Sarah and Matthew Bivens are the creators of Doing It At Home, a birth lifestyle brand that helps parents feel confident, prepared, and excited for a home birth.
DIAH started in 2016 when they were pregnant with their first child and switched from planning a hospital birth to a home birth halfway through the pregnancy.
Both were balanced lifestyle coaches prior to becoming parents, Sarah and Matthew have taken their past coaching experience and married it with their passion for home birth to make DIAH the ultimate space for home birth empowerment.
DIAH includes a podcast, community, resources, and coaching.
Sarah and Matthew are taking us through their journey of the birth of their daughter and the preparations they made ahead of time for her arrival.
They have such great information on the preparations they made and tips on how you can prepare for your baby as well.
Matthew is a big believer in having a support system, regardless of how you find it, so you have people to reach out to when you need it the most.
Come listen in and be sure to share it with friends or family that may be expecting or plan to in the future!
Find DIAH Website >>>here<<<
Find DIAH on Instagram >>>here<<<
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In this episode, we share with you:
- Introduction of Sarah and Matthew
- Quick summary of Sarah’s birth
- Time spent preparing for a home birth experience
- Time spent on postpartum
- Far more time was spent preparing for birth and very little on postpartum
- How both being life coaches prepared and affected this journey
- Matthew felt very confident that he would know how to do everything after baby was born and that he would do things instinctively
- Using google in postpartum instead of having a support group
- Sarah’s experience in postpartum
- The physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing
- How healing shaped Sarah into the mother she is now
- The blur of the first few weeks
- The Baby Blues
- Overjoyed to overwhelmed
- The importance of an amazing support system
- How a spouse can be a major part of the support system
- Surrounding yourself with a supportive tribe
- Why you don’t have to know all the answers when you have a good support system
- Why creating a community is such a beautiful thing and such a necessary thing
- Different ways to have a support system set up
- The importance of finding a support system, even when it’s not convenient
- Sarah’s New Book & other resources they have created and shared.
- Workbook to take what you’ve read and make your own actionable plan
- A masterclass for partners
- A playlist geared directly towards partners to listen to examples of birth stories, examples of how partners have shown up in birth
- A masterclass by Sarah on how to have balanced mindset and habits leaning into the birth experience
- One on One coaching
- Even if you are not at the point of considering a home birth experience, this information is absolutely valuable for pregnancy and the years beyond.
We all get it; postpartum and the years after having a baby is no walk in the park. But you know what? It isn’t just about depression or anxiety either. Hey, my friend, I’m Maranda Bower, homesteading mama with four wild kids whose life passion and education is all about supporting mothers and providers in understanding the science, the art, and the sacredness of healing after birth. What we know as common sense in the postpartum years has many women feeling just plain awful. It’s time to bring back the truth, get you the tools you need to heal, and thrive in motherhood and beyond.
Hello, my friends, welcome to the postpartum circle podcast. Today is my birthday, and it’s been really, really exciting to kind of represent like a whole decade of making babies. It’s been an entire decade of creating babies, and it’s kind of bittersweet to kind of close that chapter. And that’s really kind of what this whole birthday celebration has been really about and kind of new doors opening up. I say that and now I see all of the babies, and I want every single one of them. It’s kind of funny that way.
But because this is my birthday, I have an incredible duo here on the show for you today. Y’all, meet Sarah and Matthew Bivins. They are the creators of “Doing It At Home,” which really transpired after having their own home birth experience. And I’ve had the privilege of actually being on their show twice, sharing my own home birth experiences. Let’s be real for a minute; if you are listening in and you have, you know, planned for a home birth or you are expecting to have a home birth, you probably already know their podcast, and you’ve probably already heard their story. So we’re actually not going to dive into that today. We are going to dive into their post-partum story. So this is going to be absolutely amazing. I’m super excited to share this.
Sarah: Thank you, Maranda. I’m so excited to be here.
