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Sunday, January 24, 2010

What to Say, How to Say It

I just wanted to ponder the issue that a lot of us at ICAN have run into. And that is -how to present/give birth advice in a way that people will listen, not be offended, not go in the wrong direction, and again - actually listen and take in what you have to say.

Let's face it - most of us are a part of ICAN because we have been affected by birth in one way or another. (If you just happen upon this blog or are passing by - welcome!). I also think that most of us find opportunities all of the time to inform others about birth. Some people ask for suggestions, and there are others who are just talking about their pregnancy or birth and we can't seem to keep our mouths shut - I mean - it would be a sin to withhold all of the information we have.

I ponder this topic because the last thing I want to do is turn someone off so much that they won't even listen to what I have to say. And I must say, my approach has changed a lot over the past couple of years. There was a time when I would just jump in and say things when my advice wasn't asked - ie) "Don't induce 1 week past your due date - inductions are horrible - let your baby stay in ." - to a 2nd time mom that had a vaginal birth her first time.

I'm still struggling with the right balance. Just recently I made it known, subtly, to someone I have to see daily, that I don't exactly agree with weekly cervical checks from 36 weeks on out. I'm kind of wishing I would have just kept my mouth shut. Yet, I know I've slowed down more, listened more, and have gotten better at trying to put information out there in a factual, somewhat non-biased sounding way. I really try to affirm actions and decisions that seem informed by mothers. I seek to encourage and uplift all mothers regardless of whether or not I agree with them. I have to remember that the last thing that I want any mother to feel is put down by what I say - because that is the opposite of what we are trying to do. Sometimes my passion for wanting the best for all mothers and babies is without inhibitions.

So, tell me - what is your best approach with pregnant mothers and birth advice? Or perhaps, share an instance that you regret and wish you could have approached differently. I'd love to hear people's tactics for giving information in a sensitive way - yet with the mission towards better birth in mind.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I state proven facts and not opinions. I find that the conversation stays on a more positive note when I do this. Coming at someone with my opinions or the details of what took place during my traumatic birth makes me come across as some kind of crazy conspiracy theorist. While many of the women in here know first hand that it's NOT paranoia if they really are watching you, to women who don't know about the risks of their doctors' orders, we come across as crazy and judgmental. So, I try to stick to facts and I try to show that there are other choices out there rather than what they're hearing from their specific doctor or midwife. That being said, I wish I had a woman in my life when I was pregnant the first time to yell at me when I was making some of the "bad" choices I made. They weren't bad choices, I was just ignorant and unfortunately it took 2 hospital births, one which changed my views drastically (as in I'll never birth in a hospital again) to get me to educate myself. I'll probably post another comment after I've thought about this some more :)