Many women researching natural birth will hear about the ills of medical providers, their responsibilities and shortcomings towards their patients… but what about YOUR responsibility as a consumer?
A positive consumer understands that, when it comes to healthcare, they are an active participant, having an ethical and personal responsibility to make sure that the medical care provider that they hire will work hard for their choices and beliefs. You heard right, you hire your care provider.
Would you allow a landscaper to make all of the decisions regarding your lawn or would you research what you want your lawn to look like, be like, and produce like? Would you turn your lawn over to that landscaper and, when (s)he let you know their plans, mutely nod even if you didn’t like what was being planned, or would you tell them your expectations and desires, plans and hopes? Likewise, although your lawn might not turn out exactly like you had planned with your landscaper, if you trust them fully, you can trust that it will come as close as your soil and your property allows for.
Consider this: your doctor or midwife has a responsibility to give you factual information, practice unbiased and evidence-based medicine, and to treat you as a whole woman, not simply a patient. They have a responsibility to let you know their policies, procedures, and standards of care – what they expect from you as a patient.
But, as a patient, it is your responsibility to be open and honest with your care provider. Withholding your feelings, beliefs, desires, and fears breed distrust on both sides of the proverbial fence. It is vital that, as a patient, you be able to speak up about your choices regarding your health care, even if you and your care provider do not see eye to eye on some issues.
The relationship that you have with your care provider is not their sole responsibility - it is a two way street. If you are fully open and honest with them and don't feel it is reciprocated, perhaps they are not the caregiver that you want to trust to handle your body and baby during the most vulnerable event of labor and birth.
If you feel they have ulterior motives beyond your health and wellbeing and that of your unborn baby, if they are not fully supportive of your choices (whether or not they agree with your choices), or if you simply do not make a good team (yes, you two are a team), perhaps it is best to look for another care giver. It is never to late to make the change.
For additional information, please take a look at the links below:
- What Type of Care Giver Fits Your Beliefs
- 10 Questions to Ask Before You Have a Baby
- Switching Care Providers in Pregnancy