FIRST THOUGHT: Expectations vs. Reality
Ladies. I think I figured out the secret to being a heck of a lot more chill. I read somewhere that expectations are just disappointments waiting to happen. I used to think that philosophy was pretty negative, but when put in practice, it’s transformative.
So many of our expectations are based on what we can’t control: My client will definitely send me a thank you email. He doesn’t. My baby will definitely sleep through the night. She won’t. It’s not about expecting the worst possible outcome; it’s about expecting nothing at all. How freeing would it be if we went about our days without negotiating how our expectations don’t match reality?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2 Percent
Ask a mother if her birth experience was what she expected, and 100 percent of the time, she will say h-e-l-l no. Women are having fewer babies these days: The number of births in the United States dropped by 2 percent between 2016 and 2017. That’s the lowest national fertility rate in three decades.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Bryn Huntpalmer, Host of "The Birth Hour" Podcast
Bryn Huntpalmer held her sweet, wiggly baby and chatted with me about how motherhood transformed her professional life. Now a mama of three, Bryn said that after giving birth, she got super into hearing about women’s birth stories. Every mother has a story, and they’re all so different, she says.
A skilled content marketer, Bryn built the podcast “The Birth Hour” from scratch. She’s conducted more than 300 episodes, and has interviewed women from England to Iowa. Since 2017, podcasting and all that comes with it is Bryn’s career. Despite spending hours listening and curating birth stories, Bryn says she’s always surprised by the uniqueness of each one.
With more than a thousand reviews on iTunes, listeners have found comfort in “The Birth Hour.” One reviewer explains that it’s a place of respite for a first-time mom. Once you’re pregnant, the horror stories start coming in. You’ll hear the hard stuff on Bryn’s podcast, sure, but you’ll also hear it from the mom’s point of view, and it might differ from what the pregnancy bestseller writes.
Listeners can dive into narratives about home and hospital births, planned C-sections, hypnobirthing, you name it. Since “The Birth Hour” started, Bryn has grown it into a community. She partnered with experts and now offers evidence-based courses for moms-to-be.
Part of her business is a lot like any job. She’s got around 3000 birth story submissions waiting to be considered, as well as a loyal and growing following to maintain. With 167,000 followers on Instagram and counting, Bryn shared one of the more challenging aspects of entrepreneurship in 2019: social media.
Bryn has to navigate a very delicate topic that can be very personal to a woman. What’s one woman’s opinion isn’t another’s, but that’s the beauty of spaces like “The Birth Hour.” As terminology changes and mothers open up about their experiences, Bryn experiences both the gracious and precarious comments on social media.
There’s also an ambiguous line that every mom, including Bryn, has to figure out whether or not to cross on social media: How many baby pictures do I want to share? How much of my personal life do I expose to strangers on the Internet? It’s tough stuff but Bryn can figure it out. She’s one tough mother.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Byron Katie said:
"Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror."