Despite her family’s doubts and fear revolving around her giving birth at home, Tayler Clemm was determined to go against the grain, follow her heart and have three home births.
Clemm is a naturalist, healer, doula and a mother to three children. When she was pregnant with her first son after having three abortions, she immediately knew she wanted to have a home birth. She watched YouTube videos on home births, checked out library books, and joined a black breastfeeding group.
“I knew immediately when I was pregnant that I wanted to give birth at home. I don’t know what led me to that. It wasn’t something I was raised on or I knew of even but it felt right. I immediately started informing myself, doing anything I can to find knowledge on natural home birth,” Clemm said.
With that decision, came a lot of push back from her family, “Everyone I spoke to or talked to they would just hit me with their concerns or what experiences they went through did or did not work for them. If I wasn’t able to equip myself with the information I really could have went a totally different way. The fear was strong with my first pregnancy and birth,” Clemm added.
While her family was skeptical, Clemm gave birth to her first son on her hands and knees in her parent’s living room assisted by her doula Ola Obasi. Her journey to having Obasi on her birth team was anything but easy due to her city having no practicing midwives who do home births. She was even told by a practicing doula that she should, “Just give birth at the hospital. This is your first birth, most first births don’t give birth at home, just go ahead and create your safe space within the hospital,” Clemm walked away from that conversation discouraged, but a couple days later she found Obasi and a midwife.
When she got pregnant with her second son, Clemm’s birth plan was relatively the same as her last. Her family’s fears came back up a second time around, “People are still like you’re still doing that, you’re still gonna go ahead and do that? Even my grandmother, she was happy that everything was well [the first time] and she was thankful, but she was still like you’re gonna do it again?” Clemm said. Her partner was hesitant about the home birth, but he trusted that she could do it. With limited support, Clemm went through with her second home birth.
Though Clemm’s plan for her second birth was to have the same birth team, things didn’t exactly go as planned. Obasi her doula was no longer in practice and Clemm had to find a new doula, and she eventually did but the connection was not the same as she had with Obasi. She gave birth to her second son at home in the shower.
For her third birth to her baby girl, she decided on an unassisted birth. Her father’s hesitancy was immediate, “My dad, when I told him I was doing an unassisted birth he told me ‘please don’t tell that to anybody else especially [your grandmother] because you’re crazy’” Clemm recounted. Even in the midst of her family’s concerns, Clemm did not allow other people’s fear to enter her mind and sway her birthing plan. Clemm’s third birth was transformational for her, “This is the transformational moment that just changed my life forever when I was finally able to release and say I’m talking to myself at this point. I’m like I got this Tayler. It was just out of body moment type of situation where I’m just like I got this. I’m speaking positive words to myself…, in like a minute later after I start talking to myself she came,” Clemm said.
Her third baby came three weeks earlier than expected, but she emphasized how women have to let go of numbers such as due dates, and centimeter checks.
“I was due mid august and my baby girl came mid-july so she came three weeks earlier than the expected due date. I say that to say that all of these numbers and things they’re helpful in a way, but at the same time they give us these expectations…these are nice guidelines to have… but at the end of the day things happen naturally,” Clemm explained.
Clemm’s business DAWA, offers doula services, gardening services, and nutritional wellness consultations.
For more information about Tayler Clemm’s story check out the full interview:
Taylers Favorite Birth Resources
- Ola Obasi, Well of indigenous wisdom
- Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle
- Grandma’s Hands Pregnancy & Postpartum Herb and Nutrition in the Southern Tradition 1 Day Workshopped
- Shafia Monroe Consulting