Choices made in pregnancy, in birth and in postpartum….heck, in life as general as a Mother and just as a person, are yours and yours alone.
There is rarely just one right way.
There is usually multiple right ways.
The only thing that needs to be your compass when making choices, is how it makes you feel.
It’s not what you do, it is how you feel.
Here are some tips to help navigate you towards that good feeling.
Knowing where to find the right information, or that the info is even out there in the first place, can feel difficult and overwhelming.
But just start.
A doula or trusted care provider who has the time to chat with you is an excellent place to start!
Watch YouTube videos and read evidence based studies.
Be careful of Facebook groups and online discussion forums, because the information isn’t always reliable. Use your intuition to guide you through what is just someones experience (and trust your experience will not be the same as theirs) and what is reliable information.
If a choice comes up and you feel like you don’t know enough to make an informed decision, then all you need to do is ask for time. Ask for a pause. Whether it’s a choice related to your pregnancy, a choice to make in advanced of your birth, or a choice to make in the moment within the birth space, you can ALWAYS ask for more time.
Whether it’s a few weeks, a few days, a few hours or just another 5 minutes, ask for the time, so you can feel it through. I say ‘feel’ instead of think, because your body needs to make the choice. Your brain will analyze, categorize and sort the info, but your body lands on the option that feels right. If you are being pushed to make a choice, then ‘asking’ for more time isn’t an option. Instead, you DEMAND more time.
You want to avoid inviting unwanted advice into your space.
The last thing you want is a story or bit of information from a friend, that frightens you and sits in your mind, slowly festering and chipping away at that positive mindset you created.
If someone begins imparting advice on you, by sharing their own horror story, this is where you need to politely assert your boundary and stop the information reaching your ear holes!
Let them know you see them, you hear them, and you validate their experience, but at this point in time, it’s not something you have the space to hold.
It’s important to make them feel comforted and valid, without allowing the story to penetrate your positive space.
You are not naive to the possiblilty of things going an undesired way, but you cannot carry these stories into the birth space. Instead, you must walk in with the story of how you are going dominate birth, how positive and amazing you’re going to feel, how smoothly things are going to go, with the gentle understanding that things may differ.
Imagine walking into birth thinking ‘this is going to be so hard, I’m probably going to end up with a tear or needing a csection’, compared to ‘I am excited for birth, I am going to weave through it like a badass, I am strong, capable and supported.’
Do you FEEL the difference?
What is an informed decision or consent?
An informed decision is when you are the only one making that decision.
It is when you are given ALL the information.
It is when all of your questions are answered accurately.
It is when you are given the benefits, the risks and the alternatives.
You understand the potential paths this choice may lead you (it will very rarely offer only one scenario).
You understand what happens if you do nothing.
It is when no bits of information are filtered out to suit someone elses agenda.
It is when you freely and intentionally make an autonomous decision.
And remember, true consent only exists when you can take it back.
Questions to ask yourself when making a decision
Is it safe?
Am I respecting myself and those involved?
Does it feel right?
Let your instinct be your guide and remember your choices made in birth, pregnancy and life in general, don’t have to be the same as others for them to be right.
They just need to be right for you.
Feature image by Amber May