Planning and preparing for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) is a pretty big undertaking. So many women don't realise that the process doesn't start on the big day. It starts the moment that you decide that you'd like to have a VBAC. And the process includes waaaaay more than simply learning some breathing skills and "believing" that it will just happen as nature intended.
Because the way you prepare for your VBAC and many of the things you do and people you interact with during your pregnancy can and do have a HUGE impact on how your VBAC will play out.
The good news is: we can develop the skills needed to ensure a more powerful preparation and sway the odds in your favour!
So, what are these skills?
CRITICAL ANALYSIS / RESEARCH
There is so much bullshit out there about VBAC. Things that increase and decrease your chances of achieving a VBAC. Care provider policies that are passed off as "evidence". Care provider experiences that are passed off as "evidence". ALL THE STORIES from women. Varying care provider practices.
Critically analysing information will help prevent you from falling into confirmation bias and ensure that you are making the decision that is best for you - not just saying yes because "that's what you do" or no because someone told you that "you should always say no to intervention".
Research involves looking into multiple sources. If you have received information from only one source, then you absolutely have not "researched my options". It's also important to look at different types of information. Medical, alternative, from journals, from blogs, midwives, obstetricians, friends, doulas, stats. So many different types of information out there.
Critically analysing this information means checking out WHO is giving the information and understanding their experiences, biases, values, beliefs, and thoughts about birth. All information is presented from the context of individual perspective and bias.
"Basing a decision on scientific data alone does not equal an evidence based decision."
You then need to be able to take this information / research and use it to make your decisions.
What do you want from this birth?
How do you think you would you feel if this decision results in complications and / or a caesarean?
Why is this decision point important to you?
Do you feel that you have ALL the information that you need to feel safe and strong in this decision?
We do not base our decisions solely on statistical data. The data needs to be viewed through the lens of our experiences, values, biases, beliefs, cultural conditioning, and birth philosophy in order to ensure that the decision actually fits. If you don't feel that the decision is strong and powerful or you are just having some niggling doubts about the decision - go back to the above questions.
When you feel good about your decision making process the doubts should fade away.
"There are no right or wrong decisions - just what is best for you, in your circumstances."
You'll notice that I said "advocacy" and not "negotiation". Women are exceptionally good at negotiation and compromise. We're especially good at ensuring that others see us as "nice" and "reasonable" (read more about reasonable woman syndrome HERE).
What we're not very good at is putting our needs first and ensuring that our needs are met. We're not very practiced at putting boundaries in place and telling others "NO".
If you are using a truly powerful decision making process, you will likely find that some of your decisions are different to your care provider's recommendations and / or policies. A good care provider will respect that and simply note your decisions and go on with providing the support and care that you want.
However - we know that this is not very often women's experiences. Many women find themselves needing to advocate quite strongly for themselves, their decisions, and their right to autonomous decision making.
The first step in building the self-advocacy skill is truly believing that you deserve to have your needs met. That you needs, wishes, hopes, dreams for this VBAC journey matter. That YOU matter - not only as a mother, but as a human being.
Once you truly integrate this belief, living your decisions becomes easier and there is actually LESS arguing and fighting through your VBAC journey. Because NO becomes a complete sentence when you no longer feel like you need to defend your decisions.
"What the research says is nowhere near as important as what YOU say."
There are many other skills (and sub-sets of skills) that you will use during your journey - assertive-ness, asking questions, breathing and birth skills, communication, journaling etc) but these 3 skills are the ones that will make your VBAC journey easier, smoother, and less stressful.
Once you nail these skills you will no longer feel the need to argue with care providers, "back up" your decisions, or generally stress about what other people think about your choices.
And that makes for a very powerful journey.
PS: If you would like some help building these skills contact me or email me at email@example.com to book in a skills building session.
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