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Birth in Pieces

When I open google, or turn on the TV, or listen to the news, I have to check my reality and ask myself, “Do I live in an advanced society? Or is this just an illusion of the proverbial American Dream?” We all know the news is depressing and hopeless sounding. When I go to Walmart, or just venture out into society, I can see with my own eyes the state of health people are in, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What can I not see? What’s on the inside? With my eyes I can see obesity, agitation, anxiety, fear, anger; but what is going on beneath the surface, in the hard-wiring of their central nervous system? Just look at the statistics for average Americans and how many pharmaceutical pills they pop on a daily average. More than half of the US population swallows an average of four prescription meds with their morning cup of Joe. Wow, what a statement.

I spend a little over $600 a month on my family’s health insurance–that I rarely use, I might add. I spend anywhere from $500-$1,000 a month on top of health insurance to pay for alternative holistic care, services like functional medicine practitioners, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, supplements, trauma therapists, and somatic-based therapies. All of these expenses are extraneous to our “advanced” medical system that costs billions of dollars a year, which in the reality of my home is a superfluous expense. I can just kiss that money goodbye, I never see tangible results from it, rather it feeds the machine. Ironically, Americans spend more on healthcare than anywhere else in the world, and yet our health is riddled with disease, mental illness, and high mortality rates as if we were a third world country.

Science-based evidence (like the famous Kaiser-Permanente study on ACEs–Adverse Childhood Experiences) points to the prenatal and perinatal developmental time as the root of all illness. What does that mean? It means the way you come into the world and the attachment patterns you form to your primary caretakers in your nervous system in utero and during the first three years of your life will lay the foundation of your health for the remainder of your life. Simply put, your birth and early childhood will be a lifelong event for you. But you say, I don’t even remember my birth or my earliest days on Earth. How little we know…but this is where all the ground-breaking science is happening now. Look at the TIMES or National Geographic, you see neuroscience, gut biome, the enteric brain, epigenetics to name a few.

If you are going to understand how to improve your health, you have to first understand how you were born, and more importantly, how much unnecessary trauma riddles American birthing culture. Shocking trends are shaping the way our children are born. For a first world country who spends more on healthcare than anywhere in the world, the United States ranks 40th in maternal mortality rates. Black American women are three times as likely to die as American white women. In fact, the mortality rate of black American women is 76th in the world, somewhere below Libya, Grenada, China, and the Bahamas.
More sad statistics:
A birthing mother in the U.S. is about three times as likely to die from childbirth than a mother in Canada or Britain
For every American woman who dies from childbirth, 70 nearly die. More than 50,000 women suffer from “severe maternal morbidity” from childbirth each year.
Severe maternal morbidity rates increased by 200% from 1993 to 2014
Over 60% of these cases can be prevented
C-sections are a popular default birthing option for women, but women are not being told how prevalent C-sections are for trauma patterns in infants and moms
Breastfeeding difficulties are at an all-time high and often coupled with tongue-tie layers of trauma. Feeding is a survival issue for babies and can cause deep trauma patterns

I lost trust in the medical system after giving birth to my first child, and I lost all hope in the medical system when my second child came. I want to make repair with this system. I don’t want it to break for other mothers. I want to learn from my experience in order to prevent it from happening to more families. You see, I experienced a lot of birth trauma that no one even talked about. My doctors and healthcare providers didn’t tell me what I experienced was not how birth is supposed to happen. I had to overcome PTSD and postpartum depression on my own. I had to seek out alternative answers. My kids suffered from all sorts of ailments from colic, digestive issues, eczema, nightmares, anxiety, depression, physical disabilities, chronic infections, the list goes on and on. I consider myself lucky, though, my kids aren’t on prescription meds. They were never diagnosed with autism, ADHD, sensory processing, or behavioral issues, because I sought out different means to help them heal. I refused to take the blue pill; rather, I took the red. My doctors would just tell me, your child seems ok, they hit all the standards for their height and weight percentile. “So, she has severe constipation? Let’s do an X-ray, take this prescription and this antibiotic, and don’t worry about the ramifications of killing all of her gut glory and innate immunities…this minor ear infection will be relieved in three days time. Problems sleeping? You really need to try sleep training, or just let her cry it out.”

Time to wake up America. Our children and mothers are suffering, and they don’t feel like anyone is listening. Our health problems are a result of childhood trauma and adverse birthing events. My friend and dear colleague, Kate White, is hosting this January a daylong workshop, Birth In Pieces, alongside some major influencers in the prenatal and perinatal psychology field: Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Kimberly Ann Johnson, and Molly Caro May.

These professional women are coming together to view and discuss a riveting documentary, Birth In Pieces, a film made in Texas where the rates of adverse birth events and maternal morbidities are unusually high. A revolution is taking place in the healthcare industry, and I have joined the ranks as a craniosacral therapist who specializes in healing families. I am taking a personal stand to prevent birth trauma and improve our overall birthing culture to give our children a chance, and yes, the possibility of world peace.

What role can you play? Come. Join us. Learn how you can prevent trauma and support healing in our birthing families. The day will commence with a free viewing of the film, followed by four workshops for a small fee to support the professionals leading the classes. I have included links below to interviews of each panelist, so you can pick and choose when you join in on the Zoom event or come for the whole day, your choice.

Listen to Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Kate White: Healing Birth Trauma
Kathy Kendall Tackett Birth in Pieces

Listen to Kimberly Ann Johnson and Kate White:
Kimberly Ann Johnson Birth in Pieces Event January 15, 2022

Listen to Molly Caro May and Kate White:
Molly Caro May Birth in Pieces Event January 15, 2022

Synopsis of the Event

El Jardín Birth and Family began the Birth in Pieces project in 2015. A labor of love, this project spanned multiple years and took various twists and turns as we interviewed more and more women. Patterns emerged. We realized that these individual narratives, together, painted a picture of modern birth culture. What’s wrong with birth in the USA? It’s time to ask mothers. The film is the outcome of their work interviewing mothers and their partners talking about their experiences with birth.
We need to have ways to prevent and heal birth trauma. This is a vital time of life that can set a human being on a trajectory for health or for neurodevelopmental challenges as a baby, child, and adult. We are interested in supporting families to heal so they can thrive. Prenatal and Perinatal Healing Online is pairing with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett to support several series that feature professionals and their ways to support healing with birthing families and birth professionals. Birth in Pieces is our first series. It will feature:
The viewing of Birth in Pieces followed by a discussion with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Kate White about birth trauma. FREE Register Here

Kathleen Kendall-Tacket: Birth Trauma: Causes and Consequences of Birth-Related PTSD
Kate White: “I Had A Baby:” A Three-Fold Path to Heal Birth Trauma
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Call of the Wild: Healing Birth through a Real World Understanding of the Nervous System
Molly Caro May: The Reparative Possibility in a Birth Story

January 15, 2022
9 am – 5 pm Eastern time
9:00 am Showing of Birth in Pieces Documentary FREE Register here
10:00 am Discussion of the film with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Kate White
11:00 am Kathleen Kendall-Tacket: Birth Trauma: Causes and Consequences of Birth-Related PTSD
12:30 pm Kate White: “I Had A Baby:” A Three-Fold Path to Heal Birth Trauma
2:30 pm Kimberly Ann Johnson: Call of the Wild: Healing Birth through a Real World Understanding of the Nervous System
3:45 pm Molly Caro May: The Reparative Possibility in a Birth Story

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