Episode 75: The Us vs. Them Mentality Is Shrinking Us with Holly Toronto (part 1)

body image coach holly toronto

Us vs. them thinking causes a dissonance within yourself because you know something to be right for you, you know it feels like YES or NO in your body, but because you have been taught to value others’ opinions more than your own, you find yourself at a perceived crossroads: choose between what feels right for you or pay social consequences.

Feeling pressure to choose between what feels like a YES, NO, MAYBE, or WAIT in your body or pay the social consequences is an impossible place to be. And it doesn’t have to be this way, but us vs. them mentality makes it so.

This Episode’s Guest

body image coach holly toronto

Holly Toronto is a Master Level Certified Coach through Health Coach Institute and has 5 years of experience helping women stop prioritizing other people’s expectations of beauty, belief or behavior so that they can live their life from a place of wholeness, fully aligned with the truth of who they are.

She currently live in the Hudson River Valley of New York State with her husband and their sweet fur-child, Gatsby. When she’s not supporting clients, recording episodes for podcast or making dance videos on Instagram, you’ll find Holly hiking, exploring little mountain towns, drinking wine, trying out new recipes or listening to podcasts.

She is a deeply spiritual person and though she grew up Evangelical, that is an identity she needed to release in order to return to wholeness. She practices a spirituality that is rooted in self-remembering, unity consciousness and love.

And because Holly’s a Millennial, of course we want to know all of her personality types and astrological signs.

Astrology: Leo Sun, Aquarius Moon, Libra Rising
Enneagram: 3 (The Achiever)
Human Design: 1/3 Projector
Myers Briggs: INFJ


Show Notes

In this episode with returning guest Holly Toronto, we…

  • share Holly’s experiences with “us vs. them” thinking in the space of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood and why she’s choosing to keep some things to herself.
  • talk about the collective’s inability to hold grief and other human experiences and discuss fear as the root of this inability
  • share the wide range of thought, belief, and experiences on one of the most controversial subjects — birth — and how fear and othering is showing up in other spaces as well, including race, COVID, vaccines, parenting, and more
  • talk about the epidemic of self-censorship that us vs. them thinking has created
  • discuss the nuances of why people choose what they choose
  • share about the necessity of having a village and how us vs. them thinking destroys our sense of genuine community
  • share our concern about the next generation engaging in “accountability” culture and cancel culture because our generation hasn’t modeled tolerance, inclusivity, and acceptance to them and how it’s not just happening on social media
  • discuss our shared experiences in fundamentalist Christianity and how us vs. them thinking was engrained into us from a young age


Hello? Hello and welcome back. It is officially spring. Oh my goodness. It’s spring. Nevermind that we’re supposed to get eight to 12 inches of snow tonight. I don’t even care. Because when I step outside now, I can actually feel warmth. On my face. I can be outside without a coat. I can even be outside without long sleeves. Believe it or not. 45 degrees Fahrenheit. And my family and I are outside in short sleeves.

And I am a Texas girl. So that is just proof that you acclimate whenever you move to a new climate, took me seven years to acclimate, but I feel like I’m acclimated. So before I dive into today’s episode, which is a juicy candid, Incredible conversation with my dear friend, Holly, Toronto. This is her second or third time back on the podcast.

Um, before I reintroduce you to her and we get started with this conversation, I have a couple of housekeeping things that I’d like to take care of. First and foremost, I am teaching my foundational workshop, nervous system, 1 0 1 on Tuesday, April 12th, at 6:00 PM. Central time on zoom. This will be my third time teaching this workshop. And every single time is just, well, both times before. It’s just incredible. I don’t even get tired of teaching this material because I believe in it so much.

And because learning about my nervous system was truly the single greatest gift that I ever gave myself. So nervous system 1 0 1 is for you. If you’re new to learning about the nervous system, and you’re seeing people posting about regulating the nervous system on social media, and you’re like, what is this all about? Is this something I even need?

Nervous system 1 0 1 is for you. If you have any sort of mental illness diagnosis, because I’m going to teach you in this workshop that your diagnosis. Is most likely rooted and dysregulation of your nervous system and is something that you can actually do something about this workshop is for you. If you have spent thousands of dollars on practitioners and supplements and fancy health gadgets, and you’ve gone.

Headfirst down the wellness culture, rabbit hole, trying to fix your chronic and mysterious symptoms. Even including things like auto-immune disease, pots, um, allergies, things like that. Um, this workshop is for you. If you deal with like just anxiety, maybe it’s not diagnosed, but you just are constantly feeling like an anxious rack. Maybe your sleep is suffering. Maybe you’re having panic attacks.

And you feel like you’re missing out on life or giving up activities or refusing. Social interaction because of anxiety and or depression. Um, and this workshop is for you. If you’ve been told it’s all in your head. Which I was told by a naturopath once. Um, It is all in your head, but not in the way that you think it’s not in your head in a dismissive way. You’re not making it up.

It’s just that it is coming from your brain and trickling down and affecting your nervous system and your nervous system needs some TLC. So, what do I teach in nervous system? 1 0 1 great question. Um, This is my one-stop workshop for discovering the root cause of chronic and mysterious symptoms. How trauma impairs, the nervous system and what to do about it.

So in this workshop, you’re going to learn what your autonomic nervous system is and how it works. You’re also going to learn some polyvagal theory because I distill it down in a way that even a fifth grader could understand. You’re going to learn how the autonomic nervous system is heavily involved in the development of many chronic and mysterious health and mental quote unquote illnesses.

You’re going to learn how the different branches of your nervous system behave when you’re feeling threatened. For instance, what’s going on in my body when I’m in fight flight mode versus what’s going on in freeze and the different spectrum of, or not the different spectrum, the there’s a spectrum of the freeze response, excuse me.

Um, it, you’re never, almost never in a full freeze response. So there’s a spectrum of the freeze response, which I personally think helps. People to see that it isn’t a hopeless place to be in often the emotion that we feel when we’re in some state of the freeze response is this hopelessness and helplessness. So I really love talking about that.

