This post is a bit of a rambler, so please bear with me! At least I am finally blogging again…off to Olympia tomorrow for a Birth Fair and to teach EFT to my doula community there.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of sharing birth “truth” and how we do that and support women to trust themselves and to trust the choices they make during their birth journeys.
A couple of Facebook wall posts triggered this train of thought and my many questions–so Facebook may not prove to be such a time-waster for me, after all!
Recently, a couple was asked to share the birth of their second child via live feed by the birth center where they planned to have a waterbirth. Anyone who signs up on the webpage they have set up will be able to observe the birth live. The parents said they wanted to do this to educate other parents about an alternative to traditional hospital births.
There was outcry among some of my “Trust Birth” friends who were honestly concerned about the birth center’s integrity–was this just a publicity stunt? Had the birth center staff fully disclosed to the parents the impact that observation may have on the birth? Some folks wondered about whether or not the parents had made a free and educated choice to have their birth shared in this way, or if they were just feeling pressure from the birth center. Lots of assumptions and a few judgments–not that I was exempt from this!
Personally, I am not interested in being a spectator of this particular event–and though I have watched many, many birth videos, I wasn’t sure that I could be fully supportive of the parents during the birth with my belief about observed birth and how this could inhibit the natural progression of labor. Fortunately, my attendance is optional! At the same time, I fully support the parents to birth how they want to birth–even if they may not have “all” the information. Who ever has all the information available in order to make a decision?
More importantly, how do we know what’s right for anyone else? How do we know that this mom will be inhibited by the camera, or the knowledge that thousands of people are watching her? Here’s some truth for you–we don’t! Only she knows what’s right for her.
By the way, this is not the first time there has been a “live feed” of a birth. A Minnesota mom had a “standard” hospital birth last November and shared it online. From what I have read it seemed to be a positive experience for her–though some might cringe at all the interventions–it was her choice. Maybe she’ll make a different choice next time–maybe not–it’s her life journey and her birth.
As those of us in the “Trust Birth” community enthusiastically share information about physiological birth with those who come to us for guidance, I hope that we can remember that every woman deserves to have her choices respected–even if we would not make those particular choices. And unless she is coming to us asking for information, we are in danger of doing what so many of us hate –foisting our unasked-for opinions on someone else.
How do we receive a woman’s birth story? Do we shake our heads in dismay at the interventions, and smile with a thinly veiled “you could have done it differently” behind our eyes? Or do we openly celebrate her story as a reflection of who she is on her life journey? Are we just paying lip service to “trusting women”?
Another Facebook post linked to a blog post at Talk Birth that discussed the concept of information not equaling knowledge. Many of us in the birth world have shared loads of information with moms-to-be, only to find them “forgetting” or disregarding decisions that they had made based on this information once they were in labor. My doula friend, Maria, asked, “How do we help moms get and stay in touch with their own inner ‘birthing self’…?
I think that encouraging moms to sit quietly in open communication with their child on a daily basis can help. Also suggesting dreamwork, meditation, prayer or any other modality that encourages listening within and trusting those inner promptings.
I think we can most serve mothers by embodying this self-trust AND trusting the mom in whatever choices she makes…even if they aren’t the choices we would make.
IMO, a woman steps into “motherhood” when she trusts herself and is willing to honor her knowing in the face of any outside input, This rite of passage may take place during pregnancy, at birth or later on in a woman’s journey as a mother…I honestly don’t know if we can help her through this rite of passage before she is ready….