Tolerance or Support?

Today I had a postnatal meeting with a mom who had recently had a successful VBAC- vaginal birth after a previous cesarean. She reminded me that the phrase I used when helping her to decide whether or not to change practices late in her pregnancy was the question of whether the practice she was in was being only tolerant to her having an opportunity of a trial of labor or were they truly supportive of her VBAC. She said as time went on she realized that the enthusiasm they offered initially was short lived as each month passed. She would hear more doubt each appointment up to the appointment where the midwife she thought would be the most supportive came right out and told her she was very doubtful if the baby this mom was carrying would come out vaginally. That was the straw that sent her out of that practice and into the supportive arms on the midwives who supported her in a wonderful vaginal birth only a short while later.

It made me wonder… if we told our care providers what we wanted and they followed it up with a negative or even just a placating comment. why do we believe they will be supportive later? For every time an OB said, “yes, many first time moms think a natural birth would be good, until their first contraction!” I wish a woman would turn on a dime and say, “you do not sound like the doctor for me!”  I would love for a woman to state what her birth ideals are and then ask her provider how he or she plans to help them achieve it. Perhaps then they would reach for that business card of a great childbirth educator and say this class she offers will help you prepare. And then they reach for another list of doulas who they find work best with moms who want a natural birth. And perhaps they will even find a way to help make insurance companies see the benefits of paying for these services.  Perhaps the pediatricians would pass out LLL meeting schedules for their breastfeeding moms and the card of a good lactation educator or counselor. Am I dreaming?

The only way a woman is going to get the care she desires is to demand it! When my daughter and I drove five hours from the Atlanta metro area to seek the best breast reconstruction for her bilateral mastectomy, it spoke to why we felt the need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars elsewhere. If enough women stand up and turn on a dime and refuse inadequate, substandard care for our labors and birth, when we flee to other facilities that offer more options like water births, if we do it in enough numbers, guess what? The dollar screams at the other care providers and locations for births. They may not listen immediately but we need to let them know they are loosing our dollars!

We have a voice. Join the facebook page facebook.com/GABirthActivists to hear more about how you can have your voice heard!