by Lindsay Germain
There is so much judgement in our culture toward mamas. From pregnancy to parenthood, our interactions are filled with unsolicited stories and advice. It’s enough to feel exhausted, and more than a bit misunderstood.
Yet, you are the best person to know what’s right for yourself and your baby. You’re the only one with the ability to sense the choices that are right for you. Maybe a tip worked perfectly for one mama with her babies, but wouldn’t work for you at all. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to say, “no thanks,” to hearing a third traumatic birth story today.
So many people have been left alone with strong feelings about their pregnancy, birth, and parenting experiences and really need an outlet to talk about them. Then, you walk by, and your sweet round belly reminds them of all the stuff they haven’t yet worked through. And voila! You’ve become a therapist who – unbeknownst to you, has been enlisted to help this person process those feelings.
Well, it’s about time for you to get to choose. You can set a beautiful boundary that makes space to stay grounded and centered in nurturing yourself and your baby. Here’s how.
If someone wants to share a traumatic birth story with you that you’re not sure you want to hear, it’s okay to let them know, “I’m preparing for birth and being careful about the things I expose myself to.” Unless they were about to tell you a wonderful, uplifting story, it’s probably best for them to bring their story to another person who can support them to process the emotional intensity of the experience.
You get to choose the path of your prenatal care. A common way we get advice that may not serve us is through practice policies that don’t leave room for mamas’ empowered choice. Legally, you can choose to accept or decline any procedure that is offered to you (except in cases of true life and death emergency). Yet, often women find themselves in the doctors’ office hearing about, “what we’re going to do next,” as though the decision has been made for them.
It’s easy for intuition to be pushed down in situations where there is clearly a strong demand for you to pursue in accordance with the routine. Yet, your intuitive sense of what is right for your baby and yourself is so powerful and potent. There’s a way to create space for your intuitive capacity to make decisions that are best for you.
If you’re being told about policy or next steps, you can always stop and say, “What are my other options?” “What happens if I don’t do this?” “If I do this, what will I learn?” You can ask about the risks and benefits of any procedure. If you’re not getting thorough answers to your questions, you are welcome to say, “Let’s talk about this at my next appointment,” so that you can take time to do your own research, consult professionals, discover alternatives, and connect with your intuitive voice.
One common procedure is routine glucose testing in mid-pregnancy to rule out gestational diabetes. Interestingly, this test does have real side effects and risks, though many practitioners tend to skip mention of them. If you want to read about the side effects and alternatives to conventional glucose testing, you can read this well-researched article by Dr. Aviva Jill Romm.
With appreciation for your inner guidance and wisdom,