Am I setting myself up to fail?
By Kerri – Ann Baxter
These are some common questions I get asked by expectant parents. I have taught childbirth education for many years and over these years have encountered hundreds of couples. When I talk about the topic of birth preferences, the general feedback from people is “we have heard if you have a birth plan, it won’t go to plan”. Most feel that they will leave their birth in the capable hands of their care providers as “they know best” and are the experts. MY ‘plan’ is to get women to understand that they are the experts in themselves and their bodies and they DO have a choice and a voice when it comes to their birth.
I explain it like this…
If you have a problem with your car you take your car to the expert. That person is a mechanic and you expect him to do a pretty good job. However, if there was some significant or costly work that needed to be done what would you expect that mechanic to do? Answer? You would expect him to call you and discuss your options.
What are your options in this situation?
- You may not have the money to proceed with the recommended work,
- You may not think it is worth it
- You may want to get a second opinion
- All of which you are probably going to discuss with your partner or family.
- Are you a mechanic? No.
- Are you entitled to have a say in what happens to your car? Absolutely!
Once you are given the options it is now your choice (provided you are given the options).
And what if it doesn’t go to plan?
You have NOT failed. You’ve just had a different birth journey that was unique to you. And the most important thing to remember is that each and every birth will be different. Sometimes we encounter challenges that deviates from what we had dreamt of but with knowledge and good support, we are able to navigate the challenges in the most positive way.
“By positive birth we mean a birth in which a woman feels she has freedom of choice, access to accurate information, and that she is in control, powerful, and respected. A birth that she approaches, perhaps with some trepidation, but without fear or dread, and that she then goes on to enjoy, and later remember, with warmth and pride.”
You need to work with YOUR care providers, the ones you have selected, and in many cases paid to care for you on your journey.
A doctor recently said to me that it is IMPOSSIBLE to individualise birth. My response? We MUST individualise birth. This is how we have better outcomes, more positive birth experiences, less trauma and improved relationships for families and their babies.
“A woman’s satisfaction with her birth experience is related more to her involvement in the decision making than to the outcome”, Sarah Buckley.
Will you remember and reflect on what happened when you fixed your car all those years ago? Probably not, but YOU WILL remember, reflect and talk about your birth for many years to come.
Educate, empower and develop confidence throughout your pregnancy. Write your wishes down on paper and discuss it with your midwife and/or doctor. YOUR birth preferences will become a strong driving force behind achieving the best birth possible for YOU.