Your birth experience and how you were treated during labour & birth (even prenatally) can greatly impact your journey into your postpartum period, it can also influence the way you parent your child and your relationship with your partner.
As a birth worker, I often notice the first layer of trauma stemming from the lack of compassion and empathy from our care providers. Especially so with body boundaries and language. They can be very blunt, use fear-based language and intrusive into our personal space. They probe and touch, even when birthers are pleading... saying "stop", "I don't want that", "no", care providers continue.
How can we feel safe, in an environment that treats us otherwise?
The medical world has evolved, in the realm of childbirth, we now see this natural part of us as something that needs a remedy - that childbirth needs to be fixed and intervened. We lack the most basic value in this very intricate process - respect.
We don't know what we don't know and many of us often don't realise that we actually have rights to our own body and our birth experience.
How can we minimise trauma during childbirth and protect our birthing right?
Choosing the right care provider/hospital
It is so important to choose the right doctor and hospital to support you on your journey. If you are looking for a natural vaginal birth with unnecessary interventions, then find one that fits the bill. If you are looking for a belly birth, then find a doctor that is experienced in managing a caesarean birth. When you choose the right doctor, you are halfway there towards your birth story.
Knowledge is power
Read and find out more information about the birth process, what are the pros and cons of each intervention. Equip yourself with evidence-based information around inductions, find out the what, why and how. Making informed choices gives you a sense of autonomy at the same time making room for contingent plans when things don't go according to what you are wanting.
Be your own advocate
As much as we prepare for our big day, when we are in the hospital, by default, the system takes over. It is in those times that you (and/or your partner) stand up for yourself, in a respectful and polite manner. Question your doctor, ask what are the risks vs benefits, seek alternatives. You should not be forced into making a decision by your care provider.
Engage a doula!
Research has shown the benefits a couple can gain from having a doula at their birth; a decrease in medical interventions, lower stress & anxiety levels just to name a few. Having someone else there to guide and support you (and your partner) during this process can help reduce trauma around birth.
This is your birth, your story... you got this!