It seems like a no brainer that the desired outcome for birth is a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Of course we want everyone healthy! However, in our conversations with patients, we’ve learned that this phrase has been used to shame and/or guilt mothers about their desires and feelings regarding their birth.
A mom asks a provider for delayed cord clamping at birth and presents information from an online search. The provider isn’t completely comfortable with it and expresses concern about her request, followed by, “I’m just trying to insure we have a healthy mom and healthy baby” as if the request is compromising that plan.
Or maybe a mom is experiencing deep emotions and expresses disappointment in her birth ending in a cesarean. She has a lot of questions about the sequence of events that led to that outcome and wants to discuss them with her care provider in order to help her process the birth and gain some closure. The care provider feels like his/her actions are being criticized and responds with, “At the end of the day, you are healthy and your baby is healthy and that is what really matters,” as if her emotions are unreasonable or overly dramatic.
At NBBC, we see the whole woman. We believe the whole woman is made up of mind, body and spirit and all of those realms need to be nurtured in order to be declared a “healthy woman.” With rates of postpartum depression rising, we believe it is important to address all of the dynamics of the birth that may affect the mom and the baby. These may be physical and emotional in nature. Regardless, they are equally important.
A woman’s experience of birth matters. She carries that experience into her first weeks of mothering and those emotions have a profound effect on her well-being. Even when birth doesn’t go as planned, informed decision-making and talking through the options, choices and processes can help a mom feel more at peace with her birth story. Listening to a mom’s story and validating her emotions are crucial to that healing process.
So when we say our desire is for a healthy mom and baby, we are talking about:
- A mom who feels that she was an active participant in the decisions that were made during her birth.
- A mom who is showing normal signs of physical recovery including pain management and breastfeeding support if needed.
- A mom whose emotions and feelings are validated and addressed with referrals given for support if necessary.
- A baby who is eating, gaining weight, urinating and having regular bowel movements.
- A baby who after eating is relaxed and content.
- A mom who feels that she and her baby are coping with the challenges of newborn/postpartum life.
When choosing a care provider, ask them for their definition of a healthy mom and baby and make sure it aligns with your philosophies and beliefs, because how you experience your birth affects your health.
To get more information about birthing with our midwives at our birth center or in the hospital , call our office at 704-380-3722.