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Powerful Women Let's Talk - 113: Sara Badger

Sara Badger
Simply Born
Sara Badger

Jennifer Moss speaks with midwife Sara Badger

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, on Powerful Women Let’s Talk, WGVU’s Jennifer Moss speaks with licensed midwife Sara Badger of Simply Born about the growing interest in midwifery.



Narr: Produced by women, about women. Powerful Women: Let's Talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world; transforming who we are and how we live.


Jennifer Moss: Hello, everyone. It’s time for Powerful Women: Let's Talk. Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Jennifer Moss and it is a pleasure to bring you today's powerful woman, Sara Badger. Sarah is a licensed midwife and she's been delivering babies for over 22 years now. Although the numbers keep climbing at last count, she was up to at least 1600 deliveries. Initially working with her mom, who is also a midwife, Sara branched out on her own, opening her own birthing center, Simply Born, in 2010. Sarah says she and her team's goals are to empower families, educate and help clients make wise choices surrounding their birth and parenthood. I'm so glad to welcome you today, Sara Badger, to Powerful Women: Let's Talk.

Sara Badger: Thank you.

JM: So we are very happy again to have you here and in just a minute we're actually going to go inside your birthing center. That was a pretty exciting part of our conversation. Again, you've been a licensed midwife now since 2019, you've had Simply Born since 2010. Midwifery is a seemingly growing thing in popularity right now. What made you decide to follow in your mom's footsteps and do that for a living?

SB: I had a really close friend who had a hospital birth and growing up I didn't see hospital births. I had only known home birth and so when I watched her birth unfold, it was really challenging. And I just realized how much was lacking in the medical industry for women and empowerment and taking control of how they wanted to birth and I just needed to give options. So that was kind of the driving force, empowering women to make choices and having body autonomy is really important to me.

JM: And so, you know, PBS, of course, has a series Call The Midwife, very popular. It’s set, of course, in a very different time and era. But do you think things like that play a role or have any impact or effect on people perhaps investigating, is a midwife right for me as I go down the childbirth path?

SB: I think any time we have birth in Hollywood or in a movie and film, we explore a different side of it and I think Call The Midwife certainly has explored several sides of that. And I think that's been really great. It actually starts conversations with women and kind of shows them that midwifery might still be available for them and they can start looking for it, which is nice.

JM: So the name of your birthing center, Simply Born, kind of says it all, but how did you come up with that name?

SB: I did a poll on FaceBook.

JM: Oh really, wow.

SB: Yeah. Well, I couldn't figure out like what to name it and how to kind of go about it. And so I put a poll up and one was from a chiropractor who had simply chiropractic and she said how about Simply Born and I was like, that’s actually perfect. And so, yeah, that was it. That was where the name was born.

JM: I love it. I love it. So since we're talking about all things midwifery, you were kind enough, of course, to allow us into your birthing center. Now, we didn't see a birth, but we got a chance to talk to some moms who were on their journey and why they chose to use a midwife for birth and about your goals. So let's take a look at that.


JM: So Sarah, I have to say, it was nice visiting the birthing center. And I can say that surely what you're doing in the work that you do has powerful woman written all over it. One of my big questions for you as I ask so many people is are you enjoying that journey? I know you said you love your job and you love childbirth, but are you enjoying the journey? Because you've been doing this now 22 years.

SB: Yeah. I think anytime you do something for a long period of time, there's dips, right? There's highs and lows and just before COVID, I think it was a little bit of a different world COVID hit and it was a challenge. And now as we're coming out of that, it's more enjoyable again. COVID just added a lot of things that we were not prepared for. As a nation, I don't think we were prepared, but certainly in child birthing that really created some challenges about how to function and how to be with women during that time.

JM: How to function, but it also increased the number of inquiries or actual people, the numbers of people that came to you, right?

SB: Oh yeah, by triple. Quadruple. Yeah, more people were looking at it as an option because the hospitals seemed scary. And so, we had to really field that and make sure that we were still taking people who were low risk and that we're good candidates for Midwifery.

JM: Okay. And as we continue to talk about powerful women along on this journey, have there been any barriers that you have encountered?

SB: I think the biggest barrier is education around childbirth. Teaching women, one, that they have choices and, two, that they get to make those choices, but making sure that people know how childbirth functions. I don’t think that we talk about it enough. Most people don't even think about it until they get pregnant the first time. And there's a lot of stuff that can lead up to a pregnancy that needs to be kind of looked at and I don't think we're doing a great job of that in our culture of teaching women about their hormones and their cycles and what to be looking for. So, yeah, it certainly is different.

JM: Okay. And so we all face obstacles, challenges and a lot of for listeners and viewers, what has it taken for you to become comfortable in your own skin, you know, to find your own voice and to be comfortable in you? Because a lot of women have it as a challenge along the way. And again, depending on the barriers that you face or the obstacles that you face, it can be challenging; People questioning or what have you. You seem like a strong-willed person, however were you always and how did you find your voice?

SB: I think I’ve always been strong willed. I'm sure if you ask my mom, it came out at birth. There have been challenges for sure, but I think that I've always just been able to listen to that internal voice of you are strong, you can get through this and even though you might have a hurdle you can always get over that and move on to the next high part and then there will be another low and you just kind of move with it. I think just flowing and being able to move through all those highs and lows is kind of what drives me. As far as being a strong, outspoken woman, I just know that women need a voice and I want to encourage other women to have that. And so just leading by example.

JM: Do you think midwifery, because you talk about empowerment a lot, do you think that helps women or can help women find their own voice through that?