I’m also going to be teaching how your nervous system’s responses to life situations has formed. What you believe is your personality. I’m going to be teaching what trauma really is and how it affects and impairs your nervous system and your brain. I’ll be sharing what healing actually means and why it’s a mostly subtractive process.

I’ll be sharing about the importance of nervous system hygiene and establishing a daily practice to take care of your nervous system. I’m also teaching my four pillars of holistic trauma healing. And I’ll be giving you some of the same information, ideas, and practices that I give my one-on-one coaching clients when I’m working with their nervous systems.

So again, this workshop is going to be taught. Live on zoom on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022 at 6:00 PM central time. If you purchase a ticket, you are guaranteed to receive the replay. Whether you can attend the workshop live or not. Everyone who purchases a ticket gets the replay. Um, the advantage to attending the workshop live is that after I’m done teaching the material in the workshop, I have an unlimited amount of time at the end for Q and a.

And I love the Q and a part of the end. And I’ve taught this workshop two separate times before, and both times the Q and a was completely different. So that’s really exciting that I continue to be met with different questions about the nervous system and people really wanting help. Because they know that this brain disease model of mental illness and psych meds and talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, like they know there’s more and I’m telling you there is more, and it is going to open up a whole new world. Whenever you look at the symptoms that you’re experiencing, whether they’re mental symptoms or physical symptoms, when you’re looking at it through the lens of the nervous system, it changes everything.

It changes everything. So nervous system 1 0 1, my foundational workshop, the ticket cost is $55. However, I don’t want costs to be an issue for anyone. So a $55 is too much. Please send me an email. Hey, H E y@lindseylocket.com or you can send me a DM on Instagram and just let me know that you need a little price break and you don’t have to explain your situation to me. I don’t care what your situation is. If you ask me for a price break, I’m going to give you a discount.

So just let me know some way. And I’ll send you a special link that you can use that is going to take $20 off your ticket price. So your ticket price would be 35 instead of $55. Um, So, yeah, it’s a $55 workshop. You get access to it forever. Um, the replay forever and I would love to have you there live, or I would love for you to get the replay and you can get your ticket and save your spot.

At Lindsey locket.com forward slash insists 1 0 1 N S Y S. Zero one, just like a college class and I’ll have links below so that you can click on that and get your ticket. And that brings me to my next little item of housekeeping, which is that I am going to be taking a very limited number of one-on-one coaching clients.

For the summer. Um, I have a heavier coaching load and the winter time, because I’m inside a lot more and I need to fill up my time with something because I can’t be outside as much. But in the summertime, your girl is living outside. You will find me. Laying on a blanket in the sun, in my yard, most likely topless. So that is what I’m going to be spending a lot of my times during the summer, which means I’m gonna be sitting less time working with one-on-one clients. So if you are wanting to work with me and the summertime feels like a good time because you have some extra time off work or because your school schedule is less.

Or because you’re going to be on vacation for an extended amount of time and you have some extra time on your hands or whatever it is. I would love to work with you this summer. And I want to tell you a little bit about my one-on-one coaching program. This is my holistic trauma healing coaching program. It’s a 12 week program. That includes six one-on-one calls.

I also do homework. Um, and the homework includes integration, nervous system support and regulation, embodiment practices, learning how to feel safe in your body. Again. And I really do meet you wherever you are. So no program with two clients looks the same. It looks different because you’re different. Your trauma is different. Your nervous system is different. Your body is different. Your upbringing is different. Your geographical locations are different. Like you’re also different.

And so this is not a one size fits all coaching program. It really is custom. To you and wherever you are in your life at this time. And so I really love meeting my clients wherever they’re at. And I can do that in one-on-one coaching in a way that I cannot do that in my workshops or my group programs.

So. Um, in addition to, uh, the homework, you get six one-on-one calls. Um, some people are like, wait a minute. If it’s 12 weeks, why do I only get six calls? Why don’t I get a call once a week? The reason is, is because awareness and consciousness is a huge, huge component to my work. And so homework, quote, unquote doesn’t necessarily mean journaling prompts and like things that you’re doing on a daily basis. There’s certainly as that, but it involves awareness and really just watching yourself and paying attention to your patterns and seeing what comes up and not takes time. It takes time to observe yourself that way.

So I am supporting you and creating the container for you to do that. But you don’t just observe something about yourself. That’s been an ingrained pattern for. For 25 years. And then in one week you shift it. So I’m here to support you in that and create a container where you can observe yourself and really come into awareness about, um, your patterns, your habits, things about yourself that maybe you really don’t like, and you want to change. Um, I’m here for all of that.

I also, um, because we only do six one-on-one coaching calls. Um, the calls matter. They’re very important clients experienced breakthroughs and these one-on-one calls all the time, but truly the most important work is what you’re doing in between the calls. And I want to support you during that time as well.

So one-on-one coaching clients also receive support on both slack and Voxer. So if you’re a person who prefers to write things out, slack is there for you. Slack is a messaging app. That’s used for a lot of teams, um, in businesses. I have found it to be the perfect app to use for coaching clients.

Voxer, if you don’t already know is kind of a walkie talkie app. So we can actually talk to each other in real time and leave each other voice notes. And you can receive support. Whichever way you choose, or you can use both. Um, and finally, my one-on-one coaching clients also receive lifetime membership to my online community. The trauma healers circle.

The trauma healer circle of course has its own set of benefits and perks, which include two bonus podcast episodes every month. Um, and a monthly call with me and the rest of the circle. So it’s like a group coaching call once a month. Sometimes I bring guests into those calls and they teach us things.

I’ve had people come in and do a group embodiment practice group hypnosis group. Breathwork. These calls are just really, really special. And they’re one of my favorite times of the month. And then finally, circle members also receive unlimited access to my course belief beyond the binary, which, um, is kind of what we’re talking about today with the us versus them mentality. So, um, the link for that, I will put in the show notes as well, um, to apply for the one-on-one coaching program.

