October. Spring has settled in, and Awesome is Happening!
This month I am exploring Labels. In maternity care being too old, too young, too fat, unproven...can limit your options. In labour, being labelled with 'failure to progress' can be devastating. Having 'declined' in your records, or a mental health 'label', invites negative care where bias against these labels flows. The illusion of control, and standardization, means that despite all these labels we do not have individualised care. And the labels are not self determined, but imposed. So what can you do if you get stamped with a birth limiting label?
Birth 'plans' can shut down conversation when bias sees them as challenging, or inflexible, or unreasonable. So many people suggest calling it 'preferences' or 'wishes'...or my choice: Map. An interesting thing happens when we use a different label. Using 'preferences' and 'wishes', whilst trying to infer flexibility and soften 'plan' can also imply 'not very important'..you know, if it is ok...but I won't argue. The word Map, opens up conversation, and when coupled with 'informed decision', holds weight. The label we use will change our view, it adds a bias (positive or negative), as we draw on all our resources to understand. This means it can also trigger a placebo or nocebo effect.
It seems that the Quest for Identity is also reaching new heights, as is the human drive to categorise everything. This is one area we can self-determine, we can use the labels to express ourselves more effectively. Or we can use these labels to access funding. Sometimes our labels must be sanctioned, sometimes it is enough to have self-determined. Becoming fixated on a label may prevent us from seeing further, or finding alternative explanations. As parents, we can find ourselves facing contentious issues, where advice swings from one extreme to another, and despite the inconsistency, we must make decisions. This inconsistency is why it is so important to be able to self-determine. To have autonomy: access to information and support, and the freedom to own our decisions.
Our Insurance-centred approach to risk management, means that the labels are loaded and our options limited, not because of best practice, but to protect from potential litigation. It is for this reason that I have a problem with 'consent'. I have written on this before, I'll put the links below, for the theme of labels, 'consent' is loaded with expectation. It is 'leading the witness'. Use 'decision' instead, and there is no implied direction, in the word. I wrote a poem about it.
I guess this is middle aged. This is the point where you look back and realise that you've been an adult longer than a kid. You look forward and think, "I am not old, I am just beginning!", but you only need to spend time with 'young people' to know...they think you are old. And you think differently know. Is this grown up? For me, 40 is marking a new phase. My family is complete, no more pregnancies or newborn cycles...I'll be the parent of an adolescent soon...and then two...and then three...then three, then two, then one...and before I know it they'll have all flown. I want to be fully in this phase, inspiring and guiding my Awesome Foursome, with MOTL by my side. We like to have 5 year plans. These give us some goal posts and a reality check for where we are. We are at the beginning of a new five year plan. There are a few goals. We have some Grand Designs going on, and want to see them finished within this time. We are working towards a shared income stream, which allows for both of us to extend beyond the treadmill of traditional roles. My personal goals are to see The Birth Map in the hands of every woman, I would love to see a shift from 'consent' towards 'decision making'. It is exciting. And daunting. I battle with Imposter Syndrome, but strive forward. Setting these goals, 5 years at a time, means I can have future plans, but stay focused on the now. The Now, is raising kids. Embracing the mess and chaos, seeking inspiration and awesome, discovering wonderful things and taking Joy from the simple things. I renewed my drivers licence for 10 years, by the time I renew it again, I will have 3 driving offspring - two will be adults. What adventures will they be headed for? What will the world look like then? But right now, we are celebrating riding a bike without training wheels, and I do not wish to fast forward anything.
STORYTIME: The Wonky Donkey. Is it possible to over label?
I was going to read this one...but I could not do it justice! This is a fantastic book, if you are yet to discover it!
Check out the Member Area/storytime for more stories. If you'd like to record one to share, or suggest one, let me know.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Working mothers: SMH article telling us what we know
Suffergette or Suffergist : Meet Murial Matters
Birth trauma: caseload midwifery could help prevent it
Labels in the clinical setting: therapeutic approaches
Evolutionary Parenting: how to love unconditionally
Sara Wickham - Seven Useful Words for the birth room. This is a short, but very powerful reminder of how to retain the power balance during labour.
Rachel Reed, of Midwife Thinking, has just released her new book about informed decisions for induction.
Sarah Ockwell-Smith (a UK parenting specialist) wrote this post about being labelled 'shy'. What to do when your child prefers to play alone.
Sara Wickham looks at the options for third stage, giving some food for thought as you make your informed decisions.
Susan Ross asks What is your gut instinct saying about your pregnancy?
NEW IN THE MEMBER AREA LINKS AND RECOMMENDED BOOKS:
Pamela Douglas – The Discontented Little Baby Book is an honest, informative and realistic book for the Fourth Trimester. This book is a gem. If your baby is labeled as fussy, and the various diagnoses that accompany this, this book is a rational and non directive resource to determine for yourself what is best for you and your baby.
Rachel Reed - Why Induction Matters is the perfect to help you make an informed decisions about this all to common intervention. When is it warranted and when is it best to avoid?
Sara Wickham - Birthing Your Placenta helps with the decisions related to the third stage of birth.
NEW IN THE SUPPORT GROUP:
I added this article about the age of learning to read into the parenting thread
MY BLOGGING (new and relevant posts):
The Trouble with Consent
We Should focus on Choice, not consent (also been published on PBBMedia under the title 'Why Consent, when you can decide', whilst there join the mailing list to access the awesome podcast about consent.)
Do Not Disturb (a poem which features in The Book)
My Book Launch speech
On my wordpress:
I've been exploring identity and labels, and gender for a while now, here are some of my thoughts. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Labels a response to an article about 'pregnant people' and the need for individualised care in our maternity system.
Who I am? is a poem exploring how social media might be influencing our identity and driving the need to label ourselves.
Polite Ticks is a think piece looking at sex and gender
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” poet and writer Maya Angelou. The Care Factor. Is it possible to care without love? And what happens with you can't care your the one you love? What is care?
I followed this with a new poem Imagine...Instead of preparing children for the 'real world', let's change the world to be prepared for children.
Once a Jolly Woman, to the tune of waltzing matilda, explores the confidence that comes from Informed Decisions.
What has Robert Frost got to do with Birth Maps?
Kate Middleton does not set the stand: Keira Knightly shouldn't either (the image below related to this post)
I have written quite a few poems this last month, on varying topics, if you are keen to check them out.
ARE YOU A BIRTH WORKER?
I am gauging interest in Birth Cartography Workshops for birth workers for 2019 around Australia, and possibly even New Zealand.
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