SB: Childbirth? Oh yeah. I think so. It's one of our most vulnerable times as a woman. You're changing from like for your first one, you're changing from a single person into, you know, a double-digit, right? You are moving into a caretaking position, that's a little bit different, but you’re growing as a person in a way that I don't think we anticipate societally, we don't talk about it. It's a huge moment. You're now having to raise up to the next generation and you have to have a voice in order to do that. And so childbirth, I think, does that if you are given the ability to have a voice in it.

JM: So obviously you are a midwife, but you're also a business owner. So you work with a number of people. What are the leadership styles that you look for perhaps in those who are with you on your journey or perhaps even those you mentor?

SB: Team playing. Everybody has a part in a team and we are all working together for the greater good of what our goal is. You have to be a team player because there can be moments where your job feels very minimal and there can be other times where it's going to be front and center. Everybody has to group together. So that's what we look for in our staff.

JM: So speaking of being front and center, curious how you balance your work life and your personal life because when we were at the birthing center, we had a conversation about how your on-call and your clients depend on you. And there's another midwife there, of course, but either of you, whoever has been guiding them on that particular journey, they want them there. And you can't work 24/7 and you kind of do. How does that work? How do you balance? Because you have 4 kids. So how do you balance your personal life and your work life?

SB: You take the time when you have it. That's kind of how it's been. We do give each other time off, the other midwife and I, but you know, babies eb and flo. So like, we'll have a week where it's really busy. We might have 2 or 3 and then a week where we won't have any at all. And so you just take that time and enjoy it and you just have to utilize it as well as you can.

JM: You did, you did share something that you went on vacation abroad or something and so tell me what happened with that again, because it was, I just found that very interesting. People were waiting because they wanted you to deliver their baby. Hahaha. What happened?

SB: Hahaha. So we went to London last year for my birthday and we had several people due and I let them know well in advance that I would be gone for this period of time and all the babies waited. So as soon as we got back, I don't think I was back even 12 hours before the babies started coming. And for that next week, we just had the baby-palooza, like there was just babies every other day.

JM: So, what do you do in your spare time or your relaxing or downtime if you have that? Because again, we mentioned not only are you delivering babies, but you're running a business. You have 2 offices, obviously the birthing center and an office. So what do you do with family, friends to enjoy the time that you do have off?

SB: Yeah, the kids keep me pretty busy with that. I do also read avidly and so that's one of the things that I like to do when I have the time. My kids are 19 to 10, so they have pretty active lives that they want me to participate in and so we just do all the things. I have a daughter who's in drama and so we do a lot of that stuff. And then my younger kids are very into anime and legos and so we do those things a lot too.

JM: Oh, that sounds like fun. And so as you progress, does your mom keep tabs on all that you're doing? And is she still delivering babies as well?

SB: She is. She's in New Mexico and she’s still doing a smaller number now, but yeah she's still doing it. I think she'll do it until she can't. Yeah, she does keep tabs. She loves to hear about it. We still call each other about different clients and reference and hey, I have this, It's a little bit weird would you go over it with me. So we both do that together.

JM: Because I know you followed in her footsteps since we talked about that, but you did work with her for a period of time. And so that had to be a good, like a fun part of the journey as you got started. I mean, starting with your mom, that had to be that cool.

SB: Yeah. I mean, it was easy, right? Like I hear stories of other people and their preceptors and their education journey. Mine was just, it was my mom. It was easy. We flow really well together. You just have kind of a non-language communication that works really well. And that was really nice. Yeah.

JM: And another part of something I picked up, your husband works in conjunction with you as it relates to how busy you are and that's key for when we talk about powerful women. Sometimes you need help, like you talk about teamwork, and you need teamwork at home as well I would imagine.

SB: Yeah, I don't think they even do midwifery without a good team and that is really important and having a partner who values what you're doing and makes it accessible for you to continue to do it is really important.

JM: Okay. So tell me something. This is one of my favorite questions. What makes you laugh? Because I mean, you've got a lot going on. Sometimes it's really serious. Sometimes, you know, a little levity in the office I'm sure. But what makes you laugh?

SB: I have a really dry sense of humor. So it's always something that wouldn't be off the cuff. Yeah, I laugh-

JM: Like with your kids and stuff like that. I'm sure they are probably a source of laughter.

SB: My kids love to do puns, so like my 14 year-old will do like a pun of the day. And today was food, yesterday was cats. And so he'll just go on a tangent with it, but he always makes me laugh. Some of them are pretty bad. But most of the time-

JM: But when they’re bad you laugh anyway because they're so bad.

SB: Yeah. I mean, the kids keep you on your toes. They will make you question everything and laugh all the time. So, yeah.

JM: Absolutely, absolutely. Mine the same. I understand that. So do you have a favorite saying or motto that to use to encourage yourself or perhaps others?

SB: Just keep moving. You're going to keep going. Keep moving through this. Anything is doable. That's kind of my internal manta. Yeah.

JM: What are your goals for Simply Born? I mean, are you planning on expanding. Is there anything else that you'd like to see happen?

SB: I mean, that's always like that 10 year plan is to expand. But right now, I think just settling into the new normal and really just getting a fluid flow is where we're at. Expansion would be great in the future, but we'll see.

JM: Yeah, Sarah Badger, thank you so much for joining us. I so appreciate your time and coming with us today and talking with us and allowing us, of course, to come into your birthing center. That was a lot of fun. So I appreciate your time.

SB: Yeah, thank you so much. This has been great

JM: And I want to thank you for coming in and listening and watching another edition of Powerful Women: Let's Talk. I'm Jennifer Moss. We'll see you next time.


>> Produced by women, about women, these powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are, and how we live. Want to hear more Powerful Women: Let’s Talk? Get additional interviews at wgvu.org or wherever you get your podcast. Please rate and subscribe. Powerful Women: Let's Talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer Public Broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University. The views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU, its underwriters, or Grand Valley State University.


Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
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