Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mums: At The Heart Of It

While we are part of a team, mothers are the critical decision makers when it comes to mother-baby health.

Mothers, we are at the heart of all critical health care decisions that concern us and our babies. More specifically, mothers are ultimately responsible for their own and their baby's health.  I want to share part of a blog that I read recently about this responsibility. I love the way that Aisha Al-Hajjar (blogger with SaudiLife.net) reminds women that they are their own "primary care providers" during pregnancy and birth. As mothers, we make decisions every day at home that effect the short and long term wellness of ourselves and our children.  I also like how acknowledging that we are our own "primary care providers" also suggests that while we are primarily responsible for our well being, we do not have to do it alone. We can also put together a team of people we trust whom we can call upon if or when we need them- the father, a doula, midwife, doctor, childbirth educator or whoever else we choose to work with as secondary or support members of that team. But as Aisha says, when it comes right down to it, we are the critical decision maker-the captain of our birth team.

" [The mother]...truly is her own primary care provider during her pregnancy, labor, and birth; or at least she should be. From my perspective, she isn’t a passive patient to be treated; she is an active participant who is venturing on a journey in the natural cycle of life (Balaskas, 1992).  In fact, it is the woman who has ultimate control of her body and thus the care of her pregnancy and her baby. Only she determines which nutrients, vitamins, or medications she puts into her pregnancy and her baby.  Only she controls her state of physical preparedness for the big event of birth.
It is the woman who ultimately decides how well she will take care of herself each day during her pregnancy.  She is the one who decides whether or not to educate herself in order to make informed decisions about her care.  She decides who to give her trust to and whose advice she will follow throughout her journey to motherhood.
[Likewise,] no one can force a test or procedure or intervention on her until she walks out her front door and turns her control over.  She has the right and responsibility to know her options, seek information, and make decisions about what will or will not be done to her or her baby.  There are many different types of childbirth ‘experts’ and ‘philosophies’ and her baby is counting on her to sort through it all in order to act in his/her best interest.
The same is true for the care of her child as he/she grows.  It will be the parents, primarily the mother, who will decided when to seek outside intervention of care at every step along the path to adulthood.  She will decide when an illness can be nurtured at home or if it should be elevated to medicinal intervention.  She will act or not by staying home with her child or venturing out to the clinic or hospital to invite ‘expert’ medical care for him/her for many years to come.
This means that primary care begins at home...With this in mind, women need to wake up to the reality that both mother’s and baby’s health hang in the balance of the big and little decisions she makes during pregnancy, birth, and beyond." [Aisha Al Hajjar, 2011- SaudiLife.net]
" [Aisha Al Hajjar 2011]

Thank you to Aisha, for sharing your thoughts, and for reminding us that we are each the primary and most critical member of our birthing team.


  1. Thank you for sharing my article! I hope it helps many mothers realize the importance of decision making during pregnancy.

    No one, not the childbirth educator, not the father, not the nurse, not the doctor, not your mother nor mother-in-law, NO ONE will live with the consequences of the decisions you make (or allow others to make for you) like YOU and YOUR BABY will. Wake up, get informed, take the steps necessary to take control of your body and your birth.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  2. Thank you for writing and and allowing me to share it with others. You have a breadth of experience, and I am so grateful that you share it with others.
    -Sarah, EngagingBirth