346. Childbirth Is Not A Medical Condition: The Freebirth Revolution W/ Yolande Norris-Clark

Yolande Norris

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Yolande Norris-Clark dismantles fears and misinformation surrounding free births and explains how an alternative delivery, free from the clutches of traditional medicine, is a woman's natural birthright.

Yolande’s passion is rooted in sharing profound truths about the power of women as keyholders to the flourishing of the human species, and that wild pregnancy and free birth represent the sacred portal to immense wisdom and thriving.

Childbirth is biologically designed to be ecstatic, delightful, fun, joyous and beautiful, and it's in unnecessarily interfering with this physiological design that we distort the outcome of birth and endanger women and babies.  

She came to recognize that she had a sacred mission to reveal and share this secret, and to share the power of birth as the initiation into one of the most profound experiences of awakening and planetary connection available to human beings. Peaceful birth is the foundation for peace. Peaceful birth leads to contented babies, happy mothers, connected parenting, and even healthy relationships and marriages. 

She has given birth to eight babies. All of which were born at home. For her six youngest children, she chose entirely wild pregnancies and freebirths, where she cared for her body holistically and independently and gave birth at home with only family and/or non-medically trained friends present for emotional support. 

She subsequently supported hundreds of other women as they have chosen the same path, as a full-spectrum birth attendant, witnessing births throughout her community, and now as a birth coach, consultant, and teacher.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Yolande Norris-Clark cut the cord with western medicine after her traumatic first pregnancy and miscarriage at 19 years old. She broke away from the Western test tube of clinical hospitals, foreign metal instruments, and disconnected docs-in-white coats for the pure, serene, natural womb of the home. She has free-birthed eight children onto this planet, choosing to not partake in industrialized prenatal care, instead cultivating mental fortitude through meditation, nature, and independent (un)learning. 

Together, we examine our personal traumatic birth stories and unpack the healing potential of free birth. She articulately explains how one can lean into the free birth experience if they feel called to do so. Lastly, we broach why traditional feminism has ignored the uncomfortable theme of birth in the women’s rights movement. 

This enlightening conversation pushed me to the edge of my programming around the subject of childbirth and what we collectively deem as an appropriate birth experience to claim the “good” parent badge.

The miracle of life has so many layers, and I’m in awe of ALL parents who make empowered decisions that align with their moral compass and lifestyle. I encourage everyone to listen with an open mind and heart, whatever your childbirth value system may be. 

08:30 — From Lockdown to Liberation 

  • Moving from Canada to Costa Rica during the pandemic
  • Her huge family! 
  • Her holistic parenting philosophy 

18:50 — Processing Birth Guilt & Trauma

  • How free births have helped heal her distressing entry to this planet
  • Why cutting the umbilical cord is not beneficial to a baby’s health 
  • Reconciling ancestral trauma through non-hospital births
  • How the system disconnects us from truly knowing our own bodies
  • The collective awakening happening right now
  • Ayahuasca reflections on my experience in an incubator post-birth

36:44 — (Ultra) Sound Awakening

  • Predatory ultrasound experience and subsequent miscarriage 
  • Supporting spontaneous miscarriage at home
  • The pivotal moment where she walked away from the hospital and never went back

54:11 — Defining Free Birth

  • How “natural birth” has been politicized and miscategorized
  • She thinks no hospital birth can be deemed natural 
  • The characteristics of a “physiological birth”
  • The current political situation with midwifery 
  • Pre-birth education and deprogramming

1:17:14 — Leaning into Free Birth 

  • Aligning yourself with the right birth experience meant for you
  • The hallucinogenic energetics of birth and death 
  • Her incredible experience using an underground midwife at 20 years old
  • Ego death and surrender during birth 
  • Cultivating mental fortitude 
  • Reverence for the miracle of life – and death
  • Pushing past indoctrinated birth fears 
  • Stepping away from Industrial prenatal care

1:58:30 — What About Feminism?

  • The blind spot in the body rights movement
  • Dismantling fake liberation stories sold to women 

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey:  I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Alright. Here we go, Yolande. I've been looking forward to this conversation and it is now happening. I can see in the background there, you are in the jungles of Costa Rica. Lucky you.

[00:00:34]Yolande Norris-Clark:  I am very lucky. It's beautiful here.

[00:00:37]Luke Storey:  My first question, not knowing your complete story, but doing as much research as I could, would be, did you happen to flee Canada because of all the lockdowns and COVID drama up there, or was there another reason that you moved down south?

[00:00:54]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Not really. No. My husband and I, and our six young kids had actually just purchased the house of our dreams in Canada, and we had just established our pottery school, which was a project that my husband, Lee, and I had been working on together for about 15 years. And my birth coaching business was going wonderfully, and yeah, our life was all in order, all set up. We knew we had a clear path ahead of us. Yeah. And then, rona hit, and yeah, it was just very, very disorienting. 

[00:01:39] And I started speaking my mind on the topic of this totalitarian technocratic coup, as I see it, back in February of 2020. And at that point, the response was overwhelmingly unsupportive, I would have to say, initially. And so, yeah, I kind of became persona non grata in my community and I had already been ruffling a few feathers, I'll admit, Luke, over the years, especially when it comes to my perspective on birth, which we're going to talk about today.

[00:02:22] And so, this was just kind of I think the last straw for the lovely, very conservative, very obedient people of New Brunswick, Canada. And yeah, I had some interesting and unpleasant encounters with some people, and my husband and I kind of looked around, and we really had a very clear sense that things were not going to be going back to normal any time soon. And I wish that we've been wrong.

[00:02:55] When we left initially, we left Canada in October of 2020, and I was still sort of thinking, well, I guess we can always come back once things sort of settle down, but I think I also knew on some level that things are never, ever, ever going to be the same. And so, yeah, we just embarked on this big adventure and we went first to the Dominican Republic, where we have some friends and some connections. And then, I was actually invited to attend a twin home birth in Costa Rica.

[00:03:34] And so, I came here initially first just with my oldest, with our oldest son, and my husband and our five youngest stayed in the Dominican, because we weren't really sure where we were going to land. But when I got here, I just met so many wonderful people, and they're such an incredible community here, and a really lovely kind of back to the land scene, people who are really interested in doing permaculture and kind of living off the land. And there's abundant water, and food, and amazing people. And so, here we are. Yeah.

[00:04:09]Luke Storey:  Good for you. I'm so glad that you're able to make that move as a bystander. I mean, obviously, looking at most countries in the world and agreeing with your perspective that it's not looking good for people that enjoy liberty. Canada seems to be one of the worst. I mean, some of the things going on up there, and I don't use comparisons like this lightly and I don't mean to offend anyone listening, but it is very reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the beginning.

[00:04:45] I mean, it's like that's what it is. It's just crazy. So, I feel for your countrymen up there. It looks rough. I really feel for people there. And I just left California, for many of the same reasons, for Texas, for greener pastures over here and a little more room to breathe as a sovereign human. So, yeah, I totally get it. And I was just curious if that had something to do with it. And it sounds like it did, and God, good for you and for your kids, too. I mean, that's one of the things with all of this that I look at. 

[00:05:16] I'm an adult, so if I find it totally necessary to go into Whole Foods and they want me to cover my breathing holes, I can play the game for a minute, although I avoid it like the plague, but children don't really have a choice or the ability to contextualize what's going on. So, I just feel terrible about the trauma that's being inflicted on them as a result of all this nonsense. But anyway, let's talk about something fun. You have a ton of kids.

[00:05:47]Yolande Norris-Clark:  I do.

[00:05:47]Luke Storey:  How kids do you have at this point?

[00:05:50]Yolande Norris-Clark:  It's very unusual. Yes. At this point, Luke, I have eight children. So, eight humans have passed through my body into the world, but I kind of have two batches. So, I have two older sons from a first, earlier relationship, and they actually live in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. And my husband and I have six young kids.

[00:06:16]Luke Storey:  Wow. Well, if I'm going to talk to someone about giving birth, you are the person, obviously, that's just like, I can't fathom that as a guy who's been, I would say, I mean, not against having kids earlier on—well, yeah, earlier on, I would say against, because like I don't want to lose my freedom, man, but also, someone who is 50 and haven't been passionate enough about the idea or been with the right person to really explore it. And the idea to me, as Alyson and I move in that direction, of having one kid is daunting just in terms of not knowing how to do it and wanting to do it right, all the things, many of which we'll discuss.

[00:06:53] But also, I just think, man, how do you sleep or like find time to do a podcast and the things? I'm like, if you can do it with six, like I've got to be able to find a way to do it with one. I'm a pretty high-performing guy, so congratulations on flying in the face of the depopulators of the world that are not only, in my estimation, eliminating a lot of people currently, but also highly discouraging people to have families, and do normal human things like procreating and repopulating the planet after the elders pass on. So, good for you.

[00:07:26]Yolande Norris-Clark:  It's interesting that you say that, Luke, because I, for many years, I mean, really up until this past February of 2020, probably, I really considered myself a leftist and a progressive, but also, a little bit of a misfit in that crowd, because my life is sort of dedicated to birth and my family. And my husband and I kind of kept having these kids and most of them were happy accidents, sort of, maybe, although I think subconsciously, this is certainly all part of the plan.

[00:08:11] But for quite a few years, I would feel sort of vaguely guilty about our large family. And I would sort of feel the need to, I don't know, kind of explain myself. And I also received a lot of really, really obnoxious comments from acquaintances and strangers, basically asking me, who the heck do I think I am to think that I have a right to destroy the ozone layer, contribute to overpopulation, mess up the planet singlehandedly, and my perspective on that has really shifted quite a bit.

