The Philosophy Dilemma
People seem really intent on having a "Birth Philosophy". I was advised a few years ago by lecturers and prospective employers to have a "philosophy of birth" and know it well. To have it in my portfolio to show people. This was recently reiterated to me by someone when discussing my content for my antenatal classes.
It really got me thinking about what a philosophy of birth is.... and did I even have one myself. I am sure that for my portfolio, I printed out some generic crap that I googled and I put it at the front, like they were my own thoughts. Yeh... right.
But now, I mean, yeah, I am passionate about certain facets of maternity care, childbirth, women's right to choice etc. But to put it in to words, I wasn't sure I could. So instead, I did what I do best. I researched and I Googled the hell out of it! I was curious what others were claiming their philosophies on birth were. Curious as to why they felt it was necessary at all.
The words "empowerment", "passionate" and "holistic care" littered the research. A lot of what I was reading felt like it was written because thats what they want prospective parents to peers to see. But like my initial portfolio, it wasn't an original thought as such.
A philosophy, to me, is not a static statement. It should change dependent on your circumstances, your environment, your constantly varied and evolving experience as a professional. So if this is the case, how can I have the same philosophy on birth for every different woman and family I encounter.
Well the answer is.... I can't!
It is widely known, that I am, shall we say; 'straight talking'. I try to be as real as possible with my women and with my knowledge when talking about pregnancy, labour, birth and all the things before and after this time. So that sort of led me to decide that my philosophy is never to have a birth philosophy. Instead i'd rather make my women's goals MY goals. They are the ones who should have a philosophy unique to them. And my job, it is to facilitate that philosophy. Whether it is through my teaching AN education, supporting through labour, helping with postnatal care or just answering all and any questions online.
So next time someone tries to buy your business of birth with an airy fairy philosophy, that has lovely words and a pretty back drop.... remember that it is your philosophy that is the important one in this experience (if you even have one).