And if you need a payment plan for that program that is available. And you can just learn more through the link that I’m going to put below. So nervous system workshop coming up on April 12th. And I’m taking on a very limited number of one-on-one coaching clients for this summer 2022, so that I can spend more time outside. So if you want to work with me and you don’t want to wait until fall or winter, uh, Carpay DM click the link below.

And now let’s dive into this week’s podcast episode. I’m so excited to be bringing back Holly Toronto. She is a master level certified coach through health coach Institute and has five years of experience helping women stop, prioritizing other people’s expectations of beauty belief or behavior. So that they can live their life from a place of wholeness bully aligned with the truth of who they are.

She currently lives in the Hudson river valley of New York state with her husband and their suite for child Gatsby. And as you will learn in this episode, she’s expecting her first baby, literally any day now. And when Holly’s not supporting clients, recording episodes for her podcast returned to wholeness or making dance videos on Instagram. You’ll find her hiking, exploring little mountain towns, drinking wine, trying out new recipes or listening to podcasts.

She is a deeply spiritual person. And though she grew up evangelical like me. That is an identity she needed to release in order to return to wholeness. She practices, a spirituality that is rooted in self remembering unity, consciousness, and love. And because Holly is a millennial, of course, we want to know all of her personality, types and signs. So she is a Leo sun and Aquarius moon, and a Libra rising. She’s an Enneagram three. She’s a Myers-Briggs I N F J. And she is a human design, one, three projector, which is what I am as well. And Holly is one of my dearest internet friends.

Um, we have had a relationship on Instagram and off Instagram for a little over a year. And I’m just so thankful that she’s in my life and. I’m excited for you guys to hear this conversation about how the us versus them mentality is really shrinking us and not doing us any favors. So please sit back, relax and enjoy part one of this two-part conversation with Holly Toronto. Welcome Holly, back to the podcast. It’s your, what is this your third time here? I think so. I mean, this has to be like our fifth or sixth interview together between my podcast and yours. Hilarious. We just become like less and less prepared as we, the more of these we do, because we’re like, we don’t need notes.

We don’t need questions. Zero notes. See what happens? What are we talking about today? I have zero notes. Um, but before we get into what I think we’re going to talk about today, which is like an us versus them mentality and just how damaging that is all across the board. Um, I mean your life has changed a little bit since the last time you were on this show and.

You’re about to have a baby pop out of your belly. It’s like, while I might been it’s possible that I was pregnant the last time we did an interview because I waited quite a long time. I waited till third trimester. Didn’t tell anyone. So if we recorded in like August, September, then I was pregnant at that time.

And it also feels like, oh my God, that was such a long time ago. Like this pregnancy, I know you’ve had two kids. So I’m curious. It feels like anytime I’m watching somebody else’s pregnancy, it’s like, oh my God, that went by so fast. Oh no, no. When it’s your own, you’re like, this is taking, it’s like the lady on the Titanic, it’s been 84.

That’s what it feels like until this point in pregnancy. So like I was telling you before I’m at this point now, I’ll be 35 weeks this week. And so she could be here. A term is in 30, is in two weeks. Right? So like she could be here anytime in the next two to seven, depending on what she wants. This is really large timeline.

Just keep you on your toes a little bit for an extended period of time. So yeah, my life is changing a lot. Like it’s almost unrecognizable from where it was even when we recorded our last interview to 2021, like what it was last year. Um, but it’s, it’s good stuff. Like, I feel really aligned with the direction that I’m moving, even though it wasn’t what I anticipated or expected.

Yeah. Well, and I remember like in the beginning of the summer of 2021, Um, I didn’t know this until much later until you announced this pregnancy actually, but you had, I think you just had a miscarriage and you were like, I’m changing everything about my life and about my business. And like, I do not have time at all or energy for things that I don’t love.

And I don’t even know what I want to do anymore. Like, did you figure it out? Yes, I have it all figured out at that point. No, but that was absolutely a big, big turning point for me. And in many, many ways, like many ways that will probably relate back to the conversation that we had, that we are going to have around us versus them.

But also just in like, how much of, like, when I think about when I actually went through that experience, I gave myself like, I miscarried, I don’t know, like on a weekend. And it was like, Um, you know, I’ll get myself Monday to Friday to grief. Like I put like a, a timestamp on it, like, and then I gotta get back at it.

And that, like, there’s something about the process of birth and carrying human life in your body, whether it’s determined or not. And it ends in a live birth that opens you up. I feel two messages, communication just like love from divine, divine, feminine specifically. And there was this feeling of like no more.

You don’t do that anymore. You don’t force yourself to push through your grief process. You don’t force yourself to push through pain. You don’t force yourself to work when you’re sick, you actually will give yourself the time and space that you need in order to fully heal and rest. And so, um, yeah, it started around.

When I noticed, I gave myself that week and then kind of like was trying to go back and it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right. I decided at the beginning of the summer that I was going to take an extended break from building my business, whatever that actually means and just serve my existing clients and work on the things that I love and do my podcast.

And it was the most supportive and healing thing that I could’ve possibly done for myself and led to this next pregnancy. Um, Which I don’t know that I would have been able to get to this place. Had I not given myself the space to actually heal. And it’s also opened up in me what I’m feeling called to as of today.

We’ll see, we’ll see what that changes. Um, if that changes in like the next year or so, but being called to be more of a primary caregiver for my daughter. Right? Like to like, I don’t know if the label stay at home, mom feels right for me. Cause it it’s not necessarily like landing me in a powerful way, but primary caregiver, I’m still going to see my clients, but I never anticipated that.

I would want that. But that’s where my heart is calling me and I wouldn’t have heard that message had I not given myself that space. Yeah. Yeah. That’s so beautiful. I’m so, so sorry you lost that baby. Thank you. And also, I mean, I, I hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive because it’s definitely not Jaime net, but I read a book in the beginning of 2021.

It’s called journey of souls. And it literally, I know I talk about it all the time. It’s like, it was one of the top five, most powerful books I’ve ever read in my life. But he talks about in that book, how, like the souls of, of little babies that are miscarried or aborted or, um, you know, that are born stillborn or whatever, um, that their soul contract with their parents was more about their parents’ growth.

