As a doula and childbirth educator I find myself part of one of the most important and private moments of someone’s life: birth. Much more than “just another day”, it’s such a key moment. It can catapult a woman into the bliss of motherhood, or sometimes the pits of despair. And so, as I work with women and couples on this journey, I often wonder and question where our decisiveness has gone? Why are women all of a sudden in pregnancy and birth allowing others to make decisions for them? Why is it that we research our next car purchase for a month and we accept whatever OB we’re ‘referred’ to without a question? Why do we go to 5 stores looking for our next big screen TV and not 5 doctors’ offices looking for the person who will (arguably) most impact our experience? And how many of us are even considering options outside of an OB? We could always consider a family doctor (if there are any ‘catching’ babies in your area) or a midwife, which have wonderful statistics on lowering rates of intervention, use of medication, cesarean, and increased satisfaction for mothers.
It often seems to me that during the most key experiences in our life, we women appear to become less able to confidently make decisions? What is the reason for this? Where is that inner ‘diva’ in those moments? My feminist self is frustrated for this reality.
I am always so excited to work with women with conviction. Those women who know exactly what they want and are willing to do what they need to in order to achieve that. It is so powerful to work alongside these women. I just wish I saw more of them!
I think I would have loved to be a 1970s feminist, burning bras and all that exciting stuff. I now find myself a modern-day feminist. It took me a long time to use that word, but realize at its core that word describes me. I love the power of women, the strength of women, and I’m completely committed to making sure women get what is due to them: respect, honour, love, compassion.
I long for the day when more women feel secure, strong, empowered, confident to make decisions for themselves, to research their important life decisions, to assert themselves and their power.
If you’re a woman doing this, pat yourself on the back! If not, may I take a moment to tell you that you are wonderful, strong, beautiful and that you owe it to yourself to do so. Now go decide something!
Stefanie Antunes is a mother of 3 who’s been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it is to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you. She leads the Discover Birth team that provides a variety of services to expectant parents (classes, birth doulas, postpartum doulas) and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Ontario Association of Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. You can reach her at www.discoverbirth.com