[00:08:48] And it's been very liberating, actually, to sort of allow that to fall away and to really just embrace the fact that I have this amazing family and we have so much fun. And you were mentioning earlier how does one kind of wrap one's mind around getting things done with kids, and I mean, we do what we have to do. But in many ways, and I don't want this to discourage you at all, Luke, but I found having one child maybe the most challenging in some ways, because you're kind of figuring it all out and they're this sort of precious parcel that you don't want anything bad to happen to.

[00:09:32] And now that I have this just horde of kids, oh, my goodness, it either gets easier or my standards have fallen to such an extent that I'm like just super relaxed about everything. But we do have a lot of fun and they entertain each other. And I have a very specific—well, a very—yeah. I mean, my parenting philosophy is such that I really encourage my kids to just explore their environment.

[00:10:04] And we've never used baby gates, or like really strollers, or apparatuses all that much at all. And so, yeah, I love to see them explore the boundaries of their bodies and their environment. And that's another reason why it's such a joy to be here in this place where we really live in the jungle and they can be free to climb, and roam, and play, and swim in the river, and do all the things that humans like to do when they're free.

[00:10:35]Luke Storey:  Oh, that's incredible. I congratulate you on all of that. Now, we're going to be talking about some concepts here that could be somewhat controversial due to the fact that many of us, at least in Western culture, have been indoctrinated into birthing in ways that we perceive to be normal in the medical system, et cetera. What would you have to say before we get started for mothers or fathers, for that matter, listening who are in alignment with what we're going to present today, but might feel a sense of guilt or shame, because they had kids within that system and have some sense of regret because they didn't know yet that there's another way, right?

[00:11:21]Yolande Norris-Clark:  That's a great question. I would say to those parents that as human beings, I see our greatest strength and our greatest vulnerability to be the fact that we can seemingly adapt to almost any circumstance, right? I mean, human beings are more resilient than any other creature, really. We can kind of contort ourselves to fit even the most adverse of circumstances and environments. But it's also my conviction that we have the capacity to heal from literally anything, including birth trauma.

[00:12:16] And I do look around and observe that 99% of all of the humans on Earth make up kind of this cohort of the walking wounded, really. I think we have all been deeply traumatized to some extent. And I think birth plays a really pivotal formative role in that trauma. And actually, I see the industrial birth institution as a system that deliberately enacts trauma and abuse, because that's one of the ways that we are initiated into the kind of dependency, and lack, and perspectives of subordination that I think have contributed to the situation that we find ourselves in now all over the world.

[00:13:23] But I do think we're capable of healing from trauma related to birth experiences. And I think I'm a good example of that myself, because actually, I was born under incredibly adverse circumstances. So, my mother was subjected to kind of the whole gamut of abusive, traumatizing interventions short of surgical birth. So, I did emerge from my mother's vagina, but I was kind of ripped out and my mother's body was cut. And I had a nuchal cord, which is when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck and this is still used as a pretext for legitimating a whole host of totally unnecessary, and just ridiculous, and harmful responses.

[00:14:23]Luke Storey:  Thank you for that.

[00:14:26]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Sorry, I'm just waiting for that to pass, Luke. And so, on account of this nuchal cord, which as many of us now know is not in any way a problem. I mean, 30% to 40% of the babies that I've witnessed being born have the cord wrapped around their necks and it's actually highly adaptive. It's a wonderful thing. It's an example of how brilliant the human body is, that babies wrap themselves up in their umbilical cord. 

[00:15:02] Because what that does is it actually prevents cord prolapse, which is when the cord falls out of a mother's vagina prior to the baby's body emerging. And that can be a very, very serious, life-threatening situation. So, it's brilliant when babies wrap themselves up in the cord. This is a wonderful thing. It's not a problem. It's not a pathology. But it's still used as, like I said, a pretext for initiating a whole bunch of interventions that are harmful and unnecessary.

[00:15:33] And so, in my case, the nuchal cord was used as a rationalization for immediately cutting the cord, which again, is quite dangerous and harmful, because babies, when they're emerging, they really require that lifeline to remain intact, because they're still receiving oxygen from the cord. And when the cord is cut immediately, that can really compromise this very, very important period of a really sacred transition that all babies go through to calibrate to the outside world.

[00:16:07] So, my cord was cut immediately, I was taken away, whisked away from my mother. And my mom didn't touch me for about eight hours after I was born. So, I was taken to the neonatal resuscitation unit. I was placed in a glass incubator and I was given a bottle of sugar water. And that was my first encounter with the outside world, was being isolated, and alone, and being given toxic sludge to drink. Yeah. 

[00:16:39] I am one of those people who had very a very traumatic birth experience and I'm so grateful in so many ways, because it really has shaped who I am, and I felt a lot of rage and anger for many years about what happened in the way that I entered the world. And I felt a lot of sort of conscious anger, but I've also done so much work that has uncovered ways that my birth has impacted me unconsciously as well, in ways that I move through the world. 

[00:17:16] And I think the perspectives that I have and fears that I have that I understand now have been informed by my birth experience, but it also really inspired me to dedicate my life to this work and to sharing with as many people as possible the sort of open secret that I and lots of other women, too, have discovered, which is that birth is not a pathology. Pregnancy is not a pathology. Birth is not an inherently medical event.

[00:17:52] It's actually the most incredibly, just wild, and beautiful portal to spiritual awakening, and transformation, and connectedness, and wholeness that we have available to us as human beings, and it's the most significant experience. I mean, this should be very obvious, right? It's the most significant experience of a person's life that their initial entry into the world, but it's also one of the most significant experiences of our lives as women. And the choices that I made around the births of my children have done so much to heal my own birth traumas.

[00:18:43] And yeah. So, it's pretty amazing. I think there's always an opportunity for us to heal. And in some cases, well, I actually know that the experiences that I have had giving birth have also been profoundly healing for my mother. And I like to think that time kind of moves in ways that we don't necessarily perceive in this three-dimensional world. And I feel like we can also kind of heal backwards in a way, and address ancestral wounds and traumas through the decisions that we make as individuals going forward and with our own families as well.

[00:19:30] So, yeah, there's so much there. And I think in so many ways, birth is kind of the last frontier, right? I mean, as you know, Luke, and probably, most of your listeners, too, we live in this world, and this has been in play for such a long time, in which everything that is truly rational, and authentic, and natural, and correct, according to the laws of nature, has been inverted and kind of capsized by design, in order, I think, to keep human beings some kind of a state of perpetual uncertainty and disorganization. 

[00:20:16] And in effect, to conceal from us our true power in some way, our true ability to connect with spirit, and to obscure our innate psychic aptitudes, and our intrinsic capacity to communicate and to tune in with planes of existence outside of this realm that we can see with our eyes in front of us, right? And so, when we look around at the way that the contemporary world is structured, almost every single institution, and convention, and custom, and social procedure is, I think, set up to reinforce this disorientation. 

[00:21:03] Because if human beings were truly able to know ourselves deeply, and to understand ourselves, and to contextualize ourselves accurately as the exquisitely sensitive, and brilliant, and luminous beings that we are who truly belong to this world and to each other, I think the current state of chaos, and disorder, and dysfunction that we see all around us would cease to be. And I think we're actually moving through that right now, through this incredible revolution that we're all living into.

[00:21:41] And I see this growing awareness in every area of life. People are taking their kids out of these broken education systems, and teaching them at home, and people are shifting their relationship to these financial systems, and more and more women are also recognizing that the way that we do birth in this culture is not serving us, I don't think. Not serving us at all.

[00:22:13]Luke Storey:  Oh, man. There's so much grist for the mill in that dialogue there. Wow. So many things I could pick and unpack. I guess I'm going to go back to your realization later in life of reconciling your own birth trauma and the story that you told about being separated from your mom in ways that were unnatural and the cutting of the cord that is bringing these vital nutrients, oxygen, stem cells, all the things a baby needs to survive and thrive, that natural law being interrupted and circumvented by that experience, and how that really carries on, and informs who you become.

[00:22:57] And in my own journey here and one of the main reasons I actually went after you for an interview was really in my own healing of my own birth trauma, and also, in my desire to stop that, to break the link in that chain for my lineage. And I really think that there's a lot to that backward healing, because in the quantum realm, your birth and my birth are present right now in this moment. There is no then and there's no future in the great scheme of consciousness, right? 

[00:23:32] I was shown in an ayahuasca ceremony actually in Costa Rica, interestingly enough, on one night where I had no perceivable effects of the medicine, it was one out of four nights, and it was what they call, a nada, which means in Spanish, nothing. Like nothing happened. I just kind of laid there and writhed in nausea, and I was just going, oh, my God, what time is it, when is this going to be over kind of thing, which is not characteristic of most of my journeys since. 

[00:24:00] So, I thought, wow, what a waste of a night, I could have been sleeping, kind of, but there was a brief moment in which I had sort of a vision, not like a hallucinatory vision, but just kind of like a little daydream for a moment, probably around 4:00 in the morning, I guess, a morning dream. And I was shown this sequence of events in which I was born in a hospital room, and then when I came out, they put me on my mom's chest for a minute. This was the brief vision, at least.

[00:24:39] And then, I was taken to another room and put in an incubator. And I remember stories from my grandmother on my father's side saying how cute I was in this little incubator. And it was kind of a little family story and I never thought anything of it. So, I did have that bit of factual data somewhere in my memory that there was an incubator involved. I never thought about it at all as being significant, but in this brief vision, I was put in the incubator and just left all alone.

[00:25:07] And I had this sense of just this depth of loneliness and kind of like, why did that happen? And did that happen the way that I envisioned it? So, the next day, I sent a text to my mom, and said, hey, I'm in Costa Rica doing ayahuasca, she probably didn't know what ayahuasca is, and I had this little daydream, mom, what do you think? And I typed it out, as I just explained to you and the listeners.

[00:25:32] And she sent a text right back, and said, that's exactly what happened, with the exception that they wrapped me in a little swath of some sort, and then put me on her chest, because in the vision, I was like a naked little bloody baby, so they wrapped me up, which I've since learned, there are problems with that, because of interruption of pheromone transmission and things like that from the detergents and the nonorganic blanket that they wrap you in and stuff.

