Will You Let Me?
I often hear these phrases:
- Will they let me?
- Am I allowed to…?
- Is it okay if I…?
- Do I have to…?
Women feel they need to have permission to labor and give birth the way they desire. I wish that women would see they have power in their births. They can refuse to lay down. Refuse to put on a hospital gown. Refuse to have their legs put into stirrups. They can decide to move and behave the way they desire in labor. And they can not be forced to do something they do not want. They may be coerced or bullied, as I see moms often are. But in the end, they can yell, “NO!” And they can say, “I don’t give you informed consent!” But they often say they do not want to fight in labor. So they give in, they agree to things they do not want. They allow coercion to dictate their desires. I hate this!
I recently had a conversation with a colleague. She was upset at the state of some of the young women she had recently encountered who were pregnant. Their desire to wear high heels outweighed their desire to have an optimally aligned pelvis and therefore a baby who was most likely misaligned. They were not willing to take classes but instead opted to give their births over to their doctors and do whatever they told them to do. They were not taking any ownership of their decisions. It was as if they were just going through the motions of pregnancy without any intention of their own. This colleague was so saddened that this was the direction birth is going today.
I hope she is wrong. I hope there is a resurgence of women who desire to be fully involved in their birth experience. Women who want empowering classes, know all of their options and know it is best if you have strong conversations with your care providers prior to your labor. It is best to have a clear understanding of their support- or their lack of support for the kind of birth you may desire. But the bottom line is, IT IS YOUR BIRTH!
I have been known to say, “Ask forgiveness, not permission.” But the truth is you do not have to be granted forgiveness for having the birth you desire- after all it is your body- your baby- your birth.