Like, and it’s almost like that baby. It was like, like, you don’t get to hold me, but like, I’m gonna make sure that you are preparing your container to receive the next one. You know, like when you did, you prepared your container and now you’re just like, you’re just like, fuck, I know what I, I know I’m doing, I know what I’m not doing, and I’m not here for not resting and not taking care of myself anymore.

And that’s just incredible. Yeah. I thank you for sharing that because I feel like, and I, I shared this with somebody who has. Um, acknowledged the miscarriage, um, on social media and was like, you know, sent me a message and was worried about acknowledging it, like, worried about talking to me about the miscarriage, because she’s like, I just don’t, you know, I don’t want to trigger you.

I don’t want, I don’t know how sensitive you are. I totally get what people are, their intention in that. And I think it speaks to our collective inability to really hold grief and death. Um, but she bravely, you know, acknowledged the baby and, and it meant so much to me because that baby paved the way for this one.

Like that’s like how generous that, that baby paved the way for, for this baby to be here. Um, whatever I call her, her, we don’t know, we don’t know what her gender was, but, um, that’s what we felt that baby was, was a girl, but she paved the way for her sister. And, um, that’s like the most generous thing that you could possibly do.

Due for another human being and she still visits us. Like she’s her, her animal symbol is a lady bug. So like, she’s always, we get like random lady bugs in our house. I’m like, oh, Hey, you’re still around. Um, so I, I totally, yeah, I totally believe that she played out her, her soul contract. That was what the, what she was meant to do.

And it doesn’t mean it wasn’t painful as fuck. Right. It certainly was. And that it didn’t of course bring in the fear more fear, I think, than I would’ve anticipated. I’m experiencing in pregnancy to like experience pregnancy after loss is it’s going to not taint necessarily, but like, it’s gonna, it’s gonna, it’s going to be present in the course of your next pregnancy.

It’s a nail biter. It’ll be there, but, but I know that at all, it all serves at all. It all serves, whatever. Whatever this thing is that we’re doing here. Okay. I literally had full body chills. Like literally the entire time you were talking about her symbol being a lady bug and like her still being with you and that you knew she was a girl.

Like I was like, yes. And my body too. Like, so I just wanted you to know, I was feeling it over here all the way from New York to Minnesota, like energy knows no time or space boundaries. Um, so, and, and I remember this is a good segue into our conversation today. Um, you sent me a text a few weeks ago, a couple of weeks ago about like you were noticing the us versus them mentality and the pregnancy and birth space.

And you’re just like, it doesn’t matter what the fuck I share as my own journey, my own experience, my own choice. People are still going to have a problem with it. And they feel like it’s their duty or their rights to inject their belief or their opinion to tell me what I’m doing wrong. And yeah. W I mean, what is your experience like that?

Ben it’s been, it’s been one that I’ve, I’ve both had to be a student of, like, and that I feel like I have a lot of really big solid opinions on me

because I do have an idea of what type of birth I want to have. Uh, I don’t know if that’s going to happen because as we know birth is unpredictable, I, I don’t think birth has to be dangerous. I don’t think birth has to be, um, as scary necessarily as we are. Led to believe it is. I don’t. I also don’t think it has to be as medicalized.

How was that? I was actually going to throw the term medicalized if you did it.

Um, yeah, I don’t think it has to be as medicalized. And there is, it certainly feels like, um, that at least in our culture, Western culture, that the dominant paradigm around birth is that it’s dangerous. And that the woman giving birth is like sick in some ways. Right. Like, and I have, especially having experienced miscarriage.

I also, and I haven’t talked about this public. It feels fine to say now. Um, I also have a uterine abnormality, so I have something called a by corny about uterus. And essentially what it means is I have two uteruses. I know that’s like a whole other thing to process. Um, and so it does place me into a category of deviation, right?

From full healthy pregnancy, right from normal air from quote unquote, normal. Exactly. Yet I’ve noticed throughout my own pregnancy that I’ve kind of bought into that belief that like, there’s something wrong with me. Like, there’s something wrong. I need, I need medical attention. I need more, I need more like support.

And that might, that might be true. And I’m, I am having a hospital birth. That’s a choice that I made for our first one. But trying to get myself back on track, obviously, lots of thoughts about this. Um, I’m also. I made the choice to be extremely educated on the process of birth. I heard somebody say I’m on a podcast that I was listening to that women spend more time thinking about the wedding that they want birth, that they want.

And that the, the energy is you go in there and you just surrender to the Docker. Yeah. Right. And anyone who chooses to maybe ask questions or inform themselves of different alternatives or who may be. One to refuse some certain treatment or a pathway that the doctor is recommending are almost seen as putting their babies in danger or being like what I’ve heard described as a middle-class birth Zilla.

Um, um, like, is that like the Karen equivalent of a birthing mother? Who’s educated? Yes. Okay. Great. All right. Stila birthing, Karen. Okay. I’m birthing Karen. Yeah, you’ve heard it. You heard it here. First folks. Watch it’ll be trending on Twitter, Karen. But if I kind of like bring all of that back in, like all of my, my strong opinions back in what I found in more of like my interpersonal relationships is if I have.

A strong feeling about what I want or the birth that I desire and that’s different than what that friend or that person experienced. They feel it’s very important to let me know that that might not happen or this could happen or make sure you do this because we, we are, so again, conditioned to see birth as something that’s dangerous.

But also I think that there is an element of what’s the right word to use here. Um, jealous is not the right word. Projection feels, right? Like, um, there’s an element of like, If I, if I didn’t get to experience the birth that I wanted, that means you don’t get to either. Right. And so I’m going to bring my own shit into it, just to let you know, you know what I’m saying?

I do. Yeah. Yeah, I do. So that’s kind of been my experience in navigating us first them. And I’m like, I’m finding myself almost censoring, isn’t the right word, but being protective of my desires for my birth, because I don’t want to receive that because I don’t want to hear, well, you know, you might have this and then you might have this and you might have this.