Matthew: Yes, thank you. What an introduction. We appreciate it, and we’re happy to be here.
Maranda Bower: Absolutely. So maybe, Sarah, you can start by giving us a really quick synopsis of your birth experience, if that’s even possible. What a challenge. It’s such an important factor to the initial postpartum experience.
Sarah: Sure. I can say that to summarize our birth, I would describe it with words such as magical, powerful, empowering, transformative, healing, beautiful. So that kind of gives you an idea. It was relatively uncomplicated as far as births are concerned. It lasted about 12 hours from the start of active labor to Maya’s arrival. I spent about 90% of my time in our blow-up birth tub in the water. That was really great for me. I had one of our very large birth team members. We had about 10 people, I think, total in our bedroom at the moment when Maya arrived. And that was by choice. That was an intentional choice to have certain people there with certain roles carved out. I had people doing hip squeezes, supporting me, bringing me water, towels on my face. And then I finally birthed Maya on a birthing stool and actively pushed for about 45 minutes. And then she was born. And there was a little bit more bleeding than you would like to see right after she was born. So I was hit with adosapotosin right in the leg. And then everything was all was well. Minor tearing, stitched up right in my bed, birth of the placenta, skin to skin, first latch, all that magical first hour, golden hour, and all in all, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Matthew: That’s true, yeah.
Maranda Bower: I absolutely love that. And maybe from here, you can share with the audience a little bit about how much time did you prepare for this home birth experience? And maybe, Matthew, you can even chime in here because you did so much of this work. You were with Sarah, you know, hands down super supportive. And then tell us maybe a little bit about how you plan for postpartum in relationship to that.
Sarah: That’s a great question. So in one way, I feel like I could answer that preparing for birth was every day leading up to birth in some way, shape, or form, you know, because there’s the mental component. There’s emotional, you know, for us, there was a spiritual component as well, in addition to prenatal visits with our midwives, which, however many of those, when you add up all those hours, when you add up the conversations that we had, and then we started recording “Doing It At Home” whilst pregnant. So that was active energy and time we were spending talking about our process and in preparation for the birth. I was very physically active. So I count all of that as preparing for the birth. So really, in terms of time, I would say 80% of my time revolved around prepping for birth in some way, shape, or form. And postpartum, well, if I said 80 for the birth, you know, that only leaves about 20, unless we realized it was probably less than that, just because my mind wasn’t really thinking about what happens after you cross the finish line, so to speak, of birthing the baby. I mean, I knew I would have some time off, you know, we’re entrepreneurs, so planning our schedule and everything. That was one component I definitely thought about. I definitely thought about how are we gonna eat, who’s gonna feed us, ’cause that’s me and my personality. But beyond that, I really didn’t know much about the physical healing that is possible or what to expect around there. So as far as anything formal, I would say very little, probably close to none.
Maranda Bower: Okay, and what about you, Matthew? What’s your take on this whole preparing for pregnancy and labor and the birth experience versus preparing for postpartum?
Matthew: So I echo everything that Sarah said. A lot of our time and energy was put into preparing for the birth experience. And prior to becoming pregnant, Sarah and I had been doing a lot of just self-work, honestly, just personal development work. We were doing that for years before we then became life coaches and helped other people with their own transformations and their own personal healing.
So that, to me, was the most important work that we could have done to prepare for birth, looking at addressing our own fears and beliefs that weren’t serving us and building up trust and learning how to surrender and have faith in life in general, understanding that all the work that we were doing was going to absolutely apply to birth day as well. So we were doing all that type of internal work, and then we were also doing the preparation of preparing the space, assembling our birth team, some of those things that are more specific to birth itself.
