Create Your Personal Birth Philosophy
Now that you’ve started to educate yourself about pregnancy and birth it’s time to make some choices. It is time to begin identifying your own personal philosophy and creating a vision for your child’s birth. Get really honest and clear with yourself- for example:
• Do you believe the process of birth is: Safe? Scary? Sacred?
• Do you believe that labor and birth require medical assistance?
• Do you feel it is a normal, natural process?
• Do you fear labor is potentially dangerous?
• Do you want medical assistance throughout?
• Do you want to deliver in the most natural way possible?
• Do you fall somewhere in between, believing that birth is usually safe but feeling that you want a higher level of medical expertise on hand, just in case?
Ask yourself big questions and listen honestly to your answers. Notice what fears come up for you and talk them through with your partner, support people or a counselor. Once you have a sense of your beliefs about birth you will be ready to make the maternity care decisions that are right for you such as where, how and with whom to birth. Our Provider Network can help you find prenatal counselors and doulas who can assist you in this process.
While you uncover your birth philosophy and desires, keep in mind that it is just as important to stay flexible as it is to consciously prepare for your birth. Consider how you will react and how you can support yourself if your child’s birth doesn’t adhere to an ideal plan. Preparing for alternate possibilities will allow you to relax in the moment.
Further reading on this topic:
The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative is the foundation of our work at Choices in Childbirth, and is the core philosophy of the care providers listed in our Provider Network. The principles of Mother-Friendly Care include: Normalcy of the Birthing Process, Empowerment, Autonomy, Do No Harm, and Responsibility.
The documentary The Business of Being Born represents a break from the view of childbirth America usually sees – and has come to accept as normal. Instead, the film features a series of women, including executive producer Ricki Lake, giving birth with “surprising serenity,” on their own terms. “It’s a practical guide to childbirth that’s really going to help women discover natural options and take back the birth experience”, says director, Abby Epstein.
Thanks to a groundbreaking new consumer resource called The Birth Survey, women and families now have an additional tool to help them make maternity care decisions that are right for their individual needs. Like Angie’s List or Consumer Reports, The Birth Survey helps people evaluate the goods and services they are shopping for, in this case, maternity care. The Birth Survey was created by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and piloted in New York City by Choices in Childbirth.
Tim and Lucy, 3 months © Sarah Tew Photography