This is the the introduction to a series of six posts, inspired by this post, in which I will be writing about the critical role your support team and place of birth play throughout your pregnancy, labor, and birth. Over and over again, we find that a woman’s satisfaction with her birth experiences has less to do with how much pain she experienced, or the method of birth. It has far more to do with her feeling of autonomy, and her feelings of being supported (or not).
Women who feel as though things were just “done to them” throughout the childbearing year, especially through labor and birth, are more likely to struggle with feelings ranging from dissatisfaction to outright depression. In contrast, women who feel that they were the ones making the decisions, and that those decisions were fully supported by those around them, especially their care providers, are the ones most happy with their births.
Epidurals, IV narcotics, massage, showers, and position changes are all well and good. Valuable tools for pain management, but it turns out that having these things available is not as important as a support team who strives to empower and encourage women by practicing true informed consent, including informed refusal.
When the decision-making power is put into a woman’s hands, and she understands fully that it is she alone, along with her baby, who lives with any consequences of her decisions, good or bad, birth can be the most empowering experience in a woman’s life – even if the physical circumstances are not ideal.
Inspired by my mother’s critical role in my births, I have decided to write a series of posts about the various possible members of a typical birth support team.
I’ll be writing first about various care providers, the general differences between them, and how to choose the one who best suits you. I’ll talk about your partner/spouse’s role, and how birth has the potential to strengthen the bond between you. Doulas, of course will have a post all their own, including how to choose one based on your individual needs. Last, but not least, I’ll write about childbirth education options, explaining their role, as well as how to choose a good childbirth education course.
Join me for the next few weeks as I gather my thoughts together on this subject – it is truly the Most Important Piece of your birth experience, and I don’t want you to miss a thing!
I’ll be linking each post here, so you can have them all in one place. Please – always feel free to post a comment or question, or email me.
The Most Important Piece Series