So we spent a lot of time doing that, and I did do a decent amount of reading, and most of the books and things that I was reading was about parenthood, so it was focused on postpartum. But my experience, and Sarah’s is going to be different because you had a lot of physical things going on as well, I really didn’t feel like there was a whole lot that I was going to get from outside of my own instincts. Like, I just had this sense of just confidence of when baby arrived that I would know what to do and I would know where to be and all these different things, and I don’t mean for that to come across as egotistical or anything like that. It just was this sense that I had that those instincts as a father and as a parent, they were present in pregnancy and they were really going to be activated when baby came. Like I said, I read a few books, things that were recommended, but I just trusted. As I just mentioned, I didn’t go through the same physical transformation that Sarah went through. Postpartum from that aspect was absolutely different for you and then the emotional component that goes along with it. I felt comfortable and very confident moving into the postpartum phase, even though there was a lot of things that we didn’t know. I mean, we tell the story all the time that the night, Maya was born in the morning, like 10:45 a.m. So later that evening, when we’re all ready to go to bed, Sarah and I had no idea how do you sleep with a newborn. We didn’t talk about that with our midwives or anything. So how do you actually do it? Do you build them a little cocoon of pillows or what do you do? So we googled it. Stuff like that, things that I didn’t know, I didn’t know, but overall I felt confident in how I would flow and how I would show up in those things. So yeah, a lot of the preparation was for pregnancy and birth. I appreciate that so much.
Maranda: Just to see Sarah’s look on her face when you were talking about that. She is glowing and ever so loving, looking at you. I wish the audience could see that, just the instinctual, as you’re talking about that, and how important it is to follow through with that and how so many people don’t have that. We have a lot of the pressures of society pushing on us. We have the pressures of returning to work and so there’s so many other components that a lot of us don’t get to appreciate in terms of the instinctual part of raising babies and making babies and having, you know, birth experiences that are positive. So moving into this, maybe you can share, Sarah, a little bit about your overall postpartum experience knowing that, you know, and I’ll back up a little bit. I want to express how significant it is to plan for your pregnancy and plan for your labor and birth experience. Hands down, that’s a significant part of the journey of creating life and really having an amazing experience. Not to say that planning is everything, right? Things happen, you know, life happens and we can’t plan for everything but we can make our lives easier in the process and the same is true for postpartum and really, you know, there’s a lot of unknowns, there’s a lot of things that nobody’s talking about, postpartum is kind of like the chapter at the end of the book, you know, it’s not the full book, there’s not a lot of information on there. So maybe you can go into, like now we have this kind of solidified understanding of your birth and the preparation that went into that. Tell us a little bit about your experience into postpartum and the physical healing and the emotional and mental and spiritual and all of those components and how they really shaped you as a parent and as a mother.
Sarah: Oh, that’s so juicy. And I love how you said the different components because I almost feel like when someone brings up postpartum in a conversation, I feel like I need to ask or, you know, we need to clarify what aspect of postpartum do you mean? Because I think there’s some assumptions when you say postpartum, like some people just assume postpartum with meaning postpartum depression, you know, and that’s not always the case for it’s, you know, there’s the physical aspect to it, but it’s just such a broad topic. I think for me, as I said earlier, you know, I knew and I had learned from my own journey and kind of healing some of my past traumas and things that I would be faced with this opportunity of really stepping into the mother role and the motherhood role postpartum. I knew I was going to have to surrender in ways that I never had before. I knew I was going to have to trust my body in ways that I never had before. And I think a lot of women can resonate with that, especially with the physical healing part, because our bodies are going through a massive transformation and it is just remarkable what our bodies are capable of doing. And I think there’s this pressure of like bouncing back, right? You see these pictures on social media or you know, whatever, and people are saying, you know, “this is me two weeks postpartum, and this is me,” and it’s like, I want to honor and celebrate all those women for where they’re at. But I think there’s this pressure to kind of get back to what we were before, and I think that’s a really big mistake, because I don’t think we’re ever supposed to go back. I think we’re supposed to evolve and I think we’re supposed to transform and really step into this new version of ourselves. And so for me, postpartum was a lot of navigating those pieces. There was the physical piece, the physical healing, the soreness, the bleeding, the, you know, all the things that no one really talks about, but it’s like, okay, how do I navigate this? How do I honor my body in this state? And then there’s the emotional piece, you know, the hormones are shifting and changing and then there’s the piece of like, okay, how do I ask for help? How do I communicate with my partner in a way that’s loving and compassionate, but also advocating for my needs? And I think for me, that was the biggest piece was learning how to advocate for my needs. And so I think it’s just, it’s such a juicy, juicy topic, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to share a little bit about my experience.
