As mothers who are not childbirth experts, we depend on medical professionals and other knowledgeable sources to help guide us in making the best choices for ourselves during pregnancy and childbirth. But, in looking to others for help, are you inadvertently giving away your decision-making power? To whom does your birth belong?
It does not belong to the way your best friend.
We get it, she’s your bestie who cares about you and only wants the best for you. When your best friend had a very positive birth experience, she may want to tell you that the way she did it is best and maybe it was for her. Her completely unmedicated birth may not lead to the best birth experience for you. Or, maybe your best friend had a difficult birth experience that didn’t go according to plan and she wants to save you from her experience by instructing you that you need to avoid certain choices like induction or other pain medications. You don’t have to take her advice. What she is really trying to say is that she wants you to feel happiness when you tell her your birth story but only you can say how that will happen.
It doesn’t belong to the conflicting information of the endless piles pregnancy and birth books.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting says you may have the worst case scenario and Ina May says just trust your body is doing the right thing. So where are you to turn? Instead of debating which text to trust, take that effort to find a provider that you trust to answer your most pressing questions from the smallest to the most pressing.
It doesn’t belong to what evidence says is best.
You may have heard the term evidence-based birth. Often, families interpret this information to say that certain choices, like continuous fetal monitoring or induction for a suspected large baby, is not evidence-based and therefore not as good as the evidence-based choice. It’s not about what's good or bad or needing to choose the option that is evidence-based for a better birth; its about having accurate and factual evidence to support your decision-making process so you have the option to choose what evidence shows leads to the healthiest outcomes for you and baby.
It doesn’t belong to Google.
Because Google says you’re going to die. Definitely don’t turn to Google.
It doesn't belong to what the lady checking out your groceries says is best.
Everyone has an opinion on your birth and your baby, including complete strangers. You may hear everything from “Oh twins - you have to a cesarean, then.” or “You’re not getting the epidural, right? That’s like drugging your baby.” Their opinions often come with a huge side of judgment. You don’t have to listen. You don’t even have to take their advice with a grain of salt. They won’t be experiencing your birth, they wont be in the birth room and they won't be with you when you parent your child for years to come and therefore have no say in how you birth your baby.
And it certainly doesn’t belong to Facebook.
When you got pregnant, you probably joined a few birth boards and due date boards for support, except sometimes you aren’t receiving the type of support you would like. Sometimes choices are scrutinized and judged on Facebook groups that can leave you feeling defeated and alone. Find a source of non-judgmental support, like a doula, that can help you sort through your options and validate each choice you make because a professional doula recognizes you know what’s best for you.
You birth belongs to you.
Sorting through all your options doesn’t have to be overwhelming with the right tools in place. Taking a childbirth class, like Your Birth Experience, will provide you with the tools and knowledge to take back your birth from the internet, strangers, and friends so you can go into your birth knowing exactly what you want from your birth experience and how to get it.
Written by Jennifer Del Sol, Owner of Mainstay Doulas & Co., Birth and Postpartum Doula, Pre-certified YBE Instructor, CLEC