One of the things that’s super important to me as a childbirth educator is the understanding that everyone has their own choices to make for their pregnancy and birth. Bodily autonomy is something that I’ve learned over the years.
I had two homebirths and I used to think everyone else should also. If someone planned to have a c-section for whatever reason, I tried to talk them into a vaginal birth. I thought I knew better and the only “normal” birth was an unmedicated vaginal birth.
It wasn’t until my good friend (who was my midwife) had to have three c-sections that I realized not everyone can have an unmedicated vaginal birth. I mean, if anyone wanted that, it’s a midwife, right? She ended up having to make decisions that were different than her initial plan, but that happens a lot! Things aren’t black and white.
Over time, also, I realized that it’s not my place to control anyone else or to force anyone else to make a decision that I believe to be best. What’s best anyway? There’s no best. There’s just what works for each of us.
In fact, I take my own experience with breastfeeding into account here. No matter what I did (and I tried everything), I could never produce enough milk because of insufficient glandular tissue. At some point, with each baby, I made the decision to stop breastfeeding. That was my decision to make, and it was because I couldn’t produce enough and it was super complicated to do both. Some would have continued to do both, and that’s fine! It just wasn’t the best decision for me or for my family. We all do the best we can!
I had to choose 3 books from several sections to read and review for my training. I ended up choosing 4 that I believe will really help me to see lots of perspectives on pregnancy and childbirth along with postpartum complications and teaching women to make decisions for themselves.
That’s my goal as a childbirth educator: Present information on all sides, present the pros and cons of everything, and teach women and couples how to make their own decisions. Bodily Autonomy. They get to decide what their birth plan will look like. They get to decide what happens to their body. They get to decide if they want interventions or not.
And at the end of the day, if things don’t go as planned, I want them to feel okay with whatever decisions they have to make to overcome.
There is too much guilt in the mommy world and birth and feeding choices shouldn’t cause it.
I have so much compassion for mommies after being a mommy for almost 13 years now (of 3 kids). It’s the hardest job in the world.