[00:26:00] And then, they did, in fact, throw me in an incubator, God bless them, I'm sure they were doing what they thought to be right as part of this broken system, and left me in there for four days. And I couldn't be held, or touched, or have any real human interaction. I was just seen like a zoo animal through the window. And it took me a while to unpack that information, as it seems you have as well. And what I took from that was that in that experience was born this sense of existential loneliness that I felt for most of my life. 

[00:26:42] And like you, it's been incredibly motivating not just to share information like we're sharing in this conversation, but also just, in an interpersonal way, unpacking so many of the patterns that developed in my life based on that sense of missing such a key moment in birth, and feeling this sense of separation and distance between my fellow humans, and just this inability to really connect, and obvious abandonment issues that interrupted my capacity for intimacy well into my adult life until quite recently.

[00:27:24] So, like you, I don't know if I would go back and do it any different, because that shaped who I am today and has informed not only who I am, but the work that I'm doing in the world, and sharing information like this, and also really having the ability to go back. And I mean, you want to talk about like root causes, I mean, at least within this incarnation, what a gift to be able to be shown that, and to kind of go all the way back to that moment and start over, and really start healing all of those parts of my being that were affected negatively by that.

[00:28:01] And then, of course, following that comes the circumcision and there's been a lot of work around that also as a result. And I'm always careful about painting plant medicines and psychedelics as the be all end all to all things, but I have to be honest and say that many of these realizations for me have come as a result of very intentional ceremonial experiences. And in one of them was this whole realization about my disconnection with true intimacy and love as it pertains to sexuality, as a result of circumcision.

[00:28:36] And that's a whole other podcast probably, And I've done a podcast about it with an expert on the subject prior, but I think this is such important work for us as individuals to heal, and then as you said so brilliantly, to break that cycle of trauma and have the opportunity to at least explore in some degree this idea of free birth and going back to having birth as nature or God designed us. So, I don't want to hog up the conversation here, but it really moves me to hear your story, because there are so many parallels there. 

[00:29:12] With that, I'd like to kind of fast forward to the experience that you shared about having this sort of invasive ultrasound during, maybe it was, I forget which number of your pregnancies, because you've had a few, and the awakening that began from that moment when you had this innate wisdom within you that something's not right here. Maybe you could tell us a bit about the beginning of your journey as a mother, and what led you to explore a completely alternative route to bringing life into the world?

[00:29:50]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Well, that's a really interesting question, Luke. So, I have to actually thank my mother, first of all, for always being very, very open and honest with me about my birth story. So, my mom is a pretty amazing woman and I just appreciate so much that I really grew up always hearing from her that the way that I came into the world was not good, not good for her or for me, and that she was pretty upset about it, and I think still is. 

[00:30:33] And that really gave me kind of permission to look at it and to kind of like—I mean, I can't actually remember the first time that I heard my birth story, because it's just something I grew up talking with my mom about openly from a really young age. And I think that's one of the reasons that I think I've been fairly well-equipped to explore these topics. And that's also one of the reasons that when I first became pregnant when I was 19 years old, I had already decided, and this is part of my mother's influence as well.

[00:31:14] I mean, she was actually very much ahead of her time. And as kids, I have two younger siblings. We never went to see the doctor. My mother never would have even dreamed of giving us Tylenol if we were ever sick. It was go eat an orange and lie down, you'll feel better soon. So, I really appreciate that as well. So, I was not really brought up in sort of a medicalized mindset. So, when I found out I was pregnant at 19, I had an idea that I would like to have a home birth, but it wasn't something that I had come across in my personal life.

[00:31:52] I didn't know anyone who'd given birth at home. I was born in the hospital, my younger siblings as well. And so, it was kind of a vague notion. And so, I did actually, initially, when I found out I was pregnant, go and see our family doctor who had kind of been on the periphery. She was a personal friend of my mom's and someone that I felt relatively comfortable with. And I had never really seen her as a patient, but she was someone that I knew.

[00:32:22] And so, I went to see her and she gave me a blood test, and then she suggested that I go and have an ultrasound. And I didn't even know what ultrasound meant. I knew nothing at this point. And so, she gave me the script or the prescription to go to this office in a different part of town, and this was in Vancouver, B.C., where I grew up. And so, I showed up at this ultrasound clinic and I had been instructed to fill my bladder, so to drink as much water as I could so that I had a full bladder. 

[00:33:08] And I didn't understand why I wasn't informed as to why. So, I was waiting in this waiting room with these other women, and I mean, I was so young, I was a baby, I was 19 years old, and it was all very sort of mystifying. And then, I was finally called in. And at this point, this is kind of part of the design, I think, of the medical establishment, is part of it is sort of to make strange the situation. 

[00:33:43] I think every encounter we have on some level with the allopathic medical industrial complex is kind of designed to position the patient as subordinate to the professionals, right? And so, I think part of that is making people wait. When you have to wait, you start to feel uncomfortable, and then you start to feel a little bit insecure. And that, I think, serves this hierarchical sort of status organization in a way. So, I was finally called in, and at this point, I really, really had to pee so, so badly.

[00:34:20] And I was in this room with a male technician, and he told me to take my pants off. I was like, what? Wait, what? Take my pants off? Okay. I thought I could just pull my underwear down just a little bit, because you're going to just give me an ultrasound, like on my abdomen, right? And like I said, at this point, I know nothing about ultrasound. And now, I'm very, very well-informed as to the numerous not only risks, but objective harms that ultrasound causes.

[00:34:56] And I don't let anyone near me with a Doppler or an ultrasound machine ever, ever, ever at all. I mean, I would sooner do all sorts of things, so I don't ever engage with ultrasound. I don't personally believe that the risks outweigh the benefits on any level. And I don't see any benefit either. But anyway, that's kind of a different story. So, I was asked to take my pants off, and stunningly, I mean, I'm embarrassed to say this now, but I did.

[00:35:25] And I mean, as a 40-year-old woman at this point, I talk with my daughters all the time about situations like this, but it's so indicative of the degree to which I had been successfully disciplined to see these people in their white coats as superior, as authoritative, as people who I had to listen to, I had to obey these people. So, even though internally, I'm screaming and thinking, I don't know, what am I doing here? I want to go to the bathroom, and then go home, like get away from me.

[00:36:07] It was just incredibly predatory. But again, this is kind of how the situation, how the system is often set up. So, I did. I took my pants off, and lo and behold, all of a sudden, there's a dildo shaped object being pushed into my vagina. So, there was not even an explanation as to what this procedure would entail. But essentially, I was raped by this machine as a young, very innocent 19-year-old girl. And it was very, very unpleasant in every way. And so, I left that office just traumatized and stunned.

[00:36:56] And I had no idea why I was there, what this was about. None of it made any sense to me. I had been given no real information. And then, two days later, I started to bleed and I ended up miscarrying that first pregnancy. And this is a story that I have heard over, and over, and over again, especially with women who have received transvaginal ultrasounds, which is what had happened to me. And I mean, there have been numerous animal studies done on ultrasound that show a very, very strong correlation between ultrasound and miscarriage.

[00:37:42] And I have no doubt in my mind that that was what initiated my miscarriage. And again, because I didn't know anything, I hadn't done any research about anything. This was all new to me. The experience was very, very painful, of miscarrying. And so, I went to the hospital and my experience in the hospital was, it felt like a continuation of the kind of abuse that I had experienced at that clinic.

[00:38:09] And I was treated very badly, very poorly, I think, in part, because I was so young, so there are a lot of judgments that are made about women who are too young or too old to be having children or too big, too small, too whatever. But I wasn't treated very well. And the kind of apotheosis of this whole experience was finally going through a D&C where the doctors put metal instruments inside my uterus and scraped away at the remaining tissue, which I now know, again, is totally unnecessary. 

[00:38:57] And I have actually had two subsequent miscarriages and I've supported many women in their home, spontaneous miscarriages, because our bodies, just as they are equipped to gestate babies spontaneously and to give birth spontaneously, we're also actually very well-equipped to move babies that are not meant to be alive for whatever reason through our bodies in the vast majority of cases without any problem. 

[00:39:25] And in fact, I feel personally that a spontaneous home miscarriage is far, far, far safer than subjecting oneself to the kind of procedures that are done in the hospital, which again, involved metal instruments being poked and prodded into our organs that are very internal for a reason, right? I mean, these are precious and important reproductive organs. And there's also this perspective in the medical realm that our bodies are kind of these mechanistic machines essentially, right? 

[00:40:08] And that we can take parts out, and put parts back in, and knit foreign objects into various places, and it's fine, but I now see my body as a whole kind of luminous spiritual being. And all of my organs are part of that whole. And I don't allow anyone to put anything inside my body or come near me with anything, really, for any reason, unless it's something that I'm actively inviting. So, I had this experience of the D&C, where my fetus was sucked out of my body and I was lying there kind of dosed up on morphine.

[00:40:59] And I remember looking up at the doctor, another male doctor, and saying, I want to see it. I want to have it. Like I want my baby. I want it. And the doctor looked down at me, and said, it's medical waste. And then, he turned around and left the room. And that, too, it felt beatific almost. It was so outrageous and so disgusting that it almost like popped me out of this sort of reverie and it filled me with, yes, rage, absolutely, but also just this absolutely potent and electrifying determination. 

[00:41:59] And I had just this flash of insight that I would never, ever, ever, ever walk through these doors again. And I actually remember walking out of the hospital into the sun, and just knowing that my life had absolutely changed and that I would never, ever be part of that system ever again. And I've had eight babies at home and have never had anything to do with that system again pretty much, right? So, yeah, it was quite the experience.

