It’s not surprising that so many women spend a large amount of time reading books on pregnancy and labor and childbirth to educate themselves and to gain more knowledge about the physical experience. That, in itself, demonstrates that most women are not really interested in the idea of turning over full responsibility to their care provider. Because, if that were the case, you could just say, “Ok, I’m pregnant. Now you take care of it. Tell me what to do. Tell me I’m ok. I’ll just hang here, while you do the ‘important’ stuff.”
Instead women are reading, talking, learning, taking childbirth education classes, trying to become more informed about all aspects of their experience.
Short of going to medical school, women won’t know the kinds of information a doctor will know (like how to perform surgery), but the difference in medical education is not a valid reason to relinquish responsibility for decision making to anyone else- even to a doctor or midwife who wants that responsibility. You have information that is otherwise unavailable to your provider. You are the expert on your body. You know how it feels from the inside out. You’ve been present to your fertility cycle your whole adult life- maybe you have even been charting (a la Taking Charge of Your Fertility).
When you say to someone, “Do what you think is best” while ignoring anything you know about your body, ignoring your intuition, ignoring the fact that you are ultimately responsible (even when you choose to relinquish control), you cheat yourself of the opportunity to participate in this aspect of your life.
When you choose to be a partner in your health care, make choices that fit with your values, and own your body, you can step into motherhood with more confidence. You may not be a doctor or midwife. But you are a powerful woman, making decisions for your care- and for your baby’s care.
Now it’s your turn on the soapbox. Tell me what you have to say about preparing for birth.