How would you feel if you were told to “lie back and think of Britain” when it came to the birth of your baby?
All too often – this is EXACTLY what happens with women around birth – and we are made to feel if we dare to question our care or ask for more information, we are causing a massive issue and being very naughty school girls.
In fact, non-compliance is frowned upon – not only by health care professionals but society. We are made as women to feel like naughty girls that are so STUPID for daring to question our care.
“Goddam those educated women – for they shall OWN their births”
I’m sure so many pregnant women are reading this and thinking – this is so not important to me – but it is.
Let me ask you:
- Have you felt able to question your care? Do you understand everything that happening? Really everything?
- Have you felt that you’ve had to seek “permission” for something different? It could be permission to birth at home, in a birth centre, have an elective caesarean?
- Have you felt you’ve understood the reason behind all the tests and results?
- Have you felt that you’ve had time to be properly listened to about any concerns?
- Have you felt able to ask for a second opinion?
- Have you felt able to ask to work with a different midwife or doctor?
Let me ask you:
- How important is it for you to be an equal person in the decision making process?
- Do you think that the health care professionals know it all and that you can’t ask questions?
- Are you comfortable to know how to ask questions and where to go if you don’t get the answers you want?
- After all – what harm can they do? I don’t need to ask questions.
- In fact, all women should just lie back and think of Britain? Yes?
This week has been all about women who are taking charge of their care – a mixture of doula clients, coaching clients and academy students who are all questioning their care. I am SUPER proud from a few things I’ve heard:
“I was told that I would be putting my baby at risk, but when I asked what the ACTUAL risk was in terms of probability, the doctor didn’t have it for me and told me she’d need to go and find out. How can you make a decision when you don’t know the numbers?”
“In the meeting with the consultant – I was told how they would only let me labour for 6 hours – how on earth is that conducive to achieving a vaginal birth? I’m not a robot. I refused to agree.”
“I requested a change of consultant at the hospital and came out of my last appointment happy and felt listened to. My new consultant ‘politely’ removed the community consultant out of the equation and streamed lined all my appointments…it’s made an amazing difference to my pregnancy experience.”
What on earth are these women doing? Why on earth as they questioning what’s happening to them? Why don’t they just lie back and let them get on with it?
This is about women being an EQUAL PARTNER in deciding about the care in their birth and them making the final decisions. Remember – this is your body, your birth, your baby – you need to feel that you’ve made the right decisions – not been subject to someone else making decisions for you – this is important! You can only do that when you have the RIGHT INFORMATION to hand.
Around 50% of women are not happy with their birth experience, around 1 in 3 have PTSD like symptoms. This is their start to parenthood. A lot of this is that feeling of not understanding what’s going on…. is that feeling of having to be compliant – to sit back and say nothing… of never feeling we can question it or request changes or say no.
As I said to a client this week on the phone – they are telling you all the things that they won’t give you PERMISSION to do but they MUST ASK YOUR FOR PERMISSION. They can recommend care – but they cannot tell you what they will do to you without your consent. Telling you that after 6 hours of labour they will give you a caesarean is not consent.
Informed birth and consent is about where you are an equal person in the decision making process. This does not mean that you ignore medical advice – it means that you hear information, that you can, with as much time as is possible, make the right decisions for you. That you decide the balance of risks, if any at all, that you are willing to take.
Birth matters – it matters how we FEEL about our births. It doesn’t matter if we birth vaginally, in a river, at home, on the beach, have a caesarean… it doesn’t matter. But feeling that we’ve made the right choices and they are own choices DOES matter.
The biggest issues are that many women (a) don’t know they can question their care (b) have the confidence to do so and (c) most importantly have the language. This is exactly why I set up the Academy so women would feel brilliant about their births. Start your birth preparation today – download our FREE Resources Bundle and sign up to our Birth Bundle.
Much love, Tricia xxx