I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Kristyn Silver-Brook. She is the Regional Director of BIRTHFIT West Los Angeles and a second-generation chiropractor. She specializes in caring for women- including women’s wellness as well as for women in the motherhood transition- a spectrum that ranges from pre-conception/fertility challenges to pregnancy support, postpartum healing and recovery. Dr. Silver-Brook is not only great with her hands and healing artform, she is a strong, genuine and empowering woman to be around that will guide you to step in to your power.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path as a doctor or healer?
I guess I was born into this ‘career path’ if you would call it that- to me it’s more of a life passion. My dad is actually a chiropractor- so I’ve been getting adjusted since I was in the womb (or at least my mom was).
How I got specifically into taking care of women in the motherhood transition was that I saw a huge disparity between the way myself and others in my family (and others who subscribed to a similar paradigm) were conceived, birthed, raised and cared for versus the general population. I came from a family that trusted the body and its ability to create and birth life- an empowering experience. On the contrary, Western practices surrounding birth is leaving 25–34% of women feeling traumatized by the experience- feeling their or their baby’s life was in danger (Penny Simkin) . I realized that this disparity wasn’t because of women’s choices- rather, it was their lack of awareness, lack of trust in their bodies ability, and lack of (knowing) their options. If you don’t know that there are health care options, then the reality is that you don’t really have them.
I knew that there was a problem in the birth world, but it hit me like a ton of bricks when I actually attended a friend’s hospital birth. To be honest, it was a traumatic experience for me, not to mention the parents. It was the whole hospital experience- the bright lights, the beeping sensors, the wires and tubes connected everywhere so mom wasn’t able to move to get comfortable, a breathing apparatus strapped to her face, a bad reaction to an epidural in which her whole body shook for 4 hours straight, scary words coming from the attending doctor and nurses’ mouths…. The whole gamut. And this was a totally uncomplicated pregnancy which could have been an intense, yet smooth experience. Instead what resulted was an unnecessary and very traumatic C-section. This was enough for me to realize that we need to do better. Birth is a normal physiological process of life, but we have turned it into a medical condition in which the mother needs to be ‘saved’ and we try to manage every step of the way to ‘prevent’ complications. The problem is (in my opinion)- we mess with the normal process with technology and then we need more technology to ‘fix’ the problem. There is more technology now more than ever, but birth outcomes in the United States are among the worst in developed nations.
I come from a family where pretty much everyone has done home births (for generations), which is a totally different experience. And I’m not saying that home birth is the better option- but it is an option for some and it can better support what a birthing mother needs- dim lights, music that puts a smile on her face, familiar scents, the ability to move around, etc., all of which are requirements to support a normal physiological birth. (Disclaimer: not everyone is eligible for home/birth center births, but if you have a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy, it may be a great option).
After the hospital experience- my life path was extremely clear. I felt a deep connection to these women being traumatized and it is my ultimate goal in life to empower women to trust their bodies and their ability to birth and bring new life into this world in a very primal, sacred, powerful and respecting manner. In my opinion, I believe this is what will change the future of humanity- setting the tone for a child’s life by bringing them into a calm environment vs a chaotic one.
How have your personal challenges informed your career path?
I am fortunate to say that I haven’t experienced any life-altering challenges that have lead me to this work. I operate from a place of love and knowing from my own personal experience. I am here to be a living testament that birth is normal and you are safe (in most cases). You, the woman, just need to be reminded how strong you are, and that nature (your body) knows what to do- it just needs no interference.
I do have to say that some humans get in to this work because they have had incredibly traumatic experiences during their own births and they wanted to inform and support other women during this process to potentially prevent similar traumatic experiences.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other doctors to help their patients to thrive?
Social media and reality TV create a venue for people to share their personal stories. Do you think more transparency about your personal story can help or harm your field of work? Can you explain?
Transparency is important to me. I feel like when people hear my story they are amazed- both in good and bad ways. Some people think the lifestyle I have is optimal and ideal- something to strive for, and others are baffled as to how I’m still alive because I have opted out of western medicine pretty much all together… (until the day I really need it to save my life- and for that I am thankful it is there).
My story is this; I was a home birth, adjusted since day one (and continue to on a regular basis) and I’ve never had any western interventions (except that one time when I was in so much pain I thought I was going to die so I took two halves of a prescribed painkiller one day). To boot, I am healthy in mind, body and spirit.
My story is not unique- many people share a similar story. For generations in my family it has been like this…and myself and the family are healthy, happy and thriving.I don’t think it’s coincidence- it’s lifestyle in which we are proactive about health, instead of reactive (waiting until something goes wrong). And yes, you can thrive without interventions- just feed your body well, have an attitude of gratitude, and make sure your neurospinal system is healthy! To have true health, you must be an active participant in creating it for yourself. No-one else is going to do it for you. But don’t trust me, look into epigenetics!
I have to say that SOME may be turned off by this lifestyle- because they subscribe to a different philosophy- one where the guy in the white coat has all the answers and is responsible for your health. It’s a mentality that takes no personal responsibility- and believes that there are pills, potions and knives that help all that ails you. Don’t get me wrong, these things are necessary for emergency situations. However, I do believe they are, for the most part, a quick-fix and bandaid. Just look at the health outcomes in the US- we rank near the bottom of the list for health outcomes in industrialized nations. We also consume most of the drugs in the world and spend the most money on healthcare, not to mention 45% of the nation has at least one chronic condition- and it’s a growing crisis.
So, I guess the moral of the story is, that some people are open to hearing the more progressive outlook and take responsibility for their health and some people are stuck in a paradigm that may not be serving them or their families well. All I want to accomplish is to cultivate an awareness that there are health options, and that health is in YOUR hands, not someone else’s- disease is not because of bad genes or bad luck…
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?
I have so many “life lessons” in my head. My dad would pound them into our (his kids) heads- different mantras that have now become part of the fabric of my being. One of them which I love is “Decide what you want. Write it down. And you become an antenna for whatever it is that you want”.
This mantra has lead me to great health, happiness, success, and love. The thing not mentioned in this mantra is that you also have to put in the work to make these things happen…not just hope for it to happen.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would inspire a movement for bettering births for the betterment of humanity. This includes having a truly informed pregnancy and more informed birth education so women could experience a more powerful and connected birth. It is my strong belief that how a child is brought into this world sets the tone for the rest of their lives- so if birth was more of a calm/connected experience- it would translate over to the future of humanity. There has been growing numbers of traumatic and chaotic births in the past few decades- and look at what is happening in the world.
My curriculum to inspire this change includes but is not limited to: watching normal physiological births (perhaps of indigenous people or animals- people who haven’t been brainwashed by media that birth is an excruciatingly painful and a dangerous experience), reading positive birth stories (such as in Ina May Gaskin’s book ‘Spiritual Midwifery’) to get a sense that birth is actually a normal process that does not need to be ‘managed’, looking in to the risk and rewards of every intervention- knowing how it will affect the birth process and the baby. It would also be powerful to get used to being in your body- meditation and breathing techniques to get you tuned in so you can listen to what your body wants during the actual birth process. Last but not least- get checked and adjusted by a chiropractor for a ‘safer, easier birth for both themselves and their babies’ (ICPA).
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Yes! My personal account:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!