Blame vs Responsibility

When talking about birthing issues, I often feel ineffective in conveying to women that I’m not referring to their particular birthing experience or judging their choices be they past, present or future. I attempt to relay the message that women were made to birth and that there are other birthing options available to women than, for example, in a hospital with an Obstetrician (though, perfectly suited for some).

One of the issues might be understanding blame vs responsibility. Women should not be blamed for their choices or how they birthed. What I am saying is women must reclaim their power and become responsible for their decisions. Alice Walker said:

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

As a birthing woman you have the power. Know that you have options and your power lies in making the best choices for your situation! We can’t blame (judge) someone for not knowing what they don’t know. That is why women need to hear the message that solely relying on a caregiver to give a well balanced picture does not lead to fully informed decisions.

A woman cannot make an informed decision with only one side of the story. You are not likely to find accurate and up to date information about out of hospital births from the mainstream. I tend to focus on home birth as it’s not generally talked about and I believe it should be presented as one option for women. We each need to find or own way in pregnancy and birth and I wish for women to actively seek their best birth. If you have feelings of empowerment from your birth experience, however that looked, I say YES! That’s how it’s supposed to be.

When I come across defensiveness I wonder what that woman has experienced. Has she had a positive birthing experience? Did she feel respected? Did she feel she had options? Did she feel empowered? Let’s say the answer is no. It’s not her fault–there is no blame here. But if she can recognize where she is responsible for her decisions (and realize that not making a decision is a decision in itself), she can empower herself by becoming informed and capable, if need be, of making different choices.

 “Women of Earth, take back your birth!”–Lonnie Morris from the film Orgasmic Birth.

Do not make the mistake of believing all care providers have only your best interest at heart. I’m not saying they are evil or even have ill intentions, but know that they are human, busy, often bound by protocol, and just may not put the birthing woman at the centre of her birth (where she belongs).

Ask your own questions and do your own research. That’s the most important part because it’s about you. Surround yourself with people who truly support you and your decisions. And if you are one of the women who may be feeling unhappy or somehow uncomfortable about your birthing experience, I wish you healing (it’s there if you seek it). Consider using your voice to share your story so other women don’t fall into the same trap.

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