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084 Restoring Autonomous Birthing with Brittany McCollum
Episode 8417th March 2021 • Vagina Talks • Sophia Wise One
00:00:00 01:18:50

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Darling Dears!

Sophia comes out of the new baby haze to record this raw and informative show. Brittany expresses how she is actively doing her part to restore autonomy in the laboring process. She mentions the education and resources she provides to expecting families. She utilizes her knowledge of pelvic biomechanics and labor movement. In this episode, Brittany mentions, “And you know, one of the things I tell people all the time is that no matter what position it is, it's not going to be good. If you're in it for three hours, movement frequently is really, really important.”

Sophia and Brittany discuss the goal of decreasing unnecessary intervention, restoring autonomy to the person giving birth in medicated and unmedicated births, and also helping to provide comfort in labor and better oxygenate the baby as well. 

Full Transcript below

Here’s a little glimpse:

  • The importance of self-governing in the labor process
  • The benefits of opening the pelvis and movement
  • The value of good communication with health care providers

Resources Mentioned in this episode:

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The theme for this virtual event is Spiritual Transformation, Sexual Initiation & Power. The retreat is May 13-16 2021, so sign up now!

Fire Woman Retreat is unlike any other event: it is a combination of rich teachings, transformational healing, powerful rituals and group witnessing that allows for big personal & collective breakthroughs.

About Brittany McCullom

Providing expecting families with information, resources, a listening ear, and love and support is at the core of Brittany's goals.  In helping parents to recognize their strength as humans, role models, and advocates for the needs and wishes of themselves and their children, Brittany assists families in creating birth and parenting experiences of which they feel positive, confident, and informed.  Her approach to birth and parenting focuses on building awareness of one's intuition and combining it with learned knowledge in a way that is respectful of the needs and abilities of each individual.

As always you can go to for more information about the show, Reports from the Spider Queen, to order the I Love My Life Card Game and Oracle Deck, to join Sophia’s email list, and so much more!

“I am Sophia Wise One: Daughter of the Wind. I am calling you to Rise Up, Rise Up, Rise Up. Rise up and take your place.”

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Sophia Wise One  00:00

The difference between a singleton and twins is something like the difference between like our moon and Jupiter. like Jupiter, Jupiter's 300 Earths. And like, the moon, and twins are Jupiter. It's like, so wild. It's like even with five adults in the house twins still feel insane. 

Sophia Wise One  00:21

With three adults with one baby, it's like, Did laundry, made food, I got like six hours of sleep. My brother got like, you know, just like I was like, Wow, this is so different. And like, adults is like very, very helpful and necessary. I would not want them to do it with less at all. But yeah, twins was just insane. 

Sophia Wise One  00:39

I mean, I literally got an average of like, one to three hours of sleep for 16 days. Oh my gosh. Wow. Like not no exaggeration. Like I'm like, those are some wild drugs like besides between the oxytocin and like, body drugs of the twins or just being like babies. I haven't slept in 16 years like, guys. Oh, so hard. I've been, I've been saying the past week I've been weaning off of sleep deprivation.

Brittany McCollum  01:07

Yeah, totally. You have to and I feel like for parents, that's the biggest thing. That's the thing that comes up more often than not, it's how can they manage to get more sleep? And it's, there's really no answer because babies sleep patterns are so erratic, they're so all over the place, the routines don't last more than a day or two. And I feel like it's so futile trying to incorporate a routine before babies are ready, because you just you just can't and then you're stressed out. 

Sophia Wise One  01:32

And then you're stressed because it's not working. And that's easy for me. Because I use up my own life, I use a body based cycle anyway, like, I went through a massive kind of initiation transformation a few years ago. And I basically only slept one or two sleep cycles between like two to three hours at a time for my own self. And I'd wake up and I would just be like, okay, now I'm awake. 

Sophia Wise One  01:57

And so I would like meditate or do yoga or do a thing, I would just like practice in the middle of the day. And it just was this process of really untangling my like, identity associated with like sleep and needing sleep and not losing sleep and energy and in relationship to sleep. 

Sophia Wise One  02:12

So I took that totally shifted for me years ago. So with the babies and stuff, it would just be like, Oh, I'd like watch, I'd be like, okay, you don't need me right now. I'm going to disappear. And I would just like do a guided meditation or do my own meditation or give myself Reiki and pass out for like an hour. And I'd wake up or wake up every, like 20 minutes, and I go down for 20 minutes.

