You have choices:
1) You can choose the status quo: do what your doctor says, show up at the hospital when your labor begins (or more likely your induction), vaccinate according to the CDC schedule, etc.
2) Scramble to become an astute researcher in a very short while: learn to discern myth from reality, question the status quo, wonder where the boundaries of your new power as parent begin and end.
And that myth from reality part is tough even for doctors! I was at a birth during which the mom opted for an epidural. The anesthesiologist said, “There is no truth to the myth that epidurals slow down labor.” No less than 10 minutes after he left the room, the OB came in and said, “Now, we know that epidurals often slow labor…”
Frankly, choice 1 comes with less stress. Choosing this path is not indicative of your parenting merit or your character. It is a choice. I’ve had clients who made this choice. They hire a doula to guard their informed consent or provide need-to-know info on the spot.
Choice 2 requires quite a bit of work. And if you’ve not been thinking much about birth or the politics/litigation/trends of the American birth scene, it can feel overwhelming to tackle such a monster during pregnancy.
To me, choosing the second path has the benefit of springboarding you into parenting. Most things in parenting are not cut and dry. There are hard choices to make and for the first time, perhaps, you’re making big choices for another human being. Pregnancy is a wonderful time to begin finding your mama or papa voice.
Noelle and Zach are doing this. And not just about their birth choices. Before they became pregnant, they were already thinking through questions of vaccinations.
Eek…the dreaded vaccination question. CDC schedule, alternate schedule, no schedule? Aluminum, mercury, pertussis, oh my!
Ha! If there is one area I refuse to give advice, it is vaccinations. There is risk on both sides. And I believe only the parent has the right to decide which risk to take: possible disease or possible side-effect.
Ah but Noelle and Zach are in a unique position. They not only get to decide about the usual shots (around 20 before the age of 6 months), they also get to decide about shots like japanese encephalitis and rabies. See, these cats will be moving to a developing country when their wee one is around 5 or 6 months. Shhh…don’t tell them I said this but I’m very glad I’m not in their shoes when it comes to making decisions about those vaccines!
Pregnancy is a beautiful time to try out our courage, our strength, and our intuition. Pregnancy is a beautiful time to begin parenting.