Congratulations to Megan and Harry on the arrival of their baby boy. What a lot of hoo-haa the pregnancy and birth have provided the media and society as a whole.
I thought I’d take the opportunity (like many, many others have) to write a blog about her experience, and what it means for birth in the eyes of western society.
The overarching theme of this post is that every pregnant couple should follow in Megan and Harry’s footsteps.
Headline 1: Megan reportedly hires a birth doula, attends Hypnobirthing classes, and plans a home birth.
Yes, Yes, YES!! Go Megan, getting educated about birth, the process, the pros and cons of certain interventions and pain meds, and just in general INFORMING herself so she can make INFORMED DECISIONS. Love it. You go girl!
EVERY pregnant family, whether they’re having their first or their 6th child, needs to prepare mentally for the labour and birth. It is your RESPONSIBILITY to understand the process of physiological birth, the pros and cons of pain meds and interventions, know the difference of when your care provider would like you to agree to a certain intervention verse when they are truly medically necessary. You should also learn non-drug coping strategies, and some ways to mitigate the cons of medically necessary interventions or requested pain relief. Seek out independent childbirth classes, just like Megan and Harry, whether it be Hypnobirthing, Calmbirth, Lamaze or others. Please don’t just do the hospital based classes and think you’ve ticked that box. The hospital classes provide information which is biased towards their own policies and standard practice. For example they’re not going to tell you about the massive benefits of delayed cord clamping if that’s not their standard practice. Independent educators have no agenda other than wanting you to have the most empowering, satisfying birth you can have.
Headline 2: Megan is a birth brat.
BE A BIRTH BRAT. I can not say that loudly enough. This is your birth and your baby’s birth day. You only get to do it once. You get to take the lead on how you’d like it to go. No, you can’t control everything, but if you’re well informed, have a medical team you trust, and are involved in decisions as they need to be made, then you’re more likely to feel empowered and satisfied with how it goes down. Some things to consider are:
‘No’ is a complete sentence, and you don’t need to give an explanation.
Ask questions about every decision you need to make. Let the BRAIN acronym guide you.
- What are the Benefits to me, my baby and my labour?
- What are the Risks to me, my baby and my labour?
- What are the Alternatives to this course of action?
- Where is my Intuition leaning?
- What happens if we say No/Not now?
You do not need to ‘please’ your care providers at any point of your pregnancy or labour.
You can say ‘no’ to something you previously consented to. You can change your mind at any time. Withdrawing consent or giving consent as the situation evolves.
With private cover, consider that your care providers work for you. They need to take your lead, not the other way around. If you’re not seeing eye to eye, fire them, and get new providers.
With public care, it can be much more the luck of the draw of who you see in your prenatal appointments and have available during your labour. Being well informed, making sure your partner knows your preferences in different situations, and hiring a birth doula will help you have a team to support you know matter who is on call that day/night.
Headline 3: General outrage that the new royal baby may be ‘kept’ from the waiting media.
Umm, no. No-one (except the biological parents) have a rite to access a new baby, or a child of any age, without the parents’ consent. That includes the entire world, or just friends, distant relatives, and immediate family. If you don’t want visitors for the first 6 weeks, say so. If you want everyone to come to the hospital and then no-one to come once you get home, say so. If you want an organised roster of people coming and going all day to bring food, do laundry and hold baby while you sleep, set that up (or hire a postpartum doula *wink*). But NO ONE, no matter how close to you they are, should ‘expect’ to see the baby within a certain period of time. This is another time to be open about maybe changing your mind when you’re in the zone. You may plan on no visitors and then change your mind cause you need someone to talk to during the loooooooonnnnngggggg days of looking after a newborn. You may plan on all the visitors and then change your mind when you realise it’s winter and it seems everyone has the sniffles. Just do what you think is best at any one time, but remember that you’re in charge.
Headline 4: Megan is whisked away to a private hospital, dashing her plans for a homebirth.
Literally 2 hours after I read of the arrival of the royal baby, I see headlines that her ‘hopes were dashed’.
First off, was it ever actually CONFIRMED by the palace that she was planning a home birth??? Or was this just a rumour everyone ran with? If it was confirmed, I missed that.
Second, if she was transferred, then she and the rest of the world can be confident there was a genuine medical reason. Some small percentage of planned home births in Australia get transferred to hospital. The families who find themselves in this situation can be confident that if the midwife they have built a relationship with during pregnancy suggests that they should go to hospital, it’s because there is a genuine medical need. You can bet that if this is the case for Megan and Harry, they were fully informed and INVOLVED in the decision, due to all the work they did to educate themselves and prepare during the pregnancy. It’s not something they’re going to walk away from and wonder ‘was that really necessary?’ A lot of families who plan to have their baby in the hospital system can’t say the same thing, particularly if they didn’t do the prep work of getting educated, informed, and setting up a support network.
Megan and Harry have done more to highlight that birth is a normal, natural process than any other couple in recent memory. A lot of people now know what a doula is thanks to them. Maybe more women are researching home birth because of them. Hopefully more people attend independent childbirth education because of them.
So be like Megan and Harry. Do the work, analyse the information and make an informed decision rather than just going with whatever option is presented to you, and plan for the best birth you can experience.