Sophia Wise One  02:32

And I can be like, I'm back. And my brother in law was like, how do you do that? And I was like, only 30 years of practice, casual. It's casual. I've trained my whole being to decide what state of consciousness I'm in when I need to be. So don't blame yourself. I'm an alien. It's fine. 

Brittany McCollum  02:49

Yeah, but that's incredible. And it probably makes things so much easier when you're in a situation with newborns.

Sophia Wise One  02:54

Oh, my God. Newborn rhythm is like, it's like make sense to me. Like it's not I'm like, this is the thing. Sometimes this is what life is like. And then it changes. Like, it'll change. I didn't I'm not like that. I wasn't like that all the time. It just was months. And then it changed.

Samantha Rise  03:09

I'm Samantha rise, and welcome to vagina talks, where we speak about to and from vaginas. This is a show of alchemy, where we turn poison into medicine, disconnection into wisdom and isolated wounds into communal peacemaking. here's your host, Sophia Wise One.

Sophia Wise One  03:27

You already know everything they could teach you. You already know everything they could say. We are here to remind you what you already already already know.

Sophia Wise One  03:45

I just want to take a minute to acknowledge that Vagina Talks understands that gender is fluid and dynamic and goes way beyond the binary of either woman or man, she or him. And that, in fact, it's a living and evolving thing that's actually personal person to person. And that our bodies, even our understanding, or the ways that we experienced them can vary. 

Sophia Wise One  04:12

It's important for me that that's something that has space here on Vagina Talks. And at the same time, I also am carrying this understanding that womanhood and the experience of the feminine and all of the female, in the splitting of that binary, has been injured has been hurt has been dismantled. 

Sophia Wise One  04:33

And so I'm looking to have a space where the feminine and the female and the female body is reclaimed and respected and lifted and inspected and known, as well as a space that goes beyond the binary and that acknowledges that these are limited constructs, mostly put upon us and that we're in the process of evolving into something more whole and more true. 

Sophia Wise One  04:58

Just wanted to say that, some of my guests will use incredibly binary language for whatever reason from the places that they come from. And I just wanted to let you know that Vagina Talks has a much wider understanding, and it's a living one. So feel free to chime in as we go along. Without further ado, today's episode. 

Sophia Wise One  05:21

Hello beauties and welcome back to Vagina Talks. I am your host, they call me Sophia, Wise One. O-M-G. This is the first show I've been recording since my sisters gave birth, I haven't been talking about it because one of my sisters is incredibly private. And so that's an always an interesting thing. When I get really involved in her life, I stopped talking about my personal life in my work. 

Sophia Wise One  05:46

And it's interesting because in my new relationships, I tell people, I'm like, if you want to be close with me, I will literally broadcast our business across the internet in print, video and vocal form. But I don't get that same chance disclosure with my family. And so with my sister's pregnancy, it became quiet and inside the house time. Well, both of my sisters were pregnant. Now both of my sisters are parents. 

Sophia Wise One  06:14

And I have had the honor and privilege of living with them through these newborn windows. I had twins and niblings that were born in January, and another nibling that was born in February. And we have a guest here today who I met through preparing for those for those babies. And I was just given a major compliment, which is that I sound like a new parent in the way that I feel like I'm like at 100%. But when I went to read out loud, I could barely read. And it's just in process, taking a couple weeks to integrate and take care of my own life before diving back into auntal/auntie, landscape and baby tending OMG what a magic magic. 

Sophia Wise One  07:05

I don't know, what is this OMG thing I'm doing? I don't know. It's like, let's take a trip to the 90s. And yeah, so that's, that's where I am. That's just so where I am. I'm incredibly excited to bring with you an incredible resource, a brilliant facilitator and teacher and I will tell you a little bit about her and then we're just gonna jump in here and take take a journey and share, share what we can. 

Sophia Wise One  07:31

Okay, so her name is Brittany Sharp McCollum and she's a certified childbirth educator and a certified doula and is the owner of blossoming bellies, holistic birth services based out of the Greater Philadelphia area, providing childbirth education classes, birth doula services and pelvic biomechanics training workshops for birth professionals and expectant parents since 2007. 

