Dear Jennifer, Thank You.

In early July 2014, Bayfront Health in Port Charlotte, Florida, threatened to force Jennifer Goodall to undergo cesarean surgery “with or without her consent.” Jennifer resisted. With a campaign spear-headed by Cristen Pascucci of Improving Birth, a large-scale consumer revolt ensued, waking thousands of folks from a cultured, complacent, do-as-you’re-told birthing slumber. Jennifer went on to birth her baby via consented cesarean after a trial of labor at another hospital. This is our thank you.

Dear Jennifer,

Thank youThank you.

No person should have to fight on the front lines of a movement during such a vulnerable time as pregnancy and birth. But you were bold and brave and stood your ground in confident resistance.

Thank you.

Thank you from the pregnant folks who have gone before you; countless women who have faced the exact same threats – threats to coerce them into any number of things, from unwanted vaginal exams to inductions, and yes, major abdominal surgery.

So many women felt vindicated because of you.

Some found honor in their feelings about their own, traumatic experiences.

Many found a voice.

Voices that had been shut down, told to shut up, that were trampled and shred to pieces with every, “at least you have a healthy baby,” and quizzical glance.

Their voices shook, their hands trembled as they typed, #jenniferisnotalone.

You are not alone, and that is a sad fact. There is not much solace in noting the shared and horrifying experience of knowing you might be sliced open like a caught salmon against your will; or that authorities might come, like sanctioned terrorists, to snatch away those you hold dearest – the sweet Littles that fuel your need to be healthy, to be free, to be present. Your experience must have been lonely; it must have been terrifying.

Thank you.

Thank you from the countless women who will come after you. Women who will have heard of your story, who will have seen the uprising of the folks that chanted in solidarity with you, who cried real tears in too-real understanding, who screamed and pounded their fists, who wrote letters and tweeted and rose up in righteous rage over the idea that there are legitimacies to overpower a woman, to hold her down, put her in her place, and ravage her.

Thank you…

for opening your mouth, for putting pen to paper, for saying, “It’s not okay.”

Thank you…

for not rolling over, for doing the hardest thing.

Thank you…

for stomping out a path; for etching markers in the trail, each swipe of your survival knife, brutal and intentional.

Thank you…

for inviting so many to awaken, to groggily see the truth, to want to rise up alongside you.

Thank you…

for inspiring us – so many of us, across this country and across the globe.

Thank you.


In solidarity and sisterhood,

Kathi Valeii, founder of Birth Anarchy

and the gobs of inspired folks from the Birth Anarchy Community who asked to have their names included – scroll through to see them ALL!