[00:42:34]Luke Storey:  What an incredible story. Oh, my God, I'm so glad you're in a place to be able to share that and articulate such, I mean, a pivotal, a traumatic yet pivotal experience. And I think this is something that always come back to you on this show, in these conversations, and perhaps I choose people that are aligned in that way, but so many of us go through such horrific human experiences, yet certain people are able to transmute those and alchemize those into their life's work and use those experiences to help untold people.

[00:43:08] It's wild. The human spirit is just so resilient and so resourceful. And I feel for the people that have these experiences, and are unable, for whatever reason, to sort of find the gold in them and use them as fuel for a mission, a greater mission, and also, a fuel to do things differently and make such a resolute decision as you did, and then prove yourself right by going up and having a bunch of kids at home that I'm presuming are doing fine. So, thank you for sharing that. 

[00:43:45] Next thing I want to cover is, well, first, I want to say for the people that wanted to unpack some of the ultrasound stuff, and I'm sure we could do a whole show on this, but I did an interview with a woman named Jeanice Barcelo recently, and actually, a few months ago, and it was one that was quite triggering for a lot of people, because she went like deep into the matrix of what she perceived to be this "Luciferian system". And I don't disagree, but I think her perspective was kind of so hardcore, some people had a hard time swallowing it.

[00:44:20] And yours is a much softer journey through that. So, people can go back, and click on the show notes, and get like tons of information about why ultrasounds are probably not a great idea. And I think it would be wise to do so, because that's kind of one of the first interventions that starts to take place during pregnancy, as I understand it. Where do I want to go with this? God, there's so much. I guess let's unpack how you would define free birth as opposed to an industrial medicalized birth. What does that look like from a zoomed-out perspective?

[00:44:59]Yolande Norris-Clark:  That's a great question. So, I think it's really important to really look at the way that language is manipulated and controlled in many ways. So, maybe I can just start with unpacking a little bit this idea of natural birth, right? So, the word natural has, I think, become quite distorted and politicized in many ways. And in the birth world, especially a few years ago, I've been doing this work for almost 20 years now, and it's really interesting to see how the sort of trends shift and change, right?

[00:45:44] So, a few years ago, you're looking back to that time, the word natural was being discussed a lot. And actually, I think this was actually a precursor to this phenomenon that is now all over the place, the sort of desexing of the language of birth, so you might be aware that throughout the so-called natural birth world, it's no longer considered acceptable to refer to birthing women, or breastfeeding, or even mothers in many cases. And instead, we are told that the socially acceptable terms are birthing persons, or birthing parents, or chest feeding. Because, of course-

[00:46:35]Luke Storey:  Oh, Lord.

[00:46:37]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Because of course, men can also give birth, right? And so, it's frowned upon to be discriminatory by suggesting that only women give birth. And so, looking back, I remember about 10 years ago, prior to all of this newer stuff happening, it had become unacceptable to refer to natural birth, because of course, the implication was that there are ways of giving birth that are not natural if we're using that word, right? And this was seen as a judgment and judgments are threatening.

[00:47:15] Now, I personally don't really subscribe to this way of thinking and I do believe that there are birth practices that are natural and birth practices that are not only unnatural, but abusive, and even damaging, and objectively harmful. And I have no problem acknowledging that openly, however a kind of companion piece to this prohibition against making a distinction between natural and unnatural is that we also then see increasingly women referring to their hospital births as natural or their inductions as natural.

[00:47:58] And actually, I was just looking at the etymology of the word natural recently, and it's really interesting. It comes from the middle English definition, which is, what was it? Having a certain status by birth, is what the origin of the word natural means in middle English. And then, in Latin, I think it's like naturalis, which again means from nature or by birth. And so, I guess one of my personal interests or commitments is to stubbornly use language for its primary purpose, which in my view is to make distinctions, and in a way, to make judgements, right? 

[00:48:42] Judgments not towards individual people and their choices, but using words to rigorously judge institutions that in many cases, I think, keep us enthralled and kind of hypnotized into certain belief systems or ways of seeing the world. So, I would actually argue that there is no natural birth in the hospital, because the hospital environment is as contrary as one can get to the kind of environment that is conducive to birth proceeding optimally.

[00:49:21] And really, the hospital environment represents, I think, the antithesis of what a human being requires in order to give birth in a way that is most likely to be easeful, and pleasurable, and optimal, and conducive to a positive outcome for both mother and baby. So, that's kind of how I see the idea of natural birth, but I actually don't really use the term natural very much anymore. And that's partly because, in general, the word natural, I think, has been kind of denatured and disordered in many contexts.

[00:49:58] So, natural foods can include like packaged granola bars full of sugar and refined chemicals, and that's natural, right? Like what does a natural food really mean? Right. So, I think this is kind of what's happened to birth in a way. And so, now, we're in this situation where I think women have been groomed to interpret observations about how birth works as a form of personal criticism.

[00:50:30] And I think women have also been groomed to bypass the trauma that they experience during birth, during the process of giving birth to their babies through this idea of reframing those traumatic experiences by kind of decorating what they went through with like pretty flowers and ribbons, which is where I think we get terms like natural cesarean birth, right? Like what does that really mean? It's a bit of a euphemism, right? And even natural hospital birth. 

[00:51:07] So, not only is any birth experience that ends with a baby somehow, some way coming out of the mother's vagina, no matter how brutal and abusive that experience might have been, being termed a natural birth, but even we even have the sort of so-called natural caesarean, natural induction. And so, when I talk about the kinds of births that I've had with my eight babies or the kinds of births that I aimed to facilitate with my clients, I actually usually use the term physiological birth.

[00:51:45] And most of the time, people don't know what I'm talking about when I use that phrase, which in a way is great, because it then means that I get to explain it. And in so doing, I can give people a bit of a sense of how birth actually works, because what I found in doing this work for so long is that unless you actually understand at least the basics of the physiology of birth, which really means how birth unfolds according to the impeccable laws of nature. 

[00:52:14] And in accordance with the hormonal blueprint and the kind of chemical blueprint, you can't really understand why birth choices are such a big deal, and why birth itself is such a big deal, and how to make powerful choices, especially when it comes to the kind of support you seek out for your pregnancy and birth or where you end up giving birth to, right? Because I think as a pregnant woman, the people that you welcome into your sphere, including your main support person, will maybe have the most significant impact on how your birth plays out.

[00:52:56] So, when it comes to free birth or childbirth, I mean, these are terms that, from my perspective, mean a woman choosing to give birth entirely outside of the medical framework and actually in the absence of anyone who has been brought in from outside, who has any kind of expertise or professional perspective on birth. So, I see free birth and wild birth as family birth, like a woman who simply decides to give birth with her partner or her children, and who has no interest in involving a doula, or a midwife, or a traditional birth attendant, or anything like that. 

[00:53:46] And this is a pretty controversial subject. A lot of people are very uncomfortable with this idea of giving birth wholly outside of any kind of relationship that involves someone who has any expertise or kind of authority in birth. And I think a lot of women make the choice to free birth for a number of different reasons, but I've also seen, especially in the past 10 years, women describing their birth as free births when they have a midwife there or a doula there, and that's not really how I personally perceive the meaning of those terms.

[00:54:29] But at the same time, women totally own their births, so they can call their births whatever they want, but I also think that it's useful to, yeah, like I said, use words to kind of describe the distinctions between things, and experiences, and perspectives. And so, I think one of the reasons that free birth has grown in popularity and has kind of become this slightly distorted thing that a lot of people can't really agree on what it means has a lot to do with the current political situation when it comes to midwifery. And that's another topic that I don't know if you want to get into.

[00:55:13]Luke Storey:  It's a topic that's on my list. This answer is illuminating a lot for me as you're speaking and sort of making this definition, your own definition as to what a free or wild birth is. I'm observing within myself, it's like this nervousness, and it shows how deep the programming is. When you say like there's no doula, or midwife, or anyone who's been professionally trained in any capacity, it's just like a family birth, inside me, there are alarms going off, like that sounds very dangerous.

[00:55:49] Like someone's got to know what to do and it just goes to show, right? It's like I'm not even someone who's—I've never been present for a birth. I've known very few people that even have kids. I'm not around pregnant people. Like I am such a newbie to this whole world. And so, I can see my bias as someone who is very antiauthoritarian, and always going like, well, I mean, you can't just do it like that, like how do you know what to do? So, it's interesting to observe that. 

[00:56:20] From that perspective, though, okay, so say, I'm just going to personalize this. So, Alyson and I are talking about having kids. She's currently 43. We just bought a house. Like there's a couple of things we, I think, need to do to kind of create the space for that, literally the space of a home for that. And the idea of just getting pregnant, and just hanging out, and chillin, and then one day, she's like, I think I'm in labor and we just watch a baby come out. 

[00:56:51] Like I'm assuming if you're not bringing in professionals, there is a bit of a learning curve, where one would have to self-study, and know what to do with the umbilical cord and placenta, and if something goes "wrong", like then, do you run to the hospital? Do you have like a professional on standby who is not present? What does one do to kind of train themselves up for this moment? And that said, knowing that a woman's body, and a woman's spirit, and that of a man, too, I'm sure in some capacity, kind of already knows what to do, because you and I wouldn't be here recording a podcast if the humans that came before us didn't figure it out.

[00:57:33] You know what I mean? There was a time when, I don't know, maybe you had a medicine person in the tribe that might have assisted with it, but up until probably a few hundred years ago, people are just popping babies out left and right. And I'm sure some of them made it and some of them didn't, but the fact is, here we are. So, that speaks to me just looking from a historical perspective, but if one's not going to kind of rally the troops and really just freestyle it, what sort of education goes into feeling comfortable with that, and feeling confident in your body and soul's innate ability to bring forth life?

