Today I’m writing about a different component to decision making: intuition and feelings. Usually on Birth Literacy, I help you examine the benefits and risks of different aspects of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. But today, I want to acknowledge that there is so much more that factors into the way we make decisions. From choosing a care provider, to deciding if you want a doula, to what kind of prenatal preparation or education to use, to weighing interventions in labor and delivery, your intuition and emotions play a significant role in making decisions too.
Last month, I read an article in the New York Times called Sold on the Feeling, if Not the Benefits of Health. The article takes the example of exercise and elaborates on the relationship between feelings and decision making. Although most people know something about the health benefits of exercise (for weight control, to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, to improve cardiovascular health, increase energy and bone strength, and more), the factor that contributes most to people following an exercise routine, is that it makes them feel good!
While translating this concept to pregnancy and birth may sound like a long shot, I really think there’s a great parallel here. I (and other birth advocates and educators) can write and talk about the health benefits for mothers and babies of a healthy diet and physical activity during pregnancy, water immersion during labor, vaginal birth, breastfeeding, and countless other health promoting practices. But ultimately, the most powerful motivator is what it feels like for mothers. For example, I have written about why prenatal yoga and water immersion during labor feel so good, and I plan to write more about healthy eating during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and many other topics. But ultimately, I think this is why hearing other women’s stories of their births, and the things that felt good to them, is so powerful and motivating for pregnant women.
Is there anything you did during pregnancy, birth, or the postpartum period that not only felt good, but has been shown to have health benefits?
If you are interested in sharing your birth story on Birth Literacy, contact me here.