D’arcy-Starr Collison

Meredith Lovell-Thayer

Phoebe McGuiness-Morich

Amanda Spencer

Joanna Rainey

Samantha Steele

Jennifer Kara

Dorothy Kernaghan-Baez

Nikki Ki Hauser

Jessica Barnes

Chris Swords

Michelle Barnett Rucker

Krystal Trammell

Lori Barklage

Vicki Beaucham

Heather Nicole

Pam Perry

Karen Elizabeth McGrath

Megan Farrington

Cynthia Zische

Jael Cornell

Nicole Metzger Kedzie

Alyssa Berner

Katherine Warren

Kristina Sharrer

Amanda Moon

Lauren Orcutt

Emily Simmons

Christine W

Jasmine Rae Ojala

Rebekah Manning

Michelle Duff

Ashley Marie

Jesse Moffett Kincaid

Anna Stead Lacôte

Eleanor Stoltzman Gray

Lauren House

Sonya Smith

Kirstie Wood

Jennifer Latham

Misty Saribal

Brittany Michelle

Tiff Brown

Sarah Day

Melissa Louise Byram

Dana Bannigan

Lisa Marie Swift

Tabitha Prince Bush

Kirstie Reiss Hughes

Theresa Basile

Kelly Gray

Stephanie Espinosa

Meredith Ryan

Cathy Breiner

Terri LaPoint

Theresa Ramseyer

Noelle Myers

Jenna Preston

Claire Reiter

Rachael Phipps

Heather Dickson

Randi McCallian

Amanda Fell

Emily Urch

Leah Gruenke Arndt

Angie Evans

Samantha Sewell

Brandy Dureich Cormier

Treesa McLean

Tracie Warden Dengá

Madison Foerster

Sarah Davis

Meg Novak, CPM

Katie Jenkins McCall

Jenni Price Bell

Erin Zaffis

Stephenie Ignacio

Christina Howker-Fullard

Lisa Maher Flato

Allison Mecham Evans

Amy Giove

Sara Sullivan

Vickie Sorensen

Camarell Anderson

Cheryl DeFlavis

Deanna Dawson-Jesus

Meredith Gibson Buckley

Elizabeth Christman

Dawnyka Peterson

Jessica Oliver Watkins

Nicole Homer-Lundgren

Ludivine Miansérine

KellyAnn Tinker

Amber Rizor

Constance Siegel

Cherrie Lynn

Kat DuPasht

Jo Bower

Gresham Doula Joce

Rochelle Feller-Schmakel

Maet Pearson

Elizabeth Von Der Ahe

Sian Hannagan

D’Anne Graham

Naumai Wipaki

Krystika Bruce

Carrie Wood

Amy Meister-Stetson

Jax Treea

Dare Ellis

Melanie Perry

Linda Hamilton

Annalee Scott

Kirsten Wooster

Julie Nitz Doula

Cheryl Ridenbaugh

Lora Fraracci

Hiranya De Alwis Jayasinghe

Sarah Wilbert

Crystal Brown

Bethany Childers

Steena Brown

Eva Santiago

Shylah Renee

Allison Glass

Healthy and Free TN

John Cummings

Emma Leigh Sopcak

Krys McIntyre

Oceana Glantz

Gretchen Kubal

Lindsay Askins Windt

Wendy Root Askew

Jess Young

Jenni Karakasevic

Huia Aotearoa

Bridget DiLuzio

Linda Honey

Michelle Puckett

Michelle Howie

Tanja Pocock

Holly Gregory-Longton

Charlie Kingsland-Barrow

Stay Updated


  1. Maggie Russell says

    As a mother who was repeatedly threatened with a cesarean for the last 9 hours of my 18 hour labor, I want to say thank you. Thank you for standing up for yourself and for blazing a trail for others to follow.

  2. Jennifer Goodall says

    Thank You all for the continued support during such a chaotic and stressful time. I could never have done this without all of you, standing behind me, raising your voices, and taking a stand. You all are amazing!

  3. Carly says

    Thank you, Jennifer, for speaking out and paving the way for the rest of us to fight for our freedom to birth our babies without fear of punishment. I have shed many tears over what was done to you and have cried even more tears upon reading the insensitive comments of others. I know you don’t deserve that hate and I’m sure you know it too, but as a woman suffering from birth trauma due to the way I was treated in my last month of pregnancy and the subsequent fear that followed during labor, I know that they sting all the same. Please continue to know that you will never be alone. So many of us draw strength from your courage and many feel your pain as deeply as if it were our own. You are a true survivor, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for having the courage to fight and thank you for lighting the spark inside all of us. Thank you for helping us find our voices and cry out “enough” and rally to your side. I am sorry that in the end you did not get to have the birth you wanted. I am so sorry that you are once again having difficulty with the way your birth turned out. Please know that we are here for you. WE understand that a healthy baby isn’t all that matters and that WE are right there with you. We are beside you, Jennifer. No matter what other people might say, their voices don’t matter. YOUR voice matters. YOU matter. And though I may be in a different country, and though we have never met, I still feel your pain and stand by your side. I know that healing takes time, but I hope reading these words and knowing that you have support from all parts of the globe will be a comfort to you. <3

    ~Carly, an Improving Birth coordinator of BC, Canada and birth trauma survivor

  4. Allyson says

    Jennifer, you followed your gut and you tackled this with incredible strength. It takes a very special person to stand up and fight in such a vulnerable time. Brush those nasty comments off your shoulder – ain’t nobody got time for that! ::hugs::

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