The horror of birth, in all it's unpredictable gory, is the glee of birth skeptics and trolls across social media. The birth plan is the perfect target , scapegoat and crime; there is no point writing one.
or is there?
what if we talked about and prepared for a positive birth. No Matter What.
"How can you possibly plan for the unpredictability of birth!" declares the birth skeptic. "You should do as you are told, and trust your doctor. They have years of experience and a degree! Don't rock the boat and set yourself up for failure! Your care provider knows what to do".
If you have ever wasted/spent time on social media, you will be very familiar with such declarations. Often the person making these claims was 'saved by the doctor', after a terrible labour. They nearly always berate anyone who dares homebirth, or 'natural birth', or water birth..or even an autonomous birth. Some might call such people trolls, and perhaps some of them are, but I believe most are genuinely concerned people. Genuinely concerned people with unrecognised birth trauma. I believe many of them honestly believe they are doing you a favour by sharing the horror and helping you prepare for the worst. The worst being birth generally. Anyone who has a positive birth is either lying or bragging. They are skeptical of natural birth, usually prefer 'fed is best' over breastfeeding and would call anyone with the audacity to have a birth plan a 'birthzilla'. And unfortunately there are medical care providers share this attitude.
One of the most common mistakes birth planners make is to choosing the wrong care provider. It can have a negative impact (called a Nocebo Effect) when we have a care provider who is constantly looking for something wrong...even the standard care testing can trigger the nocebo effect if not communicated well. Birth is as much about psychology as it is about physiology. It does not serve a woman well to be negative and dismissive of her questions, hopes or needs.
This conveyorbelt approach to birth is often a common factor among the people who have experience birth trauma (recognised or not). One reason this can led to birth trauma is that it is often impersonal, with a feeling of being processed and unseen. Women who recognise their trauma will often describe feeling disrespected, not in control or ignored. In extreme cases they will describe the birth as a rape. For women who recognise the depth of this, to be told they are a birthzilla or an idiot for trying to plan for birth is dismissive and rude at best and further traumatising at worst. For women pregnant for the first time, full of hope, love and even excitement, this attitude can damage their confidence and have a Nocebo Effect.
So WHAT IF...
instead of negativity, we showered pregnant women with positivity and RESPECT. Encourage a Birth Map because this is a process that involves the care provider, it is a process that helps avoid unnecessary and unwanted interventions, and it helps to avoid birth trauma because it is possible to predict various pathways and prepare for them. It is possible to consider the contingency pathways without dwelling in horror. It is possible to make rational advance care decisions, knowing that they may never be used.
We Plant the Good Seeds.
Selected Articles by Catherine
around the web:
birth without fear
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