O is For Options

Your Options Are Endless

Your Birth Options Are Endless

I could invest hours in this blog. And it would never do it justice. When you think about your options for day to day living, did you know the average person makes 35,000 decisions a day? We call that decision fatigue. It’s almost as if while you’re making one decision, that decision itself has eight other decisions that tentacle off of it like a mind-eating octopus. (See also: 2018 Halloween Costume Ideas)

So, it stands to reason that if just by existing you are thinking 35,000 thoughts a day, you’re also doing that while pregnant, in labor, in postpartum recovery, and while you’re parenting. 35,000 thoughts relating to that is a lot.

And it’s common during this big life transition to hear the thoughts of everyone else around you all of the time. For instance, if you’re here, you’re either going through this new transition, or you’re an internet stalker (Hi guys!). So now you’re subject to my thoughts on the matter as well.

But I don’t want to overwhelm you.

I want to share three main ideas with you when it comes to make decisions for you pregnancy, labor, and parenting journey. Those three main ideas are that (1)Fear is a liar. (2) BRAIN (3) You’re In Control.

 

Fear Is A Liar

Fear is a liar. Have you ever done anything you were afraid of doing? Looked under the bed when you were five? Made a risky decision relating to your career? Told someone you had feelings for them, and didn’t know what was gonna happen?

When you experienced fear, and acted on it anyway, what happened? It obviously didn’t kill you. Because you’re here. Reading this blog.

Fear is normal during pregnancy, birth, and parenting. There are many “Oh shit!” moments. And someone, somewhere, is going to tell you a story that makes your face contort. How do you combat the fear?

You do research. You trust your intuition. You take birth & parenting classes. You filter out the people in your life that are constantly negative and sending you anxious vibes.

Fear of a thing is often worse than the thing itself.

Let’s take ear piercing as an example. The expected pain and apprehension of the piercing is worse than the pain itself. The nauseous butterflies in your stomach feeling starts long before the earring is anywhere near your ear. And then all of a sudden you have some new bling. In this case, your new baby is going to be your bling. And there is really no bling more exciting than the way your baby smells, the cute noises they make, and the fact that it’s a baby. Like, who doesn’t love babies?

Use  BRAIN

In doula terms, some very clever person a long time ago gifted us the acronym BRAIN for informed decision making.

 

Benefits – What are the benefits of this decision?

Risks – What are the risks of this decision?

Alternatives – Do I have other options?

Intuition – What is my gut telling me about these options?

Nothing – What happens if I don’t make any decision?

 

Real life example: Two years ago, my husband and I were forced to decide if we were relocating to Houston to follow his job. He had been with them almost 20 years. It paid the bills well. But they sold his office. I had a doula practice in Dallas. It was alive. I had some clients. But it wasn’t thriving. Were we going to move? If we did, was I going to create a new doula practice? Stay at home with our son? Get a different job all together? Here’s the short analysis of my BRAIN

Benefits: I could create something entirely new. And from a business perspective, I could have a better foundation since I had created another business before. Relo itself was like free falling, so I assumed I wouldn’t really have anything more to lose if I was already losing it all.

Risks: I had to experience business start up costs all over again. Was I about to lose money? A lot of money?

Alternatives: My alternatives were to not launch again in a new place. To stay at home. To get a different job. But I realized that I’d be really bored at home cleaning the same stuff over and over again. I like to keep busy with traveling to clients and building content. And I didn’t like the idea of working 9-5 in a corporate environment with a two hour commute each way every day.

Intuition: Having a doula agency had briefly been a blip on my radar, but I knew it was going to involve funding and time. But I thought of moving to Houston as the chance to go big or go home. If I was going to go down after so long in the industry, I was going to go down in a fire. Now, as opposed to being in a fire, Houston Central Doulas is ON FIRE (in the best of ways) thanks to our clients and the behind the scenes orchestra that keeps it going.

Nothing: If I had done nothing, I would sit around all day wondering what could have been.

 

Try BRAIN if you want to take some of your 35,000 thoughts through a filtering process.

 

You’re In Control

You’re always in control of your pregnancy, your birth, your recovery, and parenting.

There will be times that you feel pressured to make a specific decision. But even when up against people in a place of power, you are entitled and deserve to make your own decisions for the health of you and your baby.

You’re entitled to decide who gets to be around your baby, what products you buy, and how your daily routine plays out. It’s okay to say, “No” even when you hurt someone else’s feelings. And it’s okay to say “Yes” when you are passionate about something that goes against “norms”.

In most cases, pregnancy, birth, and parenting are adventures you’re only going to embark on a few times in your life. And for many people, it’s a one time deal. Having a baby is momentous. You want to think back to having a baby is one of the most awesome times of your life. To know that you were in control. You want to know that you love your story. You want to be present in all of those moments as they happen.

For the rest of your life, you want to remember what it felt like to be kicked from inside. What it felt like emotionally when you heard your baby cry for the first time. What it felt like to hold them. The first time they say, “mama” and/or “dada”. And you can be present and mindful moment by moment when you feel confident in the decisions you’ve made. Which may mean research, or talking to friends & family, or classes. It could be a lot of things. But the work is worth it. I promise.