Yes I know I'm changing my tune... the pillar of the birth world that is informed consent.
The idea being that your care providers will offer you something during your pregnancy or birth, tell you why they recommend it, what the possible down sides are, and respect your decision.
I hardly ever see it happen - but it's supposed to.
And really, isn't informed consent, rather than that glowing pinnacle of good care, just a basic legal requirement?
Informed consent is the BARE MINIMUM you should expect.
If there is anything being a survivor of domestic abuse has taught me, it is that as women our standards for how much respect we receive and how much power we should have over our bodies is LOW.
There's a lot being talked about now with regards to sex and consent. It's framed around how women are made to feel in our society, the powerlessness and compliance, the fear, the desire to please. How we should be looking for enthusiastic yeses in the bedroom rather than token ones. Because in birth and during sex we are naked and vulnerable. Figuratively and often literally.
I don't think we should just accept this situation where women are in a position where their consent is extracted from them for the legal protection of the care provider. The idea of it suggests a power imbalance - I have this agenda, I want to do this to you, you need to say it is okay.
We can do better.
We should demand better
I want to have a birth world where women are in total control of their bodies and their autonomy, where they are equal and active participants in their care, where we have moved beyond this tick box exercise that if it even happens at all is a miracle into a world where women feel ABLE to nix SUGGESTIONS made and enthusiastically ask for the things that they want.
I know sometimes things happen fast at a birth. But the majority of the time choices and decisions are not an emergency.
And now we have been manoeuvred into a position where anybody who bothers to even get informed consent is basically a hero.
We shouldn't have to feel grateful for care providers fulfilling their legal obligation.
We should be fighting for a world where we have taken back the power and we know we can do what we want, emotionally as well as logically. It's one thing to know you have choices and another in practice.
Is your yes enthusiastic?