Advocating With Peace

Perinatal advocacy can be a very difficult field to be leading.  You will find yourself screaming about the beauty of birth only to have your words fall upon those that have not yet come to terms with the importance of their birth experience, and those that may never reach that point.  Don't stop!  If there are no voices to advocate, then nothing will be heard, and one voice can change the world little bits at a time.  When your desire is strong enough to help those around you, you will speak the truth - even if it means some mothers may feel uneasy about what you're telling them.  However, remember that you can only leed a horse to water, you can't make it drink.  Provide the information and then trust that others will make the best decisions for their family - and they will believe whatever they need to believe to go through THEIR situation.

Be kind in every way that you advocate.  Being a good advocate does not mean bashing others, telling mothers they're stupid for making certain choices, or saying someone is a bad parent for having a certain birth, doing a certain thing in postpartum, or choosing a certain discipline method with parenting.  We live in a VERY difficult culture to follow a perfect plan for biological birth and parenting.  Be a loving guide so that those questioning their choices will have a caring ear to come to as they seek their path.  When you know that you're advocating with peace, you will find peace within yourself for not feeling like you can "fix" every birth and every choice.

Advocacy Tips

Trust - you HAVE to trust that you cannot change everyone and that our culture is really messed up and nowhere near what was intended biologically.  Honestly, it is pretty amazing that we keep on keepin' on with all the crazy things we do to our bodies, babies...etc.

Mantra "Not my baby, not my birth."  It is hard - I know... but the more you learn about birth in our culture, the more you realize it is FAR more complicated than a mom just "not wanting to learn" or "not getting the right information."  Our culture, again, makes these choices difficult.  You're SUPPOSED to trust your doctor - you think a few conversations are going to change a lifetime of beliefs about the medical community?  Remember your compassion and keep researching.  Get to the root of the problem instead of bashing parents for their (informed or not) birth choices.

Remember where you came from.  Remember what it was like to make difficult decisions.  Remember what others said to you and how it made you feel.  Remember that one person/thing that changed your perspective and how that happened.

Remember that philosophical beliefs play a huge role in perinatal choices.  If someone is more apt to trust everyone, this will play out in their choices.  If someone questions information, they may seek to find more research and evidence.  A universal system means more of a one-sized fits all approach to every area of life, including birth choices.  We don't want anyone taking our choices away any more than someone else wants you to make their choices for them - regardless if they are "good" or "bad."  Do some people suffer because of this?  Yes, but experience is the best teacher.

Do not use the "I told you so" approach.  Re-educate, sure!  But most of all, be there with open arms if they do make a different decision than you because remember that you may make all the "right" decisions and still have a "negative" outcome.  There are higher powers at work here - and in the end, we all have the experience we need so that we may grow spiritually.