Last week I had the pleasure of chatting to my lovely midwife colleague Gemma Nealon of Positive birth Scotland over on Instagram.
We wanted to highlight the importance of good communication when it comes to advocating for your needs in pregnancy (as well as the importance of understanding what consent really means – Which I will save for another blog post!).
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Learning how to communicate with others about the things that we need can be really fucking hard. As women, it has been drummed into us from very early on that our needs come after the needs of others and that standing up for yourself is not the done thing.
We also learn that, in the medical world, we as ‘lay’ people should just shut up and listen to all the ‘advice’ that is being dished out by the ‘experts’ without questioning it at all.
THERE IS A LOT AT STAKE IF YOU RELINQUISH CONTROL
This is a problem……its not anyone’s fault, it’s just the way our society has been programmed to behave.
The thing is, when it comes to pregnancy and birth, this approach just doesn’t cut it.
And the reason for this is the fact that there is so much at stake when you relinquish control and move forward with your caregivers advice or opinion without question.
Your body is changing, your mind and your focus is shifting and all the while you have the world and his wife telling you their own stories (good and bad) that feed into the potential overwhelm that occurs during this very vulnerable time.
THERE IS A SOLUTION
Being brave enough to stand up for yourself, ask questions about YOUR specific circumstances when you are scared or confused, and gently challenge the status quo takes practice and support.
On my courses I teach a nifty tool that helps women and their birth partners to advocate for themselves so that all decisions that are made are made by them.
These are informed decisions and choices that are imperative in helping women to feel in control of how things play out for them.
This tool is called BRAINS
This acronym will support you to lead and direct the conversation so that you can get SUPER clear on what is being suggested by your care provider. You can then make your decisions together as a team, so you don’t come out on the other side feeling like birth happened TO you.
- B – BENEFITS – What are the benefits to me and my baby?
- R – RISKS – What are the risks to me and my baby?
- A – ALTERNATIVES – What are the alternatives or other options that are available?
- I – INSTINCTS – What is my instinct on this, my gut feeling?
- N – NOTHING – What is the immediate risk if we choose to do nothing (be specific about the time period)
- S – SMILE/STAY POSITIVE/SECOND OPINION – Don’t forget that you are all on the same team and you want to work together with your care provider. You are also entitled to ask for a second opinion.
This structure is amazing for helping to really organise your thoughts and opens up the dialogue between you and your midwife/doctor.
And of course, this is also a great tool for life! I have used this structure when speaking to my doctor about my son’s Asthma. I also used it with my husband when deciding to move from London up north!
When it comes to your pregnancy and birth, clarity is king!! So, remember to use your BRAINS so that you have every opportunity to to make informed choices.
If you are on Instagram, then please do head over there to watch the full episode with myself and Gemma where we have some other helpful tips for you, click here to watch.
In the meantime, let me know how you get on with using this framework. You have my permission to let go of any fear or anxiety so that you can feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
YOU GOT THIS!!
All the love
PS I am now offering FREE taster sessions on a one to one basis for those of you who are not quite sure what hypnobirthing is all about and whether it’s for you! Come and spend 30 mins with me over ZOOM where you will get a flavour of the techniques I use to help you feel calm and relaxed. Book your session by clicking here.