Kelly Brogan MD – Holistic Women’s Health Psychiatry
The 44-day companion course to my NY Times bestseller, A Mind of Your Own. Explore life with enthusiasm, with energy, and without medication.
The best of both worlds?The middle path is an appealing notion. We can have the best of both worlds right? This is what reason implores us to listen to. Should we? Well, it depends on what motivates you. What drives you. What you want. I work with women who tell me they want to feel liberated into their feminine power. They want to finally feel strong, free, and real. Here’s what I have to tell you then, ladies...you’ve gotta make healthcare decisions that reflect the consciousness you are looking to embody. In my humble opinion, integrative approaches to medicine (a little probiotic with your antibiotic and some fish oil with your Prozac) keep you prisoner to the system. They lower the ceiling for what’s possible for you in this lifetime. If we are going to only use conventional medicine like antibiotics, psychiatric medications, and vaccines “when necessary”, who determines necessity? Doesn’t fear make that call? Does fear of liability in a litigious culture? Does consensus conditioning - the tendency of doctors to just do what other doctors are doing regardless of evidence?
What do you really believe? What’s true deep down?I came to my radical holism not through hippie parents or a general interest in crunchy living. I came to it through my love of science. When I decided to actually do my own research, I woke up to the tall tale I had been told by my conventional training. And while I can throw the book at you (literally) when it comes to the undisclosed side effects of pharmaceutical products and interventions and the highly over promised benefits, I’ve come to really focus on a different plane of relevance. It’s about mindset. It’s about consciousness. It’s about context. And you must choose. You must choose whether you believe that the body has an innate wisdom, a vitalism that guides its natively harmonious performance. That illness is evidence of imbalance somewhere – physically, mentally, spiritually, interpersonally, nutritionally – and that it is an invitation to engage change in the service of this balance. Or Whether you believe that we are born with our destiny set by our genes. That our bodies are finely calibrated machines that are prone to break-down, requiring repair, servicing, and maintenance. That “the science is settled” (about anything). That doctors are beyond reproach. It comes down to this: Either you are aligned with your body and supporting it or you are managing and fighting it because you and those around you are scared into reactivity. This is why saying no to pharmaceuticals is an act of feminism. Because every time you open that pill bottle, you are saying “nope, you don’t got this” to your body and you are instilling a message of oppression by a system that says feeling anything is dangerous. When we know full well that feeling is where our feminine power lies.
Is birth an illness?We are talking about symptoms and how to respond to them - with fear or curiosity - so what does birth have to do with this? Well, in America, we treat birth like a medical illness. We don sick patient gowns, we sit on sick patient beds, and we get hooked up to tubes and monitors like sick patients. There are whole teams of providers awaiting an emergency turn for the worse. And those emergencies then manifest - did you know we have the worst infant AND maternal mortality rates in the developed world and that statisticians are puzzled by the fact that our maternal mortality rates are the only ones that are rising? We have gotten the whole birth and infancy thing wrong in America because we have turned it into a fear-based medical minefield. How did we get here when birthing a baby doesn’t even require a provider of any kind at all and never did for millions of years? We got here because childbirth is a woman’s initiation to her own wildness. Several hundred years of patriarchal dominance is vitally threatened by the prospect of a woman awakened to the power of her own vital embodiment. That’s why we have record of early MDs like Dr. Hugh Hodge saying in 1938:
If these facts can be substantiated; if this information can be promulgated; if females can be induced to believe that their sufferings will be diminished, or shortened, and their lives and those of their offspring, be safer in the hands of the profession; there will be no further difficulty in establishing the universal practice of obstetrics. all the prejudices of the most ignorant and nervous female, all the innate and acquired feeling of delicacy so characteristic of the sex, will afford no obstacle to the employment of male practitioners.”And now male OBs and their female counterparts thoroughly divested of their essential, glorious feminine power, are routinely baiting conscious women into their hospital-based birthing practices with promises of the safest and most minimal interventions. It’s not unlike Clorox greenwashing their toxicant-fuming cleaning products so that those into “natural” might just pick it up on the way to the checkout counter. To offer a natural birth in the hospital is putting lipstick on a pig. In fact, it is frankly not possible to experience the deep ritualistic feminine transformation that birth can offer, in a hospital. It’s not possible because the consciousness of the hospital is about managing, suppressing, dominating the body...it’s about fear. It’s about the mind and science as religion. It’s about industry and profits. Even if the lovely staff you trust aren’t about these things, they are marinating in this consciousness and it permeates them and influences the way that they interpret a shared reality. Those who have minds of their own won’t last long.