[00:58:10]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Yeah. Actually, I love the way you put that, Luke, because I think that it really does come down to the degree of confidence and comfort that a woman feels. And I think for most of us living in this contemporary culture, I think that we have a lot of deprogramming to do. So, I think the most significant work for most of us isn't necessarily learning, but it looks like learning, because it's unlearning. So, I think we have to kind of learn to unlearn, right? And that's absolutely what happened in my case. 

[00:58:59] Actually, to kind of dovetail off of my miscarriage story, I ended up getting pregnant again or finding out that I was pregnant again two weeks after that miscarriage. And so, I was kind of in the position maybe that you and your partner are in a way, in that I was doing this thing, I understand that you're not pregnant yet, but you're kind of thinking about it, and because I'd had that kind of dramatic, monumental experience of realizing that I was going to make choices that were very, very different from the so-called mainstream, I did end up delving into a process of kind of obsessive learning.

[00:59:46] And so, I read every single book that I could get my hands on, both from the mainstream, and also, alternative books. And actually, this was at the very beginning of the internet, and sadly, I think there was a lot more alternative information available then than there is now, because we're experiencing so much censorship. And actually, I find it very difficult to find some really juicy, interesting alternative information online in many ways now.

[01:00:19] But I would say that what is required for a woman to feel comfortable making a choice to freestyle it, as you said, is just entirely based on her outlook, perspective, constitution. And I've worked with some women who have said, I don't feel the need to read anything. I'm going to spend my pregnancy meditating, and sitting in the forest, and I feel like I will know what to do when my birth time comes. And we do, because we are animals and we do actually possess within each of our ourselves the innate knowledge and wisdom of how to do this.

[01:01:12] None of us give birth with our intellect, or our discernment, or anything like that. We give birth with our instinct and birth works really, really well when no one is sabotaging it. So, in terms of kind of what to know—really, really. In terms of what to know, I think the most important things to know are probably how to not interfere inappropriately and how to not mess things up.

[01:01:47] And this is, again, why when I'm teaching childbirth education or when I'm doing coaching with families, for the most part, people really do want so-called knowledge and education. But again, it's more of a re-remembering than like, here is all the information you must know. Like I've worked with quite a few families who come to me initially, and they say, okay, like what are the books we have to, like da, da, da, and it's like, no, no, no, no, you're not going to train yourself to be like a junior obstetrician during this pregnancy time.

[01:02:22] Like we're going to sink into what does birth mean? And how does it actually work? And what goes on in our bodies when this process is unfolding? And what can we do for ourselves? And what can your partner do to optimally support maintaining an environment and atmosphere that is going to be most conducive to this process unfolding as perfectly as it wants to?

[01:02:47]Luke Storey:  That's beautiful. I love your perspective. You're so awesome. It reminds me of, God, there's just—again, there's so much there. Somehow, I came across a video. I think my dad—my dad's like a boomer, so he emails me these funny videos, like the older people that you're on this thread and it's been forwarded like 85 times, those type of videos, just random stuff. But he sent me a video of—it was a bunch of videos like in this thread of a boomer email thread, and in one of the videos, there was an elephant calf being born.

[01:03:24] I think they're a calf. And it was so fascinating to see there was a group of these elephants around all adults, massive adults, and then you could kind of see the calf [making sounds] emerge, and then the big badass bulls, I think, then kind of formed a perimeter around the little birthing area. And then, the females started to come up and just like somewhat violently nudge this calf, and like push it around in the dirt, and kind of flip it over. And you're kind of going, what's going on?

[01:04:01] What kind of video did I get here? Are they going to stomp on this thing, like they're trying to thin the herd or what? And then, after a number of these interventions that they just instinctively knew to do, then within two minutes, this calf is up and walks across the little road in Africa, right? And that's what your story reminds me of. It's like those elephants didn't need to read a book about how to not stomp the calf, and how to roll it over properly, and how to extend your trunk to the right angle, and these kind of things. 

[01:04:37] And I think it's so interesting, and also, really, from one point of view, kind of sad that humans have grown to view ourselves as apart from the living natural world, and as you indicated, that we're animals, that somehow, we're not animals, and that we don't possess the same innate skill set as those elephants. So, therefore, we have to look up and seek to some authority, be it a white smock or otherwise, to teach us and show us what to do. And I find this so fascinating, especially as I said earlier, that I am seeing it within myself.

[01:05:19] I'm like, well, I don't know what to do. I'm disconnected from it. And I think I'm Mr. Live free and Natural, so it's a really interesting self-inquiry, I think, for people to really consider how distant we've placed ourselves from who and what we really are as this sort of dominionistic relationship we have with the natural world, and the animals, and other creatures of the world, and how we view ourselves as superior in many ways, yet at the same time, we diminish what makes us equal, right? 

[01:05:55] And that's that innate ability to tap into one's own body and natural resources to do something as seemingly simple as birth. I mean, if there's anything more innately natural than procreating and bringing life into the world, I don't know what it is, right? I mean, maybe eating, drinking water, having babies. And why do we find it such a foreign experience? And it has to be, as you said, is unlearning all of that programming. 

[01:06:24] And I really love that perspective, too, because something that was discovered for myself in my own spiritual unfolding and exploration of consciousness is that it's probably had a lot—and I've come a long way. I mean, there's always room to grow, but I've come a long way in the years that I've been working on this, but I would say, there's been more unlearning than there has been learning, right? The unlearning is the learning.

[01:06:52] It's not about like getting more information, or learning more about spirituality, or my true self, my true nature, but really in discarding all of those falsehoods that make up something other than me and discarding these false constructs. So, your perspective on that is just brilliant. I'm so enjoying this conversation. I could go on forever. This might be a long podcast. I hope you have time. Just like each time you talk, I'm like, there's a whole podcast, a third, fourth, fifth, sixth episode right there. It's really fun.

[01:07:27] So, oh, God, man, there's so many directions here. I guess what are some of the most impactful steps? Say someone wants to go forward with this, and they resonate, and they're like, wow, yeah, we really do know what to do. I'm about to be a mom or a dad and let's just let this happen as nature designed. What are some of the most important ways other than studying the books and feeling like you have to learn? What are some of the most practical ways that a family can kind of lean into this perspective, and allow a pregnancy and a birth to unfold in the ways that you describe?

[01:08:09]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Yeah, that's a great question. I think this actually relates to what I was just mentioning before. I want to say that, and I think this is really important, I actually think that most women probably aren't going to want a free birth in the sort of technical definition or according to my definition of what that means. I think most women do really deeply want a trusted, wise woman to support them and walk with them. 

[01:08:50] And I think one of the sort of unfortunate, I think, reasons that some women choose free birth is because they can't find the kind of appropriate support that they're looking for. They can't find the kind of support that they're looking for. And so, I want to, yeah, just acknowledge that I think free birth, it's kind of achieved a sort of, kind of a bit of a cultural fascination and a bit of a sort of cachet, and I think people almost see it as the most extreme way to give birth.

[01:09:32] And I don't see it as having any kind of superior hierarchical value over choosing a birth that is supported by either a midwife or a traditional birth attendant, but in terms of the steps that I would encourage a mother and a family to take when they're exploring birth choices are steps that I think are important in terms of, yeah, leading to a positive outcome. I would say, first of all, really knowing exactly what you want. 

[01:10:10] And that sounds maybe simplistic, but I think a lot of people have kind of an idea of the kind of birth they think they might be interested in, but I see a lot of people then making choices that are not in alignment with that apparent desire, if that makes sense. So, I think really, really getting to know yourself and what you truly value is very, very important. I also think that if you do know very clearly that you do want to have a birth that is outside of the sort of medical model, I would say that one of the most important factors that contributes to a positive outcome would be really cultivating mental fortitude.

[01:11:13] So, giving birth is the most wildly intense, shockingly intense, sometimes excruciating, totally all-encompassing experience. It's just the most intense experience that is possible for us as adult humans, and also, babies, obviously. There really is nothing else like it. I think that the extremity of birth goes far beyond any kind of plant medicine experience that we can possibly have.

[01:11:53]Luke Storey:  Does that include Bufo alvarius?

[01:11:58]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Well, I just did a 5-MeO-DMT a few weeks ago, right? I did it a couple of times and the parallels are really quite striking. And both are intense in their own way, but gosh, what an interesting parallel. And in fact, you probably already know this, Luke, but birth, it's the portal through which we, as human beings, first encounter the very concept of self, right? And birth is our first experience of life on Earth.

[01:12:37] And what takes place during birth is this process of deep imprinting on every possible level of awareness, right? Including the physical, the psychological, the hormonal, the chemical, and also, the spiritual, and energetic, and electrical. And so, moving through our mothers' bodies is designed to be the peak experience of connection, and love, and bliss that is possible for a person to experience, mother and baby. And birth establishes our baseline in terms of our instinctive self-concept. I mean, this is my take on it, right?

[01:13:18] And I think that this is true both for the new being, for the infant incarnating on Earth through the kind of transubstantiation of birth, but also, it's true for mothers, because we also are reborn through this ecstatic experience of birth, which binds us to our babies as their bodies pass through ours. And that process of emerging through a mother's body triggers hormone receptors and meridian points in our vaginas that activate the secretion of not only oxytocin, which is the hormone of love and attachment, but also, 5-MeO dimethyltryptamine-

[01:14:04]Luke Storey:  What? 

[01:14:04]Yolande Norris-Clark:  ... known as the God molecule. Yeah.

[01:14:08]Luke Storey:  Wow. I did not know that.

[01:14:10]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Yeah. 5-MeO-DMT is excreted at birth, death, and orgasm. And as you and your listeners probably know, 5-MeO is a psychodelic many times more powerful than ayahuasca. And our babies too are experiencing this ecstatic explosion of pure light and love, literally. And I feel so emotional talking about this, because like I said, the vast majority of people walking around this beautiful planet of ours right now have been, I think, actively and deliberately deprived of this experience of foundational connection, because the vast majority of mothers and babies are overtly and actively abused and tortured during the birth process.

