When for example, we are invited to a dinner party at someone else´s house, consciously or unconsciously, we expect to hear from the host on where we are to sit, if we need to bring anything, if we can help in any way, etc. There are many invisibly established social codes about how a host is expected to behave, and how the guest is expected to behave.
Even when we are the catering company, and “experts” in the area. And so we give our client options. We discuss various menus. And we prepare the end result according to his or her needs and wants to the best of our ability. When we arrive at the venue, whether it´s at our client´s house or not, we´ll await information on where and how to serve, and in what order.
What would it be like, if Maternity Services were guided by these same principles? Oh what a silly comparison! Choosing with whom to give birth is obviously not the same as choosing between the duck or the salmon! How true. And yet we are given so much more choice and customer service in the first scenario. Choosing where and with whom our child will be born is so much more important. And yet it seems we are encouraged to feel like we do not have a say, it is what it is and that´s it, someone outside of ourselves are the authority, and know best. Women and their families should be treated with the utmost care and respect. Many pregnant women search for the place that appeals to them the most, according to what matters to them. It might be the best NICU. It may be somewhere her partner can spend the night as well, right after the birth. Or maybe she is interested in the most comfortable and private room possible. Or the place or health professional more prone to supporting her birth plan. Or somewhere she does not have to fight to get her maternal request caesarean.
Whatever the medical scenario, philosophy or hopes that woman might have, the truth of the matter is that the day her baby is born, will be unforgettable. In all the good and the bad, that memory might bring. She will not forget that sweet nurse who dimmed the lights, smiled and left quietly. Or the obstetrician who encouraged her when she didn´t think she could do it. Just as she won´t forget when they cut her as she was asking for more time, or maybe to try another position. Or when they took her baby away, without telling her where and why.
The woman might think she does not have a choice. So she just goes to her local hospital. She has never heard of birth plans, or how her opinion matters. Well even then. She is entitled to have amazing care. All the health care professionals that will see her, throughout her pregnancy and birth journey are guests. They are there at her invitation at this significant point in her life. They´re invited to witness the look on her face at the scan, when she sees her baby for the very first time. They are invited to answer her question as to whether or not those new symptoms are normal. Invited to give their professional opinion when the medical scenario changes and new risks present themselves. Invited to have the privilege of seeing the tears in her and her partner´s eyes, when they see their child for the first time.
So who are you inviting to your birth?