A blog reader, Emily, recently sent me this email in response to my post about not staying true to my word. I'm reposting it here with her permission. I agree with her about the need to move away from the nebulous slogan of "trusting birth" and towards "taking responsibility."
Thanks so much for writing a lot about your journey from a UC to a midwife. I also UCed my last baby, and am considering a midwife for the next, although I'm not pregnant yet. When I UCed it was definitely something I needed to do. I needed to step outside the system; to push all the boundaries, so I could know which boundaries I would like to set. Now that I've done that, I don't feel a need to do it again.
Also, having done a UC, I learned a few things: even though my husband and friends were prepared for the "what-ifs," I learned I'm not comfortable putting that pressure on them. If something were to go wrong, they had zero experience, and I'm not sure they were emotionally prepared for the fall-out in case something Really Bad were to happen. Not many people are. That's why only a few go on to be midwives/OBs, etc.
In addition to that, I found that the postpartum care offered by one of my friends was beyond valuable. If I hired someone to provide that for me, I wouldn't need to worry if my friend was unable to stay, or have to deal with her own little kids if she wanted to stay, but had to bring her little ones. And I would be guaranteed postpartum care. And the midwife would file all the paperwork for me. Not that I can't do those things myself--I already did. But honestly, it is just really really nice to have.
I find I am getting a lot of crap from my natural childbirth groups, because they all think I've become a "hypocrite" to the cause. That is completely ridiculous. It's not like I'm having a hospital birth with an epidural. It's still a HOME BIRTH! Same team! Same team! It is a symptom of a larger problem in the NCB crowd right now--the tendency to view UC as the ultimate goal; as the upper end of the NCB spectrum. But it's not. UC is not the epitome of NCB, it is the epitome of personality. UC is certainly not for everyone, and not even for every birth. It is not an indication of how much one "trusts birth."
In fact, I think we need to get rid of that phrase: "trust birth." Instead, we need to say "take responsibility." After all, if one is birthing outside the hospital at all, they must obviously trust that birth is inherently normal and safe. The point is not to have a competition over who "trusts birth" more--sort of like a game of chicken, birth-style. The point is to learn to take responsibility for your birthing choices, and decide how much responsibility one wants to have for the outcome.
I have been a subscriber to your blog for a long time now, I know you're pretty much facing the same kind of criticism. I just wanted to say I support you, and I am apparently in the same position. Good luck with your birth, and I am sure you will be happy with your experience.