One of the scariest things about pregnancy the first time around for me (and even the second time!) was owning my choices.
“Informed consent” is bandied around the birth world like a mantra. But what does that really MEAN when you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant with your first baby, fairly in the dark about the fact that you even have choices, and not confident that you know enough to make those choices responsibly?”
For a lot of us, it means that we leave the decision making to other people by default. It means we decide to “go with the flow”. It means we give away our power…not because we don’t want it – but because we don’t how to keep it, yet.
Going with the flow leaves us open to good things happening, but all too often in birth it leaves us vulnerable to having an experience that doesn’t respect our babies, or who we are as women. One of the hardest things to get your head around about giving birth in our maternity system for the first time is this:
If you don’t make a birth plan or understand that you have choices, your care providers DO have a birth plan for you, and your choices will be made for you.
You might be just fine with that. But what if you’re not?
Your birth plan might not ever make it out of your bag, and that’s fine. Just the process of researching it, of starting to understand where you have choices and what the possible outcomes are – means you go into your birth more prepared than most. For too many of us, it takes dealing with the aftermath of a birth that was nothing like we imagined, to make us realise that the power and the choice always should (and always does) lie with us.