8 Life Lessons from Car Baby Koa’s Arrival

8 Life Lessons from Car Baby Koa’s Arrival Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

13 Oct 8 Life Lessons from Car Baby Koa’s Arrival

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If you want to read about the time our doula and I delivered Baby Koa in the passenger seat of a car without a doctor or midwife’s help and learned some life lessons, read on.

First-Time Readers: I’m Dr. Chris Stepien, the clinic director of Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ, where we specialize in helping people who have had more than 6 months of pain and seen more than 3 doctors or therapists without relief, FINALLY FIND RELIEF. When it comes to suffering, I find a bit of philosophy really helpful for our mission.

life lessons

Every Monday morning, I write a “Daily Huddle” for our #healteam6 staff for inspiration.

Heal Team 6 is what we call ourselves, internally, at Barefoot Rehab.

We have a very important mission to fulfill and we take it as seriously as the Navy Seals take it (stolen from Seal Team 6).

That mission:

To heal the suffering of millions of people – whether chronic pain or anxiety, depression, or other negative emotions

This was the daily huddle I wrote this past Monday, 3 days after Baby Koa free-fell into this Earthbound reality.

I wanted to share it with our Barefoot family (our patients, business colleagues, and other friends) because whether you realize it or not, if you’re reading this:

You’re a part of the Barefoot family.

The more we all support and hold each other, the better humanity will do.

Whether you’ve been honored as a parent yourself, you can likely still appreciate some of the wisdom gained here.

As always, at the end, I’ll be curious about your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and have a dialogue.

Having a baby is definitely one of those life-changing moments that changes you.

I always heard this before I had kids and never fully appreciated it til it happened.

The more I learn about what wisdom is, the more I want to learn through others’ experiences so I can learn faster and not need to learn the hard way (through my own suffering).

After all, I’ve suffered enough and imagine you would say the same.

I’ve already written a bunch about my depression over the years:

And I talked a bit about it and the self-inflicted coat-hanger burns here:

I never would’ve thought that our doula and I would be the ones to deliver a baby in the passenger seat of a car.

If you told me that this was the divine plan, I would’ve said “F U” and I’ll plan to get to the birthing center in Morristown, NJ, 6 hours ahead.

Here are 8 Lessons I learned from Car Baby Koa

I plan on making this a blog post for our patients as well.

[This was the prompt I asked our staff] I’m curious if any of this resonates with you and why — or any insights you’ve gained or learned from any of your own children’s or friends/family’s births.

1. There are greater forces at work. 

A baby’s birth is divine, nothing less.

Nine months prior, two individual cells came together.

Then, a 7 pound baby flies out of a woman’s vagina.

If that’s not awe, I’m not sure what is.

Lesson: Get out of the way – Mother Nature’s GOT this. 

2. We are born in water.

I remember seeing The Matrix when people took the red pill and were released from that pink bubble of water.

Actually, I believe that our consciousness is offered this choice to take the red pill before we choose our parents and enter into the sperm-met egg houses by our mother’s womb.

Give this piece a 3 minute watching.

Tell me our consciousness didn’t choose this life path?

Then, Neo is born. Even watch him take his “umbilical cord” out.

It didn’t make sense until I caught a slippery, wet football of a baby and watched him take his first breath.

Water is a sacred, cleansing element.

Matches perfectly with one of Barefoot Rehab’s 6 Core Values:

We come from Mother Nature and bow to her principles.

30 seconds later, the midwife walks out as all the action has petered out.

LOL. Jeesh.

Here I am cutting the umbilical cord (in the car still).

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Call me if you need a midhusband for delivery. ; )

Lesson: There’s “something” more to the elements: earth, wind, fire, water, heart.

Captain Planet was right.

Speaking of Captain Planet, did you see when he lost his mind and turned everyone into a tree?

3. Life is messy, embrace it.

When I sprinted over to open the passenger side door as we arrived at the birthing center, Katie’s ass was out as the doula had pulled her waist line down.

There was already poop dripping down her leg and juices all over the passenger side seat and floor. You can see it on her left thigh.

LOL. (She knows I’m posting this – she responded “Well, everybody poops!” — THIS IS WHY I love her – so confident in her own skin)

life lessons

When Christy, our doula, told me to put my hands out, I had no gloves on, just the “Peruvian tarp” I wear.

There was no time for cleaning, only to go with the flow.

If I didn’t put my hands out, Koa would’ve landed on the car seat or street.

Lesson: Just put your hands out and catch the baby damnit.

4. We are never in control.

As much as you might want to control a situation, we must remember we have to “Hand over the keys” and trust.

See #1 – There are greater forces at work.

The ultimate surrender in death is coming.

All of life is practice for this great act.

Lesson: The path to ending the suffering is surrender.

5. We are all coming home.

We spend 9 months in our comfy, warm, wet home, desiring to come into this 2-legged life.

Then, after birth, we spend the next 90 years working to get back home, to our original state of consciousness.

