It Takes A Village To Birth A Child

It Takes A Village To Birth A Child

I often consult on understanding the different roleplayers in birth and choosing your birth team wisely. It seems in the current birth and medicine landscape, there’s an unwillingness among some birth professionals and institutions to cooperate and work together as a birth team when it comes to providing mothers with the best perinatal care possible.

The result? Confusion, hostility, dysfunction, emotional trauma and disappointment. In my experience, modern-day birth can be categorised by two schools of thought. The first is where the “perfect birth” is achieved by selecting a birth authority and giving them all the power to manage your birth. With no team members to balance them, these “authoritarians” sometimes give in to ulterior motives (fear, time, money, the need to always know best), which lead them to make choices that aren’t always necessary.

The second is where the power of birth is taken back by the mother, who‘s offered a menu of birth options by a birth team. The team often fails to help the mother interpret information in the context of her situation and she’s left to weigh the benefits and risks without a proper scale.
Both these approaches fail the mother and her baby. Mothers are often left to process choices
that are sometimes needed, but not wanted, or choices that didn’t have the desired outcome.

Since the birth of my first child, I’ve believed that a mother and baby’s physical and emotional wellbeing in birth is largely dependent on the people who play a role in that birth. Birth
should be a collaboration between nature, birth partners and birth professionals with empowered mothers at the centre of it – a compassionate birth village where birth professionals advise,
encourage, and help where appropriate.

  1. You should get to choose who your birth team consists of.
  2. Choose healthcare providers and birth professionals who are authoritative in their field, but not authoritarian in their approach.
  3. Steer clear of permissive healthcare providers who give you a “birth menu” of options, but no guidance on how to interpret those options.
  4. Look for people with social sensitivity and compassion, but also the ability to take the lead when needed.
  5. Your birth team’s recommendations and actions should be free from any motives other than your and your baby’s emotional and physical wellbeing. It should be about your needs and wants.

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