[01:14:59] And this happens most often in the hospital, but it also happens at home on account of the medical appropriation of grassroots independent midwifery that has, I think, really served to bring into most home birth situations with midwives who have been trained according to this paradigm exactly the kind of direct sabotage of the birth process that has become standardized within hospital systems. And so, I think in many ways, midwifery is a branch of the industrial medical system now. And midwifery regulation has kind of worked as a bit of a Trojan horse and it's really, really shifted the landscape of birth.

[01:15:56] So, I know I've kind of touched on a whole bunch of different things there, but many, many women are now choosing free birth, like I said, because they're having a really hard time finding the kind of holistic support that I think many people still think of when we hear the word midwifery. But that sort of really holistic, the birth is not a medical event, grassroots independent midwifery has been largely stamped out all over the world. And it's another expression of the same gesture of domination and control that we see in all these other areas of life. So, I'm not sure where I was going with that now, but-

[01:16:44]Luke Storey:  No, that's great. I know where I'm going with it, a couple different places, in speaking to you today. And I don't know. I think I've just had this innate sense and it probably has to do with just being so in love with such an incredible brilliance just being of light that I'm so fortunate to be blessed with. but it's like the prospect of having a kid to me is seemingly morphing into not so much the intention of like wanting to have a kid running around, that's part of it, but that's almost more novel in the sense.

[01:17:35] I think what draws me nearer to this experience in my life, again, because there's someone to hold that space with, is the spiritual nature of the birth experience itself. And going back to the 5-MeO-DMT experience, there's an interesting correlation there that I'd like to maybe explore later, but there's more to know, more work for us to do right here. God, how do I settle this together? Okay. I went on a hunting trip recently here in Texas, first time since I was a little kid, and really, the first time having a very conscious experience of that.

[01:18:17] And I killed an animal right away, first night out, boom, first shot, giant wild boar died in front of me. And I ran up, and I'm doing a podcast on it, so those listening will know that that's coming. But how it ties into this is that in that moment, there was this super crazy luminous, almost psychedelic, not even a feeling, just like a field that was present in that experience between me and the spirit of that animal vacating into wherever that spirit goes to, or as it's absorbed back into the field of consciousness, or whatever happens.

[01:19:19] And it was very similar actually to a 5-MeO experience, in that just everything got ethereal and weird, and it just like took over my whole being. I mean, it was a really powerful experience, and one that I thankfully was really able to remain present for, and to really just bathe in, and absorb not from any intellectual construct at all, but just God was there in that moment. And it was so apparent that that portal between worlds was open for a few moments and I've opened that portal with the assistance of things like 5-MeO a lot. 

[01:20:05] And I know what it feels like when you're kind of going interdimensional and entering into those spaces that aren't normally perceivable through your senses. And I somehow knew in that moment, or at least I intuited so that that's part of what happens in a birth experience. It was so heavy. But I don't know, rather than being more afraid, because historically, I had a lot of fear around having kids, and just birth, and the whole thing was just like, I don't know if I'm built for that really, just due to the circumstances of my earlier life, and childhood, and stuff that we alluded to before. 

[01:20:57] But there was this leaning into that, and even more curiosity around the energetics of birth and death, and that having that visceral experience of death seemed in the moment, and again, I haven't been present for a birth other than my own, which I don't remember much of, it seemed that they were one in the same. That's what I'm getting at. And so, there appeared to be kind of a missing experience in my life. It was like that something that I need to experience as part of my own evolution and the full expression of an incarnate soul here during this time.

[01:21:46] So, when you speak about it in that way, like all of those past experiences kind of come to mind and there's this inner knowing that that portal is something that just must be experienced, at least for me, to be a fully integrated being here and to not at least explore the possibilities if it's within the will of the creator for it to be so, to really open up to that experience in a different way. And I don't know that there's a question there or if it's just a share of an experience, probably a little of both. But I guess maybe the question born out of that experience was, do you view the death and birth portal as one and the same as a passageway between worlds of sorts?

[01:22:33]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Absolutely, I do. And I actually felt very moved hearing your description of feeling the presence of God in this experience of honoring the animal that you killed, Luke. And as you were talking, just sort of a parallel came to me and I suspect that you may not have had access to that experience of transcendence, at least not in the same way. Had you made an appointment to go and visit a factory farm where thousands of pigs are held close together, and then you'd gone into the slaughter room and observe as they were being dealt with in that industrial space. 

[01:23:40] And I think that there are a lot of important similarities there between. Yeah. I mean, it's not the perfect analogy by any means, but I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that I think it's very, very difficult to access the kind of transcendental experience that is available to us in birth when the experience is being mediated by these industrial systems that really take us out of our bodies. And there are so many reasons why I choose to give birth to my babies at home, but I've also resolved or decided that I will die at home.

[01:24:38] I have no interest in dying in the hospital if that's at all possible. And I think, again, when it comes to birth, it's not just that the hospital environment is impersonal, and sterile, and maybe unpleasant for some people, it's that being in that environment has a direct physiological effect on how our bodies function, especially as birthing mothers. So, it's not just a preference. 

[01:25:23] We hear a lot about, I don't know, people have lots of opinions about home birth, and free birth, and all of these so-called alternative birth choices, although in truth, taking ourselves out of our homes and going into a sterile institution, that's the alternative first choice. I mean, for millennia, as you pointed out, we've always been birthing at home and women supporting each other in our communities at home. But birth really does push us to our absolute limits, and then beyond what we think those limits might be.

[01:26:03] So, I went into my first birth experience at the age of 20, and it was a home birth. And that's a long story that I won't get into, but I had initially hired a regulated official licensed midwife and quickly realized that she didn't work for me. She worked for the state. And so, she was obligated to kind of do all sorts of things and to pressure me into all sorts of things that I wasn't comfortable with. So, I eventually let go of that relationship and found an illegal underground midwife or traditional birth attendant.

[01:26:39] And that was one of the best decisions that I have made in my life, because looking back, if I hadn't had that woman present with me who was truly there for me in every capacity, and who I had hired, and I borrowed money at the age of 20, and made sure that I could secure her services, I definitely would have ended up with a C-section in the hospital. I have no doubt about that whatsoever, because at every point in my experience, it was not what I thought it was going to be, and it was far, far more intense, and just far more everything than I could possibly have suspected.

[01:27:26] And I really went into it thinking that this was going to be a walk in the park, because I'm super smart, and I'm super courageous, and I told myself that I had way more grit than most other women. I'm like, this is just not even going to be a big deal. And it absolutely rocked me to my core. And I think what's so shocking about birth that a lot of women don't necessarily anticipate is that like many experiences with plant medicine, giving birth requires demands of us, a kind of ego death. 

[01:28:06] Birth demands that we submit, whether we like it or not, to this kind of systematic stripping away of every layer of who we are, every form of kind of self-conceptualization that we've been carrying around, has to go. And it's not until we surrender that we allow ourselves to kind of be exalted to a point that we kind of return to this primal state of being kind of this just naked, screaming, weeping animal. And I mean, animal in the most divine sense. 

[01:28:58] It's a return to the very most core essence of who we are, the sort of beautiful wildness of who we are. And it's not until we can get to that place that we're then actually ready to allow ourselves to move our babies through our bodies. And I think coming to terms with this is probably one of the most important factors. And what that looks like is doing things, I think, like having a regular daily meditation practice, and cultivating mind-body awareness, and spending as much time as possible in nature, in the forest, away from digital distractions, and really working on your mental fortitude.

[01:29:45] And I would say the same for a partner as well, because there's a huge difference between going to the hospital where the woman that you love, where you will be in a position of having to watch. Like you're watching the woman that you love have things done to her, as opposed to supporting the woman that you love as she embodies her most glorious, most powerful self. It's a very, very different experience, right? Because yes, birth is a physical experience. Obviously, it's very physical.

[01:30:31] But I think far more significantly, it's a mental, and emotional, and psychological, and spiritual experience, because the mind gives up far before the body does, right? And so, barring true emergency situations, which are, again, extremely rare when birth is not being actively sabotaged. And it's also a really good idea to kind of understand what that looks like, like how can we sabotage birth? Because most of us don't really understand the physiology of birth, right? 

[01:31:05] And so, it is very easy to sabotage the birth process, because actually, this is really a controversial thing to claim, but I would say that doctors, and nurses, and health professionals are the least well-versed in what spontaneous physiological birth actually looks like. They have no context for that. They have absolutely no clue what that could possibly even look like. They just have no experience in that.

[01:31:34] So, yeah, barring a true emergency situations, which are very few and far between, when no one is sort of messing with this incredible design, most women who are planning home births and who end up transferring to the hospital do so because they are mentally exhausted and overwhelmed with fear. So, I would also say that working on our fears, and yeah, really delving into that, and working on our own birth trauma is also a really important aspect of getting what we want in our births.

[01:32:14]Luke Storey:  Wow. That's huge. And going back to your analogy of the factory farm pigs, honestly, that's how I already view the medical system. And that said, if I get hit by a bus and break my femur, please take me to the hospital, like don't try to rub some herbs on it. I'm not an idiot, but I think that this dependency that we have on this system that we've created, or perhaps, has been created for us or to us more likely is just another example of how we allow ourselves to be disempowered.

[01:32:56] And going back to the analogy of how things happen truly in nature, not the co-opted word nature like natural granola bar, but true nature, animals don't need hospitals, right? Because they're living in their natural environment. And I'm always harping on this, that I think all—I mean, maybe not all, but most of human pathology on the spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental, physical realm can be traced back to us moving indoors and domesticating ourselves, right? 

[01:33:33] And when we divorce ourselves from our natural life ways, pathology ensues. But we're so in the middle of it and humans are so myopic in our perspective that we don't see how abnormal it is that there are massive hospital buildings all around for people that are sick. And what made them sick? Basically, just not being outdoors. Like honestly, it's like we're eating fake food under fake light with a fake electromagnetic spectrum surrounding us and invading us on every level of ourselves.