Um, and for me to authentically respond and say, well, I’m going to do this to avoid that. It seems that there’s a, there’s a lot of feelings that are hurt and I just don’t have this. I don’t have the energy to hold that right now. And you shouldn’t have to hold that right now. Like, this is your own experience.

And, um, You know, I mean, it’s been, it’s been a minute since I’ve given birth Holly and a minute, like almost 17 years of a minute. Um, so like I, when my babies were born, when I was pregnant, I had very standard OB GYN care. I mean, I received a flu vaccine when I was pregnant with my son. Like I had hospital births.

I was hooked up to the IVs. I didn’t know. I didn’t even know that I had a choice about laying in a hospital bed and the position that I wanted to give birth in. Like, um, we, we fully vaccinated our kids at birth, like very textbook, right. And even with my daughter, her birth was even more medicalized and my sons, because I was induced with her.

So I went in a week before my due day and I literally had no good medical reason for being induced. I just, it was the middle of July in west, Texas, and I was hot and swollen and I wanted that 80 out. There’s no other reason. It was just my, it was my own inability to like wait on the perfect timing. So I was induced with her.

Um, my water was artificially broken by the doctor. It didn’t break on its own. I had an epidural with her, like fully medicalized. She came she’s healthy. She’s fine. And also it wasn’t until my kids were like three, four years old that my eyes were even open to the fact that midwives still existed. You know, like, I didn’t know, midwives still existed.

I thought midwives were like this old fashioned, like, oh yeah, we did that before. There were doctors in white coats and delivery rooms and all of that. And when I started to watch like some documentaries and like, like that Ricki lake documentary about the businesses being born, watch that documentary. I mean, I had a solid, like four or five years where I had this ache in my womb.

To do it again so I could do it that way. Like, so I could have my power. So I wasn’t being told what to do. So I didn’t have needles being poked in me, so I could be in the water if I want it to be your squatting, if I wanted to be. So it could be a home. If I wanted to be like, there was this deep yearning to be like, okay, I had the medical experience and I’m grateful for my babies, but I watched these documentaries and this looks so much more beautiful.

And the women looked so empowered and they’re not these like helpless ladies, you know, that need the doctor to come in and save them and rescue them to deliver their baby. Like they, they can, we can do it on our own. And it just, so that opened me up to being able to be like, okay, I had my own experience.

This is my experience. Now with my daughter, I will say this for anyone listening. Um, I am a big believer that. The Pitocin that they use to induce labor. Um, and I, there are now studies that point to this, as well as like when you’re induced with Pitocin, it inhibits your body’s ability to make its own natural oxytocin, which is the bonding hormone, which is that rush of like, you know, ecstatic, joy, and love, and like protection and bonding that you feel when your baby comes out.

We have oxytocin to thank for that. Well, when you’re induced with Pitocin, but inhibits your brain’s ability to produce oxytocin. And so I didn’t know that until much, much later, but there’s a 35% greater chance in experiencing postpartum depression. If you’ve received oxytocin during labor. And I had horrible, I mean, bordering on postpartum psychosis after Addie was born.

Um, and it was. I didn’t know that until later. And once I found that out, I was so angry because I was like, if somebody had told me that if my doctor had told me that I might’ve changed my mind about being induced, you know, like I feel like I wasn’t given all the information that I needed to make an informed choice.

And so that’s what I think is beautiful about talking about our birth experiences. As it’s not about comparing, this is what I’m going to have versus what you had. And like, and then whenever you want to have you share this beautiful experience that you desire, and then somebody didn’t get the beautiful experience they desired.

It’s almost like they don’t want you to have the beautiful experience you desired because they didn’t get what they wanted. Exactly. But I see it completely opposite. It’s like when we share our birth story, That’s education. Like that’s sharing information among women, which by the way, hello, that’s what we’ve done for thousands of years and tribes.

That is the village, right. It’s women who come together and they talk about these experiences with pregnancy and sex and birth and breastfeeding and hormones, and like, and like red tent ceremonies for daughters who are menstruating, like all of that, that’s the fucking village. And because we don’t let each other share our perspectives, we’re missing out on the wisdom of the village.

Uh, I I’m like getting chills hearing you talk about that. And, and I think that’s one of the reasons why there is like one of the many reasons why there is so much us versus them is because we have to, like, we have that innate in us to find like our camp, right. And that we’re not coming together and saying like, Hey, birth.

A giant melting pot. Like there is no single experience that is ever, ever, ever, ever going to be the same. Like there’s going to be times where for medical reasons. Right. And thank God we have Western medicine for that. Right. Um, where someone needs to be induced or someone needs to have a C-section. And again, these are like, in my personal opinion, these are way overused, way overused.

Um, I think it’s like the world health organization says that like 15% of births should like end in a C-section in the U S I think it’s like 33% over double and in C-section. Um, so we can get into like a whole thing around that, but you touched on something cause you used the word you used over choice.

And that’s the thing that I, I keep coming back to because it does feel like we have these camps. We have the, you know, the burning. Right. The birth Zilla who wants her perfect natural. If, if anything, free birth, no interventions whatsoever. And then we have like what? I kind of call like the strong feminist birth.

Like I don’t have to experience pain and labor epidural, give me the, like, I will, you know, elective C-section I will take the Pitocin. I will induce what I want to, and those are far, far ends of the spectrum. And what I want to say is that they’re both valid, like your choice at that period in time to induce, because you were like uncomfortable like that.

I know many women who plan to induce. I know many women who, um, you know, had like an elective C-section and that’s like, so great. Right. But the work for us, right. If we’re going to do. Um, really support and honor each other in our experiences and bring healing to this birth space, which I think we need to is like, we need to celebrate each other in each other’s choices, right.

Without bringing our own shit into it. So when we meet the mother who wants to have as few interventions as possible, we don’t say to her, but you know, my birth was really dangerous and, you know, I had X, Y, and Z happen. So just be careful, just be careful with wanting that. Right. Or somebody said this to me recently, that someone said to her that, cause she had a home birth in two unmedicated births that a friend said to her, did anybody throw you a parade of.

