Recently I was in the grocery store when I received a phone call from a potential client.  I am very passionate about what I do as a doula, so when I get these phone calls I tend to speak freely about my work.  When I hung up the phone a woman a few feet away from me made it very clear that she didn’t agree with my work.  She loudly made a comment to her friend that she was glad she had an epidural with her daughter and that the idea that someone would attempt to have a child without pain medication was “barbaric”.  I don’t get intimidated by comments like these so I simply said, “It’s unfortunate that you haven’t had the ability to trust in your body.  Birth is a normal function and doesn’t need to be treated as though it’s an illness needing a drug.” She pretended as though I was eavesdropping on HER conversation and glared at me as she walked by.  I understand many people feel strongly about medical advances and how they feel the lack of pain will improve their bonding experience with their newborn. What I don’t understand is how people think this is the BEST way to deliver their newborn.

The best way to make any big decision in your life is by researching. When you research birth, you will find that many hospitals and some providers would rather you do what they suggest, and contrary to what some people believe, isn’t always what is best for you or your baby. Luckily, there have been improvements in hospitals with systems like the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and now there is The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. The MCFI is the nation’s first and only consensus document which defines the ten specific steps a maternity care provider or birthing facility can take to provide evidence-based, mother-and baby-centered maternity care. (morthfriendly.org)  This is so much more than what meets the eye.  When a woman has a positive, empowering birth experience, it improves her confidence as a mother that lasts her lifetime.

Please visit ImprovingBirth and see how maternity care is changing for the better!  I urge mothers, birth workers and advocates to take the ImprovingBirth Pledge for Better Birth!