Choices in Childbirth hosted our free monthly workshop this past Thursday (11/21/13) at the 14th Street Y; this month’s topic was Choosing a Care Provider. As the CiC intern with no plan of baby in my near future, I have thought little of what my potential care provider will look like. Yet as the room filled up with expectant women and their partners, it became clear that this is a topic on a lot people’s minds. Tanya, a member of our education and program committee, and a student midwife and child educator herself,facilitated the discussion and introduced couples that struggled to find their right fit. As the stories accumulated, this idea of choosing the right care provider felt a lot like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears: you have to test all the beds until you come to the one that makes you feel comfortable and safe.
Each couple shared their stories of starting with an obstetrician, midwife, doctor, hospital, birthing center, etc. and feeling as though they weren’t part of “the team”: they weren’t being included in the decision making process, despite feeling like they knew and trusted their bodies. They also described the shame and embarrassment that their former providers caused. For instance, all three women were told they had gained too much weight in a short span of time, and how this would negatively impact their pregnancy, labor, and baby.
Another common theme throughout their stories was their feeling disconnected from their provider. Their provider took no time to get to know them and thus learn what they wanted from their birthing experience.
All the women ended their stories with this pearl of wisdom: keep looking until you find the provider whose values align with yours. If you go into your birth experience with someone who doesn’t have the same vision, then it will likely be bad. But if you’re able to find the person who you feel understands what you want, then it will be good. That, and get a doula.