Whole Parenting Family

Playlist for Birth {because I love tunes}


Music used to play a much larger role in my life. I sang in several choirs, one touring, and had private voice lessons in high school. As a child I even had my own rap group called “Nell, Inc.” Our signature (and only) song went something like this . . . break it down now, puttta, puttta, oh.

And all my new acquaintances in high school, college, and law school would share music love with me–introducing me to new tunes, rocking out to well loved tunes together, making music, you name it.

Now that I’m a mommy. And a mommy blogger at that. I have little access to the music scene. I’m too busy listening to Scythian’s Cake for Dinner or Burl Ives. Or classical music on Minnesota Public Radio.

But when I made a playlist to stream from my iPhone during our third’s birth, I re-countered all these artists and songs I had forgotten about!

Listen your heart out. And thanks to sweet people like my BFF (hi, Sarah!!) for continuing to introduce this old lady set of ears to new tunes. Don’t be shocked at the variety. It’s the spice of errr. . . birthing?


When you say nothing at all . . . Alison Krauss

  • It was my love song for my horses–because I don’t speak horse, of course.

Wild world . . . Cat Stevens

  • My sister Molly loved him as a young teen. Me too, duh.

Donna nobis . . . choral arrangement

  • directed by a dear deceased friend (Irene, I miss you!)

Con te partiro . . . Andrea Bocelli

  • I listened to this about 8,000,000 when I was 15 and studying in France for a summer.

Read my mind . . . The Killers

Man I used to be . . . K-os

The arrivals gate . . . Ani DiFranco

  • Loved her since high school, but rarely listen anymore. This one is for my siblings who live out of town. Arrivals gate is the best place on earth!

My mother’s name is victory . . . Billy Joe Shaver

Thank you  . . . Led Zeppelin

  •  I have met Robert Plant. He’s awesome.

Flower Duet from Madame Butterfly . . . Puccini

  • I was raised on opera, what can I say?

Fidelity . . . Regina Spektor

  • Really met her work in law school and really really loved it.

Flint . . . Sufjan Stevens

  • I met him a number of years back at a college performance he gave. He was so funny–and awkward–and normal.

If ever you were mine (instrumental) . . . Scythian

  • We danced to them playing this for our first dance, on our front lawn, at our wedding reception. I always tear up when I hear it. Sap, Nell, sap.

Let go . . . Frou Frou

A painting by chagall . . .  The Weepies

  • Marc Chagall is a fav painter and the Weepies do him justice with this lovely one.

Man of the hour . . . Pearl Jam

Violin concerto no. 2 in E major . . . Mozart

  • SweetPea’s birth song!

Such great heights . . . Iron & Wine

Magnolia Mountain . . . Ryan Adams

  • I listened to Ryan non-stop during a job-interviewing trip to DC in ’07. He always makes me think of DC.

Rain . . . Patty Griffin

  • Put this one on repeat while living alone in Las Vegas for a year. Just to let my heart hurt a little despite all my joy.

Non mi dir . . . Maria Callas singing Mozart

  • Best soprano in the history of time. SuperBoy loves her too. And SweetPea sings along.

Bach’s Suite no. 1 in G . . . Pablo Casals on cello

  • SuperBoy’s birth song.

When the stars go blue . . . Ryan Adams

Karma police . . . Radiohead

  • Because it’s Radiohead. Enough said.

Ballad for my one true love . . . Mason Jennings

I walk the line . . . Johnny Cash

  • This song helped me through a hard summer after my first year of law school, and then when things were way better, it’s like my fighting song.

Sigh no more . . . Mumford & Sons

  • Because I got on the bandwagon late.

Apologize . . . Onerepublic

  • My brother and I listened to the rap version of this nonstop during many trips to DC to visit him. It was like our anthem. Hi, Peter! Are you reading this?

The gambler . . . Johnny Cash

  • It’s our sibling song. Don’t ask.

I believe in love  . . . Indigo Girls

  • My first concert. My first band I loved. Thanks to my awesome older sister Katie!

Delicate . . . Damien Rice

  • College romance music. And the cello in there!

How to save a life . . . the Fray

  • My law school roommate introduced the Fray & me. Thanks, Christina! You saved my life a million times.

Ooh Child . . . Beth Orton

  • Her line “things are gonna get easier” is particularly apropos for a laboring woman.

Bubbly toes . . . Jack Johnson

  • Special AA song. And my curled up toes have been apparently inherited by our children.

Punjabi Night Rider . . . Indian Bhangra

  • A Peter dance mix classic. We had a dance break during labor for this one.

Beloved one . . . Ben Harper

  • Another tear jerker. And perfect for the new parent.

Wait for me . . . Tracy Chapman

  • Yes, BabyLoves, I waited for you! 12 days overdue!

Did you read it all? Wow. You’re amazing.