This is what I have women telling me over and over.
"I CAN'T advocate for myself!"
"I CAN'T have difficult conversations!"
"I CAN'T tell my care provider to fuck off!"
Me: Sure you can. We just have a bit of work to do to get you there.
So how do we develop these skills in a way that will be useful and powerful for you?
Read on and find out...
1: Believe in yourself!
There's quite a bit to this and it's often the hardest part of getting your assertive-ness on.
Step 1: You need to be super clear on what it is that you want - WHY are you asking for whatever you are asking for. As always - go deeper:
"I want a VBAC"
Okay - WHY is a VBAC important to you?
"I feel like I just wasn't given a chance last time. I know that my body can do it!"
Again - WHY is this important to you?
"Because I want to prove those [people] wrong!!!!"
Now we are getting somewhere.... Keep asking WHY until you get to the response that makes you feel a little ranty and sweary. That's usually where the clarity is.
Step 2: Embed the belief that you DESERVE this.
And I want to be clear - YOU DO DESERVE THIS!
Whether it be proving those [people] wrong; or maximising physiology for improved breastfeeding; or simply because you don't want major surgery...
YOU ARE DESERVING
2: Write out a script
We all come up with awesome one liners and things to say when we are in the safety of our own space, or we are ranting to our VBAC mentor. And then we walk into an appointment with a care provider and completely forget what we wanted to say. Or they take control of the conversation and take it in a direction that we DO NOT want to go.
Work out what you want to say and WRITE IT DOWN. Practice saying it. And remember to take it with you to your appointment.
Then when you get into your appointment you can simply say:
"I've got some notes here that I would like to cover off before we get side tracked. " And away you go.
If you anticipate that you will get some resistance to whatever you have suggested, have a script written out for that as well. Or simply refer to my next tip...
3: Don't argue or justify
I see so many questions about how to justify or back up our decisions and how to argue our point. This is usually a huge energy drain that you just don't need.
NO MEANS NO
Even in a consult room with an OB. Even when you are in birth suite. Even when your care provider disagrees. Even when it goes against hospital policy.
You do not ever need to justify your decision. And I find that when women get into the head space of "oh - I can just make my decision, inform my care provider, and go on living my life without argument" a massive load comes off and a beautiful confidence moves in.
If your care provider wants to argue you can just reiterate your position.
"No. I'm not consenting to that."
"Because I've decided not to."
"Because I decided not to."
And you can keep going around in circles and see how long it takes them to give up (could be fun if you have the time LOL) ...or you can just tell them to move on coz now they are just being silly.
And those are my "big 3" when it comes to being assertive within the context of care provider conversations.
1. Go and buy a notebook.
2. Journal on your why.
3. Write out: "I deserve the birth that I envisage" 50 times.
4. Write out HOW you are going to inform your care provider of your decisions.
eg: I have decided xyz. I will be doing / not doing xyz.
5. Write out how you will deal with any push back that you get.
eg: I do not consent to xyz. Please give me more information to take away and read before I decide. Go take a long walk off a short pier.
Once you've done your homework send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you are feeling about your ability to be assertive and advocate for yourself now. Or let me know if you are having trouble with any of these steps - I'm happy to support you along the way.
Ps: These are some of the introductory skills that we develop during my VBAC mentoring process. You get my 1:1 support to write out your scripts, practice your lines, and come up with creative and aligned ways to ensure that you are being assertive in a really powerful way. Email me to book in a free chat to see if my mentoring program is right for you.
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