Indie Birth: A birth experience arising from decisions made in alignment with your individual truth. Making and owning your birth decisions based on your own unique needs, desire and intuition. Not subject to anyone else’s authority. Autonomous; free.
You know you’ve thought about it. Whether it’s firing your current care provider, finding another or just going out on your own for an unassisted birth; how do you know it’s really time? What are some signs that you’re gonna need to step up, speak up and reclaim your power before it’s too late?
Feeling Discomfort, Unease or Fear in Connection to Appointments or Provider-This is a “red flag” for sure, whether it happens early or late, because these are clues from the get-go that you usually brush off because of fear. Some women say that they “knew” they were going the wrong route for them by hiring X doctor or midwife, but that they didn’t have the guts to do anything else initially. Potential reasons for feeling this way are; your insurance pays for “care”, the person is more affordable than others, it’s the person you liked “best” out of a crappy selection, the person satisfies some needs that your partner think are important (again, financial or maybe being affiliated with a hospital or doctor) as well as many others. The “early” red flags usually come in the form of palpable physical uncomfortableness. So, you anticipate the appointment stressfully, or when it’s over you feel sad, angry, unsupported and/or not listened to. If I had a PENNY for women that tried to write these RED FLAGS off as legit reasons to continue care, I would be a millionaire! When your blood pressure soars out of anxiety and you leave feeling worse than when you got there, or you are each time saddled with some new, inappropriate fear by the said provider, these are SIGNS! These early red flags should not be ignored at all, and most of all because they are early. Sure, they are teaching you on many levels that which you do NOT want. But don’t hang out with fear and doubt too long; it can start to rub off. If you feel uneasy or uncomfortable you must look for other options. There is just NO excuse why ANY woman, no matter what her situation is, needs to remain under the care or in a relationship with someone or something that is not serving her best interest. NONE. Move on, and don’t look behind you. Things in this situation will not change. You will find what you are looking for, and trust me, the doctor/midwife either doesn’t really care anyway, or is also relieved. There is NO obligation you have to anyone at all, other than you and your baby.
The Incredibly Changing Midwife-can’t speak for doctors on this one, really, but I know plenty of women who hire a midwife initially because she seems perfect. Meaning she gives all the “right” responses at the interview, says what you want to hear as far hearing what you desire…and then POOF!! Either a couple weeks later (or a lot later, if you’re not as lucky) she’s suddenly a different person at your appointments. This seems to happen a lot as birth approaches and women want to get really clear on their vision. Suddenly, this midwife isn’t so hands-off as she said she was in the interview. Suddenly, she’s telling YOU how it’s gonna be and when and why and who you may even have at your birth! This is a shocking situation and can happen to even the most well-meaning, strong women. The answer is the same, though. If you think she will behave any differently at your birth than she is right now, you are wrong. Works for some women, but if it’s not working for you and you are having nightmares about fighting her off to get the birth you want, than the choice is clear. It’s time! Find a better match or do it yourself.
Informed Choice Just Became…My Way or the Highway-I haven’t come up yet with a term for this, really. Many of you know it well. Your doctor or midwife assures you that you can decline or accept any test or choice. He or she tells you that all you will need to do is sign an informed consent or an informed choice document. However, when the testing option presents itself, things take a turn for the worse. Sure, you could sign the paper, but suddenly it’s not that simple. Your care provider first wants to remind you of all the reasons that you shouldn’t decline, and the document itself is one-sided on the benefits of the test with little attention to the risks or real facts. So, you may technically be able to still “choose” but not without a lot of judgment, and perhaps frowning. This is not true choice and it is not support. Just imagine the scenario if it came down to something that was really, really important. This is a red flag that means your care provider is more concerned with their own ass than your right to choose. Very serious matter.
Last Minute Rules Gettin’ In the Way-When hiring a “licensed provider”, you will invariably run into this one, and it should have you running for an Indie Birth sooner than later. The best example is the “42 week rule”. Yeah, you know there is one. She said early on that it rarely comes to a transfer of care, between messing with dates and other stuff. But, here you find yourself at almost 42 weeks with a care provider that suddenly has lots in mind for you. And none of it is research based, but either fear or rules and regulation based. He or she wants to order an ultrasound, a biophysical profile…and talks of induction (“natural” or not) are on the horizon. Again…if I had a penny for every woman that THOUGHT she was on her way to birthing her way, and then at 42 weeks realized she was going to either be held hostage or dumped by her care provider, I would be rich. Remember that when hiring a licensed midwife or doctor, your needs and situation do not come first. This is a fact. No matter how much she loves you, or how well-meaning and smart and dedicated he may be…rules are rules. So, if you see rules such as this one becoming an issue for you, perhaps it’s better to come up with another plan. Sooner than later.
Your Baby Told You-This is my favorite, most sincere and most positive reason for seeking an Indie Birth, no matter when it happens. Your baby can communicate with you, as you know, and especially if you foster that and ask questions. So, where does your baby want to be born? In what setting and with whom? How does your baby feel about what you are feeling in relationship to the birth? I have heard story upon story of women who came to swift conclusions (that had up until then, been difficult) about their births. Women planning hospital births, never questioning it, until their baby told them in a dream that he wanted a waterbirth. At home. Or a baby that reminds you that the fearful feeling you are feeling is making him afraid, too. Or, the check-in with your baby at 42 weeks, only for the baby to tell you that all is well, she is fine, labor will start soon and everyone fearful should get a grip or go elsewhere. Our babies have amazing wisdom for us. And I believe they do indeed care about their births and let us know what they need. If your baby is asking for an Indie Birth, then listen! This is the wisdom that no one else will have for you.
So, if even ONE of these reasons sounds familiar or rings a bell, it’s time to get lookin’. Talk to other mamas, locally or online, and discover other options. As someone told me once, until the baby is in your arms, there is ALWAYS time to change your mind. Best of luck in creating the birth vision and support that you seek.
We’d love to help support and educate you in creating your own “Indie Birth”. Register now for our online series of 5 classes, How to Have an Indie Birth. The classes include 5 recorded sessions that you can listen to at your convenience; plus TONS of resources, a workbook and access to us for questions and comments.