Evidence isn't everything
So information...it's brilliant isn't it? We are inundated with the stuff and we can get it so rapidly now, long gone are the days of visiting the library and flicking through an encyclopaedia. Let's just click on safari, enter Google and we're off. Personally I love it. I love researching and finding things out, I love that I can help people I work with quickly to allay fears and concerns and I can find out what I need through search engines and wonderful online communities.
Recently I read a really thought provoking article commenting on how science is ruining everything. A controversial stance but serious food for thought. The idea that basically only things that can be proven are to be believed and valued, with the necessary stats and facts to support them. Are we entering a time when everything needs to be quantified?
I am not a stats and facts kind of girl. I'm a trust your gut, go with the flow kind of woman but I understand the need for them. In the birth world one of the things we encourage is to get informed. Don't just go along with the medical suggestions, know your stuff too. This seems in some ways like a bit of a mad concept. How can I know more than the docs?? Well here's the thing...giving birth is NOT a medical event. You are NOT ill. Birth is a biologically normal event. Birth happens, every day, four births every second to be exact. Thing is, the docs are there for when birth doesn't go to plan, which is very necessary and very needed. However the normality of birth gets completely lost and everyone focuses on the 'risks'. I shared a great post last week from Don't be Sorry about changing the word risk to chance. Imagine if the docs were speaking to you and saying 'there's a chance of this', 'there's a chance you might...' would you be as concerned? Language is so important but that's another blog.
So yes you can go off, get super informed, write an amazingly detailed birth plan and you're set. Oh but wait, things keep cropping up, over and over again. New thoughts and new feelings so you keep googling, keep researching and start entering information overload. Where do you draw the line between getting informed and getting overwhelmed? Well you trust your gut. And yes there is science to prove it. During pregnancy your brain literally softens. We think of it as baby brain but this is a real thing. Dr Amali Lokugamage dedicates a whole chapter to this in her book, 'The Heart in the Womb' called Inner Wisdom.
'Pregnancy hormones soften the brain and body and allow right-brain activity to dominate. If a woman is nurtured during her pregnancy and allowed to surrender to this state, her whole body will act better during labour. Although medicine can help some women, it also hinders this particular opportunity; because of it's risk-reductive approach to childbirth it keeps women in a left-brain state of mind.'
You are physically, emotionally and mentally different and designed to be more intuitive, to know what you need during birth. Do not underestimate these signals.
What kind of signals?
Well I guess it's different for everyone but for me, it's that feeling when something just doesn't feel right to you, maybe you get flutters in your tummy, or you feel a tightness in your body or you just feel off. I often find my doula clients know exactly what they need, they trust themselves but everything else is drowning out that inner voice. So I say, drown it out back. Set a deadline for research and birth plans and then draw your line and start enjoying your baby and your pregnancy. Our spontaneous delivery rate is at an all time low of 60% while interventions and c sections are on the rise according to BirthChoiceUK yet we are more informed than ever.
So what's missing?
In my humble opinion, it's trust. Trust in your ability to birth your baby, trust in your body, trust in yourself. How do we build trust? We leave the left brain thinking and immerse in the right. Get the oxytocin going with joyful things and RELAX. You've done the prep work and the only thing you really need to know, is that it is your choice, all of it and if something doesn't feel right, trust your gut and ask the questions you need to ask in that moment. In nearly every birth situation there is always time to talk, to pause, to consider...and if you know you have that space, that is all you need to know.
Trust yourselves Mamas.