Sarah: The first couple weeks were just kind of hazy as I imagine a lot would explain that for themselves. Just, you know, sleep is kind of a blur. You don’t really know if it’s day or night, you don’t really know what time it is. It’s just time to be taking care of a newborn. That’s what time it is all the time. And there were a few moments that I guess you can call it the baby blues, where I was just overcome with emotion from all aspects: gratitude, joy. I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe this is my life. And then also, I have no idea what I’m doing and what have we done? We have made a huge mistake here. Someone needs to come get her. A real adult needs to come in here and take care of this baby because I don’t know what I’m doing. And she cries. I cry. So I remember a few times looking at Matthew just like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t think we know what we’re doing.” And thankful that you had that confidence and intuition you were speaking of before because he could be that grounded place for me when I was very vulnerable and very raw. And I think a lot of the physical component was the link with that. But he was just so steadfast and so amazing. And so he could be that for me when I was kind of drifting off to sea, if you will. But that’s a little bit of what I can remember. It had its ups and downs. Overall, we were very blessed. We had an amazing and still have an amazing support system and community and tribe who was over the house cleaning, cooking, doing laundry. Yes, holding Maya, but so that I could shower or do things, not just to take pictures with the baby and pass her around like a doll. Like they were very helpful, things like that that made such a huge difference. So I’ll stop there because I could probably go on. Do you have anything to add to that, Matthew?
Matthew: It was an amazing experience those first few weeks. I mean, everything Sarah said is just a whirlwind of newness. And I do remember you having those up and down moments and those moments of questioning things. And for me, I just felt like it was something that’s natural. I mean, we just went to a brand new milestone that people experience in life. It’s kind of like, you know, we get married and then all of a sudden you’re like, oh my gosh, everything’s changed. Everything’s different. And, you know, you have one of those little mini existential crises. So I just related to it like that, like, got it, you know, it’s temporary. And I wasn’t feeling the way that you were feeling and that absolutely helped me to just be supportive and be solid and say, “No, we’re perfect for this. And Maya chose us and we’re perfect for those roles. And we may not know what to do in this exact moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t figure it out.” And, you know, Sarah mentioned our support system. And that was a big part of both of us feeling confident and prepared to become parents is that we knew we weren’t doing this alone. And, you know, we’ve been very intentional on building our village. And these are people who were one of the only people sources of support that we received for home birth in general.
When family members were saying, “I can’t support this and you’re selfish and it’s dangerous.” You know, we had a tribe of people who were like, “You could do this, like this is natural, go for it.” And so knowing that we had these folks there and knowing that if one of us needed to sleep and the other was doing something, we could call on them or, “Hey, listen, we just need some food. Could you guys mind bringing us some food or our house is a wreck? Can you help out with laundry?” And, you know, for the first several weeks, they organized that stuff all on their own. We don’t have to think about any of those things. That helps. I mean, it helps to feel like you don’t have to have all the answers. You know, because again, I knew that there were things about parenthood that I had no idea about, but I also knew that I didn’t have to know the answers. I don’t have to know how to handle every situation. Some of those situations, I’m going to know what to do in the moment and other situations I can reach out. I can reach out to Google like we did that one time, but I can also reach out to the people that we know who are parents and who’ve had kids. “Hey, how did you handle this? How would you do this? How would you approach this?” And I see us doing that now that Maya is almost five. Like, “Hey, Maya is, you know, not playing with the kid across the street and that’s creating conflict. What, you know, how would you approach this?” So we just had that approach with so many things.