[01:34:08] Remove all of that, and put us back 15,000 years pre-agriculture as hunter-gatherers, and there are no hospitals. There's a medicine person in the tribe, and they have their herbs and their magic, and they sort you out or they don't. And you don't make it, and then your gene pool is kind of wiped out and so on, right? I mean, not to be cold about it, but it really is just the way that nature is designed. So, I really, actually very much resonate with that perspective, because I just don't see how birth is the same as being sick.

[01:34:46] It just doesn't make sense. Just zoom out for two seconds, anyone listening, like is a woman ill because she's pregnant? No. You're the opposite of ill. Like you're very well if you're pregnant, right? You've come to terms. Like you're doing great, you're not sick. Why would you go to a hospital? Right? I mean, I would have to be deathly ill to go to a hospital, personally. I'm going to do everything I can to fix it.

[01:35:10] And thankfully, I've learned a lot and have a lot of resources to sort myself out most of the time. But I just think this conversation is such an important one. And yeah, I really applaud you for your courage. I'm sure that it's not an easy voice to have, because of the deep indoctrination and bias that we've been programmed with, and some of that, as I said, that's come up within me even during this conversation.

[01:35:37] And I think I'm as anti-traditional as it gets, but I'm not, because there are things that have just been embedded within my awareness that are still at play to just think like, you can't just do that. You know what I mean? It's like, what if something happens? So, to that point, what would be something that could take place in a free birth that would necessitate sounding the alarm, hopping in a car, and getting your ass to a hospital, and turning yourself over to the white coats, and submitting to their attempts to revive the situation?

[01:36:17]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Yeah, that's a good question and that's one of the kind of top questions, right? What if something goes wrong? Well, what you just described is certainly an option for most women. And I think there is a prevalent myth that abounds that birth is so fraught with danger that at any point, suddenly, everyone could just sort of perish. And there must be a multitude of possible incidents during a birth where, all of a sudden, if you don't get to the hospital the next five minutes, things are going to just devolve completely. 

[01:37:06] And there are situations like that once in a blue moon, but they're very, very rare. For the most part, something going wrong looks like a situation that comes up, where there may be certain pieces of evidence that we notice, that the mother notices that don't seem right. And in the vast majority of situations, that might, in fact, benefit from a transfer to the hospital. There's usually time to kind of think about things and sort of make an assessment.

[01:37:52] And like I said before, most of the transfers that occur during planned home births are situations like that, where the mother feels exhausted, and discouraged, and maybe starts to tell herself a story that the baby's stuck or that there's something wrong, and she might decide to transfer. But those kind of immediately emergent life or death within five minutes kinds of situations are both incredibly rare, and usually, in the vast majority of cases, I mean, I can't actually think of a situation like that that would be like five minutes to the hospital right now, that wouldn't present with incredibly clear evidence of a problem.

[01:38:53] So, I'm thinking situations like placental abruption, which is when the placenta shears away from the wall of the mother's uterus prior to the baby being born and can result in serious hemorrhage. So, that kind of a situation, that's going to present with blood coming out of the mother's body in a way that she will know immediately, this is not right. Anyone present would know immediately something's not right. And then, you go in, right? And you seek help.

[01:39:23] It's kind of like, I mean, I think it is very much a fair analogy to make that or a comparison. And actually, I do think this is very true. Statistically, we are in far more serious potential peril getting into our cars and driving to the grocery store, right? I mean, statistically, it's incredibly dangerous to get into a little metal box on wheels with a big hefty motor and propel ourselves through the streets at breakneck speeds.

[01:39:59] That's crazy, and yet it's been so normalized in our culture that we don't even think twice about it. And nobody, no one that I know anyway, prior to getting to the car to driving to the grocery store calls the hospital ahead of time just to make sure that they know that we're going to be heading out and has an emergency kit with them. And like we don't work that way, because we've just been enculturated to believe that driving is normal, right? But birth is not normal, and so we fear it.

[01:40:32] But the truth is that sometimes, people die. Actually, always, people die. We're all going to die. And sometimes, babies die during birth or prior to birth. And this happens in the hospital, and this happens in birth centers, and it happens at home. And so, I think one of the reasons that people are so afraid of home birth in particular, free birth especially, is because, again, we have been, I think, programmed to believe that the allopathic system and industrial obstetrics in particular is responsible for dramatically decreasing the number of babies who die, and then dramatically increasing our life expectancy, the maternal and child health outcomes, et cetera.

[01:41:40] And actually, I don't think that's true. And when you look at some really interesting studies that have been done over the years comparing hospital and home births, and in particular, it was a Cochrane review that was done sort of on comparing several studies on the safety of home birth and hospital birth. They're pretty much on par. But again, none of those studies have included birth outside of some form of institutional observation, right?

[01:42:21] So, it's actually not possible to study free birth or wild birth, because the point of it is that it's not part of the institution at all. And I'm less and less interested personally in statistics and scientific studies, because I think one of the really important points to think about is that what the industrial, allopathic, and obstetric system does is it assumes that it, the system, holds a monopoly on safety and risk, on what constitutes safety and risk. 

[01:43:01] So, it kind of homogenizes this idea of what safety and risk are. And it standardizes what safety and risk are. And it institutionalizes what safety and risk are. But the reality is that safety and risk are very, very subjective concepts. So, what is safe for me and risky for me is informed by my life experiences, and my worldview, and my spiritual perspective. And I look at what happens in the hospital and all of the safety measures that are put in place, and that is the most dangerous place for me to be.

[01:43:46] It's the most dangerous place for my children to be. And during each of my pregnancies, I definitely experienced fear. I go through all of the same fears that I think every woman experiences. What if my baby dies? What if my baby is born with serious developmental issues? I don't participate in industrial prenatal care at all. I don't have anything to do with it. I see industrial prenatal care not as true care in any way, but as the kind of performance of an occult ritual.

[01:44:36] In fact, I actually see it as a form of ritual humiliation, I think similar in many ways to the whole masquerade that's happening right now, in that the kind of discrete processes and procedures that make up the performance of prenatal care actually have little to no concrete benefit to the mother or baby whatsoever. Like not even any scientific or scientistic benefit. When you actually delve into like, oh, what are we doing when the doctor puts his hands up inside of a woman's vagina and like feels around there? 

[01:45:21] Like where's the literature that supports this? There isn't any. None of it actually has any substance to it, and yet these processes and procedures do absolutely serve a very, very powerful purpose. And that purpose is as a hazing ritual. So, as I see it, the objective of the industrial prenatal care system is to reinforce to the mother in as many ways as possible the idea that she has no power in this pregnancy. No real authority over her body or her baby. 

[01:46:03] No real possible insight into anything that's going on in her body in terms of contributing to the life of this baby outside of those sort of base mechanics of what she kind of puts into her body and very little of substance to offer in terms of how this pregnancy birth will play out other than as this kind of sort of dumb live manakin vessel for this child, which is through these ritualized procedures, essentially being claimed by the institution in preparation for a life in service to all of these institutions, right? 

[01:46:46] And so, I don't do that. I don't want any part of that. And I do think that making the choice to become pregnant and to have a child always involves a kind of reckoning with life and death, but the difference when we choose to give birth outside of the system is that a large portion of the world will see you as a dangerous dissident and a bad mother. Whereas, if you are in alignment with those systems or you submit yourself to this industrial allopathic system, then you are seen by most of the world as a good mother.

[01:47:47] But the risk of death is ever present no matter what choice we make. And when it comes down to it, for me, I know that I'm safer at home and I accept whatever comes. And I also actually feel, and this is very controversial, I know, but I feel like I have a right to welcome my child into the peace, and serenity, and quietude, and love of my home environment. And that's what I want for all of my children, whatever their situation at birth. 

[01:48:49]Luke Storey:  Beautiful. The question that comes to mind when I hear your perspective, which just makes so much common sense to me. This is so normal and not outlandish as much as I've had to work through a little of my own programming. Where are the feminists on this? Like am I just not—not like I'm that tapped in. I'm obviously a male. Like I don't know about many women's issues, but I got social media.

[01:49:20] I see a lot of rallies about, we want to have more abortions and that people are very—seemed there's a certain sect of, I guess they would consider themselves feminists that are really, really up in arms about any threat to their right to abortion, my body, my choice, all of this. But why is this and is it true that this particular perspective is kind of ignored by that movement? Like what you're describing is the utmost violation of the divine feminine of women the world over. I mean, I hear the word patriarchy thrown about.

[01:49:58] Again, being a male, I'm not sure exactly what's meant by that in certain cases, other than the obvious that there seems to be more men in charge and they're fucking things up pretty bad, generally speaking, in the way our most societies are formed and those that put themselves in charge. But it's like, why aren't there people marching in the streets with my body, my choice for what you just said, that it's my body, I'm pregnant, this is my baby, God, and the sperm donor gave it to me, and I'm going to do what I want with it? Like why are women not fighting for that, or are they?

[01:50:36]Yolande Norris-Clark:  I'm over here and I got a couple of friends who are on my side. But you're right, this is an issue that is, I think, a major, major blind spot when it comes to most feminist, I don't know, groups, organizations. And I mean, prior to this year, Luke, I would have described myself as quite a ferocious radical feminist. And I mean, I haven't entirely disavowed the sort of feminist label in every way, but I'm less enthusiastic about it at this stage, in part because the thing that defines us as women, which is our capacity to gestate, and give birth to our babies, and to sustain them with our bodies tends to be one of the things that, again, is one of these major blind spots.

[01:51:38] And I think it actually comes down to the same kind of trauma bonding that I think is present for most people. I think that most people have been so profoundly traumatized that to entertain the idea that what was done to them at birth or during their experiences of birth, in the case of many mothers, to entertain the possibility that that was wrong would cause such a rift kind of in their worldview and so much cognitive dissonance. 

