When I got pregnant last year, I stumbled upon January Harshe’s Birth Without Fear (BWF) Instagram feed, and was instantly drawn in. Each post felt authentic, honest and raw. I remember quietly whispering to myself “yes, this is the place.”
January is the mother of six children and the creator of several successful Instagram accounts. She holds conferences all over the world that empower women to give birth without fear. What I love most about January is that she always shows up fully for her followers. She doesn’t sugarcoat life, she doesn’t try to be someone she’s not and she doesn’t tolerate anything that’s not uplifting.
As a woman who went through a challenging postpartum period, it was comforting to know there was someone like January out there. Her @takebackpostpartum and @breastfeedingwithoutfear channels were a space where I saw women just like me, who had similar experiences, hopes, and a genuine need to not feel alone.
Throughout this last year, I’ve watched and listened to January closely. I’ve seen my own stories, thoughts, and feelings in her words. I’ve felt her support through her photos, her openness and her never ending encouragement.
It’s with absolute pleasure that I share her thoughts with you below.
You have started many successful movements that empower women everywhere. What was the driving force behind starting Birth Without Fear?
- “Options. I wanted women to know they had options. Being a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean) plus size mom that goes post dates I was often asked, ‘They let you do that?” This was usually followed up with, “I had to have ‘xyz’ done.” I wanted women to know there is a lot of information available. I wanted them to know that each body, pregnancy, birth, and baby is different. Then, I wanted (and want) women and families to have the support they need and deserve on their unique journeys.”
You often discuss positive body image and encourage women to love their postpartum bodies. Why is inspiring women to love their bodies so important you? What advice do you give to women who are struggling with their postpartum bodies?
- “Self-love is becoming a more mainstream topic. It’s important for us to love the skin we are in, even if we want change, because it is a waste to spend a day hating ourselves. Each day we have is a gift. What I think is overlooked in this movement, and what’s important to me, is that the more kind we are to ourselves, the more kind we can be to each other. I see the self love movement as a world peace movement, if you will. It starts with us. We can only control and change ourselves, but the effect it can have for our families and communities is the bigger picture and that is why I talk it about it so much.”
You’ve recently started a new Instagram account called @SelfLoveGeneration. What made you want to start a conversation about self-care and what advice do you have for moms on how to incorporate it into their lives?
- “My personal instagram @januaryharshe has a lot of sarcasm and humor to, I guess, give a sense of coping and solidarity with our daily lives. Among those are inspiring quotes and posts. However, I think it’s needed on a larger scale and that is why I began @selflovegeneration. I want to have a space to promote and spread the message of self love and self care. For ourselves, but again, for our future generations. What we say, think, feel and how we act creates the lives we live, the choices we make, how we speak and react to one another, as well as the path our children begin on. If they can start already accepting themselves with grace and love and then in turn giving that to others, think of the impact that can have on the generations to come.”
You have six children, run your own business and still seem to find quality time for you and your husband. What’s the one piece of relationship advice you would give to new parents?
- “Give it time. Remember you are in the trenches together. You must give yourself grace as you adjust to your new life, but don’t forget to give your partner grace as they are adjusting as well. Remember you are friends. You are a team. You will find a new ebb and flow. Lastly, you aren’t alone. Most couples go through this transition. That’s what it is…transition. The beautiful part is you can come out the other side not only more wise, but more unified and stronger as a couple.”
You are an open book when it comes to life’s ups and downs. But what’s one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
- “I thought on this. Then asked my husband and he thought on it. We can’t come up with anything because I really do keep it real on social media. When people meet me in person, I want them to say, “yep that’s her!” I’m a normal person with many faults and many talents. For the sake of answering one thing, I am ONE class shy of my bachelors degree in psychology. A computer class if you can believe it.”
What lesson do you most want to pass on to your children?
- “So so so many. Overall I try to teach them to express themselves individually, that they are unique and that’s amazing. At the same time, allowing others to do the same, even if it’s different from them. I also teach them that their siblings are the best friends they will ever have. That no matter how different they are, or how many disagreements they may have, they are the people they can count on to be there for them for the rest of their lives.”