Like we’re part of a village, part of a community. We don’t have to have all the answers. Let’s flow with things as best as we can in the moment and lean back on all those tools that we’ve been developing during all those years of personal work on ourselves to be patient, to get back into the present moment, to calm ourselves down when we’re feeling stressed and anxious. Like all that stuff was what we used to flow with postpartum, even through the rockiest of moments.
Maranda: And just hearing you speak, Matthew, like that in itself is so calming, right? It’s just like, oh yeah, thanks for that zen reminder, right? Like I feel so, like I almost get goosebumps hearing you speak. Of course that would be an absolute amazing thing to have you as part of a birth team, right? Like I hope you all are listening into this and seeing how beautiful this is and the duo and the dynamic that you two share together. And I think that’s absolutely amazing. And really taking home the fact that community and support and having these systems in place, right? Again, you don’t have to know all the answers and to be able to support each other in those difficult moments, you know, when we’re wondering what in the world we did and why are we here and what kind of mistake did we make? So having that reinforcement to say, no, this is cool. Like this is all good. We’re just in the flow of a new change and we’re here to support you. And I feel like so many of us, we don’t have those support systems in place. Where, you know, being in Alaska, we have a lot of military families. We have a lot of slope workers who are up in the oil rigs, truck drivers. And so, you know, partners tend to be gone for long extended periods of time. They’re away from extended families. And so things like this and creating community is such a beautiful thing. and such a necessary thing that so many people don’t anticipate meeting until they’re already in the throes of it.
Matthew: Right. And then creating that is even that much more difficult. Yeah, and to that, I would say that yes, in some situations it’s easier to attract that community and create that community when you have people around you in the proximity, maybe you have family or close friends or whatever, you’re just able to connect with people. And I’m gonna stress the importance of figuring it out even if it’s not the most convenient. We spoke with a doula several months ago on the podcast who does virtual sessions and they would set up like a screen in the hospital that they would be attending a birth virtually. And I thought that’s incredible. That’s taking advantage of the technology that we have today to be able to have a presence and an impact on a birth without being physically there. And so we run a highly engaged Facebook group, a support group for home birth, moms and dads and families. And so I see people connecting through that platform to be able to be part of one another’s tribe and village. And so for us, it was people here in the flesh that we were able to create real world relationships with prior to us becoming pregnant and then they then became part of our birth team and our support team. And if that’s not what you have available to you, there are other ways to be able to connect with people, find people, even if it’s not somebody who’s gonna attend your birth whether live or virtually, it might just be somebody who’s there who understands what you’re going through and you can text back and forth or you can send emails something because I have to imagine going through something like becoming a parent for the first time or even the fourth or fifth time and you feel like you’re doing it alone. that’s gotta be very rough. To feel like you gotta figure out all these things by yourself, especially if you don’t feel like you can lean on your partner the way that you want to, that has to be a rough space to be in. So I just encourage anybody to, if they feel like they’re in that space now, take some small steps to surround yourself with some people whether it’s physical or virtual or whatever so that you have support structures around you ’cause they’re so important, they really are important.
Sarah: Yeah, and I really feel like COVID has given us the blessing of innovation.
Sarah: We have innovated so much to the support systems, the groups and I think some of those things have existed but now they are rock solid, we have those things in place, there’s no doubt about it and they’re easier to find and so yes, absolutely finding those support systems because they do exist no matter where you are in the world, they are absolutely, hands down, available to all. And they’re effective. Like COVID showed us that it can be effective to be able to connect with people virtually, it’s not the same as flesh to flesh and being in someone’s physical energy but to have a virtual doula when you’re going through stuff. I mean, I remember that story, she was talking about how she would tell the doctor or the nurse in the hospital to bring the screen closer. So she’s like standing in front or holding the screen, coaching the mom through breathing. That’s pretty amazing to be able to do that. So it can certainly be effective.