Right. I know. I was like, first of all, she, she deserves a parade. Every woman who gives birth deserves a fucking parade, it doesn’t matter how that baby came out of her. Right. And second of all, that’s not why she did that. Like you’re saying that she did that just for the glory. And I think that’s, that’s one of the things that those of us who want as few interventions as possible, it’s like, oh, you just want, like, you want the credit, right.

You just want, you just want to, like, you want a parade, you want people to say, oh, you know, and so they like want to downplay it a little bit, but it’s like, I’m, I’m not doing it for a parade. I’m not doing it. So anybody, in fact, I don’t even know if I’ll tell people about my birth story, like publicly this way, you know what I mean?

Um, but I’m doing it. I’ve educated myself. I’ve watched the business of being born. I’ve watched birth time, which is like an incredible documentary I’ve read , um, guide to childbirth. I’ve read, give birth like a phenom feminist. I’ve like ingested all of this because that’s what I felt called to do so that I can make the most informed decision for me and my baby and my family.

And I don’t, I’m not tooting my own horn here. I’m not putting myself up on some pedestal, but that’s just how I’ve chosen to navigate the birth space. It’s my choice. Right. Versus another friend of mine who gave birth recently wanted to induce on her, on her, um, on her due date. Wonderful. If that’s what you want to do, I respect your choice.

Right. But we’re constantly pitted against each other. It’s like, you’re trying to say you’re better than me, or like you, you think you deserve a parade because you did it this way. Um, or. You put your baby in danger because you chose this medical route, but it’s like, to me, we just need to come to this place of like, we don’t have to make the same choices in birth.

Like we get to actually listen to ourselves. That’s what’s missing so much in the medical space and in the birth space is putting women at the center. Right. You get to make your choice right on the birth that you want, regardless of what other people think you should be doing. Yeah. Amen. Here, here. Woo.

You got a standing ovation and zooming out. Like you get to make your choice. That goes for literally everything. It’s not, we’re not this episode. I promise for the men listening, who finds the talk about birth extremely boring. We’re not just talking about birth year. We’re talking about these different topics, which birth is one, but I mean, vaccines is another one, right?

It’s like the whole, it’s the same thing. It’s the same thing with a different label is I am threatened by your choice, whatever your choice is, because it is different from my choice. And therefore I need to label myself as this in order to label you as that. And then that then takes us from being this United, like people who are free with free choice and free will, and now we’re suddenly separate and it’s suddenly us versus them.

I was actually having this conversation with my daughter yesterday. Um, My daughter is, my daughter is queer. And she goes to the public school for one class every day because her mother is not a science major. And so I am not, I’m not going to teach. I acknowledge that I cannot be held responsible for her physical science education.

So I have chosen to place that responsibility onto the public school. So thank you for that public schools. Um, but so she goes for one class everyday physical science, and, um, she’s been homeschooled for her whole life. And so going into the school because she’s queer, she immediately sort of like the queer group at school was like the magnet for her.

Right. And like that’s where she found herself. And so there’s like, there’s queer kids and non-binary kids and a couple of trans kids. And that’s where she found her people. Right. She thought she found her people and everything was going great until about a month ago. And my daughter is an avid. She loves to watch these YouTubers that do live streams.

And then they have like discord chats going at the same time. And like, I don’t understand it. I just, I just don’t understand it, Holly. Jensey like, I don’t get it, but she’s into these YouTubers that do live streams and like, they have a million people watching and everyone’s chatting and you can’t even keep up with the chat.

It’s going so fast. And they’re like, a lot of them are like philanthropists and humanitarians. And so they give money away to like end world hunger and clean out plastic from the ocean and stuff like that. And she’s really into these things. Well, her, her friend group, the queer friends at school, uh, called my daughter out one day, like there’s, they’re 14, 15, 16, like can’t like internet cancel culture style.

And apparently there was a tick tock video circulating. That was naming one of the YouTubers that my daughter’s into. And it listed like a list of racist things that this person did like years ago. And so they were, these friends were telling my daughter, like, you, you have to stop watching this person.

If you, if you watch this person, if you support them, then you’re supporting racism. And my daughter was like, no, I’m not like that’s dumb. No, I’m not. And they were like, they were explaining to her and like super long texts, like why it was problematic. I mean, seriously, they’re 14, 15, 16, Holly. We’re seeing this with like 30 year olds on Instagram.

Right. And now kids have that age. And my daughter just, she was like, she knows who she is. And she, you know, she has a regulated, nervous system. She has a well-resourced nervous system. She has me as a mom. And so we’re constantly talking about like diversity in different topics and not putting yourself in a box and not labeling yourself and not putting other people inside boxes and all that.

So I’m really grateful that she was well-resourced to handle the situation, but she wouldn’t back down. And she was like, like maybe he did say that, but here’s the post where he took accountability for that. Here’s the post where he said, I’m sorry. I’m like, I’m not going to keep holding this over his head.

He’s doing good things in the world. He’s like matching dollar for dollar up to a million dollars to clean out plastic trash from the ocean. Like I’m still gonna watch the guy. I like him. And the friends were like, like they won’t talk to her anymore. So she’s completely ostracized from the friend group at school because of this, us versus them mentality.

So I, I want people to understand that this isn’t just happening on social media. This is happening in real life conversations is it’s happening with children and it’s happening with this younger generation. Oh my God. It’s like, oh my God, it’s awful. And like, I think people are really naive, especially parents, like for any parents listening, if you are modeling an us versus them mentality in front of your children, then they are going to go to school or be with their friends.

And that is what they’re going to do at school. And this is how like generationally, um, separation and division keeps happening is because of the way we, as parents are interacting and engaging with things that we disagree with, or that make us unconscious. Thank you for naming that because sometimes it’s easy to be like, these fucking kids are just so ridiculous.

Like any generation, like boomers to the gen Xers and millennials, like these little shitheads, we never did that at our, at their age, we were climbing up hill in the snow, going to school both ways. We didn’t have toilet paper, like back in my day, I feel like that’s what I sound like. Oftentimes when I’m talking about the Zoomer generation chintzy, but we have to continuously come back to who’s the adult in the room, you know, that like, that’s one thing that I think in our ageist culture, we’ve also sort of forgotten that.

