Us vs. Them

Us vs. Them isn’t working. We don’t have to fight Them.

Published by Lauren Straight Letterman on 12/15/2019

I recently read about a newly pregnant person surrounded by messages about how awful it would be to birth with an obstetrician. What a terrible idea it was to birth in a hospital. How a pregnant person was just asking for a fight if they wanted a low intervention birth birth anywhere but home. Hospitals were horrible and dangerous. The new parent’s yoga instructor, childbirth educator, and even their doula didn’t build them up with confidence in making decisions for their family. They tore them down with fear.

There’s a strange kind of Us vs. Them mentality with some who support low intervention birth. Some truly believe that a gentle birth with the new parents making educated and informed decisions isn’t possible in a hospital setting. They tell parents that the nurse (or the doctor, or the nurse midwife, or heck, even the parking lot attendant) is going to undermine their intention for a certain birth. People hear they should birth at home or at a birth center to make things easier. If they want to do things the hard (read: hospital) way, they and their partner will have to fight. They’ll have to hire a doula as a bodyguard (hey, that’s not what doulas do!). There might even be some fierce face paint involved.

But…what if…the new family could birth where they felt most confident? What if a family could choose a provider and birth place that truly believed in the same vision of birth? What if….that was (gasp!) a hospital? A hospital where the birthing person knew the provider attending their birth, felt supported by the nurses, had their wishes respected, enjoyed the complete attention of a prepared birth team and… had a great birth? Crazy, right?

Not crazy at all. That’s why Us vs. Them isn’t working. We don’t have to fight Them. Especially in a large metro area, we have options. We have all kinds of providers! From the most conservative OB to the lay midwife and everything in between. If your provider doesn’t agree with your birth preferences, don’t fight. Find a provider who does support you. Find a birth place that can help you welcome your baby the way you imagine it. It’s not You against Them. It’s You with Them.

You have to take the responsibility, though. It’s Your Birth and Your Baby. It might mean interviewing lots of providers and switching to someone new (no…they’re not going to cry if you leave their practice!). It might mean finding a new birth place. It might even mean looking at payment options, insurance coverage, out of network costs, gap exceptions or driving an hour to your birth place. But you and your baby are worth it. If you really like a good argument, channel all those feelings before baby arrives. When it’s your birthing time, your only thought should be how confident you feel and how excited you are to meet your baby.

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