Giving Birth All Alone — Episode #162 with Megan Hale
Giving birth without your loved ones around
When coronavirus first happened, many of us were adjusting to figuring out the shut down. How long would it last? Would this just be a week or two? What were the next steps?
Then a month passed, then another month, and we realized we might be settling in for the long haul here. For some people, that meant adjusting to work-from home; for others, they were essential workers very much in the day-to-day work of fighting the virus.
For many of you reading this blog and listening to the podcast, you have also been trying to figure out your birth plans. How do you give birth in a pandemic? What do you plan for, when everything keeps changing?
Giving birth in a pandemic
It seems that every week, the guidelines are changing. The stress on birthing mothers and parents is unparalleled. So many of you are figuring all of this out in real time, and I know it’s nothing like what you’d hoped for or planned for. Many of you are also wondering if now is still a good time to get pregnant and whether your family plans still make sense. All of us are still asking: what will this year bring?
All of this reminded me of a friend of mine, whose story I heard about last year. She went through a challenging birth situation that in some ways, parallels what people are going through now. No, she didn’t give birth in a pandemic—but she did have her family get the flu the week before her due and she had to be quarantined from her mother, her husband, and her little son and figure out how to give birth without the two people she wanted to be in the room with her. Today we get to meet Megan Hale and hear her story.
Megan Hale’s story of giving birth without her family around
Megan currently resides in Omaha, NE with her military spouse and two children. Megan had a challenging first birth, so she had hoped for a relatively easier second birth—or at least a different one.
But right before her due date, she had to be quarantined away from the two people that she wanted to support her. Then she had to go through birth alone. Devastating? Absolutely. She’s here to tell us about it, how she got through it and the journey she’s been on since in processing and moving through the parts of childbirth and parenting that can be traumatic.
The Startup Pregnant Podcast — Episode #162
About Megan Hale
Megan Hale is a Profit First Business Strategist, former psychotherapist, and creator of The Money Map, providing mindset and energetic wisdom mixed with business strategy for women entrepreneurs to show up braver, go all in, and expand into their fullest expression. Through grounded leadership, she guides her clients to hold exquisite space for themselves during times of deep expansion while consistently growing their profits & visibility to serve at their highest level.
Megan focuses on elevating women’s leadership & wealth, and in her work, she pulls together powerful groups of integrity-driven women entrepreneurs for her group coaching and mentorship programs, courses, and Wild & Holy Weekend retreats all tailored around the intersection of mindset, money, and business strategy. She is also the host of Wild & Holy Radio, a podcast about the intersections of psychology, spirituality, money, & business on her much acclaimed weekly show, Wild & Holy Radio available on your favorite podcasting app.
Quotes from the episode:
- I got my master’s in clinical counseling and I was one of those kids, like at 15-years-old going through depression and anxiety, where I experienced therapy for the first time. I remember sitting in that therapist office, and I’m like, “This is what I want to do.” I had this adolescent dream of opening up my private practice, which I ended up doing. What I did not anticipate is that this was going to be my first step into entrepreneurship and working for myself. I knew in that moment that I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I loved the freedom of creativity and setting my own hours and all of the things.
- The more I started growing in my business, the more I started really loving the science of business and all of the different elements that go into it that really allow our business to be that vehicle for us expanding into our fullest expression.
- I was never the little girl who just dreamed of growing up and getting married and having kids. It actually was not until I met my husband that I even wanted to get married. It was not an immediate thing that I just then automatically wanted kids. In fact, I went through probably, gosh, a three-year period of being really ambivalent of really seeing my future, where I could be happy either way. That was a really excruciating place to be, of really being able to go on either side. I think, it took a while to I guess, arrive to the knowing that this is something that I wanted to pursue. Now on the other side of it being a parent, there are still some days where I’m like, I really could see joy either way, because parenthood is probably the biggest thing that I have ever taken on and especially in the season of having littles, it’s a very demanding time I think on all different types of levels. Spiritually demanding, physically demanding, mentally, emotionally, relationally. There’s just lots of things.
- I think for people who are navigating what it is that they want, I think the thing that I had to come to terms with is that nobody could tell me the right answer for me, no matter how much I saw outside of myself, because everyone had a different opinion, because everybody has different values. Everybody has a different vision for their future and what they want that to look like. For me, I really had to get still and really start to listen to what my true belongings were. The part that makes this hard is that a lot of times, what we think that we want is so heavily impacted by the rules and shoulds of the world. I think having to stay really curious and do some digging of removing those layers was probably the hardest part of all of this. I think for me, it’s giving myself space and time. This was not something that was an overnight process.
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A few years ago, when we first had children, my husband talked to his workplace about parental leave. He knew that while he’d like to be home during the first few weeks during and after the birth, he was also interested in being able to be around with his kids while they grew up. So, the summer after our first kid was born, he shifted his schedule to work from 8am to 4pm. From there, he advocated for taking a four-week leave every summer to spend time with his kids. We’re not taking a full sabbatical this year because of the pandemic, but we will still push pause on a few things where we can.
Begin writing a post that says “Working parents are not okay.”‘ Delete sentences because no one is okay. There isn’t really a comparison game to be played here. Call your friend and realize that you’re having trouble stringing words together. Hang up the telephone because both of your children and pushing buttons on the phone and you can’t actually have a real conversation while children and buttons are in close proximity. What was it that they said? “Opening my computer is like a pavlovian response for my child.” Yeah, that.
Every morning lately, I’ve been posting a selfie to my Facebook page and my Instagram page. Right now it feels like going to the coffee shop—I get to pop in, say good morning to people all around the world, check-in with my neighbors and parents and friends, and then start the day.
Sarah K Peck
Founder, Startup Pregnant
Sarah Peck is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based in New York City. She’s the founder and executive director of Startup Pregnant, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. She hosts the weekly Startup Pregnant Podcast and Let's Talk, her second podcast. Previously, she worked at Y Combinator backed One Month, Inc, a company that teaches people to code in 30 days, and before that she was a writing and communications consultant.
She’s a 20-time All-American swimmer who successfully swam the Escape from Alcatraz nine separate times, once wearing only a swim cap and goggles to raise $33k for charity: water. She’s written for more than 75 different web publications and and has delivered speeches and workshops at Penn, UVA, Berkeley, Harvard, Craft & Commerce, WDS, and more.