Maranda: Absolutely, I appreciate you saying that. So I am going to wrap up the session with the fact that Sarah, you have a brand new book, actually you both have some incredible tools that you have recently created and I just so happen to have the privilege of reading your new book, which is your guide to creating a confident and magical home birth experience. And I will say like one thing that I absolutely loved about this book is that, you know, just kind of piggybacking on our conversation, I really felt like this was a friend-to-friend book. Like this wasn’t some, you know, expert opinion, you know, or doctor or something telling me about how it’s supposed to be done. Like this is my girlfriend, right? Like we’re just having a conversation and we’re just talking about this, right? And like the things that come up and, you know, should I be doing this or planning this or like what should I be looking out for? And like we’re just chatting. We’re just having a conversation. And I loved that so much. Can you maybe share a little bit more about what you two have created, not just with your book, but also, you know, with all of the tools that you’ve recently developed?
Sarah: Yes. So in addition to the book, which is available in audiobook format or digital, so you can download it to whatever e-reader you have or you can listen to it. You know, that’s a great one for anyone who likes listening to podcasts like this or ours. They’re already in that frame of mind. So that’s why we felt inspired to do an audiobook version.
Sarah: And then we really, you know, went to the drawing board and thought about all the things that we would have ideally wanted when we were preparing for our home birth. That combined with all of the amazing nuggets of wisdom we have learned over the five years of doing this podcast and hearing hundreds of birth stories, interviews with experts like yourself in all ranges of preconception to postpartum. How can we take that and put that into different tools for people to use, make them really accessible, make them in ways that people can easily get and utilize and really put into practice?
So that looks like the book, but then there’s also a workbook that we created to go along with the book to take what you’ve read and make your own actionable plan, make your own yes birth plan, but things like what can you ask your care providers? What can you be going over with your partner? What sort of intentions are you setting for your birth? What is that mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical preparation you’re doing that can support you in postpartum as well? Because how we have found that how you’re doing your life is how you approach your birth. And I believe that’s how you’ll approach your postpartum as well.
So we have the workbook in there. We have specific resources for partners because if you can tell, we’re really big on the partner perspective and experience here. That’s why we do this together. And so we have a masterclass for partners as well as a playlist geared directly towards them to listen to examples of birth stories, examples of how partners have shown up in birth so that they can really feel confident and excited about their role as well, whatever that is and to determine what that role is going to be because it’s going to look different for partner to partner, you know, personality to personality and relationship dynamics. They’re all different.
So how can you really show up in support of your birthing person and partner in the best way possible? So we have that as well as is that everything? Oh, a masterclass by me on how to have a balanced mindset and habits leading into the birth experience. And then we also offer coaching one-on-one in preparation for the experience and beyond. So all of that is there for you and available on our website. And that’s diahpodcast.com.
Maranda: Gorgeous. And that link will be in the show notes as well so that all of you can go take a look at that. You know, even if you are not necessarily considering a home birth experience, this information is absolutely valuable in pregnancy and the years beyond. So I highly recommend that you take a look at this and see if it resonates with you. And thank you. Thank you both so much for being here and sharing your story. It’s such a privilege to have you here on this show, especially on my birthday.
Matthew: Yay! Happy birthday!
Maranda: Thank you so much, you guys. I appreciate your time. Thanks for tuning in and taking the time to learn about how to support your body and deep healing. We don’t do this work just for us or for you. Your healing impacts your children, your relationships, and your community. We do this work because the health and vibrancy of our world begin with its mothers. I hope you have taken some valuable information today and applied it to your own life.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, reach out about working together one-on-one or at minimum learning about my postpartum nutrition plan, which is where I start every single one of my clients. And you can do that by going to MarandaBower.com. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Let us know by leaving a review, and we will see you next time.
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