Birth Methods Suck
I’m gonna come out and say it. Personally and professionally I feel that birth methods and childbirth education that focuses on a single “method” rather than the individuals needs/desires suck. Their inflexibility notwithstanding, they generally come with top-secret, super miraculous teachings that all but guarantee you’ll have the best birth. Not only is this misleading, I believe it creates more problems than it seeks to solve, even if unintentionally.
As the Jacksonville community and as previous First Coast Doulas clients know, we believe there is no one right or wrong way to birth or parent. Why would we believe there is one “right” way to approach childbirth education and coping with birth or parenthood?
We only argue that pineapple does go on pizza!
One of the biggest problems with specific childbirth education or birth methods I see is in their lack of flexibility and how that translates into real-world application.
If you have a stringent process or step-by-step “how-to” for learning something that is completely unique and dependent on the person, their circumstances, etc. how do you accommodate for individual and large-scale changes? While the information regarding the biology of pregnancy and childbirth are fact-based, and thus, simple enough to teach, the information dealing with helping people wade through those facts, their options, and their effects is entirely based on the individual family’s needs, goals, and values.
These birth methods employ a precise way to learn and apply that learning in handling pregnancy and birth with no room for deviation by the student or by updated hospital or care provider policy. Meaning, a method easily becomes too dogmatic and not realistic for our humanity of shifting expectations and requirements.
So what happens when a person learns a birth method in the hopes and anticipations that it will totally, or at the least, mostly work and then it doesn’t?
Well, unfortunately, they’re left with no Plan B and only a few ways in which they can deal. This is especially true the more obscure and branded the method is since oftentimes, the education component is lacking and the method built up hopes and dreams by the very nature of its superiority and its uniqueness.
While the birthing person may logically know what a contraction is, they may not know why and how it happens nor do they know all the various ways in which to alleviate the pain associated with them. They were counting on that one thing that no longer serves them. Which leads to my last point…
Disappointment and guilt.
Parents become wrecked with guilt when their birth experience ends up disappointing, or worse, became traumatic. Parents feel guilty that they failed at the method; the one tried-and-true answer that has worked for everyone else, everywhere (or at least, that is what it feels like). They feel guilty that they invested time, money, and confidence. They feel guilty that they didn’t do it “the right way”.
This is even more pronounced when the birth plan is drastically changed from a stringent list, and it’s not fair.
It’s not fair because this guilt is unwarranted and can be prevented with comprehensive education that inspires expectant parents to fully understand the birth process, to learn multiple ways to deal, to explore all their options, and to make a Plan A and Plan B, and even maybe a Plan C. Will it prevent feeling disappointment? No, nothing can ever be 100% and that is the point here. But, when you give yourself flexibility and adaptable ways to approach something as unpredictable as birth, you are increasing your chances of feeling successful, and thus, less guilty.
The solution is to put your family’s individual needs first and be a prepared parent!
Learn a bit of biology and birth physiology. Learn about effective communication and relationship building with your providers and birth team. Learn about the multitude of ways to deal with anxiety, fear, and pain. Learn about ways to research options and about differing techniques used in decision-making.
Skip the birth methods and focus on putting together all the pieces in a way that works for you! Remember there really is no right or wrong way, only different ways!