It's been way too long since my last post. December came and went in the blink of an eye. It's January now, my baby is over 5 months old and I'm in daily awe of how fast he's learning and growing. I've been thinking a lot lately of what my next post would be about and I've come up with 100 different ideas, but decided today I'd write about trusting your body. The last time I wrote about my journey I touched on this subject but didn't go into great detail. I'd like to pose a question to my pregnant followers, and even to my followers who are not with child. The question is this: How often have you gone to see your doctor and upon leaving the office with your "diagnosis" come home and researched your doctors findings? Or researched the medication prescribed? My guess is - not that often. I'm sure most of us have heard on the news and from friends and family on numerous occasions that you are in charge of your health. But how often do we really have the time to seriously sit down and research what's going on with our bodies? Why would we when we pay someone else to do this for us? I will be the first to say that it's easier to have a doctor diagnose my condition, take the medication prescribed (if any) and get on with my life. While this may be the easy way, is it the most effective? How many times have you heard of a doctor mis-diagnosing a condition? Prescribing medication that didn't help or made the condition worsen? I'm willing to bet that the majority of you have heard of this and/or know someone personally that this happened to. Now, please do not get me wrong, I am in no way trying to bash our doctors. I have the highest respect for doctors and nurses as they provide a priceless and selfless service to millions of people every day. So where am I going with this? Well, I believe that our modern society has somewhat spoiled us in this manner. It's been in the last century that we've gone from having no radio or television to having the internet with millions upon millions of pieces of information at our fingertips. We've gone from having one doctor who services an entire town to having hundreds of doctors within a town to choose from. With so many options (and so little time) we tend to take the easy route. Whatever option is going to be the shortest, easiest and usually, the least expensive available. But lets be serious folks - this is our health. There's absolutely no room for shortcuts when it comes to our health. And what about your baby's health? Would you seriously consider taking the easy route just to save yourself some time, some money or even some pain? It is my belief that most Mama's want what is best for their children and would usually stop at nothing to ensure their health and their safety. So, why would you not research your condition? The condition being your pregnancy. I really shouldn't call pregnancy a condition though, it's certainly not. Pregnancy is a completely normal occurrence that has been happening for thousands upon thousands of years. Labor and birth have been happening for thousands upon thousands of years also. The difference is that our modern medicine (which we love when it's needed!) has spoiled today's women. Well, I'll say it's spoiled some of today's women. For most other's it's made them believe that there bodies are simply not capable of giving birth without the help of some sort of medical intervention. I understand also that for most women it's not so much that they feel they are not capable of giving birth but the fear of the pain they are more concerned with. No one wants to be in pain, for any reason. However, the pain a woman goes though during childbirth is "pain with a purpose". It's not as if you were in a car accident or you broke your leg or your arm. This pain is no accident. It's a real, natural pain that your body is producing in order help your baby move down your birth canal. With every painful contraction, your cervix is opening and your baby is being pushed down, thus "pain with a purpose". Once this pain is over your have the best present you will ever receive. So why are so many women so afraid? Probably because they've seen too many movies that absolutely do NOT depict what birth is really like. Or they've heard way too many stories from other women about how painful their birth was or what's even more likely is they've heard too many stories from real women about how their baby almost didn't make it or that their birth had to be in a hospital because otherwise the situation would have made a turn for the worst. I completely get this. I understand it with every ounce of my being. Without any other knowledge of labor and birth this seems to most women to be what birth is, how it works. The message I want to share is that the majority of the time interventions are the cause for the "turn for the worst" in birth. This is not an opinion, it's a fact. I can (and will throughout this journey) share links to medical journals, actual studies done that prove this and many other facts about the use of interventions during childbirth. Another little known fact amongst women is that less than 5 % of natural births take a "turn for the worst" and in most all of those cases the "emergency" presents itself in a more than sufficient amount of time to help both the Mama and her baby. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is POWER. I just completed the toLabor doula training workshop. What an absolutely amazing weekend I spent with some fabulous women. The workshop focused on factual information about interventions during childbirth, how they can (almost always) have a negative impact on the laboring woman and/or baby, how to use natural methods during labor and childbirth to hopefully help prevent interventions or to help the laboring mother and her partner achieve the birth they desire and, mainly, the workshop focused on how to fully support and educate pregnant and laboring women. toLabor stands for 'The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options and Resources". Every woman has options. Every woman has the strength and the power within herself to labor and deliver her baby safely, without the use of interventions. Knowing how to make this happen is the information so many woman lack. It's my job to share this information, to help women find that power and that strength within them and to be there with them to help support them and their partner during the birth of their baby(s).
I'd like to quote Penny Simkin from her book titled The Birth Partner: "How a woman is cared for and supported during birth is a major influence, not only in how she gives birth but also in how she feels about it. Yet, medical care before and during childbirth focuses almost exclusively on the physical safety of the baby and the mother. This medical care places little emphasis on the mother's emotional well-being, her relationship with her partner, and her readiness to parent". She goes on later to say "Midwives and family doctors tend to intervene less than do most OB's partly because of training, but also because midwives and family doctors care for women with healthy pregnancies and few risks of medical problems in labor. OB's care for women at both low and high risk for problems, and they tend to use procedures for all their patients that are really needed only for the high-risk women".
Women are magnificent creatures. We bring life into this world. We suffer for what seems like an endless eternity to make miracles happen. We are stronger than a lot of us give ourselves credit for. I hope to help women find this empowerment that is within each and every one of us.