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Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

Last post 01-11-2011 12:26 AM by jkennedyNP. 7 replies.
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  • 11-08-2010 2:10 PM

    Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

    Hello,

    I am applying to direct-entry midwifery school next month and in the past year that I've been working on prerequisites and educating myself on natural birth and midwifery, I can see that this culture of natural birth definitely requires some advocacy from it's practitioners.  While I'm happy to oblige, I find myself torn between supporting every woman's birth plans and gently trying to educate them on other options when their birth plan includes induction, scheduled c-sections, and an epidural "before it gets too painful".

    I understand that when I go into school and into practice, the women that seek out direct-entry midwives are often educated on the benefits of natural birth and have already made the choice to plan on it.  It's just hard when close friends of mine say things like, "I don't think I could do it naturally", or "I have nothing to prove: why would I want that pain if I don't have to have it?".

    It makes me very sad, and I want to be approachable, not overbearing in my opinions.  I do want to support every woman's choice to birth as she chooses, but how can I possibly when what she's choosing is the very type of birth that has lead me to work to educate woman in other options?  I don't want to be off-putting to anyone, nor do I want to smile and nod at women that are having their first babies as scheduled inductions or c-sections.

    Does anyone have any advice on finding a middle ground on the subject of talking birth with people who don't share my passion?  It feels almost political to me, and I want to do right by my beliefs without stepping on anyones toes, or making them feel judged.

    Thanks.

     

     

    "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.

    Happiness never decreases by being shared."
  • 11-08-2010 3:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

    mommasmash,

    Welcome to MT and MTF.  Congratz.  Its pleasure to meet you.

    I'm with you on what you said here.  Of course have really have no clue and really have not that much info on your questions.  Have seen this topic in threads on here and off of here in the past, but at the same time have forgotten what were my responses to them.

    Hope to stay you around and good luck with everything.

  • 11-09-2010 9:24 AM In reply to

    • midwifea
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-12-2009
    • Kailua Kona, HI
    • Posts 475

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

    Mommasmash,

    There is nothing off putting about being educated and having facts to back up your beliefs and opinions.  The trick is to form the words so that the individual you are speaking with will hear them.  Being prepared at all times with references  and stats of choices is not offensive or overbearing if done truly from your heart and not judgement..  Maybe practicing what you will say in advance when the subject is broached will help you.  Example, if a woman who is planning induction, epidural etc. etc. tells you about her plans maybe you should ask her if she has researched the breastfeeding outcomes for women who've had this, or the recovery from these procedeures and point her to the information.  Give her lots of avenues to pursue to find out the reasons why natural is the best place to start.  You will make a difference.  Not everywoman will change her mind and maybe some will not like your views but that is what you've been put here to do, serve women.

    Blessings,
    April
    moderator

    "The Voice

    There is a voice inside of you
    That whispers all day long,
    "I feel this is right for me,
    I know that this is wrong."
    No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
    Or wise man can decide
    What's right for you--just listen to
    The voice that speaks inside."
    — Shel Silverstein
  • 11-09-2010 10:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

    Thanks for the welcome, mybodymyself.

    And thank you for your advice, midwifea.  I think part of my problem is that I don't feel confident in speaking up on the subject just yet, mainly because besides the self-learning I've done on the subject, I had a very easy natural birth with my daughter and I'm afraid people will think I'm biased.  I will continue to read, learn, and speak up in a gentle way when the opportunity arises.  Remembering my good intentions helps me to feel more confident.

     

     

    "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.

    Happiness never decreases by being shared."
  • 11-10-2010 9:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

     Altho it may be hard to not share your passion with others not as enlightened as you, you will have greater impact on them if you stick to facts, not opinions. Be ready with sources so info can be presented in a logical, scientific way, not as a natural birth nazi!

  • 11-11-2010 4:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

    I do try to be very careful about not expressing opinion when I am talking birth with others, but it's not hard to see someone's opinion when they lean toward one side in their conversation.  When it comes to presenting facts, I do sometimes fear sounding like a "natural birth nazi"; I never want to make someone feel that I think they're stupid or wrong for not knowing these facts, but there's a special kind of anxiety that comes over me when it comes to telling a pregnant woman the great facts about the birth option she already has no intention of choosing.

    So for now, more often than not, I try to refer people to other sources so they can see for themselves.  My problem is that I feel guilty whether I stay quiet or present facts that someone doesn't care to hear.  I want to drop a little knowledge without trying to convert, and without sounding biased.

    "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.

    Happiness never decreases by being shared."
  • 11-19-2010 5:48 PM In reply to

    • wyomidwife
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 11-20-2010
    • Southwest Wyoming
    • Posts 1

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

    The best piece of advice I've ever heard is that birth isn't a one size fits all thing.  While it'd be great if everyone had similar views to ours because of the health benefits, the great part about this day and age is that women have the right to chose.  One thing I tend to do is to put the option out there if they want it -- if they mention something I think they may not be educated on using phrases like "I'd really love to discuss this in detail with you, do you have spare time?" or "I read a really great book that included some great pros and cons about that, have you read it too?"

    It's hard when you feel so passionate about something -- and when the subject is so touchy.  In my experience, women have subconscious self doubt or feel challenged by their choices.  The trick is to give them the option to discuss it without making them feel judged or insecure.


    And in the long run, you wont change many minds.  But you might get them to ask questions and consider things they hadn't before (delayed epidural, baby wearing, trying breastfeeding).

    Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
    ~Christopher Robin
  • 01-11-2011 12:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Being an Approachable Birth Advocate is Difficult... Right?

     Congratulations on your studies!

    I agree as mentioned above that one of the most important things to remember is that no individual is a like. In the direct entry midwifery field your patients will seek you out because they want a natural birth. Your challenge would be to learn everything you can about natural birthing so you help them not so much convince them. Education and preparation throughout the pregnancy is also very important. There is a local birth center here in colorado that includes a wonderful education program specific for natural birth. The families prepare well in advance which helps them prepare mentally for the challenge. Discuss all the natural options and develop a plan with them. Warm baths or tubs and walking/ free movement are probably the best things ever made for natural labor. I have seen all kinds of things used (labor swings, birthing balls, tubs). Having many things available and a good labor coach helps her get through the contractions. Im a guy so I dont know personally but have found these things to work well.  

    Jared Kennedy
    CNM/FNP (student)
    University of Colorado
    C-EFM, RN-C Inpatient Obstetrics
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