Episode 37

Published on:

20th Aug 2021

37 - Womanhood: A Conversation with Milli Hill

The founder of the Positive Birth Movement speaks to us about the birthing process and women’s health. A common theme of self-assertion and empowering women to speak up has characterised Milli’s work over the last decade. There were attempts to silence Milli last year when she said that the word “woman” has significance in relation to childbirth. Milli, however, decided to assert her boundaries and speak her truth; in this episode she explains why.  



Milli Hill:  



I will not be silenced: 



The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill https://www.amazon.co.uk/Positive-Birth-Book-Approach-Pregnancy/ 


Give Birth like a Feminist by Milli Hill https://www.amazon.co.uk/Give-Birth-Like-Feminist-Milli/  





Birth: A History by Tina Cassidy  




https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/birthjusthappened/?hl=en [Text Wrapping Break] 

The Business of Being Born: 

https://www.amazon.com/Business-Being-Born-Helen-Ayres/dp/B001IIHAGK[Text Wrapping Break] 

Jane Hardwick Collings & Female Rights of Passage: 

https://janehardwickecollings.com/[Text Wrapping Break] 

Birth & Sex (Book):  



Project Netti: 



Panics and Persecutions – Quillette book 



Extended Notes

  • A little bit about Milli and why she decided to start the Positive Birth Movement.
  • What were some common themes coming up for women who were about to give birth?
  • The birth room was built with the needs of the midwife and doctor in mind, not for the women in mind.
  • Sasha shares her experiences with an American hospital vs. an overseas one.
  • So many mothers are not listened to when they’re at the hospital. Their wishes are ignored.
  • Milli is passionate about everyone having a positive birth experience, no matter the context or environment they choose to be in.
  • You don’t have to just “go with the flow” when it comes to giving birth. You have the right to choose.
  • Meghan Markle got attacked when she wanted to give birth a certain way.
  • Women are shamed when they have a birthing plan!
  • What are women to do if they want to have a positive birth experience?
  • A positive birth trickles down into so many areas of a woman's life. How she sees her body, her work life, and more!
  • The current way of giving birth is so cold and farm-like. No one cares what the experience is like for you. Just give birth!
  • Why is period blood so shameful?
  • Milli wonders why so many messages try to suppress women’s natural power.
  • Let’s talk about the “fragile sex” and how wrong that is.
  • When someone else gives you a narrative, you don’t know all the other opportunities that you’ve missed.
  • Milli was so worried about damaging her reputation by sharing what she really thought about certain things. However, she knew it’s important to speak her truth.
  • There’s so much confusion and falsehoods about biology happening right now and it’s so frustrating to Milli.
  • When you start putting language politics into medical training, that’s when things get risky.
  • You know you’ll get in trouble the moment you try to hold a boundary. Women are subliminally taught to be nice over holding boundaries for themselves.

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:


Learn more about our show: Linktr.ee/WiderLensPod

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About the Podcast

Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast
Two therapists explore the expanding concept of "gender" from a psychological depth perspective.
Gender dysphoria has become a minefield for public discussion, with many afraid to express their views or question the narrative. Our mission is to examine this important and complex topic from a range of perspectives, but always through a psychological lens. By openly considering and examining gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella, we hope to give all interested parties permission to engage these fascinating topics with less fear and more honesty. Interviews and discussions will involve clinicians, medical professionals, academics, transgender people, parents, detransitioners and other interesting individuals whose lives have been touched by the concept of gender.

Conversations between two practicing therapists give listeners an opportunity to contemplate gender from a depth perspective not currently taken up in most of today’s accessible debates. As a result of their work with gender dysphoric therapy clients as well as their personal divergent experiences with gender, Stella and Sasha hold a refreshing and informed perspective.

Is gender identity a facilitation of development and expression of creativity, or can it be a defense against painful existential realities of living in a human body? What can we discover about masculinity, femininity, identity, gender performance, and sexuality when we peer beneath the surface and dive into a deeper psychological exploration? What is the relationship between body, mind, identity, culture, and psyche?

This podcast engages listeners in an intimate and fascinating behind-the-scenes inquiry about a topic as taboo as it is salient today.

* We are sponsored by ReIME and Genspect.
Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics (ReIME) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving long term care for gender variant individuals. To learn more, visit https://rethinkime.org/

Genspect is an international alliance of parent and professional groups whose aim is to advocate for parents of gender-questioning children and young people. Parents are concerned that their kids are not receiving appropriate treatment and support; many do not feel free to speak out about their concerns.
To learn more, visit https://genspect.org/
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About your hosts

Stella O'Malley

Profile picture for Stella O'Malley
Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist and author who works in private practice in Ireland. Her work focuses on parenting, family dynamics and working with teenagers.

Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the media. She is also the resident psychotherapist for the current TV series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

Stella's first book, Cotton Wool Kids, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong was released in 2017. Stella’s latest book Fragile, was released in 2019 and focuses on overcoming anxiety and stress.

Stella was the presenter of the documentary Trans - Kids: It’s Time To Talk broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2018 and she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

The Jungian analyst, Lisa Marchiano, and Stella launched Secrets of the Motherworld in September 2019, offering thoughtful exploration of the most intimate aspects of motherhood in a bid to help mothers feel less alone.

Stella is a Clinical Advisor for the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners. She is also the lead facilitator for the Gender Dysphoria Support Network.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Sasha Ayad

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Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity.

She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that many teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, and her clinical work focuses on developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy.

Sasha is also a founding member and Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

Sasha’s previous work experience includes:
- School counselor for middle and high school students at a charter school for underserved communities

- Behavioral therapy with children on the autism spectrum

- Individual and group counseling for women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence

- Developed and ran the first counseling program at a large state supported living facility for adults with intellectual disability

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.