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The Federalist Women Podcast Their Birth Stories


It is apparently becoming a trend for women to deal with their abortions by recording oral histories through podcasts and video interviews. The Washington Post recently reported on one woman who has recorded 125 such retellings. A writer for a left-wing outlet recently wrote that her abortion was “a joyful experience,” which her own testimony of its inception in a loveless, drunken hookup seems to contradict. But the vast majority—82 percent—of U.S. pregnancies end, not in death, but in life and its lasting joy.

That doesn’t mean women don’t struggle through pregnancy and childbirth. Of course we do. But it does mean we who have given our children life instead of death have something beautiful to hold when all is said and done: an un-dismembered, dearly beloved child.

Some of The Federalist’s female contributors banded together to share with you and each other the stories of their childbirths. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish—we don’t get extremely detailed. Yes, there’s pain, of course, but there’s also joy and wonder and excitement and worry and everything else that goes into creating a new life for that new person and his or her parents.

Pour yourself a cup of tea, cozy up, and join us in some girl talk. Whether you’ve never had a baby and wonder what it’s like, or you’ve had a dozen and know personally what a transformative, empowering experience it can be, we invite you into our kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms to overhear us telling our stories. You can listen to the entire playlist directly below or one by one further down this page. Feel free to join in in the comments.

Jayme Metzgar: Even When You Think You Know What to Expect, You Don’t

“If you have a plan and a vision for what you want, that’s great, and do that. But hold to it loosely. This is where having a midwife or doctor you trust is helpful because they can give you advice. It may not always go how you think. If at the end of the day realize if you end up with a healthy baby and you are healthy, you succeeded. So don’t get too caught up with how it goes. Just know that the end goal is going to be worth it.”

Anna Mussman: ‘It Is Very Empowering to Do Something Difficult’

“Sometimes I think it’s reassuring to realize that one is not special in doing something. As new moms it can be very easy to be—sort of unconsciously a little self-absorbed, and think of your experience as this amazing special thing. And there’s a good side of that, of course we want to enjoy the wonderful aspects of having our babies, and enjoying that. But also we don’t want to go in as if nobody has ever had a baby before… If you don’t realize that many, any mothers have done this in many different ways I think that heightens the need to control things.”

Gracy Olmstead: It Was Hard Work But Also Wondrous

“Motherhood is fun. I am legitimately having so much fun right now watching this little person grow up and develop her personality. And even when she’s screaming sometimes because she’s mad…I just start laughing…I wish that people knew that, for all of the difficulties, it is genuinely fun. Childbirth may not have been the most fun part, but it was one of the most meaningful parts. It opens the door.”

Joy Pullmann: I Never Wanted Children, and Now I Have Four

This one isn’t an interview, it’s just me sitting at my little desk one morning talking to my computer about the massive, 180-degree turn my life took when I found, to my horror, fear, and anger, that I was pregnant for the first time. I then talk about my three subsequent pregnancies and how each birth was rather dramatically different.

“You don’t have to be alone, and you don’t have to think that death is the answer. Death is not the answer to anybody’s problems, especially considering the kind of people that come when you say yes to life… Even if you’re scared, if you’re brave and courageous and act on that tiny sliver of courage in your soul, it’s worth it.”

Lori Sanders: From Scared Young Woman to Confident Mother

“I felt so inadequate. We literally lost our health insurance the week our child was born and had to go on Medicaid, and we were so poor and everything was up in the air, and I remember thinking ‘What made me think it was a good idea to keep this baby?’ Without the help of my parents grandparents and others around me I couldn’t even raise him…now I’m stable and on my feet and my son is nine and he’s fantastic…If you think you can’t do it, you can. It will be fine.”