"Empowered birth" seems to be the buzzword of the 21st century. EVERYONE wants to "feel empowered".
But few women seem to truly understand what stepping up and claiming your power entails.
e seem to have reached a point in maternity care where anything less than tying a woman to a bed and physically forcing her to have a caesarean is seen as "empowered". I see women telling us how empowered they feel because their care provider is letting them: try for a VBAC; decline some non-evidence-based policy; create a birth plan; have a midwife as their carer or gave them a choice (regardless of whether ALL choices were included).
Here's the catch though... If you felt like you needed permission to access your legal right to bodily autonomy you aren't starting from a place of power.
By asking permission to have a VBAC (seems like a great example to use as this is VERY common) you are telling the other person that you believe that they have the power to either allow OR not allow.
If you believe that your care provider has the power to allow you to plan a VBAC then you also believe (possibly subconsciously) that they have the power to deny you this.
And if you believe that your care provider is the power in your relationship (even if you only believe this subconsciously) then you don't believe that you ARE empowered.
Sure, you might feel all warm and fuzzy about the care provider who is letting you do these things that you want. But feeling warm and fuzzy isn't the same as holding the power. In fact quite often being empowered doesn't really feel all that warm and fuzzy - it feels confusing, scary, and like it's a LOT of responsibility.
So...if the care provider who say yes isn't facilitating your empowerment, what would?
"Me: I'd like a VBAC please - is that okay?
Care provider: You don't need my permission to plan a VBAC. Every decision for this pregnancy and birth belongs to you. I'm here to provide you with information that you request to help you make an informed decision and feel powerful in your immense responsibility. You tell me what you want, not the other way around.
Me: Thank you. I'm planning a VBAC. How do we get started?"
As a woman commented on my page (under the live video I did on this topic):
"All my power comes from me - only I can empower myself".
This is so so so true and I wish I could shout it from the rooftops!!!
YOU ALREADY HAVE THE POWER!
You don't need anyone (care provider, doula, or partner) to give it to you. It's not their to give.
It's simply yours to use.
Much love, Lizzie. x
PS: If you would like support finding and using your power, please get in touch. In a one hour session we can develop some strategies to help you place yourself as the power in your birth story. And in my mentoring program we can go deep to find how YOUR power works best for you and the strategies to bring it out in every situation. x
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