"Both of my babies were born at home with midwives in attendance." Image: Bryn Huntpalmer
“I've learned that each mother must do what's best for her and her baby.”
We missed each other the first night (ahem, out late), but the morning of the conference, Bryn came out of her room looking all adorable. We chatted while I tried to something with my hair.
Love at first chat.
I immediately felt like I'd known Bryn. We hung out, we ate. I laughed until I peed my pants. Some other harrowing things happened, but we aren't going to talk about that (what happens in PDX stays in PDX).
Interviewing Bryn for Ravishly's PWL was the next logical progression. I mean, I love Bryn, and we all love a good birth story and The Birth Hour delivers on the (twice) weekly. You can head over there today to hear my most recent birth story (and pieces of the others). Christy Turlington will be on this week as well!
Can you tell our readers a little about The Birth Hour?
The Birth Hour is a birth story podcast that I created as a safe place for women to come together to share birth stories of all types.
The story of our child's birth is usually every mom's favorite story to tell and we bond as women when we hear and tell these stories.
Unfortunately, when we share our birth stories we are often met with judgment, whether intentional or not, just based on the personal experiences of the person listening to the story.
With the podcast, my guests are able to tell their stories uninterrupted and then share them with a huge audience of women eager to hear different birth experiences.
Many of my listeners are pregnant women preparing to give birth, but I also have many moms who are long past the "birthing phase" of life that just enjoy the community aspect of both the podcast and @thebirthhour Instagram.
How was the idea for The Birth Hour Born?
When I was pregnant with my eldest, my love of (OK, obsession with) birth stories began.
I would Google birth stories and watch YouTube videos of birth until 3AM many nights — not exactly the healthiest practice when you are growing a human in your body.
When I discovered podcasts through my nerdy husband, something in me just clicked, like an Oprah A-ha moment, and I realized that for busy mamas, being able to listen to birth stories in the car or on a run or walking around burping a baby would would make birth stories so much more accessible.
I spent more than a year thinking about the idea and planning for it but once I finally took the plunge and recorded my first episode, I was hooked!
I'm sure we'd all love to hear a little about your births (birth enthusiasts unite).
Both of my babies were born at home with midwives in attendance.
My daughter's birth was a 34-hour-long drama with a manual placenta removal at the end — which I wouldn't recommend to anyone, but I trusted my midwife completely and was never worried for either of our safety.
My son's birth was less than 3 hours and he was born in the water. Although I was a little taken aback by how quickly it all happened, I love that I owned the whole process and barely had any help from my birth attendants.
I left that birth experience feeling like a badass cavewoman who would be just fine giving birth in a field and then getting back to her chores.
What has producing this podcast taught you about birth (and yourself!)?
When I had my daughter, I was kind of living in a natural birth bubble. We had just moved to a new town, and the only mom friends I had were the ones I met through my childbirth classes or at the crunchy baby store I frequented.
So I think I was a little biased — and dare I say, judgey — about birth choices different from my own.
Prior to starting the podcast, my best friend's son was stillborn and I was by her side through that experience. Ever since then, all judgments have gone out the window. I've learned that each mother must do what's best for her and her baby.
My goal with the podcast is to educate women [about] their options [so they can] make informed decisions based on their knowledge. I love recording all types of birth stories, because I know there are thousands of women out there listening who can relate to that mom in some small way and not feel so alone in their experience.
Can I come visit you in Austin? Is Austin really like hot Portland?
Yes please!! Austin is a great city to live in — although we have a slogan: “Welcome to Austin; don't move here” because it's so crowded and traffic is a nightmare.
We have amazing food (hello tacos and BBQ!) and live music all around the city every day of the week. Plus it's a great place to raise kids with activities for just about anything you can dream up.
I think it gets compared to Portland a lot because it's so eclectic and there's very much a do you attitude, but I tend to think that Austin is way more laid back than Portland, with an almost beach town vibe (minus the ocean).
What's next for The Birth Hour?
I currently publish two birth story episodes each week, which is fantastic, but obviously I can't share everyone's birth story.
I'm contacted all the time by moms desperate to get their story out there and I hate not being able to share them all. I'd love to build out the blog section of the website as a place for women to share their birth stories or write about other topics like postpartum, breastfeeding or other struggles and successes in their lives.
I also currently have a 9-5 job as a senior content manager for Modernize.com, so I spend a lot of nights and early mornings working on editing episodes and managing the podcast. I recently launched my first product as a way to support The Birth Hour financially, so that maybe I can afford to bring on some help in the near future and continue to grow the podcast.
All around, I'm just really really excited about how quickly the podcast has grown and that it is resonating with so many people!