Feeling helpless

When you are pregnant especially for the first time, it is easy to feel helpless when doctors or nurses tell you some procedure is necessary that you did not want to do. You are naturally concerned for your baby. You know that you hired the medical professionals to tell you when medical things were necessary. So how do you sort out what is really necessary for you and your baby from what is the normal way they do things which you don’t really need?
First, remember that you are the health care customer. It is true, you are the mom, not the doctor (even if you are a doctor – in this situation you are the mom). You can always go and get another opinion or even vote with your feet and get another care provider. This is much more difficult during labor. So if you have real doubts about the compatibility of your caregiver or birth site and your wishes, figure it out before labor begins!
Second, remember that birth is a normal physiologic process. Doctors are supposed to assist you, not hinder you in your normal physiologic process. Midwives often say they have “caught” a baby, not “birthed”. It is up to the mom to birth her baby, everyone else should be on her birth team and working for her!
Third, it is your birth and your baby! True, you have hired people (like midwives, doctors or doulas) to assist you and help you achieve your birth vision. They have expertise that you probably don’t have. But this is your birth and your body and your baby. Anything that comes up regarding the care of your baby or birth should have a decent, medical reason for it. When your doctor explains why something is necessary, it should make sense to you. You should always be able to have a dialogue with your care provider. If you can’t, you can vote with your feet!

image from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

By Teresa Bailey

Teresa Bailey is a master doula in Pittsburgh

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