I’m a big believer in:
knowing your options
unleashing the power within
I’ve experienced life before becoming a birth worker and knowing how powerless I felt when I chose to be a spectator to my own births. I know how it is to be so overwhelmed by options and knowing there was SO MUCH I did not know. How could I even get an opinion on things I had no idea I should have an opinion about?
How I wish I had someone to coach me, to lead me in the right direction. My providers only did so much, but mostly made me more confused. Enter “analysis paralysis.” I basically shut down and did what the doctor told me because I assumed he had my best interests in mind and of course he knew more than I did because, hello, DOCTOR!
How I wish I could go back and tell myself that there are other options. That doctors do not have the last say. That I could decline anything at the hospital I wanted to. That it was my birth and I could take charge of it.
Honestly, though, as I think about it, I’m almost grateful that I went through it. Thankfully, none of them were terribly traumatic (except for birth number 3, but let’s save that for a different time). However, through those experiences, I learned a better way. A more empowering way that would set myself up for a much better postpartum period of time than I have ever experienced.
Not only that, but it paved the way for me to want to first document births and the miracle of life, and then to take training and become a formal doula to help others to know their options and hopefully avoid postpartum mood disorders, or at least not exacerbate the symptoms and make it worse.
I’ve experienced secondary infertility, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, advanced maternal age, and a traumatic birth and recovery.
My births have all been at the hospital but not all were medicated or induced. My first two I was induced and medicated with an epidural. My third birth was spontaneous labor without medication, but ended in abdominal surgery, but that story is for another day. My last birth was elective induction with the lowest settings and unmedicated pain relief, and it was my most empowering birth by far.
Which birth experience do you want for yourself? It’s all in the preparation. The more you prepare through out-of-hospital birthing classes and having a kick-butt birth team, the better the outcome will be. No more just “healthy baby,” but emotionally and physically healthy mom who feels like a bad-A and can handle anything postpartum throws at her.