Sophia Wise One  07:58

That's where we met on the internet. She is honored to be a sought after guest presenting on pelvic biomechanics at international childbirth related conferences, including the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Summit of 2018, the Evidence Based Birth Conference in 2019, and then Midwifery Forward 2020 conference among many others. So obviously a sought after we got her here, excited about that Brittany lives in South Jersey with her partner and their three children. Brittany, welcome to the show.

Brittany McCollum  08:33

Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here. It's funny hearing people like read a bio about yours. Like it's just such an awkward. I keep going back thinking like, should have worded that differently. But it, but I appreciate you sharing all that information.

Sophia Wise One  08:51

Yeah, it took me a really...bios used to be the most like one of the most painful and annoying things about my work for a long time. And I just kept free I mean, it just, I'm 15 years into writing it and I something finally clicked were like, I like kind of I care more and I care less about it. 

Sophia Wise One  09:10

It's like a real, it's a real thing. It's like here's a snippet of context. So you and I met we were doing an infant care class, my sister and and we did this infant care class and you were just so I could tell every sentence that you said you had another 45 minute talk behind every sentence and I was like that's the that's what I'm looking for here. That's what I'm looking for. 

Sophia Wise One  09:39

So I'm just excited to have you here. And the thing that you know I also looking a little bit more into your work and co seeing the pelvic biomechanics. Something that obviously as a you know, pelvic floor specialist chapter of my life is something that I'm really into and empowerment during birth people having a sense of ownership or even more so than ownership, autonomy and capability around their body are two things that really inspired me and wanted to bring you on and share you with my listeners.

Brittany McCollum  10:16

Thank you already, there's like 20 million things that I want to say in response to all these words you're using.

Sophia Wise One  10:24

Pick one and go beauty.

Brittany McCollum  10:26

Um, let's see. So all right, I'll start at the beginning, you said that when we met in the infant care class, I have to say, though, I have to tell I have to tell the story too, because we were in a virtual group, infant care class, it's virtual. So I'm just seeing people on their screens. And you know, we're talking and chatting. 

Brittany McCollum  10:44

And I didn't know you were there. I mean, you had a question. So you were like, you were like, excuse me? I'm here listening. And I have a question. And I was like, who are you? But it was great. It was awesome. Because you were there to learn and absorb and just be part of that experience for your sister and her partner. And it was like, that is just so amazing. 

Brittany McCollum  11:08

So I wish that you had showed your face sooner. But I was so excited that you were there. And even more so than just being there and listening. So excited that you were thinking about the information and like, like thinking to the point where you had questions. 

Brittany McCollum  11:22

I love when people ask questions in the classes that I teach. And when people don't ask questions, I always think like, how could they not have questions? How can there not being more things that they want to know about? or How could this not have triggered something else? You know, so I was super excited. But it was also super funny, because I didn't even know you were there. You were like, I have a question. 

Sophia Wise One  11:40

I was like, I have a question. Because they start it, you know, I'm like, orbiting, I'm living in their house, I'm orbiting, we're doing all the things they had this class, you know, and I was like, yeah, I'll try to like, you know, catch some of it and be around. So you guys had started, and I was finishing what I was doing. And I came downstairs. So I'm sitting on the edge of the couch so everyone can picture this. It's a zoom image, right? 

Sophia Wise One  12:00

So the zoom image has my sister and her partner framed on the on the screen, you know, and then literally, I'm like sitting there and I'm like, I'm just listening. And this question is like, not going away. I'm like, this feels really important, you know, so that I was like, Hi, I'm the creepy odd like, literally the creeper in the corner that nobody knew is there. Like, it was awkward for me to, like, hop in on that, but but your babies and reframed it, so then my face was in the picture. It was Yeah. So,

Brittany McCollum  12:35

And then the another thing you said that I love, and literally could talk about for hours is autonomy and birth, and how important that is, and how it is not tied to the way that a person chooses to give birth and should not be tied to their place of birth, but instead really comes from this sense of understanding what their rights are, and how to advocate for themselves and how to communicate effectively with their providers. 

Brittany McCollum  13:00

And I think when we restore that autonomy to the laboring person, it helps them to have this positive experience that they can look back on and feel really good about. There's this kind of like idea in the birth community that people should be coming out of their births feeling like they did something really amazing, rather than feeling like something happened to them. 

Brittany McCollum  13:20

And so when we restore that autonomy, and again, like, it doesn't matter how someone is birthing that should be that literally should be someone's right and all births, whether it's vaginal, or cesarean with pain medication, without pain...