[01:52:17] And it would cause them to question so many other institutions as well that are related to so-called health care that I think it's too painful for a lot of people to face, honestly. And I think in so many feminist circles over so many years, we have been sold. Feminists were sold this idea that the birth control pill is liberation, that the epidural is liberation, that liberation is to be freed from the shackles of the pain, and the torture, and the horrors of birth. And so, there's just so much work to be done, I think, yeah, to redesign, reconfigure some of these ideas. But yeah, it's a really interesting phenomenon. Absolutely.

[01:53:25]Luke Storey:  It definitely is. It's got me scratching my head as you're speaking. I'm thinking, from the outside, and again, I don't know this to be true, but just what I observe in the periphery of media, is there seem to be a lot more women fighting for the right to kill babies than the right to have them. I think that's rather strange. I really do. And nothing against like women that have chosen that. I have unfortunately participated in a couple of abortions myself, and it's something that I've had to do a lot of work around, and it's been a very difficult shadow to face.

[01:54:01] So, no shame there, but it is just, again, zooming out as a social observation. It is strange, because I think the points that you've made today are really just so inherently true and valuable. I'm like, come on, people. And maybe it's us men. Maybe it is the patriarchy and people like me that provide a platform for you to say like, hey, wake up, like everyone wake up, right? Whether you're a feminist or whatever ist, I think that this is something that's just really important for us to do.

[01:54:35] And it's why I wanted to do this show with you. And I already have a few more in the pipeline around this topic, because again, going back to what we see in the world now, and the power structure that we see, and its kind of death grip on humanity, the only way out of that, I think, is in birthing conscious superhero babies that are of a new paradigm of the human experience. 

[01:55:02] And perhaps, the portal that you're opening for your kids and helping other families to open as well is part of that, and I think it is. I really think it is, of undoing the traumatic cycles that tend to make us more unconscious. And to the point of the cognitive dissonance, there's another observation I want to point to, and that is when I've been outspoken about my disdain for circumcision as a medical practice, having been someone who lived through it, I've never seen any pushback from women.

[01:55:40] It's always from men, and I haven't seen their dicks, so I'm not sure, but I'm guessing they're men who were circumcised. I mean, talk about cognitive dissonance and it goes back to what you're saying, like I don't even want to face that that could have been wrong, or that it could have harmed me, or shaped the ways in which I interact sexually, or my sensitivities, or lack thereof, physically, emotionally, spiritually with my sexual partners. It's not an easy thing to face.

[01:56:09] And so, I can see why women are just like [making sounds] close that door, let's focus on other women's rights issues that are kind of lower hanging fruit and don't, perhaps, cause us to go within, and really face the depth of deception and harm that's been perpetrated on us. So, man, what a wild conversation. Holy shit. Woo. I knew it was going to be a doozy, but man, I'm just like, woo, my heart is singing. Thank you so much.

[01:56:40]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Oh, thank you so much, Luke. This has been, yeah, an amazing conversation. I really, really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. Thank you.

[01:56:47]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I mean, I don't know, what else are you going to talk about? Sometimes, I have a hard time socializing, because I just want to go into this shit. You know what I mean? Oh, the weather's clearing up. Isn't it nice? I'm just like, get me out of here. Like guys, there are so many more interesting things in the human experience to explore, and even more so, not only to explore, but to form solutions around. And not that your solution or my solution is the right solution, but it is a solution, which is going to be right and resonate for some people.

[01:57:21] And in closing, I also want to give, again, as I did in the beginning, a shoutout of support to any parents out there that are hearing this, going like, oh, my God, I screwed up, I went to the hospital. It's like we do the best we can with whatever information we're given, right? I mean, I know I love my parents so much. I don't hold anything against them for any of the mistakes they made, the ways in which I was born, raised, whatever. I'm grateful for all of it. And you have to kind of bring in, I think, to make sense of all this karma, too, right? It was obviously God's will that I was born in the way in which I was born. How do I know that? Because that's what happened. You know what I mean? 

[01:58:04]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Exactly.

[01:58:05]Luke Storey:  So, it's like everything happens according to this grand scheme and this grand plan. And it's only in hindsight often that we look back go, oh, if there was this one pivotal decision made in another direction, it would have changed so many outcomes. But the fact is they weren't, and so now, we learn, we observe, and perhaps, we make informed choices for the future generations that have different outcomes. And then, our kids someday will be pissed about us, about something else. You know what I mean? 

[01:58:35] My kids are going to be pissed I'm never going to let them have an iPad or be around Wi-Fi. Like I already see the trajectory of my future kids if they choose to show up. And I'm sure that I'm going to make so many mistakes, and hopefully, I'll be forgiven as I've forgiven mine, because we're all doing the best we can. So, again, to the parents out there, keep an open mind and an open heart, and know that we love you no matter what choices you've made in the past or choose to make tomorrow. I think inclusivity is really an important thing here. And your message really, really does a great job of doing that in a really openhearted way. So, thank you.

[01:59:14]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Thank you so much, Luke.

[01:59:15]Luke Storey:  With that, I've got one more question for you. Who are three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life or your work that you'd like to share with us?

[01:59:23]Yolande Norris-Clark:  I would say my colleague and business partner, Emilee Saldaya, who I co-wrote and created one of our amazing online courses with, which is called The Complete Guide to Free Birth. And I also created with Emilee and co-teach with her the Radical Birth Keeper School, which is an online education program that actually teaches women how to step into the role of authentic midwife in their communities. Yeah. Emilee has been just an amazing teacher and sister to me.

[02:00:00] And I think sisterhood in general is just such an important thing. Brotherhood too. Community, really. But in the context of my own birth experiences, and learning about birth, and connecting with other women in regards to birth, yeah, that kind of connection has been invaluable. And Emilee is an amazing woman, another woman who is an expert in this area that, yeah, you might want to reach out to, because she's amazing.

[02:00:26]Luke Storey:  Is she the free birth society woman? 

[02:00:31]Yolande Norris-Clark:  She is.

[02:00:31]Luke Storey:  She is. I've had my eye on her as well. I'm going to hit her up.

[02:00:34]Yolande Norris-Clark:  She's amazing. She would be an incredible guest. Yeah.

[02:00:39]Luke Storey:  Done. definitely.

[02:00:40]Yolande Norris-Clark:  She's fantastic and she's changed my life in so many ways. And then, I would also name Gloria Lemay. Gloria Lemay is my midwife. She was my midwife during my first birth and she completely changed my life, because she trusted me as a 20-year-old newly pregnant mother. And yeah, she changed my life so much, because what I saw in her during our first meeting was a woman who trusted me enough to tell me the truth, and to tell me her unadulterated opinion, and then to support me in whatever choice I ended up making.

[02:01:38] And that was so radical. And I think it's still very radical, because again, the kind of paradigm that we're living in right now suggests that especially in the context of birth, a midwife's role is to be unbiased and to support the informed consent of their blah, blah, blah, and I think it's very dishonest to claim a lack of bias in many realms, but in birth especially. And I approached my own birth work, my work as a birth witness in a similar way—in the same way as Gloria, I should say.

[02:02:24] I mean, she completely inspired me in the work that I do. And I'm completely upfront and honest with my clients about my credentials, my experience, and the fact that I am incredibly biased and I also will always support the choice that my clients make, but I want people to come to me, because they know that I'm going to be unafraid to speak what I know to be true. And so, that was such an important experience that I had learning from Gloria. And she's still one of my dearest friends and mentors to this day.

[02:03:08] So, Gloria Lemay, and I have to come up with a third. Oh, dear. I would say my husband, because he is just the sweetest, loveliest person that I've ever known. And the very first thing I said to him, maybe not technically, one of the first things that I said to him on our first date was, just so you know, if we're going to be together and have children, I give birth at home. Are you okay with that or what do you think about that?

[02:03:45] And he said, huh, well, I never really thought of that before, but I guess you should just do whatever you feel comfortable doing. And he passed. He passed the test and he has been just, yeah, my—he is my divine life partner, and I feel so lucky to have him in my life, and I adore him. And yeah, he's one of the most serene and centered people that I know. And I am still striving to learn from him to not get too worked up about things.

[02:04:23]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Great. Thank you for that. And where can people find you online, social media, et cetera?

[02:04:30]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Yeah. So, I do a lot of stuff, I guess, on Instagram and I'm @bauhauswife on Instagram. And I have a website at www.freebirth.ca. And as I mentioned, I do a lot of projects with Emilee Saladay all day at Free Birth Society. And I'm just about to launch a new program, which is a 10-week live with me, deep dive kind of mastermind childbirth education experience for all expectant parents, during which we'll explore every angle of preparing for a holistic birth from choosing a support person to preparing body, mind, spirit, to navigating prenatal testing, the allopathic system, exploring complications, all of it. And I'm super excited about that.

[02:05:17]Luke Storey:  Wow. That's cool. I want to do that. Do you have to be already pregnant?

[02:05:23]Yolande Norris-Clark:  No. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is welcome. So, I haven't quite launched that yet, Luke, but you should join my mailing list through my website at freebirth.ca, and I'll tell you all about it.

[02:05:32]Luke Storey:  Wow. Thank you so much. Man, I really appreciate the conversation. Very, very meaningful, timely, and so, so important for where we find ourselves today.

[02:05:43]Yolande Norris-Clark:  I really appreciate it, too.

[02:05:44]Luke Storey:  As a species walking the Earth, I mean, I think these conversations are, perhaps, more important than ever. And maybe I'll say the same thing in five years, but right now, it seems, wow, man, we better really take a look at the way we do things, especially how we enter into the world. So, thank you so much for your work, and your generosity of time and spirit today. And I look forward to seeing you again.

[02:06:06]Yolande Norris-Clark:  Likewise. Thank you so much, Luke. You take good care.



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