Saturday, April 25, 2015

At Peace With Our Decisions

Know you have options and a voice, always.
Photo courtesy of Tall Grass Photography
As a doula I witness women making decisions during pregnancy and childbirth. Many times, I am invited into this process by my clients asking me questions or sometimes for my advice.

But as a doula, it is not my job to make decisions for my clients.

As a doula, it is my job to support and encourage my clients to find their own truth, their own power and to gather the info they need to make a decision they will be at peace with.

As a mother, I know firsthand how hard that can be. I know what it's like to second guess and doubt yourself. I know what it's like to make a decision when you are afraid. I know what it's like for something unexpected and scary to happen where decisions need to be made quickly. I also know what it's like to be so involved in {or detached from} the process that you just wish someone else would make the decisions for you.

Sometimes, I wish I could help a client make a decision. But then I quickly realize I wouldn't be helping because it is not my process, it is not my birth, it is not my decision...the only thing I can do is fill the room with positive, peaceful, loving intention and support.

And you know what? This is an amazingly helpful thing to do. Why? Because when a person is in the midst of making a decision (sometimes a really difficult one, that may have been unexpected, or something they didn't want to have to be faced with), they don't need judgement, they don't need fear, "what ifs" or "should haves". All they need is someone that has got their back. Someone that is supporting them, NO MATTER WHAT. Someone that will remind them of their options and help them understand more about the situation they are in. Someone that will remind them what is important (to be true to yourself, to trust yourself, to stand in your power) and to bear witness to the process. It is a soothing feeling to experience what it's like to make a decision surrounded by support. Personally, I know that being unconditionally supported and surrounded by love gave me the strength to make the decisions that needed to me made. And I was able to know right down to my core that I was at peace with my decisions, despite things not turning out the way I thought they would. I know what the opposite scenario feels like too.

Being able to encourage and unconditionally support a labouring woman, to make decisions she can be at peace with, is one of the main reasons I became a doula.

Birth is an unpredictable, mysterious, beautiful thing. And sometimes unexpected things can happen which will require us to make decisions we didn't think we'd need to make. It definitely helps if we are prepared and ready to advocate...but even then, the decision making process is hard, often one where we rely on our deepest instincts and ultimately by weighing the pros and cons of what we can be at peace with.

Sometimes we don't make decisions from that place and we may look back and feel regret. It kinda sucks. I know I've been there. And what really helped me was to realize I did the best I could in that moment. After the birth of my 3rd baby, I had a lot of regrets and anger surrounding the decision to consent to a cesarean. For a long time I carried that around. It was a process to slowly peel away the layers and get down to the core of it all. I realized I had set expectations of myself. I realized I had made decisions based on fear and based on the belief that I wasn't capable. I also didn't really consider the point of view and wisdom of my baby who was also undergoing the process. It hurt to see the truth, but there was no turning back. I began to heal and I realized my strength in the process. I knew that if I was to ever have another baby, I was now a different woman. I now knew what it felt like to make decisions I was not at peace with. I decided that from that point on, I would decide things {life stuff too, not just birth} based on MY own terms, from a place of peace and strength.

It took me giving birth 4 times to finally believe that there is no perfect way to give birth, there is only the way that is right for each of us.

I had heard it, read it and been told it before...but it's so easy to get caught up in the this-vs-that mindset.

What matters most in birth is not if we give birth with medication or without, if we have a VBAC or a repeat cesarean, if we birth at home or in the hospital...the list goes on. {It's not a competition}

What does matter is that we understand the physiology of birth, that we understand our options, that we are true to ourselves and the intentions we have for us and our babies, that we advocate for informed choice and evidence based care, that we're encouraged to trust our intuition and that we're respected and listened to throughout.

The only way this can all unfold, is if we make it speaking up, asking questions and knowing that we have options and a voice, always.

However you and your baby chose/choose (cause babies have a say in birth too!) to give birth, know that there is at least one person in the world that will cheer you on and not judge!

I want women to know and experience the strength and power they can find within themselves when they give birth. I want women to remember the day their baby was born as an empowering one.

But most of all, I want women to know that all women are in this together. Birth is a catalyst that thrusts us into the circle of beginnings and ends, of life. We join all the women before us and all those that will come ahead. And that is a powerful thing to be a part of.

We each make our own personal decisions, because we each have individual situations, health considerations, and in the end we need to own our decisions. But we are united because we all know what it's like to be ready to do anything for that tiny little human we've grown and nurtured within love someone so much more than anything we'd ever have imagined. And being at peace with our decisions during birth is the foundation to having a great start in our relationship with that beautiful little human. And that is important <3

{Photo from Tall Grass Photography, used with permission}