Thursday, 3 March 2011

Whose Birth? YOUR birth!

Imagine organising your wedding and being told that the person who will be conducting the ceremony will be whoever is working on that particular day, who you may or may not have met beforehand. Or being told by a car salesperson that one particular car is the only one you can have regardless of your personal needs & uses for that car.

These situations would be considered fairly significant life events- celebrating a union or financing a large purchase. If this scenario actually happened in real life, I would hazard a guess that you would turn around, walk out and find a different car yard or jump online & start searching for your own marriage celebrant.

So what about your birth? I'm sure we can all agree that bringing a new child into this world is an extremely significant life event for the parents and the child! For birth to unfold in an uncomplicated manner there's a few important things that need to happen:

*the mother needs to feel safe & secure in her surroundings
*she needs people who she knows & trusts supporting her
*she needs to be uninterrupted

It seems simple enough, doesn't it? And yet for most women they see a variety of care providers throughout their pregnancy who spend the minimum amount of time getting to know THEM. So long as  blood pressure is fine, fundal height is measuring fine and we get to listen to bubs heartbeat on the doppler then it's move on out and time for the next appointment.

Is this satisfying? Is it conducive to building trust? Not particularly.

And by the time you do go into labour the staff in the maternity ward seem completely foreign. You might see a familiar face or two pass by but in your labour land haze you can't really make head nor tail of them. Once in the delivery room you're mostly left alone with a midwife occasionally poking her head in to see if everyone's ok before she checks on the other women who are also in labour. A shift change occurs and someone new comes in & introduces themselves and you, or your partner has to outline *once again* what your birth wishes are. Do these people share the same philosophies on birth as you? No time to find out, here comes another contraction!

Don't get me wrong... I'm not having a go at midwives or doctors. I know many midwives who feel dismayed at the maternity system. It's the system itself that is broken.

Now relate this back to the opening analogy of a wedding. This is in total contrast with the wonderful experience of a well planned wedding... family & friends supporting your wishes and the celebrant, photographers, florists & caterers all hand picked and responding to your every whim. And yet most people rate the experience of childbirth as more important than their wedding. It is an event where the details of the experience, who was there and how you were treated will remain in your memory for a lifetime.

Imagine if you could hand pick your perfect birth! Your perfect location and your perfect support team!

The good news is... you can! Just like planning any other significant moment in your life all it takes is a little time & research.

And here's some resources to help you on your way :)

The My Birth website was established for women to find resources. You find information on your local hospital & learn their statistics for caesarean rates, induction rates, episiotomy rates, VBAC rates etc.

What if you're not happy with your local hospitals statistics or feel they're not catering to your individual needs?

Well, if hospital's not your thing and you'd like a homebirth in the Central West try these midwives:

You can also join with like minded women at the local Joyous Birth meetings, held monthly in Orange. Here women share their experiences both in hospital & at home. Contact me for details.

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