There are so many choices, so many paths. There are many reasons why a choice you make today might not be the same choice you make tomorrow. There are many variables in every decision. Having the ability to question, having information to consider, knowing your situation and your self better than anyone, you can make the best possible informed choice for yourself, your baby and your family.
Choices can seem overwhelming at times. And there is the fountain of information that comes from many sources – friends and family, social media publications, interest groups, research, care professionals.
Life is full of choices, and that includes the realm of childbirth and parenting choices.
Natural childbirth. Medicated childbirth. Partially medicated childbirth. Vaginal birth. Cesarean birth. Water birth. Interventions. Induction. Membrane sweep. Membrane stripping. Vaginal checks. Cervical checks. Pitocin. Epidural. Narcotics. Nitrous-oxide. Obstetrician. Midwife. Unassisted. Doula. Hospital birth. Homebirth. Birth Center. Childbirth Education (CBE) – (Lamaze, Bradley, Birth Boot Camp, dozens more). Fetal Monitoring. Directed pushing. Spontaneous pushing. Pushing positions. Perineal massage. Episiotomy. Delayed cord clamping. Cord blood banking. Managed placenta delivery. Spontaneous placenta delivery. Post birth Pitocin. Skin to skin. Vitamin K. Eye ointment. Circumcision. Timing of first bath. Infant hat. Breastfeeding. Bottle feeding. Formula feeding. Scheduled Parenting. Attachment Parenting. Postpartum doula. Cloth diapers. Disposable diapers. Bed sharing. Room sharing. Crib. Vaccinations. Delayed Vaccinations. Cry it out. Sleep training. Solid foods. Extended breastfeeding. Child led weaning. Let’s stop short of the teen years. This is just a sampling of the choices you will be faced with.
How do you know what the best choice is?
Sometimes we make choices when we do not know if it was the “best” choice. We can second guess our choices long after the decision was made. But I think we need to cut ourselves some slack here. We were faced with a choice, and we made the choice that we were the most comfortable with at the time. That was the best choice.
It’s also important to remember that what your friend or relative decided upon as best for them, is not necessarily the best choice for you. People will offer thoughts on how you should proceed, but many times they are not aware of the variables you are including in the decision process. Again, you know you best.
So how do you know what choice to make? Surround yourself with experienced professionals. Your care provider has a wealth of knowledge to tap into. Your doula has experience, professional training, and the ability to support you in a non-judgmental way as you journey through making decisions, during birth and through postpartum. Ask questions, ask for reasons, ask for alternatives.
B – What are the benefits (of this procedure, of this philosophy, etc.)?
R – What are the risks?
A – What (if any) are the alternatives?
I – What are my instincts telling me?
N – What if I decide to do nothing at this time? Does this decision have to be made now? What happens next if I make this decision?
Use your “brain”. When you have asked the questions you want to ask and weighed the information you have, you make an informed choice that fits your current situation. The next time you are in a similar situation, you may choose to make a different decision, which will be perfect choice at that time.