with a talk by Natalie Hodson who is an amazing mama that works in the fitness industry. While she is really passionate about fitness, her message is so much deeper than that. She promotes self care and self love and spoke about eliminating shame and guilt from our daily lives.

Over the past year, I’ve built up my fair share of mom guilt and it was so nice to hear Natalie talk about how she’s gone through that journey and come out on the other side. She also gave some really actionable advice regarding self love. She talked about taking tiny steps like looking in the mirror and acknowledging the areas that you typically think negative thoughts about and just being neutral. For me, that’s looking at my tummy pooch and just thinking “oh well” instead of “that’s gross”.

Once you can get to a place of neutral acceptance, you can move on to actual compliments for yourself. This was a little bit of an ah-ha moment for me because I’ve always heard that you should look in the mirror and say nice things about yourself (which Natalie spoke about as well), but let’s face it, some days you just aren’t up for that and being able to just acknowledge that it is what it is and get the self hate out of the equation is really freeing.

Birth Without Fear Conference Speaker Brandon Harshe

After Natalie’s talk, January’s husband Brandon spoke about his experiences as a father of six. He talked about their struggles as a young family and the emotional aspects of having kids and the potential for postpartum depression for dads as well. I love the campaign that BWF has started on Instagram called #dontforgetdads because there are so many outlets and support systems online for moms and finding something comparable for dads is not easy.

It was also really refreshing to hear a dad talk about his flaws, my favorite was when Brandon talked about how after bedtime if one of the kids gets up he “turns into a demon ‘GO TO BED!!'” I mean, who hasn’t been there? Brandon and January appear to be such an ideal couple and amazing parents on social media and when my husband and I are in the throws of the bedtime routine it’s nice to know even the most ideal parents have been there too.

BWF Earth Mama Harmony Circle

After lunch we participated in the Earth Mama Harmony circle. We were assigned to a table with six women we had never met and were told to just be completely open and vulnerable because we were in a no-judgement place. Each woman talked about things like their births, breastfeeding and overall journey as a mother. It was really eye-opening to hear how each woman felt emotionally about their birth and how the people in their daily lives had acted towards them based on their birth decisions. I still cannot wrap my head around why people are so damn judgey when it comes to birth choices. My baby, my vagina. Stay out of it.

The day wrapped up with January telling the birth stories of her six children and it was so wonderful to hear them told in her own words. It was such an awesome affirmation for me of why I started The Birth Hour because even though I still love reading birth stories, hearing the emotion from a mama as she tells it out loud is truly remarkable.

January has seriously had just about every type of birth a woman can have and fought hard to get to a place where she was able to freely make her own informed decisions with her husband about HER OWN births. As she said, “it shouldn’t have to take six births to get here.” She is such an inspiration not only for topics surrounding birth but just as an example of a woman who has her shit together and makes no excuses for anyone. I feel super lucky to have been able to attend this Birth Without Fear Conference and secretly hope to run into January at Whole Foods on a regular basis.

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