We are the adults, right? The next generation should be looking to us for guidance and to your point, um, when we operate from that place of us, for some, even in the even generationally, right, we’re just perpetuating the same pattern over and over again. And you know, you could argue that this is just how human beings are, right?

We’re mammals. We eat to hear what you can speak to this so beautifully. We have these binary nervous systems. We’re also tribal species. Uh, we’ve never, ever lived in a day and age where so many people from so many different backgrounds and so many different life experiences can interact with each other.

We’ve never lived in a day where it’s, this could go both ways, but like where you’re more free to be yourself, but also less free to be herself at the same time. You’re more free to be yourself. But if you follow this certain scripts, right. I what I, why I feel so passionately about talking about us for some mentality is because I have a curiosity and maybe you can help me figure this out.

Um, cause I don’t know what the answer is yet, but like I. I’m very worried about where this leads us. Oh, me too. Right. I’m very worried about what is the long-term consequences of this on a cultural level, right? On a spiritual level, on a collective and an individual level. What, what are the long term impacts of this?

What, what happens. After, like, I, I don’t know. And I don’t know the answer to this, but I’d be very curious to know, like when there’s been horrible atrocities that have happened in human history, I wonder what polarization and division looked like right before those times. Right. How people were being groomed to see each other, and that might have led to these disasters, right.

To let, to lead to these atrocities. Like, that’s my deepest fear when we are taught to see a fellow human being as less than because of a medical choice that they made or didn’t make, right. Where does that lead us? Right. If we’re taught to hold someone accountable for something that they said last month, even, or two years ago when they were 16 or when they were 16 years old and that there’s no opportunity for, uh, Uh, like forgiveness or taking accountability, or even having a difference of opinion on something.

Right. Um, where does this lead us? And to me, I have a lot of fears around it and that’s why I think it’s become so important to me going into parenthood. With my, with my, my husband that we work on it in ourselves so that we don’t perpetuate it for our daughter. So that, um, your daughter Addie, right? Like how, how fucking amazing is that, that she had you, right.

Because she gets to change that. Right. She gets to change that for herself. Right. Um, and like, hopefully for my daughter that I’m able to model it for her and do the same for her because you’re so right. They learn it. I learned us versus them mentality like that, that trunk BSA, like I learned it from watching you dad, like, you know, you remember those drug commercials from the eighties.

Like I learned it from my parents. I learned it from more likely my church. I was going to say religion, like both of us grew up in that environment. Um, and we know where I got. Right. And we’re unwilling to prepare, to continue to perpetuate it in the generations that come after us. Yeah. To completely, I I’m so glad that you brought up like how we learned this in religion, because that was exactly my experience in Christianity.

It was like, we are the chosen ones. We are the right ones. We are God’s people. We are God’s family and they are not, and you have to wait and it is our, it is your job to go into them and evangelize to try to convert them, to bring them to our side. But that is the extent of the interaction you’re allowed to have with them.

You’re not allowed to be friends with them. You’re certainly not allowed to date them or marry them. You’re not allowed to like hang out with them because they will. Lead you astray that they are tools of the devil to deceive you like really Christian. Yeah. They’re going to make you look. God will speak about them.

That was my biggest fear was being elite, a lukewarm Christian, like ending up like Amy Grant, you know, everyone everyone’s like secular music and she’s become lukewarm and I’m like, God’s going to spit it out from his mouth, even me. Oh, ridiculous. Yeah. Yeah. But it seems like the crazy thing is, is like the same people, like in the, in like social justice movements and like, uh, you know, queer spaces, uh, color people of color spaces, like.

They’re very like a lot of them are very against religion, more this reason, because it’s not inclusive. It’s not tolerant. It is othering. It is divisive. And yet they can’t even see the mirror. It’s saying, Hey, look, you’re doing the same thing. It just has a different clothes on. Yeah. Oh totally. I have actually kind of a funny story.

I don’t think this person would ever like listen to, um, this podcast and like, I, I don’t think she would. I don’t think that, yeah, I don’t think this person would ever come across it, but like, um, Dan and I, knowing that we were starting a family, we have. We’re both very spiritual people. I have my connection to nature, divine, feminine.

Um, he has his own connection to spirit and we’ve been talking about wanting to ground our spirituality in a tradition. And interestingly have been like coming back to Christianity in a way that feels like aligned with us. And we haven’t made any choices to go to church or anything like that. Um, but just open to the exploration and came across someone who, um, was a part of an Episcopal church.

Right. And church. And we’re like, oh, this is, you know, curious. This is like a new way of, um, connecting with God and the Jesus tradition. And that was having a conversation with this person. And they like, well, you know, there’s so many issues with the Christian. You know, they’re the ones that give us all a bad name.

And what, what we need to do is the Christian left is just be louder. Like exactly. It’s like, what do you think Jesus would think of Jesus take the wheel wheel. And, and so it’s like, even in the melded space of like social justice culture and like Christianity there’s like, it, it, it continues. It’s like we can’t, we can’t, we can’t see that.

Like the people that we are othering right. Are literally. The exact parallel. It’s the, exactly. Like you are looking at yourself in the mirror. It’s like when a dog doesn’t recognize themselves in the mirror and they’re barking at themselves in the mirror, like that’s what it feels like in so many of these spaces that are like, it’s the Christian right’s fault.

It’s like, no, it’s the social justice warriors fall. And it’s like, y’all, can’t see that you’re literally the exact same. And by the way, I’m making fun of this. But like, I know I have this tendency in myself too, you know what I mean? Like, I am not above this by any means. It’s just that I’ve made a very conscious choice to call it out on myself as much as I possibly can.

Yeah, same. Yeah. Like I have to keep, I have to call it out on myself too. Or like in my husband, like sometimes we can be in a conversation and he, he tends to go, like my husband’s a very spiritual person as well. Um, it’s interesting because my husband and I had like very polarized spirituality. Um, and I know that polarized can sound like us versus them or black versus white, but in a relationship, it actually makes it really interesting and juicy and like, uh, balanced.

