This is a question that I see SO MUCH in my group (The VBAC Australia Support Group on Facebook).
At the first antenatal appointment most women are given the option of VBAC or routine repeat caesarean with very little useful information. Then they have the added pressure of having to let their care provider know their decision by a certain time. Nevermind all those other decisions that need to be made.
For many women this is not a simple decision. We carry so much baggage from our cultural conditioning and previous experiences that colour HOW we will make this decision and what will actually be best for us.
Here are the steps that I recommend that you go through in order to get to the decision that will be best for you.
Yes - it's time to bust out the journal and pens!
Explore your previous pregnancy and birth experience/s
What was the reason for your caesarean? And how do you feel about that?
What worked and what didn't?
What made you feel powerful? What made you feel powerless?
How did you feel about the consent processes? (Check out this facebook live if you are curious about the difference between legally valid consent and hospital consent processes).
What does birth mean to you?
What stories have you been told about birth?
Do you see it as a natural, normal event? Or one that requires medical assistance?
Who do you feel should be present? And what are the roles of those people?
What is the place of the maternity care system?
Look at both options DEEPLY and OBJECTIVELY
This is where the research comes in. Both options have risks and benefits. So, it's time to create a pros and cons chart.
Planning a VBAC does not guarantee an empowered experience and smooth recovery.
Planning a caesarean does not guarantee a straightforward surgery and a healthy baby.
Make sure that you get your information from a variety of sources - midwives, doctors, hospital, independent childbirth educators, blogs, research papers, other women, doulas, facebook groups.
EVERYONE holds some bias. All research and advice needs to be processed through the lens of your own experience, values, and beliefs.
No one can tell you which risks you should be willing to undertake. The responsibility for risk assessment lies solely with you.
What does your perfect birth look like?
How do you feel? What are you doing?
Where are you? Who is there? What are your support people doing and saying?
What can you hear? Smell? Taste? Go deep with the senses!
How do you receive baby into the world?
All of this is to say that there is no one right or wrong answer to the question of which mode of birth is best. There is just what is the right path for you and your family in your individual circumstances.
If you need support working through all the ins and outs of this huge decision, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can book in an intro session so that you can feel powerful in your decision making.
Much love, Lizzie
PS: If you have already decided that you are going to explore VBAC more deeply, I've just opened the waitlist for round 3 of my VBAC Group Mentoring Program. For more info you can jump on the waitlist HERE.
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