Childbirth as TransformationIn birth we are wild and guided by this wildness. We are guided and protected by an inner knowing that suppresses any false leads our minds might present. We dig deep into our core selves, we flow with that primal universal power and our minds finally submit to a greater truth. And this changes us. Awakens us. And from that point on, we can no longer be controlled. But pushing a baby out of your vagina is not sufficient for transformation to take place. No. The conditions of this experience are that you must be in total and complete control with total and complete freedom and total and complete ease and total and complete celebration of your wildness. In essence, a feminine energy must surround you. And your mind must be allowed to submit completely to the truth that you got this. Totally and completely. As a conscious woman, you already know too much. You know that interventions like epidurals, episiotomy, fetal monitoring, and surgery come with risks that you won’t necessarily be told. That’s why you show up with your birth plan tattooed to your chest. That’s why you tell your partner to follow your baby’s every move like a hawk. That’s why your left brain will be ever vigilant ready to argue against the interventions you know you don’t want. That’s why your mind will never be allowed to die the death that childbirth is designed to achieve. Yes, death. You die into your rebirth and it is glorious. I’m not going to convince you of the science because it is a distraction from the greater point I am trying to make - that this is about your consciousness and what you aspire to. In fact, battling with science stimulates your masculine energy. This isn’t a topic that our minds should have much to do with. This is a decision that should be driven by a deep desire to reclaim what the universe has offered us as our initiatory skin shedding so that we can be born to ourselves. There are no studies that are going to quantify that. Because the most important things in this life can’t even be described let alone measured. But I will make some meta-points: 1. It’s a better birth for both Don’t let anyone (particularly your parents or your partner) tell you that it is selfish to desire this experience. In fact, no one is compromising here because homebirth is "safer" by every debated measure. I decided to have a natural birth with my first daughter, not because I wanted to cultivate my divine feminine, but because I didn’t like my first OB’s attitude when I questioned her and I decided I was going to learn everything I could about how to have the safest, best birth possible...according to the science. Because I was still asleep, generally, at that point, the notion of having a baby at home seemed crazy. So I thought I would thread the needle and have “the best of both worlds” -- a vaginal birth in the hospital. And I did it. It was empowering but very challenging experience to be sure. My ego felt proud of my achievement, like some sort of gold medal athlete. But I couldn’t ignore the data I had come upon that positioned homebirth as the best birth. And so with my second, I took the leap, largely because I had awakened to a broader truth about conventional medicine through my own healing journey from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was ready to meet myself, to experience transcendence, and to truly do this the way it is meant to be done. And the rest is history, because I was born on that day in 2011, graced by the presence of this magical midwife. A wild woman can’t be caged evermore. 2. The microbial ecosystem wants you to birth at home Emblematic of the oppressive consciousness of a hospital is the fact that its microbiome is distorted towards pathology. Poetic isn’t it? The hospital microbiome reflects the fear state that gives rise to it - the hypersanitization and reckless “killing” of all microbial communities in sight - negligent of the fact that the best “regulator” of “bad” bacteria is a community of bacteria itself. This is why, in a landmark 2011 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers concluded that
Colonization by Clostridium difficile at age 1 month was associated with wheeze and eczema throughout the first 6 to 7 years of life and with asthma at age 6 to 7 years. Vaginal home delivery compared with vaginal hospital delivery was associated with a decreased risk of eczema, sensitization to food allergens, and asthma.”In this analysis, they corroborated the “non-maternal skin bacteria” inheritance of the infants born surgically, and found that they were colonized by less beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacterium and bacteroides. They attribute differences in health outcomes in these children to the presence of a theoretically pathogenic species – Clostridium difficile. We now know that the microbiome - our inner ecology is likely one of the greatest determinants of health outside of belief, temperament, and mindset. And our microbiome is established through the tripartite seeding of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. 3. It’s your initiation to self...and the most beautiful one There are many different paths to awakening. Awakening being the inner remembrance of cosmic meaning, perfection, and connectedness that our earthly lives would have us forget. You can wake up through pharmaceutical injury, through illness, or the deep surrender of grief. But none of those are as beautiful as a homebirth. Fully within your own bodily experience, homebirth offers the opportunity for a trance-like peak under the veil, never to be forgotten. It’s an alchemical wonder - a veritable symphony of beautiful peptides manufactured only under the circumstances of mind-disengagement and deep feelings of safety possible at home. Don’t pass up this gift. This is it. Pure, powerful knowing. It’s yours. 4. It’s feminist reclamation for us all And we, all of us, desperately need you to make this decision. We need to come into our bodies and we need to radically heal our splintered and fragmented abusive relationships to them. We need to be shown, to feel, the incredible artistry of their design, their impossible power, their deep wisdom. For every woman who does, the field of feminine empowerment and reclamation grows. For every baby born with a cord left to do its thing, who never leaves his mother’s skin, who feels the ecstasy of feminine collective energy, a little person who feels primally safe is now among us. Imagine the violence of going through the birth canal only to be snatched from your mother, poked, injected, prodded, bathed, passed around, even genitally mutilated all at a time when it is existentially imperative that you be reassured that the world is safe. This is part of why we spend all of our lives trying to ease the pain of wrongness we experienced in those crucial minutes to hours. But every one of these experiences that goes right makes it more possible for future redemption and heals all of us just a little bit. This is a time of deep feminine awakening. It’s a time of challenge and beauty, of suffering and healing. It is a time of remembering what has been forgotten and knowing that once we do, everything else begins to make sense. If it’s time for your rebirth, nature has crafted you the exact experience you need. And I know that you will cherish it forever as the day you took your first real breath.
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