While I am in danger of banging on about this too many times I think I will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Knowledge is power and with that comes a feeling of control.
Feeling in control is a key component in retrospectively perceiving an event as positive. If we felt out of control, that things were just done to us without our consent or without a feeling that we participated in the decision-making, we are significantly more likely to view that event negatively.
This is never more true than during birth where things can quickly change and our feeling of control disappear in a breath. I believe it is essential that women are armed with as much information going into birth as they feel they can cope with. It is great therefore to be able to tell you about another book aiming to support women in just that…
‘Choosing Cesarean’ by Magnus Murphy MD and Pauline McDonagh Hull
It focuses on caeasrean birth as the title suggests but does not set out to advocate caesarean birth for all women. Instead it simply proposes that it is legitimate for women to make an informed choice in favour of a planned caesarean even where there is no medical need. They argue that all vaginal births are essentially a ‘trial of labour’ (traditionally this term has been used only in relation to VBAC) and that being prepared for a variety of outcomes is essential. They believe that information and understanding options is key to decision-making and key to coping if the plan needs to change.
“Women are being sold the natural approach as though it is something tangible they can have-just as long as they follow advice, prepare for the big day, and avoid any unnecessary medical interventions that might derail this most desirable outcome. But no matter how good the birth preparation and no matter how ideal the birth setting, doctors and midwives are still only able to optimize women’s chances of spontaneous vaginal birth-not predict or guarantee them. An injection of realism wouldn’t go amiss sometimes.”