So, um, his spirituality is very, like, it’s very difficult for me to describe it because it’s, it’s not my flavor, but it’s like very. Cosmos like airy, you know, like my husband can astral project. Like he has orbs that come and visit him in his room when he’s sleeping. Cause we don’t share a bedroom. Um, like he, he gets, he’s an excellent meditator.

Like meditation is so hard for me, you know? So he’s, I mean, I think it’s a very divine masculine spirituality. And then my spirituality is like, I’m going to go talk to plants. I’m going to like pour my period blood on the ground. And like they can offering some mother earth and like, like that’s my flavor of spirituality.

Right. And so sometimes we can be in conversations with each other and it’s amazing how our different flavors of spirituality come into the conversation. And it has a tendency when we let even a little bit of ego come in, it has a tendency to create an us versus them, even though like we can get on the outside of it and be like, we’re literally on the same side, we’re just coming at it with two different perspectives.

And isn’t that most often the case. That’s what I find because, um, sometimes it sucks to be like, I wish that I could just like plug myself into a group of people that just like, think like me, like me and find my own little tribe. It’d be like so much easier if like I asked my therapist all the time.

Like, can you just make me. Like most millennials so that I feel like a millennial. So I feel like I’m part of my generation so that I feel like I, can you make me like, mid-century modern furniture because I don’t and everyone else in my generation does, like, I D I like it’s, it would be so much easier if I was just like, everyone else.

Like, that’s what, what I keep finding. And I’m sure you bump up against that too, because you are someone who is like, so authentic, like, so, so yourself all the time, and it can be exhausting, right? Like it can be sometimes be exhausting to feel like you constantly have a different opinion, or you constantly like, are in the middle of a conversation or can see both sides.

And so all that preface to I’ll bring it back. Um, I find that because I have, you know, people in my life were like, full-blown communist, right? And then I have people in my life. One would argue is like, you know, the Q1 and on all right. For goddess, which we know part of that. So be careful cause I’m an expert.

Oh my God. Um, and I noticed that they like both want the same thing often times, like they both want the same thing, justice, Liberty, all of that. They just have a different maybe well, definitely different ideas and strategies on how to get there or a different idea of what it looks like. Right. And the thing is, is that like, what I’m very clear on is that we’re never going to find a solution to any of the issues that we are faced with that pleases everyone.

Like we’re just really, really not because. We have what, 328 million different people in this entire country, we would have different views and different ideas and different all of that. Um, and I always come back. I quote this, this puts me out there and like the type of people that I follow. Are you ready?

I’m ready, dude. So I follow, um, uh, Thomas Sowell. Do you know who he is? No, I don’t think I do. So he’s like late eighties. Um, black man grew up in poverty, went to like worked his way up and, um, attended, I believe the university of Chicago when he started there, he was like a full-blown Marxist. Like that was his, his ideology.

That was like the way that he viewed economics in the best economics. I could, he could have imagined for a society. And then, but he studied under Milton Friedman, Friedman, who is a, um, libertarian, uh, economist. And by the time he was done with his training and everything, he like became like full, full libertarian.

So he went from Marxist to libertarian and he’s brilliant, man, like absolutely brilliant man. So accomplished. He’s taught on like countless, um, Ivy league schools and in colleges and something that he always says is that there are. No such thing as solutions only trade-offs right. There are no solutions to these big issues that so many of us are trying to solve our keyboards.

And that’s a discredit people who are actually out there doing work in the world and trying to change policy and things like that. But there’s no such thing as solutions. There’s only, trade-offs, there’s only people coming together to find common ground. Right. And compromise with one another, as unsexy, as it is compromise with one another, like we’re not going to get anywhere with this level of polarization.

Yeah. You know, that reminds me, um, I’m going to quote myself here for myself here a few weeks ago on Instagram, I had posted it. The real pandemic is millions of truly nice well-intentioned people with poorly resourced, nervous systems, trying to be keyboard warriors for things that will never be solved on social media.

Yeah. So just leave that there, Lindsay lock it, lock it. Just quote myself, write it down. Um, yeah. Yeah, you’re right. You’re right. But you know, like zooming in like on a micro level, is that not what we have to do to make our relationships. Right. Like your, my marriage, your marriage, your best friend. Like we don’t always see eye to eye on everything.

David and I have been together for almost 21 years. We still don’t see, we still do not share the same beliefs and opinions about everything. Why would you, it would be so boring. We would have nothing to talk about at all. Me and my best friends. We would had nothing to talk about. If we all shared the same thing, it’s same opinions about everything.

Um, and I want to circle back to what you were saying about authenticity, because I do think that authenticity belongs in a conversation about this. I think authenticity, like, because, um, what I have noticed anyway is that the black and white binary thinking the us versus them, whatever it really. Makes people super afraid to be their authentic selves, you know?

And so it it’s like, not only is it perpetuating division from each other, but it’s literally perpetuating like internal division from self, because there is a, there’s a dissonance within yourself of like, this is what I know to be right. This is a yes in my body or this is a no in my body, but because I have been taught to value other’s opinions or beliefs, sometimes more than my own.

I’m now like at a crossroads where I have to choose between what feels like a yes or no in my body and the potential social consequences that I could pay. And like, that’s a tough fucking place to be.



All right guys, that’s a wrap for part one of this conversation with Holly. Next week, we are going to be back for part two, where we’ll be diving in even deeper into the role of authenticity for. Removing ourselves from the us versus them paradigm and how the us versus them paradigm is going to keep us away from our authenticity. And if we’re wanting to reclaim that for ourselves or even step into it for the very first time we’re going to have to take ourselves out of the binary.

Don’t forget that if you want to get your ticket for my workshop, nervous system 1 0 1, the link for that is below in the show notes. And also, if you’re interested in working with me, one-on-one in a coaching container this summer, I’m taking on a very limited number of clients. And I take clients by application only. So if 📍 you want to apply and get that process started. The link for that is below as well and holly and i will be back next week