It’s not the birth plan, the Hypnobabies cd or the doula.
What you need is simple. Is deep. Is even more important than finding a midwife or ob that practices evidence-based medicine.
What you need is RESPECT.
The greatest misconception in our culture right now, the one that has been fueling the flames of the birth wars, is this idea that the definition of having a great birth experience has to do with the tangibles, meaning with things that we can see with our eyes and hold with our hands.
One party of the debate likes to define a good birth as one that plays out with the most minimal technological intervention. Less drugs. Less machines. Better and safer birth.
The other side declares that the best birth comes from the opposite. More drugs. More machines. Better and safer birth.
All great discussions. But missing a crucial point.
“If your obstetrician or midwife treats you like shit it is not going to matter whether he or she practices evidence-based care or not.”
You go out into the Internet world and read any of the stories of unpleasant birth experiences and what do you see as the underlying commonality between them all?
That the woman didn’t feel supported, that she felt belittled, invisible, disrespected, violated, unheard.
It did not have so much to do with what was done, but how it was done.
A cesarean that a woman feels bullied into or one where she feels ignored and completely disregarded during the process is an entirely different experience of one that is approached as the mother being an equal partner in the decision making process as well as the most important, involved member of the operating room.
Birth is more than stats and science. Birth is a subjective, personal, mysterious, unpredictable, physical and soul exploding moment in time.
Birth is whatever it is to the woman who is doing it.
Before we begin spreading the word of evidence-based practices we must first make sure that we are working from the most fundamental element of good medicine: human decency.
What do you get when you feel respect? Trust. What do you get when you feel trust? Feelings of safety. What do you get when you feel safe? Open. What do you get when you feel open? The ability to surrender. What do you get when you can surrender? The ability to birth and embrace whatever the journey of childbirth brings to you.
Respect is the foundation for which all of this as well as the integrity of science can unfold.
If your doula doesn’t make you feel these things, she’s out. If your midwife or obstetrician can’t bring these things to the table during your prenatal appointments, fire them. What makes you think they will act any differently on delivery day? If your family members or well meaning friends cannot step up to the plate, do not invite them to the birth.
I don’t care how long or crazy of a day it has been for them. They are there for you, not themselves. And the ones who are, quite frankly, not mature enough to muster that up for you should be put out of business.
Respect is not something that comes out of having a fresh night of sleep or a seamless day. Respect comes from the acknowledgment that you are a human being and that it is your God given right to be treated like you matter because you do.
You are not just another pregnant woman. You are not just the twelfth delivery of the day.
You are the life giving force of humanity.
Respect first, science second. Period.
Love and light your way,
Next post will be a little checklist on how to tell if you and your care provider are the “right fit” for each other. Until then I would love to hear from you! What are your thoughts and experiences on this issue? How would you define a great birth experience?