Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Little About My Birth Philosophy

There is so much I could write here... and this topic is one I'm sure I will be writing more about... plus I think this is a "talk the talk vs. walk the walk" kind of topic: what people write and say (and do!) about birth often reveals a lot about how they feel "philophically"...

I believe that birth is an essentially safe process - "birth is as safe as life gets" is a quote that is sometimes passed around childbirth educators, doulas, and caregivers, and one that I whole-heartedly believe. Birth is not perfectly safe, there are no absolute guarantees, but neither are there guarantees to other activities that we do regularly and without an overabundance of fear or anxiety.

I believe that birth can be an empowering, transformative experience for women (and their partners) - not only is a baby born, but a mother is born... a family is born. Of course the most important outcome is a healthy baby and a healthy mother: a healthy family! There are many paths to this outcome, and women deserve to have choices, to be able to make the choices that will work the best for them and their babies.

I believe in informed consent regarding all aspects of pregnancy, birth (and parenting). There are lots of choices to be made during the birth year: who will attend the birth? where will the birth space be? how will the woman handle the intensity of contractions? prenatal tests? breastfeeding? and on & on. Accurate, evidence-based information will help women make the choices that are right for themselves, and their babies. Sometimes this information is easy to find, and other times, in-between the horror stories shared by well-meaning friends and relatives and the info-tainment of birth shows on tv, it is hard to sort out what might seem to be true, or what the proverbial "everyone" does, and what is actually accurate and evidence-based.

I believe that when women do the thinking and planning ahead of time, it can be much easier to "let go" and live in the moment for the birth. Not all women will make the same decisions, and that's okay! What's important is for women to fully understand the strengths and benefits offered by her various choices, as well as the challenges and risks that they sometimes pose. I suggest using the BRAIN acronym to evaluate various choices: benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition and nothing (what happens if we do nothing). I believe that listening to our intuition (our gut, our heart) is an important tool too!

So, that's a start. I need to get outside in this gorgeous Maine spring weather and plant some violas with the kids!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine

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