It reminds me of the Ram Dass documentary, Going Home (watch it on Netflix).

Seems we are all Gods learning to see ourselves as Gods in the mirror of “the dream” of 24/7 Homo sapien existence.

Lesson: Our birthright, our home, is peace. If you’re not peaceful, you have probably been conditioned to suffer.

6. Women are the ultimate creator.

I’ve heard stories of men passing out with an inability to feel when faced with their laboring partners.

I’m amazed by Katie’s and all women’s courage.

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The pain they must go through to birth life is profound.

I intend to continue to uphold the divine feminine until the matriarchy is restored.

Lesson: Men, it’s up to us to get off the “throne”.

Women, we can’t push you back on the “throne”.

You need to take it back. We’ll create space til you do.

7. I’m not Koa’s Dad. Koa is My Teacher.

I had an employee who said:

You never say, ‘Your son Bear (our first son).’ You always say ‘Bear’.

I wondered, is something wrong with me?

Why don’t I call him my son?

I realized, it’s true that Bear and Koa came from “my seed”.

But I don’t believe they are “my children”.

I believe they are children of humanity, children of Mother Earth, and of this consciousness we all share.

We are all one.

Katie and I just happen to be the one to act as steward (defined as “a person who looks after passengers on a ship, aircraft, or train and brings them meals).

Earth ship, anyone?

One of my mentors told me 10 years ago:

When it comes to our kids, our only job is to keep them out of jail and the hospital.

The rest is up to them.

Lesson: Everything we have is more about how we’ve been blessed and gifted than what we’ve done.

The sooner we realize this, the sooner we dis-identify with our ego, which LOVES to keep us “safe and suffering”.

8. We must choose life.

As I held Koa before handing him over to Katie, I’m watching his life flash before his eyes.

I contrast that life with the lives of my bloodline – brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and grandparents.

So much of their lives was filled with paralyzing fears and external-limits-turned-self-imposed limits that created a life of 4-5 hours/day in front of the TV or inaction.

Where regret after regret didn’t change a thing until on their deathbed when they wished they’d acted differently.

And Koa’s life?

Well, I’m not Christian.

But I love the concept of the “Kingdom of Heaven”, where all of our goals and dreams manifest into reality.

This is the life I want to create for myself, Koa, Bear, Katie, our patients, our Heal Team 6 staff, and every organism that sets feet, fin, or talon to this dirt.

I choose that life for Koa.

And in order to choose that for Koa…

Lesson: … WE MUST CHOOSE that life for ourselves.

Even if you don’t have kids, we choose our lives for those in our proximity.

Cuz they can’t change unless we do.


As I get older, I continue to become more aware of the preciousness of life.

How blessed we are – how magical our existence is.

I almost daily meditate on my deathbed (See post Addicted to Pain Killers? Stories of Life & Death):

  • Who will be surrounding me? Katie, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends, patients who I’ve touched at Barefoot Rehab, school classmates – Will they say I left their lives a little bit better?
  • What will I have done with my time on earth? Will I have risen up to fulfill my mission in easing the suffering of the people I say I care about?
  • Will I have faced my dragons and fears? Going full circle on my Heros’ Journey as Joseph Campbell says is available to every one of us, or will I have neglected “the call”?
  • Will the Earth and its inhabitants me a little bit more light-filled than darkness? Will we be on the path of healing and loving – which are our birthrights?

If just one of you is now asking these questions of yourself, it’ll be worth the time I took to write this post.

Sincerely, the Barefoot Rehab #healteam6 family, Koa, Bear, Katie and I love you.

Again, feel free to comment below, I read every comment.

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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  • Joe Durando
    Posted at 21:39h, 13 October Reply

    My brother – so very happy for you and the family, sending much light and love.

    All that you shared is beauty and truth. I thought of you and your family and wished you all joy. As I sat in Golden Gate Park bearing witness to the beauty and sacredness of life, Having consumed some edibles being more grounded and just being – watching life unfold in wonderment. May you and yours always remember and be able to touch those emotions particularly when pain and or suffering arise. . May the ancestors keep watch over you and continue to guide you

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 13:18h, 21 October Reply

      Means the world to me my brother Joe! <3

  • Natasha Reoutt
    Posted at 01:17h, 14 October Reply

    Wow! Congratulations on your new miracle of life! Love your kids’ names. Many blessings to you and your wonderful family and heal team. And thank you for sharing your insights. Can’t wait to come see you soon and share what I’ve been up to since the last time I saw you. xo xo xo

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 13:18h, 21 October Reply

      TY for kind words Natasha! I hope you’re doing very well!

  • David Seligson
    Posted at 14:35h, 08 November Reply

    I can’t believe I missed your email about Koa’s arrival!!! Sheryl and I are so happy for you and Katie and for the world to have your contributions in it. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights with everyone.. we are all so blessed to have you in our lives.

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